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Dark Souls 2 (Dark Souls successor (Demon's Souls successor))

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I wonder how much of the lack of memorability in Dark Souls 2 is really just an artifact of increased skill because people have played 1. I finished 2 in 29 hours, which is half what it took me to finish 1, and 2 is larger by landmass and number of bosses. That means, just because I'm good at the game and know how to play, I spent at most half the time in each area. Not coincidentally, the areas that I feel were best in 2 are the ones where I struggled enough to spend more time in them. That's not even taking into account the fact that I've put hundreds of hours into Souls games and am pretty inundated with their tonal and artistic elements at this point.

 

When Dark came out, I and many other people felt that its world was much less memorable than Demon's. Is this just the same thing happening again?

 

That's very possible.  The areas I like the most in DS2 are the ones I've spent the most time in by and large.  I died a ton in the Forest of the Giants getting oriented, and I spent a bunch of time co-oping in Earthen Peak.  But I think this statement carries a lot of truth to it:

 

 

It is a very consistent experience, perhaps too consistent. 

 

The weapons are far more balanced.  It seems that most weapons are going to be not just viable, but roughly equal in their effectiveness (in terms of weapon stats vs player stat investment), it just depends on the moveset and what look you prefer.  The result is that I've had a lot fewer "Ooooo, shiny" moments finding something new.  Which on one hand is good, it means that there's not a handful of weapons that dominate and it encourages players to try a variety of stuff.  But it takes some of the excitement out of finding new items. 

 

Also, finishing the game in 29 hours sounds like dark magic to me.  I'm probably around the 50 hour mark and still have several areas to go (my actual time is quite a bit higher, but I left it running a bunch paused this weekend bouncing back and forth between watching basketball and playing).  But I tend to be a pretty thorough completionist with my first run in souls. I want to find as much as possible. 

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I've had the same experience. You can only play your first Souls game once I guess.

As for Black Gulch

slowly poking through it never occurred to me. Well, not for long after I tried it once. I can now sprint through without getting poisoned. Only took 30 tries. At least I got a sweet poise ring out of it :D

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I've had the same experience. You can only play your first Souls game once I guess.

As for Black Gulch

slowly poking through it never occurred to me. Well, not for long after I tried it once. I can now sprint through without getting poisoned. Only took 30 tries. At least I got a sweet poise ring out of it :D

 

Yeah, I imagine if DS2 was someone's first Souls game, and they were into it, they would be having an experience much like the rest of us did on a previous game.

 

On Black Gulch:

 

I went slow and destroyed every one the first time through as I wanted to make sure there weren't any secrets hiding. I ended up dead due trying my hand at the Covenant of the Dark, and when they all respawned, I did sprint through that time. Still not a *fun* area.

Actually, I sprinted through from the second bonfire. If you tried to sprint from the first one, would the worms end up knocking you off the ledge, or can you get past them fast enough?

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Actually, I sprinted through from the second bonfire. If you tried to sprint from the first one, would the worms end up knocking you off the ledge, or can you get past them fast enough?

...second bonfire?

confusedgandalf.jpg

Falling off the ledge at the worms is actually part of my path...

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Yeah, that white knight is also confusing me. He must be an NPC though, because I've run into him twice now (he didn't talk the second time either).

 

I'm not sure what constitutes a spoiler, so Ill put my reply in spoiler tags just in case

 

I have encountered 2 of those white knights and killed both, they drop unique weapons (whichever one they were using). Apparently (according to a guy on IRC), they initally planned to have them be normal enemies, but they liked the effect of having them just sitting there until attacked.

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...second bonfire?

confusedgandalf.jpg

Falling off the ledge at the worms is actually part of my path...

 

Black Gulch Area Spoilers:

 

Yes, there's a second bonfire! In the biggest open area, there is a very thin ledge you can follow around on the right hand side that leads to a bonfire. From it, there is a tunnel that's a shortcut to the boss (only a couple of statues have a shot at you), or you can sprint around a medium length way, or use it to sprint past the statues to go to the *other* secret area that's there. It's another ledge that you have to drop down to like the first one.  If you didn't find it...it's neat.  I wouldn't want to spoil what's hiding down there.

 

 

I'm not sure what constitutes a spoiler, so Ill put my reply in spoiler tags just in case

 

I have encountered 2 of those white knights and killed both, they drop unique weapons (whichever one they were using). Apparently (according to a guy on IRC), they initally planned to have them be normal enemies, but they liked the effect of having them just sitting there until attacked.

 

On White Knights:

 

I hope that's true. The White Knights are a lot more intimidating and mysterious just sitting there than they would be if they just attacked you. I've killed 3 now.  The weapons are okay, or even good early game, but nothing like the Black Knight weapons from DS1.

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The weapons are far more balanced.  It seems that most weapons are going to be not just viable, but roughly equal in their effectiveness (in terms of weapon stats vs player stat investment), it just depends on the moveset and what look you prefer.  The result is that I've had a lot fewer "Ooooo, shiny" moments finding something new.  Which on one hand is good, it means that there's not a handful of weapons that dominate and it encourages players to try a variety of stuff.  But it takes some of the excitement out of finding new items. 

I had the opposite reaction to the same thing. Every time I picked up a new dexterity weapon I was excited to try it out and in many cases I would use that weapon for the next couple of areas. My arsenal of fully upgraded weapons stands at:

-  rapier +10

- two Ricard's Rapiers +10

- two Bleeding Falchions +10 and +8

- two Caestuses +10

- Blacksteel Katana +10

- Dark Warped Sword +5 (boss weapon), at one point it was lightning. This turned out to be the most balanced weapon in terms of damage, speed and moveset. It was also totally boss at killing crystal lizards.

- Poison Black Scorpion Stinger +5 (twinkling titanite weapon, already has poison when you get it, and I was able to infuse it with even more!)

- Fire Long Bow +10

- Hunter's Blackbow +10

 

I love each and every one of these weapons. Except for the rapier that I started with, they all have their place in slaying the multitude of different enemy types in the game.

 

I finished the game last night after 64 hours at level 143. DS2 saved some its best areas and fights until the very end, I am very happy to say. Apparently new game plus has new enemies, new bosses, new drops, new multiplayer content:

You know when the Looking Glass Knight summons phantoms into the battle? You can be one of those guys (!!!!)

 

I can't decide if I want to roll a strength character or start NG+ with my dexterity guy. There's also magic, which seems ridiculous. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface! There's quite a few things I haven't killed yet, including

all my old friends from DS (Ricard, Havel) together in one horrible pit of doom. Every time you lose you have to spend a human effigy to try again D:

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I am terrible at SL120 duels!  Only won one out of about a dozen last night.  I respecced to try the hex that prevents other players from casting, which is really effective.  But it's a pretty fair stat investment to get there (20 Int and 42 Faith).  If I were to do a NG+ run and get as many spices as possible, it might make it more justifiable.  It worked flawlessly in one battle.  A guy switched over to his pyromancy flame and didn't notice his magic was disabled.  He made the failed casting animation (looking at his flame in bewilderment), and I crushed him halfway through that animation.  I ended up facing melee fighters in most of the rest of the duels.

 

I love my Malformed Skull for PvE, but I'm just not sure it's the right weapon for PvP.  It doesn't have the length of some of the other great weapons, which makes it much easier to dodge. I had a 4+ minute match against a Twinblade user where neither of us could hit the other one.  When its got Sunlight Blade on it and it hits though, it's like bringing down a brick wall on someone. 

 

On the story side, I took down the fourth Old One, so I guess I'm ready to head into the end game.  I can't say that I've really picked up that much about the lore and story so far.  Bits and pieces, particularly those calling back to DS1, but I don't have any coherent idea what's going on. 

 

 

I can't decide if I want to roll a strength character or start NG+ with my dexterity guy. There's also magic, which seems ridiculous. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface! There's quite a few things I haven't killed yet, including

all my old friends from DS (Ricard, Havel) together in one horrible pit of doom. Every time you lose you have to spend a human effigy to try again D:

 

Your comments on weapons do have some truth to them.  Now that I have more upgrade materials available, I've been experimenting a lot more with weapons.  Just early on, the very limited Titanite made me want to horde what I had and not upgrade willy nilly.  I've got a half dozen +9 weapons and one +10 now.  I actually really like the new durability system.  Keeping a good backup weapon is necessary for low durability weapons, and a good idea in general.  Plus the mentality of thinking about multiple weapons because of durability has encouraged me swap weapons a lot more depending on terrain and enemy.  Plus I keep fire, lightning and poison weapons in my inventory if it looks like they will be appropriate.

 

On your last spoiler:

 

Holy crap, the phantoms in the Dark Covenent include NPCs from DS1? I had not realized that! I have just scratched the surface of that stuff so far. Have tried each dungeon once, and got killed very quickly. Hell, I just walked into a hole in Drangleic dungeon and never even saw an enemy.

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I'm not sure where I want to go with weapons yet. I usually do a dex build, and that's how this guy started out, but right now i'm power stancing a +5 fire longsword and +5 heide sword. It's working out, but won't scale. I'd like to get an uchi, and/or falchion. I do have a ricards rapier as well I can upgrade. Some of those require a super heavy dex investment to power stance, but seems like it would be fun. I could respec to get rid of the str I have needed to power stance the swords I have now, and get some dex back.

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I'm not sure where I want to go with weapons yet. I usually do a dex build, and that's how this guy started out, but right now i'm power stancing a +5 fire longsword and +5 heide sword. It's working out, but won't scale. I'd like to get an uchi, and/or falchion. I do have a ricards rapier as well I can upgrade. Some of those require a super heavy dex investment to power stance, but seems like it would be fun. I could respec to get rid of the str I have needed to power stance the swords I have now, and get some dex back.

 

One thing to realize, if you haven't yet, is that they changed how scaling works in DS2.  Dex scaling now gives significantly less of a damage boost than Str scaling.  Dex weapons certainly still have a powerful place, given their speed and move sets.  I'm just trying to give you reasonable expectations of what an A or S scaling Dex weapon will gain.  And weapons with balanced scaling (C scaling on both) will benefit a ton more from Str than Dex.  There are some weapons in the same class with similar move sets (like Halberds) where some have Dex scaling and some have Str scaling. In those cases, the Str versions will be superior in almost all ways.  It looks like you can get up to 6 Soul Vessels on a playthrough though, so plenty of opportunities to experiment. 

 

I had new thoughts on how to handle PvP this morning with my Malformed Skull, just need to change up my strategy a bit.  The amount of equipment that affects casting time actually opens up several strategies that wouldn't have been viable before.  Can't wait to try it out tonight.

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One thing to realize, if you haven't yet, is that they changed how scaling works in DS2.  Dex scaling now gives significantly less of a damage boost than Str scaling.  Dex weapons certainly still have a powerful place, given their speed and move sets.  I'm just trying to give you reasonable expectations of what an A or S scaling Dex weapon will gain.  And weapons with balanced scaling (C scaling on both) will benefit a ton more from Str than Dex.  There are some weapons in the same class with similar move sets (like Halberds) where some have Dex scaling and some have Str scaling. In those cases, the Str versions will be superior in almost all ways.  It looks like you can get up to 6 Soul Vessels on a playthrough though, so plenty of opportunities to experiment. 

 

I had new thoughts on how to handle PvP this morning with my Malformed Skull, just need to change up my strategy a bit.  The amount of equipment that affects casting time actually opens up several strategies that wouldn't have been viable before.  Can't wait to try it out tonight.

 

I'd heard that, which is dissapointing. I have 2 soul vessels now, considereding using one (im SL 60-something). I assume they revert back to your class's starting stats, I was a swordsman so I start with high dex, but not too much that I couldn't put a lot into str and go for a more balanced approach. I still want to get a katana or 2 though, the uchi was one of my favorite weapon in Demons and DkS1.

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Could you elaborate why? I'm near the end myself and I have to say that the game doesn't reach the highs, or sink to the lows, of Dark Souls 1. It is a very consistent experience, perhaps too consistent. 

It's hard to say…

 

I don’t like some of the changes they made to the combat. My attacks won’t connect if an enemy is too small (which is really annoying for crystal lizards). There’s actually a boss that can’t hit you with its melee attack when you’re close. It's good that enemies also play by those rules otherwise it wouldn't be fair, but it's still weird to say the least. At times, I'd hit an enemy and my attack would knock them back, so then my follow-up attack wouldn't connect.

 

The world doesn't make sense to me. In Dark Souls, you rang the bells of awakening to open Sen's Fortress, to prove your worth and get flown to Anor Londo. In Dark Souls 2,

there's some rubble on the road, so you need four great souls to go around it. Err, okay.

 

Item descriptions seem uninspired. Too many of them basically amount to “No human could lift this” or “Its wielder is unknown.” Where's the story?

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I'd heard that, which is dissapointing. I have 2 soul vessels now, considereding using one (im SL 60-something). I assume they revert back to your class's starting stats, I was a swordsman so I start with high dex, but not too much that I couldn't put a lot into str and go for a more balanced approach. I still want to get a katana or 2 though, the uchi was one of my favorite weapon in Demons and DkS1.

 

I initially thought it was disappointing as well, but after playing around with the system a bit and respeccing twice, I think it is an overall good move.  I feel like it makes the difference between the classes of weapons much bigger, while both stats fulfill different purposes.  Dex also boosts Poison and Bleed proc rates, so there's a lot to like about Dex, it's just not straight damage. 

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I'm not able to fully articulate how I feel about Dark Souls 2 in comparison to the previous game, but I do know a couple of things: (1) I love it, and (2) it doesn't make Dark Souls 1 obsolete, which makes me love it even more :) Hopefully one day I can make an intelligent post about why I feel that Dark Souls 2 is the better video game and Dark Souls 1 is the more beautiful and more important piece of art. 

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I'm not able to fully articulate how I feel about Dark Souls 2 in comparison to the previous game, but I do know a couple of things: (1) I love it, and (2) it doesn't make Dark Souls 1 obsolete, which makes me love it even more :) Hopefully one day I can make an intelligent post about why I feel that Dark Souls 2 is the better video game and Dark Souls 1 is the more beautiful and more important piece of art. 

 

Yeah, I'm feeling the same way.  It's kind of amazing that all three of the Souls games, while so similar, also stand on their own in interesting and different ways.

 

I learned something tonight!  You can manually aim long range spells with the binoculars and fire in binocular view.  I was struggling with some super tough NPC Black Phantoms in

the dungeons you go into for the Covenant of the Dark.

  I was trying to manually aim a Greater Lightning Spear by lining up the shot first with the binoculars, and figured I'd go ahead and try and fire, and it worked!  Dropping 3 spears on one of them before he could reach lock-on range made that fight way easier.  For those of you looking for a challenge, this area is pretty awesome (see spoiler for area). 

 

I also backtracked and messed around in the Doors of Pharos, which is a second area associated with the Rat Covenant. 

It's the absolute worst PvP area in the game, I can't imagine what they were thinking. The summoned invader appears in water, so can't move at full speed. There is a Mastadon and a toxic rat that will aggro on invaders if they step forward at all. And the defending player can sit on a bridge overlooking the spawn point, without the invader being aware of it. And no one is fighting fair, I went in a few times as the trespasser, and failed miserably each time. Then I rejoined the Rat Covenant. It didn't really matter what I did. If I camped the bridge, the fight took about 15 seconds. If I tried to be fair and actually stayed below, the fight took about 30 seconds before my rat and Mastadon waded in.

 

I also fought the boss of the Doors of Pharos.  I died more against that boss, and usually within 10 seconds of the fight starting, than I have against all the rest of the bosses combined.  It's by far the most elated I've been when I've taken down a boss in this game. 

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I don’t like some of the changes they made to the combat. My attacks won’t connect if an enemy is too small (which is really annoying for crystal lizards). There’s actually a boss that can’t hit you with its melee attack when you’re close. It's good that enemies also play by those rules otherwise it wouldn't be fair, but it's still weird to say the least. At times, I'd hit an enemy and my attack would knock them back, so then my follow-up attack wouldn't connect.

 

The thing about bosses melee attacks is definitely true across Souls games. In Dark 1, Qualaag's sword strikes don't hit you if you're by her front, 4 Kings can only hit you with their hilts when you're up close, Taurus can't melee you when you're between his legs, etc.

 

The hitboxes are definitely qualitatively different in this game though. It also matters where your weapon hits, so if you are slightly further away you do less damage. I think it serves to make the game even more about knowing your moveset. The one thing I dislike is that some boss attacks have a hitbox larger than the animation, which is a big no to me.

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I got invaded for the first time, very exciting. I was on a narrow ledge, and ran into the invader coming the other way. I was power-stancin, got a few swipes in and got him down to half health, so since I was out of stamina I did the sensible thing and rolled backwards, right off the ledge. That was pretty funny.

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I got invaded for the first time, very exciting. I was on a narrow ledge, and ran into the invader coming the other way. I was power-stancin, got a few swipes in and got him down to half health, so since I was out of stamina I did the sensible thing and rolled backwards, right off the ledge. That was pretty funny.

 

Falling deaths in PvP are endlessly hilarious, whether they happen to me or someone else.  It looks like the Brotherhood of Blood is starting to warm up, I'm seeing a ton of red summon signs, and have seen a few more invaders.

 

I think I came up with an amazing PvP build last night, but it's going to be completely unsuited to the end game, so I'll have to get through the last couple of areas before I can respect.  I can't wait to try it though. 

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This game!

As a newcomer, the biggest surprise for me is the multiplayer interaction. I was expecting a long solitary slog and I have that when I choose, but when I'm feeling lonesome I can warp to the rescue or summon some gracious chaps to aid me in my quest. And every time has been an absolute pleasure.

Much as in real life, my level reads 90-odd but inside I feel 35.

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I welcomed a newcomer to my rat den about the head and ears with my +8 welcoming mace.

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This game!

As a newcomer, the biggest surprise for me is the multiplayer interaction. I was expecting a long solitary slog and I have that when I choose, but when I'm feeling lonesome I can warp to the rescue or summon some gracious chaps to aid me in my quest. And every time has been an absolute pleasure.

Much as in real life, my level reads 90-odd but inside I feel 35.

 

Agreed, while the multiplayer was absolutely present in the previous iterations, some minor changes seem to have made it better in this one.  Letting players be invaded while hollow means there's no reason not to turn human.  The life protection rings let you stay human longer and conserve your effigies.  I tend to go through each area solo, co-op the boss to get a preview, and then try to solo the boss in my world.  If I fail a few times, then I'll bring in help. 

 

I entered the Company of Champions this evening though, revisited a few areas and then continued with my next area.  It does make the game harder, but not brutally so.  I kind of like it, the difficulty feels right for what I like in Souls.  Things had been getting a touch on the easy side.  Awestones are rarer than Titanite Slabs though.  I've got 6 now, and 4 of those game from going offline to force some NPC phantoms to spawn. 

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solo the boss in my world.

 

Thats hard core!

 

Although i did solo the whole of demons souls back in the day, i didn't even think to enlist help until the final couple of bosses. (i think i probably played the whole game as an undead so never saw any of the coop messages) Oh jolly cooperation what had i been missing, it turned the game in to something akin to final fight, a posse of bros wrecking shit!

 

This time round i tend to help other people out to get a feel for the area and the boss then mostly do the area alone in my own game and get a gang together for the boss. I must admit this game does feel a lot easy then the previous too.

 

side not, how the hell do you add magic abilities to a weapon? i've got a level 100 character and i still have meet the right blacksmith yet?

 

EDIT. Ah i seeeeeeeeeeeee need to blow through that wall, thanks youtube

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Thats hard core!

 

Surprisingly, not really.  There have been a few fights I found easier solo.  But there are plenty I tried solo, and then quickly went and got help (mostly the bosses with multiple enemies).  The extra health/defense/damage that bosses get can make them challenging if you get a boneheaded companion or two.  Though that seems to be getting less morons the higher level I get.  I soloed the boss of the Shrine of Amana, as manipulating the movement by myself felt easier than what I had experienced as a co-op white spirit.  But I took help in on the Undead Crypt, mostly because I didn't want to have to make the run from the bonfire to the fog door by myself again. 

 

Also, I assume that you found the Dull Ember and just needed to find the Blacksmith?

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hmm i don't know, my inventory is full of shit i don't use :)

 

let me google... ah no. Looks like its in the same place as the blacksmith.

 

I didn't know that the bosses get a health boost when you coop up against them. knowing that i probably could have taken down a lot without any help. Although that horsey fucked me up when i was the last man standing. I mainly just use jolly cooperation to take the heat of myself.

 

I killed all those bastard rats alone whilst undead with half max health, i feel like i earned a badge of honour that day

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You're making me feel like a badass for having beaten every boss solo so far :P

I find that a majority of the bosses, even the group fights, are beatable with the same tactic: get right in their face (and if in a group, keep them all in front of you), circle until they whiff a combo and tag them once, then let your stamina recover. Patience, a 100% physical damage block shield and a reasonably fast weapon (the mace you can buy in Majula is my standby) are the key. I hardly even find the need to dodge.

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