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Falselogic

Lapsed Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Neat video on the world design of Elden Ring from Game Maker's Toolkit. There are some spoilers in there for bosses and endgame so don't click if you haven't completed the game or want to maintain the mystery.


I don't know if I agree with some of his points about design decisions. From has been doing this long enough that I think that the nonscaling enemies is intentional.

Other's thoughts?
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
The nonscaling enemies seem entirely intentional to me, both because you are meant to leave cleared areas behind (aside from quest progression in places like Caelid, which has a tougher area in the north) and because you are meant to be able to come back and wallop something that gave you trouble later on, if you want. The scaling seems to be reserved for NG+ and multiplayer (for bosses).
 
I absolutely would not want scaling enemies in Elden Ring.

I don't want it so much that I don't even play NG+ runs on any of these games. Completely unappealing to me.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I mean, of course it's intentional? A major gameplay decision like that doesn't get made by accident. (I have not watched the video so I may be missing some context here.)
 
Just watched the enemy balancing portion of the video and yeah, balancing issues are going to be endemic to introducing the Souls formula into an open world game. There is no perfect solution because the two styles are inevitably going to uncomfortably rub up against each other. You literally couldn't make an open world game that was faithful to the Souls formula without having some serious balancing issues.
 
It's definitely still rock solid Souls formula; it progresses basically identically to any other Souls game and I'd argue this still fits with the world design, especially if you aren't getting extra powered up by exploring every little thing on the map. Being able to wander into Caelid ahead of time isn't very different from Master Key-ing your way to Blight Town (and thus the second half of the game) early, for instance. It took the vertical world design of Dark Souls and made it mostly horizontal for the bulk of world exploration. The balance implications are what happens with any competent open world game, the player will inevitably far outpace the game's efforts to keep up whether it has scaling or not. Even in Oblivion where enemy scaling was so aggressive that most people hated it, planning things out still meant the game couldn't keep up, and it still had its own ways to circumvent loot scaling to get very powerful things early; if anything this kind of scaling is what creates the real problem, because it meant the fairly wide breadth of progress Elder Scrolls games are designed for would actively make the game harder with no regard to the chosen difficulty. Rare is the person that wants the complete 1:1 scaling option you have to opt into with difficulty options in the Assassin's Creed games because it means you can't feel most of your progress for a very long time. By a wide margin I hear way more people always talking about how they want to feel powerful after they've earned their high level/build/etc, and if the game has areas that will kick your ass if you find them early, so be it. Breath of the Wild is interestingly the weirdest game that the video brings up because you can largely avoid its scaling by avoiding killing enemies, which has an interesting synergy with the way the STRICT weapon durability incentivizes you to avoid fighting as much as you normally might; at the same time when its enemies do finally get scaled up to their next stage the difference in their bulk and strength is far more significant than in say, Ghost of Tsushima where they have visibly better armor and so take an extra hit in a straight fight.

I'm honestly not sure why the person in the video would insinuate this wasn't a good thing. From Soft has tons of experience balancing games without active scaling mid-playthrough. It's far safer for them to stick to that and mess with enemy design and world structure than it is to crank enemy power up to match the player at all times (which I cannot stress enough, always sounds incredibly unpopular as a design choice).
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
One of the more satisfying things in ER for me was going back to a dungeon or field boss that gave me trouble after I gained more levels and just cutting through it like nothing. Specifically the Rotten Crystalians.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I agree with the point of the video that the open world design and lack of scaling in Elden Ring make it a fundamentally different experience from previous Souls games which had a more linear and controlled progression. I disagree with the assumption that that's bad.
 

Behemoth

Dostoevsky is immortal!
(he/him/his)
I agree with the point of the video that the open world design and lack of scaling in Elden Ring make it a fundamentally different experience from previous Souls games which had a more linear and controlled progression. I disagree with the assumption that that's bad.
I would argue it's good actually. (I also haven't watched the video, so maybe I'm missing some nuance).
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
I think Mark misses that the game does prevent you from overleveling, as long as you focus on one area at a time. You can complete every cave and wandering boss in Limgrave and still be in the general power band for Godrick. He gets caught up in the idea that you can skip past regions and do things out of order, and that shaded his view of the difficulty curve. His comparisons to Oblivion and BOTW were definitely off base.

I’d like to see another video where he breaks down the legacy dungeons. I feel like that would play to his strengths more.
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
Unscaled enemies are the best, because it is equally fun to a) totally thrash a boss that you're overleved for and b) beat a really difficult boss by the skin of your teeth when you have no business being there. And the general open-world design of Elden Ring makes it possible for the player to choose which type of experience they want to have most of the time, which is pretty swell.

Anyway, everyone here will be relieved to know that I beat the Godskin Duo. That sleep pot trick worked great! Which is nice, because I had to beat 3.5 of those fuckers before the fight was over.
 
I really wish that fight was a set number of respawns and not an arbitrary amount of health. I didn't struggle with it on either of my two runthroughs (not a boast, struggled with a lot of bosses but never that one, probably because I did the big optional area first both times), but I just think the way it's set up feels unsatisfying.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
I like having the ability to overlevel myself a bit and gain a numerical edge. I'm pretty ok at these games but by no means a skilled action game player, and without that built-in difficulty slider, Sekiro is completely goddamn impossible for me.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Yeah I'm not particularly good at them either, my consistent strategy was being about 10 levels higher than the guide I was following recommended.
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
I've made it to the final battle and MAN is the endgame of Elden Ring a slog. Ever since the Fire Giant, it seems like I haven't gone more than an hour between difficult boss fights: the Fire Giant, the Godskin Duo, Malekith, Godfrey and now Radagon/Elden Beast. I get that they wanted things to end with a bang, but I'm getting pretty burned out on all this grinding. I spent an hour and a half working on the fight last night and managed to beat Radagon about four times, but I wasn't able to parlay any of those attempts into victories. I actually respecced my character to gain back a few points I had wasted on Int/Faith (all I do is hit things with a huge sword, so those aren't really important to me) and I grabbed a talisman from the starting area to reduce holy damage, too. It's definitely starting to look like I could win soon, but I'm pretty tired of this procession of ever-more-difficult bosses with not a lot in between them.
 
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