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SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
So I was pretty LTTP on Hollow Knight, having only just started playing it shortly before TT 2.0 came to an end. I just now beat it, having toppled the real actual final boss, and ending with 99% completion at 31 hours 20 minutes played.

I have not yet completed the final boss of the Grimm Troupe, nor have I even dabbled in any of the Pantheon stuff. But, honestly, I think I've gotten my fill of the game for now.

That 99% is bugging me, but the only item I didn't get was the last mask fragment from the Grey Mourner, which you need to deliver an item on the other side of the map without taking any fast travel or getting hit so hahahahahaha eff that.

I've actually been struggling with the real actual final boss for a couple days now, but I managed to put it down. Like a lot of bosses that gave me trouble in this game I only started making progress when I stopped being so aggro and played more defensively, but I also had to really make my hits count so I went for the ol Shaman Stone-centric build and blasted it with Up-A magics whenever I could.

Anyway this game was fantastic. A real treat. Absolutely gorgeous, really moody, excellent world design, and incredibly creepy in many spots. I only wish I didn't take so long to get around to it, but I'm glad to finally have played it.

(So when's Silksong?)
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Pretty sure there's stuff you can do to get your completion over 100% without doing the flower quest. My personal best right now is 109% IIRC, and I've never completed it. :p
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
I haven't beaten the nightmare king but I DID deliver that dang flower. It isn't that hard with the right badges, if you're careful.
 

Toadwright

(he/him)
Another trick to make the flower delivery a bit easier is that you can kill a lot of the enemies between the Grey Mourner and your destination before collecting the flower, and they'll stay dead as long as you don't rest at a bench during or between attempts. Unfortunately, you can't say the same for spikes...I had an attempt fail 10 feet away from victory thanks to them.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I've actually been struggling with the real actual final boss for a couple days now, but I managed to put it down. Like a lot of bosses that gave me trouble in this game I only started making progress when I stopped being so aggro and played more defensively, but I also had to really make my hits count so I went for the ol Shaman Stone-centric build and blasted it with Up-A magics whenever I could.

I ended up doing the same thing for that boss! Which, at the time, I was kind of unhappy about -- up until that point in the game I hadn't been very magic-focused, so I didn't love having to change my whole playstyle just for one boss.

Still an incredible game, still one of my all-time favorites. I wish Team Cherry would give us some more news about Silksong already!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
The spells are incredibly useful, if you ever watch speedruns of the game you'll see people using them constantly. One of the most important things for me to learn was that I should be using soul to damage bosses instead of stockpiling it all for healing. You almost never have time to heal more than two masks at once anyway, so it's worth firing off a spell any time that your soul meter is full. I always go straight for shaman stone these days, although I do like using nail upgrades like longnail and quick slash, too.

Interesting thing that isn't surfaced in the game: most of the bosses' HP will scale with your nail upgrades, but spell damage is static. Speedrunners will either skip the nail upgrades completely (if doing any%) or save them for the very end, because upgrading your nail effectively makes your spells weaker. Of course, regular enemies pose more of a challenge if you never upgrade the nail, but for masters of the game that's not much of an issue. I've never been so bold as to completely forgo nail upgrades, but if I ever get serious about improving my any% time then I might give it a shot. My current best time for the bad ending is 4 hours, which is literally 8x the current world record, so it's not like I'm any great authority on the subject :D
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Yeah, it's a pretty weird choice. Upgrading the nail makes all the regular enemies easier to deal with, but doesn't help you with most of the difficult bosses in the game and potentially makes them harder, since your spells aren't as useful. I haven't done the math to see whether boss HP scales directly to your nail damage, so maybe you can make some small gains by upgrading the nail...but you're definitely nerfing the effectiveness of your spells in the process.
 
Huh. Does it at least seem designed/tuned assuming you would be upgrading your nail? I also tried searching for discussions and it might not be that many bosses that scale after all.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Looking at the wiki, there are about a dozen bosses that have HP scaling, most of which are dream bosses:
Dung Defender
Elder Hu
Galien
Gorb
Markoth
Xero
Marmu
No Eyes
The Radiance
Grimm (but not NKG apparently)
Hive Knight
Also, while some of those bosses get roughly triple their original HP at the highest level, the nail damage increases by almost 4x, so you do gain a slight advantage. I guess it isn't really cut and dried, since your spells get weaker but your nail gets stronger, either marginally for dream bosses or significantly for the rest. Like I said, I've never intentionally foregone the nail upgrades while playing this game. But next time I try for any%, I might even skip the first one and see how that goes for me.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Holy crap, I beat the Pure Vessel and my save file has reached 111% completion! I've been playing this game off and on for over 2 years and this is the farthest I've ever made it. PV isn't quite the same level of challenge as Nightmare King Grimm, but it's still a tough fight and I'd say it took me a good 30 tries to nail it (ha ha). Oh course, I still have to beat the Pure Vessel at the end of the 4th pantheon if I want to unlock the ultimate challenge, and that's a whole other kettle of fish. I believe in my heart that I can unlock the Pantheon of Hallownest, although I doubt I'll ever have the wherewithal to actually finish it. Still, it's been a very satisfting week in Hollow Knight for me. I completed the white flower quest for the first time ever (actually not that hard), figured out how to beat Sly (not hard once you know what to do) and now the PV. Heck of a game, I tells ya.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Man, every time this thread gets bumped I think there's finally been some news about Silksong, and every time I am disappointed.
 

Lance Noble Aster

did his best!
(he/him)
Hollow Knight is an incredible game that is like 20% too hard. Having played the game randomized with an infinite notches mod, I can attest the game would be much easier if you just started with like three more notches.

Also the UI reacts remarkably well to having infinite notches. Sure, they go off screen, but they are rendered properly otherwise.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Hollow Knight is an incredible game that is like 20% too hard.
Eh, I can see where you're coming from but I don't know if I agree. Most of the really hard stuff is optional and the satisfaction I've gotten from completing those challenges has been on par with the difficulty. I'd agree with you if there were more random elements or if the fights were super swingy (I've been playing CrossCode lately and sometimes it feels like my whole health bar melts away in an instant), but it's the kind of game where a good player is consistently able to beat a tough boss without relying on luck. In my mind, that's a sign of "good" challenge - although the amount of challenge is indeed very, very high. Like I said, I've played probably 200 hours of Hollow Knight and I'm not sure I'll ever be good enough to complete the final pantheon.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
The only too-hard part of Hollow Knight imo was the Husk Guard boss fight, and you can take one of them out beforehand via a secret passage. Almost everything else that's of that level of difficulty is opt-in, not required.

I will never get far in the Pantheon but I did everything else except the very last leg of the Path of Pain, which I tried for an hour then had to quit. Won't go through that again, but I got so close that I am basically counting it.
 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
The game plays extremely nicely, but I ten million percent agree that it’s just a little too far to the right on the ol’ difficulty slider for me to really enjoy it as much as I’d like to
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Path of Pain, now that's something I still need to get around to. Hopefully my recent kaizo experience will be of some help there...
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Yeah, it was a bit too tough for me, too. There wasn’t anything in the game that I couldn’t do, but it was difficult enough that I eventually stopped coming back. I still might pick it up again at some point & finish the last half of the game.
 

Lance Noble Aster

did his best!
(he/him)
I consider myself excessively experienced with video games, and if a game is frustrating for me at times on its default difficulty setting, that means I cannot in good faith recommend it to the majority of people I know. Hollow Knight is one of those games. I didn't do any of the "extra" stuff from the DLC and there were still several times I felt like I was up against a wall that was actively unfun to continue to struggle against.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Path of Pain, now that's something I still need to get around to. Hopefully my recent kaizo experience will be of some help there...
It's challenging throughout, but the very last segment is some absolute bullshit.

I definitely get finding the game too hard; it was at the outer edge of my limits I think. But there are only a couple spots that I think are too hard within the context of the game's challenge level.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
I am working my way through the white palace for the first time now. My daughter finds it exceedingly amusing whenver I hit a saw. These are her halcyon days.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I definitely agree that the game is challenging, and that I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. But I think anyone who plays a lot of games will be able to finish the main game and even get the good ending if they put their mind to it. Optional stuff like NKG and the pantheons are only for the most devoted, and I think that's fine. The real answer, as always, is to include more accessibility settings à la Celeste. Sliders to increase damage dealt or give the player more health would go a long way toward letting people see/enjoy the whole game without stripping away the things that people like me enjoy. You could also let players start with the map, or have it automatically fill as they explore - though personally, I think the map system is brilliant the way it is. Options! They are good (especially in Gradius).
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
my only complaint with the map is that you don't start with various pins so you can't really mark things to return to until you've already forgotten a couple
 

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
Yeah, it's a pretty weird choice. Upgrading the nail makes all the regular enemies easier to deal with, but doesn't help you with most of the difficult bosses in the game and potentially makes them harder, since your spells aren't as useful. I haven't done the math to see whether boss HP scales directly to your nail damage, so maybe you can make some small gains by upgrading the nail...but you're definitely nerfing the effectiveness of your spells in the process.

Looking at the wiki, there are about a dozen bosses that have HP scaling, most of which are dream bosses:
Dung Defender
Elder Hu
Galien
Gorb
Markoth
Xero
Marmu
No Eyes
The Radiance
Grimm (but not NKG apparently)
Hive Knight
Also, while some of those bosses get roughly triple their original HP at the highest level, the nail damage increases by almost 4x, so you do gain a slight advantage. I guess it isn't really cut and dried, since your spells get weaker but your nail gets stronger, either marginally for dream bosses or significantly for the rest. Like I said, I've never intentionally foregone the nail upgrades while playing this game. But next time I try for any%, I might even skip the first one and see how that goes for me.
Ahhh, that actually makes the scaling a good choice, since iirc all those bosses were added in later content updates. I don't see this as scaling them up as you get stronger, but scaling them down at lower nail levels; that way that you can encounter them at any point in a new playthrough without having to loop back around, but they're still a challenge when introduced to players who'd already beaten the game. That said, not scaling spell damage at all is a bit stinky-boo-boo though.
 

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
Oops, forgot to mention why I was resurrecting this in the first place: I've been playing this! I'm around 30 hours and coming close to the end. I just got the shadow cloak so I was running around checking off the last map pins for "can't go here yet," which I shortly realized were only...three? spots (and one I'd found a different way to reach beforehand). Next thing I needed (since I started looking up hints or even spoilers for "where to go/what to do next") was to get over 1800 dream juice. I managed that with one victory against a "beat them once but then you fight a harder dream version" boss, the possessed empty vessel or whatnot, which got me like 400 and leapt me past the 1500 and 1800 levels all at once. Next, I guess I'm going to awaken-poke stuff, especially that dead thing on the bridge in front of the palace?.

There are so many charms and I feel so limited having to pick between them! Right now I think I'm usually using the dashmaster+sprintmaster, since they're both good and when worn together you go even faster; the fast-heal one so I can actually heal in fights and not get punished, which I need because I'm definitely not getting through any fights unscathed; and then I was using the longer of the long-slash charms, but I just got the quickslash one where you attack faster and holy heck that one is never coming off again. Kind of a basic build overall, if you can even call it that. Come to think of it, it's really just "do things faster," which is good because most things felt kinda slow before.

What are some of your favorite charms and charm combinations?
 
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