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  #61  
Old 02-02-2016, 11:44 AM
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Were you resetting it at a bonfire? Otherwise enemies shouldn't come back. And if you did reset it then they should all come back unless you've killed them 15 times or so.

The basilisk turns people to stone, and it comes in when you open the door. I forgot about the door behind you closing, but you can definitely lure most of them out before pulling the switch.
Resetting and leaving and coming back, and over multiple plays of the game. I know that defeated enemies come back after resetting, but after multiple plays, I'm pretty sure it's just the two in the side-rooms that were left, no matter what.

I'm not sure what you mean by "lure most of them out before pulling the switch" - in the first room, the door in front of you only opens when you pull the switch after healing the woman. When you do, the entrance closes at the same time. There's no ability to lure enemies around, as the game basically turns that first room into a kill room. And the basilisk has never been accessible in the game previous to this, though looking back, I believe it was in the area beyond the first statue of the man (but you couldn't get to them when you saw them because of the low wall on the balcony).
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  #62  
Old 02-02-2016, 12:56 PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "lure most of them out before pulling the switch" - in the first room, the door in front of you only opens when you pull the switch after healing the woman.
You can open wooden doors on both sides of the ground floor that lead into little cells holding the poison guys. There are a few more dudes on the inaccessible upper balcony that will drop down when you get close to the iron door, but I think you can trigger them early by fighting the guys on the first floor.

The basilisks are past the iron door, so you'll want to kill as many mobs as possible in the first room before pulling the switch.
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  #63  
Old 02-02-2016, 01:07 PM
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Or you throw an Alluring Skull in a far corner and just ignore them while the door opens. Nobody ever uses consumables, but they're there for a reason.
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  #64  
Old 02-02-2016, 02:16 PM
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My first time in that room, exploring around Majula before having a branch or even knowing what they were, I got ambushed by all of them. I dashed the hell out onto the forest path and picked them off. Afterwards I'd open the doors and kill them one by one until there weren't any left and then I'd take care of the other stuff.


There's another door in the Lost Bastille with a statue to unfreeze and behind it is like four royal knights, which is a ridiculous fight, until you realize that there are explodey barrels to one side and, more useful, a drop-off path you can take. Jump off that path and kite them around back to the drop-in point of that platform, and they're easy to pick off, especially if you have some kind of ranged attack, which as the game provides you with so many options, there is no reason not to have some kind of ranged attack, ever.


The game is hard if you approach every challenge the same way. Even so, it's doable - nothing is made impossible, even if you want to NG+7 naked with fists at level 1, you totally can. But if we mere mortals go in with our sword and nothing else and don't try new stuff, we'll have a hell of a time with it. And there's definitely some bullshit in there - enemies like the fuckin' salamanders that rotate too fast on a pin, the fuckin' trolls with their magic hitboxes on the grab attack, untargetable mist assholes, etc. But they're all different challenges to be dealt with in different ways, and the game gives you plenty of ways to deal with them.


Going against my own advice, I've never even used alluring skulls or other consumables, in either Dark Souls. I probably should! They seem like they'd make the game quite a bit easier!
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  #65  
Old 02-02-2016, 02:27 PM
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Yeah, I dunno. I think it just kinda feels like a challenge on top of a grind, and they don't really complement each other. Having multiple ways to fight enemies is a good idea, but generally, putting them in isolation and giving the player the sponginess to take a few hits is a good idea to help them to figure it all out. With things as they are, though, you're constantly a couple of enemies away from being comboed to death, which is Not Fun.

Maybe it's just I'm expecting them to tell me "Try This To Beat This Guy", and they don't, or for me to be not punished when I lose? Like, if you're going to make dying inevitable, then make it no big deal - dying is learning, after all. Or, equip me intellectually (via tutorials / help manuals) and physically (with literal equipment) in-game so I never have to die. The game does neither, though. Dying caries a very heavy cost, and it is a rather "silent" game when it comes to information.

I think I kinda had this problem with similar games, like Valdis Story. It's like, "am I underleveled, or am I missing something basic about this particular challenge", and then I just decide to end the game there. It was a boss that did me in for VS.

EDIT: But yeah, maybe I should've used items or consumables more - I definitely was just trying to fisticuff my way to victory.
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  #66  
Old 02-02-2016, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by SolarLune View Post
Yeah, I dunno. I think it just kinda feels like a challenge on top of a grind, and they don't really complement each other. Having multiple ways to fight enemies is a good idea, but generally, putting them in isolation and giving the player the sponginess to take a few hits is a good idea to help them to figure it all out. With things as they are, though, you're constantly a couple of enemies away from being comboed to death, which is Not Fun.

Maybe it's just I'm expecting them to tell me "Try This To Beat This Guy", and they don't, or for me to be not punished when I lose? Like, if you're going to make dying inevitable, then make it no big deal - dying is learning, after all. Or, equip me intellectually (via tutorials / help manuals) and physically (with literal equipment) in-game so I never have to die. The game does neither, though. Dying caries a very heavy cost, and it is a rather "silent" game when it comes to information.

I think I kinda had this problem with similar games, like Valdis Story. It's like, "am I underleveled, or am I missing something basic about this particular challenge", and then I just decide to end the game there. It was a boss that did me in for VS.

EDIT: But yeah, maybe I should've used items or consumables more - I definitely was just trying to fisticuff my way to victory.
So when I first started I was as mad as anyone about the health penalty. I agreed and still do that a lasting punishment for death is a real salt-in-the-wound mechanic, even if its mechanically and thematically consistent with the game.

I think the real shit part is that there's a terrible unbalance at the start of the game where you're at your weakest and you'll be dying the most - weaker weapons and armor, fewer and weaker items, slow skills, bad rolls, no health or stamina, and most importantly all the brand new challenges and areas ambushes and a whole new game. And that's when you'll be lacking the Human Effigy item (which undoes the health penalty and restores you to full humanity) the most. Going through forest of fallen giants or Heide's Tower I died all the goddamn time and also had like 2-4 effigies at any given time so I had to be really sparing with them which was super stressful. The only benefit is that you'll have more opportunity than normal for getting summoned to restore humanity in those earlier stages.

Later on I had better stats and gear and had gotten used to the game and died less and less, and that's also when I had so many goddamn effigies that I could basically burn one for each death and still never run out, which basically completely negates the existence of the penalty at all and makes it cursory at best. Those two difficulty/punishment curves start hard and get easier, which has a bad cumulative effect in addition to being kind of a backwards direction for a difficulty curve.




As for the rest, I dunno, one of the biggest lessons to learn in Dark Souls is that literally any single enemy can destroy you. Even the hollow soldiers in FotFG can rip you up if you get careless and let them hack at you, even for a later-game character. Outside of a few specific and obscure combinations of gear and magic, there is no tank/bruiser build beyond shield blocking (which isn't foolproof by any means, either). The game gets easier by affording you margins for error, but a good defense is the best offense in Souls; caution and tactical strikes are always better than a brawl.



You're right about it being a low-information game by design, which is one reason I love it but is also really annoying at times. They're absolutely not going to tell you anything, or hold your hand, or help you get past. They give you a cruel, punishing world and tell you to have fun. The worst effect of this is that all the stats and mechanics are pretty dang obtuse; I went straight to people on the board/wikis to figure that shit out. But they're also only marginally important, and you can indeed figure out the most important bits (oh this increases my HP, this increases my stamina, okay; I need STR to wield this weapon and DEX to wield this one, okay). Beyond that the granular stats aren't that vital except to min-maxers and number-pushers. I say this as a number-pusher.
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  #67  
Old 02-02-2016, 03:10 PM
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I think one of the most interesting things I read about Dark Souls was the ludonarrative (oh god) meta-mechanic of hollowing and how it applies to playing the game.

You die all the time in Souls, but you can't actually die. Not through reloading, which lets you rewrite time like in most games so you never "actually died." Everything is real and permanent in Dark Souls, and you Actually Died every singe time, in-game. But whenever you die you just come back, a little hollower than before. In-story, you have to fight and scrap with the other hollows and scrape up bits of humanity from them in order to preserve your own, but in the game you can't ever really die, and all you lose is your soul(s), a bit at a time.

In the story, humans are afflicted with the curse of the undead, where they can't die, but come back over and over until they go hollow, which is where they lose all their humanity. The main example of this is the Crestfallen Warrior, especially in DS1. The man who's given up, who's tired of it all, who's lost his hope. Eventually, he gives up, lets go, turns hollow. We also see it with Siegfried, who at the end of his quest has fulfilled his reason to keep going, has run out of adventures to have, and who has been upstaged by you at every turn, and he finally loses his humanity, his soul, or with Big Hat Logan, who has found infinite knowledge but who goes mad and loses his humanity trying to grasp it, or any number of others across either game who lose sight of their quest, or lose their quest, or give up, and let their souls drift away.


What I'm getting at is that in the story of Dark Souls, no matter how many times you die, you don't actually die until you've given up the fight and turned hollow. The game itself reinforces this: you can die however many times you want, and you'll keep coming back, until you don't. When you give up hope, you give up the game, when you put down the controller and turn your back, that's when you go hollow, your character's quest comes to an end and they truly die. Not because you got cut up with a sword, but because you gave up.
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  #68  
Old 02-02-2016, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
Going against my own advice, I've never even used alluring skulls or other consumables, in either Dark Souls. I probably should! They seem like they'd make the game quite a bit easier!
The first place you pick up Alluring Skulls in Dark Souls 1 is the little overhang above the armored boar, who is right next to an open flame. This is the game telling you to throw a skull into the fire and watch as the boar barbecues itself.
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  #69  
Old 02-02-2016, 04:17 PM
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Oh, I'm well aware of that now. I completely missed it the first time through. (I lured him over to the stairs by the other fire and accidentally backstabbed him.) Again, the game gives you lots of tools and subtly hints at you how to use them... but it's very subtle and many or most of us miss it. For any number of reasons. You pick up a lot of things throughout the game and oftentimes Gamer Instincts have us pack it all away and sort through it later, sometimes barely even noticing what we pick up.

Honestly, the biggest hurdle to DS tends to be Gamer Instinct, I think.
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  #70  
Old 02-02-2016, 04:46 PM
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I misspelled "carries" up there, haha...

I appreciate that a good offense is a good defense, and that tactics and strategy are really important. I do not disagree with that, and I think I like games where that were true. However, that kinda goes out the window when planning and strategy can't save you (i.e. ambushes against you in a small, inescapable area with multiple targets). That's unfortunate, because strategy and planning in an action game are good ideas that most action games lack.

About the hollow system, given that I could die at any time, I just rarely tried to be human. I didn't want to waste the limited items to turn it back (which even shopkeepers don't have infinite amounts of), so I just forced myself to play weak, which, again, wasn't fun. It also wasn't fun to be careful playing and then lose humanity due to, say, dying in a suddenly forced online match. I know now there's an item I could've used to avoid it, but still.

Instead of the hollow system, what they could've done was make it so that you had normal health all of the time, and a "doubled" bar that extended for a percentage on top of your normal health bar. It would be filled up from something like resting at an inn or eating food. That way, even at your "worst", you were at 100%, but if you took advantage of other systems, then you could have an edge.

Anyway, I guess this game's just not for me, but I see the appeal, for sure. I think that at its core, people like the challenge and feeling of exploration and discovery, of the game world and its mechanics. Looks like I need to get to work making something challenging and intriguing as well, haha.
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  #71  
Old 02-02-2016, 05:22 PM
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The next game looks like it might be doing exactly what you suggest.

It's funny that people treat the hollowing HP reduction in Dark Souls 2 as a big deal punishment. It's much harsher in Demon's Souls, but that game doesn't present your "body" form (where you have your full HP value) as the norm. Instead you are forced to die at the conclusion of the tutorial, and spend the whole first level with your HP cut. You also get punished harder for dying as a body (the world turns "blacker" and enemies get incrementally tougher), but it's balanced by your access to co-op aid. The fact that your meter appears halved makes it seem like a punishment to be a "soul," when really it's more like being in your body is a powerup.

In Dark Souls 2 the slower bottoming out of your meter makes you feel more like you're being punished for your repeated deaths, and you're given an uncursed form to start with. You also get to see your carefully constructed character deteriorate into a gross zombie, which strengthens your feeling of growing weakness. It also no longer protects you from invasion, like being hollow or a soul would in the prior games.
I like the way HP cut works with the theme in both games, that it does the same idea in opposite directions.
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  #72  
Old 02-02-2016, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by misadventurous View Post
It's funny that people treat the hollowing HP reduction in Dark Souls 2 as a big deal punishment. It's much harsher in Demon's Souls [...]
The HP reduction is harsher, but soul form overall is less of a punishment. In soul form, you deal more damage (not the enemies) and are quieter, and can't get invaded by players. Essentially, you trade health for going through a slightly easier and predictable version of the level. Whether or not it's a worthwhile trade-off is debatable, but there's the attempt made.

Conversely, being hollow in Dark Souls II brings virtually no upside. You are less likely to be invaded-- but still not fully shielded. That's it. Mostly it brings it mostly brings punishments like repeated health drops and a gradual decay in appearance, which makes each death seem like a further punishment (as you note).

Personally I think Dark Souls had it right: just cut off the player's ability to summon help. I do like the gradual appearance decay though-- I hope that sticks around.
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  #73  
Old 02-02-2016, 06:14 PM
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I'm wondering whether starting you as a Hollow would be a good fit with or a clash with DS's ludonarrative theme (oh god I have to stop saying that word, but no it totally fits). I know they did the whole Forced Death thing in Demons, but reprising that could work too. But that's also another kind of in-game guide or introduction, which they seem to have shied away from more and more.
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  #74  
Old 02-02-2016, 06:17 PM
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I do like the gradual appearance decay though-- I hope that sticks around.
That doesn't appear to be the case, as the new human/hollow dynamic appears to be a on fire/not on fire dynamic instead.
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  #75  
Old 02-02-2016, 06:29 PM
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I think the big difference is that each death in DS2 only takes off a sliver of your health and the items that revive you are way more common. The ring that halves the penalty makes it even easier to stay somewhat close to full health all the time (and only takes up 1/4 of your slots instead of half), and the overall level inflation makes it easier to have a huge pool of health if you want it. Basically it's way more manageable than the Demon's Souls penalty. I don't think either are too terrible though because, as someone else pointed out, having "full" health is completely arbitrary. It's almost entirely a psychological punishment.

Edit: ninja'd, but: you don't ever go hollow. Rather, if you want to summon help and allow invasions you use an item that causes you to become kind of fiery and ash covered. Otherwise you just look like an alive human.
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  #76  
Old 02-02-2016, 06:53 PM
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I think the big difference is that each death in DS2 only takes off a sliver of your health and the items that revive you are way more common. The ring that halves the penalty makes it even easier to stay somewhat close to full health all the time (and only takes up 1/4 of your slots instead of half), and the overall level inflation makes it easier to have a huge pool of health if you want it. Basically it's way more manageable than the Demon's Souls penalty. I don't think either are too terrible though because, as someone else pointed out, having "full" health is completely arbitrary. It's almost entirely a psychological punishment.
That's all true overall, but again:

It's a pretty bad actual punishment in the beginning of the game when the items are NOT AT ALL very common PLUS you die a lot, and that health off a pretty small pool can in fact make the difference between life and death. Especially for a newer player who can't just dodge roll naked and never take a hit.

For most of the game it's basically immaterial, and for a while - the first while, arguably the most important - it's a really tough thing to stick you with. I think it's pretty bad design.

They should have had a lot of effigies early on, and started making them rarer later.
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  #77  
Old 02-02-2016, 07:10 PM
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Now I'm just wondering if Alluring Skulls were the secret solution to every shitty multimob pull in the entire series and if I'm a colossal doof for missing that.
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  #78  
Old 02-02-2016, 07:14 PM
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On your first playthrough, when you're conserving each Bonfire Ascetic as if it were your last, the HP penalty in DS2 seems cruel. But knowing how plentiful the Ascetics are and where that ring is located changes your thinking.

I do remember what it's like though. I thought the Ascetics would be as rare as Humanity, and it does seem that way at the beginning of DS2.
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  #79  
Old 02-02-2016, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by balder the brave View Post
On your first playthrough, when you're conserving each Bonfire Ascetic as if it were your last, the HP penalty in DS2 seems cruel. But knowing how plentiful the Ascetics are and where that ring is located changes your thinking.

I do remember what it's like though. I thought the Ascetics would be as rare as Humanity, and it does seem that way at the beginning of DS2.
I uh
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:28 PM
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Whoops I mean the Human Effigies. It's been a while...
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  #81  
Old 02-02-2016, 07:36 PM
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Now I'm just wondering if Alluring Skulls were the secret solution to every shitty multimob pull in the entire series and if I'm a colossal doof for missing that.
They don't work on everything, but they do tend to work on the kind of stuff that swarms you. There's a full list for DS1 and DS2. I wish I thought of the item for that one room in the Iron King DLC. You know the one.

The equivalent item in Bloodborne even works on a couple of bosses.
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  #82  
Old 02-02-2016, 11:08 PM
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Returning to DS1 after a lot of time with Bloodborne really hammers home how much smoother the latter game is. DS1 remains one of my favourites but I miss the butter smoothness of Butterborne.

Also, learning some of the off-tempo timing of Bloodborne's enemies is really helpful if you move back in the series. I find myself having a much easier time reading enemy blows and reacting. Quelaag was cake. Iron Golem was child's play. Smough felt pretty elementary (although I died eating a cheekful of buttbolts trying for style points).

I wonder how DS3 will handle enemy timing, if they'll try to up the ante from Bloodborne or just refine what Souls has been doing. Either way, the gameplay footage of 3 looks breezier and smoother than DS1 (and 2) feel to me right now.
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  #83  
Old 02-03-2016, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by misadventurous View Post
The next game looks like it might be doing exactly what you suggest.

It's funny that people treat the hollowing HP reduction in Dark Souls 2 as a big deal punishment. It's much harsher in Demon's Souls, but that game doesn't present your "body" form (where you have your full HP value) as the norm. Instead you are forced to die at the conclusion of the tutorial, and spend the whole first level with your HP cut. You also get punished harder for dying as a body (the world turns "blacker" and enemies get incrementally tougher), but it's balanced by your access to co-op aid. The fact that your meter appears halved makes it seem like a punishment to be a "soul," when really it's more like being in your body is a powerup.

In Dark Souls 2 the slower bottoming out of your meter makes you feel more like you're being punished for your repeated deaths, and you're given an uncursed form to start with. You also get to see your carefully constructed character deteriorate into a gross zombie, which strengthens your feeling of growing weakness. It also no longer protects you from invasion, like being hollow or a soul would in the prior games.
I like the way HP cut works with the theme in both games, that it does the same idea in opposite directions.
Fun Fact: you don't HAVE to die at the first guy in the tutorial! You can beat him, and then it takes you to another area where you definitely do have to die...but you get a bunch of bonus items. Or at least items that you can't get until later.

I booted up my old Thief/dagger build of DS1 and beat Seath and got 2/3rds through the Bed of Chaos. I still have Manus/Nito/Four Kings/Seath too, but I can lay on damage pretty insanely fast with this thing.
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  #84  
Old 02-03-2016, 03:28 AM
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Don't forget that being in Soul Form is a literal power-up in Demon's Souls: you deal more damage in general in that form, to the point that you probably want to be in that form for any fight that isn't an endurance match.
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  #85  
Old 02-03-2016, 06:19 AM
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Fun Fact: you don't HAVE to die at the first guy in the tutorial! You can beat him, and then it takes you to another area where you definitely do have to die...but you get a bunch of bonus items. Or at least items that you can't get until later.
I think the point is that because you are forced into a death no matter what you get half health for (at least some of) the first real area of the game no matter what, which is the real complaint.

Although honestly the first section of Boletaria is essentially balanced so that your half health bar is about equivalent to what a full health bar (including starting class differences) will get you in any other area. The Cling Ring is more like bonus health in that first area than mitigation of halved max health. The damage boost inherent to Soul form more than makes up for it in that very first section.
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  #86  
Old 02-03-2016, 07:12 AM
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Don't think of it has half-helf, think of having double health when human.

Or somethign I dont know
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Alixsar View Post
Fun Fact: you don't HAVE to die at the first guy in the tutorial! You can beat him, and then it takes you to another area where you definitely do have to die...but you get a bunch of bonus items. Or at least items that you can't get until later.
I know. I've beaten Vanguard a few times. he's really easy. All you get are some minor upgrade stones and grasses, so i usually skip the tutorial now.

I was not at all complaining about being in soul form for 1-1. I think it's a smart design choice. I always forget about the damage boost you get, probably because i play in soul form the majority of the time anyway.
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  #88  
Old 02-03-2016, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Don't think of it has half-helf, think of having double health when human.

Or somethign I dont know
Just wanted to pop back in and say that a gameplay mechanic can be thought of differently, and that it has a psychological effect, as pointed out earlier in this thread, and by Loki here. You can think of it as when you're hollow, you have full health, and being human gives you double.

However, also never forget that the psychological effect is pretty minimal - the game was definitely balanced for the value of health you have. It's not like you always have 10 hits, no matter what. No, the more health you have, the more likely you are to survive one or more hits - it is an action RPG, after all. It depends on if the game was balanced for half health, or full health. I think the game was properly balanced, at the very least, for full health.

It's possible that it was even balanced for the most health you can possibly have, at endgame, for example. It's not like that would be impossible for the player to have, eventually. It can be difficult to properly balance a game, especially when it comes to non-linear games like DS, where you can go where you want and challenge who or what you want in whatever order.

It's like Megaman - naturally, you're going to get some players who basically choose the hardest bosses first and have a different experience from players who approach it in the game designer's "recommended" manner.

Anyway, please continue.

EDIT: OK, this sounds stupid and salty as heck, haha. I doubt professional developers would balance the game for max health - that's kinda stupid, hahaha. But yeah, it might be that I just chose the harder areas unknowingly.

Last edited by SolarLune; 02-03-2016 at 03:20 PM.
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  #89  
Old 02-03-2016, 11:49 AM
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Regulus Regulus is offline
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The size of the health bar itself is a little misleading.

In a sense, the real size of your HP pool is:

MaxHP + x(550+50y)

x is the amount of Estus charges you have and y is your flask level.

Last edited by Regulus; 02-03-2016 at 04:39 PM. Reason: The maths were off. I studied art! Sue me.
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Old 02-03-2016, 03:26 PM
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SolarLune SolarLune is offline
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^ Well, that formula is:

1) Dependent on you actually successfully drinking the charges you have - it's not like you automatically get regen'd health if you have estus charges. You still have to drink it, so this depends on the situation and player's skill. Also, it's
2) Dependent on you actually drinking the charges at less than a full estus charge's worth of health, such that when you drink a charge, you get the full benefit of your charges. Finally, it's
3) Ignoring any extra defense from equipment, or any extra restorative items.

So it's practically usually less (though possibly more) than that value, but yeah, that is something that the developers might have balanced the game for - basically developing the game so that your average player would need at least x amount of charges, in addition to a certain level.
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