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Dark Souls II
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Synonamess Botch
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March 14, 2016 - 6:00 pm
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I dabbled in the Rat King covenant and made the mistake (in hindsight) of burning one of those thingies which ups the difficulty so I could troll other players (yes I'm a bad person but DS2 PvP seemed to me arbitrary and imprecise to the point that I never quite understood why I had such success with it at the time so making things even harder for the reverse invaders didn't seem to matter much run on sentence).  Which is to say that now I have to defeat an even tougher boss to get to the Gutter and Black Gulch, which I didn't explore the first time.  I died to the Smelter Demon (I think that's its name) a few times before giving up.  I've most recently done some exploring in the Shaded Woods.

Is the Executioner's Chariot the one reached by the Huntsman's Copse?  The one where it drives around in a circle and you have to step into little alcoves like you're dodging the subway or something?  If so, I actually co-oped that boss a ton of times before I even attempted it myself.  Looking back, I feel that I spent quite a bit of time on this game with co-op and pvp but then realize I don't have much to show for story progression.

Starting to ramble here sorry, but I do notice that my harsh opinion has softened a bit and I can see some merit.  As a game taken on its own it's not bad, but I still see so many backward steps (the crap fan-fiction-y lore not the least of its transgressions) that I doubt I'll ever consider it anything but a bad Souls game.
Also, making my way through the first area with my Cleric.  If you saw me start a game in Dark Souls and basically waltz through everything with hardly a misstep, and then see me muddling my way through Giant town or whatever, you'd swear it was two different people.

Edit: Did I read that right?  You have THREE versions of this game?!  Also, since I stopped paying attention, all the DLC for this game just confuses me.  I have no idea what is what.

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Steerpike
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March 16, 2016 - 3:20 pm
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I am a consumer whore. If something is available to buy I'll probably buy it, whether or not I have any money. Steam has not been an entirely positive thing in my life as a result of this, because it's always putting tasty-looking stuff in front of me and flapping its hands tantalizingly. Then out comes Steepike's credit card.

Though in fairness to me, it sounds worse when you say it. I never really saw it as having three copies of the game. I saw it as having one copy, three times.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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March 17, 2016 - 2:02 am
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I'm sure there will be a big PC community for DS3 but I have to imagine it will be most popular on PS4. The series is inextricably linked to Sony thanks to Demon's, and PS4 seems to be the way the wind is blowing these days. But I don't know, I'm skeptical of all parties who claim great times. I don't trust the folks like Giant Bomb who sing the praises of how PC is ruling the roost, and I'm equally skeptical of the people who claim consoles are doing better than ever. I think neither of those statements is particularly true.

I think it's plainly noticeable that Steam is in year nine of a renaissance period of low-to-medium budget creativity and it's also very convenient. It's also more derivative than ever at the top (games, that is; not Steam). As for fast console sales, why wasn't that exactly expected? The target audience widened considerably between 2005 - 2013; that was the work of 360, Wii and PS3 coupled with relatively stagnant hardware that actually helped to make PC gaming more relevant.

Ahead I see consolidation and convenience at the forefront. I look forward to shedding graphics concerns, this console versus that versus a computer, and just giving a shit about games in their many forms.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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March 28, 2016 - 11:30 am
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I pre-ordered Dark Soul 3 for PS4.  Remember what I said about never pre-ordering again?  Yeah.  Damned Amazon Prime makes it too easy with their pre-order discounts it's totally not my fault!

Anyway, my plan is to try and blow through Dark Soul 2 quickly and be primed for more Souls saturation!  Not like it's really necessary but I somehow feel the need to be up to speed.  I'm actually enjoying this game a bit more with my new Cleric.  I raced through several bosses after really struggling in the early Giant area.  I'm in the Bastille now.  I've summoned help for almost all of the bosses to help the process along.  Soloed fan-service Ornstein though.  I think my time away from Dark Souls has softened my annoyance at all the backward steps they took.

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Steerpike
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March 29, 2016 - 2:50 pm
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Personally I found DkS2 a lot harder than the first, though I admit this probably had more to do with how used to DkS1 I was. The Bastille in particular is an early area I struggled with. Summoning help for nearly every boss is a common strategy of mine. Even moreso in Dark 2, where it feels like some (most) bosses were designed to be taken on as part of a team rather than solo. The obvious example of this is the Ruin Sentinels in the Bastille. People do beat them solo, but I can't imagine how.

They made a mechanical change in Dark Souls 2 that revealed an interesting element of my playstyle -- I tend to spend a lot of time in each area, often returning to bonfires rather than trying to make more and more progress with each attempt. You'd think I'd have noticed this about my style, but I never actually did until Dark 2, and then only because enemies stop respawning after thirty runs or so. Maybe it's a gremlin of the Fear Of Failure ingrained in all players who started with Demon's Souls. The only way to defeat these games is to realize that the fear is a false construct, that there's no real penalty for failure (it just seems like there is). That hesitance to move forward despite needing to in order to progress seems like a leftover from that psychology.

I'm still on the fence about PC or PS4. Really a choice of convenience rather than merit, though I'm a little worried about the playerbase on the PC version. There's always the danger of ruinous cheating on that platform.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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March 30, 2016 - 2:16 am
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Steerpike said
Maybe it's a gremlin of the Fear Of Failure ingrained in all players who started with Demon's Souls. The only way to defeat these games is to realize that the fear is a false construct, that there's no real penalty for failure (it just seems like there is). That hesitance to move forward despite needing to in order to progress seems like a leftover from that psychology.

This is one of the truest things ever said about Dark Souls.

 

Steerpike said

I'm still on the fence about PC or PS4. Really a choice of convenience rather than merit, though I'm a little worried about the playerbase on the PC version. There's always the danger of ruinous cheating on that platform.

Cheating and similar nonsense is what keeps me away from a PC version. I loved the Prepare to Die PC edition, it played and looked great and, hey, it's conveniently on Steam. But online was so beyond the necessary amount of trolling; too much, more than enough. I want the intended diverse experience, not pure stupidity.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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March 30, 2016 - 1:34 pm
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You speak for me Xtal.  PTDE was very nice (thanks to Durante).  But I appreciate it having already had the full experience on PS3 without all the cheating nonsense.  So my annoyance with that stuff was minimized.

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Steerpike
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April 1, 2016 - 11:01 am
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It certainly feels like a PlayStation game to me, so that's the direction I'm leaning. Besides, eventually it'll come down to nine cents for the PC version and I'll be able to own multiple copies, which is kind of a thing I do for no good reason.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 2, 2016 - 10:25 pm
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I don't know what's going on here.  I'm actually enjoying this playthrough and I can't quite grasp what has changed.  I mean I just came across the Sunbro shrine again sitting there, context-free, and it didn't really bother me.  Maybe it's just my lowered expectations given the time that has passed.  I hate stating this, especially since in every even slightly negative review of this game the writer goes out of his way to insist that he still thinks it's a fantastic game blah blah blah grow a spine and stand by your opinion.  What was I saying?  Yes, I guess there is a decent game here underneath all the things I hate.

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xtal
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April 3, 2016 - 10:43 pm
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Not sure why that above post from Botch is awaiting moderation. Forum weirdness? I don't know how to do anything about it.

I'm glad it seems like you'll get through the game because I think some of the final areas are quite good. The Shrine of Amana in particular is one of the best areas in any Souls game. Unfortunately they nerfed all the enemies there a few months after the game came out so I don't think it'll be as good coming at it for the first time today. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on that area anyway, as well as the Dragon Aerie and the Dragon Shrine.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Steerpike
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April 4, 2016 - 10:52 am
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Botch is being punished by our forum system, but the forum won't tell me why. It just insists it's doing the right thing and then goes off on a long lecture about how fortunate we are to have it wrangling and occasionally disciplining "user-humans" like "that one." In any case, he and I (Botch and I, that is, not the forum and I) have hatched a plan we think will get the problem solved, but we can't talk about it or else the forum will hear us.

With Souls 3 out in a week or so, it makes little sense for me to venture back into Souls 2 at this point, and I need to stay away from Bloodborne entirely so as not to get muscle-memoried to its many subtle differences. Will you make it in time, Botch?

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 4, 2016 - 1:22 pm
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Why does it question us, Precious?  The Steerpike taunts us.  Nasty, tricksy it is.

I just killed @$#%& Smelter Demon for the first time ever.  Thanks Lucatiel and random Sunbro!  Is it even worth killing that stupid Pursuer again?  Dude has about 50000 hit points.  Anyway, yeah time is tight but I'm optimistic!  My bafflement persists as I continue to thoroughly enjoy myself.  This has been a baffling time in general for me gaming-wise.  I'm nearing the end of a Persona 4 playthrough - another sequel I enjoyed markedly less than its immediate predecessor but then picked up again after abandoning.  Having fun with that one too.  The slate will be clean for P5.

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Steerpike
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April 4, 2016 - 2:06 pm
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Pursuer always gave me a hard time, man... except the time he's a "traditional" boss, shortly after Last Giant. But when he apparates in from nowhere and starts pursuing all up in your business, he destroys me every time. The Pursuer's efforts to pursue his pursuits was ratcheted up in Scholar of the First Sin, where the fucker seems to turn up every time you happen into a large-ish, square-ish area open enough for him to wield that absurd blue sword of his.

Smelter also took me a while. He has an area attack that he telegraphs pretty clearly, but still it's sometimes hard to get away. All told I was glad to leave the Iron Keep behind me. I dislike warm environments.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 5, 2016 - 12:57 am
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Iron King: soloed
Belfry Gargoyles: soloed
I went offline before entering Belfry Luna b/c I hate that area and the constant invasions.  It's one of the things I really dislike about this game.  Ironically, my first time playing I spent a great deal of time invading here and for the Rat King.  Until I realized it wasn't very fun.  Dark Souls is one of the first and only games in which I actively participated in online play, and when I started Dark Souls 2 I dove into that aspect.  But frankly it's not why I play Souls games and I think it's one of the reasons I got tired of 2.  I don't mind the random invasion and actually look forward to those, but that Belfry - basically an arena - just rubs me the wrong way.  The insane midgets don't help really.
Got an appointment with the Sinner next.

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Steerpike
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April 5, 2016 - 10:57 am
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I gave up on the gargoyles as soon as I learned they were an optional boss. As you say, the environment inside Belfry Luna is a nightmare. It makes summoning hard, it makes getting summoned hard, it makes the already-hard area harder, plus my first character was all melee and not a PvP build since it was so difficult to get close to invaders. I did better later, as a Cleric with the thunder spell, which was pretty handy since you could farm players for Titanite... what was it? Chunks? I think chunks.

But it got old real fast struggling up three flights of midget-infested hellstairs, getting all bundled up with summoned help, and having the fog door seal itself just as you're about to go through because you got invaded AGAIN. It struck me as especially moronic that you were invaded just as relentlessly after you joined the Covenant and put the ring on.

With the gargoyles down the Last Sinner is a much easier fight (saw it on YouTube). Where are you headed after that? The Gutter?

Gutter? I hardly know her!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 5, 2016 - 12:51 pm
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With Dark Souls 2 I really embraced the strategy of coop as boss recon and I'm continuing that here since I've forgotten what some of them are like.  I was helping a host with the Sinner, along with another white phantom and he got invaded.  The guy led us a merry chase all around, agro-ing monsters as he went.  Somehow we lost him near Straid's cell and went back to do the boss.  Then right before the bridge to the fog gate, he shows up with his Chameleon spell.  He didn't time his ambush quite right and had to run off, whereby I crossbowed him in the back for the kill.  That was some of the most fun I've had with PvP in a while.  It can be really fun against a resourceful invader.  I like the mechanic of summons only being able to Estus if the host isn't being invaded.  Seems like a good balance to me, and my Cleric was making the most of heals.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the wealth of online activity, even given how long the game has been out now.

Not sure where I'll go next.  Lots of options obviously.  Either Shaded Woods or Grave of Saints I suppose.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 6, 2016 - 1:07 am
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Sinner dead.  Thanks again Lucatiel.  Pursuer dead too, and thanks for the Ring of Blades +1 ya jerk.  Good dodge practice at least.  I'm doing a ton of coop trying to rank up Sunbro covenant.  Rank 1 nets you a crap shield.  Yay.
Exploring Shaded Woods now.  There is a darn big Basilisk here.  Went to pick up curse ring from Megalon or whatever his name is in Iron Keep.

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xtal
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I was going to say, probably kill the second Pursuer because of the Ring of Blades +1. I kinda hope they ditch the + ring system in Dks3. It's confusing to say the least.

Also, defeating the belfry gargoyles is a huge help in taking on the Sinner. Also Botch, I think you mentioned still having to deal with the Chariot boss. This is a spoiler, but I have a feeling you won't mind: there's nothing beyond defeating that guy except the invasion covenant. I guess it's worth seeing for lore purposes. But as far as progression, yeah, nothing beyond that boss.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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April 6, 2016 - 2:29 pm
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I don't really like the +ring system either.  Rings were always these odd, unique things that gave you some fixed benefit.  Trying to include them in the general level-progression system seems like the wrong approach to me.  That said, there are some mechanics in this game which I didn't explore the first time that I think are interesting, for example upgradeable chimes and staves.  Also elements scaling with Int/Fth.

It was Steerpike who hadn't taken on Chariot dude.  I've actually fought him many times in coop.  I was considering skipping him this time however since I now know he's optional and the fight is nothing new to me.  I did in fact only fight the Gargoyles in order to get the Bastille Key.  That and since I consider them one of the tougher bosses I faced, I wanted to gauge my character's ability.

Are you day 1 on DS3 Xtal?  And I forget if Pokey and Simple got into DS2.

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Steerpike
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April 7, 2016 - 11:10 am
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I didn't realize there wasn't anything past the Executioner's Chariot. I sort of assumed that led to another part of the world. With that boss it's probably more about keeping it together and timing it well than any great skill; I only took a couple runs at him myself because I found the approach pretty difficult.

With Dark Souls 3 the big concern I have is the warping anywhere and the fact that Firelink Shrine is apparently a loaded hub like the Hunter's Dream or the Nexus in Demon's. That hub really broke up the sense of place in Bloodborne, and in Dark 1 the choice to keep warping out of the player's hand until midway through, then limiting it to a few select bonfires, really meant that serious players had to get to know Lordran in a way I never got to know Drangleic. That intimacy was (I think) part of the reason the first Dark Souls resonated with me so much. What had been this vast, unknown, dangerous world slowly became a place I knew so well it was like I'd lived there all my unlife.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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