Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Scholar of the First Sin: Hackers and Invaders - FAIL

I wonder.  Is FromSoft ever going to do anything about hackers who have infinite health and stamina, or worse break all your gear or kill your NPC's or teleport you to other areas and break your game?  Just check the Steam forums in particular.  Cheating is not exclusive to the PC from what I've read, but it certainly is more rampant and seemingly much worse of late.

Now, I can't say I've come across a hacking invader in all the 100's of hours I've played Scholar.  Know why?   I hate invasions so I burn an Effigy at every bonfire I'll need to visit often, even when the immunity is over after defeating a boss.  For example I burn an Effigy at McDuff or other vendors, or if I'm doing co-op monotonously grinding 50 Loyce souls and helping others do the same without interruption.   I won't give them the pleasure.  They can waste all the Cracked Red Eye orbs they have and I don't care.  I have lots of them in my Item Box I bet they would love to have.

People who like to harass others for fun will have a different opinion of course, but since the Agape ring arrived "twinks" have come out of the closet in droves to make things miserable for players inexperienced in PvP, or who just want to play the damn game without being invaded by overpowered scumbags who spam Toxic Mist and Acid Mist or Dark Fog.

The Agape ring was not a cure for soul memory matchmaking problems.   It just made things ten times worse.

I defeated an invader in Huntsman's Copse last night, but he or she wasn't very good.  The Blue Smelter sword was their downfall.  Easy to dodge.  I was only invaded because I forgot to burn an Effigy. I have a lot of them being in NG+.

It's not enough that we now have more NPC invaders with OP weapons and spells, which is OK in theory...Armourer Dennis for example, and the universally hated Maldron the Assassin in Eleum Loyce. A Seed works against him in Fume Tower though, which is very, very satisfying. 

I can manage Dennis but why do most of them have lances or spears, read every input like magic, have seemingly infinite stamina and are able to interrupt their animations mid roll. It's one thing to give the player a challenge, but sometimes it's a real chore to come against superhuman AI invaders with huge health pools, among other things.  But, it's not as bad as being ganked by human invaders who want to get their thrills hunting newbies and low level players because in real life they are probably timid little mice too scared to say boo to someone who could retaliate violently and bloody their fragile egos.

I rarely summon other players now because they either take off and aggro every enemy, do their own thing and ignore what I want to do, or now that we can have more players at once, make boss fights trivial or a big mess by thoroughly confusing the boss and getting in everyone's way.  I can solo most bosses and if not I use the new NPC's. I still co-op to help others out though because it's like returning the favour.  I had a lot of help when I first started playing Dark Souls 2 original.

Another thing I would like to see is an option at game startup to choose whether to play online or not as some of games do, instead of having to take other measures.  Sometimes one just wants peace and quiet to do their own thing.

I know being invaded is part of the game mechanic, but it's a faulty mechanic at best and a trollish mechanic at worst.  It will never work properly. For every time you get a genuinely good fight you get a twink, or a lagger who backstabs you across a room.  I will never ALT-4 or jump off a cliff, but I will do anything else that prevents invaders getting their jollies in my game.

Some people claim to love invasions.  So let those people choose to do that and give the others the option to opt out without stopping them from being able to co-op and help others.  I would bet a lot that if there was an option in the Menu to opt out of PvP and invasions the majority would take it. 

See this topic at the Official forum. 
http://forums.bandainamcogames.com/showthread.php?136497-Option-to-turn-off-invasions
It describes my feelings exactly. The people against it that is.  Their reasons are legitimate not just whining. 

If there were no way to avoid invasions, eg burning an Effigy, I would play offline forever or not at all.  This game has ruined all other games for me.  I'm addicted to it, and have played it more than any other game ever in 20 odd years, and this is the only real complaint I have.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Scholar of the First Sin - Weapon Durability Patch...Again.

Well, isn't this a co-incidence?   I said in my previous post about this issue that nothing would be done about it unless console players raised their voices.   Guess what?  It's being partially fixed in an upcoming official patch and so very soon after release of Scholar of the First Sin.   Co-incidence?  I don't think so.
 http://kotaku.com/long-ignored-dark-souls-2-glitch-is-finally-getting-fix-1698512244

PC players have been complaining about this since the original game was released, but were summarily ignored, and what makes it almost as bad are the apologists who say this is a feature of the game.   It's NOT that weapon durabilty as a function or feature is bad, I think it's a good thing, but there are so many more enemies in many places in this version of the game, and then in the DLC's where enemies are so much stronger and require more hits...in most cases.  

However, don't get too excited as this isn't an actual fix for the 60fps problem.  The patch notes actually say that the fix will be for when a weapon is severely degraded by hitting dead bodies and presumably environment like walls etc. 

I don't understand why FromSoft can't or won't address this properly when there is already a mod fix for it.  If someone outside development can do it why can't the actual creators of the game.  Problem with this is any mod can potentially get you banned and I don't want to risk it so I haven't tried the mod, although I wanted to.   Supposedly, only save games are scanned for irregularities, eg soul memory etc, but I saw a couple of posts yesterday where the poster said that almost immediately after applying this fix they seem to be soft banned.   Whether this is true or not I don't know, but I am not taking the risk of having my online ability removed.

As an added example to my already mentioned previous post, my Great Club, which has 70 durabilty, almost broke when playing the lead up to the Sir Alonne fight.  I had repair powders and the repair spell, but that's not the point.  I should not have to repair my weapon partway into an important boss fight, especially this one where the timing is very precise and he barely lets you heal, let alone repair a weapon.

I switched weapons to the Black Knight Great Sword for the actual boss fight as a faster weapon is better for me against this boss.  It almost broke 2/3 of the way through the fight, which is pretty dismal since I also had NPC phantoms with me and I wasn't even doing all the damage.  I cannot have more than one weapon equipped, especially heavy ones for a strength character, and I'm not putting unnecessary points into Vitality to cope with that.

Interesting point...I was co-oping Sir Alonne last night, and several times the host had to use repair powder.  I saw and heard it.  It was lucky for them that I was able to take aggro so they could.

My character is not build around using INT spells, but it became a necessity since repair powers are a rare commodity until reaching Drangleic Castle.

The stupid thing about that, and I've said this before as well, is why can't McDuff, an actual blacksmith for goodness sake, sell it instead infinitely, after a certain point if necessary, instead of the castle butler.

This is extremely limiting where weapon choice is involved.  Who in their right mind would use weapons with such low durabilty as The Washing Pole (30) and other Dex weapons without multiple replacements.  Even Sir Alonne's sword, which is beautiful by the way, has such low durability build in that it's virtually useless in PvE without the 60fps problem.   No Man's Wharf is a prime example of weapon breakage potential since it has no bonfire before the boss.

I don't enjoy PvP and it might come as a surprise to some, but many other people don't either, so this is a problem that's getting a bandaid at best.  But, I suppose it's better than nothing all this time after original release.

And that's not the only thing that's being addressed....finally.    The timings for combination button presses when trying to guard break or jump attack are included.  Many have no issue with this, but I do know a lot of people using XBOX 360 gamepads do, including myself.  It's so unreliable that I don't even try in combat and only get it to work about 5 times out of 10 if just practicing in a safe area.   That will be a game changer for me, especially guard breaking turtle enemies.

Here's a brief translation of the early patch notes which aslo mentions other fixes for the XBOX One version.
http://forums.bandainamcogames.com/showthread.php?115012-dark-souls-2-dx11-version-upcoming-patch-notes

There's no known date as to when this patch will be released. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Dark Souls 2 - Scholar of the First Sin: New Aesthetics and Other Changes. Not necessarily for the Better.

OK.  Here's another complaint post which I believe to be quite valid.   Fanboys without a real counter argument can go elsewhere.

As I mentioned in the previous post about weapon durability, I have over 808 hours on the DX9 version of the game and I still like to play it.   For me, even on a limited income, $16.99 (Aust) wasn't a bad investment to upgrade to the DX11 version, though I have some reasons why the desire to play through more than once this time is already flagging.

Some of the changes are just baffling.   On one hand there are some nice additions and even a couple of clever ones, but a lot of things in places look like a child has been let loose with the developer tools and someone said, "Oh, how cute, let's leave that in."

Anyway, I imagine it's too late to change these things now, so let's look at some of the things I'm disappointed with, and in one case appalled about.

Aesthetics and Difficulty.  

I'll be adding to this review as I progress, probably in separate posts though because they will get rather lengthy.  At the time of writing I'm about to go to Aldia's Keep.  I've opened up the first bonfires of each DLC for convenience, but will go there a bit later.   Probably after Dragon Aerie to get the Ashen Mist Heart.

I don't have an issue with the added difficulty, however I have had some rage inducing moments which is to be expected I guess.  It's obvious that healing items are now healing even slower over time than before.  My stamina seems to regenerate even slower now as well.

For people who just want to kill stuff and don't care how things look it won't matter I suppose, but there's a point where it's done well and where it looks bad.  This is bad.   I'm not talking here about general graphic or lighting changes or perceived improvements, as that's something that doesn't really bother me.  Gameplay over graphics, in most cases, is my motto.

We now have a few surprises related to light and torches, which I won't spoil, but let's just say next trip through the entire Undead Crypt, if there is one, will be totally in the dark. 

There are a few other nice additions as well, which make me wonder about some of the other things I'm going to talk about below.  It's like two separate teams worked on the "upgrade" and neither knew what the other was doing.

Get ready to be "Pursued" all over the place. At least four times in the Bastille, and in the tutorial, but then he gives up again until the usual post Smelter Demon fight. 

I had my first ever crash with this game, and the DX9 version actually, which was during the fight with The Looking Glass Knight with three phantoms and myself.  I think it was co-incidence or just too much was going on for some reason, but it wasn't the first time playing with that number of phantoms as I was doing co-op helping people.  I was being summoned over and over for this fight, so business was brisk and I need those Sunlight medals.

I will say though that the added numbers possible for co-op can make it a confusing mess in boss fights.  I've helped with a few and it just gets messy with people getting in each other's way and the boss itself getting confused, not to mention steam rolled.  I much prefer one phantom, human or NPC, where available, as things go much smoother and controlled. 

I am NOT looking forward to invader gank squads which is why when the Effigy Effect wears off at bonfires where I've killed the boss, I will be burning another Effigy.  At least at places I wish to, or have to revisit for supplies. 

We already have more OP NPC invaders, I don't need human ones as well, especially now with the Agape Ring and "imaginary" meta that PvP players seem to thing is a "thing."   I am collecting Seeds and won't hesitate to use them if necessary.  Works well in DLC areas.   You invade my game and all bets are off.  I will fight and I will heal given the opportunity, and use whatever I can to remove you from my world.   If you can get there at all now that Effigies are more plentiful.

On to aesthetic changes that I think don't work which is really the main focus of this post.  More than once I've raised my eyebrows at some of these changes, particularly with creatures/monsters that seem to be on  the verge of extinction.  Can game developers please come up with new devices to hide stuff besides barrels and boxes?

It's weird.  Some areas have become easier and some harder.  Enemies have been removed in the former and not replaced, or replaced with easier ones, and in the latter we get more hordes and, as far as I'm concerned, too many stupid ambushes.

I do like what's been done to Heide's Tower.  Even the drake, which is easily killed with arrows from below.  It doesn't have that much health so you can also rush it and get behind before it flambe's you to death.   Now the Heide Knights have a place to call home, where they should have been all along.

BUT:

The Shaded Ruins look absolutely terrible now.   Why, for goodness sake remove the Lion Warriors scattered around and replace them with ghosts.  It just looks bare and unfinished.  Hiding the remaining Lions behind wooden barriers and giant barrels is silly.   Those Lion warriors, tough and magic resistant, had character and belonged there, and now they are banished in favour of ghosts.  Bad.

This is happening with a lot of the normal enemies that just seem to have disappeared forever, like the beasts in the leadup to the Lost Sinner who have now been replaced with a Flexile Sentry that doesn't really fit well into the area, especially size wise.  Odd decision.  

I expected the Iron Keep to be hell now, but they just pointlessly shuffled the Alonne knights around a bit. The worst fight was an NPC invader that I'd met before in the Forest who has OP spells.  I had to summon help or I never would have gotten past the Keep with that guy invading me all the time. 

And I don't need to "Git Gud" either.  (I hate that saying, but I know someone out there is thinking it.)  I'm 60 years old and my reflexes aren't as good as they were, but I do just fine 99.9% of the time.  I don't die much either.  

I forgot to mention that the Dull Ember is now in a chest in the Bastille next to a bonfire.  I'm baffled why they did that.  May as well have just put it in McDuff's room and be done with it.  He still asks for it every time you talk to him though, even after you've handed it over.

Also, the Bastille key is now available out of the Gargoyle Boss fight, which I never bother with because I hate the gank covenants areas.  I wonder what the reward for the Gargoyle fight is now though, but not enough to do it.

My biggest disappointment so far though is Drangleic Castle.  It's now become incredibly ugly instead of regal.  The atmosphere has been totally ruined and the changes look very amateur to say the least.  We now have the original nice shiny textures accompanied by terrible gray "fake" statues haphazardly placed all over and some of which we know are going to come to life.   Predictable.

The "Sentinel" room is now unimaginatively filled with statues, some of which still come to life to open the doors of course.  The others are there to be a huge annoyance.  Not creatively though, just with no real thought to it.  I haven't done it yet, but fighting the Sentinels in that mess....sounds like fun, not.

Why are there Manikins from Harvest Valley there as an alternate way to activate the longest elevator in the world?   I was summoned several times for this section and each time the host didn't work out that he/she had to kill one of the Manikins in front of the golem.   Because, now, the actual statues are inert and put there to get in your way.    I tried to message one host, but wasn't able to, and I had to crystal out each time.

Why in the hell is the undead horse from the Chariot Boss in there now?  At least the Gargoyle makes some sense replacing the Alonne Knight archers when opening the shortcut to get the King's Passage Key.

It seems FromSoft have no real idea of how to fill an area or make it look more believable so they just throw any old enemy or a bunch of barrels and crates into the mix and hope for the best.  It looks like a kindergarten kid added some of the new stuff. 

If the Shrine of Amana wasn't annoying enough, but manageable with a bow, they make it even more irritating and I mean irritating, not just challenging.    And, what's the deal with a Hammer Knight just hanging around in the water now.  It's so out of place, it's looks ridiculous standing there.   I get the Dragonrider guarding the gate to the King's soul and gear.  Makes sense.

There's another Dragonrider in the Crypt before Velstadt now instead of a legion of Syan Knights which are going to be hard to farm now for their halberd.  Oh, well I prefer the Mastadon Halberd anyway.


Oh and another thing.  Some Mimics have been shuffled.   I wasn't paying attention got caught...lol.

To be continued as I progress.  As I said it's Aldia's Keep next.   Can't wait to see what's changed there.


Sunday, 5 April 2015

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. Fix the Weapon Durability Problem


I'm playing Scholar of the First Sin and have some things to say, but I really want to say something now about an issue that's been there since the first release and and has never been addressed.

Please...Fix the 60fps weapon durability bug.

EDIT:  Despite what all the fanboys who defend this say, this is a BUG, not a feature, and it worse in SOTFS than DS2 original, especially for DEX builds.    The creator of the DS PVP Watchdog and other legit fixes says this is definitely a coding issue and should NOT be happening.  Anyway, he is looking into a fix for Scholar.  Let's hope the servers don't flag something as essential as this as a cheat, but we'll see.
http://www.reddit.com/r/DarkSouls2/comments/31i7nb/ds2durabilityfix_ds2_pvp_watchdog_and_stuff/

 
My weapons are breaking faster now than in the DX9 version.   I fought the Pursuer at the 1st encounter in the Forest and my spear broke part way through.  I only just left the Cardinal Tower bonfire, shortcut opened, and went straight to him, so it's not like I fought a lot of other enemies beforehand.

I was only able to do a quick swap because I had a phantom with me who was taking the aggro. I'm sorry I don't remember your name, but thank you. 

Part way through every level, and not far from bonfires my weapons are near to breaking faster than ever now and there's no repair powder except for the few you can buy and a couple to be found as loot.  I've already used those.

I have found the repair spell in a new location than it was previously, but what use is that without the stats to cast it.

I dread to think what it's going to be like in the DLC areas where weapons would threaten to break much faster than in the base game of the DX9 version. 

I like to play as a DEX build which means my weapons have lower durability anyway, but at this rate I'm going to respec to strength so I can at least hope to use something that won't break halfway through a boss fight.

I imagine XBoxOne users are now having this issue, so maybe, just maybe something will be done  when more complaints start rolling in.  But, maybe it would take PS4 users to accomplish that.

If it's an intended function of the game to make it "harder" then you've failed because SOTFS is already full of artificial difficulty, with more hordes of enemies and ambushes, which seems to equate difficulty in this game.  We don't need to be handicapped by our weapons breaking at crucial points.

Either fix it by coding, or double the durability on all weapons.  It can't be that hard.

One thing I will say in this post is at the rate I'm going I may only play through this version once and maybe go to NG+ as I'm finding a general lack of creativity in the new enemy placements.  Some areas seem almost empty now.  For example The Shaded Woods, where most of the Lion Warriors have been replaced with annoying ghosts.  The game lacks the same atmosphere it had before.

The use of barrels and crates as well as wooden barriers to hide enemies and create obstacles is dumb.  Pffft!   And it looks terrible.

Anyway, I have more to say later on the state of the game as I see it.   And just to clarify I have 808 hours on Dark Souls 2 DX9 with the DLC's with the Season Pass.  Because of that I only paid $16.99 Australian which isn't much considering I've spent more on AAA games that are so bug ridden as to be unplayable or just not enjoyable because of forced early releases.  At least dark Souls is stable and has never crashed on me, or been unplayable because of a bug of some kind, so that's a plus.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Dark Souls 2 - Is It Possible to Loathe A Fictional Game Character?

Yes, Maldron, It Is!  

And yes, this is a big salty rant over a fictional NPC in a video game, but it demonstrates how OP and frustrating this NPC is.  Just thinking about it makes my blood boil.

Last night I was playing through the Crown of the Ivory King and admit to a groan of despair when I was heading for the Lower Garrison bonfire because I knew what was coming, having been through it before.  It wasn't Hexer Nicholai, or the ridiculously stunlocking ice hedgehogs, but the OP, ninja rolling, telepathic and super human Maldron the Assassin.

Now this guy also appears in the Crown of the Iron King and an easy way to defeat him is to use a Seed of the Giants so the enemies kill him when he runs to the bottom of the tower.   You wouldn't believe how much satisfaction I get from from that! 

He is one of Fromsoft's attempts at smarter NPC invaders, but is just damn irritating more than an interesting and fun fight.   The invader that uses Chameleon, disguised as a barrel, was actually funny and a decent fight though.

Fromsoft obviously thinks it's amusing to give most of their NPC invaders lances, rapiers and katanas, weapons that are despised by the PvP community for being OP, stun locking and just bloody annoying to counter.   So, they give these weapons to NPC invaders just to make it more frustrating.  At least human players have talent and skill, usually, but NPC's will never behave like anything more than bots programmed to win at all costs, even if that means OP weapons, and huge stamina and health pools.   The latter being things that human players cannot have unless they put all their points into those stats only, and then it's doubtful.

This is compounded in the case of Maldron in particular, when he seems to be programmed to anticipate your button presses and almost seems to roll and dodge before you have even completed pressing said  buttons.   Then there's his large health pool which prolongs the fight even more because my stamina cannot recharge fast enough to keep hitting him before he runs away and heals.

I tried using a Seed on Maldron in Crown of the Ivory King, but guess what, it doesn't work.   He walked around among the hedgehogs as though they were best buddies.

There was no way I was letting him through the gate to hide behind Covetous 2, even if it meant 100 tries at killing him which in retrospect would have me rage quitting for good.   Another character of mine even ended up allowing the coward to kill them after the gate was open, so he could just run past next time he spawned at the bonfire, as though Maldron didn't exist.   I bet that spoiled your fun, Maldron.

The character I was playing is Dex based, but has a few lower tier Hexes and I always keep a variety of fully upgraded weapons so I can swap out depending on the situation.

Last night I tried to poison him with the Manslayer+5 and Sanctum Soldier Gauntlets.  This would have worked if I could have kept up with him when he ran and if he didn't heal.   I tried magic (Hexes),  but he just anticipated every cast and rolled away.  I tried my own Lance and backstabbing, which is nearly impossible, and also used Lloyd's Talismans to stop him healing, which didn't work because he runs away to the enemies.  Even if I kill them all beforehand, he is still too fast for me.  

After half a dozen or so tries, I ended up going away to another area, then returning later.   With an enormous piece of luck I got him jammed between one of the mages and a doorway, and I managed to kill him with my fire infused Black Knight Greatsword.

I remember one occasion when playing a different character I summoned a Sunbro to help me with this asshole, and he still killed both of us.  What makes it worse is the decapitate gesture he uses when he kills you.  It's just more insult piled onto injury.

Things like this intensify the other occasions when this game can be frustratingly unfair so here are a few more observations.   I am 60 years old and female, but I do everything myself except I do summon for certain bosses that I have trouble with...ie Velstadt and I consider myself to be an above average player.   

Anyway.....

I've read that Scholar of the First Sin, which is coming in April, will have even more NPC phantoms with more human like AI.   That sounds cool, except if they are anything like Maldron.  I'm sure there are people out there who love this kind of garbage and call it a challenge, but I'm not one of them when they are designed for you to fail. 

I have also seen the videos on Youtube showing some of the starting areas of the updated game with some enemies that really don't fit into the areas they are put into.  For example the Pursuer with the two hippos in the tutorial, a dragon at Heide's Tower etc.   Not to mention the vastly increased numbers of hollows up the ladder at the Forest where the Heide Knight used to be.  Heaven help new players to the franchise is all I can say.

This is not a hack and slash game where you can smash your way through enemies, knocking them back and stunning them with MMO style abandon.  I believe their AI has been changed so they follow you to the ends of the earth now,  therefore you cannot outrun them, which is actually a good thing if it's done fairly.  Even in the current game trying to run by enemies is dangerous and usually doomed to failure as you are running into more in the next area.

 I had one main concern over this new release which was whether or not my PC can run it, and what price we'll be charged for better lighting, increased co-op numbers and redeployed enemies.   And there's another very important consideration.  PC players will now be separated in online interaction according to game versions...DX9 or DX11.  Unless, of course things change over the next couple of months which is unlikely at this point.

However, I've almost decided that I'm going to wait a month or so after release and see what people are saying because it's things like I've complained about above that infuriate me to the point of  pulling my hair out.  I love this game, but sometimes it's hard to see the reasoning behind some decisions.  I've been playing the game since release and have over 700 hours on record on Steam, but maybe it's time to call it a day and move on.  We'll see what the Next Gen version brings.

Is the weapon degradation at 60fps issue fixed I wonder?  It's certainly not in the Feb 5th free patch.  Will the Next Gen consoles also have this problem now running the game at 60fps?  I bet if that's the case it will be fixed post haste whereas we PC users have had this since game release.  I'm not hating on consoles, but this should have been fixed a long time ago for PC.

That's it for now.   Another complaining session I know, but I needed to get it off my chest and the wide open spaces of the Internet are as good as any to vent.


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

My New Forum

Hi!  I want to let everyone know that a friend and myself have started our own forum.  Now, we only got it registered on the 25th Jan 2015, so there isn't a huge amount of content yet, but we are working on it.

EDIT:  I am now running this forum myself.  I made a big mistake in asking someone I got along with if they were interested in starting a forum and running it with me.   It never works when one person, ie me, does all the work and the other has to be pushed to just make a few original posts, let alone anything towards the betterment of the forum, even though they expressed great interest in doing this with me.  

If it happens that I end up being the only member for as long as the forum is in existence, so be it.  It can be an extension of this Blog.  The old motto "If you want something done, do it yourself" is still well and truly applicable.   It takes a lot of work to make a forum a success and even then it may be a flop, but all parties need to be on the same page. 

Here is the link:
Survival Instinct
http://survivalinstinct.forumotion.com/

The forum is primarily about games I personally like to play, which is where the forum name comes in.  Can you survive until the next checkpoint?   Can you beat the miniboss and have enough health leftover for the main boss?   You stepped back and fell off a cliff?  Oops!!

 The forum will mainly be offering discussion for role playing games of my choice, but can easily be expanded to include others if requested.  To start there are forums for Dragon Age: Origins and Dark Souls 2 and I have since added a category for other games that don't warrant a full forum.

There is also a General Interest forum so people who are not interested in the games area, and even if they are, can come and chat about almost whatever they fancy.

Maybe you have suggestions to help the forum become a success.

There will be more, so come and see.  Registration is free.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Ivory King and Main Game Issues


As much as I love this game it's becoming harder to defend some of the decisions made by FromSoft so here are some questions and complaints regarding the main game and the DLC's in particular The Crown of the Ivory King.

I've seen posts on forums and particularly the developers own forum, where a couple of people don't think broken poise, hordes of enemies, inflated difficulty and bad enemy placement in place of actual creativity and other real problems are fine and we should accept them as part of the game.  That's just short sighted and in my opinion quite ignorant.   I enjoy this game but it has glaring issues, especially since the recent patches.  Anyone who doesn't see that is fooling themselves.

Difficulty does not equal inflating enemy poise and health pools, having hordes of enemies swarm you, faulty hitboxes, and generally making the player weaker to simulate a "hard" game.   That's cheap, not imaginative challenge.
     
Onto my list of things that need to be addressed in the main game:

1.  Why is it with the plethora of items requiring Twinkling Titanite and Petrified Dragon Bone we cannot get a vendor who sells infinite supplies of both at the end of New Game.  The game was developed so that we couldn't farm ad infinitum due to spawns being limited.  This can be achieved by using Ascetics effectively ascending those areas to NG+ level and beyond depending on how many times you do it.  However, when one progresses to NG+ rotations those areas remain at their elevated levels.

So, you have a number of armour sets that require Twinkling Titanite.  Which one or two do you use all of your resources on?  I wouldn't care if the price was high and it should be, but not limited or requiring farming, which as already mentioned is discouraged.  Farming for hours is boring, so why on one hand limit it and then make it impossible to buy these resources?

There are a lot of Boss weapons, a number of which are inferior to other weapons requiring basic Titanite even when fully upgraded, so why is there no way to purchase unlimited Petrified Dragon Bone?

2.  Why, when FromSoft decides to "balance" the game and entire classes out of reasonable existence do they not ever communicate with their fan base.  I know a lot of game developers don't bother to talk to the people who actually pay for and play their product, (loyal fans by the way,) but a little goes a long way when the game is now so different than it was at release.  And not for the better in many respects. 

OK, some things needed balancing and certain exploits needed nerfing, but there's a point when it goes too far.

 It seems to me they are balancing the game around PvP, and listening more to PvP players, when a very large part of it revolves around PvE.  I have zero interest in PvP but the game was developed with both in mind therefore each have their place, so don't make one inferior to the other.  I'm not the only one who prefers PvE, helping others and getting help myself when needed, and having fun in co-op. 

Stamina regen has been noticeably reduced, but most enemies seem to have infinite stamina, not to mention poise.

Lockon is now at close melee range, if you're lucky and in good lighting.  For mages that's almost a death sentence when enemies in groups rush you.  What is the use of armour when it does virtually nothing for defense and poise?  We may as well run around in rags as many do, for mobility, but also because armour doesn't matter much except for "Fashion Souls." 

The nerfing of Lightning Spear damage, which was supposedly a mistake when reducing the number of casts, has never been fixed, or acknowledged.  However if you pay for the Crown of the Sunken King DLC you get a Lightning Clutch Ring that increases damage at the cost of physical defense. This is a theme over all three DLC's where magic of all types, except for fire, has been reduced, but you have to pay to get a ring to replace it.

To add to that casting speed has been reduced, the number of slots needed for some spells with reduced castings is ridiculous and damage in general has been lowered.  Some say magic was overpowered, maybe it was, maybe not, but isn't playing a mage class about being powerful in their chosen discipline since they can't afford to be hit?  The term "Glass Cannon" came about for a reason.

Enemy resistances have been boosted now, making a mage build even harder and in the DLC's, practically a waste of time.  My mage characters have basically been left to linger as I don't see the point in having to level stats to use a bow which is way more efficient than spells, especially in areas like the Shrine of Amana.

3.  I don't really care because it looks ridiculous, but where is the rest of the set belonging to the Flower Skirt from the Crown of the Sunken King?  If the rest of the outfit was available it may well be worth having even if only to say you have it.  I can't say I've ever seen anyone wearing the skirt either.

4. Why can't we get infinite Repair Powders from a Smith, preferably Leningrast, instead of a functionary at the castle?    Also Leningrast should sell infinite Iron arrows, perhaps if necessary after a certain point in the game. 

Since Majula is the hub for vendors why do we have to travel all over the map to get to the others, some of whom are in dangerous areas.   Straid being a case in point where he is surrounded by exploding mummies that rush you at the bonfire, and could potentially kill him as well, although I don't know if that can happen, but I suspect it's possible.

5. Enemies at bonfires.  As above with Straid, and worse at the Salt Fort bonfire on the way to the Lost Sinner where you could be killed on spawning by crossbowmen if you don't very quickly get out of the way.  I usually despawn them out of spite.  Doing things like this is poor design.

There is also the fact that some bosses have added annoying enemies which for the most part isn't too bad, until you get to the Royal Rat Authority which is a failure of a boss in itself, but to have a group of added rats that can immediately apply a fatal dose of toxin....?  I know Dark Souls 1 had a few bosses with added spawns, but it was done so you had an even chance, except maybe the Capra Demon, but that could be done without so much pain.

6. What is the point of wearing item finding gear, aka the Jester's Hat, Covetous Serpent Ring+2 etc, when drops are so far and few between.  Getting torches and herbs instead of what I'm after is annoying to say the least. This is another problem with farming and limited spawns. I don't expect rare drops every time, but once in awhile in several runs I wouldn't mind getting something useful when I'm using the gear to maximize drops.

7. Fix the hit boxes and ludicrous 360 degree tracking of enemies who spin like tops when you try to get behind them or roll away and you still get hit even though their weapon obviously was nowhere near you.

8.  Many people have complaints about the Netcode.  I haven't had those issues myself except if being summoned by someone for a boss fight who is lagging all over, or being invaded by someone who teleports all over the place, but I've seen the problems in videos.

9. Fix the weapon durability on the PC at 60fps or increase durability overall.  In the Crown of the Ivory King in particular, my weapon threatened to break so many times, and worse it happened in boss fights so that I either had to use multiple repair powders or attune the Repair Spell on a character that doesn't use magic, both of which do not repair nearly enough.

10. This should have been much higher in the list but whatever...Fix poise for heavens sake.  Being stunlocked by rapiers and daggers is stupid especially if I'm wearing high poise gear and the Ring of the Giants.  The DLC enemies, mainly the Crown of the Sunken King have so much poise it's unbelievable.  I cannot stagger the Drakeblood Knights even with two hits from an Ultra Greatsword.

11.  Soul Memory. This has been the most hated and discussed issue since the game was released so I'm not going to go into detail here. I haven't personally found this to be a problem for me, but I don't play with friends who want to co-op together which is one of the things that was supposed to be a core function of the game.  I do a lot of co-op in the Sunbros and I've never had issues finding summons or to be summoned, but that's different to two friends wearing a ring specifically to be able to play together, and can't if their soul memory is too far apart.  This was changed to a degree in one of the patches, but I don't know if it's better now or not.  Having read posts on a few different forums I suspect it's not, but maybe that's due to incompatible internet connections as much as Soul Memory.

12. Finally as far as the main game goes, my pet hate.  It may seem frivolous to some but it should not happen.   The collision boxes on architecture that prevent sniping from safety so you have to totally expose yourself to fire arrows or spells when the enemy can fire back at you.  See screenshots for exactly what I mean.  This game loves to set multiple high damage enemies on you all at once so at times it's an advantage to use a bow if you don't want to be overwhelmed.  When your arrows consistently hit invisible walls it becomes frustrating.  Not to mention playing as an archer build becomes bloody annoying.





Both of these screenshots show the arrow buried in an invisible wall and these are not the worst cases by far.


12a.  Adding to this the fact that enemies can hit you through walls which means staying away from walls when an enemy is on the other side trying to get at you if for example you need to heal.   That's something we can't do so why is the collision so bad that we are at yet another disadvantage. 

Now on to the DLC's and mainly the Crown of the Ivory King where there were a number of things that disappointed me.  I consider myself an above average player, particularly when seeing some of the Youtube Let's Players attempt this DLC, but some things just left me cold..no pun intended. 

I enjoyed both the Crown of the Sunken King and the Crown of the Iron King and there wasn't really much that bothered me except for the already mentioned enemy poise and magic resistances in COTSK.  I liked the puzzle elements in both and the level designs in general.

I also enjoyed the level design of the Crown of the Ivory King and I didn't even mind the backtracking as it opened up new areas and had a point.  I was even bright enough to realize that I needed 3 extra knights for the main boss fight before attempting it and that was very well done in my opinion.  I'd go as far as to say it was the best boss fight in the entire game.

Aava was also a refreshing change from the humanoid boss fights and I felt sad to have to kill such a magnificent creature.  The NPC summons have been upgraded nicely as well.   I only used them for that fight with success on the first try.  And they both survived.

The NPC invaders were fine overall, but Maldron version 2.0, with his inflated health, that damned lance and super human recovery times made for a long, boring and unnecessary fight.  After being tricked the first time opening the gate and having him run to hide behind a large enemy, I thought I would leave him to his own devices and not even go to him again.  However, I took particular pleasure in poisoning him, even though that wasn't easy either.  I guess since he was such a troll in the previous DLC From thought it would be funny to do it again, but in a worse way, and I didn't think it was amusing at all.

I wasn't a fan of the Ice Rats, as cute as they are (sort of.)  Being damaged just by touching them and then stun locked into infinity and losing most of my health when they roll into me is beyond annoying.  Thankfully, they have little health and arrows can kill them quickly.  I suppose they are a replacement for the Bonewheel Skeletons.

However, there are things I absolutely hate about this DLC.  OK, I farmed 15 Loyce Souls as far as getting the boots, gloves and chest piece, then discovered I had to get 35 souls to get the helmet.  Really?  In a game where farming is discouraged! It can be done by co-op, but I'm damned if I'm going to farm another 20 souls for a helmet not matter how good it is.  Besides I would never wear it as it looks silly.  The armour itself looks amazing, but unfortunately no other headpiece I have looks good with it.
 
And surprise, surprise it needs Twinkling Titanite as expected.  Where do we get all of this marvellous material for all of our special armours?   Oh, that's right there's no vendor that sells infinite supplies.

Then I discover I need 50 souls to speak to Alsanna and have a chance to get the Ivory King Set and her soul.   You have to be kidding!

You can shoot her with arrows for her soul without farming, but since she is one of the non evil Shards of Manus I don't see why I should kill her.  She is a tragic soul and doesn't deserve to die for her family's evil doing.

Another thing that's a little annoying about farming these souls is that I am more often summoned to help fight an invader, then get crystalled out.  This happens at both bosses, Aava and the Ivory King so actually getting to co-op a boss fight is not easy.   The Charred Loyce Knights also seem to stop spawning after a time so what is the point of it all?  I'm not going to use an Ascetic just for that.

Most of these things I can put up with or ignore, but the Frigid Outskirts is about the worst area I have ever played in any game.  I didn't mind so much that I'm in a constant blizzard with low visibilty where it clears for literally only five seconds every so often so you can briefly see where you're going.   In fact it adds a bit to exploration and finding something special.

I do mind very much the Ice Stallions with infinite poise that cannot be staggered even with an Ultra Great Sword or the Great Club fully upgraded. It doesn't matter that you roll in plenty of time to avoid attacks, but they still manage to hit you when they charge for a good chunk of health even when I hear them coming.  If that wasn't enough they start coming in pairs and even in threes in a couple of instances and even with the NPC summons, or human ones it becomes a chore.

Not only do you burn through resources at a massive rate, ie health items, repair powders, and others, but then you get to the boss, if you're lucky (?) and find two reskinned tigers that use magic and have AOE's like Aava, in a relatively small arena.  Now this wouldn't be so bad if the camera didn't screw you up, you didn't get caught under one or against a wall so you can't see what's going on, but when one is at around half health the other tiger joins the fight.  Then, he buffs himself so he takes less damage and regains health.  The buff is short lived, but is that really necessary after the trek to get there and having supposedly already killed the other, or not if you're not doing enough damage.

I realize this is a challenge area and optional, but whoever designed it has no idea of real challenge and difficulty.  There's just not enough manoevering room to fight these bosses especially when you have partners, and it just becomes a confusing mess when you can't see what's happening around you.  That's not a challenge, it's cheap and boring.

I've seen videos of people successfully fighting these bosses and most of them were doing it solo, (which is their own fault really) and raging mightily about the same things I am here.  Maybe that would be easier since I did actually get there solo after both my NPC's died, and got one tiger to half health, but I'm not patient enough, or skilled enough I suppose, to do this over and over again 50 bloody times because it's supposed to be "hard."

Despite what I said in the previous post, I am going to try NG+ with my main characters now that I've done everything I want to do, but it already feels like I'm doing them a disservice and should retire them instead of putting them, and myself through that again.

Oh, and one last thing.  After speaking to King Vendrick in his memory the crowns gain the ability to cure the curse for good.  What's the point of that after finishing the main game and the DLC's and finding that bonus doesn't carry over to NG+, or so I've read on the Wiki.  I wouldn't have expected it to, but it seems a bit useless at that point in the game.  I never killed Vendrick and now I can't see any reason to.



I know I'm wasting my time by typing all of this, FromSoft don't communicate their reasons for doing anything and none of it will be fixed, but I had to get it off my chest.