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 Velstadt and I consider myself to be an above average player.   


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.