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.

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 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.

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.


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

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.

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.