Should Games Like Dark Souls Have Difficulty Settings?

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I'm seeing the same 'an account upgrade is required to view this post' message that I saw on the Zero Punctuation thread here also.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I see it on all the Escapist Content forums so there has to be something going on with that.
 

Nick Calandra

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I see it on all the Escapist Content forums so there has to be something going on with that.
Should be working now I think, let me know if it's not. Only thing you can don't in The Escapist Content stuff is post new threads.
 

Fat Hippo

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Hurrah, it works.

EDIT: Regarding the topic of the discussion, I take the "let the artists decide" position. If your game-design opinion is that all games should have difficulty levels, that's a fair opinion even if I disagree.

I think it's silly to get angry at developers for not including them, however. If a game is not for you, be it because of the difficulty or otherwise, move on to another game. FROM simply made a decision here. If you think it's a decision that makes the game bad for you, so be it.

For Dark Souls, I think the difficulty is actually very well tuned, even if I struggled mightily with it.
 
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Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Should be working now I think, let me know if it's not. Only thing you can don't in The Escapist Content stuff is post new threads.
Looks like its working so far. I'll check around and test some things out and let you know if anything goes bad.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Yeah, looks good, everything is showing up and I don't have the ability to create new threads. I would get rid of the "You have insufficient privileges to post threads here. " message though, just leave it blank for users without permissions.
 

Nick Calandra

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Yeah, looks good, everything is showing up and I don't have the ability to create new threads. I would get rid of the "You have insufficient privileges to post threads here. " message though, just leave it blank for users without permissions.
I'll see if that can be removed.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I'll see if that can be removed.
That would help clean up the look of the pages. I would just remove it for normal users but if possible leave it for moderators if there are different levels of mods that might not have the same permissions as other ones.
 

Martintox

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Regarding the topic of the discussion, I take the "let the artists decide" position. If your game-design opinion is that all games should have difficulty levels, that's a fair opinion even if I disagree.

I think it's silly to get angry at developers for not including them, however. If a game is not for you, be it because of the difficulty or otherwise, move on to another game. FROM simply made a decision here. If you think it's a decision that makes the game bad for you, so be it.

For Dark Souls, I think the difficulty is actually very well tuned, even if I struggled mightily with it.
Precisely. Aside from physical disabilities like colorblindness that can cause an unintended disadvantage among people who would otherwise be capable of playing, there's little point to complaining about a game's difficulty if you simply don't have the mindset for it. The point of FromSoft's games, more than ever, is to be hard. Adding an easy mode to such a game may make it more accessible, but it would also likely defeat the purpose of how it was originally designed. There is plenty of room to debate if a game is fair in its difficulty or if there are elements that make the experience harder without adding anything meaningful to the challenge (the health decrease in Dark Souls II), but to say that something is "too hard" is subjective at best and misses the point of the work at worst.

A lot of arguments like this also forget that there are ways to manage difficulty other than different modes. Dark Souls gives you the option to level up, reinforce equipment, summon allies, and kindle bonfires if you find it too difficult to get by a section or boss. Yes, you'll have to grind in some cases, but strictly speaking, attempting that section/boss over and over is also a grind. Plenty of Souls-likes allow you to get an edge in that fashion. Some might think grinding also misses the point, but the devs have purposefully given players the option to do so; those mechanics serve as difficulty adjustment. (It is missing the point if you grind excessively, mind you. If you have trouble with an area, you level up a couple of times, not 40 times; you do it enough until you're able to overcome that challenge.)

It's understandable that Sekiro would spark such sentiment, however, when it offers so little in that regard due to its extremely tight design. If you have trouble with a mini-boss or boss, there's no way to increase your health or your attack power, because that requires you to defeat them in the first place. Aside from prosthetic tools nad a handful of skills for which you can grind, all you can really do is keep trying until you win. It doesn't help that your arsenal is so limited either; Dark Souls had enough equipment variety to suit many playstyles, but with Sekiro, you have to play the parrying rhythm game. I got as far as the final boss and I put the game on indefinite hold because it stopped being fun to overcome the same kind of challenge so many times, even with how well designed I would argue it has been in terms of difficulty. I could beat him eventually, but I don't feel it would be satisfying to do so.
 

Fat Hippo

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Precisely. Aside from physical disabilities like colorblindness that can cause an unintended disadvantage among people who would otherwise be capable of playing, there's little point to complaining about a game's difficulty if you simply don't have the mindset for it. The point of FromSoft's games, more than ever, is to be hard. Adding an easy mode to such a game may make it more accessible, but it would also likely defeat the purpose of how it was originally designed. There is plenty of room to debate if a game is fair in its difficulty or if there are elements that make the experience harder without adding anything meaningful to the challenge (the health decrease in Dark Souls II), but to say that something is "too hard" is subjective at best and misses the point of the work at worst.

A lot of arguments like this also forget that there are ways to manage difficulty other than different modes. Dark Souls gives you the option to level up, reinforce equipment, summon allies, and kindle bonfires if you find it too difficult to get by a section or boss. Yes, you'll have to grind in some cases, but strictly speaking, attempting that section/boss over and over is also a grind. Plenty of Souls-likes allow you to get an edge in that fashion. Some might think grinding also misses the point, but the devs have purposefully given players the option to do so; those mechanics serve as difficulty adjustment. (It is missing the point if you grind excessively, mind you. If you have trouble with an area, you level up a couple of times, not 40 times; you do it enough until you're able to overcome that challenge.)

It's understandable that Sekiro would spark such sentiment, however, when it offers so little in that regard due to its extremely tight design. If you have trouble with a mini-boss or boss, there's no way to increase your health or your attack power, because that requires you to defeat them in the first place. Aside from prosthetic tools nad a handful of skills for which you can grind, all you can really do is keep trying until you win. It doesn't help that your arsenal is so limited either; Dark Souls had enough equipment variety to suit many playstyles, but with Sekiro, you have to play the parrying rhythm game. I got as far as the final boss and I put the game on indefinite hold because it stopped being fun to overcome the same kind of challenge so many times, even with how well designed I would argue it has been in terms of difficulty. I could beat him eventually, but I don't feel it would be satisfying to do so.
Yeah, I agree with your point on Sekiro. Though my biggest issue with Sekiro bosses were not actually the fact that you can only beat them in a small number of ways, since Sekiro doesn't try to offer different playstyles in general, but how it introduces a quite pointless resource mechanic to its abilities. While one does not need them in the strictest sense, for some of the bosses, your prosthetic tools are an important aid to beating them. Watching your uses dwindle down as you fight the boss many times, and then hitting 0 before you win, is quite simply annoying and a hassle.

To compare, imagine if your miracles/sorceries/pyromancies in Dark Souls would simply dry up when you were stuck on a boss? It would be a major annoyance. I got stuck on many bosses in Dark Souls, but at least I knew that my deaths were inconsequential, I could simply keep trying over and over, and that one victory would wipe clean the slate of all past failures. Running out of uses for the prosthetic tools, however, can only be counteracted via some rather pointless busywork. Giving the player the maximum number of uses per "run" would do nothing to harm the game and a bit to lessen irritation when struggling against a boss, without reducing the difficulty or balance of the individual fights.
 

Martintox

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Yeah, I agree with your point on Sekiro. Though my biggest issue with Sekiro bosses were not actually the fact that you can only beat them in a small number of ways, since Sekiro doesn't try to offer different playstyles in general, but how it introduces a quite pointless resource mechanic to its abilities. While one does not need them in the strictest sense, for some of the bosses, your prosthetic tools are an important aid to beating them. Watching your uses dwindle down as you fight the boss many times, and then hitting 0 before you win, is quite simply annoying and a hassle.

To compare, imagine if your miracles/sorceries/pyromancies in Dark Souls would simply dry up when you were stuck on a boss? It would be a major annoyance. I got stuck on many bosses in Dark Souls, but at least I knew that my deaths were inconsequential, I could simply keep trying over and over, and that one victory would wipe clean the slate of all past failures. Running out of uses for the prosthetic tools, however, can only be counteracted via some rather pointless busywork. Giving the player the maximum number of uses per "run" would do nothing to harm the game and a bit to lessen irritation when struggling against a boss, without reducing the difficulty or balance of the individual fights.
I should specify that I find the lack of playstyles an issue regarding the game in general, not just bosses. I'll say you're definitely on to something with Spirit Emblems: it's not a particularly meaningful challenge to have a limited supply, it just means more grinding -- not even to get an edge, just to return to the baseline. I'll say that I didn't bother figuring out the prosthetics much aside from the shurikens/kunais, so I may have missed out on some real useful tools.
 

Fat Hippo

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I should specify that I find the lack of playstyles an issue regarding the game in general, not just bosses. I'll say you're definitely on to something with Spirit Emblems: it's not a particularly meaningful challenge to have a limited supply, it just means more grinding -- not even to get an edge, just to return to the baseline. I'll say that I didn't bother figuring out the prosthetics much aside from the shurikens/kunais, so I may have missed out on some real useful tools.
There's a few, though even then which prosthetic is useful where is usually kind of hardcoded by the game, so you're not wrong about the game constricting you in your playstyle. A specific prosthetic tends to either counter an enemy, or not do a whole lot of anything.
 

Elfgore

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I'm always of the mind accessibility is the best thing ever. The more people who can complete a game and enjoy it for whatever reasons they wish to do so, admiring the scenery, the enemy design, the gameplay, etc., will never not be a good thing in my book. I won't go out of my way at being angry for a company choosing not to though, just wish they would.

Honestly, I don't feel like Dark Souls would lose too much of it's appeal if you just had difficulties that changed around damage output and taken. The slow, weighty combat will still be there. The dangers in the environment will still be there. Might just make less people stop playing the moment they get wombo comboed by the first Black Knight and Tarus Demon.
 

sXeth

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I'm always of the mind accessibility is the best thing ever. The more people who can complete a game and enjoy it for whatever reasons they wish to do so, admiring the scenery, the enemy design, the gameplay, etc., will never not be a good thing in my book. I won't go out of my way at being angry for a company choosing not to though, just wish they would.

Honestly, I don't feel like Dark Souls would lose too much of it's appeal if you just had difficulties that changed around damage output and taken. The slow, weighty combat will still be there. The dangers in the environment will still be there. Might just make less people stop playing the moment they get wombo comboed by the first Black Knight and Tarus Demon.

Souls already has the mitigation for that though, you upgrade your weapons/armour. Granted there is some limitation to that (higher titanite that only spawns later in game). I"m not really in favor of that as either a difficulty mechanism or a progression mechanism. Its bland and uninteresting in either case.


Generally I'd expect if we had a difficulty setting in Souls it would be something like Fallen Order (and others likely) did, where the dodge/parry windows just get wider. Or maybe enemy aggression (although I've seen that be stated as such, and then it literally becomes that the "aggressive" enemy has accelerated frames that screws up combat. Not that Souls is at all tight enough for that to generally be an issue).