If you ever wanna know what each Loading Ready Live stream is themed about…
that frustrating time when your friends finally start reading your favorite book or watching your favorite tv show, but all you wanna do is tell them all these spoilers and begin fangirling / fanboying with them and you just sorta have to restrain yourself and
Get cereal, Tony says.
Get healthy cereal, Steve says.
Pop-Tarts, Thor says.
Fuck it, this is the one Tasha likes. MOVING ON.
This is sweet.
Dark Souls is an artisinal brie with a crust of granite. The rich flavor is something special, but without proper tools you may have a hard time tasting it.
I made the plunge into this title recently, after cautiously skirting around the periphery with research. I have now reached the first major checkpoint and am eagerly looking forward to a long and satisfying experience ahead. However, getting to this point was not simple, and to that end I have compiled a list of tips and observations for anyone thinking about giving it a shot:
1.) Dark Souls is a very good game.
This might sound kind of glib, but I really mean it. The game’s good. Art direction is breathtaking, sound design is good, gameplay for combat and exploration is swell, it’s deep and atmospheric and one hell of a challenge.
2.) You are not obligated to like it.
Fans of this game can be very evangelical about it, but for all its quality the Dark Souls experience may just not be for you. And that is perfectly FINE. Don’t let anyone deride you for not sharing their taste in this title - it has been precision crafted to tickle the fancy of a narrower group of enthusiasts, and you may not be among them.
3.) Dark Souls is very challenging but not impossible.
Every single enemy in the game is like a miniature boss. There are booby traps and ambushes everywhere. The combat feels slow at first and has some subtleties that are tricky to master. But provided you have the information needed to learn how to deal with all this you will be able to do so. Regrettably…
4.) Dark Souls tells you nearly nothing about how to play it.
The first area gives you some bare bones to work with, but after that it’s nothing but unexplained systems and cryptic hints from NPCS. There is a difference between the joy of discovery and the frustration of not being afforded the very basics that Dark Souls is a little unclear on as far as gameplay is concerned. This is in my opinion the game’s only real failing, and luckily one that can be worked through. Dark Souls captures the quintessence of the oldschool rpg, right down to the part where you have to ask your schoolmate where to go and how to get there because the game won’t tell you. Doing a little bit of preparation such as reading faqs, watching beginner playthroughs an asking friendly, non-condescending veterans about the game will be a real help. It shares a lot with opaque Castlevania games of yore, which is appropriate because…
5.) Dark Souls is a Castlevania game.
Closely in the spirit of Symphony of the Night and Dawn of Sorrow, to be prescise. You follow a loosely central path through numerous obstacles, all the while opening shortcuts linking previous areas together. Once you hit a certain point you then have many routes through the world to explore. There will sometimes be an outrageously powerful guy hanging out in a corner guarding something cool. You will always be searching for the next save point and pick up a huge catalog of weapons, armor and items along the way. Sketchy shopkeepers sell you stuff and a blacksmith makes your gear better. Other NPCs will offer unusual services but not tell you what those services do.
6.) The stamina gauge is more complex than it looks.
This is something that is absolutely not addressed at all in-game. The green bar below your health is your stamina. Its size is determined by your endurance stat, and it refills quickly while your character is at rest. Nearly everything you do drains some amount of stamina, and when it bottoms out it takes a little longer to refresh. Running and jumping takes stamina. Attacking takes stamina. Blocking and rolling takes stamina. Being hit takes stamina. Holding your guard up slows down stamina regeneration. As a result, every few seconds of an encounter becomes a careful management of how much juice you have in you. This makes fights challenging and thrilling, but is just a confusing pain in the ass if you don’t know how it works. Unexplained, you’ll just be left wondering how your guard keeps getting broken and why you can’t attack or roll or why your character is just standing there like a chump. Answer: they are very tired.
7.) After the asylum, take the messages with a grain of salt.
The beginning of the game gives you some vital tips on the absolute basics, and you should read every single one. In the main game, online players leave simple messages that you may encounter. At the best of times, they will be helpful tips and warnings. At the worst, they will tell you to jump off a cliff. The rest are just cute jokes and observations.
8.) Take it slow and steady the first time.
Do your best to tune out the “helpful advice” of elite players who want you to skip past 2+2=4 and go right to calculus because it’s the most powerful math. Play it safe, take your time and learn at your own pace. Take little steps outside your comfort zone and eventually you’ll be crushing like a champ.
9.) The humanity/hollowing system is important but doesn’t make any goddamn sense.
The number next to your health and stamina bar is your humanity points. You will gain these points very occasionally upon slaying an enemy, and can gain them by using humanity items (which also restore all of your health). Carrying around humanity points makes item drop rates increase. You can also use up 1 point of humanity at a bonfire to “kindle” it, which makes that bonfire restore five additional estus flasks (health potions) when you rest at it. Furthermore, you can use 1 point of humanity at a bonfire to “reverse hollowing”, which turns you from a fried zombie back into a regular human. Being human is a double edged sword - you get a defensive boost and it lets you summon online PCs and NPCs to help you fight, but opens your online session to invasion by PVPers within 10% of your player level. They are there explicitly to kick your ass, and sometimes they are hackers. You can opt-out of getting invaded by random strangers either by staying hollow or by playing offline.
10.) Souls are XP and money. Avoid carrying a balance.
Every enemy drops some number of souls. You can use them to level up your character, buy items and pay to smith weapons if you have the required materials to do so. When you die, you drop all of your souls and humanity points into a neat pile marked with a green glow. You then have exactly one chance to get back to where you dropped it and reclaim everything, but if you die a second time that stuff is gone for good. Soul items such as small soul of undead, soul of nameless soldier, etc. can circumvent this potential loss. Cracking them adds a few hundred or thousand souls to your total and since they’re items until you use them up, you don’t drop any when you die. The best way to avoid losing souls is to not carry tons of them around if you can help it. Don’t be stingy, spend them early to level up and later on to upgrade your gear.
11.) There is no pause for the convoluted inventory system.
Opening your inventory doesn’t pause the game, and you have to make sure it is completely closed before continuing play. More than a few times I’ve not understood why I couldn’t move until I closed my inventory tab. Trying to articulate how the whole thing works beyond the basics and what all the shit it displays means would be futile through text so I refer you to a video tutorial below for that explanation. One important thing to note is that you can only quit the game properly through the options part of your inventory bar.
12.) Character basics
1At the beginning of the game, you can choose one of several classes and a gift (the rest is cosmetics like name/sex/appearance). Each class consists of a set of statistics and gear that suits those statistics. Your gift is an item that will come in handy in some way, but none of them have a huge impact on the game so you needn’t fret over the “right” choice. Each class template is only a starting point, and you are not hardlocked into staying what you start as. You could begin as a knight and end up as a pyromancer by the end, or vice versa. Leveling up works like this: at a bonfire, you spend an amount of souls to raise one stat one point. Every subsequent point raise costs more souls than the last. It’s actually a lot like D&D. What all the stats mean and what they do is its own explanation, but for general reference it’s good to keep raising the ones that start high for your class. Oh, and as Yahzee will also advise you, play warrior or knight for your very first time - they’re straightforward classes with a minimal amount of stuff to fuss over.
I hope these notes are useful and encouraging, because once you lift the heavy cover of this book it’s quite a read. Below are a few more references that I found useful:
This is the beginner guide I watched before playing. The guy is pretty friendly and thorough.
Yahzee’s guide, written with a great distaste for elitism and smugness:
Mumble mumble gameplay paths
Itsy Bitsy Spider
How have I not blogged this yet?
|—||Terry Pratchett, Soul Music (via chelonaut)|
single greatest insult to ever come out of a reunion
Hello everyone. I have done one of these before, to a small success. I was able to use those donations to rent out a room in a friend’s home. However the situation was never meant to be permanent and it’s an unstable living arrangement. I am looking to move out of state for the first time towards the beginning of June 2014.
I have the opportunity to move to Oregon, where I will have the chance to go back to school and get a job in a more stable environment.
This fund is to help me move from California to Oregon. The cost to rent a truck is high and I’ll have to sell or throw out most of my furniture to get up there.
This fund will help me drive up there, get a bed and a desk, and help with rent in the meantime of me finding a job on top of commissions. There is a reward system set up for donation amounts, certain donations will get up to multiple drawings.Those who follow me know I do commissions as well. Anything and everything helps, this is a really important and exciting opportunity for me!Commission information
Thank you everyone, and thank you for reading!
This is still very important and my first priority! Any donation helps so much!
I only have about two months to raise this money. I know times are hard. If you can’t donate, please reblog and spread the word. I also am still open for commissions as well.
Signal boosting this. Allie is a very talented artist, writer, and young mother who has recently escaped an abusive marriage (kudos to her, right?). You were all so generous to me in my situation—I hate to shove this in your faces—but there are 25,700 of you here and I feel it’s only right to raise the word for worthy causes like this one. If you can help Allie, please do.