Underneath my yellow skin

I suck at Sekiro

father 'dying' in the background.
Everything is on fire.

I was watching the RKG producer stream (for producers and posh slugs, long story), and the discussion turned to Sekiro, of course. The boys got their start with Dark Souls, and they’ve done every FromSoft game* except Demon’s Souls and Sekiro. They’ll be doing a Sekiro playthrough later in the year, and I’m profoundly grateful they waited to do it because I wouldn’t have been able to watch it if they did it at release. I won’t watch anything about the game I’m playing, and it would have made me sad to have to delay my viewing. I know they took that into account when deciding upon the timing of the playthrough. Plus, they were still doing Scholar of the First Sin (DS II), and they plan on doing the remake of Resi 2 next. In addition, Daniel has to play through the game first because he’s the lore master and the one guiding Rory through the game. The lore side of it won’t be too hard as much of it is explicitly transferred in text or dialogue. There is some subtext, and if you’re going for the best ending, there’s a ton. In general, though, it’s the most accessible of the FromSoft games, lore-wise.

Anyway, in the chat, someone asked about the difficulty of Sekiro compared to the other games. I said for me, it was by far the most difficult. Someone else said for her, it was on par with Bloodborne (she’s only up to Genichiro, but she has beaten him). Someone else said it was the easiest game because you just needed to learn the movesets. That, of course, was a guy. Dudes tend to state their opinions as if they’re facts, regardless of what the opinion or the subject is. In fact, there was a study that showed dudes (especially white dudes) thought the most expert opinion in any subject was…themselves. I’m exaggerating slightly, but not much. It’s from being the center of attention all their lives and having everything catered to them. Look how many of them lose their shit when something isn’t focused on them. A Star Wars movie dares to have a woman or PoC character? It’s an outrage! It’s giving into the dreaded ‘diversity’ ‘identity politics’ as if having all white men isn’t an identity politics thing.

I will tear myself away from that rant with difficulty because I’ve done it many times before and it’s not worth getting into again. It’s also not really relevant to this post except that I wish I had a tenth of that confidence. I know I undervalue myself in many ways, but I really don’t think I’m overstating it when I say I suck at Sekiro. With over a hundred hours put into it, I suck much less than I did when I first started, but the game still goes against everything I find instinctual. In Dark Souls, I’m a turtler. I hide behind a shield, and I rarely let it down. I’m also a caster, so then I just stay out of range and hurl my fireballs/hexes. I’ve learned not to have my finger glued to the LB, but I still tend to keep my shield up more often than not. It’s one reason I had a hard time with Bloodborne. In addition, arcane is not viable until the very end game, so I really put myself at a disadvantage when I started out. I knew I would because I had heard the warnings about not doing an arcane build on your first try, but I’m stubborn. I am a caster through and through, and I’m going to play the games my way.

NOT a friend!
You can’t see me. You can’t see me.

Side Note: I do suck at FromSoft games, but I’m proud of myself that I’ve finished all of them except Demon’s Souls–by the way, when I was visiting Ian, we went to a gaming store. They had a collector’s edition Demon’s Soul, and I was so tempted to buy it. They also had a PS3 for $150, and maaaaaaaaan…. The problem is, I’ve not enjoyed it when I’ve gone back to older games because I don’t have any nostalgia for them. I have a hunch that going back to Demon’s Souls would not be a positive experience, but I could be wrong. I think I’ll do it at some point because I’m a completionist, but I’m waiting in vain for a remake/remaster. I know it’s not up to From, however, so it probably won’t happen. Then again, I’m sure most Souls fans would snap it up if it did, so it’s just money sitting on the table. Anyway, I’ve brute forced my way through all the FromSoft games, which says something. It says I’m an idiot for not adapting, but in addition, it says I’m stubborn as fuck.

I keep thinking about why I play these games when I’m so bad at them. Besides the high I get when I actually beat a boss, it’s because each game is like a puzzle. How do I tackle this enemy, this area, this boss in the way that is most optimal for me? The me part is integral there because I know the limits to my abilities. Which ties nicely back to the ‘just learn their moveset’ nonsense in the first paragraph. I want to say that this guy is a good dude. I’ve interacted with him before in the streams and in the FB group, and I have no beef with him. However, the way he phrased his statement really irked me. Sure, it’s that easy if you have great twitch responses and have played these kinds of games since you were a kid. It’s a bit of the Dunning-Kruger effect (lesser) in that people who are good at something assume everyone else must be just as good or that it’s easy to be that good. I have spatial issues and my twitch responses aren’t great for many reasons. So, just knowing a boss’s moveset doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be able to defend successfully against said moveset. In addition, most people say parrying (deflecting) is so much easier in this game than in the previous ones, and while it’s true, I still suck at it. Blocking continuously, I can do because there is no stamina in this game, and I may get a deflect or two if I’m lucky.

One reason I don’t get involved with groups like this is because it can cause me to negatively spiral when I read something like the above. That’s a me issue, and I don’t expect others to change. However, it can feel like a pile on when I already feel bad about myself. Yes, I know the game is so easy and I just suck. Do you really have to rub it in? I know that’s not what this person was saying or the other people who say how easy the game is, but it’s how it feels to me. It’s why I hate reading the forums when I’m struggling with a boss and reading over and over that the answer is to git gud or how easy the boss is. The latter is just cruel and meaningless, while the former is useless without specific tips in ‘gitting gud’. Yes, I know it’s on me not to take what people say online very seriously, especially in gaming forums. But, how hard is it to give tips without the snarky commentary?

My post is not really about Sekiro, however. It’s about me not feeling as if I have any place in this world. I know most people feel like a weirdo in one way or another, but I’m a weirdo in so many different ways, and I don’t really fit in anywhere. For RKG, I’m too old and I’m a woman. Most of the community members are guys (I’d say 80%), which means dealing with the casual sexism that runs throughout any male-dominated group. The RKG community is by far the best gaming community I’ve seen, and most of the guys who comment are truly nice guys. But, they’re still guys, which means putting up with a certain level of dick jokes and unconscious exclusion. Add to the fact that I’m 20+ years older than most of the group members, and it’s easy to see why I feel alienated. I’ve already stopped commenting on the regular streams for the most part, and I’m thinking about fading out on the producer streams as well. While I’ve never felt unwelcome, I don’t feel as if I have much to say, either.

he's quite the expressive one.

Side Note II: I’m going to say something elitist and snobby here. I tend to think of things on many levels, and it took me until I was in my thirties to realize that not everybody did. Therefore, it’s difficult for me to talk about one issue without thinking of five related ones. Obviously, this makes it hard for me to have casual conversations with people because I’m jumping all over the map. I mention this because I find that communities tend to be myopic and only focus on whatever the community is formed around. That’s why I tend to get bored with them and move on after a given amount of time–things don’t change. A revelation: that may be why I like FromSoft games so much. There is so much going on, and it’s to your detriment if you don’t keep them all in mind.

I’ve always had difficulty connecting with a group. There’s usually something about me that doesn’t fit, and it makes things awkward. For instance, I’m a writer, and I like creative types. They tend to be more liberal, free thinking, and open-minded. However, they also tend to be imbibe more, take more drugs, and engage in riskier behavior. I don’t drink or take drugs. At all. I don’t want to be around people who are drunk/high/hallucinating. I’m going to be frank–I find it incredibly irritating and/or boring. You are not as smart, funny, or deep as you think you are when you’re drunk. That’s for the general you. It sucks to be the only sober person in a crowd, and it can be isolating as well. It doesn’t help that drinking is so encoded into our society, and people really take offense at any indication that they don’t handle their liquor well. I don’t think it’s wrong to say that even one drink will hamper your ability to drive, but apparently, that’s outrageous for many people to hear. I mean, hell, I know that my lack of sleep makes me a worse driver, so why can’t people who drink acknowledge that any imbibing is a negative to driving?

Do I have a chip on my shoulder about drinking? Yes, I do. Is it unwarranted? I don’t think so. I keep it mostly to myself, but it can be wearisome.

Back to Sekiro and the RKG group. What I’ve had to do is what I’ve done all my life–realize that the group is not for me. I enjoy the content, obviously, and I think the lads are great guys. I also think most of the people in the community are lovely people as well, but I just don’t fit in. Again, I realize it’s a me problem. I’m not going to find a group where I’m 100% comfortable, but I’d like to find one in which I felt, say, 70% comfortable. I don’t think that’s an outrageous ask, but so far, I haven’t found it. To be fair, I don’t hang out in groups for the most part, anyway, so it could be that I’m just not looking hard enough. To be doubly fair, I suffer from sometimes crippling depression, so I tend to interpret even neutral statements as negative sometimes. To be fair to me, I am aware of these issues, but I also know that I would do things differently if I were in the other person’s shoes. When I was in college, I breezed through it for the most part. School is one place where I can really shine, and I didn’t have to study nearly as much as other people did. This has not helped me with life in general, but it really made college easy.

The example I like to give is that I was taking a class in neuropsychology, which was not my interest at all. To be clear, psych is my interest, but neuropsych, not so much. The teacher took an unfathomable liking to me, however, and I did really well in that class. I remember there was an exam coming up, and a classmate of mine spent weeks shooting out questions at me when she passed by me on campus. I didn’t know the answers because I didn’t study for an exam until the night before. Again, I’m not saying it was the optimal way to study, but it’s what worked for me. She pestered me to study with her the night before the exam, and I reluctantly agreed. We met around seven, and she peppered me with questions again. I didn’t know the answers, and she finally gave up on me after a half hour or so. I went home, crammed for six hours for the exam, and then went in to take it the next day. I didn’t feel like I did very well, but they were essay questions, which were my forte. When the teacher returned the exams, she mentioned that she’d never given a hundred in the entire time she’d been teaching, and that she did for this exam. When I got mine back, I had the hundred. My classmate came over and showed me her results–I think she got a 78 or 79, and she wondered who got the hundred. She named several people in the class, and I just shrugged and said I didn’t know. I didn’t tell her, of course, because she would have been devastated that I was the one who got a hundred. I did find it amusing that she assumed I wasn’t the one to get it, but it wasn’t a faulty assumption on her part.

Another time, I took a class about Chinese history from the revolution onward. We had a paper to write, and I had a classmate who spent weeks researching, writing, and editing. I did all that in about two days and got an A or A-. He got a C. He complained to me how hard he worked, only to get a C, and I kept my mouth shut about my own grade. Why? Because I didn’t want to make him feel bad and because I knew it wasn’t fair that I could get an A without even breaking a sweat. That was my life lesson–other people weren’t necessarily as good at something as I was (and vice-versa). I think because it was such a stark difference, it really drove home the point to me that other people weren’t the same as me. I mean, I already knew that because of my race (wasn’t as up on gender and wasn’t aware I was bi yet), but it served to underscore the point.

Now that I’m on the other side, I can only be glad I didn’t flaunt my grades to my classmates. It feels shitty to talk about how hard something is only to have someone else dismiss your complaints and say that same thing is easy. Yeah, it’s true for the other person (though who knows on the internet?), but it doesn’t make me feel any better. Even just saying, “I found it to be easier than the past games” would be an improvement, but I know it’s a lost cause. I’ll have to continue my search to find a group that is more suited to me.


*The recent ones, not the earlier ones.

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