Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: FromSoftware

Fuck the gatekeepers

On the RKG Discord, someone wrote the words that are guaranteed to enflame me (even as a Pyro!): DS 2 doesn’t have an easy mode. It was said presumably to me and another person discussing the fact that you cannot start as a Pyro in DS II. I can tell you my immediate impulse was to cuss out the guy because it’s so fucking tedious to have guys (and it’s usually guys) whining about easy mode in FromSoft games, but I bit my lip hard and just wrote that being a Pyro in the original Dark Souls was not easy mode.

I have written countless words about this, but it continues to linger as a mindset in the community. And it sucks. It’s so not welcoming and it’s gatekeeping at its worst.

He wrote back to say that using pyro melts all bosses except Seath (which is funny because he is susceptible to fire), especially if you use PW (Power Within, a pyro that increases your damage output as it steadily depletes your health).

I said that you could say the same about any playstyle you maximized, which most people don’t do on their first playthrough. I pointed out that a Zwei+15 did the same, which I can say with authority because I’ve done that playthrough, too. He said that was fair, and I left it at that.

I’m still ticked, though. It’s such a stupid knee-jerk thing to say, and it makes the community so much less welcoming. There is already the belief that you have to beat the bosses solo in order to be a ‘real’ Fromsoft fan or you’re cheating. Cheating whom, I can’t tell you as it doesn’t affect me in the least when someone else plays the game differently.

There is cheesing in the game, such as using poison arrows to kill Gwyndolin without him ever disappearing for one. It takes forever, but it does get the job done. I don’t have a problem with it, though, because who cares? During my plat run, I had fun cheesing various bosses because I got bored doing it the conventional way. I tried the bomb cheese for the Bed of Chaos, but was only able to get one orb that way. I used the arrow cheese on the other orb, and then got the Bed herself in the old-fashioned way.

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Elden Ring, GOAT? No, but definitely GOTY

I’ve been watching videos of Elden Ring (FromSoft, natch) because why the hell not? I’m currently rewatching Eurogamer’s co-op during the Closed Network Test. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve played the game, and I’ve been thinking about why it’s not calling me back the way Dark Souls III does (which is still my favorite game of all time by a hair).

Before the game came out, I was concerned about a few things. One, the caves and catacombs, which seemed like the Chalice Dungeons of Bloodborne. Which, by the way, were my least-favorite part of that game. I tried them out fairly late in the game, which meant that I didn’t have much trouble with the first few of them. They don’t scale with your level; they are as hard as they are ever going to be. So, the first depth of dungeons are fairly easy. The second depth are that much harder, etc. Each Chalice Dungeon had three or four levels and a boss at the end of the level. There were set Chalice Dungeons and you could also randomly create them. The set ones were the same every time you went into it.

By the third or fourth dungeon, I was bored out of my skull. They all look the same and I got hopelessly lost more often than not. Plus, I felt there were way too many mobs, too many traps, and they just weren’t any fun. I gave up and never went back.

Until the plat. There is a unique boss at the end of one whole set of dungeons. You have to defeat this boss as part of the plat. I had just watched RKG do the Chalice Dungeons and followed Krupa’s Ted Talk guide. Then, as I was quite far into it, I realized that I didn’t need to do all the Chalice Dungeons–just the one chunk of them that had the unique boss I needed to beat. So I abandoned the other Chalice Dungeons because I just couldn’t be stuffed to do them. I still haven’t. I hate them. I honestly do.

Back to Elden Ring. I was concerned that the caves and catacombs would be like the Chalice Dungeons (CDs). They were for the most part, but not as annoying because they were spread out across the lands and because they weren’t as long or as elaborate as the CDs.

I did get bored of them after a time, though. I appreciated that they had different tricks to some of them, but they were pretty samesy for the most part. Tons of incredibly hard imps that did massive damage, including bleed damage. I hated these imps so much. They were way OP for being a simple enemy. Then, there were mobs of low-level enemies that chased you around. There are a few bigger enemies that you have to chonkbonk or avoid. There is some kind of status effect like poison or scarlet rot.

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How to talk about Elden Ring

As long as there have been FromSoftware games, there have been gatekeepers who are eager to tell you just exactly how you should play the games. There are also the fans who insist on bleating about how EASY the games are and you just need to GIT GUD. I had a running joke that any time you asked a question, any question, in a From forum, the first answer would be GIT GUD NEWB LOL and the second would be how that boss wasn’t hard, anyway, GAWD.

When I played the first Dark Souls game, it was years after it was first released. I got stuck on Kalameet and looked up how to beat him. Not only were those two answers prevalent in the forums, there was an added sprinkle of ‘just change your whole build into the one I prefer, and it’ll be easy’. I’ve done posts about this before, about how toxic the hardcore From fans are. I’m sure there is that subsection in any fandom, but From is the fandom I know best.

For the first several years in which I played the games, I never called myself a fan. I played the hell out of the games, but I never felt welcomed in the fandom for many reasons. One, it has a very bro-y culture. So much testosterone wafting around, you can nearly choke on it. All the ‘git gud’-ing and ‘LOL N00B’ and ‘summoning is for pussies’ really got on my nerves.

In addition, I sucked at the games; I still do. I can’t do a onebro or no-hit or anything like that. I can spend hours on one boss, which makes me a scrub. I’m OK with this in part because, well, it’s just me playing the games. I don’t co-op much, so it’s just me in my solitary journey. I hate the invasion mechanic and am relieved that if you don’t do co-op in Elden Ring, you can’t be invaded–at least not by other players. The NPC invaders can eat a bag of poisoned dirt, to be honest. They are way too hard for the areas they’re in and have infinite skills, stamina, and moves. I become incandescent with rage any time I have to fight them. To be fair, you don’t HAVE to engage with them, but my pride! Plus, they drop some really great loot.

I will say that some of the toxic masculinity that permeated the early From fandom has been mitigated to some degree. As the games have gotten more popular (meaning more kinds of people have been playing them), there isn’t one fandom any longer–not that there ever really was only one. But that whiny part of the fandom seems to be getting smaller and smaller.

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You say cheating; I say it’s in the fucking game

If there’s something that drives me absolutely batty as a Dark Souls fan, it’s all the hardcore fans who bleat about what is or isn’t cheating in the game. I’ve written about this before, but I’m doubly annoyed as we make our way to the release of Elden Ring. Here are just some of the ways you’re playing Dark Souls wrong, according to the hardest of hard Souls fans (who insist the games aren’t that hard, anyway). It’s a bit different with Sekiro because you’re very limited in how you can play the game, but there are still some things that are considered cheating. There are definitely cheeses for the bosses and the propensity to say such-and-such boss isn’t that hard, anyway. Git gud, n00b! And so on. And there’s always the flex that the game in general isn’t that hard; you just have to learn the rhythm of the game. Anyone can do it!

Side note: I’ve thought about this a lot because I’m so terrible at the games. I heartily disagree that anyone can play the games for a variety of reasons, whether it’s simply they don’t want to put in the time, disabilities, or any other reason. It’s really frustrating when Souls fans* refuse to acknowledge that the games are hard and not for everyone. “Anyone can play them!” Stop saying that!

I went back to Sekiro recently because I needed a game and it’s one I feel like I never really gelled with. I wanted to give it another chance because I could see what a brilliant game it is. An I’ll admit that I had a gander at what I needed to not-plat it. Because of what I’d have to do to get the not-plat, the smart thing to do would be to continue the NG+ playthrough (of my first game) that I had going. The problem with that was that I was stuck at Owl (Father), one of the top three hardest bosses in the game for me. It took me many hours to beat him and I didn’t think I could do it again. Going right back to him was not smart so I did a few other things first, like grinding for skill points. Why? Because one of the trophies is to get all the skills in the game. That takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r so I did some grinding. then I tried Father (Owl and…it didn’t go well at all. Not only that, I was too impatient to want to do it the way I hid it the last time (the long way. By baiting out one attack and ignoring the others). It brought back how I was done with him after five tries the first time I fought him, which was not a good sign.

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