This will probably be a long post.
No point beating around the bush. Here are some changes I’d like to see in Dark Souls 2. This is of course, operating under the assumption that the base game plays the same as Demon’s and Dark.
This is the single biggest problem with Dark Souls PvP. I’d say, in my opinion, but I think at this point it’s more or less a fact. Why would you bother hitting someone normally when you could hit them with much higher damage, and be immune whilst inflicting said damage? Poise feeds into this issue because people can stack poise, which allows them to get behind you to backstab without flinching etc.
Question is, how do you fix it? I have two ideas:
1) No backstabbing once combat has been initiated.
I feel this is the best option. I’m not sure how it would be implemented, but the game definitely has some sort of system along these lines – you can’t use a bonfire with enemies present, for example. However, this would mean that people would likely backstab and then run away to try and get “out of combat” so they could do it again. That would also give you a chance to heal though.
2) Only specific weapons (daggers) can backstab.
This is another good idea. But it would take away some of what makes Dark Souls combat. I would rather see those animations and the like changed to work in other ways though. But I still think this is a good idea; it would mean no more ridiculous great scythe backstabs being shoved through someone’s torso. It would also make daggers somewhat viable as they are more or less worthless at the moment – why use a dagger for backstab when a huge axe can do more damage with a backstab?
Where to start? Poise is both near vital for PvE and the one thing that broke PvP. The most common tactics in any PvP (and I’m not talking about high level honour duels) are simply to tank through attacks with poise, or to tank through attacks so you can run behind someone and get the backstab. As above, there’s a few ideas I can think of to fix this.
1) Poise locked to equip burden.
There are three different evasion rolls in Dark Souls, as opposed to two in Demon’s Souls (which I’m no expert on, although I may mention it now and then.) I think locking poise into these rolls would be a good idea. A basic example would be that, having more than X poise automatically makes you mid roll, and having more than Y poise makes you heavy/fat roll. This would stop min-maxing with equipment – people having 72/73 poise and fast rolling.
From a clearly balance point of view, you shouldn’t be able to fast roll (which is insanely powerful as you can easily avoid anything) AND still be able to ignore a hit from the other player in case you screw up. That’s how I would handle it.
- 0-29 poise = fast roll
- 30-49 poise = mid roll
- 49+ poise = fat roll
Just for a sense of what this would let you do:
Fast rollers could poise through:
- One handed sword attacks (20 poise)
- One handed katana attacks.(20 poise)
- One handed curved sword attacks.(20 poise)
- One handed spear attacks.(20 poise)
- One handed halberd attacks.(20 poise)
- One handed and two handed fist attacks. (5/7 poise)
- One handed and two handed dagger attacks. (5/7 poise)
- One handed and two handed thrusting sword attacks. (5/7 poise)
Mid rollers could poise through:
- Two handed sword attacks (30 poise)
- Two handed katana attacks (30 poise)
- Two handed curved sword attacks (30 poise)
- Two handed spear attacks (30 poise)
- Two handed halberd attacks (30 poise)
- One handed greatsword attacks (35 poise)
- One handed hammer attacks (35 poise)
- One handed axe attacks (35 poise)
Fat rollers could poise through:
- Two handed greatsword attacks (52 poise)
- Two handed hammer attacks (52 poise)
- Two handed axe attacks (52 poise)
- One handed and two handed ultra greatsword attacks (50/70 poise)
- One handed and two handed greathammer attacks (50/70 poise)
- One handed and two handed greataxe attacks (50/70 poise)
Of course, that is only a single attack. Imagine a third bar below your health and stamina bars, that’s your “poise” bar. Attacks drain it. But that seems fair to me, no? You don’t need to be able to roll through a claymore attack and still be able to take it without flinching. Another possible idea is to have another level of roll (there are actually varying degrees of fast roll, but the differences aren’t really very big) So that if you have ZERO poise, you have the fastest roll. I like this idea too, because it would give people who don’t use poise a little bit of an edge.
2) All attacks make you flinch. Poise only affects how much.
This is an idea I didn’t come up with – I heard it whilst watching a Peeve video, and I think it could work. I do prefer my idea, but either works for me. The idea is that EVERY attack would make you flinch, unless you pass a poise threshhold by a huge amount – somebody with 120 poise wouldn’t flinch by being punched or hit with a dagger. And having poise would still make you flinch, but different attacks would make you flinch more or less, and so forth. I don’t have any mathematics here, but it’s another idea to throw out.
Let’s face it. Sorcery is terrible. We all remember people blasting us with homing crystal soulmass when the game came out, and we all remember dark bead and pursuers absolutely tearing us to bits… but these days, who honestly gets hit by sorcery? All of the soul arrows are pathetically easy to avoid unless you aren’t looking. Dark bead comes out like a shotgun. It’s hard, it’s fast. That’s how all the magic should be like. You might think that’s a bit drastic, but sorcery is SUPPOSED to be powerful. And it’s not really hard to avoid. Sorcery needs to come out much faster, and should be an actual threat… but at the same time, having pursuers with such huge tracking and one-shot potential should need a dedicated build, if it should be possible at all. In general, the game needs to reduce the amount of emphasis on ganks. Backstabs. CSS. Pursuers. You get the idea. At the moment, sorcery is severely underpowered when compared to pyromancy and miracles.
Wrath of the Gods, Tranquil Walk of Peace (well, it kinda sucks now, but it still is a nice tool) Force, Sunlight Blade, Darkmoon Blade, etc. Miracles are well worth the Faith investment, and Pyromancy only needs an investment in Attunement, as it’s not stat based. So how do you make Sorcery more attractive? I’m only mentioning this because I’m trying to be fair. I don’t like playing casters, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be viable.
- Soul arrow needs to come out faster and travel faster.
- More spells with useful effects. Temporary invisible, weapon buffs, etc. How about spells that inflict status effect build-up? Such as a freeze or a mana-bomb/detonation.
- Area of effect sorcery.
- Area control/denial sorcery (non-damaging things like Force)
Consumables and Status Effects
Both games have had problems with this. In Demon’s Souls, anyone could build up huge stacks of grass and just keep munching on it. Dark Souls introduced estus flasks which really helped the problem… until people started having stacks of 99 humanity and duped/modded Divine Blessings. That’s one problem.
Status Effects are another. What is the point in poisoning somebody if they can just instantly remove it with moss? Bleed has the same problem to a certain extent, but Bleed is buggy anyway. Are there enough Status Effects? Are they balanced? By and large, yes. I would argue that Bleed weapons are over-used and perhaps a LITTLE over-powered, whereas Poison/Toxic are useless unless you are ganking low level players, because in a serious PvP scenario, every player is gonna have 99 of every blossom.
Consumables. Estus Flasks are easily punishable and you can only carry a maximum of 20. I think they are fine and don’t need to be changed. At most, I would suggest a cool-down. If you drink three at once, you should have to wait a few seconds before you can do it again. This isn’t really that important, but I am unfortunate enough to run into 2v1s where the host will literally stand there spamming 10+ flasks in a row to keep his phantom topped up as I am killing them.
Divine Blessings are too fast, but this wouldn’t be an issue if people didn’t dupe them. I would suggest a hard limit on these sort of items of around 5. Maybe you can keep 99 in your bottomless box, for people who want to play through the game through to NG20 or whatever, just so they can have 99. I also think Divine Blessings and other items that share its animation have a much slower consume animation, so you can punish it more.
Humanity is a middle ground. I would suggest either a cool down or a slower consume time. If Humanity took as long to use as the Heal miracle, then you could still use it out of combat where you are safe, and if you manage to use it in combat, you deserve it because the other player wasn’t paying any attention.
As for Poison/Toxic: As mentioned above, I think that using moss should be much slower that you shouldn’t be able to carry around 99 of them all at once. If you are getting poisoned, it’s your own fault in PvP. Again, a hard limit of 5 at once, and they should take a lot longer to use, to make it easier to punish.
And then there’s Bleed. I think Bleed is a little too powerful. Largely because of the Great Scythe – this is one of the weapons that really needs to be balanced. Sure, it can’t stunlock you superbly, but the damage output is ridiculous. With 14/14 STR/DEX you can output 522 damage with a +5 Chaos Great Scythe, and that also has bleed. Not only is that high damage, but it’s ridiculously fast. That is the highest damage starting weapon for the least amount of stats. If you want to compare with a few other weapons:
- Chaos Halberd 571
- Chaos Claymore 539
And those both need 16 STR to use with one hand and neither of them have bleed or such good movesets. You can use a Chaos Rapier with even less stats than a Great Scythe, but it’s only really good for backstab fishing.
That’s just at low level. How about a high level Great Scythe? Did I mention it has B scaling in DEX? That’s 474 damage with 14 STR, 40 DEX and when you put Sunlight Blade/Darkmoon Blade/Crystal Magic Weapon on top of that, you have a weapon that can do Greatsword level damage but with much more speed… and there’s the Bleed on top of that. Oh yeah, and you can dead angle. Basically, the Great Scythe and Bleed in general need to be re-balanced.
What other things need seeing to? As everything in this post has been my opinion, so is this. But there’s a lot of things that need adjusting:
Stunlocking. If you get hit by a Zweihander, there is no way to escape without abusing a glitch (toggle escape) and any good Zwei user is gonna know not to lock on and abuse the length and angle of that swing to dead angle you. I’m not sure how they could fix this. Because at the same time… if you get hit, it was often your fault. Should being hit once doom you, though? Not sure. I think it’s largely balanced, but could be adjusted ever so slightly.
Underused weapons. Fist weapons. Maces, clubs, etc. Do people not use the longsword because it’s not very good? Or do they not use it because it’s just too boring and they want something “cooler”? I’m not sure, but I do believe fist weapons and maces need to be improved to make them more versatile. Why don’t blunt weapons such as maces and clubs have a bonus against certain types of armour? Because armour is largely designed to guard against slashing. Thrusting weapons have been to known to penetrate armour entirely, and a morning star would just crush a helmet. I don’t really know how fist weapons could be made good, but giving them throws could be a really cool idea. It could also make them completely broken.
Parry/Riposte. I think parries are fine, for the most part. Because of lag it is really hard to comment on them, but parries are largely used to punish people mashing away with attacks. That said, not every attack should be able to be parried, I think. Let’s take the Zweihander, for example. I think it’s fair that you can parry the one handed weak attack, but I don’t think two handed attacks should be subject to parries. Alternatively, you just have to do it case-by-case and look at every weapon and determine which attacks can’t be parried. But if somebody is swinging Grant or Smough’s Hammer at you, you shouldn’t be able to parry that with your bare hand or a tiny little shield.
Item durability. I’d like to see fragile weapons be ACTUALLY fragile. A katana, for example. How long would you have to fight somebody before their katana broke? A hell of a long time. I would like to see people’s katanas just break (not permanently) if they are smashing them against a shield for minutes. Likewise, a wooden shield shouldn’t be able to withstand repeated strikes from a Demon’s Great Hammer. Nor should anything but a greatshield, for that matter. Blunt weapons > Shields > Katanas > Flesh. Of course, this might make blunt weapons overpowered because… frankly? They are .Warhammers and Morning Stars will break your bones. They’ll break your armour. They’ll break your shield. Likewise, spears in reality would wreck most things – although they should certainly deflect off shields.
Anyway… I think that’s everything. Maybe I’ll add more later.
What do you think?