First, my apologies for the lack of updates over the past two weeks. I spent much of it fighting a bad kidney infection. And the rest, as the title indicates, I spent playing Dark Souls. There is a lot I can say about the game, but today I want to focus on the multiplayer aspect and how it enhances the gameplay in a special way.
Not an MMORPG
I am not a fan of the MMORPG genre, e.g. the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online. Thankfully, Dark Souls does not fall into this category, and you’re not going to find yourself in massive player-vs-player combat (PvP).
However, PvP exists in the game. By using certain items you can ‘invade’ the world of other players. This happened to me my first day playing. An announcement came up on screen that so-and-so had invaded my world, and my first thought was, “Oh fuck me….” The player quickly approached and it was obvious at a glance that he (or she, but the character was male) was decked out with an impressive armory and gear. Not knowing what to do, I made a ’gesture’, Dark Soul’s version of emotes, since you cannot chat directly. I bowed. Then a tough enemy jumped me and, to my surprise, the player did nothing to double-team me and take advantage of the situation. When that enemy killed me the player bowed over me as I lay dying and left my game.
Another time I came across a place to summon a player for co-op. Again this ended up being with a player who appeared significantly stronger than myself, and at least knew how to handle himself better than I. On top of the that it was obvious he was familiar with our current location, which is why he took point. Nonetheless, since it was my game we were playing within, he never ditched me; he never fought every enemy one-on-one and instead made sure we battled together; and when we reached the boss area he let me take the lead, which meant I was able to experience the surprise of the boss jumping out from nowhere without having it spoiled. Of course, once that fight began the other player did a lot to help me, but by no means made the fight a cake-walk and I damn-near died even with his help.
Here’s the point I’m getting at: multiplayer Dark Souls is a refreshingly fun game mechanic that bucks trends. Every multiplayer experience I’ve had over the past couple of days has been memorable, fair, enjoyable, and chock full of awesome. No one has acted like a ‘grief-er’ and that alone has made Dark Souls multiplayer wonderful. I love how, at any moment, another player may suddenly enter into my world for whatever purpose, and for that reason I think constantly playing online greatly increases the game’s charm.
In the future I intend to write more about Dark Soul’s multiplayer strictly from a game developer perspective, because it’s fascinating to me how much of the game design fosters PvP and co-op exploration. It’s been a blast and I’m loving every minute of it.
Again, my apologies for the lack of updates. Now that I’m no longer feeling sick I intend to return to my more frequent amount of updates.