Discuss FromSoftware and GRR Martin's Elden Ring, an action RPG.
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By announakis
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I have been playing all FROM games more than religiously since 2011 when I discovered DKs1 totally randomly. I was instantly hooked and started my decade of FROM software game addiction.
I started playing PvP obsessively in Dks1, doing invasions in the woods, duels in the burg. I was pretty bad but I recognized the potential and kept at it.
Dks2 came out and I invested myself fully into PvP became actually good then.
Bloodborne then came out and the netcode and overblown dmage on fully gemmed builds made me disregard PvP entirely exept in occasional gemless fighclubs. But the PvE is the best by far even today.
Dks3 got my game to the highest level in PvP because the community was large, the netcode good, the balancing great even though it took months to achieve.
Sekiro I did not like at all.
now Elden ring came out 3 months ago and according to many, it is already dying.

why? well I may have a few pointers.

First, let's acknowledge that FROM did a great job transferring their formula to an open world and creating a blend of souls and open world. The art direction, the responsiveness of controls are as good as usual (with a minor mention to the fact that sometime inputs disappear, which is a first in 11 years of these games). The addition of the mount Torrent is brilliant and feels so good that this carries most of the pleasure exploring this huge world in the first dozens of hours of the game.

but this is where the good points start to fade. The world is huge and this carries consequences as the first few zones are densely packed with wild life and points of interests and mobs to fight. Limgrave and Liurnia are the best in this respect. But as you progress in the game, the well crafted enemy placement starts to fade, reverting to scarce big annoying monsters to fight that you continually avoid (those crows are no fun to fight for most sane people I would argue). The worst is the mountain of giants that become litterally a vast frozen desert. At this point, what was fun exploration on torrent become a boring travel between point A and point B. You also are tired of figghting reused and reskinned bosses in the eventual catacombs you come across....
the well crafted world of the first 2-3 zones becomes uninteresting.

the zones where you cannot use torrent are usually the best ones, well crafted a la from, more classic: Stromveil, Academy, Leyndell, Haligtree and Azula are all nice "dungeons" because they are more like what FROM is used to produce.
interestingly, the jumping is not as important at all in these mountless regions: the verticality is stil there (mostly to kill you) but while then integrated it more in their level design, the jumping without torrent does not seem as crucial, even very accessory. So the world can be sort of split into mount zones and mountless zones: the mount zones are great for a while, especially the early ones but then they lose their incentive. the mountless are classic FROM regions and those are all great.

When you replay ER, the later mount zones are literally a drag to go through. You feel like it is work. I have played to completion Bloodborne over 150 times with different character over the years, each time with a smile. I have done Dks3 maybe 50 times with more unequal enjoyment.
In ELden ring, I have done 3 characters : RL166, RL125 for meta duels (coming back to this very soon) and RL75.
I will never play this game again with another character. There is no reason to: you can respect ad libidum, you can infuse any weapon with any damage scaling type you want expect for the unique weapon that are essentially all quality weapons. So my RL125 is meant for a quality classic split (30ish strength, 54 dex) that can use any weapon unique or not apart from the funky ones with high faith/int/arcane requirements. My RL166 is for casting...I can respec in any caster build as I want when I want. My RL75 is for plit damage low level weapons and strength build. Done. What am I gonna do apart from a lower level twink to grieve starting players in limgrave?

So when replaying a game is so damn boring in the second half, a lot of the player base for coop just dies off because what maintained a healthy coop pool for summons in previous games was that they were relatively small and dense AND that people liked to replay it a lot on many builds...ER coop is almost gone: 3 months down the track it is hard to find 2 signs at the gate of Godfreey or radagon at sl125! It is easier at much higher level though but high level alienate the main interest of the game for me:


and this is where FROM dropped the ball: PvP sucks so hard that it hurts in ER.
they continued their undermining of invasions that started in Dks3 to ensure most invaders do not face signle hosts but rather ganks. I am not big on invasions but I understand the frustration of invaders in this domain.
I am a duellist. I liked arenas in Dks2 and 3 because that streamlined the type of sport I like. Of course arena is gonna be implemented in ER eventually (at least we all think it is) but until then, summoning signs it is.
problems to fix in ER duelling meta
1) damage.
a duel in ER at meta (125-150) is about surviving 2-3 hit max.
most L2 can even oneshot 2k hitpoints, that is 60 vigor + crimson medallion and erdtree favor...
the damage imbalance is the biggest issue.
But even if this was fixed, there are other issue that need addressing:
2) passive poise
I cannot believe the massive step back that poise has been in ER: dks3 had it finally almost perfectly: you need a weapon with active hyperarmor frame to activate your poise. Makes sense, allows to leave skill and timing a place and makes for interesting use of this feature.
In ER, you just sit there with your massive poise and your dagger and you can spam your hits forever even against a 2 handed greatsword....what the hell is this joke? they should revert to a system giving way less weight to passive poise if they want to keep it and redirect the rest on active hyperarmor.
3) jumping attacks
does more damage, cannot be parried, is further reaching than normal ones and does not cost stamina...jumping in combat should cost stamina then I have no problem with this. In absence of stamina cost, jumping attack with a big weapon (or better, dual wielded big weapons) is OP.
4) toxic ash of war spam
Bloodhound step, honed bolt, and many many more are just plain cancer. whatever is left of the potential fun in a duel is taken away when you opoonent uses those. Some are insanely damaging but can be avoided or parried....others like BHS make the fight entirely pointless.

Elden ring is a great game by general standards. It is just a disappointing game for FROM soft. let's see if the next game they do is following the same trends of increasing accessibility or if they go back to what made their success: no compromise, git gud or move on. this one is clearly trying to please too many people to know what it actually is and it does not work on the long term, despite being nice and flashy for a month or 2.
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By Agurzil
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Hmmm, I think you might be a bit too fast to judge.

Your main PVE gripe is, that the 2nd half of the game feels bland... which was the case for almost all the from games. DS1 had an open and beloved early game and a linear blander late game, ds2 the same, ds3 was completely linear (a bit offtopic), bb had boring dungeons (I loved them tho).

Now, open world vs legacy dungeons: I think you've made the point yourself. This is From's very first game with an open world and that lead to a variety of quality, because they don't yet have the formula perfected. I wonder, comparing the cummulative size of all the legacy dungeons without the open world to the size of the other souls games, which world is the biggest.

And finally the pvp imbalance. I think this one is simply because the game just came out, they'll put the B-team on it and it'll get balanced.
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By Nunkuruji
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A low effort concept fix for PvP is to eliminate multiplicative damage buff/bonus stacking for PvP damage, and only grant a single highest applicable buff/bonus for the kind of attack you execute.

A main problem with New Game Plus can be Bell Bearing reset. Otherwise minor dungeons are pretty much skip, and you're just hitting up Legacy Dungeons on the run anyways.
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By announakis
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yep this would help a lot...also make waiting for those noobs to stack 3-4 buffs less intolerable.

@Agurzil I do not think so. If I wanted to be a Miyasaki fan boy I would say that this game is his critic to open worlds. He basically reused the codes of open worlds and managed to land a few good hits like Torrent in the formula but by and large, the issues typical of the genre are totally still there: farming endlessly consumable for utterly useless stuff, unequal boring parts....then you have additional issues that are enhanced within the souls formula: dilution of invasions and summons already very tangible in all areas of the game, atrocious balancing of PvP due to PvE focus...
I am not sure tha tthe game will be saved even with a potential DLC and arena and many patches at this point.

to be fair, I am having way more fun playing the totally broken **** they have given us at 150 and above than trying to play properly at lower levels. But this is just temporary because nothing in the current PvP really relies on skill. It is all exploit.
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By Nunkuruji
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The problem online longevity faces is that co-op summoning pools by locale aren't wide enough (or global), and invasion does not function like the wex dust mod (globally) - it still only checks to invade the small subsection you currently stand in. I guess blues are maybe global. I think this broadness will accelerate the inevitable death spiral if they don't alter the way multiplayer items function.

I took my Hero 7/+0 to NG+1 this weekend (on PC), and have been playing through the minor & legacy dungeons along the progress route: by zone, level and upgrade. These areas where there is no torrent I pop furlcalling, taunters, white cipher, tag a co-op summon without waiting, and then just progress quickly, and see what erupts for amusement. Spoiler alert: the co-op summon almost always gets vigor checked by mobs, lol.

Anytime I've got to deal with traversing open world in new game, it's pretty much dead/wasted time. For my taste, this a (small) problem with the replayability.

Summoning for boss fights has been a hilarious vigor check, but there's a few respectable twinks out there that survived the cauldron.

Pretty solid action all the way up through Caria Manor.

Co-ops pretty much evaporated at Ainsel River, Siofra & Nokron, with only a singular invasion at Siofra.

Will have to see if Nokstella and Volcano Manor pick back up.
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By SilentSynthesis
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I'd say the PvP is better balanced than it has been in any game previous. Build variety is simply unmatched especially in the RL130-160 range. There's a few kinks that need to be worked out but FromSoft is clearly playing their own game and understand some of the issues that affect PvP judging by their most recent balance changes.
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By Grehym_Blak
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@Nunkuruji Totally agree about the global invasion item missing, why the hell doesnt this exist? The small golden/red effigies are global, so shouldnt be that hard...

@announakis You're not wrong...I assume you have a buddy to dup single drop weapons, since you're not worried about a 2nd journey to get 2nd copy of non farmable weapons...That's why im going thru NG+ with my 3 builds...That being said, I definitely think having the lowest level mule build is vital. The challenge is fun and I find Co-Op/Invasion at RL 40 way more satisfying. Sure, the host more than likely has an over leveled phantom, but its better than every single squad member swinging OP meta at you. I love my RL 40 Gran-daddy-Sax "from downtown Julie Brown" sniper build...LOVE IT! Im currently clearing NG+ to get my dups, and Gransax Bolt is still KING, even limited to +5. I only have to clear Fire Giant and Loretta to open up entire map so I can begin to save scum and Co-Op at all levels btwn 40-150. But yeah, take another ride on torrent for low level life :cheers:

P.S. I miss the Bloodborne days, hope like hell we get another dip into stranger things :devil:
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By SlaveKnightKos
Mechanically, as a combat system, balance aside, this is by far the best pvp game so far. Movesets are more aggressive, fights rarely take more than 3 minutes, and there is no 2 hit combos. imo passive poise is actually good for variety, making it easy to keep fast, low commitment weapons from being overly dominant (a ss, cs, ts, and dagger meta is not my idea of fun), it is just ultimately over tuned. The implementation of heavy running attacks, crouching attacks, and jumping almost doubles the available moveset for every weapon. Ashes of war vastly increases customization in build making, and also makes farming out infusion materials nonexistent. Estus isn't free, backsteps don't have iframes, and backstabs have more than one check. It is just that everything that could go wrong past this point did.