[Dark Souls] Day 2
For the first time since becoming a father, and probably a bit before that, I played a game until 5AM. It was… ill-advised. For reasons unrelated to the game.
Suffice it to say, I’m having a good time in Dark Souls.
After spending mumble-mumble hours farming in the Undead Burg zone around the Bonfire, I started pushing some more progress. Dead bodies that have loot have a sort of white glow around them, and the fact that you retain items upon death naturally leads one to the occasional questionable strategic decision. Do I engage this clearly-powerful sub-boss dude, or try and run past him and loot the goods?
My first attempt to fight him actually went very well, until I died – got a lot of successful parries and ripostes, which deal massive damage. The next half-dozen were inexplicably worse. So I farmed some more levels, came back, and then… got curious how far he would chase me around. The answer is pretty damn far. Which meant I could circle back around an area, drop down to the dead body with loot he was guarding, snag it, and then re-engage in peace. As with many things, once the anxiety surrounding the reward was gone, I was able to casually poke him to death rather than committing to try and parry him.
In the next area, I went down a spiral staircase, encountered another sub-boss looking guy, and was one-shot through a shield at full health. Noted, game.
In the next area, I went
down up a spiral staircase and encountered the second main boss. It took two or three attempts to down it, but that was mainly because I don’t have a real good grasp on dodge-rolling yet. Does it give i-frames? Sometimes it looks like it does, and other times it clearly does not. Eventually I brute-forced learned the combat mechanics and down the boss went.
In the new zone, I eventually found the Blacksmith. This is actually the first vendor I found in the game. I am aware there is supposed to be another vendor in Undead Burg, which would have been real fucking convenient because 100% of my gear has came from rare (trash) drops from regular mobs. My character is a Thief with no Dexterity weapons aside from the starter one. I still don’t actually know where the other vendor is, but I’ll look later. Took down a sub-boss with the ole leisurely poke-in-stab, looted a reward that makes my health potions stronger, and apparently (hopefully) unlocked the ability to quickly traverse from this 3rd zone back to the beginning one. Or maybe that elevator was one-way?
Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me either way.
As the PlanetSide Turns…
A few weeks ago, SOE released a new weapon: the pump-action shotgun. New weapons in a F2P game is somewhat expected, with two different SMGs having been released the month before. I am starting to get the impression that a metaphorical corner has been turned with these shotguns though.
The problem? The shotguns offer a one-hit kill (OHK) at ~7 meters and less. A one-bodyhit kill.
It is nothing new that some guns are better at others at various ranges. Bullet damage decreases the farther it travels, and there are wild swings both in terms of Rate of Fire and Bullet Velocity amongst each factions’ arsenals. The difference this time, IMO, is reaction speed. If I see an enemy at the same moment he sees me, the fight comes down to a number of factors. Sometimes pulling the trigger first is the difference, especially when “bullet flinch” (which has thankfully been decreased) can cause your counter-attack to miss its mark. Of course, even if the enemy has a gun advantage over yours, you can still win with either better aim (headshots), luck (headshots), or environmental awareness (ducking behind cover, etc).
With the new pump-action shotguns, this has all changed. The outcome of any encounter is boiled down to a single variable: did the guy with a shotgun miss? If he didn’t, you’re dead. If he did… you’re probably still dead a few moments later. Your gun having a 1.27 second Time-To-Kill is meaningless when the shotgun’s is 0.00 seconds.
If you believe that the short OHK maximum range is a good enough downside, well, I would ask whether you play PlanetSide 2 at all. You see, for however large the “maps” are – and they are extremely huge – all of the infantry action typically takes place within 7 meters anyway. There are medium engagements, sure, but they are either always brief or consist of steady exchanges of fire from cover. The latter is necessary because tanks and jets will murder you in moments if you are spotted on open ground. Ergo, between the need for cover and that all capturable objectives are located in small sheds, a short-ranged weapon is no downside at all; especially not one with such a high payout.
In PlanetSide 2, you are either sniping or in bayonet range.
Honestly, something like this is probably less nefarious than it is inevitable. There are only so many “sidegrades” a design can accommodate before the number of permutations reveal downsides that aren’t downsides at all. Care has to be given to how the game itself plays out most commonly. A 30-second cooldown that increases damage by 10% is not the same as 100% damage cooldown every 5 minutes, no matter what it says on paper. Similarly, a gun with a low rate of fire and a high reload timer is irrelevant in a firefight that ends as soon as it begins.
There undoubtedly would be havoc unleashed should SOE come out and nerf the $7 shotgun, so I am not entirely sure what the solution to this newfound problem can be. Indeed, I have already resolved to purchasing the shotgun myself; not to fight fire with fire, but to eliminate the fire-starter before he can even react to the heat of my flames. The only reason I have hesitated is because, much like the SMG before it, another pump-shotgun variant is slated to be released soon. And it is entirely possible it will be more powerful than the original, which is how it worked out for the Vanu SMG.
Perhaps this new one will hit so hard it kills you again on the respawn. Or shoots explosive shells that damage tanks. Or both. The sky (up to 7 meters) is the limit.