May 23, 2020

Managing Expectations While Playing Dark Souls

What do you get when a rookie gamer devotes an entire weekend to playing Dark Souls? A lesson in managing expectations.

Also, lot of frustration and disappointment. But I’ll get to the last part in a minute. Let’s focus on the managing expectations part first.

Over the past few months, I’ve been spending a significant portion of my free time gaming. I figured, what else am I going to do during the constant lock-downs? Yes, they’re still active where I live, so I don’t have that much of a choice. And for the most part, my gaming sessions were challenging to say the least. I mean, what can you expect if you haven’t played a decent game since Nintendo?

Managing Expectations: perks of being surrounded by gamers

But, I have my reasoning behind my sudden urge to become part of the gaming community. First and foremost, I work at IndieGala. And the gaming community here is huge. Being part of it is fantastic, and just by writing these posts, I learn something new every day.

Secondly, my husband is a passionate gamer. He’s been in love with video games since he was a kid. So, my interest in his hobbies is just another excuse for me, to spend more time together.

But before I dive into my Dark Souls trials and tribulations, let me first mention a thing or two about the game itself. Firstly, we do have plenty of Dark Souls games to pick and choose from here at IndieGala. They’re currently on sale and if you’re a fan of the games… Hop in. I became an unlikely fan myself.

Dark Souls: What’s it all about?

Well, it’s one of the best games ever created indeed. Developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Games, Dark Souls is apparently a favorite among fans. Praised for the intricate level of design, combat and use of flavor text. Dark Souls has also been criticized at the same time for being difficult and unforgiving, which I agree to the fullest.

It’s also a third-person action role-playing game. Also, the game takes place in a large and continuous open-world environment, that’s connected through a central hub area. So, the player’s interaction with the world of Dark Souls includes a great deal of combat. For instance melee attacks, defensive maneuvering, and magical abilities. Furthermore, the player has access to shields, armor, dodge rolling, parrying and sorceries, miracles, and so on.

Dark Souls has minimalist storytelling (at the surface at least) and lets you muscle trough the game-play just by playing it and learning from your mistakes. Which is awesome. I may not succeed on my first try, but god damn it, I will on my 15th.

Managing Expectations: Who knew that this is so hard?

Well, to a rookie gamer like myself, for whom the pinnacle of game quality were the arcade games- Dark Souls is hard. And speaking of games, I did enjoy playing Tekken back in the day, and even some Resident Evil later on (and I do mean some). But this is at a whole new level. However, I did enjoy playing platformer games such as Mega Man just recently, and Dark Souls seemed like a logical step up.

Oh, how was I wrong? Turns out, Dark Souls is not suitable for a rookie gamer. Especially, the Prepare to Die Edition that I chose. I even sent a photo of the game to my editor, and he replied… “RIP.

That should have warned me about what’s to come, but I thought he was just teasing me. He wasn’t. I died and died constantly. My editor even tried to remind me.

„And you will continue to die. It’s in the title of the game“, he said.

In an act of desperation, I even visited Steam for answers, watched a lot of gameplay on YouTube, and even visited the online beginner’s guide. A guide for dummies, if you will, but I have no shame about that.

Learning form mistakes can be frustrating

I also switched classes, switched weapons and nothing worked.

Cut to the next day, when I decided to try again. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I’m no quitter that’s for sure. So, I began to think differently. I began to use my weapon wisely to kill the bosses. Not just flapping around my sword and shield at every undead I could lay my eyes on. Thinking about my next move, and somehow it worked. I got “gud”. Who knew? I guess it’s best to fight a lot smarter, not a lot faster/harder.

And speaking of the bonfires, it’s best to use them. Wisely. Which is another thing that I learned the hard way.

I took my time to read all the messages, explanations and I took my time in general. This game is slow, and your character should remain slow. Like really slow. Take your time, move slowly, explore the surroundings, and move the camera in every direction. I did’t really pay attention to the camera at first. Big mistake!

Managing Expectations
Isn’t she beautiful?

Eventually, things got better

Make no mistake. I’m not an expert by any means, but I did spend an enjoyable lazy weekend playing Dark Souls. And it was awesome. Martin was there to offer moral support and guidance through my panic attacks, cursing, and plenty of yelling. Bless him. He puts up with so much of my shenanigans.

While I struggled and well… died constantly in the game I learned a few valuable lessons: First and foremost, my patience is not my biggest virtue. Secondly, as a Millennial, I’m all about instant gratification. I need to work on those things by the way. I also need to work on managing expectations, but I guess nobody’s perfect. Ultimately, practice does make things better.

Not perfect, but better. And I’m all for that.

Your thoughts

Hi guys. I enjoyed playing Dark Souls. But I could use some tips from you on how to improve my gameplay (and “getting gud”). Any advice? Tell me all about it in the comment section. Would love to know your opinion on the game as well.

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