Dark Souls is the best of all of the games. It’s not hard to see why – and I’m going to open this up like a game journalist in exactly this way since why the fuck not. Those guys are a bunch of hacks. But I’m writing this, so what the hell, who even cares anyway. Phew. It didn’t take long to get off topic, but okay, so, I think I’ve already gone over all of the Souls games in great detail. I’ll think about the things of various natures that I haven’t mentioned yet. I haven’t talked about Dark Souls 3, so let me just describe that first I guess.
Dark Souls 3… might be the worst game of the series. And I know what you’re thinking, whaaat, how could that be? Well, let me explain exactly the problems with Dark Souls 3, but first I’ll talk about some other shit. Dark Souls 3 is the only game of the series that doesn’t really have ‘builds’ – unlike Bloodborne. It’s kind of astonishing, but if you really really look at it hard enough, you’ll see pretty quickly that it almost doesn’t even matter what weapon you pick. You can do well with pretty much anything. Nothing seems particularly stronger than anything else, even in PvP. I’m not gonna say it’s perfect, there’s outliers like the estoc still, I think, and the dark sword, but those have ALWAYS been strong. Nothing has changed there. But it wasn’t in Dark Souls 2, the big PvP game that most people have played, I think. And that’s a big leap between games, Dark Souls 1 to 3, between that time there’s been two other ‘souls’ games dropped by FromSoftware. In Dark Souls 3 we got weapon arts, which are pretty nice, but it just so happens the Dark Sword got a really, really damn strong one.
So, let’s address builds first. They don’t exist, and I’m gonna tell you why. So let’s look at stats: we’re not suffering from a lack of space, like in Dark Souls 2 with adaptability. But armor is irrelevant! If you drop a whole bunch of points into vitality to get your equip load up, guess what your incredible reward is? You can MAYBE heavy roll while wearing full Havel’s and carrying his greatshield and a ZWEIHANDER, not even the greatsword. And the zweihander is one of the lightest ultra greatswords, if not THE lightest. Like, it’s insane the amount of dedication you need to have to get a good heavy build going – and I know what you’re thinking, ‘but that’s not optimized!’ – no, it’s not, but that’s what made Dark Souls 1 good. I think I’ve already said this before, but Dark Souls shouldn’t be about constrictions except when made up by the player. I want to be able to punish myself with stupid builds. I don’t want the game telling me what I can and can’t do, and that’s what this ridiculous weight limit does.
Let’s talk about more about that weight limit. At least in Dark Souls 2, being the first game where they actively tried to discourage heavy builds by splitting stamina and equip load into different stats, they at least sort of managed to nerf the build without ruining it. Havelmonsters were kind of a big deal, too, since we still had poise – I guess I never really experienced the ‘suffering’ of fighting those guys since I never really had much of a problem with them, I was a big fan of parrying on PC. Anyway, getting off topic, in Dark Souls 1 we have the 25-50-75-100 breakpoints. Dark Souls 3 has like, a 70% breakpoint? And that’s all. So you can pretty much wear ANY armour you like up to 70% equip load. I did some testing too, before the two DS3 DLCs came out, using Havel’s as the example of highest-end armour, and Elite Knight as an example of middle-of-the-road best bang for you buck, and it just so happens that Havel’s armour comes to around 35% or so damage reduction. Elite Knight? 25%. But the weight difference is ridiculous, Elite Knight weighs 24.30 units, Havel’s weighs 56.90! That’s before considering ANY other items, too, like weapons or shields.
So, at over DOUBLE the weight capacity required, Havel’s provides in exchange an extra 10% defense, and is pretty much guaranteed to leave you heavy rolling/unable to roll all game, unless you HEAVILY invest into vitality. Is that worth it? Well, no it’s fucking not, in what way is that ever worth it? I actually beat the game heavy rolling with a full Havel’s/greatshield/zweihander build just to test this, and no, it’s fucking inadequate against PvP in a serious way, PvE’s alright, but that’s not saying much. And the souls games all since Dark Souls 2 have had a trend of trying to teach you it’s better to just roll out of the way rather than get hit – as it should be, I guess, that seems to be Hidetaka Miyazaki’s kind of ideal. I’m okay with this too, but guess what, this impacts build variety – something desperately lacking in Dark Souls 3. Oh, and guess what, with the introduction of The Ringed City, we’ve got some new ways to make those dickass heavy users cry their salty tears – +3 rings.
For instance, the Ring of Steel Protection +3, on a set of Elite Knight, gets you to 38% damage reduction, all physical of course but who even uses magic in PvP anyway? Magic sucks more than ever in Dark Souls 3 (but I’ll get to that). So, were you wondering what that does to a set of Havel’s? Well, you’ll love this, 46% damage reduction. Putting aside for a sec that this much damage reduction is utterly insanely ridiculous, that’s now only 8% less than Elite Knight. So let’s look at the bare minimum vitality you need to JUST use Havel’s while rolling normally, which is a whopping 43. Is that really fair? Goddamn man, 43 vitality? Are you shitting me? Havel’s Ring +3 drops that to 32, and the Ring of Favor +3 on top drops that to 28, but that’s still using up three whole ring slots you could potentially be using for other stuff. I mean, hell, this is way better than nothing, but this is WITHOUT any weapons or shields equipped, and now we’ve only got one ring slot. For those curious, if you want that Havel’s Greatshield with that armour, you need 59 vitality. I don’t think this is viable at all for someone playing within the NG meta of like 100-120, whatever it is at the moment.
So let’s just theorycraft this a bit more, this mystical build I’ve just thought up, because this is sounding more and more viable by the moment, isn’t it? So, with 40 strength we absolutely NEED to run the greatshield at all, oh wait we fucking can’t because if we take that big piece of fuck, guess what? We then need to shell out a shitload more stats into vitality to get a weapon going. I don’t even fucking know, what weapons are even viable for everything right now? Let’s just take the dark sword, sure, and then we add some more points to get the chloranthy and bring up to 15 dex to use the sword at all, and… well, goddamn, it works? It works.
I mean, judge for yourself, but shit, that looks okay. You can roll, you can block, you can deal good damage… you’re using a cheesy weapon, but hey, it works? I guess you can’t take anything heavier than a friggin dark sword otherwise the perfectly fine balance will be tipped, and 125 seems like shaky meta, but it’s not too bad I guess. Huh. Well how about that.
Take this as you will.
So, anyway, I just wanted to say that basically all the PvP and PvE builds you see all boil down to, fast guy with weapon of choice hitting stuff – it’s not at all how it was in the other games where it felt like everyone was very different, even Bloodborne had a sense of uniqueness to it (mostly). But what this stupid build I’ve just made does declare, is that anything below the most extreme of weight conditions CAN be run…
I was going to complain here that Dark Souls 3 was ultimately not a souls game, and resembled Bloodborne more, but whatever I guess. I was going to complain about the DLC not really bringing to the table the fresh new PvP we needed to keep DS3 going, but I guess it did help to bring some balance to someone, so hey, whatever.
I’ll talk about Bloodborne some time soon.