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The Problem with PvP in Dark Souls

Volknur July 8, 2013 User blog:Volknur

Now, just before I begin, I do admit that I am a bit of a noob when playing against another player. I also play on Xbox, so users of other consoles have had different experiences, but without further ado:

Have you ever had one of those PvP matches which has been so utterly frustrating that all you can say afterwards is: "WTF was that BS?!?"? Undoubtedly, most of us have. Anyway, my most annoying PvP experience was when I was summoned to another player's world as a Dragon Spirit (yeah, I know, bad choice of covenant to get to +3). I was expecting a somewhat long match, around about a minute or two, but just after I finish bowing and start applying a buff to my weapon, the opponent lets off a Crystal Soul Spear, which, seemingly predictably, kills me instantly.

That's not the part that annoys me the most, though. As soon as I die, the opponent has the nerve to make a "Well, what is it?" gesture. As if it wasn't bad enough that he didn't really show any real skill, he has the arrogance/inflated ego to suggest that he was "too good", or rather "too skilled", to waste time fighting me. Whilst I acknowledge that everyone has their own playstyle (though how original some are is up for debate), if you are going to use spells or weapons which one-hit most players, at least don't be a jerk about it.

This brings me to the main point: The problem with PvP in Dark Souls is that, from my experience, it basically requires a "need to get OP so that I win quickly" mindset; that is, you need to use some sort of powerful spell or weapon, and then max out how you deal damage with said spell or weapon, so that you kill the enemy as quickly as possible. I ask you now: Where is the thrill in that? By trying to accumulate wins quickly, it takes away the very point of actually playing against someone else in the first place, because we'd get so used to killing other so quickly that we'd eventually become desensitised when we meet an invader/host, and we'd probably start to think: "Oh wow, another invader/host. Time to kill 'em, I guess". I don't know about you guys, but I'd much rather have fewer, but more drawn out and thus more potentially satisfying matches than devote myself to almost constant grinding invasions/invaders.

The mindset that I mentioned beforehand pertetually adds to the problem, because it seems to me that almost everyone I've gone up against have seen a strong weapon or spell, and feel that if they don't use the same or better, they'll lose all the time. Before you know it, you have a whole armada of people using the same powerful weapons and spells and similar playstyles. It almost seems that we must conform to how the majority of people play, or be forced to be on the seemingly receding side where most players have their own playstyles and preferences. It is this behavioural absolutism that almost turns me off PvP all together. Why should I fight against people who clearly aren't going to change, when I can get more satisfaction helping a new player to progress through the game?

I'm not trying to say that PvP in itself is bad. Under the right conditions, it can be good for both the host and the invader. However, it's when PvP turns into "Playstyle of the Group vs Playstyle of the Individual", when we encounter player after player using the same weapon, spells or armour, that's when it starts to lose its appeal. At the end of the day, I realise that everyone has the right to play the way they want to, but I much rather play the way I want to, rather than have my playstyle dictated to me by the general will of others.

This is just my two cents on the issue, but please feel free to add any stories, comments, or counter-arguments you may have in the comments below. I also apologise if this seems borderline rant-ish to anyone.

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