Dark Souls invaders have feelings too - Reader’s Feature

A reader looking forwards to Dark Souls III implores new players not to rage quit when their games is invaded online.

Like a lot of things in life, I suspect your first is the one you still think about.

My first Souls game was Dark Souls, so while the purists hark about playing Demon’s Souls on Japanese import, it has always been my favourite. I’m counting the seconds until Dark Souls III launches and thought I’d better get my skills back, as Bloodborne has taught me a lot of bad habits that don’t wash in its slower-paced brethren.

To that end, I’ve gone back to Dark Souls on PlayStation3, playing purely online co-op and player vs. player, and have been surprised to find how well populated it is. It’s been refreshing to help people who seem to be new to the game and finding things for the first time, but it has also been frustrating and I want to send a message to anyone who picks up Dark Souls III in April:

You have spent the last hour trying to find the next bonfire, you’ve reached a section that you’ve not gotten to before, then you hear an ominous sound effect and it flashes on screen that you have been invaded. So what do you do?

Do you invite this new challenge? Cry ‘Havoc!’ and wait steadfastly for this interloper, who you can already picture as just another ear to hang around your neck? Or do you freeze for a moment, whisper a profanity and hit the power button on your console?

I think the ‘click’ factor people often talk about in Souls games, when you stop being frustrated and start to enjoy the challenge, is when you realise just to let it go. You have infinite lives, who cares if you die again? The time you have spent hasn’t been wasted, you have been training. Wax on, wax off. That is what you should remember before you make that choice.

I’ve given you time to think it over brave warrior, so what will you choose…?

Of course you will disconnect. Even when you have infinite lives, if the last hour flashes before your eyes and Term1n8or349 invades, it’s unlikely it will be worth dying just to meet your new friend.

I know the fear, I’m ashamed to say I’ve done it myself in my early days. Disconnect, breathe a sigh of relief, restart your game and move on with your life. But spare a thought for the poor soul you have disconnected and the repercussions your choice will have on your fellow undead.

I’m a nice person generally. In games with moral choices I have tried to role-play and be mean to people, but I just can’t do it. When I invade in Souls games I always try to be nice too. Sometimes that means simply giving a bow before the fight. More often it involves dropping items such as humanity, weapons, or titanite as gifts, and even waving goodbye before either of us attack.

Then I invade someone who disconnects, and now is when swords are drawn.

As a recent example, I invaded someone who was in the middle of battling an in-game opponent. Trying to be fair, I waited for the battle to finish before attacking. I even dropped a humanity while waiting to be extra nice. After clearing out the computer-controlled enemy, the other player picked up the humanity I’d dropped and immediately disconnected. Well done him, but this is where it turns ugly.

The anger from being mistreated, that until now I have kept close, buried deep in the fire of hate I call my heart – I can no longer control its eruption and so I will inflict it upon the undeserving. The only thing you will learn is that there is nothing for you here. The only thing you will be taught is the meaning of regret. I will kill and kill, taking delight in dishonour, until I feel the injustice created by that one thoughtless action has been repented by the worthless.

Ten invasions later I start to feel calmer and that I should be respectful to people again. Then someone else disconnects me. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If you disconnect an invader, I understand why. But also understand how annoying it is for the other player, who has had to wait to be loaded into your game only to be immediately sent back to their own. It’s no different from quitting early out of any other online game. It increases vitriol far more than the game itself ever can.

The advantages of online play, such as messages and co-op, are balanced by the risk of invasion. You have to take the rough with the smooth (or should that be the Smough with the Seath?). If you don’t want to be invaded the solution is very simple – don’t play online. You are given the choice on the menu screen.

So next time you complain about how an invader wrecked your game or how they didn’t behave well, have a think about how they were treated in their last game. Or don’t think, just murder them instead, whichever you prefer. But please don’t disconnect!

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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