Belghast, of Tales of the Aggronaut and supreme ruler of Blaugust, has kindly provided some writing prompts to give participants ideas for posts. Today I’m going to use one of those ideas. The prompt is:
“What is the coolest moment you have experienced with a game community? Has someone gone out of their way to help you, or was there a really interesting player in a community you have been a part of?”
To answer this, I’m going to talk a little about an experience I had playing the original Dark Souls earlier this week.
As I mentioned in a previous post, even though Dark Souls is ostensibly a single player game, other players are always on the periphery of your experience. Their forms fade in and out of your world, and their messages of hope, guidance, and treachery form a core part of the games rich experience. As well as these more ethereal interactions players can also be summoned into your world to help with boss battles, or invade it for some red hot PvP action, as long as you are in human form. And vice versa too. You may enter the world of others to offer your assistance or a beating.
So, the other day I was running through Undead Burg when a message appeared on screen: “You have been invaded by dark phantom x” (I’m afraid I don’t recall the name). I went into battle mode; topping my health up and picking an optimum spot in the area to await my assailant (in this case underneath a large bridge with a dragon perched atop its turrets).
The foe was sighted. A red phantom, running at me. I quickly began to use the scenery to hide, anticipating that I may have the opportunity to backstab him. He dodges just in time, but I get a few hits in, which do remarkably little damage to him. As I realised that this would be a long fight which would depend on backstabs or parries for high critical damage, I feared the worst.
After a few seconds it became clear that this wasn’t an ordinary fight. As I swung my battleaxe toward him, he simply blocked or stepped aside, making no effort to counter attack or go on the offensive. It was soon apparent that he wasn’t interested in fighting at all, so I backed off, confused. Then suddenly he ran off, with me following close behind.
What followed then was even stranger. He began dropping items on the floor for me to collect. Over and over again he supplied me with useful utility items like homeward bones. Then, he ran on ahead again, and opened up a shortcut that would have been far to difficult for my low level character to open. Leading me to a precious bonfire from which I could respawn upon the deaths that would surely come, he bowed, waved, and exited my world.
This person was supposed to be a dark phantom here to slaughter me and take my humanity, not a servant of the light, coming to save the day at my behest like usual. The fact that he didn’t kill me made me realise that this nice person must have been running around their own world collecting items, then invading the games of noobs in order to offer them their assistance. Its certainly an unconventional way to do that, but it made for an exciting encounter that made me smile.
These sorts of bizarre interactions are one of the things which makes Dark Souls such an incredible and unique experience. Until next time mysterious phantom /salute.