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Case Study: Dark Souls 3's Tutorial & Attempts At Increasing Accessibility

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8 hours ago, Corwin said:

Nice one man! I liked the presentation and diagrams too, very clear and clean. Good job!

Thanks, Corwin! And thanks for writing your fantastic series! I put a link to your article at the bottom of my post, as a bonus for readers who make it all the way down. :)

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Hope this doesn't count as a Necro, I'm new here but I really enjoyed reading that, the color coding on the diagrams makes your breakdown very clear.

Two things I thought of while reading it/during my own playthrough:

1.  Those crossbow guys often act as a signal to the end of a section. Looking back through the series I can think of quite a few times a CB enemy is the last one before a bonfire. I would consider this for three reasons - the aforementioned bonfire sign, the reward of an easy enemy to finish with, and a punishment for unaware players. How many times must I have died relaxing after a fight just to hear that 'twang' sound. If you haven't seen the crossbow, you haven't finished the area!

2. I feel gundyr being still is also a clever double bluff, and a doubling down on the playing dead you mentioned. On first sight the player (due to the previous section teaching them) will assume he is simply faking his death, most likely very tentatively approaching him thinking "you won't get me this time". But once you reach him nothing happens! The player then relaxes, "maybe this guy really is a statue,or clearly dead with this polearm through him". So they hit the prompt, maybe expecting a cutscene and what do they get? He really was alive all along! This has the great reward of catching unsuspecting/new/trusting players out, or giving suspicious/seasoned that 'aha! I knew it!' moment all while reinforcing what you said on never trusting an enemy in ds3 unless you killed them yourself.

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Hey Joshiraptor, 

Glad you read the article!

1. In addition to what you've said, I think the weaker CB enemies are a way of training the player to recognize and be fearful of the sound signifying a CB being fired. This is especially important to consider since later in each game, there are typically the heavier CB enemies who fire slower bolts that can do considerable damage -- even killing weaker VIT builds in 1 hit sometimes.

2. Gundyr is a really unique moment. My memory is a bit foggy, but I think he's one of the few boss enemies that the player actually gets to move close to, examine, and start the fight with a button prompt on the boss (as opposed to a prompt on a door or, worse, simply crossing a threshold into a trigger volume). I think it's really great when trying to onboard players, in the tutorial, that they control when this encounter starts -- but only the first time. After that, they're introduced to the White Fog Door concept if they die. And you're right -- never trust anything that appears dead in DS games unless you did the work yourself! :)

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No worries, was really interesting.

That's a good point, thinking of the heavier enemies later on. Speaking of that maybe not in the third game, but in the first at least I feel like the increase in CB difficulty prepares you in a way for the ultimate test - That damn pair of great bow knights in Anor Londo. In the third I got the impression it was more a throwback to the first, but it was quite successfully expanded on, and gave a bit more context for why they were defending that area. Nice bit of story tie-in to what could have been just using players nostalgia.

The only other one I would say that you get a view of is the greatwood, but that's more of a distant view of it - the player would probably guess the big thing sat in the corner is a boss at that point. I would agree it a really great method of drawing the player in both story-wise and in learning what constitutes a boss fight. In the third to my memory they got way better with those trigger volume bosses, but the first was horrific for that sort of thing. DS1 players must still get flashbacks to the Capra Demon fight!

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