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Dark Souls 2 details - new Covenant, player summoning changes, spells and items

Witching Urn, War spell, Agility stat and more revealed

In some games, relinquishing your humanity in order to totter around the world as an emaciated corpse is a Bad Thing. In Dark Souls, it's a recipe for comparative peace and quiet. Other players can't invade your world and murder/troll you while you're undead, see. Except now, it seems, they can. New Dark Souls 2 details have surfaced care of Polygon and Gamespot, hinting at a game that's far more PvP-oriented than the original.

Nowadays, assuming the guise of a hungover Nosferatu is no defence against player invasions, and also places you at a huge statistical disadvantage: every time you revive as an undead, the game will chip a fraction off your total health, to a possible maximum of 50 per cent. There are also changes to how players recover their humanity: you'll use an item named Human Effigy to revive, rather than spending Humanity items at a bonfire, which could make for a pacier experience with less backtracking.

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You can still summon players to aid you against perfidious trespassers, of course, and there's a new Covenant, the Way of the Blue, which is effectively a sort of virtual bodyguard, automatically conjuring up a Blue Sentinel ally when a Black Phantom invades your world. There are now two types of White Soapstone you can use to summon players - a smaller one which can only be used in particular places, and a larger one which awards the summoned player a Token of Fidelity when he or she successfully aids the host.

The duration of a summon is now limited by the size of your Soapstone, which decreases every time the summoned player slays a foe. Players aren't automatically disappeared on reaching certain in-game milestones, such as beating a boss, though From Software may arrange matters so that a summoned player can actually de-summon in the middle of a boss fight. Which would be terribly nasty. I'm not sure I'd have survived Ornstein and/or Smaugh on my lonesome.

Players can now equip up to three items per hand, and the quick inventory slot has been expanded to a maximum of 10 items. New tools of war include the Witching Urn, which is basically a grenade, and the War spell, which boosts ally attack and defence. Speaking of stats, Dexterity now affects poison and bleeding status effects, and there's a new attribute, Agility, which pays into evasion and blocking.

It all sounds utterly horrific, which is precisely what the doctor ordered. Namco's Takeshi Miyazoe told OXM the other week that From doesn't feel it needs to dramatically overhaul Dark Souls' online systems in order to see off similarly structured competitors - "we feel there's a core element of the network online play that is unique to Dark Souls, and that the fans enjoy," he explained to us. What do you think of the changes?

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