So are all characters basically the same?

Just beat the Twins and I’m not in love with the combat system.

Pick a stat, pick a weapon, roll in, hit X three times, roll away. Or block. Or parry if you’re a genius. Once focus is charged, use your focus attack. Repeat.

Like, there are minor differences between weapons such as range, speed, etc, but do any of them really have a significant effect on how the game actually plays? Kinda seems like every character is gonna turn out to be basically the same, with mostly cosmetic differences.

I picked str/fai and used that lvl 1 pick with the fire boomerang ability for a while. Then I got a str/fai sword drop from a boss with higher damage but WAY more boring runes and I’m thinking to myself, no part of this really feels like ‘my’ character. I don’t feel like a Strength and Faith build. It’s just whatever armor I can afford to put on, and whatever single rune on my weapon I want to use after the laborious process of charging up enough focus.

I could focus on bombs and boost items, and that would feel different. But it’s something I could do no matter my character. So how far off am I? People who’ve tried multiple builds, how differently do they feel to play?

Main difference I have experienced so far is speed. I have one “heavy” character with a claymore, and one “fast” character with daggers and bow, who gets killed a LOT.

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I played both heavy and light build and they are very different. Especially with the heavy roll(also shoulder bash) and light dash differences.

I think range, speed are not minor differences at all. But if you simplify the combat loop to just press this then press that then wait for this everything will sound similar no game can escape that.

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Nah, I mean, if you look at any Souls game, you’re not approaching a fight in anything close to the same way as claymore guy vs a ranged spellcaster. They have completely different strategies and don’t even use the same resource for their abilities (mana vs stamina).

In this game, every fight is going to proceed basically the same way. Roll in, attack three times, escape, repeat until you can use your rune. Use rune. Repeat. There might be differences with timing and stuff between weapons, like if you’re gonna try and block with a shield vs rolling away, but I’m just not feeling that big sense of variety.

A major part of that is that you don’t use runes all that often, at least I haven’t been able to. So it doesn’t matter all that much what the runes are because they’re just a gimmick for the middle of the fight. I’ll have to experiment a bit more I guess.

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I don’t know what to tell you man it is just your playstyle in this game I guess. I use runes all the time and builds feel all different.

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Yeah, I think experimentation will be key. My main is a claymore character and it’s hard to get one attack off in the window, let alone three! Also that build can soak a bunch of damage, whereas a lighter one will not be able to so you need to be more mobile.

I have not made a focus-driven build yet for spellcasting type stuff, but presumably that will also be very different once you stack focus regen abilities.

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Not at all. For example, my double dagger rogue doesn’t really use the X button at all, only focus abilities. First rune is a gap-closing leap attack, and I follow up with another stabby rune that hits 8 times very quickly. With an affix on my weapon that grants focus on hit, he’s back to full focus after the stab attack and can either keep attacking or reposition. The only time I need to use X is if my rune attack gets dodged and I need another way to refill focus, which only takes three hits. My second weapon slot has a STR/DEX heavy weapon which I pull out when facing shield carriers. Third weapon slot is always a white item that holds the utility runes like Repair, Return, Heal Aura, and Channel. Also wearing three agility rings and have 25 points of Equip Load, so I’m lightweight, fast AF, and never run out of stamina.

On the other hand, my warrior has massive armor and health regen, with boosted healing effect. Poise through most attacks and swing hard. Totally different.

With so many dozens of runes in the game, there are a ton of playstyles I’m excited to try. X spam is only one way to play.

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I do wish your stat choice mattered a bit more. My dexterity character seems to mostly only have access to fast weapons, which makes sense. And pure strength seems to be the slower chunkier weapons. But some of the great swords require pure int, or int/fai - and they just … seem to be different great swords, with the same speed, that all still just do physical damage and have nothing special about them. Some additional differentiation would be nice. It also feels kind of bad to find a bunch of T3 curved one-handed swords and to have none of them require pure dex, especially since there doesn’t seem to be much special about the ones requiring str, fai, int, etc. Other than the fact that I can’t use them, even though I’m already wielding a T2 curved one-handed sword.

Same with shields, too. I found some shields that require pure faith, but they’re just the same shields as all the other ones. It’s just a matter of fishing for items for whatever stat you happen to have leveled.

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Sorta what it looked like to me. My str/fai weapon played exactly the same (except the rune) as the faith-only weapon I started with. When I got the upgrade boss drop weapon, it still played the same, just with different runes. Kinda seemed like, at least regarding the first several weapons I tried, it made no meaningful difference if I picked str, str/fai, or faith. I just found a 45 faith staff that has some fire runes, and that might have been different and cool, if it had been something you could use from the start.