If you've ever played dark souls you'll be familiar with these two things:
- Death, a lot of it by the way.
- Leveling up.
Dark souls is by no means an easy game, I mean just after starting you're already going up against this huge freaking demon 4 times your size! It's not easy but that's what makes it so intriguing.
But enough of that, I'm here to talk about the leveling up system. In dark souls leveling up consists of two parts, collecting souls, which are basically the currency of the game and leveling up at points called bonfires. Pretty straight forward. Beat up some enemies to gain souls, make your way to the bonfire, bump into a fairly weak looking enemy on your way there and think, 'Hmm, why not just beat him up for more souls too.' Then realize that's a mistake, because that weak looking dude wields the sword like Daniel Wu! And just like that you've been stabbed to death and lost all your souls. What a bummer.
Back to leveling up. Say you do make it to the bonfire and you level up. Immediately, the cost of your next level up increases, but not all that much. Your get more souls, you level up again and the process continues. At some point, you'll realize, leveling up is a hustle. Picture it this way, if I leveled up my strength, the price of the next level up goes up for any other level up as well, which may be stamina or health. Which means it's pretty hard to level up all the stats at the same time.
By stats I'm referring to the characteristics of the avatar you create in the game. In dark souls you can upgrade your avatar's health, strength, dexterity, resistance etc.
Trying to level up all the stats will make your character overly weak which is why most people focus on creating builds. There are a number of builds, such as the strength build, which focuses primarily on leveling up strength and dexterity build which focuses on, well, dexterity. I'm all about that strength build. Beating the living hell out of every enemy I encounter, I love that feeling, but my keyboard doesn't😂.
You might have gotten to this point of the article and are wondering, 'What the hell is this dude talking about?'
Well let me break it down real quick.There are two points I want to make.
- In dark souls, as in real life, the cost of leveling up increases the more you level up.
- If you level up too many stats at the same time, while your character may be level 50, it will be overly weak.
I am a huge fan of Seth Godin. In his book, The Dip he talks about the importance of becoming exceptional in a particular field. He says most fields have these periods called dips which are the difference between being mediocre and being exceptional.
Here are some quotes from Seth Godin:
"The dip is the long slog between starting and mastery. A long slog that's actually a shortcut, because it gets you where you want to go faster than any other part."
"The dip is the set of artificial screens set up to keep people like you out."
Anybody can quickly pick up a programming language in a few weeks. Your progress is astounding in the first couple of weeks, you're already dreaming of sending space ships to mars thinking, "Oh Elon ain't gonna see me coming," with a big smirk on your face. Then you bump into Algorithms. That's a dip.
Algorithms take time to understand and implement, they need a lot of practice. This is where the real test begins. The key here is patience and consistency. Rushing through the dip is not a great idea. Dark souls has multiple dips, I don't know how many hours it took me to finally beat King Knight Artorias! But one thing I remember is the sense of accomplishment, I had done it!
One result you'll get from going through the dip is a major spike in performance. It is easily the fastest way to advance yourself. You don't get buff by lifting tiny weights. You need something to push your muscles to their limit.
There might come times when you feel burnt out, when you feel like you are trying your hardest but things are not improving. Worry not my friend, you are in the dip. You are merely collecting the souls required for your next level up. If you truly want to improve in your craft, do not lose hope. Push yourself.
You are probably familiar with the term:
Jack of all trades, master of none.
When I started playing dark souls that's really what I wanted to be. I wanted to level up on magic, strength, health, intelligence, all of the stats! This is possible no doubt but at the sacrifice of a huge amount of time! No way I was gonna sacrifice all that time when I have code to write! When I realized this, I quickly switched tactics and went for the strength build.
Now get this, my brother had been playing this game for three months before I had started playing it. He would often complain about how hard it was and all, quit it for a few days and then be back. I managed to clear it before he did. Why? The answer is simple really, he had been leveling his stats equally. If he upgraded strength, next he would upgrade health, then dexterity and so on. His avatar was at a high level but was fairly weak.
That is the price of being a jack of all trades, you become mediocre at all the things that you do.
We are human beings, our lives are not infinite that means we don't have all the time in the world. You only have 24 hours each day and the human body has it's limits, that's just reality. Yes, it would be great if we could be the best at everything no doubt, but that's not possible. While you're busy upgrading every stat someone out there is only upgrading their strength and if you were to play against them in a PvP match, they would beat the living hell out of you and your equally upgraded avatar.