Today I wanted to apologize for my last post on Easy Modes in Souls-likes. My post was supposed to tackle the discussion and present the different arguments for and against “Easy Mode” or Accessibility settings. I thought I did enough research on the matter but it didn’t show in my actual post as it was heavily biased and at times even insulting. Someone I respect a lot in the blogging community actually reached out and told me how they were disappointed at my lack of tact and how I used that many words to describe something that difficult on a level that basically insulted a big community. I never intended to insult anyone but I did and for that I’m sorry. I did read through it again at one point and tried editing it but I ended up just not being aware of how some things may sound to others. It’s obvious in hindsight but hindsight is also 20/20. The post was rushed and I was tired, on top of having to deal with other stuff, and hence, I neglected giving it a more thorough scan. That’s entirely my bad. The articles I read beforehand on the matter, just to get into the mindset of why you’re “against accessibility” in these games, didn’t help the case either. I wanted to avoid places like Reddit and actually read articles that were against an easy mode and ended up stumbling across a lot that were defamatory in nature. Similarly, I took a look at Twitter and just the amount of toxicity there was – but I didn’t clarify in the post how the “gatekeeping” was merely done by the very loud minority of toxic individuals on a toxic social media platform. It’s my mistake that I gave that more weight than it actually deserves. After all, a very loud minority is still only a minority.
And I could leave it at that after editing the post and just pretending that I never said those things but I feel like that’s lazy and irresponsible. I hate it when people try to act as if something they did or said never happened and hence, I want to address the changes I made in the post and talk about what my intention was, why my initial phrasing was bad and what the change is now. If you’re not interested in that, you can also just read the original post instead that I released yesterday (titled “Does Elden Ring need an Easy Mode?”).
After explaining what a souls-like or soulsborne game is in the first place, I boiled down the arguments that people have to two things:
“Intended difficulty/game design” and “gatekeeping”
My intention here was to say that there is a good argument to be made that the games are intended to be hard, punishing and frustrating. There is more to it than that but I then boiled down the second argument to people feeling elitist by being able to beat Dark Souls and other games in the genre while others can’t. This isn’t true for all people. My original phrasing just sounded like that. I now instead phrased it as “intended difficulty and game design” which are two different things that I also grouped together as one main point in the post. Those are now separate points.
At the beginning of the discussion I then mentioned somewhere:
“[…] Meanwhile, the fans of these games are against easier difficulty settings because… they suck? I don’t know. It’s basically gatekeeping in a nutshell. “Just get gud!” is what it boils down for them but it’s less sophisticated. Anyone that actually argues with solid arguments for accessibility settings or difficulty settings will then get bombarded by ten other people that are against it because they’re incredibly bothered by other people enjoying the game.“
This, again, was about the toxic minority of people on Twitter and even Reddit that are just against it for the sake of being against it. They’re the minority. I should have clarified what I meant but even if I had done that, this point doesn’t actually bring any value to the discussion at all. The phrasing “because… they suck?” was meant to refer to “because the easier difficulty settings suck” but I can see how that could possibly be seen as an insult and a direct attack at people. That’s something that I should’ve phrased just like I meant it to make sure that there are no misunderstandings. In the end, I changed it in the post by removing that in the first place and rewriting the rest of the paragraph to be less about gatekeeping. I also added a quote from an article where Miyazaki mentioned that it’s about players using their cunning and learning from their mistakes – and I linked to an article mentioning exactly that and some more.
Furthermore, since I removed the paragraph on gatekeeping, I talked more about the game design and how having an option to make the game easier already takes away from the experience, even though you don’t have to utilize it. That’s the game design argument and frankly, it makes my “you don’t have to use it” argument obsolete, which is why I removed that paragraph. That “you don’t have to use it” argument is really weak, actually, as I only just noticed after reading through the post.
Later, I went into how accessibility is important and how people don’t have to use the settings available if they don’t want to. “Others’ enjoyment shouldn’t hinder theirs” is what my arguments boiled down to. At that point, I said “I can’t really understand why so many people are against it when it doesn’t really affect them” which isn’t wrong or bad in any way, I think, but it can be read as this sort of “people are just complaining for the sake of it” argument that is technically an ad hominem. Again, I completely removed that paragraph because it isn’t adding any value. Its tone was toxic and biased.
On this note, I want to apologize for not adding any Elden Ring screenshots. Frankly, I didn’t know what would possibly spoil people. I took the Aqua-image from Konosuba as the header image because it just has been my go-to for the last few comment-style posts I made in the past few months. Similarly, I added DS3 and Sekiro screenshots to the post because they look good and they don’t spoil Elden Ring. I hope that makes sense…?
Anyway, I then go into how accessibility causes more people to get into the game. The difficulty of these games is a hurdle for newer players and hence, an easy mode would allow more people to enjoy these titles. Hence, “communities form, people bond, friendships are forged”. I then proceed to say something super bad like people being “very elitist gamers that don’t want others to join their club, even if it’s a club of one. It’s honestly sad.” This is clearly an insult and I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to add that into the mix. It was horrible by me. It’s been removed since. The whole community aspect of it is also rather weak as a standalone argument, so I grouped it up with others later.
My post then goes into how other games did it and how those games, even with their hard difficulties, give the player the option to potentially make use of easier settings to continue with the story after dying repeatedly. I also mentioned how “God Mode” isn’t overpowered in Hades and it’s only there for people that struggle a lot to enjoy the game, which is important because the game also has a nice story. Risk of Rain and its sequel are enjoyable even on the easier difficulties. You can still make the game harder though, which is part of the fun. This paragraph stayed the same. I didn’t mess up here because I didn’t talk about a large group of people, putting them all into one category.
BUT I noticed now how the comparison work because I mention roguelikes (like Hades and Risk of Rain) and “boomer shooters” (like DOOM Eternal or Serious Sam) which are very different genres compared to soulslikes and soulsborne games (ex: Sekiro and Dark Souls 3), which is why I added another paragraph to that post here right before the Sekiro screenshot where I talk about how the comparison could potentially not work. I also go into how I personally think that the experience I had with these games didn’t get lessened by the difficulty options being there but I also mention how it’s not a sound argument, so it could get dunked on simply because of how different the genres are.
At last, I said in the last paragraph that “the issue isn’t accessibility, […] the issue is the people that argue against it”. I then also go into calling these players and fans arguing against it “elitist” and “bad people” and “toxic” before then ending on an “I hope they get better” which is incredibly badly formulated by me. I can’t believe I hit “publish” on a post like that.
Instead, I actually removed that whole last section that was targeting people. As that very good blogger that reached out to me said: “Tackle the issue not the people”. I don’t know why I didn’t see that I was talking about A LOT of people when I actually just meant a small minority of toxic individuals. I never clarified who I meant or that it’s not all people… but instead, I came across as a bigot. Also, I never intended to target people but instead, just kind of did anyhow, which I find incredibly disappointing myself actually. Especially as I don’t know why I didn’t realise it immediately. For that, I apologize. The new ending paragraph mentions the community aspect that I deleted previously… but then I talk about how the game design perspective is incredibly valid in its standpoint. After all, “Outer Wilds doesn’t need a permadeath mode. Meanwhile, Elden Ring doesn’t need an easy mode.” They are different games after all. So, the conclusion to the discussion is that the game doesn’t need an easy mode, although I think that it would be a good idea. People can disagree with me on that but it doesn’t have to be in the souls-games.
At last, I’m sorry for not giving that post enough attention and I apologize for anyone who I disappointed by writing a post that frankly “wrapped up a whole group of people who enjoy the game while tarring them with the same brush”. It truly wasn’t my intent but with stuff happening, I guess I just ended up writing more and more and eventually, I was just too tired to actually edit it properly and read through it multiple times like I usually do. It’s hard to do that in the first place but it’s not impossible. The person that reached out to me about it is a great person that I respect a lot. Not only for what they do as a blogger but also for what a cool, kind, and admirable person they are. I’m incredibly sorry that I disappointed that person of all people and I hope that I can convince them that I’m better than this. From now on, I’ll do my best to never slack off and actually edit my posts properly, reading through it multiple times to make sure that stuff in there doesn’t sound as horrible as this post did. I know that I’ll slip up again but I want people to hold me accountable for my mistakes when I do end up slipping up. “Freedom of Speech doesn’t equal freedom of consequences”, after all, as I always say. That applies to me, too, of course, and hence, reach out when I say something stupid. I often don’t intend to say stuff like that but with my chronic headaches getting worse, my sleep being messed up again, and my lower back being in huge pain, I just kind of pushed out a post that was incredibly hurtful and horrible and bad. None of those factors excuses what I wrote. But I hope that this post right here redeems it at least somewhat. Similarly, the post that I wrote is now at a level where I can be proud of it again. I hope you like it now. Again, I apologize.