Hardcore Souls fanatics aren't done when the credits roll. For some, it's the beginning of a longer journey -- New Game Plus, PVP, different builds. Bloodborne should have followed the same path, but it didn't take long for people to encounter limitations. Between a new patch and an expansion, The Old Hunters, that's no longer the case.
Bloodborne originally shipped with 15 primary weapons, but given how each can transform, there's a way you could argue it's 30 weapons. However it's a paltry amount compared to Dark Souls or Dark Souls 2. While 15 options is more than enough for the average player, more weapons is what allows for aesthetic variety; it lets people to look unique in the game world. With only 15 base weapons to choose from, that can lead to players looking pretty similar.
The Old Hunters added another nine primary weapons, bringing the total to 24. Though the other Souls games still technically have more weapons, too many are useless or look exactly the same. It's easy to see why From Software went a different path with Bloodborne; each weapon feels different, vital, hand-crafted.
The DLC also includes a ton of new armour options. Combined, it gives Bloodborne longevity that will help keep people interested until, inevitably, Bloodborne 2 is announced. You never know what to expect when a player is summoned (or invaded) into your world -- and vice versa. That surprise is part of the fun.
The other shoe dropped yesterday, when the latest patch arrived for Bloodborne, and included this change:
- Trading for the Blood Rock is now possible. 60 pieces of Insight are required.
As with the Souls games, players are able to inflict more damage by upgrading their character stats and weapon stats. For a weapon to be fully upgraded -- +10 -- a blood rock is required. The story mode only coughs up a single blood rock per playthrough, unless you look up specific Chalice Dungeons and run through over and over again. The grinding is a pain, though, and requires players to equip Eye Runes to increase their RNG (the dice roll determining loot drops).
I'm not someone who is going to run through Bloodborne a million times, but when The Old Hunters arrived, I was excited to play around with the many different weapons. Some of them were so unique and cool! But without a blood rock, it seemed pointless. Inflicting maximum damage is vital to survival, so why screw around with a weapon whose potential is limited?
Dark Souls 2 introduced a controversial item called the soul vessel, which let players completely re-spec their character mid-game. It's a one-time use item and there aren't many given to you, but it's suddenly possible to play through half the game, realise you want to set up your character a different way, and not have to play dozens of hours and grind levels in order to experiment.
Bloodborne doesn't include an equivalent item, despite being released after Dark Souls 2. (However, series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki wasn't the lead on Dark Souls 2.) You can't re-spec in Bloodborne. Hoping to switch from a skill build to a strength build? You'll have to start the game over. (Grinding levels is possible, but as the levels get higher, the soul requirements become astronomical.) On one hand, this pushes players to commit and learn their specific style of play. On the other, it punishes those without enough free time to start from scratch.
Would I prefer the chance to re-spec in Bloodborne? Sure, but it's not coming.
Buying the blood rock for insight, one of the game's currencies, is a nice middle ground. Yes, 60 insight is a high price to pay, but if you've played through the game and the DLC, it's entirely possible you have more than double that sitting around. That means it's possible to purchase a few blood rocks, upgrade some other weapons to +10, and see if anything strikes your fancy going forward.
With these two changes, there's more variety for everyone. That's a good thing.