Today marks the fifth anniversary of Bandai Namco and Fromsoftware shutting down the Dark Souls PC servers. On that fateful date, January 24th, 2022 (ok, it was actually the 23rd), a very nasty exploit became known to the Dark Souls community, the RCE exploit. I won’t go into what it is again, but you can read about it here. Since then, the Dark Souls PC servers, i.e. for Dark Souls 1, 2 and 3, have all been offline. Unfortunately, both the entertaining coop PVE and the soul-sucking, but also fun PVP components are torn from the game. I mean, Dark Souls isn’t Dark Souls without invasions. I’ll fight this fight until I’m empty.
But what has happened since this happened? Well nothing. Not a damn thing. I am trying to remain calm as I address this matter, but after 5 months it has been quite difficult to remain neutral. Given that fixing this difficult exploit is likely to require an enormous amount of resources and time. So I wanted to give Bamco and Fromsoftware the edge here. But after countless days that turned into weeks that turned into months, I gave up.
Bamco has done nothing but raise false hopes that the PC versions of Dark Souls will be patched. From the only update the Dark Souls community received on February 9th, 2022, to handing out “scripted” answers to those who ended up at the end believe the lies. Even PC gamer fell victim to the lies and, despite knowing better, published a hopeful article saying the servers were coming back. Sure Jan! I’ll believe it when they get back. And I’ve had enough of it. Sure, this is all about a game, but you’re in a gaming and geek culture outlet. What else am I talking about?
— Dark Souls (@DarkSoulsGame) February 9, 2022
While the fellowship has not been completely wiped out, the faith is absent. A few have resorted to hosting private Dark Souls 3 servers and I’m happy for those folks. At least with the Dark Souls 3 private servers, at least some people can still play the online features as the game was intended. However, not everyone is a fan of these servers, including me, as there is no protection like it Blue Sentinel Mod this can stop or at least stop hackers or script kiddies who just want to make people suffer. So yes I know about the private servers but I’ll pass – thanks. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one with this thought. But if you’re thinking of playing something that can resemble the Dark Souls Wild West, then go for it.
Even now, people on Steam have been leaving negative reviews for all three Dark Souls PC games because the servers were offline. These negative reviews have been piling up over the past few months and I suspect they won’t stop. However, I also suspect that Bamco doesn’t care. I would love it if they proved me wrong.
What’s next? Well that’s a great question that I don’t have an answer to. Bamco has yet to respond to the hundreds of emails I’ve sent them. My PR contacts have already told me to stop harassing them. And I get more and more depressed when I launch Dark Souls on PC despite knowing the servers are down. However, I hope that one day the servers will come alive and it will be like Christmas Day when I was a kid again. For now I’ve gone back to playing Dark Souls on the consoles.
Thankfully, the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S copies have a better experience than the previous-gen consoles. I’m not thrilled with having to recreate my characters, farm all the gear I’ve found over the years, and find new people to play with. But at least I’m playing the games that have given me hours of fun and frustration. You’d think I’d be over Dark Souls after 4+ years. No, it’s a game that will keep calling me back no matter what. I mean there’s a reason I’ve played Dark Souls PC games for over 1500 hours. No, I’m not addicted…I swear.
Maybe the servers will be back, but I’m dubious at this point. There’s little reason for Bamco to bring them back. Elden Ring is going well for them and a new update is in the works. It’s likely that Dark Souls has run its course in their eyes. It’s not that the game isn’t playable on PC, but it also won’t be as accessible as it was in the past due to the lack of co-op. Maybe I should stop caring. Maybe it’s time to move on. Who is to say that. But in any case, this anniversary sucks.