The PS5 remake of Demon’s Souls retains one of the original’s more complex gameplay systems and it remains just as enigmatic. The World Tendency system in Demon’s Souls alters the state of the many realms of Boletaria based on your actions, and the challenge they present, for better or worse. Depending on your choices and mistakes, you could find yourself exploring a dungeon that has increased in difficulty, yet also yields more significant rewards.
On the surface, World Tendency may seem like an odd take on a videogame morality system. But it helps to know what it involves as you may want to make some drastic choices in order to shift the balance from one side to the other. In this quick rundown on World Tendency, we’ll break down just what’s going on with Demon’s Souls’ more complex systems and how this intricate framework can greatly alter your game.
What Is World Tendency In Demon’s Souls?
In Demon’s Souls, your actions and performance will determine enemy aggression, rare item drop-rates, and even instigate encounters with hidden characters. All of these elements are tied into the World Tendency system. Each Archstone for the game’s five realms is assigned parameters that shift between White and Black Tendency, along with the other shades in between. Depending on your interactions with key characters, the circumstances in how you die, or even how you can help or hinder other players online, you’ll see a difference in the realm’s world state. This change is shown off as an icon on the HUD in the top left or in the remake’s new World Tendency sub-menu that shows each realm’s current state and your character’s tendency.
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How Do World Tendencies Change The Game?
From the beginning, it won’t seem like World Tendency has much of an impact on your game. But over time, you’ll notice that it can potentially make or break adventures through the realms in the late game and once you meet more of the critical figures of Demon’s Souls’ story. When you start the game, your World Tendency will be set in the neutral state between White and Black. Once you die during your ensuing runs through the world while in body form, you’ll enter soul form. Soul form is when your character has a faint blue glow and when your health is cut by half. When you enter soul form, the current influence of the realm you’re in will see a slight shift towards Black Tendency. If you keep dying in body form or make evil choices when it comes to the fates of key characters, you’ll dip further into Black Tendency.
To put it simply, World Tendency can influence how difficult the state of a specific realm can be and what kind of rewards you can get out of it. If you aren’t careful and keep running into repeated deaths as a human, you could see your current realm dip further towards Black Tendency, which will increase the aggressiveness of foes and lower the drop rates of some items. So, being reckless and dying repeatedly can potentially make your game all the more difficult.
Another side-effect of the dueling tendencies is that events occur during a specific shift towards either Pure Black or Pure White. One of the earliest World Tendency events you can find in the game appears on the first stage in the Boletarian Palace. If you have Pure White Tendency, you can find a gate downstairs from the first checkpoint open. This pathway will lead to an encounter with Executioner Matilda, who will be hostile towards you. Defeating her will award you with some rare items, adding some incentive to shift the balance from one side to another.
What Are The Tendencies And How Can I Change It?
Both White and Pure Black World Tendencies represent the various threads that will influence the world of Demon’s Souls. Each side of the extreme has its pros and cons, and in some cases, you’ll want to dip further towards one side to trigger some encounters and gain some added perks. Here’s a quick explanation on how the different tendencies work.
Neutral: At the beginning of the game, you’ll start with Neutral influence on each of the five realms. Within neutral tendency, which shows up as a grey icon on the HUD and in the Tendency menu, you’ll receive no bonuses, nor will you trigger any encounters. This normal tendency is the game in its standard form. While this can undoubtedly be preferable for many of the game’s more difficult realms, you’ll often be faced with instances of death or will have to make an important decision, one way or another, don’t get too comfortable with staying neutral for long.
White: This the tendency you’ll more than often want to stay in. Enemies will be the least aggressive and will have less health, and drop rates for healing and crafting items will be more common. Dipping further to Pure White tends to trigger character-specific events and open pathways to some closed-off sections. To shift to pure white, you should remain in body form as long as you can while defeating bosses, helping allies as a blue phantom, kill invading players (who only appear while you are in body form), and defeating bosses in the game.
Black: Pure Black is Demon’s Souls at its most brutal. Not only are enemies more challenging to fight, drop rates for some items are significantly lower. Once you shift closer to Pure Black, the changed state will also put you in a position to be invaded by enemies at a more regular rate while in body form. The upside to putting yourself in Pure Black tendency is that certain items and equipment can drop, and there will be a boost to souls gained from fallen enemies.
The most challenging aspect of the World Tendency system is coming to grips with how unusual and often unclear its messaging can be. It’s a strange system, and thankfully, the remake makes certain aspects a bit more clear. Still, it can be tough to keep track of the meta-changes to the world while also dealing with deadly traps, powerful foes, and seemingly harmless NPCs who might have some evil intent. The sooner you can come to grips with the system, the easier it will be for you to understand your odds of survival in Boletaria and how you can manipulate the systems to shift the balance in your favor.