Wow that was a long post
I wasn't trying to have a go at you Matt for what it's worth. Sorry if I came across a bit strong.
I do wanna address this bit:
The Watching Artist wrote:
Karl_ wrote:the game actively encourages it.
Alas I'm going to have disagree with you here. The fact that its hidden behind the hollowing system and requires a resource and then you have to find the spot tells me otherwise. The first time I saw a summoning sign was in Sens Fortress. Which is what? A 3rd of the way into the game? I had little idea what it was or why I could see it. The fact Jawa, if he decides to summon, is going to have to ask how to do it again tell me the opposite. Heck in this case in order to do it he had to be told to go hollow to fight her in the first place. And even after doing so the game gives you no indication that she will be around to summon later. So many hoops the player has to jump though. I just cant agree the game encourages it. I'd imagine most players just go about the game hollow because there is no real reason to be human. So dont see them. Its what happened to me.
The intro to the game is all about it though.
You arrive at Firelink Shrine and there's, like, ghosts sitting around the fire! What is that? Am I connected to other players somehow?
You start seeing messages and they're clearly different to the developer ones: some are funny, some are helpful, some troll you. One of the bad ones has a bloodstain next to it, and you watch the clip of a different, more unfortunate player and realise ah, I guess I shouldn't Try Jumping after all
. Then you reach the Male Undead Merchant and he sells you the Orange Soapstone, whose description reads: "Messages transmit to other worlds, where they are rated. Also, rate messages of others. In Lordran, the flow of time is distorted, and messages allow Undead to assist (or deceive) one another." Aha! I understand now!
A little while later, you meet Solaire, who is such a huge part of the game. He's given this brilliant, iconic introduction, and he tells you about summoning in such a memorable way: "So, what do you say? Why not help one another on this lonely journey? Use this, to summon one another as spirits, cross the gaps between the worlds, and engage in jolly co-operation! ...I am a warrior of the sun! Spot my summon signature easily by its brilliant aura. If you miss it, you must be blind!"
The item description of the White Soapstone he gives you says: "Leave summon sign. Be summoned to another world as a phantom through your sign, and defeat the area boss to acquire humanity."
Solaire then pops up periodically to remind you about summoning, and generally be a ray of light in the dark world. If you do the Hydra
before Quelaag - which Jawa didn't but many players might - and then kill the Golden Crystal Golem
, you free Dusk of Oolacile
, who can only be talked to & bought from by summoning her. She says as much in her dialogue: "Then, I shalt engrave my signature. If thou art in need, pray summon me from my signature."
I'm not saying the link between all that lore and the actual game mechanics - reverse hollow then find a signature near a boss door - is necessarily obvious, but I think the game gives you enough to be very curious about! (It wouldn't be Dark Souls without a bit of experimentation or getting hints from other players to join the dots together!)