Dark Souls is hard. Like, really hard. It will make you rage, cuss, and ultimately - feel super accomplished. That being said, there are some strange modifications out there for games, and we've seen some of the best of the best. On that note, there's a different kind of mod for the notoriously challenging title and it makes it anything but that. Well, sort of.
The latest mod basically redesigns Dark Souls levels to create your own gameplay experience, even by letting players completely erase all of the enemies found during certain parts of the narrative. We joke about this being for those who can't "git gud," but in reality - it's actually a neat experience, especially for those that have already beat the game and earned their brutal stripes. This mod allows players to thoroughly explore the beautiful, albeit dark, world in this epic franchise. Traversing the Iron Keep without fear allows gamers to see what they might have missed the first time around.
So how does this level editor/repacker work exactly?
The modder took to his Nexus page to answer a few common questions that he's used to getting:
Q. In what sense is this a level editor?
A. If you've used Wulf's MSBEditor for DkS1, it's similar to that. Essentially, this gives modders the ability to redesign levels by moving (or removing) enemies that already exist in any level (except for Chasm of Old), as well as by adding entirely new enemies of any type that exists in the game. Basically, the community can design their own version of what the SotFS edition of DkS2 attempted to do, for either personal use or community distribution.
Q. If it's my own SotFS, I get to move items around too, right?
A. Unfortunately, not right now, for a couple reasons.
The level editor uses SotFSRepack (a utility I developed using BinderTool's core files) to repack changed files to the game archives. Currently, SotFSRepack only supports repacking to GameDataEbl.bdt; loot data is in a different archive, which I may support repacking in the future.
More importantly, the structure of the ItemLotParam files (where loot data is stored) is generated in a fashion which is poorly organized. As far as I can tell, distinguishing what loot is associated with which area and which entries are actually drop tables rather than pickups can only be done with a significant amount of manual labor (trial and error), which is why it's possible for me to randomize these entries easily, but is much more work to manually modify entries. Again, not to say it can't be done (as it can be done right now with Cheat Engine, a param patcher, and a relatively high amount of manual labor), but for now I'm not supporting it.
Q. There were a lot of big words in your last answer. Is this modding tool really "easy to use"?
A. If you follow the provided instructions, it should be fairly easy to use. The level editor itself is GUI based and very easy to use; the only potential difficulties come with unpacking your game archive and preparing a mod for distribution. If you already know how to run command line applications, write basic batch files to execute command line applications, and create and distribute *.zip files, creating and sharing a mod should be a bowl of Estus soup piece of cake.
Q. How can I distribute my mods?
A. Read the included README.txt, and see the sample package under Optional Files. The sample package is also a convenient way for mod users to revert their enemy placements to vanilla; feel free to distribute this package with your mod, or link to it.
Q. Will I get banned for using this?
A. No. FromSoft doesn't verify your 12GB game archive everytime you log in. Additionally, I've been testing it for over a month with no issues. As with all things DkS2+3 mod-related, though, I can't guarantee anything.
Q. What do I need to do to credit you?
A. I'd appreciate a shoutout, and a link to this Nexus page, for my time developing this tool whenever you distribute something created with its help. Please shoutout Atvaark as well, as his efforts developing BinderTool made this project infinitely easier. If you really appreciate my work, as a modder or a player of mods, feel free to endorse the mod, and to use the donate button on this page.
Q. How can I contact you?
A. The best way to get my attention is always by PMing me on reddit. While you're welcome to make new feature suggestions, keep in mind that just because you suggest it doesn't guarantee I'll end up doing it :) If you need help using the program, please make sure you have read all of the information I've already provided before asking for further assistance.
Preliminary note: backing up files is always a good idea, as there's always a chance of something going wrong. Back up GameDataEbl.bdt before doing anything, back up GameDataEbl (directory) after BinderTool creates and populates it, and back up GameDataEbl.bhd after extracting my mod to your game folder.
1. Get BinderTool here, extract the contents of the .zip to your Game directory. Should be something like C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Dark Souls II Scholar of the First Sin\Game
2. Open cmd.exe
3. At this point, if your steam directory is on a secondary drive, type the drive letter followed by a colon, i.e. d:
4. Type "cd gamedir" (without quotes) where gamedir is the Game directory to which you extracted BinderTool (copy+paste should work in cmd on modern versions of Windows)
5. Type "BinderTool GameDataEbl.bdt" (without quotes) and wait. Keep waiting. It takes a while.
6. Download SotFS Level Editor + Repacker from this Nexus page, and extract the contents to your SotFS game folder. It will overwrite multiple files.
7. Launch "SotFSMapEdit.exe" and have fun. The readme in the download contains more info on how to use the program and how to distribute mods.
8. Reload the areas you changed to see the changes immediately after using the "Repack to GameDataEbl.bdt" button. If you increase the filesize (add new enemies), a game restart is required.
9. Note: You may need to disable User Account Control or antivirus for certain parts of the program to work correctly. This has varied from user to user.
This tool, and any mods made with it, are compatible ONLY with an authentic Steam copy of Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin.