Do not defend fake difficulty!
When I think of 'fake difficulty', I think of things like how increasing the difficulty in Fallout 3 gives enemies more health and damage. I'm genuinely curious as to how you'd define it. Or what you'd consider 'real' difficulty - examples would be good!
to object to the notion that Dark Souls is all about 'rote memorization', too, as I have when you've said the same thing in the past. Knowing what an area is like, or how to beat a boss, is not the same as being able to do it. Knowing, say, that you have to dodge the Looking Glass Knight's attacks to create an opening to attack, is not the same as being able to do that. That takes timing. Which, last I checked, is something like a skill. You won't get far without
knowing it, but just like in WoW, knowing how to do a boss in theory is not the same as being able to do it - and not just because you don't meet a certain gear level.
If the stupid effigies were more plentiful, then that would have been fine. But there is a finite number of them in the game.
In a single game, it should be possible to gather literally hundreds of them. Granted, they may not be available to you at the time when you need them, but that's why you have to conserve them. You don't have to use them at a bonfire, which I think is a great change as you don't have to waste them by dying before getting to a boss, so if an area is giving you trouble, save them until the boss ( if you have to - or do the boss without! ). The ring that limits HP loss is great, too, as you lose a maximum of 25% health with that. If you're playing well enough, that should be enough to keep you going except in the most extreme cases.
I agree the Humanity system in Dark Souls was better in some ways, but given the changes made ( no Humanity stat, no humanity scaling weapons ), it was sort of necessary to change it. Having unlimited effigies and no humanity stat would've made it pointless to have in the first place. I can't see any sort of compromise working out, as it connects to all the changes they made with enemy respawns and so on.
It's also possible to become human without them. There's a shrine in Shrine of Amana, and assisting other players will eventually turn you human.