By ravenous demand, the multiplayer awards category has been expanded to a full page. Though traditionally viewed as a "niche" by the 'Wards, the multiplayer community is easily as expansive and diverse (if not more so) than the single-player segment, and trying to sum up the entire community's efforts via a single award simply doesn't cut it any more. After last year's apples-vs-oranges battle that resulted in Velocity CTF and Kill Frenzy being buried in favor of WhoDunIt (despite all three being stellar if completely-different wads), we felt it best to dedicate a full page to the multiplayer awards and hand out several shiny twin-caco trophies for all who deserve the spotlight. If some is good, then more is better, right? Just like crates.
- Alex "AlexMax" Mayfield
AlexMax is one of the biggest names in the Doom CTF mapping industry, but you wouldn't shout his name spontaneously when it comes to 1-on-1 big leagues... well, until now. After years of managing Zandronum's oldschool compilation of duel maps, he got the eponymous idea one day, crafted a layout and let it mature with whines and complaints of seasoned players for several weeks.
Considering the glacial evolution of the deathmatching scene, it may take years before the map carves its name into league maplists (or not), but it has the signs of what it takes. Rugged, simplistic looks, general layout inspiration by the great Toke, a pinch of Doom2 map01 and a gimmick of its own - the BFG just lying there, so easy to grab. Or is it... the Danger Zone?
Though it began life as a gameplay mod (such that it was even a finalist in last years' Cacowards for said category), the new and improved Samsara has recently began to shine in the Zandronum multiplayer scene (largely thanks to huge contributions by Ijon Tichy - props!). With dedicated maps, server options out the wazoo (punchdrunk mode!), and a ton of balance refinement all geared toward making it a killer online experience, Samsara rocketed to the top of the list for multiplayer picks this year.
But since this is the first time officially featuring this mod in the 'Wards, an introduction is in order. The core premise is simple: invite the heroes from all our favorite 2.5d shooters over for dinner then hand them guns and tell them to blast the crap out of each other for the right to lick the pot. What sets this mod apart from other attempts to do the same is the attention to inter-class balance. Each character has its strengths, weaknesses, and unique playstyle, but none are overpowered "easy buttons" despite each weapon and ability staying almost perfectly accurate to the source material. That's quite a feat.
All in all, Samsara is Doom's "Generations Arena," and it's a blast to play. After you've spent some time swapping between laying timebombs with the crafty Corvus to blowing everything up in a ludicrous fashion with Duke or Ranger, you'll agree. Probably.
- Ru5tK1ng & Hatred
Flowing rather surprisingly under the radar, here's a 15+1 maps megawad produced by two deathmatch scene veterans. Ru5t, an eclectic Jack-of-all-Doom, and Hatred, one of the most famous duelers, created a mapset that focuses on "newschool oldschool" gameplay that meshes traditional elements and layouts with freelook in mind and jumping kept as an unintended possibility that doesn't break the show.
The maps are fit for duels and low bodycount FFAs. Everything is kept roomy, very dynamic and unobstructive for movement, but the overall scale stays consistently small and resembles quasi-Quakelike techbases, or perhaps parts of Lazarus and GothicDM. Both authors are experienced and ballsy enough to casually put BFGs in their maps without making them overpowered deathsticks or hopeless deathtraps.
The mapset is also very consistent. The maps are similar to each other, but you can tell them apart from the competition. Like with Greenwar or Lazarus, the authors found their winning formula and kept faithful to it all the way through. Finally, there's very little chaff. According to Ru5t, they've been axing weak maps and areas since 2005, so they've ended up with a release they were truly comfortable with. Thumbs up from me.
- Espi Award for Lifetime Achievement
Top Ten - Page 1
- Back to Saturn X: Episode 1
- Doom 2 The Way id Did
- Unholy Realms
Top Ten - Page 2
- ZDoom Community Map Project: Take II
- Fuel Devourer
Top Ten - Page 3
- Forsaken Overlook
- Stardate 20X6
- Pirate Doom
- Swim With the Whales
- Eon Deathmatch
- Best Gameplay Mod
- Mordeth Award
- Mapper of the Year
20 YEARS OF WORLD RECORDS
The Sunday Sequence Break, a weekly news/chat speedrunning show, did a Doom special on Dec 8th! The episode was dedicated to Looper's incredible 23:25 Doom 2 WR and Doom speedrunning in general. The kind hosts invited Looper, Dime and dew to shine some light on our speedrunning habits, and let's be honest, we came on top. >:) Props to Dime and the TSSB crew for making this happen!
WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?
Staring down the barrel of 2014 and beyond yields a number of great looking projects, some of which we've been waiting for for a heck of a long time. Perhaps this year will see the release of things like...
We're confident that at least half of these are probably not vaporware! Hope to see you all in 2014!