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Sorting Doom WADs by Difficulty (Charts are fun)

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Inspired by this thread:



I would really like the input of the community to help me build an all-inclusive chart where we sort any even remotely common WADs into a tier list based on difficulty.


This is super ugly, but it's a mockup of what I'm going for. Don't take it too seriously:



I didn't bother finishing it because it's ugly and dumb, but I think you guys get the idea. This could be so helpful for those looking to dip their toes into custom Doom content, but scared because they don't know where to start. It could serve the duel purpose of giving people many ways to climb the 'skill ladder', which is what vertigo's original thread was about.


I kinda think maybe there should be 5 sections rather than 4..


Anyway, what WADs do you all think should go where? Also can someone maybe help me build a less gross and ugly chart? :p

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Ouch, that's quite inaccurate me thinks.


I'd say something like this, based on my experience with the following wads on HMP/UV:


Coffee Break - Medium.

Icarus - Easy.

Aeternum - Easy.

Rush - Medium.

AA - Hard.

HR & HR2 - Hard.

Tangerine Nightmare - Medium.

Valiant - Hard.

AV - Hard.

Scythe - Medium/Hard (I'm undecided here).

Scythe 2 - Hard.

Scythe X - Easy/Medium (also never finished).

DTWID & D2TWID - Easy.

UDTWID - Hard.

Verdant Citadel - Easy/Medium.

Hurt - Medium.

Sunlust - Expert.

Sunder - Expert.

MM & MM2 - Easy.

Requiem - Easy.

Newgothic Movement - Hard.

Newgothic Movement 2 - Expert.

THT: Threnody - Medium.

Moonblood - Medium.

Exomoon - Medium.

Avactor - Medium.

Combat Shock & Combat Shock 2 - Hard.

Community Chest 2 - Easy/Medium.

BTSX & BTSX2 - Medium.

Deathless - Medium.

Darkest Room - Hard.

Speed of Doom - Hard.

Resurgence - Hard.

Deus Vult & Deus Vult 2 - Expert.

Doomed Space Wars - Medium.

Doomed in Space - Easy.

Entropy - Expert.

Epic 2 - Medium.

Eviternity - Medium/Hard.

Flotsam - Hard/Expert.

Hanging Gardens - Medium.

Vanguard - Medium.

Lunatic - Medium.

Innocence X trilogy - Medium.

Kama Sutra - Medium.

magnolia.wad - Hard.

Mapwich - Hard.

No End in Sight - Medium.

Plutonia 2 & Plutonia Revisited - Medium.

Rowdy Rudy's Revenge - Easy.

Return to Hadron duology - Medium.

Shadows of the Nightmare Realm - Medium/Hard.

Slaughterfest 2 & 3 - Hard.

Stardate 20x6 - Hard.

Stardate 20x7 - Expert.

Struggle - Medium/Hard.

Team Rocket - Medium.

UAC Ultra - Medium.

Unholy Realms - Medium.

Legacy of Heroes - Easy/Medium.

Disparate Realities - Medium.

50 Monsters - Medium.

Dimensions - Expert.

Doom 64 for Doom 2 - Medium.

Sigil - Medium.

Edited by seed

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Lets see how I sort maps that I have played (according to how my memory serves):



Doom, Doom 2, Fava Beans, Deathless, DTWID and D2TWID, Icarus, Perdition's Gate, TNT Evilution, Requiem, Verdant Citadel.



UDoom E4, UDTWID, Base Ganymede, Sigil, NRFTL, No End in Sight (haven't played E3 and E4), Memento Mori 1 & 2, BTSX E1 (I haven't played E2), Lunatic, Rowdy Rudy's Revenge (this is borderline b/w EASY and MEDIUM), Hurt, Order of the Odonata



Plutonia Experiment, Eviternity, Scythe, Vanguard, 2017 collection, Avactor



Scythe 2, Valiant, Ancient Aliens, Hell Revealed, Alien Vendetta, Struggle: Antaresian Legacy



Sunlust, Sunder, Entropy, Stardates (20x6 and 20x7)


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Excellent, thank you all for the replies, that is exactly what I'm looking for. Like I said in the OP, that's not a finalized chart by any means, I just tossed it together to give a general idea of what I was aiming for long term. I think something along the lines of what Urthar posted but expanded to include more material would be awesome. I'll work on one using DoomWriter.

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Sorry Urthar, but there is no universe in which Ancient Aliens is as difficult as SunLust, Stardate, or CS 2... You can move most of what's in Urthar's list down an entire notch, by which I mean have an ITYTD category where Doom and Doom2 can go.

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I played through Ancient Aliens on UV immediately after playing through Sigil on UV and can say that Ancient Aliens was much, much harder. Sigil wasn't very difficult at all. I'd say Ancient Aliens' difficulty was just perfect, at least for me. Sunlust on UV is legitimately brutal, but that's kind of the point. I've played through some of its maps, but not all of them. 

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I don't doubt you're right Nine Inch Heels, but beyond my own personnal skill ceiling everything looks the same, and I still haven't completed any of the wads in my Nightmare section.

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i like the idea of using the original difficulty terms for the tiered list as it would annoy those who say that uv wads should be as uv as the original iwads :D

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Doomkid if youre truly serious about this i would recommend a poll of some of the most mentioned/downloaded wads and then sending it out to the community to vote on which tier each wad should go into. or if you are concerned about trolls/ill-informed boobs, sending it out to a representative cross-section of the DW community (e.g. speedrunners, map-makers, DWMC participants etc.) who can be trusted to cast their votes without making stuff up or being silly.


it would be lovely if the chart itself hyper-linked to the download links for each wad as well.


this is purely annoying what-if-ery though, im too lazy to help on this in anyway :p

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my rankings


Very Easy: 2002 A Doom Odyssey, The Abyss, BIOWAR, Dark 7, both Darkenings, Demonfear, all DTWIDs, Earth, Fava Beans, Icarus, Jenesis, Lunatic, Mars War, Phobos (Roger Ritenour), Realm of Chaos, Rebirth, Requiem, Revolution!, Saturnine Chapel, Scythe X, Serenity trio, Suspended in Dusk, Talosian Incident, both Twilight Zones, Whispers of Satan


Easy: Back to Saturn X, Cleimos 2, Crimson Canyon, Crumpets, Crusades, Dimensions of Time, Doom 2 In Name Only, Doom 2 Reloaded, Double Impact, Dystopia 3, Erkattanne, Eternal Doom, Hadephobia, Interception, Legacy of Heroes, both Memento Moris, Moonblood SIGIL, Vile Flesh


Moderate: 1 monster, 10 Sectors, 1994 Tune Up, 2048 Unleashed, 3 heures d'agonie, 50 Monsters, ALT, Ancient Aliens. Bloodstain, all Community Chests, Congestion 1024, Doom Core, Epic, Eternally Yours, Eviltech, Evil Unleashed, Frozen Time, Fuel Devourer, Going Down, Heroes Tales, JPCP, Mano Laikas, Miasma, Mutiny, NDCP1, both NOVAs, Phobos: Anomaly Reborn, Plasmaplant, Realm of Parthoris, both Return to Hadrons, Reverie, Scythe, Slaughter Until Death, Stardate 20X6, STRAIN, Sunlust, THT Threnody, ConCERNed and Thy Flesh draft excluder, TNT Revilution, UAC Ultra, ZPack


Hard: 3 heures d'agonie 2, 3 heures d'agonie 3, 50 Shades of Graytall, Alien Vendetta, Base Ganymede, Cheogsh, Claustrophobia 1024 2, Counterattack, Deus Vult II, Epic 2, Equinox, Eviternity, H2H-XMAS, both Hell Revealeds, both Hellcores, Holy Hell, Kama Sutra, Maskim Xul, most MAYhems, Newgothic 1, No End in Sight, Plutonia 2, PRCP, Scythe 2, Skepland, Super MAYhem 17, Swift Death, Swim with the Whales, Tangerine Nightmare, Unholy Realms, Unloved, Whitemare 2, Vanguard


Very Hard: Claustrophobia 1024, Deus Vult, Disturbia, Newgothic 2, No Chance, Resurgence, Speed of Doom, Stardate 20X7, Sunder, Valiant


This thing sort of reminds me of that Tiermaker website

Edited by NuMetalManiak : forgot a few

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Maybe the last part should be Impossible or Nightmare! and put Chillax in it, jk.


I still think, at least you should have some small guidelines on the playstyle you're basing on. Playing saveless, saving sometimes, or allowing savescumming are different story. Another thing is whether you have foreknowledge about the map. Sometimes, maps like to suddenly restrict your resources in later parts and if you didn't save any resources, you might be screwed...

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Out of a few WADs I've played (and can remember the difficulty of), here's my answers (Also including Hexen/Heretic/Strife here):



DooM Episodes 1-3



Easy-Medium / HNTR:




Medium / HMP:

Heretic Episode 1-3


Ultimate DooM - Episode 4

Alien Vendetta

Free DooM Phase 1 - Episodes 1 + 2

FreeDooM Phase 2


Hard / UV:



Heretic Shadow Of The Serpent Riders - Episode 4 + 5

FreeDooM Phase 1 - Episodes 3 + 4 (episode 4 barely made it here, otherwise I'd put it 1 higher)


Sadistic/Expert/ NIGHTMARE!:


Strife - Not finished so this may not be fully accurate



There ARE more wads I've played but I literally can't remember then :S

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It would be cool to have a difficulty rating in idgames, tho famous wads would inevitably have inflated difficulty ratings cause they are played by the more casual part of the community.


There is also the "list of hard wads" thread that I wont link cause I am on my phone, the thread has a somewhat accurate difficulty rating for many wads but I would trust a list maintained by doomkid much more than "hey your wad is easy I beat with TAS" crazydoomguy.

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The tough thing about these rankings are that they are usually very subjective. Anc personally thinks that Italo-Doom is manageable if you play each map for a good half hour to an hour, at which point you'll be able to complete them. For me, it's just too tough to be able to repeat-beat them, for example.


Of course, there are some WADs that are (probably) objectively piss-easy (Doom and Doom 2) and bullshit-difficult (Dimensions comes to mind), but normally you'll see a lot of disagreement over certain rankings (ie., is Sunlust tougher than Stardate 20X6? Some people in the original threat think so, others not so much, to the point that 20X6 is now ranked higher in difficulty now).


Despite what I've just said, I do think a ranking for difficulty is a cool idea, but... I dunno, it can get messy, is what I'm saying.

Edited by Poncho1

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Perhaps the chart should be two-dimensional: have one axis for intensity, and another for amplitude. The former tests the player's skills, the latter the player's endurance.


You'd get four corners this way: quick and easy, lengthy but non-challenging, short and punchy, hard and grueling.

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Do you guys think it would be beneficial if we also split some wads like Scythe 1/2 for the somewhat drastic difference in difficulty as it they progress? For example, in the OP picture, it would say Scythe 1/2 (map 1-20) in Medium and Scythe 1/2 (map 21-30) in Hard.


Obviously we don't have to get too specific but just for those that show a huge leap in difficulty and take up a large chunk of the wad. 

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I'd suggest sticking to one rating per WAD, and making that rating based on how hard it is to finish.  You might do a little handwaving of that principle where there's only a one or two map "spike" in difficulty, but when it is a good few hard maps like Scythe, I'd just lump the whole thing in the higher category.


Of course, breaking WADs into only five difficulty categories (for the record, I support calling them ITYTD, HNTR etc) will always involve some coarseness of measure and handwaving.  And some vigorous dispute of which WADs fit where :)

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I haven't played a lot of Megawads but here's my rank:

Easy: Doom/The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, TNT: Evilution, JPCP, Most of Death Tormention, DTWID-LE, ICARUS, Memento Mori, DTWID

Medium: Memento Mori 2, The Plutonia experiment, Doom 2 Reloaded, BTSX E1, 2002 a doom odyssey, UDTWID, Death Tormention 3, Whispers of Satan, TNT: Revilution, Reverie, SIGIL, D2TWID

Hard: Hell revealed, PRCP, Extermination Day, Valiant, Eviternity, Scythe 2, Kama sutra

Expert: Hell revealed 2, Plutonia 2, Urania, Ancient Aliens, Sunlust, Going down, 50 shades of graytall, Sunder

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Thank you all for the replies. Working atm but once I’m home I’ll start making a prettier and more inclusive list. I think Gez makes a particularly interesting point about measuring not only intensity but endurance - I can handle the former, but the latter usually stomps me simply due to fatigue, attention span etc. I worry that might become too convoluted BUT it is much more descriptive.


I like Capellan’s idea of rating how hard a wad is to beat rather than begin, but I know a lot of people out there aren’t beating most megawads, but I could be wrong in that.


I’ll be turning it all over in my head. Thanks to each of you for the responses, there’s so much stuff here I haven’t even played yet admittedly!

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56 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

 I think Gez makes a particularly interesting point about measuring not only intensity but endurance - I can handle the former, but the latter usually stomps me simply due to fatigue, attention span etc. I worry that might become too convoluted BUT it is much more descriptive.


That's an issue I ran into in my thread too. The same goes for wads with large and contained spikes in difficulty - wads with a handful of very tough maps but the rest are a (relative) breeze are the worst for this. My solution is to weigh it all and add notes to specific entires (i.e map24, 27 and 29 have large spikes in difficulty).


I like that you've made this thread. Having such a broad and inclusive list was out of scope for my thread but it does need to be made IMO.

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10 hours ago, Ancalagon said:

There is also the "list of hard wads" thread that I wont link cause I am on my phone, the thread has a somewhat accurate difficulty rating for many wads but I would trust a list maintained by doomkid much more than "hey your wad is easy I beat with TAS" crazydoomguy.

It's this thread here, which can be a decent point of reference. Although some stuff is questionable, like Combat Shock 1 and 2 being a 1 while Sunder a 3 on the 5 point scale.

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On 8/8/2019 at 9:25 AM, Spectre01 said:

It's this thread here, which can be a decent point of reference. Although some stuff is questionable, like Combat Shock 1 and 2 being a 1 while Sunder a 3 on the 5 point scale.

From there: NoChance (2), Breathless(2). On the other hand the difficulty of the wad can be judged by its hardest map.

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1 hour ago, Deadwing said:

For me, Eviternity was a lot easier than Valiant and AA


I agree here.

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35 minutes ago, ReaperAA said:

I agree here.


Indeed. Eviternity is somewhere between medium and hard-ish I'd say.


On 8/7/2019 at 10:37 PM, DynamiteKaitorn said:

Hard / UV:





But how?

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Sorry this isn’t finished yet guys, I realised halfway through tediously constructing a bitmap image that making a document (using the Doom font!) will be 99x easier, not just making it but editing and maintaining it. I can also embed links directly in this way and even add ratings or whatever else with far less hassle.


It’s a comin! I’ve also been working on a video but that’s done now.

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