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What are the must-play (G)Zdoom level packs ? (please read post before making suggestions)

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Hello there. I have long treaded the roads of "classic" (read vanilla/limit removing/Boom/MBF) format PWADs. I have either finished or to an extent  am familiar with (even if, in some cases, not necessarily good at) all the classic megawads like Eviternity, Ancient Aliens, Valiant, Sunlust, Going Down, Speed of Doom, Resurgence, Back to Saturn X, Scythe, Scythe 2, Alien Vendetta, ALT, Sunder... and of course the older stuff as well, Icarus, Hell Revealed, Memento Mori II and all that jazz., as well as the most lauded smaller size offerings like Rush, Hell Ground, Frozen Time, Vanguard, Lunatic, Comatose... I intend to keep playing old-school pwads so long as mappers come out with old-school pwads worth playing, and those are likely to remain my favourite type of release, but for once I aslo feel like varying it up a bit.


So I thought, why not venture into some new school material and see what it has to offer ? The trouble being, I very rarely play these kinds of wads and thus don't have the first clue which ones have stood the test of time, so to speak. I just tried Void and Rainbow, which is interesting, if quite unforgiving in its own, unusual way. I also gave Winter's Fury, playing around with the first couple maps, and damn, the railroading is strong with this one. Is it a CoD style corridor shooter ?(more on this type of issue below). I also remember Ultimate Torment and Torture from back then, but I'm not sure it's worth much these days.


The bottom line is, I am requesting suggestions for good quality GZDoom/ZDoom map packs to play. But there are some caveats. Once again, we're talking level packs.


Mods that are pure gameplay tweaks like Brutal Doom, Russian Overkill or Aeons of Death will not be considered valid answer. Besides, while it's perfectly alright for the wads in question to include gameplay changes, ultimately the biggest selling point for me is the level design. Sure, pulling off all those new game mechanics with a modified idtech1 engine is an impressive technical feat, but that doesn't make it a good enough excuse to deliver mediocre maps and slap on the same quality rating you would give to a Going Down or an Eviternity on the final product by claiming it "compensates" for the lacking level design with its "novelty". Outside of the Doom modding scene, video games can already do those things. Most of them aren't new per say. Therefore, if the meat of the content itself doesn't follow, then it's not good enough.


With all of that cleared up, it's you guy's turn to speak.

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We are all perfectly aware of the difference between a level and a mod. You have to be quite so condescending when asking for the help and advice of your fellow community members. 


With that out of the way, Verdant Citadel, Hurt, the Order of the Odonata and the Slaughter Spectrum are all notable recent GZDoom releases.

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''Skulldash'' is definitely one of the most fun GZDoom projects I've ever played.


''dead.air'' is also up there.


This year's ''Paradise'' is quite amazing as well.

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I've admittedly not played it yet but Lorenz0's new mapset Alienated looks really fantastic:


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@Bauul: If you think everyone knows that, then you don't watch enough youtube countdowns. Not that you're wrong, come to think of it.


@Gez: "Not as impressive these days" might well spell doom for those releases by my standards, but I guess we'll see.


Avactor is Boom-compatible by the way, although its spritual predecessor (I forgot the name) is not.


Anyway, that is a lot of suggestions already, so thanks to everyone for that. I might post my impressions later on about the ones I try out. Feel free to keep coming with more.

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A bit late it seems, but I would love to list some more wads. 

I'm writing this on mobile, so apologize if you don't feel comfortable with my post. Some of those are Total Conversions, which are pk3s/wads made in the Doom engine but don't exactly feel like vanilla Doom.


Temple of the Lizardmen series - a series of TC about killing Lizardmen in temples, with each installments growing in quaility and content. 3 is my personal favourite.


Doom Tribute - A remake/reimagining of Doom 1/2, with slightly tweaked monster and weapon behaviours.


Blade of Agony - this may not suit your post but I'm including it anyway. A spiritual sequel to classic Wofenstein games, featuring a proper story, good modern game mechanics (stealth, throwing grenades) Basically the closest modern gsme we got from id tech 1. 


Adventure of Square - An attempt of making Doom more joyful or colorful. You don't actually need an iwad to play this one; just download the main modified GZDoom exe files.


Discharge - My personal favourite. A new wad consisting of 9 heavily non linear maps.


Doom Resurrection - An early attempt of ultilizing ZDoom features. Very nice atmosphere.


Operation Body Count - A sequel/remake of the original game with the same name.


Strange Aeons - An Ultimate Doom megawad that have heavily Lovecraftian elements, with some usage of Freedoom's sprites and textures.


You may also want to check out Joy of Mapping series, a community project series which consists of amateur, ambitous mappers trying to pump out decent quality maps.




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Extermination Day or the former Hell on Earth Starter Pack it's a good re-story of Doom and Doom 2 in a complex modern level desings and have so much GZDOOM quircks that stands great. But how it's still not a vaccunated version as Valiant, it's recomended to play with a gameplay mod for the extras bosses that have the game.

Also, Order of the Ordanta, it's one level but it's a big one.

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3 hours ago, Budoka said:

@Bauul: If you think everyone knows that, then you don't watch enough youtube countdowns.


Hey now, don't go tarnishing Doomworld with the same brush as YouTube countdowns! That's a real low blow! :)

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