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Horus

Which difficulty do you usually play on?

Which difficulty do you usually play on?  

105 members have voted

  1. 1. Which difficulty do you usually play on?

    • I'm Too Young To Die (ITYTD)
      2
    • Hey Not Too Rough (HNTR)
      2
    • Hurt Me Plenty (HMP)
      25
    • Ultra-Violence (UV)
      76


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Just now, Can't play on Nightmare said:

 

I believe UV is made as a hard difficulty back then. Nightmare is just Nightmare. It is not a hard difficulty. It is a NIGHTMARE difficulty. I am sure the purpose of this difficulty was to be Nightmare, not Hard.

 

When you create a new map in Ultimate Doom Builder in the Doom or Boom format and start placing things, there are in fact only three difficulty options: Easy, Medium and Hard.

 

This is because ITYTD is exactly the same as HNTR except with changed health/ammo parameters, and also Nightmare is exactly the same as UV except for the ammo, fast and respawn parameters. The monster placement is exactly the same. That's when I'm referring to when I say 'Easy' or 'Hard' difficulty.

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I've been setting the game to Ultra-Violence for 20 years; I can't stop now.
I do, however, pick my battles carefully: seeking out mapsets that aim to keep things more-or-less in that Plutonic wheelhouse of difficulty. If something's just absolutely murdering me, then I'll just move on and try a different level or a different WAD.

 

This standard can't hold forever, though. The longer I spend trying out new levels, the more inevitable it'll be that I commit to one which, in the readme file, includes a variation on: "For the love of god, do yourself a favor: swallow your pride and play on Hurt Me Plenty. I'd prefer that people actually enjoyed their time spent with my maps."

Lines like that are just as helpful as the ones comparing the gameplay to other famous WADs in order to give a clear idea what to expect. Like I said, I prefer to learn as much as I can about what's in store without spoiling it - I'm happiest when I'm picking WADs that match my tastes, and the contents of the readme file (or the project's forum thread) go a long way for calibrating one's expectations.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/24/2020 at 3:35 PM, Horus said:

since really my interest in this thread is more from a mapping perspective, I am more interested in when I add difficulty settings to my maps, how much of the player base am I catering for. It seems like generally speaking although most players default to UV, a lot of them are also flexible to lowering the difficulty. So to me it signals the importance of signalling the difficulty level of your maps, something which I perhaps didn't do sufficiently in my most recent solo release.

 

From a mapper's perspective, you should always try to cater for all difficulty settings.  Even your poll doesn't paint the true picture, because you asked which difficulty do you "usually" play on, not which difficulty settings would you "ever" play on.

 

I'm usually a HMP player, but will also play ITYTD, HNTR and UV depending on the mapset and my mood.  I think if your poll was "which of these difficulty settings have you ever played through a map on?" you'd find most of them had pretty high %s.

 

While it is true that UV is the most popular difficulty setting, if you don't want to alienate a portion of the player base (or you have a map that wouldn't benefit from lower difficulties at all) it's never a bad idea to include difficulties. 

Edited by Bauul

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12 minutes ago, Bauul said:

 

From a mapper's perspective, you should always try to cater for all difficulty settings.  Even your poll doesn't paint the true picture, because you asked which difficulty do you "usually" play on, not which difficulty settings would you "ever" play on. 

 

Yes, I do cater for all difficulty settings, and have no intention of stopping

 

13 minutes ago, Bauul said:

I'm usually a HMP player, but will also play ITYTD, HNTR and UV depending on the mapset and my mood.  I think if your poll was "which of these difficulty settings have you ever played through a map on?" you'd find most of them had pretty high %s.

 

That was more what I was looking to draw out through the comments rather than via a poll question tbh

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On 6/23/2020 at 12:44 AM, Rackevin said:

Nice poll. But just wondering, who in the hell even plays on I'm Too Young To Die? If one of the people who are reading this does, what are you? A monster? Honestly, if I saw someone who plays on I'm Too Young To Die I would stay, far far the fuck away from them. Those people are terrifying.

 

I usually play on ITYTD, although sometimes I play on HNTR. I don't think I'm a monster, or even that terrifying, but, hey, to each his own.

 

I'm not very good (I've never been much of a gamer, even during high and college over 20 years ago), and I don't have a lot of time to spend honing and increasing my skills. I know that there a many people who like playing maps on the hardest difficulty and repeating it as many times as they need to do to finish, but I don't find that enjoyable. I play Doom because I find it fun, and when I play, I want to have a good time and not stress too much about it.

 

In some circumstances, I'll play on the harder difficulties. I play the DWIL selections on UV and I tried SlaughterMAX on HMP (and it went about as well as you would expect).

 

By the way, @Horus, why didn't you include NM? There are people who play on NM. I don't know if they do it routinely, but they do play on that difficulty.

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Anytime someone asks for what difficulty I choose to play, I'll always use this picture to answer "a bit of the old ultraviolence".

(First scene from A Clockwork Orange)

DOOMUV.png.9925a99ac3f34e558f04c525e39944dc.png

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8 hours ago, Bauul said:

 

From a mapper's perspective, you should always try to cater for all difficulty settings.


No.

The difficulty settings don't go away if you don't change any of the thing flags. Some people have said that they play on UV because it includes all of the things that the mapper placed. In some cases, they might want to lower the difficulty without removing monsters and other items.

Furthermore, it should be obvious that the actual difficulty of the WAD depends on more than just the difficulty setting. That's why people talk about the "community standard" for what UV should be like, which is generally harder than doom 2, much harder than doom 1, but not as hard as some "hardcore" map genres such as slaughter. Maps can also be difficult for various reasons - slaughter is hard because there's ten thousand fireballs coming at you all the time, but your ammo supply is generally massive. On the other hand, survival type maps where you have limited ammo and health, are hard because even single-monster encounters can quickly drain precious ammo and health if you miss or fail to dodge. In nearly all cases, changing the difficulty setting will always succeed in making the game easier or harder, regardless of thing flags.

As a mapper, you should try to create your vision of a fun map. You will never please everyone. If you want to emulate the difficulty spread of the IWADs, go for it. You will need the difficulty flags for that. But if you don't, it may not be productive to listen to people who complain that you aren't catering to their desired experience. If you want your maps to be super easy, would you take the advice of a slaughter-map meathead? It's good to hear criticism, but it's bad to try to always respond to all criticism all the time forever. If your map is not pleasing to someone, it may be because of objective failures (the map is broken, unbeatable, etc), but it may just be because of their preferences differing from yours.

That being said, it is definitely important to explain the difficulty level of your maps in the text file/post so that players can have an idea of what they are getting into. But beyond that, there are no rules. The thing flags are a tool that can be very useful, and every mapper should know what they do and how to use them. They should also know that it is entirely their choice. They may choose not to use them, or to use them similarly to the original levels, or throw all that out the window and use them in some other way. They could be used to change amounts of ammo/health but not monsters. Or to change monster placement but not numbers. Or to change monster types, or locations of keys, or even to add or remove barriers to parts of the map. Now if a mapper cries foul because most people don't like their outrageously difficult map, that's their own fault. But, it seems to me that most textfiles include some kind of disclaimer like "hey these maps are designed to kick your teeth in, sorry" or "I made these maps to be more relaxing than challenging." There will always be some player out there who doesn't like your map because it's "not their thing." So what? There's probably at least one other person who does enjoy it. The good critics will be able to judge your map mostly on how successfully it reaches its creators goals. Yes, most mappers want at least some people to have fun with their creation, and reviewers should be aware of that, but it would be unacceptable for someone to critique you by saying "well it doesn't cater to all difficulty settings, so it's bad." 

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2 hours ago, magicsofa said:

No.

 

Your POV seems to be that any implementation of difficulty settings necessarily results in a diluting of the original artistic vision for the map.  I feel like a lot of your post is more about the challenge of balancing sticking to your vision with feedback that potentially goes at odds with it.

 

Obviously you don't have to implement difficulty settings if you feel your map has such a pure artistic vision that any deviation from that would undermine the experience.  Frankly you don't have to do anything at all when making a Doom map.  That said, there are accepted best practices that most people agree make for more enjoyable maps. You don't have to do any of them if you don't want to (after all, we all make Doom maps for the fun of it), but you should be ready for the resulting reaction.  

 

The impression I got was that OP was indicating that their reasoning for potentially not including difficulty settings was that the hypothesis that people don't actually use them.  That isn't true - people definitely do use them.  So if you choose to not implement them, you should do it fully informed of how it will impact people.

 

All in all, I see implementing difficulty settings (presuming they don't undermine the integrity of your map) is just a courtesy to your potential players.  You don't have to, but if you are able to, I feel it's a nice thing to do.

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20 hours ago, Pegleg said:

By the way, @Horus, why didn't you include NM? There are people who play on NM. I don't know if they do it routinely, but they do play on that difficulty.

 

Because Nightmare is a meme difficulty and the inclusion of meme options in polls often end up distorting the results. To be fair, I had forgotten that Nightmare is a genuine speedrun category (as Andromeda had pointed out) so I perhaps could have included it on that basis, but whatever.

 

11 hours ago, Bauul said:

The impression I got was that OP was indicating that their reasoning for potentially not including difficulty settings was that the hypothesis that people don't actually use them

 

No, I was just looking to gauge how many people use difficulty settings (be it via default as in the poll question or via flexibility as in the comments), I never intended it as a justification for including/not including difficulty settings

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I don't think the difficulty flags "water down" your creative goals automatically. They can be used in so many different ways, it's up to the mapper. They could break all the rules and place more enemies on lower difficulties if they wanted. I'm not sure if there's a good way to test this, but I'd bet that the majority of single-player maps do not use the flags. As I said before, the choice of skill level still affects the game. So if you don't use the flags at all, someone can play on ITYTD and still have all the monsters and items present that would be on UV.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, magicsofa said:

... I'm not sure if there's a good way to test this, but I'd bet that the majority of single-player maps do not use the flags. ...

 

The only way this is true is on a technicality, like there being a huge undiscovered bulk of ancient shovelware-quality wads without difficulty settings buried in a tomb stored on millions of floppies. 

 

I open maps in the editor pretty often, and most of them use the difficulty flags. Nearly all of the releases the Caco committee looks at use them. More 'my first maps' than not that I've played use them. You have to look at speedmaps before they are frequently left out, but even then, sometimes people use them. 

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In general UV but it will depend on how the difficulties are implemented and how different the experiences are presented by each difficulty setting.

 

The easiest example for me is my wad Dimensions. I play map03 on UV or on a lower difficulty depending on my mood because the implementations offer different experiences more than just a few monsters are removed or changed here or there. New weapon progression, new encounters, and midi changes await depending on the difficulty selected by the player in order to create a completely different experience in the map.

 

Generally I will need something more than a slight nerf to switch to another difficulty setting. Something needs to change fundamentally in the map to make me want to play on a different difficulty. This means I am getting a different experience rather than simply an experience which is a string of the exact same events but with maybe a couple monsters removed.

 

I have also ended up not being too much of a fan regarding just giving itytd as the easier version of a hard map. Another mapper I was talking to asked me if giving a player more hp and ammo would prevent the player from getting trapped by monsters in harder wad like sunder. This question really has me liking always implementing difficulties in something I make in the future. You can do lots of things with voodoo dolls to make a hard map easier outside of simply changing monster composition (I guess this doesn’t always apply in some cases but I use boom format).

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HMP, never been a particularly great player and would rather spend my free time mapping or getting through as many levels as possible instead of honing my skill.  When I map, I make the level fun for myself on HMP and then seek feedback on UV and lower skill settings; though lately I've been toying with the idea of having a guest mapper or two for Skill 1-2 and UV.   I think that would be interesting for me to play.

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