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Benpaste

The more I play Heretic, the more it frustrates me

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It's so disappointing in so many ways - it's like the devs tried copying Doom without knowing what made Doom so fun to play.

 

  • Weapons are underpowered, ammo is scarce, and the sound design is the polar opposite of 'punchy'.

 

  • Levels are symmetrical, and filled with way too many monsters for the flimsy weapons you have. Textures are reused far too often, resulting in additional confusion while navigating. Many lack any kind of climax.

 

  • Enemies are confusing (ghost variants, projectile variants), and have way too much health.

 

The worst thing is that it could've worked really well - there's bits and pieces of a really cool game in there (I LOVE when you get a new weapon and Corvus does his evil little laugh). Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I just a complete grouch that needs to learn to have some fun...

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1 minute ago, Endless said:

Heretic was very hard for the time it came out, so I understand it gets frustrating fast, but if it is your first time playing it, go with low skill levels, don't do the Gggman treatment and play at your pace. Heretic is fun, good and unique (to this day there are not that many dark-fantasy FPS) so give it a good chance.

I play on Smite-Meister/Black Plague, and I don't find that I die too much - it's just pumping through all the tanky monsters that makes it boring to me.

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1 hour ago, Benpaste said:

the sound design is the polar opposite of 'punchy'

There are a few weapon sounds that I think aren't very good (crossbow/hellstaff impact, dragon claw fire and hit), so I replace them with ones from Hexen.

 

hticsfx.zip

 

Some of the monster sounds aren't great -- I find the sabreclaw sounds pretty inappropriate, especially since they're used in a bunch of other games -- but changing them also feels weird to me.

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i always play on black plague skill set and what i find annoying its to find a iron lich because their small tornado attack, but as soon i get necromancer gauntlets and tome of power its pretty fun to go crazy trying to tear down everyone with that precious and awesome life steal

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It took me a while to warm up to Heretic, so I get where you're coming from, but in some ways now I prefer it over Doom. It's easy to compare it to Doom and be left wanting at first, so try to take it for what it is rather than having preconceived expectations that it could never live up to.

 

The artifacts are a big part of the strategy, if the weapon at hand feels under powered for a situation and there were artifacts in the area before it, it was probably designed for you to use the artifacts.

 

The sound and music never bothered me, I particularly like the pain sounds of gargoyles and the death sound of golems. Though I will say that a room full of angry nitro golems makes me turn the volume down.

 

The Wayfarer’s Tome is really cool, I actually prefer the lightbringer to the fire mace, but I end up missing the speed of the original crossbow so I generally play without it.

 

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2 hours ago, Benpaste said:

Weapons are underpowered

Weapons are balanced with the artifacts in mind, you should use the Tome of Power and Time Bombs more often.

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I've only played the first three episodes, no pwads yet. Overall, I would agree that Heretic doesn't live up to Doom(2) in terms of its mechanics/gameplay "toolbox". The enemies don't force the player's hand in ways like Doom's does. Even Doom 1's roster had hitscanners that helped give the action some punch, especially in ep1. 

 

Still, I couldn't help but love Heretic. I love short maps. Heretic has short maps. I love maps that force you to duck around for half the map until you find the firepower to turn the tables. Heretic does this very well. The sparse ammo and better fist/chainsaw replacements along with the inventory items help make pistol-starting Heretic maps require some strategy. Very rewarding. 

 

The lack of hitscanners actually helps this. If there is a hitscanner you are pretty much forced to kill it for fear of taking damage. If it's a projectile enemy, you can always dodge. 

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2 hours ago, Benpaste said:

I play on Smite-Meister/Black Plague, and I don't find that I die too much - it's just pumping through all the tanky monsters that makes it boring to me.

 

 

the centaurs in hexen with their stupid shield are much worse in this regard.

 

you know something? i haven't played heretic for quite some time, and you just made me launch it again  ;)

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I like heretic

 

But you could always do a Quick little rebalance mod Where you add more health to corvus, and damage to his weapons and reduce the health of the heretic enemies

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Glad to see I'm not the only one finding Heretic frustrating...

 

I have the exact same issues as you do OP, and the game bores me terribly as a result. I've only played through it once in its entirety and never came back, it's just way too annoying to play...

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Tanky monsters and hate ghost monsters? Are you trying to beat the game using the crossbow? That weapon isn't that great and sucks even more vs ghosts. Time to befriend the hell staff and dragon claw, those are Heretic's super shotguns. 

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I meant it as in the the weapons that can comfortably beat the entire vanilla game (Even if it isn't optimal). Unpowered crossbow has shit dps [Especially vs ghosts and RNG vs discples]. 

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Scarce ammo? Tanky monsters? What?

I must've been playing a different game then.

 

Doom has always had one of the toughest enemy rosters out there. Heretic doesn't even come close. You are also drowning in ammo in both games. Can't agree with pretty much anything in the OP other than maybe the sound design.

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15 hours ago, Benpaste said:

Weapons are underpowered, ammo is scarce


"I never used the Tome of Power" is all I see here.

Notwithstanding, there's more than enough Hellstaff runes littered through the maps (episode 2 onwards, of course) to make the weapon pretty much a mainstay for almost 3/4 the game if that's your jam. And if you run out, there's plenty of Dragon Claw orbs. As noted, if you're tryna kill everything with the Ethereal Crossbow then of course you're going to have a bad time.

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Every weapon has its advantages and disadvantages. That's why knowing how to counter their bad points with some little strategy will always get you out of trouble and, items are as important as the weapons themselves.

Save the shadowspheres for the iron bitches......I mean, iron liches and the invul rings for harder fights or bosses.

 

And, I like Heretic as well. Sucks that it doesn't have much love as Doom......

 

12 hours ago, Pirx said:

the centaurs in hexen with their stupid shield are much worse in this regard.

Yeah. Stupid invincible shield.....

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I guess it kind of goes without saying from the person who built the rebalance mod, but I A) think that Heretic truly does have balance issues that need to be addressed for it to become a more fun and flexible game, and B) also think it's really great that it isn't the same as Doom, and that it's more slow and methodical like Fonze said. I like how even when you push the combat mechanics more towards the Doom end of the spectrum and use it to construct giant slaughter-lite fights across skillsawey map sprawls, it's still a different game with a different philosophy that you have to think about differently than Doom.

 

People have given me a lot of suggestions for how to make Wayfarer's Tome more divergent from vanilla Heretic, but it's always been important to me that it is a mostly subtle balance mod. It doesn't take that much to make Heretic a smoother, better game, and I would really love to see people do a lot more with it. I think there's sort of an odd dichotomy still between the Doomers who dismiss Heretic as "worse Doom" and won't play anything created for it vs. the die-hard classic Heretic people who still want Heretic maps to only be designed around very narrow ideas about what the game is "supposed to be" based on the hyper-specificity of how the vanilla game is assembled (seriously, I've had people tell me I'm "doing it wrong" for everything from large-scale combat and rebalancing down to the order in which keys are placed in a map or being able to hear roaming monsters before you see them).  It's been very hard to please anyone with a middle ground, but I hope the game will continue to grow and that people will continue the slowly increasing trend of finding cool new things to do with it, as I think the world and mechanics are really interesting.

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1 hour ago, Not Jabba said:

(seriously, I've had people tell me I'm "doing it wrong" for everything from large-scale combat and rebalancing down to the order in which keys are placed in a map or being able to hear roaming monsters before you see them).

I kinda get the key thing, every single iwad map has the same key progression so it's kinda a tradition at this point but for rebalancing and large scale combat? You started out wanting to rebalance the game how is doing that wrong now, are you supposed to not rebalance anything in your rebalance mod? lmao

And aren't you supposed to make large fights? What's the tome for then?

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1 minute ago, SOSU said:

What's the tome for then?

Using powered gauntlets to kill saberclaws and mummies. 

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Powered gauntlets are for killing iron liches and maulotaurs.

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Well just think of it this way. Hexen <<<<< Heretic << Doom. This should give you an idea of how they compare if you've played all three of these.

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On 10/31/2020 at 12:56 PM, Jayextee said:

As noted, if you're tryna kill everything with the Ethereal Crossbow then of course you're going to have a bad time.

This. I guess people think the Crossbow is the equivalent to the SSG, while it's actually more related to the regular shotgun. If people try use the normal shotgun against Mancubi, Arch-Viles and Revenants, they would also think that Doom 2 have tanky enemies or whatever. Heretic have the Tome of Power that basically take the role of the Super Shotgun without being a permanent OP weapon. A pretty clever design choice if you ask me - probably not as fun, but still wisely balanced:

Elven Wand = Pistol (but better)
Crossbow = Normal Shotgun
Tome of Power buffs = Super Shotgun
Dragon Claw = Chaingun (but better)
Hellstaff = Plasma Rifle
Pheonix Rod = Rocket Launcher
Firemace = Press release BFG

Compared to Doom, the only weapon that got severely nerfed was the Firemace\BFG. Again, Heretic decided to keep the OP weaponry for the Tome of Power. That would avoid situations like Doom E3M8 and put the decision of super weapons on the designer's hands rather than on pure circunstance of accumulated ammo. I'm not saying this is exactly better by all means (I don't think it is), but there are some good logic here.

Edited by Noiser

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Most Heretic weapons are equivalent to Doom ones, but that's not the most useful comparison. What matters is how it feels to use them, which has a lot to do with how weapon damage lines up against monster HP (very different between the two games), and what kinds of niches each weapon fills. The Crossbow does 24-112 damage vs. the shotgun's 35-105, but it's also consistently being used against monsters with health somewhere around a Chaingunner or between a Pinky and Cacodemon (which is where most of Heretic's standard enemies fall). Having three points of damage instead of seven, its distribution is a lot less reliable and feels less consistent (you can *sort of* count on killing a chaingunner with a shotgun blast, but nobody is ever going to tell you you can reliably one-shot a Nitrogolem with a Crossbow hit). Also, with over 2/3 of its damage focused on a single projectile, it doesn't feel like the rest of the weapon's spread pulls much weight, and it becomes pretty similar to a weak projectile rifle. In Doom, you have enemies with very low health that can be killed very quickly by low-tier weapons, and then as you face more powerful weapons you graduate to distinctly more powerful weapons that can in turn kill those higher-tier enemies pretty quickly. In Heretic, most weapons do fairly equivalent damage over time, and against enemies that all fall into a pretty amorphous range of HP where it takes a little longer to kill them with whatever you're using, however it may compare to damage output in Doom on paper. The Hellstaff, for instance, may look like a Plasma Rifle, but its projectiles do 3/5 of the damage, and I've never been able to detect a noticeable difference in kill speed between it and the Dragon Claw. The Firemace is very similar to both. The Dragon Claw itself is definitely strong for its particular niche, but it's probably the only weapon in vanilla Heretic I would say that about.

 

With the way monsters are used in Heretic's IWAD maps, all of this is balanced by the fact that there are Tomed Weapons and the fact that you can deal damage simultaneously with Time Bombs and weapons; however, you can get through the vast majority of the game without being pressured into using either of these items, so it definitely becomes a matter of playstyle. 

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I personally don't really like the mapping style for E4 and E5 as they like to stack a lot of meat together. That's about it. Probably the other thing is lacking hitscanners for variety, and there's recoil for Phoenix Rod.

 

Weapon being underpowered is not really a thing TBH as Heretic weapons, though comparable to Doom's, are actually quite different.

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33 minutes ago, Not Jabba said:

The Crossbow does 24-112 damage vs. the shotgun's 35-105, but it's also consistently being used against monsters with health somewhere around a Chaingunner or between a Pinky and Cacodemon (which is where most of Heretic's standard enemies fall).

That's very interesting. How about the common enemies though? I always found the gargoyles more or less equivalent to the imps and golems can be killed a lot faster than pinkies. I still need to try your mod, maybe that can change my opinion since I'm not a big fan of bullet sponges (I never felt that way with Heretic though).

Edited by Noiser

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