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Man of Doom

How would you make TAG2 harder?

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Posted (edited)

While I consider myself something of a defender of TAG2 considering the development cycle it went through, I fully admit that I found it baffling that it’s significantly easier than TAG1 (especially considering that not only is it supposed to be a follow-up to a Plutonia-tier expansion pack, it’s also supposed to be the grand finale of the story that started with Doom 2016).

 

It’s not even that TAG2 isn’t necessarily without moments of deliberate treachery (the purple slime arena in the World Spear, the Cursed Prowlers in general, that twin Marauder fight in Immora involving Screechers, etc.), it’s more that TAG2 in general seems to be more on par with the later levels of the base game like Taras Nabad or Final Sin.

Now contrast that with TAG1 which has some notoriously difficult encounters like the buffed Marauder fight in the Blood Swamps, that bridge fight in the Holt, the last couple of stages in the Samur fight, you name it.

 

I’m not sure if it’s that we’ve already seen everything that the game has currently thrown at us and we’re all just acclimated to the kinds of curveballs that would get thrown at us, but I’m not 100% sure about that theory.


 

So here comes my question: how would you make TAG2 harder?

 

And no, I don’t mean making it ludicrously painful like the Super Gore Nest Master Level or the second version of the Holt Slayer Gate (I mean, that’s what the Master Levels in question are for).

 

I mean making the levels themselves a bit spicier to make monsters like the Riot Soldier a legitimate threat or to the point of making the Sentinel Hammer something of a last-resort weapon; something that would be more fitting for Doom Eternal’s grand finale.

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Are you asking about making the basic TAG2 game harder, or discussing potential Master Level ideas? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Hugo indicate on the Final Sin stream that the former isn't possible, due to engine limitations? And that's the reason why they're making Master Levels: to give people the real challenge?

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6 minutes ago, Rytrik said:

Are you asking about making the basic TAG2 game harder, or discussing potential Master Level ideas? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Hugo indicate on the Final Sin stream that the former isn't possible, due to engine limitations? And that's the reason why they're making Master Levels: to give people the real challenge?


I’m talking about the former, namely due to just balancing out the two DLCs; even so, it’s mainly just like discussing hypothetical encounters and whatnot.

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Some Changes?

Reclamed earth, make the Riot Shields in a very up pillar style of place, where Rockets are hard to remote detonate. Drop maybe Carcass to the arenas, try to use the fog of the first level of TAG2 again covering a area of Riot Soldiers.

Reclaimed Earth,  make Tyrants spawns with stone imps,  mostly to punish if the player use the hammer without hitting the Tyrant, as that may open a window for they rocket barrage. Make the area when you find the Flame Barron, spawn behind you a equal tier of enemy.

Inmora: Make Spawns of Blood Maykers and Maykers Drones, mostly most ranged enemies.
 

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Posted (edited)

I've actually been thinking this over very carefully for my LavaMod project. I'm aiming to make TAG2 more of a natural progression of TAG1's difficulty instead of randomly deciding to become much easier than even some of the levels mid-way through the main campaign.

 

Overall:

 

Spoiler
  • More Heavy and Superheavy variety in all arenas. It feels like they were too afraid of having more than 2 different Heavy/Superheavy enemy types active at once in TAG2, making difficulty more around ARC Complex or Mars Core tier than Urdak or Final Sin.
  • Shorten the lengths of the Escalation Encounters and make it three levels, with the first one mandatory, the second the Hammer upgrade, and the third the cosmetic.
  • More grapple hooks in every arena instead of just in The World Spear's arenas. Surely one of the biggest signs of TAG2 being rushed.
  • Make the Arachnotron have its vanilla stats. The nerfed stats don't even make Hell on Earth any easier, they just make any later appearances a joke.
  • Make the Armored Baron's green flash vulnerability window the same as the Marauder's for consistency.
  • Make the Blood Maykr's vulnerability window in-between pre-nerf and post-nerf values; maybe 150ms more than the TAG1 value would be good.
  • Make the Turrets turtle after getting hit once like they used to. This was such a dumb nerf. It discourages players from experimenting with Rocket Launcher + PB.

 

Sentinel Hammer:

Spoiler

 

  • In general it should function more like the desperation moves from 80s beat-em-ups, allowing a cornered player an easy way to escape certain doom but at a great cost.
  • Make it take 4 charges instead of 2.
  • Make it require 2 pickups instead of 1, just like in the Dark Lord fight.
  • Make its default stun duration incredibly short, shorter than the default Ice Bomb against harder enemies. Just enough time to escape a dangerous situation.
  • Make its upgraded stun duration just barely long enough to be able to 1-cycle a Marauder with skilled combo usage, reducing the skill floor just a wee bit instead of letting players get free kills on any Marauder.
  • Make its upgraded stun duration the 1st upgrade.
  • Make it unable to stun a shielded Doom Hunter at all, only destroying its shield temporarily and stunning it if its shield is already down.
  • Make it only give back ammo and armor if it kills enemies, encouraging players to carefully herd Fodder together.
  • Ammo giveback values should be cut in half and the upgrade should be given last instead of first.
  • Armor and health values should maybe be cut in half, too.

 

 

The World Spear:

Spoiler

 

  • Before the Screecher Zombie intro, place something other than a Large Armor that players would actually need at that point that would make the Pain Elemental trap sneakier. Hardly anyone would need that much armor that early unless they really haven't had the Flame Belch loop drilled into their heads.
  • Have harder enemies like Mancubi and Whiplashes in the first Screecher Zombie fight instead of just some Cacodemons and a Hell Knight. Really cement it for new players that these guys aren't something you want to kill.
  • Maybe even throw in some Pinkies to try and trick players into Remote Detonating the Screecher Zombies.
  • Instead of introducing Armored Barons in the courtyard fight, introduce the Stone Imps in place of all the regular Imps and have that as the first wave of the fight instead of the last wave.
  • Instead of the Giant Tentacle comically sprouting out of the tiny fountain, have some regular-sized Tentacles and powerups in the fountain for a more dynamic trap.
  • Have aerial enemies in the Courtyard fight as well as some sniper Revenants spawning on the rooftops to take advantage of all the space in the courtyard.
  • Introduce the Armored Baron in the small, boring courtyard where there's normally only fodder and Whiplashes.
  • Replace one of the Whiplashes in that fight with a Prowler who can add an additional distraction from the Armored Baron's green flash attack.
  • Replace the Mancubi in the BFG cell trap with Cyber-Mancubi so they don't instantly get staggered when you set off all the barrels.
  • Instead of Hell Knights in the nukage room, have Dread Knights who can add additional pressure with their AoE damage.
  • Also have Shield Soldiers and Cueballs spawn in the nukage room which could detonate and set off the Screecher Zombie.
  • Replace the Large Armor in the Mancubus trap with a Mega Armor (which I'm pretty sure are absent in TAG2) and have Shield Soldiers spawn in opposite of the Mancubus, boxing you in and forcing you to make an improvised Fun Zone decision.
  • Replace the regular Zombies and Mancubi in the purple goo fog fight with Stone Imps, testing your reflexes and teaching you their weakness to the Energy Shield.
  • Remove the possessed Arachnotron from the post-Hammer fight entirely, letting players have more time to have fun with their new toy.
  • Replace one of the Tyrants with a Doom Hunter, whose evasive AI would be better suited to the complex arena. Also, it would teach players that their shields can be smashed with the Hammer.
  • Add Screecher Zombies to the final wave of the post-Hammer fight (after one of the two Superheavies are dead) to teach players not to spam the Hammer.
  • Make the original Stone Imp intro "The Ancient Gods gauntlet", reiterating every new element TAG 1&2 has introduced up until this point. Stone Imps, Meathook grapple points, an Armored Baron, Screecher Zombies near key areas, a relocated possessed Arachnotron, Spectre Whiplashes, Turrets on the higher elevations forcing you to snipe, and 1 or 2 Blood Maykrs potentially freezing you in place.
  • The post-cutscene snowy arena looks like a Serious Sam encounter, so why not have it play like one? Incorporate distant spawns with sniper enemies on opposite ends of the arenas. Spawn the Spectres and Stone Imps further away from each other. Add huge swarms of Cacodemons with a few Pain Elementals to take advantage of the huge vertical space. Just when the player thinks it's all over, spawn twin Archviles who can torch you from afar while spawning in yet another wave of enemies.
  • Remove that stupid fucking exploding barrel/blood punch/Pinky hallway, it's just useless padding with no substance.
  • Add a Marauder to the Blood Maykr fight, giving players two traffic light enemies to deal with at once.
  • The final stretch before the World Spear room needs a massive overhaul; maybe swap everything around so that large, open arena is the final setpiece battle before the cutscene?
  • I'd like a miniboss encounter in the final room before the exit (maybe a weakened Gladiator or a Maykr Drone/Blood Maykr rush?) but I'm sure Hugo would have some petty lore reason as to why you can't fight enemies in the otherwise anticlimactic World Spear.

 

 

Reclaimed Earth:

Spoiler

 

  • Remove the Cursed Prowler from the intro fight and save it for the first real arena.
  • Replace all the enemies in the intro fight with Stone Imps, Pinkies, Shield Soldiers, Screecher Zombies, and a Cyber-Mancubus that take better advantage of the boring, flat terrain.
  • Use more Screecher Zombies combined with Riot Soldiers. Proteh's unofficial Master Level shows it's a deadly combination.
  • Remove that stupid Sentinel Hammer pickup hallway, it's just as pointless as the exploding barrel hallway from The World Spear.
  • Remove that stupid underwater segment for the sake of an underwater segment and replace it with meathook platforming, like in Proteh's ML.
  • Have two Pinkies in the possessed Pinky room and spawn the Mancubus behind them to serve as backup instead of having it block the possessed Pinky on spawn.
  • That large road area with the second power grid switch would've been a prime arena for a large-scale fight, especially with aerial enemies.
  • Replace the possessed Mancubus in the final arena with the return of the dreaded possessed Pain Elemental, who can better traverse the tall, vertical arena and apply pressure.
  • Some kind of miniboss that comes out of the huge portal at the end, even if it's a lazy buffed Marauder or something.

 

Yeah, I don't have much to say about Reclaimed Earth besides...more. More of everything. More enemies, more traps, just...more. This level fucking sucked and I barely remember it less than 3 weeks later. They should've made this level the follow-up to Super Gore Nest, with a semi non-linear progression and needing to get 3 keycards to open up something in the central hub.

 

Immora:

Spoiler

 

  • You have the Avengers Endgame setting...fucking use it, ID. You could make huge, open environments for The World Spear but not this level where it would actually fit thematically?
  • Relocate the Escalation Encounter to near the end of the level within the city's walls instead of within the first minute of the fucking level.
  • Make the final stage of the Escalation Encounter as hard as The Holt Master Level with something interesting, like a possessed Archvile or possessed Doom Hunter that we haven't seen before.
  • Remove the Tentacle nest telegraphs from that optional purple goo area with the 1-up. We seriously have to nerf something that's been in place since Exultia, the second fucking level?
  • The entire pre-city part of the level should be one massive gauntlet that tests every single thing you've learned about the Doom Dance until this point, this time including Cursed Prowlers and Riot Soldiers into the mix.
  • The entire post-city part should be complete madness, throwing challenges at you that make you question everything you've learned while serving as the gradual transition from TAG difficulty into Master Level difficulty.
  • Double Armored Barons,
  • double buffed Doom Hunters,
  • triple Blood Maykrs,
  • triple Archviles,
  • quintuple Tyrants,
  • possessed Lost Souls (think about it),
  • some kind of part with infinitely respawning Stone Imps and Screecher Zombies until you punch 4 switches Quake-style,
  • and the return of the electrified walls room from The Holt but with Riot Soldiers, Screecher Zombies, and Cursed Prowlers?
  • A rehash of that super-hard fire pit from Cultist Base but with unique TAG2 enemies. Hey, they had limited development time. It would justify blatant recycling in this case.
  • That part where you get sucked through a big hole? Make an entire section of the level a puzzle involving those like Quake's famous Wind Tunnels. Maybe a puzzle with the gravity from the end of Reclaimed Earth as well. Just something to make the city more interesting than "maroon Unreal Tournament 3 techbase map".
  • That catwalks part with the random propshooters? Replace those with the Crash Bandicoot 2 jetpack level lasers; it's the perfect opportunity to use those in a real combat situation.
  • Also put Pain Elementals and actual sniper enemies in the catwalks part to take advantage of the wide gap you can't cross.
  • Remove all the Maykr Drones, they don't fit thematically and they only serve to make you chainsaw even less than you already have to.
  • A part where Demonic Troopers just come flooding into an enclosed area from elevators (like a hotel lobby? Hotel Hell?) and you spend 30 whole seconds killing hundreds and hundreds of these pathetic joke enemies before the real fight begins.
  • Just massive hordes of single enemy types like the final wave of proteh's Horde Mode 1, maximizing the amounts of AI tokens used at one time.
  • Make that embarrassing Meathook cutscene actual fucking gameplay. They couldn't trust players to meathook platform off a Pain Elemental?
  • Just remove that entire final part with the Stone Imps and hundreds of shell pickups. That shit was fucking embarrassing and completely unnecessary after the arena before it.
  • Maybe even bring back the Spider Mastermind before the exit, or the Hell Guards, even if they're just completely recycled from 2016 with the same models, animations, and attacks. Just something memorable and thematically fitting to end the level on.

 

 

The Dark Lord:

 

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I don't mind TAG2 being a bit easier in general, but I definitely felt some "emptiness" playing certain encounters, like I was expecting more stuff to come up - it didn't help that when the DLC dropped I played it on UV, right after I had just finished TAG1 on nightmare.

 

I think at the bare minimum the DLC should be a little more... "daring" - like a couple more super heavies, one more wave of enemies, etc - so many times I'd clear a room that had a couple of fodder demons and a heavy and I just thought "that's it? Huh ok", something that was ESPECIALLY apparent in Immora, the "hell techbase" part before the final arena(s) had these really wide catwalks with huge open spaces and barely anything going through them. I think the escalation encounters were pretty nice though - maybe another tier could have been nice but getting pinned in the same arena for too long could be detrimental, I don't know. Besides, I'm sure the upcoming master levels will be good enough when it comes down to crazy encounters.

 

The armoured baron, one of the better addition, was slightly underused, there is no situation where you fight more than one and any given fight will never have more than that in its entirety. Riot Soldiers were a bit of a disappointment... I mean, they work "fine" but at the end of the day they're just a mix of zombie soldiers and shotgunners with less ways to deal with them. It would have been nice if they had some of the old chaingunner's flavour, the sort of "leave me alive at your own risk" kind of vibe... Maybe a continuous suppressive fire (perhaps with a faster projectile and a slight delay before starting to shoot) that could make dodging incoming damage more of a challenge, something that makes me think "I really need to address that problem". Cursed Prowlers, on the other hand, need something to make them somewhat more variable than "dies as soon as it spawns" or "I got hit once and now I'm dead". I think they take away too much to be properly balanced as they are. Maybe only reduce dashes to 1 (jump as well?), maybe allow them to be hooked, idk.

 

As for the hammer, it's a REALLY fun weapon... but also extremely good, too much in fact. I've heard Hugo mentioning in a video that they did experiment with a higher requirement for a charge, but it ended up slowing down the game because people would wait to engage in a fight before getting it charged up. If anything, I think the hammer does a bit too much of everything. It should really focus on one of it s aspects, maybe not necessarily ONLY one, but the myriad of effects it has and the low charge requirements just add up to ludicrous levels. Maybe make it a dedicated stagger weapon, or a dedicated "amplify this effect" tool, I don't know - but whatever the result, I think its inclusion should make all arenas much, much bolder. It's understandable that the designers don't want to clog up the area of movement with too many enemies, but the hammer actually gives a reason to do that.

 

Also, more grapple hook segments... and the big tentacles really should appear later in a fight, as it stands you can just make them pop up, back off and blast them from afar. As for the Dark Lord, other than a complete redesign, which is not very likely, there are mods that already make him more aggressive/engaging, which is something that should do wonders for the flow of it, so that alone would be alright.

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Posted (edited)

Obviously rework the Demonic Troopers into something else.

Like a stronger or more interesting firing pattern and some other attacks like using side items.

Also, 2016 MP had cooler demonic armor sets, maybe either use them or turn those into types of troopers that just reuse different MP items.

Like, fake players invading a different game.

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Posted (edited)

I think TAG 2 is in a good spot regarding difficulty, people who say it's easier than the base campaign are crazy. The challenge levels are harder then any of the slayer gates

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Chaingunner should be buffed so it's an actual threat. Make it more aggressive by closing in on the slayer while shooting it's machine gun. The machine gun should have a higher rate of fire. Also more armored barons. IIRC there aren't any moments where you fight multiple of them. More demons should be added. There were some areas that seemed really empty.

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I'm surprised there weren't any segments that summoned both Cacodemons and Stone Imps at the same time, at least not that I remember. It would have tripped me up having to switch back and forth between the shotgun's two mods constantly to neutralize these threats. 

 

I also might have thrown in more Cursed Prowlers since they ultimately felt underused, but other than that, I can't really think of any better suggestions. I was welcome to play a less difficult DLC after AGP1 exhausted the hell out of me, even if it does feel a little weird they did that. Not having a Crucible or Hammer equivalent in AGP1 might have been the secret to its frustration. I mean the hammer's rad in AGP2, and I don't want it nerfed, but... feh, I'm babbling at this point.

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Posted (edited)

I think Id was onto something with giving us harder variants of established demons.  A simple recolor for the most part would be enough.   Too late for Doom Eternal but perhaps in the next game.

 

Elemental Variants

Cold - Immune to Freeze grenade, being hit with it heals the demon and increases its strengths.

Fire - See above but with flamethrower.

Poison - Attacks destroy radioactive suit power.  Attacks also have damage over time effect

Elec - Charges up a hit scan attack.  Take cover when you hear the "insert video game sound".  See the Half-Life Vortigaunt.

 

 

Empowered Demons 2.0

Empowered Demons are not part of the usual "Closet" of demons for that arena and can spawn anywhere at any time.  They are given ranks based on how many slayers they have killed.  Higher ranks = different skins with more strength and power.  A level 10 Empowered demon would lay waste to even the best players in the world.  Stories will be told by these horrors and trophies will be rewarded for the players that manage to kill them.
 

Official Randomizer Mode

I requested this early in development.  I was told it wouldn't be balanced, and yet this mode has become very popular even so.

 

 

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