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Mr. Kong

Popularity of Pistol Starts

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1 minute ago, HAK3180 said:

I'm a firm believer in playing however you want (provided you don't complain if not following the "rules.")

It's impossible to appease both greeks, as well as trojans, right?

 

Anyway, I agree with your post. But the most important thing is what you said right there.

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I don't know about the elitism part, but I enjoy pistol starting. It makes finding the weapons exciting again.

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I've tried started pistol starting recently - enjoying it.

 

I began to realise most modern WADs are designed for pistol starts. When I loaded in, tooled up, killing everything, and being underwhelmed by finding a super shotty; it felt unfair.

 

I find it suits the maps I play and provides an enjoyable, exicting, extra challenge at the start of each level, whereas moving up to UV or saveless would not be fun for me.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, just to be clear: I don't get mad when people play my maps continuously (I also do that most of the time).
But I get sad with myself, for not being able to provide a better experience lol

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4 minutes ago, Noiser said:

Yeah, just to be clear: I don't get mad when people play my maps continuously (I also do that most of the time).
But I get sad with myself, for not being able to provide a better experience lol

I get what you're saying but, besides leaving suggestions on how to play, or how to approach, the map-pack or Megawad in question, there's not much one can do.
Because enforcing that can, in many cases, lead to potential players to shy away or opt out of playing that WAD.

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Posted (edited)

Sometimes from a mapping perspective, I guess pistol start will make the map more like "the intended experience". Of course, you can say the mapper is lazy not to implement a death exit, or release every single map separately, but I guess it's sort of annoying to see this as well I suppose.

 

Sometimes I don't want to be super serious about something, having an alternative way to play is a good option for me. For most of the slaughter maps, I play pistol start, but occasionally, if the WAD is not very fun but I want to experience it, I'll play continuously. Also, I would say, I've played enough maps and tested quite a bit of maps, I can generally feel the difficulty of a fight or map. If it does feel super interesting after playing it continuously, I don't mind playing it again with pistol start.

 

3 minutes ago, Adamast0r said:

I get what you're saying but, besides leaving suggestions on how to play, or how to approach, the map-pack or Megawad in question, there's not much one can do.
Because enforcing that can, in many cases, lead to potential players to shy away or opt out of playing that WAD.

EDIT: lol, it's kind of funny that you said this when I was typing the first paragraph. I thought it's a very similar topic like that heh.

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Posted (edited)

I've been playing continuous for the last twenty some years. The only pistol starts that I do are the first level, or if I forgot to save my game before getting zapped by a baddie. I have tried pistol starting the game, but it's not my jam.

Edited by PSXDoomer

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This is a topic that's hard for me to settle on.

 

On one hand I used to pistol start a lot of maps years ago and I'm sure we've all done it with the IWads at some point in time. But on the other hand I don't really bother doing it anymore because of the idea of tossing my hard earned equipment just doesn't slot with my brain these days.

 

I put it down to the fact I was more willing to challenge myself back then, younger and trying to prove something. As a teen I would often pistol start maps I had already completed on UV, running around desperately trying to find something better than a damn pistol. I enjoyed that edge of your seat gameplay. After I got into my 20's I just didn't enjoy it as much anymore. Possibly because like most people I was now an adult and had plenty to challenge me in life.  

 

In any case, I still occasionally do pistol starts just for fun. Outside of that odd occasion when the mood takes me, I only pistol start when I've died and forgotten to save the game.

 

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5 hours ago, Adamast0r said:

I'm just curious as to when did pistol starting change from something that a few people did (even though the IWADs were made to support them), to something that is viewed as essential for someone to beat, say, a Megawad with.

 

Never. That's never really been the attitude.

 

Generally when a WAD's text file says "designed for Pistol Starts", it doesn't mean the same thing as "designed for jumping" or something like that. Designed for jumping means not jumping isn't really an option, you have to jump in order to progress in certain areas. Designed for pistol starts means it's designed for pistol starting every map to be a viable option. Nobody is requiring you to pistol start, and basically every doom map is designed for pistol starts, really. I can't think of any that aren't possible from a pistol start. Hard? Sure. But if you die in Doom without saving, you go back to the beginning with a pistol. So bigger guns or at least a couple shotgun guys tend to not be very far from the spawn area as a general rule. Anyway, it means the same as "designed for vanilla", basically. It doesn't mean you have to play it in vanilla, it just means you can if you want.

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I was certainly influenced by decino, because it was his videos that got me back into Doom. But for the longest time, I actually had no idea that pistol starting had always been a thing. I didn't know that dying in OG Doom would put you back at the start of the map without weapons, and I thought pistol start was just a standard that developed later on. Sure, it was kinda weird that the original Doom IWADs worked pretty well with pistol start, with tons of redundant weapons, but I just chalked it up to a game design quirk from the earliest days of FPS games. I don't exactly remember much about playing the game myself in the 90s, but I'm sure I would've just used saves and never considered restarting a level with nothing.

 

Initially I would play a wad continuously the first time, then do pistol start on replays (partially with the goal of beating maps saveless). But after a while I just started liking pistol start more, and not necessarily for the challenge. Some of the advantages have already been mentioned by others. But another one is that different weapon progression allows for different gameplay. One map you may only get a rocket launcher, another map you have to work with shotgun + plasma, or even a BFG and nothing else. Each weapon combination is a different experience. You can't really accomplish that in continuous play (at least no more than once). I also just like the ability to take on levels one at a time. It doesn't matter if I skip a level I don't like, or play a specific standout level from later on in a megawad.


There's nothing wrong with playing the game in whatever way you prefer, but I don't see how a map can be properly balanced around both ways of playing unless it's either the start of the megawad or you get every weapon at the beginning of the level. And most wads I've played just feel like they're balanced more around pistol start. I'm really not sure how much attention gets paid to continuous play by map makers. From the few wads I did play that way, I got the impression that it's "people who play continuously won't mind being overpowered so don't worry about it". So I always got the feeling that I wasn't getting the intended experience, BFG blasting my way through a level that doesn't have one, using the 600 cells I carried over from earlier levels. So if I wanted a more casual experience, I'd much rather turn down the difficulty than switch to continuous play.

 

 

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Another thing I don't think has been brought up yet.

In ZDoom at some point it added the feature, when you die it auto-loads your autosave it did at the beginning of the level.

Normally you'd do, as others mentioned here, you play until you die, then you respawn with just the pistol. But of course ZDoom changes that.

I wonder if that caused a shift at all in how people re-start a level when they die.

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1 minute ago, DuckReconMajor said:

Another thing I don't think has been brought up yet.

In ZDoom at some point it added the feature, when you die it auto-loads your autosave it did at the beginning of the level.

Normally you'd do, as others mentioned here, you play until you die, then you respawn with just the pistol. But of course ZDoom changes that.

I wonder if that caused a shift at all in how people re-start a level when they die.

 

A couple of times I've seen newer folks who only have experience with zdoom ports and who didn't even know that restarting with the pistol on death was an intended game behaviour.

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3 minutes ago, DuckReconMajor said:

Another thing I don't think has been brought up yet.

In ZDoom at some point it added the feature, when you die it auto-loads your autosave it did at the beginning of the level.

Normally you'd do, as others mentioned here, you play until you die, then you respawn with just the pistol. But of course ZDoom changes that.

I wonder if that caused a shift at all in how people re-start a level when they die.

i certanly spend some time on prboom saving on every map because of it but i dont do that anymore

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i've started doing pistol starts more often lately because i think that they make fights far more interesting than they would be if i were playing continuous; it forces me to play only with the resources that the author had in mind. it's more fun that way imo, and personally helps me appreciate the map more and get ideas for my own maps. mind you that i only do it for certain wads that i feel are actually fun to pistol start, there's a lot of ones out there that are more fun to me personally to play continuous.

 

ofc, that's really only the case for me. playing continuous is perfectly fine no matter your skill level, and tbh should be the standard for any playthrough at any skill level.

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I got addicted to saveless pistol starts because I hope to win a QuakeCon one day the game becomes more challenging and tactically interesting, and you get to know each map better in the end. Currently trying to beat both BTSX and Valiant that way, even some of the early maps took me a number of attempts, but I don't give up.

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I don't know the aswer to this, but I feel it got popular because the game got popular nowadays. Back then for most people Doom was the first FPS. Ever. So obviously they were not too proficent. (This is why Nightmare was considered impossible) But now much more people play FPS games, thus the skill level is much higher. So people are looking for a challange but the difficulty settings are quite lacking, Nightmare is still much much harder than UV. And most maps are made with pistolstart in mind so they are possible. (Like fast monsters would be an option too, but I'm pretty sure some maps with a ton of chaingunners and such would be quite impossible.)

 

I think pistol start is popular because it's a convenient difficulty upgrade from UV but still not too much. I'm pretty sure if the popularity of Doom is kept up, people will start playing everything with fast monsters or coop monsters.

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1 hour ago, Maggle said:
7 hours ago, Adamast0r said:

I'm just curious as to when did pistol starting change from something that a few people did (even though the IWADs were made to support them), to something that is viewed as essential for someone to beat, say, a Megawad with.

 

Never. That's never really been the attitude.

I don't actually agree with it. It just seems to me that that opinion has been rising in popularity somewhat and, seeing as there's no inherent right or wrong way to play, I found that curious.

 

27 minutes ago, roadworx said:

playing continuous is perfectly fine no matter your skill level, and tbh should be the standard for any playthrough at any skill level.

And yeah. I think that's basically it.

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2 minutes ago, Csucskos said:

I think pistol start is popular because it's a convenient difficulty upgrade from UV but still not too much. I'm pretty sure if the popularity of Doom is kept up, people will start playing everything with fast monsters or coop monsters.

That's a very good point. Although, making exeptions for a handful of PWADs, custom content has been stepping up in difficulty in general, and is one of the most common aspects of the great stuff this community has been, and continues to, create, in my opinion, of course.

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Doing something with the pistol takes a lot of balls.

 

Er, uh, I mean, uhh, as in, a lot of audacity to play through a level with just the pistol, without berserk or chainsaw. A-ahem!..

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I don't know if there's a single reason people pistol start.

 

I'm far from a great player but I pistol start because I find it more fun.  It's not so much about difficulty.  I'm the sort of person who tends to hoard usable items in games when I'm allowed to do so--and it's not a behavior I enjoy but more of a bad habit.  So when playing Doom continuous, I do all these stupid things that (to me) are not fun:  saving rockets and plasma for the next map, saving secret soulspheres until I'm about to exit, etc.

 

Playing pistol starts means I can spend ammo and use pickups much more freely because, well, I can't take stuff with me past the exit.  It encourages me to more actively secret hunt during the map instead of just waiting until the end when everything's dead.  And I tend to use more powerups and shoot more rockets and plasma.  This generally means I move through maps more quickly and efficiently and that means I have more fun.  I don't fall into my stupid RPG behavior of saving like 999 health potions I'll never end up using.

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1 minute ago, Salmon said:

saving rockets and plasma for the next map, saving secret soulspheres until I'm about to exit, etc.

Damn, Salmon. That's exactly the type of thing that I used to do as well.

 

I agree that, in a way, it's kind of more liberating, even though it increases the difficulty, to play that way, as you don't have to worry about the future.

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1 minute ago, Adamast0r said:

Damn, Salmon. That's exactly the type of thing that I used to do as well.

I also used to do that, save 100 rockets and 600 cells and 200/200 for the next map or something. This makes me like to play episode ending map because I can unleash everything on the monsters, heh.

 

Also, I personally think pistol start is a thing since speedrunning became a thing. It seems individual level speedruns were always like pistol start, so I probably would say pistol start is a thing for a very long time already. Though, I can see right now it seems popular, but it's basically my speculation without any supporting evidence.

 

Other than this, slaughter maps tend to play better with pistol start because having BFG for some fights can just ruin everything, so I always play pistol start for slaughter maps.

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3 minutes ago, GarrettChan said:

because having BFG for some fights can just ruin everything, so I always play pistol start for slaughter maps.

Agreed.

 

Although there are slaughtermaps that ensure that you get overpowered, such as with SF's infinite BFG.

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Posted (edited)

I don't mind playing maps from pistol start, but I do mind when people make mapsets that are designed to be played continuously and then test them as if every map is a pistol start map. The result of this is that it destroys the tension of ammo limitations, and after a few levels, tends to leave you awash with way more ammunition than perhaps a continuous play should have.

 

As @Biodegradable rightly pointed out, the player has "earned the ammo they have," but this achievement of keeping and conserving your ammo is massively lessened because now there is too much ammo on the levels due to this idea that every map should be completable from a pistol start.

 

Well here's an idea. Balance continuous play maps... for continuous play! (assuming this is what you are going for,) and let the pistol starters rise to the challenge of playing maps that may not necessarily be as finely tuned for pistol starts. So that the achievement of continuous play is not lessened due to some arbitrary standard of pistol starts.

 

Anyway that is my 2c. Balancing for pistol starts makes continuous play easier. Which is bad. (Unless you are Malcolm Sailor. That guy knew how to make you earn your ammo.)

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1 minute ago, bLOCKbOYgAMES said:

Balance the maps for continuous play (assuming this is what you are going for,) and let the pistol starters rise to the challenge of playing maps that may not necessarily be as finely tuned for pistol starts. So that the achievement of continuous play is not lessened due to some arbitrary standard of pistol starts.

Once again, that might ostracize some players, but it is a viable option.

 

I think that, at the end of the day, it will be up to the mapper. Some will favour continous play, while other will prefer to invest in pistol starts.

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2 minutes ago, Adamast0r said:

I think that, at the end of the day, it will be up to the mapper. Some will favour continous play, while other will prefer to invest in pistol starts.

*continuous :P (JK)

 

For this, I don't disagree, but it's weird to balance continuous play. Even BtSX is said to be balanced to continuous play, it still changes the dynamic a lot. Let's say you are efficient enough, you can still build up a big stack of ammo for the next map and "ruin" everything. Personally, the basic point of balancing about continuous play is not giving the player a bunch of ammo so they couldn't carry a bunch of stuff to the next map, and when I'm testing a map, this is one of my most important guideline for resource balance because letting the player to swim in the sea of ammo destroys the strategic designs of the fights.

 

Therefore, I personally would say this is probably the reason why there are quite a lot of maps saying "balance for pistol start" and it's rare to see "balance for continuous play" as the latter probably strictly includes the former one.

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Just now, Adamast0r said:

Once again, that might ostracize some players, but it is a viable option.

 

I think that, at the end of the day, it will be up to the mapper. Some will favour continous play, while other will prefer to invest in pistol starts.

 

Yeah you are probably right. Ok. Balance the ammo for continuous play (in continuous play maps obviously lol) so that continuous players don't have their challenge lessened, but perhaps a few berserks/weapons around the start area to give the pistol starters at least a fighting chance.

 

I enjoy playing megawads continuously, and it is obvious that this idea of pistol starting every map detracts from the challenge of conserving your ammo, and in dire situations, having, say, lots of plasma to shoot your way out because you conserved it from the previous few levels. Testing every map for pistol starts tends to wreck this idea, as every map has sufficient ammo. Which means too much ammo when you bring your own ammo that you have saved up. 

 

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Well, thankfully we have a lot of PWADs to choose from. As all of this is the product of the work and passion this community has for id's legacy.

 

So ultimately, folks will just flock to whatever attracts them the most. And that's perfectly fine. Things shouldn't be seen from a single point of view, that's all.

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Certainly agreed. There are so many great levels and so many different ways to play. 

 

Remember when completing Doom on nightmare was considered a joke, even by the designers themselves?

 

People just find a way.

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