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Lila Feuer

Self-imposed challenges: how hard do you really like it?

How tough are you?  

68 members have voted

  1. 1. How tough are you?

    • Ultra-Violence only
      31
    • UV only but with Fast monsters enabled
      3
    • UV with Limited saves, Continuous play
      9
    • UV with Start save only, Continuous play
      9
    • UV with Limited saves, Pistol start
      19
    • UV without saves, Pistol start
      21
    • UV -fast with Limited saves, Continuous play
      4
    • UV -fast with Start save only, Continuous play
      3
    • UV -fast with Limited saves, Pistol start
      3
    • UV -fast without saves, Pistol start
      4
    • Other e.g -solonet, Nightmare!, Ironman, Tyson, keyboard/gamepad only
      11


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Seeing as how the skill ceiling of the last however many years has skyrocketed, I was curious for the more hardcore among the player base who consider themselves above average or very decent at least (me) up to master level (decino) and beyond, what your preferences are, for maintaining the challenge and what's comfortable for you. What is your limit? Do you even have a limit? And are you trying to get better?

 

I play UV continuous with limited saves. It used to be based on acquiring keys and "using them up" outside of combat, once per key, whenever it was safe or convenient for me to do so (I'd queue the save by holding onto it.) But now I've done away with the key system because not every map will have keys. So now, via the Woof! source port, I have to reach a personal milestone or "quota": kill 50-90% of the population, acquire all items, find all secrets, or simply survive for 20 minutes if these requirements aren't met before then on larger levels. That's a long time to be going without saving and it's an absolute fallback as most levels aren't going to be that long on average.

 

This system is just lenient enough to be reasonable without the reassurance of finding and queueing up a key to save whenever I find one and whenever I want to. I save on the spot when these requirements are met. It should be said that needing to kill 50% of the population is "easy" and only if I ever play a seriously difficult map, while 75% is "medium" and 90% is "hard" as you'd expect, most monsters need to be dead for that to happen and the level would most likely be over soon at that point. This is a very new system and I recently beat STRAIN like this. It makes you really want to find all the secrets and collect every item and kill as many monsters as possible to acquire saves. It even makes Arch-vile resurrections somewhat desirable because it will add on to the kill count.

 

Regardless of these save permissions it is forbidden to save during combat, so I preserve every fight. Thus retreating to a safe place out of danger is the only way to override a really long battle.

 

As for future improvements, I aspire to play with fast monsters, since I seriously slept on them, start saves only, pistol starts, and the extra co-op monsters for fun where they're supported.

 

I don't think I care for Nightmare! because it basically turns into a speed run and that's not how I play.

 

Edited by Lila Feuer

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I go for world records in max demos as a way to challenge myself apart from casual play where I just wanna fuck around. I find the fun categories like UV -FAST to be super awesome to go for records in, too (where there are any) because it requires a very high level of skill oftentimes and is much more predictable than max so in some ways its more skill based (dont quote me on this). Tyson is another good example of restrictive speedrun categories where you are forced to deal with things that are often "barely possible". I play doom in so many different ways, its hard to pin down an exact "type" like you described, but I think your style is very interesting!

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In general, I believe that by default any megawad should be passed with pistol-start, otherwise game situations just break down. You risk not getting even a fraction of the game experience that was conceived by the map author. The vast majority of maps were balanced for pistol-start, including the original official IWAD. The exceptions are if the opposite is stated somewhere in the Readme, that the megawad is balanced for uninterrupted passage, or if you play with some mod that has a system of progression between levels, such as Dusted Pandemonia.
 

Otherwise, I always play on UV pistol-start, not limited in any way by saves. Although I very much welcome the system of autosaves and a ban on the use of quick safes, it prevents the abuse on certain arenas, etc. Of course, if the author himself has built it competently.

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I enjoy replaying maps a good bit, but in general I like challenging myself in a few different ways. By "default" I usually play on whichever skill I feel like I'll be able to have a fun time on, usually UV but I'm not opposed to playing on lower if it ends up being overwhelming, pistol start and if it's my first playthrough of a map I usually say I'll give a good college try at getting all kills and secrets. That is to say, I'll actively hunt down the two to try and make the pretty numbers at the end hit 100% but if at a certain point I realize doing that is sucking the fun out of the level, I'll just stop and exit (and this college try goes pretty far as has been relatively recently been brought to my attention like situations of having an unfortunate ghost hell knight and no rockets or a spiderdemon with single digit health and still end up trying to find ways to get the job done). On replays of maps I'll usually feel more obligated to hunt down every kill and secret.

 

Maybe it's just because that's become the ritual at this point for me, but something just feels a bit hollow for me if I press the exit as soon as I see it. Even when I'm a good deal outside of my comfort zone I'll see the UV-Max exit conditions as a reason to stick around and see more of what the level has to offer; more often than not it ends up making me enjoy it more.

 

What I've begun doing recently is recording UV-Max demos on maps I've already gone through in the past. While they're by no means speedrun quality (and I use at least one option that -strict disables which I believe by definition makes them tool-assisted) it's been an interesting way to push my skill ceiling a little bit to not be able to save and follow a route I've planned out in my head. I do suppose just clearing the maps without saving would be the same idea, but having a .lmp to look back on or collect as I see myself saveless clear more wads is a really satisfying way to kind of quantifiably see myself improve at the game over time.

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I forgot to include Ironman for Other, which iirc means once you die the entire run is over? Which would be pretty harsh for megawads but that sounds like an awesome challenge.

 

I'm not below lowering to HMP or HNTR if there are maps that are especially evil or the author warns you that UV is balanced for psychopaths e.g Erik Alm wads. I haven't had to restart and reduce the difficulty to actually finish a wad that was outside of my skill range but I expect to eventually meet my match down the line.

 

I'm also not shy of slaughter maps, but I'm still pretty "new" to them, having only played Hell Revealed 1 and 2 a couple times each.

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I pickey Ultraviolence, pistol starts with limited saves. At least that's what I aim for, that's what I mostly play on. However, when I say limited saves, I'm actually pretty lenient on myself. I generally try to avoid midfight saves, but sometimes I cave in. I sometimes save even after merely walking a while just to save myself that trouble if a suspiciously placed key or something should spring a trap that kills me.

 

But I don't always do UV, either. For some harder wads above my skill level I might just choose HMP or even HNTR, like I did with later Fractured Worlds maps. I feel the pressure, but at the end of the day my ambitions as a Doom player reach only so high.

 

I sometimes think about fast monsters, but I every time I try it, I don't find it particularly fun, and Nightmare difficulty I find even less enticing (although I wouldn't mind trying on wads that are particularly designed for NM).

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Voted UV-fast, limited saves, Continuous play.

 

Limited in the sense that I do not save in combat, otherwise I save whenever, especially after backtracking for supplies or navigating a long stretch of the map to avoid tedium by having to replay pointless parts. Also, as long as I survive the fight, I keep going. So even if I get ambushed, lose 350% but live, I save on another slot and continue. No redoing for less damage unless forced.

 

One very important note, using the-fast option is not 100% the same as Nightmare. There is one initial monster reaction delay, that does not get removed by just using the -fast parameter. This usually results in that especially hitscanners will not instantly fire at you once you alert them but give you a split second of downtime. The difference doesn't seem much, but it's very noticeable. To get around it and to have the proper Nightmare experience without the respawning, I use a custom difficulty that also uses the InstantReaction property in the definition: https://zdoom.org/wiki/MAPINFO/Skill_definition#InstantReaction

 

Some time ago, GZDoom's fast option in the menu was bugged and actually made the monsters react as if on Nightmare. Once it's been reported, it was fixed and the InstantReaction property introduced to restore the original Nightmare-ish behavior.

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I chime in to submit another vote for UV-fast with limited saves, continuous play.

 

That's the hardest way I am playing, and it's usually limited to Ultimate Doom WADs, old map sets, and mods that are not considered very difficult. 

 

Limited saves means more or less what idbeholdME wrote. No mid-fight saves, and not replaying for better outcome, but I save whenever I see fit to avoid losing progression, as my time to play Doom is limited. 

 

I mimic pistol start by restraining myself to weapons given by the map, but since -fast can be unfair in some context, I like to have carryover weapons to sort it out.

 

In blind playthroughs, hard WADs, and in most contemporary stuff, I tend to play on normal UV, with saves, sometimes PS and sometimes continuous (it strongly depends on the format, I like Doom as an exploratory game that tells a story and won't pistol start those WADs).

 

I have made a few speed running attempts, but they only taught me that it's an activity that eats a lot of time, that I cannot invest. I played MAP31 of Overboard about 300 times before concluding that the record on Dsda cannot be beaten, at least by me.

Edited by Book Lord

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UV continuous with limited saves for me. I don't enjoy pistol-starting because it's immersion breaking for me. I also never save in the middle of encounters because I feel it'll eventually dull my skills as I'll be tempted to keep trying some dumb shit until I get lucky and come out on top.

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If you're playing E2 pistol start doesn't matter much as there's berserk in pretty much every level.

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UV -fast with Start save only, Continuous play gang representing!

 

I feel like the pistol start gang thinks theyre tough, but they aint.

Edited by Dreamskull

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7 hours ago, Book Lord said:

I have made a few speed running attempts, but they only taught me that it's an activity that eats a lot of time, that I cannot invest. I played MAP31 of Overboard about 300 times before concluding that the record on Dsda cannot be beaten, at least by me.

you picked a bad map, because its on a timer and the only parts that matter are the first 2 seconds :D 

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I'll add one last thing on my end: Saves don't necessarily mean "opportunity to undo mistakes made in a future fight", because saves will often usually be far apart and their total number a constant variable, so their real purpose is to act as "time insurance". I simply live with the pain if I eat shit, so if I can't turn things around down the line and I die then that's that.

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10 hours ago, Andrea Rovenski said:

you picked a bad map, because its on a timer and the only parts that matter are the first 2 seconds :D 

I know, but I got mad at it because no matter what I did at the start, or that I killed the Imps way before the switch appeared, I still could not get the time the record holder got without striving too much for it. 

 

My best demo was at 1.04.34, and it was not the most efficient one at killing the Imps. I recorded many other demos where I spent 10-15 seconds waiting for the exit switch to work.

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UV continuous with start saves only. Growing up with PSX Doom and 64, I find it best emulates the experience of having a password system. I'd do pistol starts back then but ain't got no time for that nowadays.

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It's a spectrum for me. Playing casually I savescum and rewind upon death on UV, I play continuous if the mapset supports continuous. This is 'just checking things out' mode.

If I don't die in the first couple of maps sometimes just checking things out progresses into a little unofficial 'how long can this continuous streak go on?' territory. Like a couple of days ago I went into Perdition's Gate just to check things out and I had a nice map01-10 run before eating shit at a mean cyberdemon. In this spirit I also try the forum ironman challenges sometimes. 

If I had a good casual experience with any one particular map it goes on a list, and when I have a bit of time I do pistol starts on UV with limited saves or no saves if achievable. Not initially interested in stats, just to see how it is to go through the whole map saveless. 

If that's fun or a particular type of cruel at least I may turn my stats on to get a proper 100% exit. Usually I stop here. So there is a gradient of self-challenge that goes from full on savescum content tourism to uvmax to shallow end of the pool ironman stuff. 

I also used to have self-imposed systems for how often I would allow myself to save (mine was on blue armors, quarter percent kills etc) in an effort to wean myself off of the saving instinct but honestly the moment you actually try to do a 100% kills and secrets saveless uv run on any map in doom, you are engaging with a historical part of the pastime that subsumes some of those self-imposed limitations. What you lose in that trade in the finetuned feedback that works for your skillset this second you gain in reinforced meanings and a regiment that kind of rounds you up as a player. 

For me I don't think it's about tryhard stuff... the thrills in a saveless max of anything / ironman or anything close to the limit of your current dooming abilities are intense. If you play musical instruments, it feels like this, like half improv. Seat of your pants is crucial, living, vibrant moment, miliseconds of pure experience. Hard to find in the world. This good shit, this good experience is immediately shattered psychodynamically by pressing the save button, even if you don't end up dying after all. You can play doom for 20 yrs and not explore that limit experience of sweating it half hour in, knee deep in the dead in full dread knowledge that the actually hard fight is only now coming up. Live or die after that, you're going to have some proper hellraising moments. Doom allows for these experiences! This is the difference of playing a map and trying to live in it and I hope everyone that enjoys intensity finds a way to have a similar experience. 
 

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Picked "UV with limited saves, pistol start" because there was no option for "Ultra-violence, pistol start" with no stipulations about saves. I enjoy recording demos, though, so UV pistol start without saves is a fun way for me to play, too.

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Im kind of surprised by some of these responses. Is playing "hard" stuff rare these days? Id say so.

 

I had read in another thread that the ability to play blind is a sign of some kind of skill, but i am inclined to disagree. The ability to make maps ourselves has this unresovable tendency to build into or at very least cater to our own preference. Thats why genre exists now. That, but more importantly we can build into and cater towards things we cannot forsee or plan ahead on, at least not at the start of on first playthrough. We can make them as large or as intricate as we want. Thats the appeal of playing doom for me. I like things refined, but you dont get to be refined without having the new or the twist or the spin. When thats the case, which is admittedly rarer these days, wouldnt skill go out the window and make for our own ability to more closely resemble an aptitude of sorts rather than a trump card we rest on whenever whatever level goes cross-eyed? Its often too easy to make unwinnable fights so you do have to scale it back into greyzone, but I think some of you guys are pulling punches in order to appease something. If it were up to me, thered be NO SAVE, but I like extremely long levels to compensate that preference. I think this skill and difficulty is found in the longevity of the run, not in its bare mechanical aspect thats provided for you to beat, thats what youre supposed to do afterall. The more of that mechanical aspect you have, the more autonomously conditioned you have to be to be to complete your task. Thats not what its actually about. If you have a map that requires undue "gymnastics" theyve given into something other than.

 

Wheres talk on endurance runs; never mind the speed runs? Theyre similar, but you do realize you can build maps to manhandle speedrunners, right?

Edited by Dreamskull

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