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hardcore_gamer

Is there any point in having a "easy mode" difficulty for levels?

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When designing a level for Doom/Doom 2 you have difficulty settings to worry about.

However, is there any point in worrying about the easy setting? Does anybody here actually play on easy (HNTR and below)? I am pretty sure that 90% of everyone here probably plays on either UV or HMP. So why bother with easy mode? Why not just design the levels with HMP in mind and then juice up the difficulty by adding some UV only monsters here and there while replacing certain key monsters with toughter ones? It makes more sense to me instead of concerning yourself with a difficulty level that almost nobody is going to play on.

Thoughts?

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Yes, there is a point in it.

If a wad is hard enough to be overly frustrating, but I really want to play it, I'll play it on skill 2. If it doesn't have a lower skill, I'm just not going to play it, or I'll nomonsters it or something.

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I'm on the opposite side of the fence. play on UV, if too hard: iddqd through, try it again on UV with knowledge of traps and layout etc.

I could see how that would 'ruin the experience' for an immersive mapset though

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difficulty settings allow your map(s) to be played by a larger number of people and that is the reason for doing it.

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hardcore_gamer said:
However, is there any point in worrying about the easy setting? Does anybody here actually play on easy (HNTR and below)? I am pretty sure that 90% of everyone here probably plays on either UV or HMP. So why bother with easy mode?

Generally, the harder a PWAD on hard, the more people will need an easy skill level, unless medium is much easier, but that may leave some dissatisfied with the two extremes.

Ribbiks said:
I'm on the opposite side of the fence. play on UV, if too hard: iddqd through, try it again on UV with knowledge of traps and layout etc.

I could see how that would 'ruin the experience' for an immersive mapset though

There's only one chance for an initial play through any new level set, so to me that experience mustn't be ruined by meta-game elements like saves and cheats. For that experience where I get to know the levels, I want a raw immersion as if I were a person visiting the place without extraneous miracle magic (cheats) or Deus Ex Machina devices (saves) that dilute and ease such an exploration. I also record these initial games, and saves and cheats don't work in demos, at least in vanilla behavior. So demo recording prohibits hacks while at the same time it enhances the value of initial play, because it can be viewed later.

Having an easier skill that would allow me a chance to play through with little or no deaths, I can do that. Any more extreme settings can be used later for added play value after that initial experience is expended, if there is time and interest.

In addition to providing skill settings, I think it's also important to try to give players an idea of the difficulty of the PWAD, by comparing its skill settings to the difficulty of existing level sets, so that people can choose. One thing that makes skill settings "pointless" is that players may not know what they mean in a particular PWAD, if that isn't specified or insinuated somehow.

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hardcore_gamer said:

Is there any point in having a "easy mode" difficulty for levels?

Yes, if you want to be a professional doom level creator, then include the easy difficulty!

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With every skill setting you have the opportunity to change more than just the difficulty. Try changing the order keys are issued, you could start the map at the end an run it backwards! have areas only accessible on easy skill etc

If you have a big battle why not try upping the monster count? taking out tens of former humans with the rocket may not be the ultimate challenge but it a fun distraction from the real threat.

Don't confuse easy with trivial and have fun with it.

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I used to wonder if there was any point to easy skill levels until I played AV (this was later reinforced by Hell Revealed and Speed of Doom).

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I'm surprised how many people play below HMP. I used to feel like less of a man if I dropped down, and some wads don't seem to support difficulty levels, but we can't all be Doom Gods.

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Then let's shut them up by challenging them to play Speed of Doom without the BFG, we'll see who the Doom Gods are then... ;)

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lol what? That's like challenging the jocks to who kick football most far.

No, it's more like

Who can play Doom wads on skill 1 and stay genuinely entertained for the longest time.

Winner gets all expenses paid trip to Mt Erebus.

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Apart from extra hard wads there's also the younger players to consider. Given the number of forum members who confess to having played doom when they should have been watching Sesame Street, how many would be here now if they'd found the game too hard?

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^that's true.

As Bruce and Szymanski pointed out, it can be used for much more than just "less monsters, and actually a little dull". That was actually my perception of it, for the longest time.

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I play all PWADS on medium for my first playthrough. If they're still challenging, I'll leave them on normal. Otherwise I'll bump it up to UV.

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GreyGhost said:

Apart from extra hard wads there's also the younger players to consider. Given the number of forum members who confess to having played doom when they should have been watching Sesame Street, how many would be here now if they'd found the game too hard?


Quite true. Dylan and I played the first 17 levels of Demonfear in co-op on ITYTD just this morning. Those maps are perfect for a young player as they're short, easy and mostly straight forward to navigate.

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Mmh, I give you guys a different perspective: I consider myself to be a fairly good Doom player (have no difficulty playing Plutonia on UV, for example). Yet, to me playing custom wads is all about relaxing, seeing what other authors build these days. Almost like watching TV.

So I play pretty much everything on ITYTD, unless it's something "official" (played through all the official Doom games on NM, or at least UV in the case of Final Doom).

When designing my own maps, I try to mind all skill levels, though - tuning around UV and HMP until they feel challenging yet fair.

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I suppose you have a good point. The majority that actually play wads will play on HMP or above.

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ITYTD is for the ultra casual softies not used to shooters.

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Mr. Chris said:
ITYTD is for the ultra casual softies not used to shooters.

Or not used to saving. It really depends on how hard the PWAD is on the higher skill settings, and I've also found it useful on some harsh levels or level sets without proper difficulty settings, especially those with tight ammo and not much health.

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Good point myk. Many players seem to be of the mindset that if a map cannot be completed without saving then the author has made it too difficult. Seems to me that would exclude them from playing at least half the WADs in the Archives, but ones with more variety in the difficulty levels would certainly fit their style of play.

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Deathmatcher said:

Mmh, I give you guys a different perspective: I consider myself to be a fairly good Doom player (have no difficulty playing Plutonia on UV, for example). Yet, to me playing custom wads is all about relaxing, seeing what other authors build these days. Almost like watching TV.

So I play pretty much everything on ITYTD, unless it's something "official" (played through all the official Doom games on NM, or at least UV in the case of Final Doom).

When designing my own maps, I try to mind all skill levels, though - tuning around UV and HMP until they feel challenging yet fair.

myk said:

Or not used to saving. It really depends on how hard the PWAD is on the higher skill settings, and I've also found it useful on some harsh levels or level sets without proper difficulty settings, especially those with tight ammo and not much health.

Both of these are the big reasons I play ITYTD. I have more fun when I'm not constantly saving the game, and I enjoy relaxingly making my way through new levels. I make an exception though if the wad is touted for its gameplay. Then I try to see how high I can go.

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_bruce_ said:

You can use it for DoomI mode in a DoomII map.


I like that idea. A lot of the new Doom 2 monsters didn't make an appearance until late into Doom 2 on the easier skill levels. On Ultra Violence they seem to be a dime a dozen.

I still have a pretty solid stance that skill levels should pertain more to health, armor, ammo and easier access to weapons than the volume of monsters. That way the gameplay remains intact, but the player is forgiven for not being familiar with the map.

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Szymanski said:

With every skill setting you have the opportunity to change more than just the difficulty. Try changing the order keys are issued, you could start the map at the end an run it backwards! have areas only accessible on easy skill etc

I really wish more maps did this. My favorite thing about skill settings in DOOM is the replay value they offer: I played all the IWADs on NTR, then replayed on HMP, and then UV, just because each skill offered new surprises. It's quite a thrill bumping into enemies where there used to be none before.

But someone really milking the difficulty settings--giving you three distinct playthroughs of the level with completely rearranged weapons, items and enemies for each skill--would be really awesome. I almost never see this. And it'd increase the longevity of all that architecture you worked so hard to build. :)

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It would probably be lost on most players. There's such a huge amount of PWADs I expect your work would have to be Cacoward worthy for players to examine it so thoroughly. Most players would get only the UV version of the level(s).

No reason not to do it though, I suppose.

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