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Budoka

Musings on the DSDA top 20 megawads

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While I will make mention of demo recorders in this post, the thread is not actually about demos. As we all know, the Doomed Speed Demos archive is the most popular hosting website for classic doom demos these days. If we inquire on which megawads are the most popular/prolific in attracting demo makers, we get this:

http://doomedsda.us/top20.html

Wow, what a collection of classics. If it says anything, it's that the tastes among pro players are pretty varied, which is a good thing.

Gameplay-wise, we have something like Plutonia (distilled Doom essence)on one hand, and something like Eternal Doom (slow and thoughtful like few others) on the other. Aesthetics wise, we have the gorgeous Scythe 2, but also Hell Revealed with its more... practical approach to map design (well actually most of it looks good, but it's certainly an acquired taste in comparison). Difficulty wise, we find Revolution!, which is easier than Doom 2, and Hell Revealed 2, which is excruciatingly hard as its absurd MAP01 has the courtesy to make clear (seriously, what.)

With all of this in mind, I have a few questions. First, would you say that this page makes an ideal list of suggestions for newer players or people who have yet to play any megawads ? I say it is, but others will no doubt disagree.

Second, are there any megawads on this list you feel do not deserve the level of attention they get ? I mean, I'm not sure how well Doom 2 or Evilution would have fared in this competition if they weren't, you know, IWADs. And no doubt some will say that the likes of Memento Mori or 2002 have lost a bit of their former relevance. Conversely, are there any megawads (not counting very recent ones, that wouldn't be fair) that you whish got played more ?

Finally, is there an entry which you're surprised to see at all ? Personally, I knew Plutonia 2 and VileFlesh were popular, but I didn't realize it was to this extent. What do you think ?

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Budoka said:

First, would you say that this page makes an ideal list of suggestions for newer players or people who have yet to play any megawads ?

IMO, only very few of them: The IWADs of course, then AV, Scythe, Vile Flesh, Speed of Doom, maybe HR and Ksutra. The thing is, most of these wads are relatively old and their design philosophies might feel dated and unimpressive for someone who isn't influenced by nostalgia. I think that modern day wads are better suited to introduce new players into Doom to get into its appeal.

Budoka said:

Second, are there any megawads on this list you feel do not deserve the level of attention they get ?

I personally think that Memento Moris are overrated, but I respect that they're important for their historical value and that they were considered great back then and that they aren't actually downright bad at all. Other than that I don't personally enjoy them, nothing against them.

Budoka said:

Finally, is there an entry which you're surprised to see at all ?

New Gothic Movement. (ngmvmt1)

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Budoka said:

Finally, is there an entry which you're surprised to see at all ? Personally, I knew Plutonia 2 and VileFlesh were popular, but I didn't realize it was to this extent. What do you think ?

pl2 is a demo recorder's dream, it's challenging and fun when taken to the extreme. I don't get vile, though - and I'm saying this as a guy who added quite a few demos to its tally - I think it's actually pretty sucky for entertaining recordings, heh.

Also Doom 2 > Doom hands down for entertaining demos. Hands down, it's so much fun and definitely deserves its place high on the list. Actually, Doom's only fun categories are NM and movies, so I'd question its presence instead. Fava and the Classic Episode as Doom PWADs are much more entertaining than the original game as far as recording demos goes. TNT is so high up there just because its IWADness, you're right about that.

Finally, there's no way Requiem would be so high without getting featured as a CN wad. Some of those maps stand in direct opposition to competitiveness, heh.

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It is easy to explain the presence of most of the WADs on top20.
4 IWADs, played and recorded since 1994-6... on Compet-N
Note that MM,MM2,Requiem were added much later, so their amount is like half of Plutonia/TNT.

HR - extremely popular among the first wave of so-called doomgods, like Anders.
Requiem - thanks to Xit Vono who I think recorded more than 50% of all the demos for it.
MM2 - thanks to Eugene, Xit and me.
2002ado - most of the demos recorded in the last 4 years(!), it wasn't that high on the list before. Hats off to Kyle McAwesome.
Eternal - only place 20 by #/demos, place 11 by demo length. The first demopack contained extremely, but extremely long demos.

Also, this is for fun: top20 from April 2010. Squadron, phtga, has anyone played these? (Back then, DSDA didn't host IWAD compet-n demos, so there's no doom/doom2 high on the list).
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/wojtunio/oldtop_zpswbalf77a.jpg

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Heh, phtga is that arena wad where the map is always the same but has different monsters and weapons each time? Well, it was made exactly for demoing I guess.

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All I can say about TNT is that Dime's twitch.tv runs of it were pretty entertaining. As a veiwer, I like watching for stuff like successfully pulling off the window jump in Human BBQ, but I imagine working for those tricky shortcuts isn't quite as entertaining, heh.

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Cyberdemon531 said:

My personal goal is to get Memento Mori to #1 on both top 20 boards because it is the best wad of all time.

(looking at both WADs and players lists) Putting yourself as #1 will become quicker than this.

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vdgg said:

Also, this is for fun: top20 from April 2010. Squadron, phtga, has anyone played these? (Back then, DSDA didn't host IWAD compet-n demos, so there's no doom/doom2 high on the list).
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/wojtunio/oldtop_zpswbalf77a.jpg


Now that's intriguing, I would have thought to find something like Perdition's Gate or Whispers of Satan. I don't think I've ever seen Squadron ot phtga even mentioned anywhere.

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Budoka said:

Now that's intriguing, I would have thought to find something like Perdition's Gate or Whispers of Satan. I don't think I've ever seen Squadron ot phtga even mentioned anywhere.


When the Perdition's Gate demo pack arrives, it'll be up there. Don't you worry :o

As far as the top 20, I think a top 20 of the past year would be much more interesting. A lot of these are there because of historic reasons, and are not representative of where demos are being made day to day. Some of them are still quite active, of course.

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Budoka said:

First, would you say that this page makes an ideal list of suggestions for newer players or people who have yet to play any megawads ?

It should have DICKWAD.

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Cyberdemon531 said:

My personal goal is to get Memento Mori to #1 on both top 20 boards because it is the best wad of all time.


How do you feel about the fact the two Pwads beating it are Hell Revealed and Scythe of all things ?^^ I don't care what you say though, they totally deserve it.

While I'm at it, one more question: for those who have played most of these, in what order would you rank them as far as difficulty is concerned ? I'd imagine Revolution! is the easiest and Speed of Doom the hardest, but what do I know.

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Personally I think Hell Revealed is absolutely disgusting. Episode 1 is tolerable, but the rest is just amateur garbage. Scythe on the other hand is excellent aside from MAP28/30. I haven't played all the wads, but from what I played I thought that PL2 was probably the hardest.

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huh? Episode 2 and 3 is where hell revealed gets the name from, maps 1-12 on the other hand bring the wad down if you play it today.

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Yeah. I can understand that some people don't exactly fall in love with HR nowadays, because its faithful followers like ksutra, AV, SoD, Sunder, Slaughter* & others polished its "ancient" crudeness in both gameplay and visuals... but that still doesn't rob it of its significance and pioneering genius. It will always be THE slaughter wad that influenced everyone in the biz. E2 and E3 = HR.

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Hell Revealed, my childhood. *sheds a tear*

E2 and E2 is where it is at with the wad, but funnily map11 remains as my favorite map. Has such nice flowing gameplay which is just for me.

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I don't really judge wads based on when they released / when I played them. I played MM for the first time just a few months ago and I already think it's one of my favorites, if not my favorite wad that I've played. Compared to other wads of the time, HR just isn't too impressive, really. I don't generally like slaughter mapsets, and HR is the prime example of a bad slaughter mapset, in my opinion. Whoopee, a giant square, gray room with 100 barons and a super shotgun. Sure is fun and exciting! A few maps are decent, but most of them are just ugly and repetitive. E1 isn't really that bad, so I still kinda like it a bit, but E2/3 just look ugly, play poorly, and aren't really fun at all, from what I've played at least. I haven't completed each map yet, but I have most of them.

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Just to throw my few cents in, hr never did anything for me. I've always liked hr2 more.

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Cyberdemon531 said:

I don't generally like slaughter mapsets, and HR is the prime example of a bad slaughter mapset, in my opinion. Whoopee, a giant square, gray room with 100 barons and a super shotgun. Sure is fun and exciting! A few maps are decent, but most of them are just ugly and repetitive.


The funny thing is this pretty much sums up Hell Revealed's general reputation, as this kind of talk about it comes up rather frequently. Yet having played through the whole thing on skill 1 and watched UV Max demos by better players than I am, I can't recall a single map that actually matches that description on a prominent level.

Every map has its own thematic concept as a base, making most of them very distinctive, and while the various skirmishes may appear straightforward and basic from an outside perspective, they're usually the total opposite. The wad also has this dreamy atmosphere to it. It's not very Doom-like and it doesn't exactly jump at your face, but it's unique and it works.

One thing I've noticed about your play-style though is that you tend to focus on speed optimization at the exclusion of everything else, going even so far as to attempt UV-Speed runs of levels you've never played before, in turn making them more difficult than they would have been with a more "normal approach". Hey, I guess you're one of the top speedrunners for a reason. In this regard, I would especially single out Scythe II MAP20, "The Gates", which doesn't even come close to being a slaughtermap.

@J4rio: I have yet to play HR2 beyond the first level, but you certainly get originality points for that one since as far as I can tell HR2 is even more controversial than its big brother.

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Cyberdemon531 said:

Personally I think Hell Revealed is absolutely disgusting.

Aren't you exaggerating just a little? Anyway, you are not alone. Not my cup of tea, either. The way I see it, HR to DOOM is what the "Friday the 13th" series was to the horror genre. It's nice to have it where it is, though: makes you appreciate the real classics, like Memento Mori, all the better.

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Budoka said:

I can't recall a single map that actually matches that description on a prominent level.

Well I am mostly being hyperbolic with my example, but there are quite a few areas that match it, not exactly, but still fit the key point.

Budoka said:

One thing I've noticed about your play-style though is that you tend to focus on speed optimization at the exclusion of everything else, going even so far as to attempt UV-Speed runs of levels you've never played before, in turn making them more difficult than they would have been with a more "normal approach". Hey, I guess you're one of the top speedrunners for a reason.


For me, I find casually playing doom to be boring for the most part. I enjoy routing a map and doing speed runs much more, but I usually do them of mapsets that I like (or at least think I would like), but that doesn't mean I don't play wads non-speed style. I tried HR slowly and just didn't really like it.

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scifista42 said:

IMO, only very few of them: The IWADs of course, then AV, Scythe, Vile Flesh, Speed of Doom, maybe HR and Ksutra. The thing is, most of these wads are relatively old and their design philosophies might feel dated and unimpressive for someone who isn't influenced by nostalgia. I think that modern day wads are better suited to introduce new players into Doom to get into its appeal.



could you elaborate on these design philosophies? i'm just curious what changed in mapping during the last few years compared to these classics you mention.

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Akse said:

Yes, because it shows how funny on one hand and dickish on the other Doom pwad can be.
[...]
Same thing with DICKWAD.

Моя твоя не понимай.

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HR is great, and I care little for nostalgia. I want to say it has a clean design; but that's a loaded term, everyone is inclined to use it for their favorite wads. So, clean design in the sense that it uses very little sectors and textures to give vastly distinct atmospheres to each level, no visual clutter to distract the player or impede monster movement. It's something most successors fail to replicate, in the everlasting quest to outdo what came before by scaling everything up.

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Never_Again said:

Моя твоя не понимай.

DICKWAD is hilarious and everyone should try it. Noobs especially!

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