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Zulk RS

How important are difficulty settings?

How important are difficulty settings to a megawad?  

78 members have voted

  1. 1. How important are difficulty settings to a megawad?

    • Without it, your megawad is shit.
      13
    • Very important. Every great megawad must have this.
      28
    • Important. Can be left out but it's a very bad idea to do so.
      26
    • Not that important. Great megawads can be made without this
      7
    • Not important. A nice option to have but it doesn't really matter.
      4


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How important is implementing difficulty settings to a megawad?
Would great megawads like Alien Vendetta, Valiant, Scythe, ZDCMP2 etc. be considered great even if they didn't have difficulty settings implemented?

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Difficulty settings exist to allow multiple people of varied playing skill to enjoy the game, and therefore more people would potentially see the megawad as great, subjectively. Difficulty settings themselves don't make wads objectively greater or less great. I think that's how it should be considered.

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Demonologist said:

UV or coward.

That's my approach to playing maps. Naturally, if I can't beat it then the map is shit ;)

EDIT: Saying that, I always put in difficulty settings myself when mapping, so I guess I do value them for completeness.

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Doom is much more a shared experience these days than in the past, and if we're discussing the idea of "classics" and talking about the game as something more than just a relief valve for after-hours entertainment then a common ground for discussion is a handy thing to have. If UV bias didn't exist it would be necessary to invent it.

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I don't hold it against mappers if they don't want to do it, but I don't see the point in neglecting difficulty settings. It's low effort and lets more people enjoy your work.

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They also add variety to the map(s), since you can use difficulty settings to change the monster roster and rearrange important items.

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As someone who only plays Doom (can't map!) and who lacks any semblance of skill I think difficulty settings are paramount to the completeness of WADs.

If not implementing skill settings had become the norm I'm pretty sure that maps would have just gotten harder and harder for the 'hardcore' and I'd be elbowed out... I need my power fantasy too!

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They should be more important than they are, if that makes sense. I don't think they are utilised well enough by both players who quit or complain if UV is too hard and mappers who treat lower difficulty levels as watered down versions of the intended experience.

I wish it was the status quo that mappers made HMP the standard and used UV for an increased challenge for competive players or players returning for a new challenge. And that players bought into this idea also.

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Phobus said:

That's my approach to playing maps. Naturally, if I can't beat it then the map is shit ;)


And then you can also make a thread about how much the game sucks!11!1! :^)

I think they are important, even more on wads intended to be extremely challenging.

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purist said:

They should be more important than they are, if that makes sense. I don't think they are utilised well enough by both players who quit or complain if UV is too hard and mappers who treat lower difficulty levels as watered down versions of the intended experience.

I wish it was the status quo that mappers made HMP the standard and used UV for an increased challenge for competive players or players returning for a new challenge. And that players bought into this idea also.


Thank you for stating exactly how I feel about difficulty settings personally.

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Very Important: But if you think making easier skill levels easier is as simple as cutting out half of the monsters, then don't even bother. You can make skill settings without reducing the fun, and id hope that both players and mappers understand that soon.

Also I think its worth mentioning on the topic of megawads with difficulty settings, I think it kinda sucks when MAP01 is too easy even on UV. I've recently thought that it would be a kind gesture to make MAP01 of a megawad or short episode really bullshit hard on UV as a warning sign of what's to come. Sort of like a more extreme version of E1M1, which pretty much turns everyone into Shotgun Guys. Usually I breeze through the first ten maps of most megawads at a normal pace, then I get to the tens and twenties and that's when I realize I made a horrible mistake. But by then its too late to turn back now. If you look at my personal demo archive you'll see I rarely pass the MAP20 mark in most megawads.

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Important. It's a myth that everyone in the doom community only ever plays on UV. There are definitely less-skilled players in the doom community, or some who might prefer more casual, 'Sunday morning drive' gameplay. Leaving out skill levels, particularly on a harder mapset, needlessly precludes their enjoyment of a level. I do think that it's possible to omit skill levels and still have a good wad (which is why I only selected option 3) ie. I don't believe they are critical, but I do strongly believe it is a bad idea to not include them. It is an unnecessary audience limitation a bit like mandating a specific port but making only token use of the port-specific features, only this is more restrictive as most people can (if they wish) use the specified port but if the gameplay is too hard, that's more or less it.

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In reality, I find myself agreeing with the "UV or coward" approach. It's pretty much muscle memory for me to hit NEW GAME -> ULTRA VIOLENCE whenever I load anything in Doom now.

I do agree with Purist that I wish that "Hurt Me Plenty" was seen as the 'normal' difficulty while UV was the "extra hard" mode for returning players or masochists. In every other game I'll play on "normal" and leave the "difficult" modes for other people.

But my feeling is that the status quo among mapmakers for Doom is that "UV is the default" and any other difficulty will be watered down from that or not what the mapmaker envisioned. Obviously this isn't true for everyone, and some authors try to combat that, but I get the feeling that's the status quo, and it perpetuates itself.

(Part of this probably also just comes from the way the game is designed. You make your map and think the player should fight a monster closet full of 10 revenants, so you make it accordingly. How to make it harder? It's more difficult to say 10 should be HMP, and UV should be 15 revenants, and make the closet bigger, than say 10 is UV, remove 5 for HMP, and change them into pistol troopers for HNTR).

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Difficulty settings are very important. What, are you so lazy you can't support them? Why would you get 90% of the way towards making a finished map and then just skimp out on the final polishing stages? Cmon son.

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Demonologist said:

UV or coward.

Watch movies and TV without ever pausing or coward. Read books while jogging and don't look away from the book or coward. Gaming is just another medium of entertainment, applying your own rules to everyone is a bit odd. It can be fun to apply these gamer OCD things to your own experience, but it sounds a bit odd to apply them to everyone.

Plus you're not even a bad enough dude to play on Nightmare, you can't call anyone a coward. My view on really high difficulty is that it just takes up more of your time. The solution is generally memorizing things after you die. Personal preference, but I'm not into that these days. I did have the Ninja Gaiden games on NES.

(edit: hit quote instead of edit)

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'I play on UV only' is a perfectly idiotic attitude - especially when using it for mapping as well.

First, not all map sets have the same difficulty, so one map's UV is another one's ITYTD, so having skills broadens the potential audience.

I choose skill on my current mood. Sometimes I have no desire to play at the hardest possible setting and prefer something a bit more relaxed. Bad mod that won't allow it.

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of course difficulty is important. what, you buy the latest game and set it on the highest difficulty everytime you get one? difficulty settings exist for a reason, you weren't a "Doom God!!!!" when you first started playing it, it's okay to tune down the challenge if you need to.

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scifista42 speaks the truth here. putting in difficulty settings allows you to have different combat experiences in the same wad, and also check to see if the mapper forgot important things on certain settings!

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HMP is my default difficulty. I only choose UV (without think) if I'm playing the original IWADs.

I think difficulty settings can be a generous way to make everyone enjoy your maps. ITYD\HNTR for example, need to be made understanding that there is casual players out there that don't want to (or can't) be pushed to the limits. Just give them the opportunity to have fun too (even if it's not fun for you).

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Tempted to vote between Important and Very Important. But my take is simply it's a huge plus. Many people play on UV which is considered hard but a lot of people play games on normal difficulty.

And DOOM's normal difficulty for someone who doesn't play a lot is well.. Normal. Medium. Needs to be there.

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Linguica said:

Difficulty settings are very important. What, are you so lazy you can't support them? Why would you get 90% of the way towards making a finished map and then just skimp out on the final polishing stages? Cmon son.


^ That.

Without it, it's shit.

Like others have said, HMP is supposed to be the standard difficulty, that's why it's called "normal" in most editors and modes. For the same reason, UV is called "hard," not "normal." Having said that, I suppose we are all used to the forgiving nature of the iDeas, but that doesn't change what the settings were meant to be. UV is for those who want extra challenge.

If you play the Iwads on HMP there are actually decent inroductions for each monster, UV throws em in early.

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One of the worst fucking things about some otherwise great games is the lack of a difficulty setting. And to those who are like "if you want to play the game, git gud" I say, how about the game itself "gits gud" at being a fucking game then maybe I'll play it.

Needless to say Doom is no exception. The ID guys knew it was necessary so really it's a non-question: If your map does not include difficulty settings, it's both lazy and restricts your WADs potential playerbase. But hey, if a mapper wants to dampen their own WAD's play experience and restrict it's appeal in such an oddball way, that's their choice.

One of my biggest goofs with pre-SinSeven releases was not including thorough difficulty levels. They are there, but not as thorough as they aught to be. I want newbs to be able to enjoy my maps as well as seasoned Doomers.

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One of the nice things about Doom is that nearly 100% of the effort of making a WAD is visible - pretty much everything about mapping and any custom graphics and what have you is right there in front of the player and able to be noticed. This is a very appealing thing, especially compared to modern engines, where maybe, like, 10% of the effort of making a level is actually something that the player will see and interact with, and the rest is setting up all the collision geometry and pathfinding nodes and occlusion portals and whatever. But a side effect of this sort of easy mapping is that oftentimes people just won't do any sort of effort for stuff that isn't obvious to the player. Implementing difficulty levels falls into this category - by definition, a player is only ever going to see one of the three levels while playing through the level, and most people are never going to go back and replay it on a different skill level and notice any changes, so why put in the effort?

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Difficulty settings are great. They allow lots of different gamers experience something you've made, and enable them to chose how challenging they want it to be. It means you can be more creative with monster placements and combinations and not have to worry if its going to be too tough for many.

I only tend to play on UV as I don't like how nightmare kills my sense of progression and has constant pressure that limits me stepping back and enjoying the map after taking care of the baddies. Still, some wads can be crazy hard on UV and if I don't have the time it's great to drop it down to HMP and still see the map.

It can also be thought of as an 'accesibility' setting. Not all gamers are fully abled, some have to use very different control setups to be comfortable; having lower difficulties not balanced around super-high dexterity with the keyboard and mouse can again let players have fun with your creation where they otherwise mightn't have.

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