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Chubzdoomer

[Video] Marty Stratton Answering Community Questions

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This video is a few weeks old, but since there hasn't been a thread on it yet I figured I'd go ahead and make one myself.

Although Marty wasn't able to thoroughly answer every question, below are some of the answers that I found most interesting as well as what I ultimately took away from them:

[On whether or not SnapMap levels will be shared across platforms]
"Yes, they will."

Takeaway: SnapMap will be exactly the same on PC as it is on consoles. In other words, on PC you'll face the same exact limitations as far as how many objects can exist in a map and so forth since the maps you design must also be compatible with consoles. This is disappointing since mod tools still haven't been confirmed and, for all we know, may never see the light of day.

[On whether or not SnapMap's UI differs on PC]
"It's pretty much the same UI across all of [the platforms]. If you're comfortable with the controller on a PC you can use a controller. It works great with a keyboard and mouse.
. . .
We've put a lot of time into making it really, really function well on a controller . . ."


Takeaway: SnapMap is being designed with controllers in mind, and may in fact function better with a controller than M&KB. Although Marty says that it works great with M&KB, I fear that since it's such a controller-minded "tool" it will actually end up feeling strange/clunky with anything other than a controller. I hope I'm wrong!

[On whether or not they've taken inspiration from the original DOOM games' level design]
"Yeah, to an extent.
. . .
There is definitely that [exploration] aspect to it . . . We focused on making sure that if people don't want to really get lost, there's a way out and you can continue on and get to that next combat [area], which is really what the focus of the game is, is getting to that next horde of demons that you can take out. But the exploration is really fun
. . .
There is a pretty good sense of that non-linear exploration"


Takeway: Although there will still be secrets, opportunities for exploration, and even keycards, DOOM 2016's level design will ultimately be considerably more linear and straight-forward than classic DOOM's. As Marty points out, it's more about advancing from one combat area to the next than actually getting lost, spending lots of time trying to find keycards, etc. I imagine the level design will be comparable to that of Wolfenstein: TNO and even Shadow Warrior 2013. That is to say, not as linear as a modern military shooter, but nowhere near as labyrinth/maze-like as classic DOOM.

[On whether there will be DLC and/or microtransactions]
"I kind of have to defer to our PR and marketing group on when we announce that kind of stuff. We want to continue with this game well beyond just a retail release and we want to give players tons of value. We're not particularly in the business of 'grinding' people, [and] I think you'd see that with what we're releasing just out of the box with a pretty cool campaign, full-blown multiplayer, and custom-built SnapMap stuff. We want people to enjoy the game, but we've really built in a lot of ways that we can expand it, give players new content, develop the community, [and] give them opportunities to continue to grow within themselves."

Takeaway: Yes, there clearly will be DLC and perhaps even microtransactions. It sounds like they're trying to approach these forms of content as ethically as possible, though, which is always great to hear. As long as the campaign is of decent length and has plenty of replay value and SnapMap doesn't disappoint, I'm fine with this. I'm already wondering exactly what kinds of DLC we'll see. Wouldn't it be cool for them to make a Classic DOOM DLC with all of the original game's levels remastered in the new engine?

[On the upcoming beta]
"It is coming and it will include that whole Wolfenstein [The New Order] group that pre-ordered Wolfenstein and be a bit different than what we've done with our closed alphas to this point."

Takeaway: My prediction is that the beta will feature some sort of SP content, or perhaps even the ability to tinker with SnapMap. As someone who's never been interested in standard deathmatch multiplayer, I would much rather test one of these things.

[On the classic FPS elements that will be present]
"We do have keys. We have very classic-feeling elements. We try to do it in kind of a new/fresh way. People really reacted well to one of our 'key' puzzles in what we showed at E3, [where you] tear the guy's hand off and use it as a key.
. . .
If you're coming to DOOM to have amazing combat, then I really think people are going to enjoy themselves. We've spent so much time to try to get that right, to try to get the challenge/difficulty of it right. We've actually even ratcheted [the difficulty] up quite a bit since having [the press] out to play it.
. . .
It's an action shooter. It's an action game. Your rollercoaster ride in this game is how challenging those fights are . . . It's just super, super fun when you're diving into these arenas and, as we've talked about, skating/swimming through the space and using your combination of guns and glory kills. That challenge, and then getting your ass kicked and coming back and adjusting your strategy a little bit, that's the rollercoaster ride of DOOM. It's not about canned setpieces and cinematic [sequences]. The rollercoaster is the action and the combat, and it's a blast."


Takeaway: Again, I get the sense that although several classic elements will return, the game will ultimately be much more straight-forward and combat/arena-focused than the original DOOM games. The more I hear about it, the more similar to Shadow Warrior 2013 it sounds. Not that this is a bad thing, but those of you expecting DOOM 2016 to be structured similarly to classic DOOM will likely be disappointed.

[On whether or not there will be any incentive to replay the campaign aside from different difficulty settings]
"There's no alternate endings or anything like that, but [one incentive is] the combat, and the way the combat feels and the way you can approach it differently [by] using different guns [and their upgrades].

There's a lot of exploration that ties into how far you upgrade and what perks you get and all kinds of that stuff. If you're a completionist you can find it all on your first playthrough, but we do give you the opportunity to go back and play and find that stuff and have that added to your 'save.'

The difficulty stuff is certainly not to be dismissed. It's definitely a different experience to play it on Hurt Me Plenty versus Nightmare. You just approach things completely differently. It's a blast, actually. It's really fun to kind of take that next step. Our regular, lower-tier modes have checkpoints. [On] Nightmare you basically don't get those checkpoints other than [between missions]. And then we have an Ultra Nightmare mode that is a distinct challenge that we will talk about a little bit more [later on]."


Takeaway: It sounds interesting how you can return to previous levels to find weapon upgrades and have them tacked onto your save without having to start a brand new game. Wolfenstein: TNO did something similar with its perks/collectibles, so I imagine that's where they borrowed the idea from.

Something that worries me, though, is how Marty says one of the most challenging things about Nightmare difficulty is that you don't have any checkpoints what-so-ever, and that the game is only saved each time you complete a level. This most likely means we'll be stuck with a checkpoint-only save system rather than a combination of checkpoints and manual saves. I never have liked checkpoint-only saves, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that regard. Being able to save your game anywhere, at any time was always one of the many great things about classic shooters like Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, Duke 3D, and even Quake.

[On whether or not there will be a scoring system]
"There is a component of the game that kind of creates a 'combat score' that you can apply to how you upgrade your gun modifications in addition to a bunch of other ways to get those same benefits."

Takeaway: This sounds similar to Shadow Warrior 2013's "karma" system in which you're given a one-to-five shuriken rating after each combat encounter. The higher your rating, the more karma you earn, which is in turn spent on new upgrades/abilities.

[On the importance/prevalence of problem-solving in the campaign]
"There is a bit. Sometimes it's a little bit of navigation, sometimes it's figuring out how to make your way through the 'gating' of the game so-to-speak . . . but I wouldn't call it a puzzle game. Really, most of the puzzle solving is in the combat and the way that it plays out and how you approach it and how you're constantly thinking. It's amazing when you play it, particularly as you get further and the fights get even more intense, the constant combat problem-solving that you're going through and which gun to use against which enemy and how far away he is and how to approach the space. We call these spaces that you fight in 'arenas' internally and, to a certain extent, there's an aspect of playing it that kind of feels multiplayer-esque in the way that you traverse the space and move through and attack enemies and make choices, and that kind of path/speed of thinking is really what we're hitting on from a problem-solving perspective."

Takeaway: By now it's pretty clear that the gameplay and level design will favor combat over exploration. Don't expect the large, non-linear levels of the past, or the lengthy keycard hunts that would sometimes ensue as a result of them (especially if you hadn't played them before). Some exploration will undoubtedly still be present, don't get me wrong, but for the most part you'll be advancing from one arena to the next, fighting large groups of demons. The more I hear, the more I think of Shadow Warrior 2013, though Wolfenstein: TNO also comes to mind.

[On whether or not there will be another head on a spike (ala Icon of Sin)]
Spoiler

"It's not a developer's head, but there is a head on a spike."

Takeaway: Could it be John Carmack's head this time?

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Well, sounds interesting, but I am a bit disappointed that it's structured like Serious Sam where you go from one arena to the next, but unfortunately, that's all what people remember Doom to be apparently. Nothing but demonic hordes and heavy metal.

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chubz said:

[On whether or not they've taken inspiration from the original DOOM games' level design]
"Yeah, to an extent.
. . .
There is definitely that [exploration] aspect to it . . . We focused on making sure that if people don't want to really get lost, there's a way out and you can continue on and get to that next combat [area], which is really what the focus of the game is, is getting to that next horde of demons that you can take out. But the exploration is really fun
. . .
There is a pretty good sense of that non-linear exploration"


This says nothing about linearity, it only indicates that they made sure that you don't have to explore and get lost if you don't want to. My guess is that he was referring to the waypoint on the compass that can help people through the level. Hopefully the waypoint can be turned off. The only direct evidence of level design is the E3 demo, and it looks pretty non-linear and nothing like Serious Sam.

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As was mentioned last thread, I'm pretty sure the head on a spike isn't gonna be John Carmack.
Especially considering post-Carmack id isn't exactly on good terms with him anymore.

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New Order and SW2013 level designs were just bad. I hope that PCGames.de article is actually true and Doom 4 level design really is complex compared to all 15 years of linear games including halos and call of dutys.

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I really honestly hope no one fully expected a classic shooter with a modern coat of paint. They're taking a lot of concessions for fans but this isn't going to be any sort of familiar Doom experience beyond base principles and maybe a little fanservice or easter eggs, and it's designed for consoles first to boot.

But Doom isn't as open-ended as people think, Doom 1 still basically corraled you from keycard to keycard with some areas being vague about it and stumbling around until you find one before moving back to an old locked door. While I like its level design over Doom 2's, I thought most people still complain about the maze-like designs of the original?

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chubz said:

Something that worries me, though, is how Marty says one of the most challenging things about Nightmare difficulty is that you don't have any checkpoints what-so-ever, and that the game is only saved each time you complete a level. This most likely means we'll be stuck with a checkpoint-only save system rather than a combination of checkpoints and manual saves.


They already said that in the PCGamer article: there are no manual saves in the game, just checkpoints.

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Tetzlaff said:

They already said that in the PCGamer article: there are no manual saves in the game, just checkpoints.


Oh man, that blows. Thanks for the heads up.

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chubz said:

Oh man, that blows. Thanks for the heads up.

Holy crap, its Chubz. Thanks man for all those tutorials on YouTube for Doom Builder and SLADE...they helped me out on several occasions

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chubz said:

Oh man, that blows. Thanks for the heads up.


Why are people so against checkpoints? Is save scumming better?

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DooM_RO said:

Why are people so against checkpoints? Is save scumming better?


I agree with your point of view.

But the Doom community has its share of hardcore players and speed runners. For challenge sake, they may not want to respawn only 30 seconds prior to their death where playing recklessly will go unpunished. I put my money on checkpoints being removed on a certain difficulty level.

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There was actually plenty of discussion about this in the Gameinformer thread, but whatever.

J.B.R said:

Looks like my suspections were right, microtransactions are possible, great.


Why do you have to be so negative? Yeah of course it's possible, but he also said he wasn't really intested in grinding money out of people and wanted to give players "lots of value".

Also since then there was a tweet from @Doom which read -

ICYMI: Hack Modules are consumable passive abilities unlocked playing the game, NOT through microtransactions. We’ll share more info soon.


So the most likely candiate for microtransactions in the game are confirmed not to use them.

doom_is_great said:

Well, sounds interesting, but I am a bit disappointed that it's structured like Serious Sam where you go from one arena to the next, but unfortunately, that's all what people remember Doom to be apparently. Nothing but demonic hordes and heavy metal.


I find it hilarious that you got "go from one arena to the next", "demonic hordes" and "heavy metal", and decided on Serious Sam as your example rather than Painkiller.

Chezza said:

I put my money on checkpoints being removed on a certain difficulty level.


Marty literally confirmed, IN THIS VIDEO, that this is the case. Chubz even quoted that part in his summary.

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AirRaid said:

There was actually plenty of discussion about this in the Gameinformer thread, but whatever.

Why do you have to be so negative? Yeah of course it's possible, but he also said he wasn't really intested in grinding money out of people and wanted to give players "lots of value".

Also since then there was a tweet from @Doom which read -

So the most likely candiate for microtransactions in the game are confirmed not to use them.

I find it hilarious that you got "go from one arena to the next", "demonic hordes" and "heavy metal", and decided on Serious Sam as your example rather than Painkiller.

Marty literally confirmed, IN THIS VIDEO, that this is the case. Chubz even quoted that part in his summary.


The most likely candidate for micro-transactions is SnapMap. Bethesda's marketing team won't let a good opportunity like that slip away.

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Wow, checkpoints? Hot damn, that really sucks.

PC games generally have no checkpoints because a dev doens't know what situation the player will be in, it's manual saving ftw.

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quakke said:

Wow, checkpoints? Hot damn, that really sucks.


Eh, I can live with it.

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I prefer manual saves as well, but I honestly don't see it as too big a deal. A lot of my favorite games from the olden days have arbitrary checkpoints but I still enjoy them anyway.

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quakke said:

Wow, checkpoints? Hot damn, that really sucks.

PC games generally have no checkpoints because a dev doens't know what situation the player will be in, it's manual saving ftw.


Most games these days have a smart Checkpoint system, where it doesn't save until the player is out of harms way.

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Be thankful it's not like Powerslave where you had to replay the entire level over again if you so much as grazed one of those goddamn fireballs. Now that's some hardcore shit.

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Very nice breakdown. I also agree with your take aways.

Its interesting to see the reaction to the critical voice you raise towards complicated, non linear level design. It has been somewhat of a recurring theme on this forum and it surprise me; it seems its really hard for people to accept Doom4's levels may not be as complex as id is pretending them to be.

This is helped by Stratton and consorts doing their utmost to be as vague as possible, in that way leaving the option open it could still be fairly complex. There are some simple facts however that almost guarantee it won't come anywhere close.

- Target audience
- The inclusion of nav points
- "There is a way out" if you don't want to explore

Target audience
==
Wether we like it or not, the target audience for Doom is modern. Everyone is supposed to be able to pick up a controller and play a game (accessibility). Including Doom4. What was considered challenging in the old days is considered frustrating by today's standards. Its widely accepted Doom4 tries to target an audience as wide as possible (they keep emphasizing how much doom brings for the modern gamer). The inclusion of loadouts alone says a bucketload about the audience they are shooting for. This is "fine" but lets not pretend it does not have its consequences.


Nav points
==
The inclusion of the nav point forces level design to be a certain way if its to fulfill its intended purpose. This is an inarguable fact. (I was greatly surprised to see a user ridiculed for mentioning this) The moment you add a nav point with a distance indicator you are forced to design your level with that principle in mind. If you don't, a route that circles back on itself, backtracking or any level traversal that is not roughly aimed towards the nav point will, instead of aiding the gamer, actually confuse him or her. Remember this nav point is there, specifically, to aid players who would have trouble navigating otherwise.

"There is a way out"
==
This is the absolute killer comment. You either design levels where users have to explore the environment to proceed or you don't. There is no middle ground here. Keep in mind I am not talking about a secret here and there. If you truly want the level -itself- to be non linear and complex, you have to make the travel path part of the structure and layout.

This comment not only guarantees there will be a linear path available to follow leading you straight from one monster encounter to the other, it also trivializes the importance of all other "non lead" routes. The reason so many modern games lock users in simple paths is because its very expensive to flesh out a side route on a modern level where only 20% of gamers will actually go.

If the non linearity and complexity was a part of the actual level, i.e. the complex routes -are- the only way to progress, then there is no question on whether its worthwhile to develop these area's. If however you have a guaranteed, smooth, main route open always it becomes a lot harder to allocate time and money on these "alternative" routes. id and Bethesda may appear to have a lot of resources but there are always constraints at play; both in time and money.

With this in mind I am expecting wolfenstein level of complexity when it comes to level structure and little more. I would not set your expectations much higher then that. Its incredibly unlikely its going to be more complex.

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Tuskin38 said:

Most games these days have a smart Checkpoint system, where it doesn't save until the player is out of harms way.


Who cares? Checkpoints are kinda way of handholdy mechanics. I much rather the player is supposed to remember to save on their own instead of cpu babysitting them. And if checkpoint must be in the game, then atleast give the option of disabling it and using manual/no saving instead.

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Its cool that the snapmap thing is cross compatible across platforms. People making maps on PS4 and Xbox One will be playable by PC players, and vice versa. Pretty cool unifying system there.

That was a major question for me and at the moment I'm contemplating getting a PS4 just so I can safely play the new Doom on my TV in my living room without much risk of slow-downs or crashes I might get if I pinch pennies to build a PC myself.

As far as non-linear design, I can't say I'm turned off by the circular arena style areas with monsters flooding in that I've seen in the videos. It reminds me a lot of Plutonia Experiment's designs and that was a solid formula IMO. Though from what I've seen there's a tremendous amount of large, open areas, which makes the game look a little easy, and I hope there will be some more claustrophobic areas in between to make things scary and so you can get more close up looks of the monsters.

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Pfft, I doubt my PC could run DOOM, then again Alien: Isolation ran well on my computer. I'm being careful about this though.

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redrage said:

"There is a way out"
==
This is the absolute killer comment. You either design levels where users have to explore the environment to proceed or you don't. There is no middle ground here. Keep in mind I am not talking about a secret here and there. If you truly want the level -itself- to be non linear and complex, you have to make the travel path part of the structure and layout.

This comment not only guarantees there will be a linear path available to follow leading you straight from one monster encounter to the other, it also trivializes the importance of all other "non lead" routes. The reason so many modern games lock users in simple paths is because its very expensive to flesh out a side route on a modern level where only 20% of gamers will actually go.

If the non linearity and complexity was a part of the actual level, i.e. the complex routes -are- the only way to progress, then there is no question on whether its worthwhile to develop these area's. If however you have a guaranteed, smooth, main route open always it becomes a lot harder to allocate time and money on these "alternative" routes. id and Bethesda may appear to have a lot of resources but there are always constraints at play; both in time and money.

With this in mind I am expecting wolfenstein level of complexity when it comes to level structure and little more. I would not set your expectations much higher then that. Its incredibly unlikely its going to be more complex.


Exploration was never MANDATORY in Doom, just extremely helpful. Think E1M2, I am assuming it's similar to that.

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redrage said:

This is helped by Stratton and consorts doing their utmost to be as vague as possible, in that way leaving the option open it could still be fairly complex. There are some simple facts however that almost guarantee it won't come anywhere close.

- Target audience
- The inclusion of nav points
- "There is a way out" if you don't want to explore


Ok, so first of all the "Target audience" argument is irrelevant because "There is a way out" for them, and second "The inclusion of nav points" = "There is a way out", meaning the waypoints ARE the way out. So basically you only have one thing, "The inclusion of nav points" i.e. the compass and waypoints.

redrage said:

Nav points
==
The inclusion of the nav point forces level design to be a certain way if its to fulfill its intended purpose. This is an inarguable fact. (I was greatly surprised to see a user ridiculed for mentioning this) The moment you add a nav point with a distance indicator you are forced to design your level with that principle in mind. If you don't, a route that circles back on itself, backtracking or any level traversal that is not roughly aimed towards the nav point will, instead of aiding the gamer, actually confuse him or her. Remember this nav point is there, specifically, to aid players who would have trouble navigating otherwise.


Ok, why would the player backtrack(move away from the waypoint) if he wants to reach the waypoint? And if a route circles back on itself, wouldn't the player change hes route when he realizes that he's going in circles and eventually find the right one that leads to the waypoint? Or if the compass tells you that the waypoint is straight ahead but there is a big obstacle in front of you, the normal(intuitive) thing to do would be to try to go around that obstacle or climb over it. I don't see how the compass and waypoint would further confuse the player in a complex non-linear level design, nor do I see how it is evidence/indication of linear level design.

redrage said:

With this in mind I am expecting wolfenstein level of complexity when it comes to level structure and little more. I would not set your expectations much higher then that. Its incredibly unlikely its going to be more complex.


There is no way that a compass and waypoints on objectives can possibly indicate that the levels will be linear, in fact it can only indicate that the levels are complex and that a compass and waypoint would be useful to have, if not then the compass and waypoint would be redundant. There would be no point in having a compass with a waypoint on it if there is only one way to go through. Wolf TNO has a not too complex non-linear level design but didn't have a compass, and players didn't have trouble navigating through the level. So based on that in new Doom I would expect a non-linear level design that's AT LEAST a bit more complex than Wolf TNO, only to justify the existence of the compass and waypoint.

EDIT: Also take a good look at this picture.

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quakke said:

Who cares? Checkpoints are kinda way of handholdy mechanics. I much rather the player is supposed to remember to save on their own instead of cpu babysitting them. And if checkpoint must be in the game, then atleast give the option of disabling it and using manual/no saving instead.


It depends on how checkpoints are handled. IMHO, if the way between checkpoints is hard, and (and that is important!!!) the way between them gives you opportunities and ways to both increase your skill in the game (as a player) as well as how your character performs, they can work quite well, and give you a real push when you get to them, especially in non-linear areas or areas where you can explore. My best example would be Souls-Games, especially Bloodborne. There are entire levels which are extremely hard, where reaching one (of maybe two) checkpoints could take a couple of hours, many deaths, but in between increases both your understanding of how both the enemies and the level itself works, as well as giving you something similar to XP-points to level your character (if you continue the grind, and manage to get to the place you died last).

In a game like Doom, I don't think they would work as well, because I expect that there are a lot less variations of enemies, plus there is no "leveling-system" similar to an action-RPG.

The answers given actually fill many of the "between-the-lines" I read from the pcgames.de articles and interviews, and thus I am not yet completely hyped, but will wait for the game and judge it myself. It might work, and if it does, iD did a great job. It might as well just be "console stuff" (and no, I don't want to belittle console gamers, I am enjoying enough titles on consoles myself, but it is a different genre than PC gaming).

My biggest concern still goes into another direction, regarding those "finishers", as I am not yet sure if they won't become a boring gimick after ten hours of play, and you simply complete them to get the next perk. I remember how some of the Wolfenstein: TNO stuff bored me to death just to get that next perk, but that could just be me.

I still can't wait until Doom comes out. And I am really looking forward to experiencing both it's bright sides, and (maybe) some of it's darker sides regarding gameplay. The journey will be worth it, I am quite sure...there was no Doom that let me down completely until now (starting from the Doom 1), so I am confident :)

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Most modern shooters and action games have checkpoints and autosaves, unless you're on a console that really wants you to confirm it and that's usually between levels for obvious reasons. Even Max Payne 3, with its predecessors on PC having manual saves and the game's difficulty almost encouraging their use (and the console versions being infamous with some people due to a badly-implemented checkpoint system), had a checkpoint system. But at least that game had concessions, only doing checkpoints right before and after gunfights, and on repeated deaths giving you extra painkillers if a fight's giving you real trouble unless you're on a high difficulty.

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AirRaid said:

Why do you have to be so negative?

I'm being negative because i don't trust Marty and i'm suspicious that he may have some trick up his sleeve.
That's why.

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DooM_RO said:

Exploration was never MANDATORY in Doom, just extremely helpful. Think E1M2, I am assuming it's similar to that.


True! You missed out on a lot of goodness if you didn't explore, but if you wanted to just push to the exit, you could just do that...for the most part.

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