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MCarsten

Fair, fun and balanced

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Does anyone know some very well constructed, fair and serious Doom megawads to play?

I ask that because I'm tired of ridiculously unbalanced difficulty maps, "teasing" maps. I mean, what is the point of a map with 20 barons, 30 knights, 10 mancubi, 3 arch-vile, 2 cyberdemon, or whatever, in the same room? Besides, you recurrently only have 30 bullets, 10 shells and 2 rockets, and no medpacks, to fight them all. I mean, it is just pointless.

I know, I know, they may be "speed" maps, what still consists of being pointless. I think you should always provide the options for both, to be a "classic-style" player or a "speedrunner". Note that I'm not even some noob, I play Doom for 15 years or so already, and I always disliked these attitudes of map designers.

The undoubtely best megawad I've ever played was "Flashback to Hell". Immensely well designed maps, fantastic architecture, extremely well balanced difficulty, completely fair. I also enjoyed a lot to play "No Rest for the Living", "Endless Torture", "Master's Levels", "Final Doom: TNT Evilution" to mention a few. I finished "Unholy Realms" these days, map 17 was extraordinarily good, although I disliked a lot the last maps (the hell ones) which had a subtle change in difficulty, some becoming stupidly hard.

I see that a lot of members of the Doom community love Final Doom: Plutonia Experiment. Well, that's the worst megawad I've ever played in my opinion. I don't understand why so many people enjoy that. Of course the graphics and the level design are great, but the absurd difficulty kills them both.

I've searched a lot of prestigious Doom megawads and most of them are famous for their "hardness". Another very well received Doom MW was "Eternal Doom". Yet, I don't think it was correctly balanced.

I did not try the Scythe series yet. Too bad I've read that it is considered difficult (in the sense that I mean). But I'll spare comments. I do not want a prejudice.

Also, I would like to know if someone else feels the same.

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MCarsten said:

Does anyone know some very well constructed, fair and serious Doom megawads to play?

I ask that because I'm tired of ridiculously unbalanced difficulty maps, "teasing" maps. I mean, what is the point of a map with 20 barons, 30 knights, 10 mancubi, 3 arch-vile, 2 cyberdemon, or whatever, in the same room? Besides, you recurrently only have 30 bullets, 10 shells and 2 rockets, and no medpacks, to fight them all. I mean, it is just pointless.


People who are good who want a challenge? People who aren't as good who like to die a lot? Idk, maybe it's just not your cup of tea.

MCarsten said:

I play Doom for 15 years or so already, and I always disliked these attitudes of map designers.


It doesn't really matter how long you've been playing. It's possible to get relatively good at Doom quickly if you study, learn, and practice properly. It's also possible to play for a long time without improving as much. If your mindset is "I've been playing for 15 years, therefore these ultra-hard maps must be unbalanced or something," I have to say that doesn't make a lot of sense. You're probably not that good. Which isn't a bad thing by any means of course, don't get me wrong. The bad thing is going around thinking wads suck simply because they are too hard for you. Have you even tried HNTR or HMP on these wads?

To a lot of people UR isn't "stupidly hard". Plutonia is actually not hard at all by the standards of modern wads. Maybe there's some nastiness without foreknowledge, but it's not that rough.

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Hey rdwpa, thanks for the reply.

rdwpa said:

People who are good who want a challenge? People who aren't as good who like to die a lot? Idk, maybe it's just not your cup of tea.


I loved the expression "cup of tea". That is exactly what I was looking for. You said it correctly, these maps are not my cup of tea. What I mean is that I prefer the old original Doom style in spite of the "challengeful" maps. Also, look that I am not saying that they do not deserve a map. I thought I said explicitly that both "styles" (classic and speed) should be provided, as lots of maps do.

It doesn't really matter how long you've been playing. It's possible to get relatively good at Doom quickly if you study, learn, and practice properly. It's also possible to play for a long time without improving as much. If your mindset is "I've been playing for 15 years, therefore these ultra-hard maps must be unbalanced or something," I have to say that doesn't make a lot of sense. You're probably not that good. Which isn't a bad thing by any means of course, don't get me wrong. The bad thing is going around thinking wads suck simply because they are too hard for you. Have you even tried HNTR or HMP on these wads?

To a lot of people UR isn't "stupidly hard". Plutonia is actually not hard at all by the standards of modern wads. Maybe there's some nastiness without foreknowledge, but it's not that rough.


Be careful, I'll say it again, I am not saying that maps shouldn't provide challenges or be difficult. I'm saying that I don't like when the challenges are just pointless or exaggerated. I love when the game provides you all the means to upgrade and give back up.

Also, I'm not looking to be "the man". I go out very well in most of the difficult situations but I am far from being in the top 10's list and I don't even want to.

I did not say either that UR is "stupidly hard", I said that the last maps were. I loved the prior maps (I mentioned MAP17, one of the best I've ever played in my life).

As for Plutonia, I can't really remember the last time I played. I just remember to not find it enjoyable at all. I found TNT incommensurably better.

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MCarsten said:

I see that a lot of members of the Doom community love Final Doom: Plutonia Experiment. Well, that's the worst megawad I've ever played in my opinion. I don't understand why so many people enjoy that. Of course the graphics and the level design are great, but the absurd difficulty kills them both.

Maybe because its not "absurdly" difficult. It sounds like you aren't asking for "fair" wads, rather it seems you want easy wads. Unfortunately, I can't help you there. Also, how does Plutonia have good level design, if you think the gameplay is unfair?

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MCarsten said:

Be careful, I'll say it again, I am not saying that maps shouldn't provide challenges or be difficult. I'm saying that I don't like when the challenges are just pointless or exaggerated.


What's pointless or exaggerated to you might be fair to the target audience.

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I'd say Unholy Realms is of medium difficulty overall considering all the popular "hard" wads. And you should really give Plutonia another go. It's a big influence on the design of challenging wads, including UR, but not particularly difficult anymore. Also, I suggest Italo Doom for a well balanced experience.

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You could also play on the lower difficulties. I guess most people balance their mods to be heated more towards UV for the most part though...

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I am of the same opinion as the Op in that I prefer when maps aint harder than the original games, a little harder is fine if its well balanced. I do want megawads to go from easier to harder and not stay at one uniform difficulty level.

Also, Plutonia to me just feel like a really mediocre usercreated megawad.

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rileymartin said:

I suggest Italo Doom for a well balanced experience.

Yes, specially try map13, called "Fair and balanced"

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rdwpa said:

It's possible to get relatively good at Doom quickly if you study, learn, and practice properly.


I'm curious. How exactly does one study, learn and practice properly? I'm wouldn't mind upgrading to UV for DWmegawad Players Club.

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MCarsten said:

Does anyone know some very well constructed, fair and serious Doom megawads to play?

Doomkid said:

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KBlaney said:

I'm curious. How exactly does one study, learn and practice properly? I'm wouldn't mind upgrading to UV for DWmegawad Players Club.


When I got back into Doom half a year ago, never having played a single PWAD to completion before, I fired up Sunlust and played it on UV because I saw some crazy runs on youtube and liked the visuals. I never expected to finish but the wad does a great job at forcing you to learn much needed mechanics and improve your gameplay in order to progress. So pick a "hard" wad of your choosing and just power through it on UV.

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I credit VANGUARD with helping me improve my play immensely. (Though, to be fair, I haven't tried it on UV yet.)

The best advice, I think, is just to make use of the difficulty settings. There's no shame in playing at whatever level makes you comfortable.

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it's been talked about quite a bit before, but I definitely think the fastest way to improve is to play without saves. forces you to stay on edge, think more critically about setups (that you otherwise might save-spam or rng-jesus your way through). I'd say play lots of easy sets first, like the ones Doomkid linked, then gradually move on to harder stuff. I was probably at the top of my game some years back when I was recording max-attempts on various slaughtermaps.

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i would concur with Ribbiks; i would also say that trying out various speedrunning categories will improve your play. specifically things like pacifist/tyson that force you to consider monster behaviour/movement are very useful.

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I have to say I agree with MCarsten. Though I haven't played 3d-shooters much after Half-life 2. For example I found Scythe 1 or 2 too difficult at some point. Maybe I should play it on lower difficulty levels then..

I did kind of old school difficulty wad recently, give it a try?
https://fi.files.fm/u/nadd7pph

Thread with some screenshots:
https://www.doomworld.com/vb/wads-mods/89238-my-12-level-wad-now-available/

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MCarsten said:

I see that a lot of members of the Doom community love Final Doom: Plutonia Experiment. Well, that's the worst megawad I've ever played in my opinion. I don't understand why so many people enjoy that. Of course the graphics and the level design are great, but the absurd difficulty kills them both.


Careful, these blasphemies are not acceptable in this forum.

Joke aside you should try Memento Mori (the first, MM2 is more on the plutonia side as difficult) and Requiem: both of them are approximately on the difficult verge of TNT.

Edit: definitely don't go for Hell Revealed since is much harder then Plutonia, at least on UV.
Regards

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I just finished Plutonia and I have to agree it was kind of all over the place. The first level was kind of interesting. Nothing else really stuck out other than having SO MANY enemies. The vanilla Dooms seem to throw powerful enemies at you but it also provides a strategic way to defeat them at the same time, rather than just gunning them all down as best you can with 1 HP to spare. It's the only one I got fed up with and used God mode through the last 3/4 of the levels. TNT was better.

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MusicallyInspired said:

Nothing else really stuck out other than having SO MANY enemies.


Plutonia has a much lower monster count than both Doom 2 and TNT. A large chunk of the maps, even later ones, don't hit 100 monsters.

MusicallyInspired said:

TNT was better.


Somewhere, in a parallel universe, Team TNT makes good megawads.

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-cl 3 FDA for map19 of Plutonia, semi-random choice. I actually haven't played most of Final Doom. :)

http://www.mediafire.com/download/468rpw8b3bif316/pl19_rdwpa_fda.lmp

My mouse is acting up seriously, as detailed here: https://www.doomworld.com/vb/doom-general/89488-more-mouse-weirdness/. I need a mousepad or something I guess. I blame any and all clumsiness and mistakes on that!

This was fun! I guess there are some mean moments but it's a really short level, so especially if you're playing with saves this shouldn't be so frustrating, even for a less-skilled player. There are some spots where you kind of need to have a good weapon out to not get crushed quickly, but I think getting out the big guns before entering creepy-looking areas is a normal part of Doom strategy, particularly when the mapset's inner logic suggests that certain types of areas or transitions are bugged with mean traps. (People call that particular way of weapon-handling "cautious play", but like, why the hell wouldn't you?)

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It really puzzles me that in a discussion about "ridiculously unbalanced difficulty maps" you name Eternal Doom of all the wads. Maybe on pistol start it has some more annoying moments on some maps but it isn't a difficult mapset, nor tough challenges are a thing that characterizes it.

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rileymartin said:

Somewhere, in a parallel universe, Team TNT makes good megawads.

Yeah, thankfully in this universe they just make great ones instead.

-

I recommend the unofficial add ons Hell 2 Pay and Perditions Gate, they are honestly great and I found them to be well thought out and quite fair.

Oh and Doom 2 The Rebirth is quite good too, as well as Icarus: Alien Vanguard.

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Worth checking out TVR and Doom the Way id Did 1&2. Maybe Memento Mori as well, although i can't remember how much the difficulty ramps up past map 20.


Surprised to see Plutonia getting shit... i remember hating it the first time i played through it too, blaming difficulty etc etc, but it's the replay value (something that is maybe lost these days?) that makes it such a good wad. Conversely i used to think TNT was good...

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rileymartin said:

Somewhere, in a parallel universe, Team TNT makes made good megawads.

Bloodlands is one of the best pre-2000 Deathmatch megawads around. Team TNT knew their shit.

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I can't comment on their multiplayer maps, but I found their other SP stuff less than stellar, even compared to Evilution which didn't set the bar particularly high.

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TheNerdTurtle2 said:

Play scythe. It's amazing, and it's what you described up until like level 24. You can just quit after that, it becomes a slaughter fest


I'll second that Scythe is a great PWAD for someone getting into the scene. The maps are quick, satisfying and never get boring. Maps 24 and 26 are good entry level slaughtermaps since they aren't too punishing and give you plenty of ammo and health to blow up monsters with. Map 30 is the exception though, being significantly longer and harder (harhar) than the rest of the maps.

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