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Flareblood_V2

How does one go about getting better at Doom?

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I know they say practice makes perfect, but I'm noticing that I'm not making much progress just by playing Doom on hard difficulties and replaying sections over and over on an infinite death loop.

So, other than just practice alone, how would I go about getting better at Doom? Are there maps I can play to help ease me into harder difficulties, or mods, or anything else I could try?

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This is a good question, and one I'd be interested in seeing other people's answers to. From my own experience, I'd suggest that you have to play "cognitively." Don't keep trying the same thing over and over hoping to "get lucky" one of these times. And certainly don't play absent-mindedly -- in "auto-pilot mode" if you will. If you're dying over and over, then you're doing something wrong. Most fights have a reliable strategy which, if executed properly, will always result in a victory 100% of the time. Learn how to find these.

 

I've heard people say that saving the game a lot hurts your ability to improve as a player, because you tend to rely more on that one lucky break rather than forcing yourself to find the reliable strategy.

 

It also doesn't hurt to watch demos by skilled players, and try to learn their strategies. Ask questions about their strategies, if there's anything they're doing you don't understand.

 

I don't think there are any maps which will magically make you better. I'd say play stuff you're interested in, but constantly be aware of how your position, movement, target selection etc. affects things like where monsters go, where projectiles go, how much infighting happens, etc., etc. When you find out what works, you'll be that much better prepared to do the same in the next map.

 

On the other hand, if there is a specific skill you want to sharpen, then some maps might be good for that. For instance, I wanted to improve at 2-shotting cybers, so I just cleared a map with a large outside area, then spawned cyberdemons for myself to kill. If you want to practice punching barons, or rocketing hallways full of revenants, or anything else, just find a nice spot in some map (or make your own map), save, and then repeat that section until you are comfortable with it.

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You have to be good at every aspect of doom gameplay to be good at it. So, for example, if the problem is that you get hit every time, you have to work on your movement. You'll get better at it eventually, if you work on it. Just don't expect to see yourself instantly getting better after hours of practice.

Watch how other players play. You might notice what people do in different situations. Keep that in mind.

Try different strategies. Can't beat some part of the map and can't figure out how to minimize the damage to you, then go watch how other people do it. You will probably understand it by yourself eventually, but that would take a lot of time. Just watch other people and use their strats, and again, keep them in mind.

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Are you practicing the iwads or pwads? If it is iwads then sorry you still need more practice if you die on UV\HMP, especially if it isn't plutonia you keep dying in.

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39 minutes ago, 42PercentHealth said:

I've heard people say that saving the game a lot hurts your ability to improve as a player, because you tend to rely more on that one lucky break rather than forcing yourself to find the reliable strategy.

I wouldn't say this is true. I've been saving constantly since the 90s and it doesn't seem to impact my performance or the improvement of my skill over the years. For me it gives me more confidence since I am able to relax and can just focus on playing the game and not worrying about dying.

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  • Start with the standard IWADs on HMP difficulty. Once you master those, jump up to UV.
  • Learning the mechanics is the most important (how many SSGs it takes to kill a Baron of Hell, how to clear a room with a BFG, dodging cyberdemon rockets, etc.).
  • Don't jump into advanced megawads like Speed of Doom, Alien Vendetta, Sunlust, etc. because those are designed to be much tougher. 
  • Don't be fooled by UV runs you see on Youtube. They've mastered the map prior to recording. Knowing every monster, every switch, every trap, etc. will help you out a lot. Trust me, very rarely do I complete tougher maps deathless when going in blind. 

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If you're talking about single-segment runs, they're all about closely inspect every encounter and develop a correct strategy to the encounter. Then, hope that RNG works on your way (usually you need some), and make everything together.

 

As @stru mentioned, mechanics are also the basic, something like you shouldn't replace you 80 MegaArmor with an Armor. Pick the correct WAD that fits your skill. Otherwise, it may end up the HR reviews you mentioned before ;P   Talking about this, it definitely should have a relatively objective difficult for modern WADs, but it's very tough to do because of the skill difference, which may result in feeling of difficulty.

 

Spoiler

If you want to know about strategy, watch some of my videos. Wait, no, that's a joke.

 

Edited by GarrettChan

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Keep playing, eventually you'll upgrade your skills before you even noticed. You probably need to tone down the difficulty IF you don't feel comfortable with the skill selected, after all, there are other skills in Doom and in general people implement all skills in their wads. Practice that skill until you feel prepared to select an upper one. Apply this to wads, start with easiers like TNT or DTWID. It's a good idea to watch demos and videos of others playing, I personally prefer not to do this and learn the stuff by myself, but you can take what others do as a guide and develop your own strategies, whenever it's possible. Also, going blind is a good way to test how good you became in Doom. Check the behavior of monsters, some of the beasts's movements take more time to feel accustomed. For example, dodging heavy projectiles such as homing rockets, exploiting an archvile when he's targeting you, punching a baron, zigzagging cyber rockets, using mastermind's bullets to distract monsters... Learn the best way to use each weapon and the ammo provided. I don't know what else to say...

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1 minute ago, galileo31dos01 said:

I don't know what else to say...

uh....play slaughter maps?
Nah, just kidding. All of the above are good tips but sometimes, you have to remember the basics and practice in Doom 1 and Doom 2, like a comparison for your skills and see if you really improved (like not dying once, not saving once, adapting to some situations regarding the weapons and such...also, if you don't want to end up lost in a map, always use the automap just in case).

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To get better you have yo fight against something above your skill. Picking a hard enough wad for you will work better than grinding doom 2 and other IWADs.

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Practice alone will hardly do any good if you dont have any specific goal to reach. Doing research on basic gameplay elements and getting used to them one-by-one would be ideal. I'm not a very good doom player myself, but concepts such as prioritizing certain enemies during battle (archvilles, pain elemental, hitscanners), always keep moving to avoid projectile attacks, circle strafing, crowd management, saving constantly, not using the damn rocket launchers when there are lost souls in the room, all are important skills you can get used to when practicing with them in mind.

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I've found that there are three things that have helped me improve my gameplay (I'm still not that great, but take these anyway):

1. Not just walking in an area without a plan. I find areas I can use to dodge attacks, where I can circle strafe (and avoid obstacles that prevent me from doing so), ammo caches, etc. If there's windows, I shoot as many enemies through them as I can, which usually helps me when I get to where those windows were. 

2. Prioritizing monsters. Sometimes this involves me running past them altogether and moving on to the next area. Archviles obviously should go first, but use of boss monsters (i.e. Cyberdemons) can be helpful in clearing out a crowd. 

3. Variety. Play a multitude of different maps. Go to the /idgames database and hit random. If you find a WAD that's playable and seems fairly decent, play it. This will allow you to learn how to handle a wide variety of mapping and monster situations. I've found this is one of the things that's helped me to improve most. You don't know if you're going to get a slaughter map, a trap map, or a general ass-kick map. It breaks up monotony, and keeps you on your toes a little better than playing the same megawads over and over.

 

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2 hours ago, 42PercentHealth said:

constantly be aware of how your position, movement, target selection etc. affects things like where monsters go, where projectiles go

I say that this can really help a ton, your postion makes all the difference in a fight. Below is some of my own advice. \/ \/ \/ \/

1. Get familiar with what weapon works most effectively on which enemy, as well as making sure said weapon does it efficiently. It takes a while to kill an Arachnotron with the chaingun, but the super shotgun will make short work of it in seconds.
2. Prioritizing enemies is a really good rule of thumb, knowing what to kill first will help level the playing field. However, do keep in mind that even the cannon fodder enemies can give you a hard time, from the side so make sure to lower the amount of those reasonably while still focusing on the bigger threats. If you get to fight with an enemy like the CyberDemon, let infighting do the damage.
3. You stated that you are playing on harder difficulties. If you find that a certain difficulty is beating your head in, try something a bit lower until it becomes too        much of a cake-walk.
4. Use what amount of the level layout you know to plan your moves, it is beneficial to know where the pickups, enemies, and so forth are at so you can stay alive.

5. If you are only a couple points away from max ammo or health,or armor, do not collect the bigger pickups for those. It's better to leave it there and grab it later than to waste them only to bring up, for example, your health up by 2 points when it could have gone up by 25.

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I used to suck at Doom. I remember I had trouble getting past level 4 in Doom 64. Doom is easy to learn, hard to master. It has a culmination of small tricks and whatever that all form true skill. When I play, I often think about what skills I'm using at different points. I doubt I have any advice that hasn't been said in one way or another.

 

Threat Assessment: When you get dropped into a situation, the faster you react, the better your chances of survival. You need to take note of every monster that you can see and come up with what needs to be dealt with first. Of course this requires knowing enemy mechanics and how they work in different situations. In one position or another, an arch-vile can be the first thing you go for, or not really a threat.

 

The environment: Being aware of your surroundings is important. You need to know where you can duck for cover or retreat to. Being able to backup is a good way to deal with a lot of encounters, but the amount of space you have to backup into can vary. Try to minimize the ground you lose when fighting. The more area you control, the more safe spots you have.

 

Enemy Mechanics: Something you learn over time. Knowing how everything acts is a great asset, for obvious reasons. It gets to a point where you can just toy with your enemies and goad them into infighting and stuff.

 

As with anything, exposure is key. The more you play, the better you will be. Just don't be upset when you feel you are not skilled enough. As long as you are having fun, who cares if you can't beat Hell Revealed without dying.

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Always play at 80% of your ability. Eventually your old 80% becomes your 50%.. and your new 80% is above your old 100%. This is basically the rule I use for everything. If you are playing something that is far above your skill level you wont get anything out of it because you are only fighting against overwhelming odds all of the time.

 

There are some specific things I can recommend that will help you immediately:

- Learn how to effectively use the bfg. http://www.zdaemon.org/starterguide/BFGMain.htm

- Study demos from established runners. Demos can be for any gameplay type. Lots of times the approach to certain scenarios you are using when starting out simply is not effective. Learning from watching other people helps in this regard.

- Challenge yourself by deciding that you want to beat a certain time on a map in a category that interests you. You will most likely need to flesh out the skills required to eventually reach your goal which leads to practice with a purpose which is far more effective practice than just going through the motions.

- Read the doom movement bible so you are aware of how many quirky things work in the doom engine (I guess more of a speedrunning thing.. but more knowledge is a good thing):

 

The most important thing to me.. always question what is possible.

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Doom is only a game and it's your job to enjoy it. If you like playing it, your skills will naturally improve. Keep playing maps, and you'll get better.

If you want to be like dem crazy speedrunners, you'll need very quick reflexes, comfortable control and setting configurations, knowledge on the mechanics of Doom and how to abuse them and a fuckton of patience and motivation.

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6 hours ago, Flareblood_V2 said:

I know they say practice makes perfect, but I'm noticing that I'm not making much progress just by playing Doom on hard difficulties and replaying sections over and over on an infinite death loop.

So, other than just practice alone, how would I go about getting better at Doom? Are there maps I can play to help ease me into harder difficulties, or mods, or anything else I could try?

100 push-Ups

100 sit-Ups

100 squats

10 kilometer run

Every single day!

 

Don’t skip breakfast. And a banana in the morning is fine, too

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No game will ever be so easy to master, of course, some will be much more difficult, others easier.

Doom is a beautiful case, you must practice a lot, yes, yes, yes. If you play Doom in the classic style (without being able to move the mouse up or down) you will need to get accustomed to the autoaim of the game, this is usually a bit uncomfortable but balanced. I personally prefer to play with GZdoom and activate the free mouse movement. After that, it's only practice of shooting and shooting.

 

When you have to put more attention truly is in higher difficulties, Ultra Violence or Nightmare. Do not just focus on shooting as accurately and quickly as possible, concentrate on getting the items, doing things patiently and moving agilely. Many think that Doom is crazy speed, and so it can be after playing again and again the same map, but essentially, your first 6 attempts you have to do them with patience and a lot of tactics. Learn the movement of enemies, their stats, how much damage they do or how fast they move.

Handle your items and ammunition carefully, do not use your rocket launcher to kill zombies! Not even your gun to kill Pinkys, learn to use the right weapon at the right time. Cover, make enemies fight each other, ambush them, use the environment to kill them more easily, always save some extra health or ammunition.

 

And something you will have to learn, in Nightmare especially.

The position of enemies and secrets. This will truly save your life many times.

 

And besides that, practice, patience and skill. The nice thing about this game is that it does not frustrate you so easily, you can try again and again and it is always a fun and challenging experience.

 

Just love the game, the game loves you.

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Play without saves, memorize enemy behaviors, always try to pick up some harder levels than the ones you last beat.

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15 minutes ago, Cipher said:

Play without saves, memorize enemy behaviors, always try to pick up some harder levels than the ones you last beat.

Umm, yes, but, why not saving? I think saves are actually a pretty good way to learn from mistakes and memorize patterns.
 

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11 hours ago, Flareblood_V2 said:

I'm noticing that I'm not making much progress just by playing Doom on hard difficulties and replaying sections over and over on an infinite death loop.

Unsurprisingly - like if you wanted to get better at weightlifting, you wouldn't make much progress with a weight so heavy you couldn't lift it at all. Play maps easy-enough so you can beat them but hard-enough that you feel being challenged. If you replay them, try to lose less health / miss less shots / finish in lesser time than when you played them before. That's the kind of practice that leads to improvement.

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2 hours ago, Anidrex_1009 said:

Umm, yes, but, why not saving? I think saves are actually a pretty good way to learn from mistakes and memorize patterns.
 

It puts more pressure on surviving, and forces you to improve at earlier portions of a level rather than just scraping by them once. Often times there's a lot of room for improvement in earlier encounters, and forcing yourself to replay them and become better at them to save resources for encounters ahead can be really helpful.

 

For particularly challenging or long (the latter of which I'm generally not a fan of) levels, I think learning them with a save or two can be fine, but it's still going to be good practice to put it all together in a single run afterward.

 

At any rate, I think a good and totally reasonable goal is to be able to get through all four iwads completely without mid-level saves, if you haven't done so already. (Or at least 1, 2 and Plutonia).

 

Re: Above: Agreed. Pick levels that are just one step too hard for you, so you can actually figure them out and overcome them, rather than ones that are fifteen steps too hard for you and are completely inscrutable. That's how you get better at basically anything. Incremental challenges; you still need to give yourself a foothold.

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7 hours ago, Anidrex_1009 said:

Ultra Violence or Nightmare. Do not just focus on shooting as accurately and quickly as possible, concentrate on getting the items, doing things patiently and moving agilely. 

What? On UV maybe; but nightmare will kill you if you can't hit fast pinkies and shoot zombies before they shoot first.

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