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Optimus

Doom monster inequality

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Couldn't think of a better title, sounds like a parody of social justice or something. I was wondering how some monsters are overrepresented in some WADs, because there is a gap of imbalance between the difficulty of specific monsters and some mappers like them very much. And I had some thoughts about it, so I thought it would be interesting to discuss. Not as a nudge to not put these monsters (you can do whatever you please), but just having thoughts of why it happens.

 

The monsters that mappers just sometimes overuse are Heavy Machine Dudes, Revenants and Archvilles. I was thinking there are two major groups of monsters relevant to this. Group A are simple projectile attack monsters. There are those encounters which I can dance with like a king, calmly strafing and blowing with the SSG some slow Baron or Caco. I feel that with these encounters I am in a state of Zen. Then there is Group B. You can't, you just can't at least in a calm state, directly side step the Revenants. They have the homing missiles! I can dance around with more struggle till some missiles make a full circle and hit me. Many times I retreat from the arena to find a wall behind. Even worse with Archies. Peekaboo attack from within a wall, if you are not lucky they don't put them in some high place in the open. HMDs at least are faster to kill, but reveal many at an open area and you have to retreat behind a wall. While I could have some open shooting with partial health taken if they were replaced with shotgunners, they are much faster and responsive health suckers in the open.

 

So, put monsters of Group A (All monsters in Doom 1, besides the bosses) and the game for an experienced player is like a dance. So, modders might be like "I am not putting just those old monsters, my level will be too easy, not challenging enough!". How to make it challenging? Just overuse Group B monsters. I notice a shift from older Doom 2 levels where you had more regular encounters, imps, zombie, shotgunners, and then only the occasional harder monsters in lesser qualities, to newer maps where the Group B monsters are over-represented. Just because if you don't put many of these, your level will be deemed too easy for the current year.

 

Maybe this is all bs, since what really matters is the placing, there are also the Mancubi and Arachnotrons which can be pretty deadly since their projectiles are more complex than simple Baron green shit, but at least can be fought in the open a bit less restrictively. And maybe my favorite change of difficulty even in Doom 1, is when you think you are smart because there are some monsters in ledges and you are taking them from afar by snipping with the chaingun because they can't simply jump down and come closer to you, when you realize that something opened a swarm of Cacos around you and you are surround from up and down and all directions, since these fuckers can fly.

 

Just some random wad of thoughts, I think there is a spike of difficulty between most regular Doom monsters and that evil triad.

 

p.s. I was actually playing Back to Saturn X when I made these thoughts, not because it does the same habit (which it doesn't), but because it mixes monsters in a way that I have rarely seen. It has occasionally these monsters too but not in unfair or overused quantities, however they mixed well everything, even the underrepresented zombie! The zombie soldiers are rarely seen in megawads, only in the first few levels and then they are considered too lame. If there is ever a hitscanner among the hordes of the other badies, and it's not 99% chaingunner, it will be shotgunner at least. But no zombie pistol green hair dude. Too lame! However, the BTSX are just throwing them among all varieties of enemies even in later levels, and I really love this!

Edited by Optimus

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revs, chaingunners and avs tend to have the most potential danger outside the cyber and so yes, less adept mappers can tend to overuse them because harder = better.

however these enemies are harder precisely because they offer something different to the slow projectile enemies of the other tiers. the chaingunners are slightly different as they offer a squishy hitscan zone of influence type monster where a spiderdemon would be too 'tanky'. thats why modern wads (the good ones) do tend to use a lot of the above, because they tend to be more interesting than hordes of pinkies, shotgunners and imps.

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26 minutes ago, Optimus said:

Just some random wad of thoughts

I see what you did there.

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I'll confess I'm a serial rev/chaingunner abuser (I retooled a number of encounters in Starlight Sanctuary lately to use more monsters, which I like), though I do hold off on the archviles (usually I try to keep one or two encounters on a large map.), so I guess I'll provide at least my feedback from a newbie mapper. I definitely use them a lot because I really do perceive them as a more "generally" useful threat, with chaingunners having a constant stream of damage and revenants attacking more frequently while still going down with little effort. A lot of the other monsters always feel a lot more difficult for me to use, since they need a lot environmental work in order to actually feel effective, stuff I'm not entirely familiar with. The constant screaming is grating on me at this point and I'm trying to expand my toolbox, but its always a fight to resist the easy way out. I just find it so hard to put a imp or hellknight to use, since (at least it feels like it to me) you practically need to be constrained or seriously swarmed in order to actually get hit.

 

I have an encounter I like in Starlight Sanctuary where you drop into a room with two Mancs and a bunch of elevated imps and a knight or two are there to add a bit of additional challenge to throw more stuff onto the field and provide a bit of additional threat, but at the same time I think I could have gotten similar challenge by simply throwing in archviles or revenants with no other monsters to support them. In this case, for the mancs to have any threat at all the environment needs to constrain the player suitably, maybe catch the player in a bad position between them, or in my case, to toss in additional threats to limit the player

 

Another encounter has a number of monsters flooding into an area from three doors. The main encounter is a escalation of imps, demons, revs, with a PE or two as the cherry on top, but I also have some hell knights relegated to a really boring duty of denying a couple of hiding spots. I can't comfortably find a way to make them a main threat without massing, which would be very annoying to fight through even with RL or PG (I've never put a BFG on my maps since there has never been a situation that warrants it). Even in this case, imps feel like they're easier to put on the front line because while their projectile is much weaker, it's about the same speed in the player's perspective and the imp is more comfortably massed since they have very low HP. (an alternative option, I feel, would be shotgunners but they might infight too much. Infighting is good. Battles that instantly devolve into a mess of infighting with no risk to the player feel like a different case..)

 

Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel about it. I definitely use revs and chaingunners a lot because they're relatively easy to turn into a threat, whereas a lot of monsters need more interesting work... Which is probably for the best, I feel.

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1 hour ago, Xaser said:

BTSX E2 even features a zombieman as a boss monster. It's clearly the most progressive of doom wads.

Well, i have to play this now. I must see this with my own eyes.

 

On-topic: I've come to get used to the overuse of those specific monsters you mentionned, OP. My problem with most maps coming out these days is the predictability of the vast majority of them. As soon as Revenant are introduced you can bet your ass the majority ambush and closets will be revenants over and over again. Turns a lot of map/mapsets into a slog.

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BTSX (well, the first episode) is pretty damn good with its enemy placement. Hell, even in the huge Tricyclic Looper, there are NO revenants and few Arch-Viles, and the map still manages to be tough, but never unfair (except MAYBE the Cyberdemon at the end). That is a mark of good mapmaking.

 

What annoyed me about E2 was that it started to overuse these "Group B" monsters, as you call them. Add that with the super-long layout of most of the maps and the WAD sadly ends up a bit sour.

 

I personally think that skillsaw WADs do a rather good job at mixing these enemy types (skillsaw even uses the Mancubus quite a bit, which is great, since it's my favourite enemy).

 

I think monsters like the Mancubus are generally a LITTLE underused, and are overshadowed by the Revenants and Arch-Viles, all for what I personally think is the sake of difficulty. ANY monster can be made deadly. Play the first map of Going Down: it's almost entirely populated with Zombiemen, but the layout makes them dangerous.

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There is a lot I think is wrong with this post but I'll just touch on a few things (jumping around here and there, because I can't be cyber-assed to waste even more time structuring stuff): 

 

2 hours ago, Optimus said:

Then there is Group B. You can't, you just can't at least in a calm state, directly side step the Revenants. They have the homing missiles! I can dance around with more struggle till some missiles make a full circle and hit me. Many times I retreat from the arena to find a wall behind. Even worse with Archies. Peekaboo attack from within a wall, if you are not lucky they don't put them in some high place in the open.

Honestly, you are doing it wrong lol. Revenant missiles can be dealt with easily by training your sense of where you are relative to walls (you can 'guide' revenant missiles into walls easily by dodging them from the right direction) and also -- this is important -- being capable of dodging revenant missiles 'late'. When you sidestep late, the missile makes a harder arc and will usually end up veering off course, thus increasing the effective distance at which a wall or other monster can be to have a likely chance of 'dissipating' it. You probably have similar holes in your knowledge about viles. 

 

2 hours ago, Optimus said:

 So, modders might be like "I am not putting just those old monsters, my level will be too easy, not challenging enough!". 

I'm pretty sure no mapper has ever thought this. Also the whole notion that some mappers design their maps just to be challenging is a somewhat odd straw I've seen a few times. Worth considering that mappers who make harder maps do so because they find that gameplay interesting and fun, first and foremost.

 

2 hours ago, Optimus said:

So, put monsters of Group A (All monsters in Doom 1, besides the bosses) and the game for an experienced player is like a dance.

Reading the above commentary on revs and viles -- the whole post in general too -- makes me doubt that you have accurate or relevant beliefs on what 'the game for an experienced player is like'. 

 

2 hours ago, Optimus said:

And maybe my favorite change of difficulty even in Doom 1

'Favorite change in easiness' is perhaps a more fitting phrasing. 

 

2 hours ago, Optimus said:

overuse

Worth defining what you mean by 'overuse', since you are using the word a lot (maybe one can even say you are overusing it, heh). I don't think there are any quotas in terms of representation that should not be exceeded. 100+ viles in a single map can easily NOT be a case of overuse as long as all of them contribute well. But I've played some maps that use archviles as harmless meat in ones and twos, tedious low-threat SSG clearance, and as inelegant solutions to enforce lock-ins, and I've come away with the impression that they were overused in that map, despite the total count on them being low. Whether "overuse" is taking place is very situational, to me. 

 

2 hours ago, Optimus said:

I notice a shift from older Doom 2 levels where you had more regular encounters, imps, zombie, shotgunners, and then only the occasional harder monsters in lesser qualities, to newer maps where the Group B monsters are over-represented.

What you are seeing is a shift from "ambient" and "atmospheric" and even some "narrative-fulfilling" placement to a modern idiom that is sometimes defined more by the "function" of monsters, and arcadey gameplay scenarios; monsters like revenants and archviles and "Dead Simple monsters" (thanks to the brilliant wordsmith that coined that phrase) start to see more use, relatively speaking, because they have more interesting functions and tactics associated with them. It's not as if people just decided to make things harder and thus use more "Group B monsters". You certainly see an increase of difficulty comparing recent wads to older ones, but that too is as much a product of people simply being better at the game on average than people were in the '90s.

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2 minutes ago, Fonze said:

No mention of PEs in this thread... So just to clarify this is totally still ok right? Right?!

10/10 would rocket PEs again

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29 minutes ago, rdwpa said:

[Arch Viles] and as inelegant solutions to enforce lock-ins

What's wrong with this?  It's more interesting than the infamous PCorf Barons, can make things hairy if you dropped a lot of enemies by that particular door, and can create some interesting and tricky decisions for speedrunning (do I try to skip this fight once I get infighting going by letting the 5 Viles out and ducking into their room, knowing I'll be adding them to the fight I just skipped that I'll be coming back to?).

7 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

10/10 would rocket PEs again

I do believe I have the map for you (cl -9, requires cc4-tex.wad on the command line, plays in the map 20 slot)

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3 hours ago, Optimus said:

what really matters is the placing

This the real key imo, it all comes to how each monster is used. Some of the most modern wads are usually acclaimed because they emphasize in careful usage of monster, more often maximizing their level of danger. It happens that naturally some enemies have more options to be placed and function as threats than others, for example revs shoot missiles that can track you, or they can easily dodge your shot because of their jerky movement; chaingunners are small, low HP, deal low but constant damage, and fit tons of places that spiderdemons can't by nature; and archviles are simply top-threats, attention whores like rdwpa called them once, their unique abilities is what makes him quite versatile and interesting (at least for me). But like I said before, every monster has its space(s), if you find some monsters "overused", it could be because their intentions is to create scenarios where they would theoretically work better than others. Or preferences, in general people find specific monsters more interesting than others for multiple reasons, I'm one of the weirdos that naturally find spiderdemons more entertaining than cyberdemons, for many reasons that don't have to do with my average skills. What I mean is that, mappers make the maps how they want, thinking of what they like or not, they have their reasons, how players take it is up to them, if you feel an overuse of some kind of monster, maybe you don't like that monster or you find their placement to be too tough for you (not pointing to you, I mean anyone), or it could be because you got tired of seeing the same monster not portraying a considerable threat, which usually happens with barons of hell. Anyway, this is my opinion and I seriously need to eat something, bye.

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6 hours ago, Xaser said:

BTSX E2 even features a zombieman as a boss monster. It's clearly the most progressive of doom wads.

So then E3 is going to be fully automated luxury monster socialism. It's taking so long because the monsters seized the means of production and are still learning how to map.

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Regarding Pain Elementals... (a development shot from Whispers of Satan MAP19, messing around with -fast and summon/summonfriend commands). They are really among the most dangerous monsters

 

 

 

5a912eb7c501c_PainivaElemental.png.bed69999d04a00bdffad6788cf1623eb.png

 

 

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Quote

 

Honestly, you are doing it wrong lol. Revenant missiles can be dealt with easily by training your sense of where you are relative to walls (you can 'guide' revenant missiles into walls easily by dodging them from the right direction) and also -- this is important -- being capable of dodging revenant missiles 'late'. When you sidestep late, the missile makes a harder arc and will usually end up veering off course, thus increasing the effective distance at which a wall or other monster can be to have a likely chance of 'dissipating' it. You probably have similar holes in your knowledge about viles. 


 

I know what you mean, my post didn't entirely reveal my playstyle in all situation. I am not that novice as you say, not that I want to prove myself. Your comments came odd to me as "you don't know anything about Doom experienced playing". But I realize every time I play that I handle those well enough despite my complains. I do these alternative strategies you say, I can sort of dance around a revenant even hitting him with plain shotgun will cleverly avoiding missiles, especially if I am in a corridor and I strafe as you say near the end of the arc, and the misiles will fly left/right behind me and hit the walls, thus not circling at all. But increase the numbers and occasionally I will be hit by a rocket. Now, when fighting hordes of imps or cacos for example, I could occasionally get into crossfire if there are tens of projectiles (or some monsters from behind unexpectedly hit me in the back for example) and I can take a hit or two before fighting them off, and having chipped 10% of my health. But the revenant missiles not only will follow you but if hit once or two, the damage is much higher. There is a much higher probable with even 3-4 revenants that I will be at least hit once and that is gonna have massive impact. In the majority of cases, your full health and ammo is chipped away by 2-3 revenant missile hits and the occasional Archville.

 

Oh, I need to add. Then you have Revenants on platforms. Not narrow ledges, but longer ledges where they can move around. They move fast. Well placed rockets? They are unpredictable and will waste more rockets if they always get away. Now, entering a level with far away Mancuby, Arachnotrons, Barons, etc? They move slower and take more space. I can throw 3 well placed rockets at every Mancubi as I move and be successful, but an individual revenant running around in a platform? If I am lucky 2, if unlike I'll waste way more rockets in vain, unless they are packed in hordes. That's another one that makes them the most badass monsters in Doom :)

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Chaingunners, Revenants and Arch-Villes are very versatile monsters. You barely can do wrong with them, IMO, unless they are put in very bullshit placements (like these Chaingunners traps in plutonia or Arch-Villes in very open fields with no cover)

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Sorry barons and hell knights are too boring to dance with for me. Revenants pull surprising moves all the time (Very dirty ones) and viles hate letting you dance with others. Both are way more passionate than bruisers, Cacos are ok at least they are cute and smiling.

 

PE is that stupid one who ruins the date by bringing all the kids to join in the dance, Very fast mood killer. Well unless that is what you wanted. Chaingunners are too dominating and don't let you do anything except what they want, a huge red flag no one should ignore. 

 

Pinkies are too clumsy and only know one dance move, they are ok if you are in a big group dance to dance with for 5 secs before a better dancer attracts your attention (sorry pinkies!). Imps are pretty much the same as pinkies except they pretend they know how to dance from time to time.

 

Cyber is too hot please dance with me big boy. Mastermind not so much, I'd rather dance with her kids -_-.

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6 hours ago, Optimus said:

Now, when fighting hordes of imps or cacos for example

The problem with this example to experienced players is the super advanced strategy of listing lazily to the left, which is what rd was trying to state before. Straight-shooting, non-leading projectile monsters can be slept through for an experienced Doomer, as even in low space scenarios, slightly moving to the side preserves the most free space while still getting you out of the path of that straight-shooting, non-leading projectile. It's not about challenge either, it's about the depth added to each encounter though these enemies that experienced players want. Not saying you cant satisfy an experienced player in a Doom 1 stype map, but it will take some more tricky area and encounter design to achieve, and even then you will be limited to preventing most encounters from devolving into circle-strafing snooze-fests.

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All monsters are created equally!!! They were born evil and must be cleansed off this mortal coil!Can I ghet ahn Ay-Men!

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8 hours ago, geo said:

All monsters are created equally!!! They were born evil and must be cleansed off this mortal coil!Can I ghet ahn Ay-Men!

The argument could be made that Doomguy went to Hell, where they were perfectly happy to be left alone, and started wrecking shop in their backyard. So, he was already outside the mortal plane when he started shuffling off the demons' mortal coils. Born evil or not, they were where they belonged.

 

Now, the ones on the Mars bases or on Earth, oh yeah, cleanse them all day.

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13 hours ago, Pegg said:

Sorry barons and hell knights are too boring to dance with for me. Revenants pull surprising moves all the time (Very dirty ones) and viles hate letting you dance with others. Both are way more passionate than bruisers, Cacos are ok at least they are cute and smiling.

 

PE is that stupid one who ruins the date by bringing all the kids to join in the dance, Very fast mood killer. Well unless that is what you wanted. Chaingunners are too dominating and don't let you do anything except what they want, a huge red flag no one should ignore. 

 

Pinkies are too clumsy and only know one dance move, they are ok if you are in a big group dance to dance with for 5 secs before a better dancer attracts your attention (sorry pinkies!). Imps are pretty much the same as pinkies except they pretend they know how to dance from time to time.

 

Cyber is too hot please dance with me big boy. Mastermind not so much, I'd rather dance with her kids -_-.

 

What's the Icon of Sin and John Romero, then? 

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All monsters are equal, but some monsters are more equal than others. 

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Glad I'm not the only one, who hates archvile and revenant overuse.(just to be clear I like them used pretty much as sparingly as in Doom 2, but with the archvile sometimes(rarely) used in his more annoying mode of resurrecting dead enemies behind a decent size bunch(not horde) of enemies.

My thoughts are that it's the placement and ammo availability that matters. No End in Sight is a good example of this. Only Doom 1 monsters, but the encounters  are still hard and exciting.

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On 2/24/2018 at 9:12 PM, Master O said:

 

What's the Icon of Sin and John Romero, then? 

 

John Romero is the DJ at the dance and the Icon of Sin is his mixtable; he's literally bringing life to the party with his booming voice filling the room and spawning cubes that have some wicked bass to them! 

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Posted (edited)
On 2/24/2018 at 6:00 AM, Xaser said:

BTSX E2 even features a zombieman as a boss monster. It's clearly the most progressive of doom wads.

lol PAGANINI already beaten you to it bro :P

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"Oh man, so terrifying, what could this boss be?"

"drum roll"

Spoiler

a3vRdvd.png

 

Edited by Catpho

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On 2/23/2018 at 9:11 PM, Cynical said:

What's wrong with this?

 

I'm not sure what scenario you're picturing, but viles like these are something of an issue. (You can only reliably cheese for blast damage with one vile alive.)

 

 

On 2/23/2018 at 9:11 PM, Cynical said:

interesting and tricky decisions for speedrunning (do I try to skip this fight once I get infighting going by letting the 5 Viles out and ducking into their room, knowing I'll be adding them to the fight I just skipped that I'll be coming back to?)


Probably won't be much of a decision. Unless you're doing like an ultra-long IL or an episode run, the proper option is always going to be whatever is determined to be noticeably faster, even if it is a diceroll with a much lower success rate. 

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Ah, yeah, I was thinking more the "classic Joshy exit-vile" situation where when you pop a door open, 3 or 4 Viles run out of it, meaning opening the door early gives you 3 or 4 viles in with your current fight (likely lethal) and opening it "on time" means you still get a fight with a bunch of files that are able to approach you and res stuff inn the fight you just killed.

 

As far as the speed running decision goes, you'd think so, but I know that there's a situation in impoffer.wad where that's theoretically possible, but no one has done it in a recorded demo and survived (gggmork tried, but he said that the survival rate was too low for a map that has a ton of other potentially lethal fights).

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