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Hell-blazers: Speedrunning Doom Eternal Q & A—Under the Mayo

My name is Nicholas van der Waard, host of "Hell-blazers."  What follows is my interview with Under the Mayo, who makes content on YouTube. 

"Hell-blazers" interviews Twitch streamers, speedrunners and Doom fans about Doom Eternal (2020); it asks them, based on their own experiences, to compare the game to the rest of the franchise, and what effect it will have on speedrunning and gaming at large. General information about "Hell-blazers" can be found, here; a compendium of the interviews as they are published can be found here (which also includes interesting videos, break-downs and other articles).


The Runner

Nick: What got you into Doom? Do you remember the first Doom game you played?

Mayo: Doom was always that mysterious game that I saw/played a couple times on other people's computers back in the early/mid '90s. I never actually asked my parents for the game, despite my dad keeping his work computer at home where I would use it to play the shareware for Wolfenstein 3D (1992). I was endlessly fascinated by [Doom], dreaming about going to Hell with the BFG. I briefly played it a handful of times after that, and I played a lot of Quake 2 (1997), Duke Nukem 3D (1996), and even Doom 3 (2004). But I finally really sat down with [the Doom] originals around 2015 and have been in love ever since.


Nick: Pre-Doom Eternal, what is your favorite Doom game? Soundtrack? Individual track? Monster? Gun?

Mayo: Doom 2016, no question. I absolutely adore the originals. Hundreds of hours. But Doom 2016 just blew my mind. I've got about 750 hours in it over the years, and not a second of it is multiplayer.

Favorite soundtrack is 2016; "Flesh and Metal," favorite song. Favorite monster is probably the new Archvile or the Prowler. Favorite weapon is the original plasma rifle, and Eternal's rocket launcher and meat hook.


Nick: Do you have a least-favorite from any of these categories?

Mayo: 2016's minigun and the Doom 3 shotgun.


Nick: Do you like horror movies and heavy metal? If so, what are some of your favorites?

Mayo: I'm a huge horror fan, which is rough because I think most horror movies are embarrassing. I don't care for Hollywood horror. My favorite movies of recent years would be The Eyes Of My Mother (2016), Martyrs (2008), Let The Right One In (2008), The Descent (2005), and The Mist (2007).

I'm not a metal fan, really. I'm more interested in industrial. I come from a background of Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and White Zombie. The only metal bands I like are a little Slipknot, Bring Me the Horizon, and not much else. Call me a poser, I guess. I can enjoy good metal bands [though]. I've seen Slayer live; I saw Insomnium last year. It's not my thing, but if it's well done, I can enjoy it.

The new Doom soundtracks are revolutionary. They’re the greatest industrial records made in a decade. They aren't just metal; they're industrial as hell. [editor's note: I've heard so many people call Mick Gordon's Doom music "metal." In all honestly his work isn't comparable to most metal, historically—be it thrash, black, death, fusion, etc. Though somewhat nu-metal, I'd say his Doom material is mostly industrial.]


Nick: In terms of the classic, '90s games, do you prefer early Doom or early Quake?

Mayo: I think Doom is a much more interesting game than QuakeQuake 1 (1996) and 2 feel more like games made to showcase the technology. I still love them though, and I was all over Quake 2 multiplayer—grapple hook rail only! But I'm more of a single-player guy, and Doom is infinitely replayable, especially Final Doom (1996).


Nick: Do you speedrun? If so, when did you start?

Mayo: I don't technically speedrun [usually]. As I get really good, I do try to get through it quickly. But I don't use a lot of exploits or study a lot of speed tactics or memorize every spawn and path.

I have done speed runs for Spelunky (2008), the Resident Evil remake (2003) and Resident Evil 2 remake (2019). I think my time is 21st in the world, in the Resident Evil remake. I almost cracked the top twenty, but that damned Chimera in the laboratory ducked my magnum shot and man, I was pissed!


Nick: How would you describe your playing style compared to other Doom players? Would it be the so-called "brawler mode" you mention in your videos?

Mayo: I've been trying to make “brawler mode” a thing for a couple years. I just think it's the most fun way to play [Doom 2016]. Fast paced, in-your-face combat. Who wants [to] Gauss cannon everything? That's fine for your first playthroughs. But after a few times, you need something more.

I care very little about top-tier strategies [in Doom Eternal]. If I just wanted to dominate, I'd rocket ballista everything, [use] lock-on [for] every playthrough, etc. I like to say "How well can I play if I deprive myself of my preferred tools?" [For example,] what if I disable grenade switch so I can't use ice bomb? What I play without sticky bombs? Not only is it more challenging, but it forces you to consider strategies you'd never used before. That's exciting.

[Another way to look at this is] the Predator. [He's] clearly more powerful with his plasma cannon, but you know he’s more excited when he has to fight hand-to-hand.


Nick: Do you have any favorite Doom runners you like to watch and/or learn from?

Mayo: I've seen all the household names. I really only watch the GDQ streams for Doom speedruns; I think they’re really fun—glitched AND glitchless. I learned [from those guys] to always try to move without strafe when possible.

As my channel is growing, I'm looking forward to seeing more of what those [speedrunners] are up to.



Nick: You've mentioned playing Mortal Kombat 9 (2011) on a regular basis. Is that game comparable to playing Doom Eternal's single-player campaign?

Mayo: Eternal is definitely satisfying from a fighting game perspective. [The reason being] there's so much more emphasis on movement and spacing. That’s one of the reasons I like the Marauder so much. He pops in and it's like, "Oh yeah, you want some?" We shift into the footsies game and it's such a rush.

[editor's note: For a comparison between the two games, watch Under the Mayo's video: "Doom Eternal - Adapting to a Failed Plan in Combat."]

On Doom Eternal, Casually

Nick: Speedrunners tend to refer to non-speedrunners as "casuals," implying a specialized difficulty that comes from speedrunning games. However, Doom Eternal is meant to be played fast, and be harder as a result; it forces the player to play at the game's speed, or die. Do you think this mindset appeals to speedrunners, in general?

Mayo: I assume they don't use the word "casual" in a derogatory manner. They just mean people who don't speedrun. So it's fine. Unfortunate choice of words, but it is what it is.

Speedrunning is a different game all together. But anyone who plays Nightmare—[numerous] times, [while] experimenting with play styles and analyzing their habits and mistakes—is not casual. Casual players pick up the game for an hour and screw around. Casual players shoot the Marauder's point-blank with a rocket launcher and then complain about "bad game design."

Speed and Mobility

Nick: Combat-wise, Doom Eternal is meant to be played fast. How does the speed of the game feel compared to, say, Doom 2016? Are they comparable in your mind?

Mayo: [Doom Eternal is fast]—not as fast as Dusk, but its speed is appropriate to its design.

I think you can only compare Eternal's speed to my "Brawler mode" of Doom 2016, because [otherwise] Doom 2016 moves at a turtle's pace in comparison.


Nick: Is there anything about the slower, more horizontally-oriented Doom games that you prefer, or is Doom Eternal a "straight upgrade?"

Mayo: I think the only thing I MIGHT prefer [from Doom 2016] are the more compact levels. Not in scope, but in duration. Everything else is a straight upgrade. Doom 2016 is near-unplayable at this point.

Tone

Nick: In terms of storytelling, Doom Eternal is less minimal than Doom 2016. Its also campier. How do you feel about this?

Mayo: I'm all about it. Come on, in the original games he was upset that demons killed his rabbit. [editor's note: This depends on your definition of "original." The concept—of the rabbit being called Daisy and that it was the hero's pet rabbit—was a concept introduced in "Thy Flesh Consumed," the fourth episode for Doom featured in The Ultimate Doom (1995). This was after Doom and Doom II were published.] And suddenly people are upset about a silly tone?

I think the lore [from 2016] is fascinating but it took me three years to actually find the interest in reading it. I love it now and I want more. I love the big epic story, and I [also] love that you can skip it if you don't care. Everyone should be happy.


Nick: Should Doom be scary? What’s your opinion about Doom for the PSXOne (1995) or Doom 64 (1997)?

Mayo: I tend to feel that Doom can kinda be whatever it wants to be. The original has aspects of horror, exploration, action, strategy, and resource management. Doom 3 [is] more of a horror game, [but remains] just as "Doom" to me as the new ones; it happens to be my least favorite, but I don't think it's any less of a Doom game. Doom 2016 was a sci-fi, demonic power trip. Doom Eternal is the notebook scribblings of a maniac. It all works. I could imagine a future installment going super serious and dark, and I'd be on board for that, too.

I never played the console Dooms (though I asked my parents for PSX Final Doom (1996) and never got it). Doom 64 is cool; I played it when it came out for like a day. But when Brutal Doom 64 (2016) came out I was all over it.


Nick: Was there anything about Doom Eternal that surprised you, was bad when you thought it'd be good or vice versa?

Mayo: I think we can all agree the purple goo sucks. But it doesn't enrage me like I see it doing to other people. Same with the swimming sections. I can take them or leave them. They're over quickly, [and the] controls are smooth. They’re whatever.

There’s a little bit of wonky level geometry on occasion. I was surprised how long the levels were. I simultaneously like it and don't. But that's a topic I’ll explore in a video. I was surprised by how frantic the combat is, which I love.


Nick: Is Id Software's "speed chess with guns" analogy still accurate when applied to Doom Eternal's combat?

Mayo: Yes, now more than ever. You really have to worry about the big players. In 2016, you could generally avoid a fight with a big guy and take it at your pace. In this game, if you don't pay attention—to those two whiplashes, or the carcass, or the dread knight—you're gonna have a bad time.


Nick: If the chess analogy still works, which monsters are which pieces, and among them, which are the most dangerous "pieces" in your opinion?

Mayo: Hell knights and dread knights are knights. It's in their name. Archvile is the Queen. Baron of Hell is your baby brother flipping the game board over.


Nick: If you had to pick one of each, what is your favorite level, gun, and monster in Doom Eternal?

Mayo: Tough question. I'll go with Urdak, Remote Detonation Rocket Launcher, and the mancubus; he's a bastard.



Nick: Which glory kills do you like the most?

Mayo: I love the behind glory kill on the Pinky where you stab him twice.


Nick: I already know how you feel about the Marauder. Why do so many people complain him about him, in your opinion?

Mayo: Well, I know the Marauder video is what got my channel its initial attention. But I'm honestly tired of talking about him.

That being said, I'm considering a follow up video... I find all the "I understand game design" posturing to be exhausting. I think the statement—that he interrupts the game—to be totally false. He mixes it up, for sure. But people act like you have to stop playing the game. And I know that's wrong, because I don't stop playing the game. It's still fast and moving around—weapon switching, using stagger attacks, etc. It's just mixed differently. I think he's a refreshing ingredient, like a random spicy pepper on a pizza. But hey, not everyone likes spicy food, so I get it (to be honest, I get a kick out of imagining the crybabies getting upset every time he comes out, on repeat playthroughs).


Nick: Do you have any favorite methods for handling him found by other players?

Mayo: I'm really feeling "the weapon switch mixed with grenade" [approach]. It's fun and tricky. I [also] like trying to take him out while there's still a lot of enemies around. That keeps it super fun.

The only complaint I can kinda see is that he's "boring." But man, that's your choice. There's more than one way, and more than one moment, to take him down. Every time I fight him is a blast because I CHOOSE to make it fun. You wanna talk boring? The Bullet Sponge—I mean the Baron—of Hell is far more tedious and boring.

Nick: Is there an enemy you think is worse than the Marauder—i.e., actually meriting of people's ire, but one that nobody complains about?

Mayo: BARONS. Oh, my god, screw barons. All these people in my comments section saying that the Marauder is bad design because he makes you back away from him instead of going in to rip and tear.  Apparently they haven't met Barons. Yeah, you don't rush into a fight with a Baron. You gotta back off and empty half your ammo into him. I still wouldn't change him though. He's a great ingredient.


Nick: Given the sheer number of projectile enemies, does the game ever feel like a "bullet-hell" game, albeit in the 1st person?

Mayo: No, because the game is rarely about projectile dodging. The melee attacks are far more prevalent and threatening. And whatever that ground attack from the whiplash is. [editor's note: The carcass also has a ground-based "slam" ability to avoid. Both feel visually similar to the barbarian's Hammer of the Ancients ability from Diablo 3 (2012) except the player can jump over them, in Doom Eternal.]


Nick: I'm sure you have several, but is there one fight in particular that you couldn't believe you survived, but was still unbelievably fun?

Mayo: The last fight in Urdak really gives me trouble. But there's this one room in Nekravol II that makes me rage— in a good way.

On Speedrunning

Nick: A recent video by Karl Jobst is convinced Doom Eternal is the next Big Game in the speedrunning world. Do you agree with him? Will Doom Eternal rank up there with popular titles like Super Metroid (1994) or Goldeneye (1997)?

Mayo: Nope, not a chance. Not with those glitches.


Nick: Will Doom Eternal (and Twitch) help bring speedrunning to a larger audience and demographic than ever before?

Mayo: I can't comment much because I'm not involved with streaming. I'm a bit of an antisocial videogame player myself. But yeah, the visibility of the sport has definitely increased its popularity. Especially with a master spokesman like Karl Jobst out there doing the work he does.


Nick: How does Doom Eternal appeal to you as a gamer? In a recent video, you mention enjoying difficult videogames over easy ones. Is Doom Eternal the right blend of difficulty for your taste?

Mayo: Eternal definitely gets difficulty right. The game murdered me for the first weekend, and I loved it. For me, there's nothing better than loving the gameplay and getting your ass kicked hundreds of times.

Nightmare on Doom [in general] isn't like the highest difficulty of most games. It's much more than increased damage; the AI is different [too]. There's so many ways to give yourself new challenges with different mods, runes and play styles—it's a dream come true.

Glitches

Nick: Do you ever find yourself using glitches to give yourself an edge in combat?

Mayo: I really don't. Unless I'm doing a glitched speedrun, I want to enjoy the game Id designed for me.


Nick: Do you think the game's action can survive the speedrunning approach, especially "major glitches?"

Mayo: That stuff totally breaks the game. It's not like Meat Hook skipping where Id knew damn well you'd be able to swing past areas once you master it. [This] makes them happy. But major glitches are using stuff they wish they could fix.

But hey, every game has glitches. And they all have glitchless speedrun categories. I enjoy watching both!


Nick: Is damage-boosting/-skipping possible in Doom Eternal, and would you recommend it on harder difficulties?

Mayo: I don't know if there's any damage-boosting or weapon-boosting that's practical in regular playthroughs. If there is, fair game!


Nick: Are invulnerability-frames enough to keep the player reliably "safe" when glory killing, or do you feel exposed when doing them?

Mayo: It depends on difficulty. Just like 2016, you gotta be smart on Nightmare in Doom Eternal when you go for a glory kill. Because when you finish, you could be surrounded and die in two seconds. It's all part of forcing you to play and plan smarter.

Same with the chainsaw. If you're running around with no ammo, and have to end up chainsawing in a bad spot and then you die cause you're surrounded, that's because you weren't on top of your stuff. Try again, better this time.


Nick: Are there any moments in Doom Eternal's gameplay that feel cheap, or that force you to play a particular way that doesn't feel fun?

Mayo: Sometimes I get frustrated that I'm shooting the Gladiator when his eyes blink, and it doesn't stun him. I don't understand it, yet. I gotta look into it. I think the only "cheap thing" is when you fall off a platform and respawn right in front of an enemy and die. [editor's note: Refer to Mayo's video "Terrible ending to my latest UltraNightmare run" for a good example of this.]


Nick: To keep the game challenging, do you ever find yourself inventing ways to make it harder, like not using the BFG or the Crucible, or using sub-optional weapon specs?

Mayo: I'm an impatient, risky player so it's already pretty challenging: I already prefer Remote Detonation; I also tend to avoid Precision Shot because I'm not very good at it.

But once I dominate [the game], I'll probably play with no ammo capacity upgrades, no ballista and no ice bomb. That sounds really fun.

Difficulty

Nick: For me, difficulty feels relative. Classic Doom (1993) has hit-scan enemies whose attacks are impossible to dodge, but can be avoided with corners and doors; Doom Eternal, projectile enemies that attack the player from all directions—on open ground, with fewer opportunities to take cover and abuse choke points. The latter are also armored and extremely aggressive; with multiple attack patterns, and specialized weaknesses; etc.

While the potential for obnoxious difficulty exists in both generations, is it a good idea, or even possible, to compare these games in terms of difficulty when each one is so different?

Mayo: I honestly don't think it's right to compare them in terms of difficulty. They're too different. Eternal is far more complex, and its difficulty feels much more in the hands of the player. The hardest parts of the original Doom is [cheap] stuff: random ambush traps where you're boxed in against a Baron, or a wall of Chaingunners [that] just appears and you're dead unless you know it's coming.


Nick: I've often heard that Doom Eternal's endgame is a bit too easy. How do you feel about this?

Mayo: I don't know what circles you're in, but I think this is another case of listening too much to the 1%. Most people aren't even going to attempt Ultra-Nightmare. Most people don't play 15+ hour videogames more than once or twice. Doom Eternal's endgame is perfectly structured for that experience, and that's what it should be.


Nick: The Tyrant aka Cyberdemon always seems to be killed instantly by players using the Crucible. Do you prefer to avoid using the Crucible, BFG and Ice Grenade to make them (and other heavy super-demons) more of a challenge?

Mayo: In Ultra-Nightmare, I definitely Crucible them. It's not that they're inherently very dangerous. It's that you end up focusing too much on them, and something ELSE kills you. I just need to [take] them out quickly. Same with the Archvile.

[editor's note: Speaking of "something else killing the Slayer," in a new video, "NEW Doom Eternal Content Update," Midnight discusses Demonic Invasions, and how, if this option is enabled, other players will be able invade the Slayer's campaign and attack them as player-controlled demons. I think this sounds like a perfect optional way for speedrunners to make their runs even more difficult.]

Nick: Civvie complains about the beginning of the game being too hard. Is it "too hard," or is King Dime right when he says—in a review interview with me on Twitch (timestamp: ~13:56)—that the beginning to Doom 2016 is more challenging?

Mayo: Absolutely the first levels of 2016 are harder. Do you know how many Ultra-Nightmare runs have ended in that first Gore Nest of level 2? I call it the "death room" for a reason.

[Conversely] it's only been a few weeks and I can already make it through [Doom Eternal's early areas]. There are a couple of rough spots, sure, but you're not eating 45-damage imp fireballs; Possessed Soldiers aren't chucking 75-damage charge balls at you, exploding the barrels near you. Eternal gives you two weapons, a grenade, chainsaw, and dash [ability] REALLY quick. [Its starter area is] just easier to manage.

And Civvie [has a shtick: He] isn't "complaining"; he's venting his first-time frustrated feelings. I'm sure he's [mostly] into it.


[editor's note: Civvie's "shtick" isn't "venting first-time frustrations," though. The games he's reviewed have largely been played by him many times before—Blood (1997), Duke Nukem (1996). Doom Eternal is an exception—it was practically brand-new when he made his review—but we're still talking about someone whose opinions come from years and years of playing certain kinds of games. 

Take Civvie's review for Dusk (2018). He wasn't raging at that game, and praised it relative to his own experiences. Doom Eternal is an inverse example of the same principle, and his criticisms, while hardly incessant or writ in stone, should still be taken seriously.]


Nick: In our aforementioned interview, King Dime explains how Doom 2016 is more  "permanent" if the player loses heath and armor. Meanwhile, there's little challenge to Doom Eternal once you know how to play the game: Lose hundreds of points of armor and health. Find a low-tier demon. Flame belch [or use the flaming meat hook]. Get everything back. To make this even easier for the player, Doom Eternal constantly spawns low-tier enemies; it also regenerates the player's chainsaw fuel.

Is King Dime's assertion correct? Does the challenge in follow-up Doom Eternal playthroughs decrease; or, does it merely oscillate as players pick up new speedrunning tricks that they learn, master, and incorporate into their individual play styles? Or, if you don't speedrun, do you find ways to make the game harder for yourself?

Mayo: I suppose I agree [with King Dime]. But [we're] forgetting how completely irrelevant the later part of Doom 2016 was with the hologram, siege mode, remote detonation, and stun bomb. It was a joke. Eternal fares better in the later levels than that. This is really a larger theme—of how Doom Eternal was created as a more complete and satisfying single player game. It's really fleshed out (the hub world, unlockables, larger levels, etc).

I think 2016 is better designed for repeating the game a hundred times. [In Eternal,] we have to go to the Ripatorium every single time and it's obnoxious. But I don't consider that a knock on the game. 99% of people don't have that experience. They play the game once or twice. I'm able to set my own tastes aside and be really happy that Doom Eternal is the game it is.

As for the challenge, [Dime's] probably right when speaking about the best players. I can feel it, too. [Fortunately] there's all kinds of ways to make it interesting with self-imposed limitations.


Nick: Hqrdest also says that Doom Eternal is harder than Doom 2016—early on, but then it gets easier by the end of the game. The Spud Hunter also says in his Ultra-Nightmare guide how the first three levels are the hardest.

Would you agree with them?

Mayo: Yeah, I would—not on a first playthrough though, and that's what counts. We can't expect [Id] to make a game that's a lot harder as it goes on, despite our upgrades; that game would be prohibitively brutal to most people on a first playthrough.

Again, I suggest making your own style. Put down the ballista. Play with no suit tokens. I'd love for there to be more cheat disks that handicap you. Double recharge time for the Chainsaw. Half the armor from Flame Belch. 30% increase to enemy HP. That would be so cool!


Nick: To stay relevant in combat situations where the player is constantly growing stronger, enemies need to climb in strength and abilities, a la Dragon's Crown (2013). Because those in Super Metroid (1994) do not, they are soon eclipsed by a fully-upgraded Samus Aran.

Does Doom Eternal operate like Super Metroid? In other words, is there ever a point in the game where its casual difficulty lessens, allowing speedrunners to focus on speedrunning instead of simply trying to survive?

Mayo: The Doom Hunter Base [is where] things start to balance out. But still, you gotta be on your game because things can kill you pretty quick.


Nick: Are you in the midst of designing a new "brawler mode" for Doom Eternal?

Mayo: I've put off Ultra-Nightmare because I just wanted to enjoy the game, and work on my channel (uploads every day while I'm building an audience). Eventually I'll have to tone that down because it's currently exhausting and I can't even play for fun. But I just beat the Extra Lives mode, only dying five times. So I feel ready to start Ultra-Nightmare. After I beat Ultra-Nightmare a few times, Brawler-Mode research will begin. But I'll need time to test it.


Nick: A popular request I've heard is NG+ master levels for the entire game. Essentially the player starts out with everything—all their movement abilities and gear—and the entire monster bestiary is unlocked and randomized from the start.

What do you think of this idea?

Mayo: Yeah, the game needs a NG+ and I'd love those modifiers. Like in Borderlands (2009) where Mayhem Encounters reduce your rocket damage or enemies are stronger, Doom really needs that (fat chance though, with offices being shut down).


Nick: Would you recommend Doom Eternal to players who are new to speedrunning and FPS games, but want to give it/them a try?

Mayo: Yeah to both. It's a very rich game with a lot of creativity.

Ultra-Nightmare

Nick: For their first time on Ultra-Nightmare, many speedrunners beat Doom Eternal one level per stream. Are you using a similar approach yourself?

Mayo: No, I can't do that. If I put the game down and come back, I play like an idiot for ten minutes and die. It's gotta be in one sitting. Two at the most.


Nick: Do you have any special methods for practicing Ultra-Nightmare that you're currently using? Any videos that you're studying?

Mayo: The Spud Hunter's video is really good: "Practice quickly switching your grenade types for panic ice bombs. And always back away from failed plans. If you were gonna try something, and it gets screwed up, don't try again. Change the plan immediately, because the situation has changed." [editor's note: Mayo has released a video about this topic, "Adapting to a Failed Plan in Combat."]


Nick: How often do you take breaks to keep yourself fresh?

Mayo: If you can't tell by the analytical nature of my content, I have a lot of issues with obsessiveness. I play until I collapse.


Nick: Is there a specific point when you die in-game that makes you want to quit for the night?

Mayo: Doom Eternal isn't that kind of game. I put it down when I'm ready.

Technique

Nick: What are some of your favorite runes and weapons? Are there specs that suck under normal circumstances, but work better for speedrunning play?

Mayo: I'm taking Spud's advice for my first Ultra-Nightmare run: using the slow motion and equipment recharge. But after that, I'm sticking with long stagger and fast glory kill. Air mobility is non-negotiable.


Nick: Do you find RNG to be a large issue, playing the game? For example, weapon damage in classic Doom/Quake is random. Compared to other Id games, how much RNG does Doom Eternal have in your mind?

Mayo: I guess the RNG is the enemy behavior because man, they do whatever they want! I love RNG. RNG makes games fresh every time you play it. I know speedrunners don't like it, but games aren’t made for the speedrunners.

[editor's note: RNG can be a huge problem once runs become optimized—to the point that roms like "Speedrun Edition" have been made for old games like Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988) to help eliminate RNG.]


Nick: Which enemies are the most annoying to come up against during a playthrough?

Mayo: Barons are a huge pain. Whiplashes too. But I love these enemies. It's [also] good to hate [them]. It's like the old god of war games [in that respect]. Those annoying harpies or the wraiths popping out of the ground. I hate them, and it's so fun to kill them.


Nick: Which ones are you the most happy to see? Can any of them be manipulated to behave in predictable ways?

Mayo: I love having the Archvile and Pain Elemental back. And the new Cacodemon is just perfect.


Nick: How do you feel about the climbing mechanics in Doom Eternal? Are they fairly easy to perform? Using them, do you find yourself going faster than you ever thought possible?

Mayo: The platforming is easy and smooth. The controls are tight. It's pretty fast too. I'm not in love with it. But I like how it makes the levels much grander in scale. And combined with Meat Hook, you can really fly.


Nick: How do you feel about the game's other movement schemes—the dash, double jump and so-called “yeet-hook”?

Mayo: It's my first time hearing ["yeet-hook"], but it's amazing. And clearly expected in their design. The dash is a revolution. I can't even go back [to not having it].


Nick: In the quest to go faster, speedrunners have found ways to bypass the purple goo and its movement penalties; but also ways to exploit certain in-game architecture. Do you feel there are still plenty of tricks like that to learn, that don't fall under the category of glitch, necessarily?

Mayo: I'm sure there are. And I can't wait to see what they find. Again, I'm sure this stuff was expected. They knew the potential of their dash and meat hook mechanics when they made the game.


Nick: Is there a point in-game where glory kills can be skipped by players altogether?

Mayo: Yeah you can. But it all comes down to how you play. It's like ammo and the chainsaw. The better you play, the less you'll need it.

I usually glory kill because I want to. I'm into it. I hate these enemies and I want to break them. I have full health and armor, and I don't need to glory kill that Gargoyle, but I'm going to! [editor's note: After watching your video, "GGs gargoyle - Terrible ending to my latest UltraNightmare run," I can certainly understand why!]


Nick: In "Way of the Gun," Rune Klevjer describes Doom's (1993) gameplay according to the relationship between the player, monsters and items. He calls this relationship "a search for the optimal pattern of movement." Given how monsters can be killed for resources, can you explain what you think this optimal pattern is when playing Doom Eternal?

Mayo: I think it's the ultimate evolution of it. I honestly can't think of how much further they can push it. It feels like a perfect formula—one that can be mastered, and augmented through self-imposed restrictions. I don't expect a sequel to follow this formula. I expect the next Doom to be quite different.


Nick: In Spud's recent guide video for Ultra-Nightmare, he notes the classic "circle strafe" movement strategy as being essential. Because of the new, expanded, vertical elements I liken it to "spherical moment."

Despite the inclusion of non-Doom, vertical movement schemes into the game, does its combat retain that core, "Doom feel" in your opinion?

Mayo: Yeah it totally does, but I think his explanation of it being circular is overly simplistic. Even in that video after he says "moving in a circle," he's still changing directions quite a bit. Newcomers could easily misunderstand this to be literally "circling the room." And it's really more about keeping on your toes and staying aware of whats happening in front of you, as well as on your sides.


Nick: In another of your videos, you liken Doom Eternal cosmetically to Doom but mechanically to Quake. I feel this isn’t entirely accurate: Rocket-jumping—a Quake staple—is strongly discouraged due to extremely high rocket splash damage—a Doom staple. For me, it's a strange amalgam of both franchises: old-meets-new, Doom-meets-Quake.

In your opinion, how much like Quake is Doom Eternal, or is the comparison only being made because the game is 3D?

Mayo: Sure, rocket jumping into in the game, but meat hooking is and that feels just like old Quake 2 (1997) grapple hooks. I mean that it has "the Quake feel" in [that] it's fast, looking around everywhere, spinning around in mid air to rail gun someone, kind of feel—the wild verticality, the excellently designed arenas. Doom never felt like that. That's from the Quake and Unreal days.


Nick: The classic Doom games weren't true 3D. The new Doom games are, but can they still be closer to classic Doom in various respects? In your opinion, how is the combat movement in Doom Eternal a) different from the Quake series and b) emblematic of Doom?

Mayo: Sure there's still a lot of classic Doom in [Doom Eternal]. But you can't recreate that gameplay without it feeling super stale.

Take Dusk (2018), for example. I LOVE Dusk. I played through it multiple times; it blew my mind; and it felt really satisfying. But the AI and gameplay is super simple. It's a throwback to '90s shooters, not an evolution of it. So there's no chance for it to really catch on. That's my opinion anyway.


I will admit that Doom 2016 captured more old-school Doom than Eternal does. That's why I compare Doom Eternal more to Quake and UnrealEternal still has the Doom mood, aesthetic, brutality, and attitude; but it plays [in a] much more intense and cerebral [manner like Quake and Unreal do].

...And you don't find yourself lost in Doom Eternal for half an hour because you can't find the switch. That's something I hope never comes back. [editor's note: True, but sometimes the visual idiot-proofing makes for dubious choices, aesthetically. In a recent stream, Byte Me had wondered, "Why is the Sentinel wolf-spirit green? Someone replied: "It's a traffic light."]

On the Pandemic

Nick: With the pandemic going on, it's important to maintain physical distance, but also to keep our social bonds strong. Why do you think videogames, including speedrunning them, are so important in doing this?

You: Because without them, we'd have to read books. And reading is for nerds.

***

For other blog posts by me, check out "Alien: Ore" Q & A ProjectDragon Ball Super: Broly - Is It Gothic?Mandy (2018): ReviewGothic Themes in Perfect Blue. Also check out my guest work on Video Hook-Ups.

Follow me on Twitter! Watch my Gothic podcast! Purchase a commission on my art website! Or support me on Patreon!

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. It is simply not your type of game. Not that it is a bad game. I enjoy both for what they are. Also, I never found Nemesis' presence in the original scary or menacing. He was just boring and annoying to me. Yes, I had tense moments here and there, but that was because I was not able to save my game progress. And that was with all monsters not just Nemesis.

    Look at this: Remake Mr. X was basically Original Nemesis and not like his Original counterpart. But not once did I see people complain about the fact that he was different from his original version in terms of stalking. 🤣😂
    And if they did. Certainly no one made a big deal out of it as people do now with Nemesis.

    Also, Original Nemesis gets owned in scripted events too. It just happens that they were less used because the Original's focus was "the player must have a blast!" immersion while the remake went for a more realistic approach where not your needs(for having fun playing it) as a player matter but Jill and her journey to survive and escape Raccoon City(+your immersion in the game from a realistic perspective.)

    You were playing the remake to see Jill Valentine's story(and see the world through her eyes) not for the sake of having fun while YOU are playing it.

    Also, both RE 3 games are more action-oriented unlike their predecessors.

    As I said before. The game is not bad. The game is simply not one on your taste.

    RE3make doesn't suck. Maybe you did not have a blast playing it. But don't come and say it sucks just because it is different.

    The remake is intended to play as a movie for the new generation who love movie-like games. The reason why they removed the puzzles, most monsters, etc probably was because they thought it wouldn't do great for a world immersive experience. You know, when a viral infection spreads across the city no one has time or wishes to solve complicated puzzles and go from here to there. And I doubt Jill has any PhD in the OG for the puzzles she solves.

    If you remove the complicated puzzles and explorations in RE 3, the game suddenly becomes a lot shorter like the remake.

    This is why I think they also referenced the old locations and did not allow us to (re)visit them.

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  3. Even the OG Nemesis can be submitted too. Even with a damn pistol!
    I talk about the RPD location.

    At least in the remake you only own him with grenades or heavy damage weapons.

    The only difference is that the remake goes for realism. But the ability to submit Nemesis was present in the OG too. Just because in the remake they went for something realistic doesn't excuse the fact that you can submit him in the OG too.

    And, by the way, do you play Resident Evil specifically for Nemesis? This is like me saying that I play Outlast to get chased by Chris Walker. 😂

    Please, don't act like Nemesis is some sort of super villain with personality and a compelling historical background. He is no different than the monsters you face. He has the same purpose.

    As I said, Remake Mr. X was also changed in the remake. He became OG Nemesis. While Remake Nemesis is really just OG Mr. X. But I bet you did not complain when they changed Mr. X's behavior in the remake.

    Suddenly, you do for Nemesis.

    Even if they represent the same f***g character just with another skin. Who cares if it was Nemesis or Mr. X?

    It is fact that in the OG games one of them was more passive. Suddenly they reverse the roles and everyone loses their minds? But before this it was not a problem, right?

    I guess this is all because Nemesis is more popular than Mr. X, right?

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    Replies
    1. Please dial it back, mate. I don't mind critiques pertaining to someone's original content, but please it respectful (and short).

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