While watching a recent Doom Eternal gameplay demo from Quakecon, I noticed two major things: the sequel is kind of like an RPG, and id Software is really pushing the engagement hook.
Doom Eternal is shaping up to be a grindy experience that's meant to be played for a long, long while. Eternal sports runes, upgrades and perks, and creative director Hugo Martin confirms we'll be farming enemies quite a bit in the game. The levels are open-ended sort of like an RPG with lots of secrets to uncover, and the enemies take some careful planning an execution to kill. Everything's designed to last longer than it normally would in a shooter. Sure it's linear and story-based, but there's lots of things to do along the way.
In a way Doom Eternal is a kind of FPS hybrid that fits perfectly into Bethesda's recent focus on long-winded experiences capitalizing on engagement. In fact, engagement was a huge keyword in the demo. Both Marty Stratton and Hugo Martin tossed it around quite a bit in the footage.
As with most engagement-driven games, Doom Eternal's gameplay is quite layered and actually complex. It has the trappings of a nearly endless arcade game that blends chaos, fun, and a splash of progression-grinding for long-term play.
It has to be said: all of these hooks are prime territory for microtransactions. I hope mTX doesn't show up in Doom Eternal but I wouldn't be surprised--possibly as shortcut rune upgrades or maybe cosmetics for Battlemode. Bethesda loves live games now (even when they fail like Fallout 76) and has infused them into all its biggest franchises.
Combat of course is a big part of the grind, and Eternal's codex will be a kind of bestiary with tips on how defeat certain baddies (again like an RPG). Some enemies like the Cacodemon are a lot stronger than they used to be so you'll have to use skillshots and specific weapons to take them out. It's all about exploiting weaknesses (like using fire against a frosty enemy in, say, Final Fantasy) such as blasting through enemy shields with the pulse rifle, or using specific shots to stagger foes and unleash a brutal glory kill.
"It's a thinking man's action game, like auto chess," says creative director Hugo Martin.
There's a distinct meta to the game that's kind of like a puzzle. Gamers have to match what guns work best against which enemies, and which runs work best with which abilities to dish out maximum carnage. There's lots of potential to make some crazy builds and combos that id probably hasn't planned for
"The more you play the game, the more you understand the meta, the stronger you feel because you can just start to really wreck the AI. But we're not just going to hand you that power fantasy without you earning it.
"You gotta learn all those metas, and the counters, and what each AI does."
Runes are also a big part of the engagement. Players can mix and match runes and customize their skills. The blood punch melee attack can be spiced up with a life leech rune to deliver HP on every attack, or swapped out with another rune that launches a devastating explosive attack. The runes can be leveled up to improve efficacy too.
As a result, farming will be a part of the game and you'll want to decimate foes in creative ways.
"Basically this time around you want to farm the zombies," Martin said.
"So we're going to give you packs of zombies, and if you're smart you'll burn a group of them and then blood punch them and then you can stack the resources that you're getting from each AI. Because they're on fire I'm getting ammo, and because I'm hitting them with the blood punch I'm now getting health. And again, it's kind of this thinking man's action game."
Read Also: Doom Eternal has double the demons
Weapons also get upgrades via mods. To level these up, you have to conquer champion-style encounters throughout the various maps. As you take out certain bosses, you get combat points, which affect your demonic possession meter, and can be spent on weapon upgrades.
Again this a hallmark of RPG progression.
Everything I've seen about Doom Eternal tells me it won't be just another Doom game. It's aiming to be the quintessential Doom FPS that can be played for a long, long time. Whether or not the grind will be exhausting or not remains to be seen, but we hope to give it a whirl when it releases this November.
id seriously wasn't kidding when they said Eternal is the start of a brand new Doom universe.
Doom Eternal rolls out on November 22, 2019 on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Check below for more info about the game:
Developed by id Software, DOOM® Eternal™ is the direct sequel to DOOM®, winner of The Game Awards' Best Action Game of 2016. Experience the ultimate combination of speed and power as you rip-and-tear your way across dimensions with the next leap in push-forward, first-person combat. Powered by idTech 7 and set to an all-new pulse-pounding soundtrack composed by Mick Gordon, DOOM Eternal puts you in control of the unstoppable DOOM Slayer as you blow apart new and classic demons with powerful weapons in unbelievable and never-before-seen worlds.
As the DOOM Slayer, you return to find Earth has suffered a demonic invasion. Raze Hell and discover the Slayer's origins and his enduring mission to rip and tear...until it is done.
Slayer Threat Level at Maximum
Gain access to the latest demon-killing tech with the DOOM Slayer's advanced Praetor Suit, including a shoulder-mounted flamethrower and the retractable wrist-mounted DOOM Blade. Upgraded guns and mods, such as the Super Shotgun's new distance-closing Meat Hook attachment, and abilities like the Double Dash make you faster, stronger, and more versatile than ever.
You can't kill demons when you're dead, and you can't stay alive without resources. Take what you need from your enemies: Glory kill for extra health, incinerate for armor, and chainsaw demons to stock up on ammo. These tools are the key to your survival and becoming the ultimate demon-slayer.
A New Class of (Destructible) Demon
Obliterate more demons than ever before, each with unique attacks and abilities. Fan-favorite classics such as the Pain Elemental, Archvile, and Arachnotron make their return, while a horde of totally-new demons join the roster including the DOOM Hunter, Marauder, and the Gladiator. Rip apart your favorite demons to the core with DOOM Eternal's "destructible demons" system and take your power fantasy to new levels.
Demonic Invasion Detected
As the Slayer, allow other players to invade your campaign as demons for a dramatic and unpredictable twist anytime you're playing the campaign. Or be a demon and invade other players' campaigns either by yourself or with someone else to give the Slayer a true taste of Hell.
BATTLEMODE is the new 2 versus 1 multiplayer experience built from the ground up at id Software. A fully-armed DOOM Slayer faces off against two player-controlled demons, duking it out over three rounds of intense first-person combat. More details coming soon!