Posted: Mon May 02, 2022 12:32 am Post subject: How To Grow As A Competitive Player
Hi everyone, I am an old player that has been around for 15 years of playing Doom Online. I've been playing lots deathmatch recently and seen plenty of players slowly and continously improving from simply devoting more time to the game. I've also seen regular players return to deathmatch either to top up on their XP points or to partake in some classic DooM deathmatching.
I'd like to offer a small, quick general guidance on how to approach DooM competition to allow for the most optimal and fastest growth. My credentials being years of experience in IDL, WDL, ZDDL, DML, MDF, and generally a sleugh of other leagues that mainly involve CTF or Deathmatch/Duel. This is for players looking to become much better at the game and even players just looking to increase their enjoyment of DooM in general as a lot of skills can transfer to even game modes such as Coop/Survival.
If you are expecting me to touch upon the 'fine tuning' aspects of playing DooM, I will not be delving into that here. Examples of what I mean is; mouse sensitivity options, what specific wads/maps build the most skill, what game mode to play more in and whether bots is considered a viable practice tool... These topics are too specific on the player and won't be considered as part of this thread. I'll only be touching upon general tips and hints in the style of a Q&A and try and discuss many issues I have noticed in today's competitive scene. This is purely based on opinion and the experience of a single individual, do not expect these ideas to translate 100% to yourself or others.
Without further ado, let's begin:
Q1: Why should I listen to you?
A1: While I may want everyone to heed what I have to say, do take it with a grain of salt, don't allow yourself to see my advice as a placebo if you find yourself suddenly performing well. Always be prepared for the worst days and even the good days and don't ever try and replicate what other players do just because it looks like they have better success. Fact of the matter is I'm learning as much as any other player today. By sharing my experience and knowledge, I'll help bridge the gap for others players to become even more fine tuned and raise the skill ceiling even further. You can take everything in you read today or the bare minimum if not much applies to yourself, or none at all if you find this to be a huge waste of time. All readers are welcome.
Q2: No matter how hard I try, my aim doesn't seem to improve. How can I work on it better?
A2: A lot of players instantly blame the absence of good aim on a lack of practice or training drills. A lot of those same players might actually be surprised to know that there is usually nothing wrong with their aim at all. Movement is a huge key factor to the standard DooM gameplay, whether it's player versus player or even player versus NPCs. Unless you're someone that can only sit still to aim, chances are you're always on the move while trying to aim at the same time and this is where a lot of players fail to meet their expectations when aim and movement try to match up. In truth - aiming will always come naturally once the eyes and your muscles adjust to your movement. DooM gameplay is often so fast that the eyes need to be trained to visually understand what it looks like when a full ssg shot has been lined up and is close enough to take down an enemy while lining up for the escape plan/next target within a matter of a couple seconds. This is a surprisingly absent mindset of a lot of players, even those on Zandronum and even some Odamex, but if you can round those corners as well as you can swing your shotgun - then I can guarantee you'll be earning plenty of 'monster kills' in no time. I'd recommend playing more risky in survival/coop game modes. Trying to dodge a 'bullet hell' barrage of attacks from hundreds of projectile demons without dying is a good way to start developing when there isn't anything competitive going on. Also stick to maps/wads that are a bit more open and not tight corridors and hallways for pvp/pve that lets you flex more with running around.
Q3: What is your stance on spawnfragging/camping? Is it the most effective way to earn my frags?
A3: While it may be personal opinion whether "spawnfragging is a noble method of playing" or not, I only care about if the person spawn fragging can maintain their chain or if the player being spawn fragged can break that chain. More often than not, however, I see that a lot of spawn fraggers seriously need to get a move on after they finish up a wave of fresh spawns and are waiting in silence for another round. This promotes a lazy gameplay and does nothing to develop the growth of a player. If there is a good chain of spawns where you're at and you've got the upper hand to down them all than by all means you should absolutely get those frags, but physically move your ass to where the action is or you're never going to go up in the leaderboard. Not only that but the lack of stimulation normally leads to these players moving very slow and sluggish when they aren't in their camping position, often leading to long stints of 0 frags earned while they try and sloppily get back into position. My piece of advice is to get your frags and then get moving, there is very very few times where sitting still is the key to victory. And if you're someone that is sat by a single spawn waiting for one person to spawn everytime, you're wasting your time and should seriously work on being able to juggle spawnfragging and moving around the battlefield looking for players to frag.
Q4: I'm consistently grabbing the rocket/plasma/BFG every game and get a ton of frags but I still end up near last, why?
A4: So this is one I see so many players these days in DM default to do. Make a mad dash to the nearest weapon that they can spam and then spam that weapon. This also is a viable strategy and you can see success with this in most situations, but most players actually do this wrong. Most of the time I see players run for the projectile gun, but they fail to actually spend any time during their traveling time to turn around and frag either on the way there or hunt down possible campers. I know the mentality is that the plasma gun, rocket and BFG all do some pretty powerful stuff, but for the sake of understanding, I've got some statistics I'd like to share with everyone;
• Plasma Gun, Rocket Launcher and BFG are all projectile-based weapons and need time to connect before dealing damage.
• The Plasma Gun deals one of these random numbers of damage; 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 hitpoints.
• Plasma Gun and Rocket Launcher both shoot projectiles that players can outrun by simply Strafe running.
• The Super Shotgun can actually deal more damage than a standard rocket, splash included, and the shots are hitscan.
• Super Shotgun, Shotgun, Chaingun and Pistol are all hitscan weapons. With enough distance, yes, a pistol is actually more capable than a Plasma Gun.
• The Chaingun can deal these random numbers of damage; 5, 10, 15, 20. And as Cpl. Hicks said in Aliens "short controlled bursts" meaning the first two shots are always 100% accurate. Learn to time these shots to make every shot 100% accurate and the Chaingun actually works like the Quake lightning gun.
I won't say that the Plasma Gun, Rocket Launcher and BFG are bad weapons, but they are situational and it will do everyone a world of good to start reading the situation they're in and take the time to learn every gun and when best to use them... Side note; be sure to weave in picking up other weapons on your way to the projectile gun, too many times I see someone spawning on Plasma/BFG then running out of ammo to start shooting their pistol.
Q5: How can I possibly get any better if I spend most of the game dying?
A5: The burning question on all players' minds struggling to get into deathmatch, duel, CTF and even PVE gamemodes honestly. You are severely limited by your desire to do better and patience to withstand the constant punishment of other players trampling over you. Fact of the matter is - we all started somewhere and no one is going to trash talk you these days or try to bully you into quit playing. If anyone is out there doing that then there is a very decent chance that this player is already shunned and disliked in their community, grasping at little victories to validate themselves... Even if you still feel you're spending too much time trying to respawn, then take a moment to sit back and F12 the player in the lead. Take notes and criticize their playstyle - what is it that they're doing right that you might be doing wrong? Keep in mind what I said earlier, don't replicate their gameplay, but analyze it and look for their strengths and weaknesses. No one is unstoppable and everyone has a strategy that they fall to, it's just a matter of time before their inability to cope catches up to them. I do mean everyone. If this still isn't appealing to you then there is the method in which most top teams of the IDL/WDL use, which is to review your own demos and look at yourself in a hyper critical sense to see where you can improve. This is a method I still use today and I stand by it as a fantastic way to both; picking out bad habits that you will mentally take into your next game to not do and get yourself excited to put what you learned into practice and literally have video evidence as you watch more demos and realize just how tight your gameplay will look. I know it will be tough to come back day after day and focus on improvement, but those improvements won't come if you don't actually play.
Lastly: I'd like to give a shoutout to those that specialize in their duel maps. All my D5M1, Judas23, King1, SSL2, D2M1 and D5M7 players are definitely doing their job to keep those maps interesting with strong players. However, there is a slight issue if you want to learn how to be flexible and be capable in most environments and situations... Playing D5M1 today for 36 games will just mean that you've heavily prepared yourself for a D5M1 game and nothing else. Most duelists that step outside of their star map choice show a severe lack of aptitude as they try to adjust to their unfamiliar environment. Not to say that players still won't do exceptionally well, but as players want to learn and grow as players then it's best not to consistently and continuously stick to a single map as you try to develop. New maps and new environments do significantly better on letting the mind adapt to situations and it keeps the eyes keen and alert as they also adapt to the new backdrops giving way to a completely different state of being where players no longer work off the familiar layout of a map but instinctively build their most effective strategy within the first 30 seconds of playing. It is definitely an enjoyable experience when a brand new map is conquered in a matter of minutes.
This is a rather short guide in hindsight. I hope what I've expanded upon here will help to give those that have been struggling the slight edge they need to start turning things around. In reality, I've neglected the most important part of any player's development thus far - experience. No amount of advice can be given that will work better than gaining that experience over time, that's how most of us got to this point.
More importantly though, I want everyone to just have fun. If you start playing DooM with the only goal being to win then you'll end up having a bad time most days. Just work towards making those flashy plays that look good on a compilation video, it doesn't matter if in the end you don't come out on top! That's all part of the learning process!
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