This page is the sort of "sequel" to a page I made once on eight things that piss me off on Doom Connector. I made the last one out of boredom. I'm making this one half out of spite and half out of caffeine. Should be fun, eh?
bit about myself:
Before I bash on some of these horrifically annoying map qualitites, let me point out that I don't consider myself a really great mapper. I don't claim to be completely free of n00bish errors in any of my maps. But I, like anyone else who plays other peoples' wads, has to put up with this stuff, and I certainly don't do these things.
For this page, I'm putting the type of wad that I'm referring to in parentheses each time. Anyway, let's get started:
Too many monsters, or too many monsters PSI (SP)
I'm gonna say this and get it out of the way first. I hate hard levels... there, I said it. And I bet there are a bunch of n00bs (particularly the ones who make such wads) who are saying something to the effect of "hahaha u stupid n00b u can't play LOL."
Obviously, there are wads too ridiculously hard for anyone to beat. Of course, there are the few n00bs among us who will stick 500 archviles in a square room, put you right in the middle with no exit and say "LOL, beat my levelz." That's an extreme. But I'm not just talking about those levels. Levels can be too hard without being impossible.
Like I said, I'm not a really great mapper... and I'm not a really great player either. I'm decent, I suppose... I can usually keep up with the others in a coop (unless one guy tends to be really show-offy and runs ahead killing everything). But that's not the point. In single player, I always (except in rare circumstances) play in "hurt me plenty" mode (skill 3). Usually that mode is for those of us who don't want to be bothered too much with the monsters, but still want a slight challenge. And when I see medium-class monster ambushes (like revenants and hell knights) leaving you in a small space with no way out, that sort of puts up a red flag in my mind that reads "bullshit." That's usually about the same time I turn on IDDQD and tyson the whole squad to death just because I'm pissed off at the whole setup. Ever been in that situation? It ain't fun.
Too little health (SP)
There's something else I should mention, though: those annoying ambushes would be a lot more tolerable with proper weaponry and health. But I've played levels (just recently, in fact) where the health item count is just pathetic. I played one map the other day where there was almost no health save for a few stimpacks, no armor whatsoever, a few sniping chaingunners near the start to whittle down your health, and then it turned into a teleport-fest where I'd end up in the middle of revenants, hell knights and the occasional mancubus, all with 52 health and no armor at all. Just perfect.
My only theory is that people are skimping on the health just because of how they play, which is understandable; every mapper builds to the style of play he or she is most comfortable with, whether they realize it or not. But if you only build your map to your specifications, this in my opinion is the mark of a bad mapper. I happen to lose a lot of health when I play. I'm not the super-stealthy type, and I'm not the greatest shoot-everything-before-it-hits-you freak either. So I'm always in a bad situation when I get put in unreasonable situations with 10 or 15 medium-class enemies, no health and nowhere to run. It's best to put an ample supply of health items in your wad regardless of (but still proportional to) how many monsters there are and of what types. If you absolutely must be able to play your maps with slim amounts of health, then turn some of them off for Ultra-Violence mode or something. Personally, I never mess with that; the only thing that gets affected in my wads is the number of monsters. At any rate, I put a good amount of health in my maps. Don't like it? Play in UV. Still too easy? Tough, go play Hell Revealed or something.
Coop maps built around dying and respawning (Coop)
The monster problem applies to coop maps in a different sense. People make wads with 500+ monsters and land all the players right in the middle. It's okay, they reason, because in coop you respawn but the monsters don't. Yeah, great plan. I really like dying halfway through the level, running back to where I was and getting off a few lucky shots with whatever weapon I managed to pick up before inevitably dying again five seconds later. I don't get it... is there something about seeing 50 dead marine sprites lying around that makes you think "wow, what a kickass level"?
Being trapped late in the level without getting a chance to go back (SP)
A lot of people will do this and think it's not such a big deal. Personally, I think it is.
One of my habits in single-player is this: I like to enter the next level in as best a shape as I can manage with what I'm given. So if I see a soul sphere or blue armor, I leave it alone at first, making a mental note to pick it up after I've killed everything and start the next level in perfect shape. But suppose I fall into a pit, or enter a teleport to another section of the level, and the author didn't provide any way to get back. I'm kinda screwed. It's about that time that I say "to hell with that" and IDCLIP back through the level to get those items after I finish it. I mean, how was I supposed to know there'd be no way out of this one pit or this one teleporter? We're not psychic, and unless you opened up the wad in your editor (which would ruin half the fun), you have no idea what's coming next until you jump into that pit / enter that teleporter. Part of single player mode is being resourceful, and if you're suddenly cut off from half the resources you were planning to use, it kind of screws you over.
Coop starts all around the map (SP/Coop)
I have yet to see a level where the author put the cooperative starts in different places around the map, and actually made it look good. To do that, you'd have to really make it a coop map, where each player would do his or her own thing before meeting up with the others and finishing the map as a team. But I've seen this happen in single player maps, where some of the coop starts are on the opposite sides of the map or something. What point does it prove? So far, I've only seen it cause trouble and confusion and a lot of "where the hell are you" messages appearing for half the time you spent playing the level.
Water that hurts you (SP/Coop/DM)
Yeah, this is just a little thing, but think about it for a minute. When's the last time you went in any body of water and it actually hurt you? As opposed to radioactive waste or lava, which obviously would not be pleasant to swim through. Point is, if you're going to make a water pit, don't make it hurt the player. I don't recall Doom getting pirhannas in the water any time recently, so why I should get hurt by water is a mystery to me.
Long strings of steps to find secrets(SP/Coop)
A lot of levels do this. They'll have some sort of mega-secret that's not so special after all; instead it's just secret after secret, where after tripping a line on your way out of one secret you open a door somewhere in the map that leads to another secret (as if you knew where it was, no less). These are frequently switch-hitting "puzzles," too. Please, folks... if you're going to make switches, either give some clue as to what they do (perhaps the door or whatever that's affected is in sight, or at least within hearing range), or don't put the affected area too far from the switch. Running marathons across a level to find switch after switch may be your idea of a good time, but it isn't mine.
Levels that use only hitscan weapons (DM, mostly)
Here's another one that goes back to authors building to their specifications only. I hate, and I will simply not play, a DM map that only has hitscan weapons in it. I'm much better with the plasma gun and rockets. Why? Well, because it's hard to aim weapons like the super shotgun in DM because of the lag. Unless you're the host of the game, you will get lag of some kind, end of story. But I can't tell you how many deathmatches I've left, pissed off because I couldn't aim the damn super shotgun in the lag, and then someone (probably the host) comes right up to me as I try futilly to get my ass out of there, and shoots me with perfect accuracy with the same weapon that screwed me over. Of course, there are probably a few dicks out there who will build levels with only hitscan weapons deliberatly, and then insist on hosting the game so they can stomp everyone's ass without much of a fight. UGH.
Well, thanks for reading all these things that piss me off. I hope I've given you a couple things to think about. I may add something to this page in the future, so if you're bored sometime, you're welcome to come on over and check (heheh). Seeyaz.