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DOOM Eternal Battlemode and Invasion explained

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We could wax lyrical for days about 2016 DOOM, a game whose single-player campaign was so on point that you could use it as a bayonet with which to stab demons should hell ever erupt on Earth. DOOM’s multiplayer on the other hand? We’ve seen better. Now make no mistake, going online for a bit of slayer on slayer action wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.

The mode had a neat idea with custom levels via the Snapmap feature and being able to customise your Doomslayer was neat, but it was just lacking a certain je ne sais quoi, which is fancy French talk for saying a certain something something. A spice of life, a little extra oomph you get the idea. For DOOM Eternal, okay simply isn’t going to cut the demon mustard as Id Software plan to give this portion of the game its very own identity. Here’s a quick breakdown of how it’ll all work.

What’s the story, morning gory?

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In a world filled with rage-fuelled demon slayers, abominations designed in science labs where human ego has run amok and the deepest circles of hell have given birth to the monsters of your nightmares, DOOM Eternal wants that to be the identity of their multiplayer. Called Battlemode, the idea is simple: One player steps into the hate-boot of the Doomslayer, two other players assume the roles of demons. Matches end either one of two ways: The Doomslayer falls in combat or the demons find themselves on the wrong end of a super shotgun and get subjected to involuntary brain surgery.

What’s available on launch day?

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On day one, Battlemode will ship with six maps and six playable demons: The Revenant and its fancy jetpack, the Pain Elemental which can take to the skies to throw Pain Elementals at players, the Mancubus which tramps around the battlefield as a chubby one-demon army, the Arachnatron which looks like Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles if it was armed with a spider-body, a head cannon and a thirst for blood, the Marauder who wields a mighty axe and can use a shield to close the gap and the Arch-Vile whose abilities remain cloaked in secrecy for now.

More content will roll out for Battlemode in the weeks and months to come, as Id Software builds on their multiplayer offerings so that they can sustain DOOM Eternal in the long run.

What can the Doomslayer do?

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If you’re used to run and gun action, the Doomslayer will feel like a comfortable pair of pants to slide on. Transitioning from DOOM Eternal’s campaign to Battlemode, the Doomslayer comes equipped with every single weapon available in the game and each mod that is unlocked throughout the story. He’s fast, tough and in a one on one battle against a demon he’ll always come out on top.

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The Doomslayer’s limitation is that he needs to conserve his health, armour and ammo, resources which can be topped up by slaughtering everything around him. Chainsaw kills will make demons bleed ammo, glory kills will reward him with health orbs and gruesome flae finishers will top him up with armour.

The Doomslayer is also a mobile death machine, able to make full use of the various jump pads within any arena to stay airborne and above the competition as he rains down destructive carnage from high above.

What can the demons do?

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Lots! Each demon brings their own unique style of devastation to the battlefield, but as powerful as they may be individually they’re no match for the Doomslayer. Here’s a quick breakdown on three of the demons and what they bring to the table:

  • Versatile and equipped with a jetpack dash, the Revenant is able to deliver rockets via a one-two punch or through a special ability barrage.
  • Sticking to the air and keeping an eye on the Doomslayer, the Pain Elemental can protect himself with a soul shield that can soak up damage.
  • Heavy and ready to rumble, the Mancubus is a bullet sponge equipped with flamethrowers and heavy cannons. If the going gets too hot, he can drop a smoke bomb and hide in the confusion.

Do the demons have any other advantages?

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They do indeed, and it’s a big one! Demons can drop up hazards which will hurt the Doomslayer, or if they’re being overwhelmed they can summon a mob of AI-controlled monsters to help absorb some damage. These mobs range from run of the mill grunts to the almighty Baron of Hell himself, giving the Doomslayer possibly more than even he can chew on.

The biggest trick in the demon playbook though, is the ability to  block the Doomslayer’s skill for replenishing his health, armour and ammo whenever he attempts to glory kill some new resources. Time it just right, and you’ll be able to deliver a killing blow to the Doomslayer when he’s at his weakest.

What advantage does the Doomslayer have in Battlemode?

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Well besides the fact that he’s a relentless engine of destruction that’s nigh-unstoppable? In a multiplayer mode that’s all about kill or be killed, the Doomslayer seems to have the odds stacked against him. Besides having to conserve resources, trim the battlefield of enemies and keep an eye on ambushes, the Doomslayer can also be tracked whenever demons have him in their line of sight, giving his foes an outline to track.

If the Doomslayer breaks this viewpoint though, he’ll be able to ambush demons and single them out for a quick death. When one demon is dead, that’s when the game truly begins as the Doomslayer will have twenty seconds to take down the last enemy standing. Should he succeed, he’ll win the round. If he fails, the opposing player will respawn at half its health and can reinforce its comrade.

Battlemode may look gory, but DOOM Eternal’s new multiplayer suite is surprisingly tactical and it’ll have you sweating bullets by the end of any round.

Will there be unicorns?

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Yes!

What’s Invasion mode?

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I was wondering when you’d ask about that! In the DOOM Eternal singleplayer campaign, a new endgame activity will allow players to open up access to their game and allow for other players to hop into the skin of a demon and give them a hard time within their campaign. Able to wield the might of any of the Battlemode demons, Invasion is pretty much open season during most of the story’s many levels and can make for some more interesting gameplay as you return to stages that you once waxed.

“There’s a very cat and mouse type of dynamic to it,” creative director Hugo Martin explained to VG247 in June last year.

As the demon you have the ability to hide within the environment, get ahead of him, sneak up on him, there’s a bit of a hide and seek mechanic to it. And really the crux of it is that we want people to play through the campaign, we’ve thought about invasion as much more of a endgame type of thing.

Then you get these players who love playing as the Slayer, want to play through the campaign again, and they say, ‘bring it on. Show me what you can dish out at me’. “And from a demon perspective it’s the ultimate opportunity to grief, and basically jump in a Slayer’s game and poke him in the chest and say, ‘I’m going to take you’. That actually requires both those sides to have a bit of experience with the game and it’s a ton of fun.

You’re going to be more successful if you know the level,” executive producer Marty Stratton added.

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So that’s why we feel like it’s more of a late game feature, something that people will probably do after they’ve beaten a level or something like that, that you’d want to invade it, because you can spring your attack on the Slayer as the demon, if you know what he’s about to do because you already beat that level.

Tense, tactical and crammed with content. I like where DOOM Eternal is taking its online offerings as March 20 draws ever nearer.

Last Updated: March 13, 2020

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