DOOM Eternal Battle Mode – Everything We Learned At QuakeCon’s Keynote

We didn’t get anything new on the story front for DOOM Eternal at today’s QuakeCon keynote, but we did get another taste of Mick Gordon’s epic soundtrack. Today’s show was all about the DOOM Eternal multiplayer mode dubbed Battle Mode.

Battle Mode is a departure of the usual Arena multiplayer modes we see. Instead of a free-for-all, or team-based modes, id Software is opting for a 2v1 (Two demons versus one Doom Slayer) approach.

Why the change? Ask anyone about Doom 2016 and they all rave about the single-player. You don’t hear too much about the multiplayer. The folks behind DOOM are hoping a radical change to the multiplayer might catch on with fans. I thought the multiplayer mode in the last DOOM was decent, but it’s hard to argue with id’s approach here. The glory days of Arena-style multiplayer are long behind us. It’s time to try something new.

What is DOOM Eternal Battle Mode? It’s a 2v1 mode that id Software describes as offering all the thrills of DOOM’s gameplay while also offering a slower pace at times. It sounds similar to Evolve’s 4v1 set-up but avoids the pitfall of requiring too many players working together. 2v1 will undoubtedly be easier to balance.

At launch, there will be five playable demons (Revenant, Pain Elemental, Mancubus, Arch-vile, and Marauder). Six unique maps built on DOOM’s fast-paced, in your face gameplay gives the DOOM Slayer the room he needs to take on the two demons.

The DOOM Slayer starts each round completely decked out. All the guns and mods you’ll need to blast demons will be at your disposal. But the replenishment mechanics from the single-player will also play a big role. You won’t be only fighting two Demons. The Demon pair also get a few extra tools to help level the playing field.

Demons can spawn hazards and summon AI demons via a summoning wheel.

It also looks like you can use the D-Pad to quickly summon hazards and demons.

That’s where the replenishment mechanics come in for the DOOM Slayer. Chainsaw enemies for ammo to drop, Glory kills for health, and torch demons to regain armor. But Demons also get the ability to block this loot for a few crucial seconds.

You can see how id Software is adding a layer of strategy and nuance to the mode. It’s not just blasting away until the other person dies. There’s also a cat-and-mouse dynamic. Demons can see the Slayer through walls as long as one of them can see him. But if you manage to break line-of-sight from both of them, you can set up an ambush.

Both demons can always see the Slayer as long as one of them can see him.

How does a typical DOOM Eternal Battle Mode match play out? Each match is a best of five rounds. Winning a round is as simple as taking out the other team. For the Slayer though, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Killing one Demon triggers a 20-second respawn timer.  If you can’t kill the other Demon in those 20 seconds, you’re back to facing both of them.

It’ll be fun to see how this dynamic of hunters turning into the hunted plays out.

In between rounds, players will choose upgrades. In later rounds, Slayers can choose a superweapon while Demons can summon a boss. And yes, that includes the BFG.

What about post-launch support? Like any multiplayer-focused mode these days, Bethesda and id Software will keep updating the mode after launch. All we know for sure is that’ll include new Demons and new maps — all for free.

DOOM Eternal’s Battle Mode changes it up from the usual Arena focused experience we typically see. Unfortunately, Arena style multiplayer isn’t what gamers want anymore. And Battle Royale probably isn’t the best fit for DOOM. We’ll see if id Software’s new spin on DOOM multiplayer will grab DOOM fans like its single-player does when DOOM Eternal releases on November 22.