Diecast #294: DOOM Eternal, A Short Hike, Gorogoa, Gamestop

By Shamus Posted Monday Mar 23, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 109 comments

Once again, I tried to make a show that wasn’t going to mention The Plague. But right now all the news is about The Plague, and it’s impacting everything, so leaving it out means talking around it. That’s awkward, so instead we get this.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:

Link (YouTube)

00:00 DOOM Eternal

I was pretty negative on the show, but things are a little smoother now that I’ve figured a few things out. I still maintain that the bigger foes have WAY too much health. It’s possible to expend your entire stock of shotgun ammo on a Baron and STILL not kill himDepending on how you allocate upgrades, I suppose. You can invest in ammo, health, or armor.. On normal difficulty. That feels wrong.

08:23 Bethesda’s Denuvo Folly

Read it for yourself: Bethesda apparently broke its own Denuvo protection for Doom Eternal. Fun fact: This isn’t the first time this happened.

15:32 A Short Hike

Link (YouTube)

18:47 Gorogoa

Link (YouTube)

23:56 Youtube is using Covid-19 as an excuse to do less human checks.

Our irresponsible and unaccountable automated systems may be even more irresponsible and unaccountable due to the pandemic, because these's no way we could run this 100% internet-based system over the internet.
Our irresponsible and unaccountable automated systems may be even more irresponsible and unaccountable due to the pandemic, because these's no way we could run this 100% internet-based system over the internet.

27:41 Gamestop thinks it’s an “essential service”.

(Gamestop is wrong.)

Gamestop refused to close, then changed its mind.

41:08 Mailbag: Standing Stone Games

Dear Diecast,

You probably know by now that I’m a big fan of Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Standing Stone Games did something really cool, I think: they made all of the adventure content in BOTH of their MMO’s (Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online) available FREE until April 30th. https://www.ddo.com/en/friends

I thought this was really cool, and I’m wondering if you or the other Diecast folks might stop by at some point? It doesn’t seem to be a marketing ploy, but just something they wanted to do so people going through tough times could have access to a fun game.

Jennifer Snow



[1] Depending on how you allocate upgrades, I suppose. You can invest in ammo, health, or armor.

From The Archives:

109 thoughts on “Diecast #294: DOOM Eternal, A Short Hike, Gorogoa, Gamestop

  1. boz says:

    Doom Eternal has a very highly tuned mechanical loop. Flames to get armor, Glory Kills for health, Chainsaw for ammo (last pip of chainsaw regenerates in ~15 seconds), you get a recharging freeze bomb, recharging grenade, recharging flamethrower and recharging punch.

    Since your resources are based on how you kill mooks you constantly get respawning base level mooks for an encounter while big enemies are alive. This game is also launches on multiple platforms so most guns have generous spreads and accuracy matters for only few weapon variants. It also falls into to the same trap HL2 did back in the day and it gives you way too limited ammo pools to incentivise you to use different guns (so that your ammo drop ability is more useful).

    When this all gets taken into account game feels less like an FPS considering the importance of cooldown management and ability controls over shooting things. Their game design painted them into a corner.

    1. Khwarezm says:

      The Ammo problem is overstated, significantly, the issue is that you need to upgrade into higher ammo counts with the sentinel crystals, and find a wider range of weapons that use all of the available ammo types. Its an early game rough spot that dries up as you go on, usually ammo wasn’t a major deal as I neared the end of the game on UV, one or two chainsaws would sort you out through a whole fight in addition to the pickups scattered around the place, the difficulty came from avoiding damage and sorting out enemy prioritization since the game is deliberately less interested in accurate shooting compared to the rest of the FPS genre and more interested in pacing, player movement and on the fly decision making wrt killing and weakening problematic enemies and managing resources.

      I think this is actually not too far from the design principles of OG Doom, which similarly had less of a focus on pinpoint shooting than one might expect, the shotguns had a wide area of effect, the rocket launcher and BFG had big blast radius and the Chaingun and Plasma rifle let you lay down tons of bullets and projectiles so individual misses counted a lot less. Similarly movement was the best defense since most enemies used melee or projectiles and hitscanners were pretty weak, except those goddamn chaingunners.

  2. Joe says:

    It took ten minutes to DL this ep where usually it’s under half that, and I’d been wondering where the problem lay. My guess, after your discussion, all over. *Everyone* is using large amounts of bandwidth.

    I don’t know if you listen to the Noclip podcast, but a Doom Eternal dev was on a few weeks ago. https://open.spotify.com/episode/6WCcfSqnWxp4rAdCn6JPXK He was adamant that there was only one way to play DE, and if you vary from that you’ll have a shit time. I’m not fond of that attitude. Even if I *do* play the standard way, it’s nice to have the option of doing something different. Maybe your strategy is, to him, incorrect. I hope he never decides to work on an open-world game, or else it may suddenly change.

    I’m not into MMOs, but one of the top-tier Tolkien experts, Corey Olsen, teaches classes on Tolkien from *within* LOTRO. A large hall, an audience, a series of slides. He also streams it on Twitch and puts the videos on YT. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUxTFUltO4uXhEfqgI6GtIg Mostly you don’t need to watch, though he also goes on adventures across the gameworld. Good stuff, if you like that kind of thing.

    1. Christopher says:

      I listened to that podcast too, and in the interest of tl;dr, the main thing they were focusing on according to the director was teaching the players to use all their tools. People would go through Doom 2016 shotgun only, and feel like it got fairly samey or uninteresting. The team watched people playing the game not very well, or repetitively using boring but unintendedly effective tactics, and having a bad time(the Polygon vidoeo comes to mind). They wanted to try and teach people to fly around like they were Devil May Crying instead, trying to think more about what they were doing. An example being the Mancubus being weak to just shotgunning it up close last time, while now he will do an instant AOE if you get in close without stunning him first(say, with a grenade).

      So now they’ve given the enemies abilities that are supposed to discourage brute forcing them(you get punished harder for throwing yourself against them in areas where they’re strong) or specific weakpoints(ie, shoot of the spider brain thing’s gun off to stop it from zoning you out with it) meant to make you change up your moves and play the game in a more fun way.

      I guess there’s no way to say this without implying “You’re playing it wrong”, but having not played it I’ve got zero context for how succesful they were at reaching their goals. I’m just regurgitating the reasons they gave for their changes to the game, that they’re trying to make it both more difficult(“something to master, a power fantasy is more fun when it’s earned”) and more varied in order to engage their audience more.

      They were trying to make it more fun, which I think is a noble intent, at least.

      1. Joe says:

        Huh. I listened a few weeks ago, with only half an ear. The memory clearly blurred a little, so thanks. But it still sounds offputting.

    2. Mattias42 says:

      …The last pip of chainsaw fuel regenerates, you say?

      Thank you for that. Was getting really frustrating with the ammo shortages, but that explains a lot suddenly what the game actually expects off me. Really wish I didn’t need to learn it from the web, but my next round should go a bit smoother now.

      Again, thanks for the tip.

    3. Nimrandir says:

      I’m not into MMOs, but one of the top-tier Tolkien experts, Corey Olsen, teaches classes on Tolkien from *within* LOTRO. A large hall, an audience, a series of slides. He also streams it on Twitch and puts the videos on YT.

      Well, now I feel inferior. My little makeshift classroom with an Office Depot whiteboard can’t compete with that. I guess I have Pikachu decals on the wall, if Pokemon is more up someone’s alley.

  3. Mark Cheverton says:

    The plague has given people an excuse to just play video games 24/7 in their homes, not that Im personally complaining though.

    1. Nimrandir says:

      It has? Personally, I haven’t gotten a chance to play a non-mobile game since my campus officially closed down. I’m guessing that’s largely a function of an intensely face-to-face work environment jaggedly shifting into an online-only setting, with very little wiggle room allowed for quality drop.

      It may also be related to my son’s insistence that all of us being at home makes for a great time to start up a tabletop Pathfinder campaign. Every time I get ready to say no, freaking Harry Chapin starts singing in my head, and I find time to make it happen.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      I’m working from home, so…normal hours left after work for games. ^^;

      1. Liessa says:

        Also working from home, as I’m in quarantine and probably already have the virus (though my only symptom so far is losing my sense of smell, unlike my poor housemate who has a TERRIBLE cough). The only good thing about the situation is being able to get up later and skip my hour-long commute into work. I’d be happy to work from home under most circumstances, but I’m supposed to be visiting a client, and doing this particular job at a distance is hugely inconvenient and time-consuming.

        1. Chad Miller says:

          Joke’s on you, pandemic; I was working from home already!

          (actually I’m low-key terrified for my asthmatic girlfriend who is seeing a doctor tomorrow as she’s been sick for a week now. For what it’s worth, I don’t need stuff like this podcast to skip over talking about it to “get away” from this thing; I’m just grateful for people keeping their observations evidence-based as opposed to the friends I’m avoiding because they still think it’s “just a flu”)

        2. Shamus says:

          Hope you get better soon!

          1. Liessa says:

            Thanks – honestly, physically I’m not feeling too bad, it’s just the stress of the whole situation that’s getting to me.

  4. Daimbert says:

    Lots of things that run entertainment and can add services without having to do things in person are doing so. For example, I’m still on cable and they’ve offered a lot more channels on “free preview” for the foreseeable future. It’s kinda a no-brainer, as it’s good PR to do so and people who watch the channels or play the games might stick around and pay for them after the previews end.

  5. Ninety-Three says:

    The knowledge that whether it’s one percent of ten percent, it’s for no reason

    Screw it, let’s have the DRM fight. DRM exists to stop piracy and convert a percentage of would-be pirates into sales. This must work if there’s any chance of your DRM not getting cracked instantly: there must exist some marginal customer that’s willing to buy the game at launch if they can’t pirate it. But the internet has a hate-bandwagon going for DRM (buoyed by a substantial population of pirates) that lets you make this kind of insane statement.

    Imagine if I said that companies developing better graphics were doing it for no reason. They’re doing it to sell more games! Obviously! How can you even argue with someone who says that? It’s like the words aren’t trying to reflect reality, they serve only to convey the message “fuck DRM”.

    1. The Puzzler says:

      Do these marginal customers outnumber the ones who won’t buy a game with intrusive DRM?

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        “Is this number that only developers can estimate higher than this other number that no one can estimate?” Obviously none of us know. I said there was a reason, and this is it.

        1. tmtvl says:

          True that, while there is a very questionable reason that only mollifies shareholders, that is a good enough reason for the top brass.

          1. Joshua says:

            “Mollifying shareholders” is the argument that keeps coming up on DRM, and I find it very weak. It tends to get in the “That is a very specific level of tired” view of shareholders, where they have enough information about the industry to know what DRM even is, yet are ignorant of its *alleged* uselessness despite actual executives providing information to the contrary, AND are insistent enough to force virtually every major studio to utilize DRM despite executives advising them otherwise. Shareholder power (through the Board of Directors) just doesn’t work that way; if anything, Boards are typically too weak and let executives do too much without sufficient oversight or control.

            Now, here are some possibilities I find more realistic:
            1. DRM *does* work to some extent. Maybe it results in actual measurable increase of sales, or maybe it has a different, non-stated purpose like hampering the second-hand sales market.
            2. DRM *doesn’t* work, but executives don’t know any better.
            3. Executives don’t believe it works, but used it as a scapegoat to shareholders about why they missed a forecast. This doesn’t even seem that believable to me because it enters into fraud territory, not to mention “Boy who cried wolf” as well if they keep using that excuse for not hitting projections.

            1. evilmrhenry says:

              4. Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM. Not putting DRM on your AAA game is a bold and unusual move, with somebody’s name on it. If the game flops, people will look for a scapegoat, and the person who made that decision just ran in yelling “Me! Pick me!”.

              1. Liessa says:

                I’m hoping Cyberpunk 2077 might be the game that finally breaks the taboo, but this is This Dumb Industry, so…

                1. ivan says:

                  What Taboo? Is Cyberpunk being published by a big publisher, that you would make this odd statement? I doubt it, like W3 it’s probably being distributed by someone at most. (For Witcher 3, iirc Warner Bros distributed the physical copies to stores in at least part of the world, but they were NOT publishing it, and have zero claim on the IP either.)

                  So, what Taboo are you talking about? Cos W3 had no DRM, and it was nowhere near the first big game to do without it, either. Care to explain further what you just said, cos if the above isn’t clear, I have no idea what you meant to mean?

                  1. Liessa says:

                    What I mean is that Cyberpunk 2077 is a huge AAA game that will be distributed without DRM. Witcher 3 was very successful, but it’s also CD Projekt Red’s first ‘breakout’ hit and before that they were regarded as a relatively small indie. However, with Cyberpunk they’re definitely competing on a level with the big guys like Bioware and Bethesda. Hopefully, if the game does as well as expected, other AAA companies might take note of the fact that you can release without DRM and still be wildly successful.

              2. Joshua says:

                To me, that would fall back under #2. The employees, or at least significant management, believes that it works, or #3, management wants a convenient excuse.

                My point was against the argument that “everyone who actually works at the company believes it’s a waste of time and money, but uses it only to appease shareholders who demand it”, because shareholders are usually passive and don’t demand anything as long as the company is bringing in the correct returns.

            2. Trystan de Lyonesse says:

              Eh, I think, “mollifying shareholders” is reasonable argument. Let me explain.
              Average person, including shareholders, thinks piracy is an issue, that lower sales. So execs need to deal with it somehow. And point is, they can’t, nobody can. But as executive, you couldn’t say to your shareholders, that this issue is unsolvable and you’re ignoring it. Instead you’d say something in line with: “Due to implementation of this brand-new DRM system, our product protection against copyright infrigement increased to 97%..” and then you’d show them some graphs or pie-charts, or something like this.
              On the other hand, actual research, to find out how DRM affect sales, would probably cost more money and would take more time, than creating and releasing several games. So DRM is more like window dressing, and it satisfies everybody, except some small part of customers.

              Well, on second thought, maybe it’s more about “mollifying execs”, actually, and programmers are applying DRM band-aid to the piracy issue, but it’s still the same idea.

              1. Joshua says:

                That falls under my argument #2.

                “Average” shareholders don’t think shit about specific company policies because they either hold the stock as part of a 401k/IRA/etc., or even if they’re specifically buying the stock uniquely, are doing so based upon finance fundamentals as opposed to specific company policies. I.E. What is the dividend growth rate, EPS, P/E ratio, etc.

                You might have a large institutional investor who has a seat on the Board of Directors as an outside director who could actually be aware of specific company policies like DRM, but by the same token they should also have enough industry awareness that they would be cognizant of the same technical realities of executives.

                1. Trystan de Lyonesse says:

                  It’s more in-between your #1 and #2 arguments. I doubt that anybody sure, how exactly DRM affects profits, but no one knows any better. Also though I admit, my knowledge of finances and corporate system are superficial at best, but I’m intentionally oversimplified things with “shareholders”, by using this word I, and I think other people in this thread, mean “people to whom executives respond”.

      2. Thomas says:

        I don’t know the numbers, but I bet the proportion of potential customers who avoid a game because of DRM is very small. I’d guess 99% of people who play a game don’t even know what DRM is.

        Even here, with Shamus being a strong anti-DRM advocate, I’m guessing people have boycotted what, maybe 10 games due to DRM out of the 100’s of games with DRM they’ve bought. If some fraction of the <1% of people with strong personal aversion to DRM are boycotting <5% of games with DRM, I can't see that adding up to more than an execs coffee break.

        The key but is just how marginal the increased sales are, particularly if it's only uncracked for a day. To a company it's only worth it if that sum is worth more than however much they pay for the DRM.

        1. Moridin says:

          If you’re buying tons of games that come with(intrusive) DRM, you… can’t really claim to have strong aversion to DRM, can you? Unless you’re like Shamus and your job requires you to play games, of course.

          Personally I don’t even have a Steam account. If I really want a game that I can’t get from GOG, I’ll just pirate it.

    2. Geebs says:

      Assuming that publishers apply DRM because it is proven to be effective is begging the question. We don’t actually know why they use it. Might just be out of paranoia / control freakery / sheer malice, like John Deere et. al.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        I never said it was effective, I said they did it to sell more games: this is a claim only about their motivations. As in “No Shamus, there is a reason.”

        “You don’t know they have a justification, maybe they’re just evil for no reason” is giving me flashbacks to arguing politics on the internet. Now I remember why I was hesitant to have the DRM fight. This thread was a mistake.

      2. Thomas says:

        They have to pay a lot for it. It’s unreasonable to assume they haven’t got a financial reason behind their actions. Companies don’t like spending money on things.

        We can assume, whether the analysis was flawed or not, that someone’s done some analysis.

        1. Mark says:

          Something I’m not sure you’re taking into account is that large video game companies are just large bureaucracies, and bureaucracies are always incredibly risk-averse. While the company as a whole may not like spending money, the incentives for any individual employee is to do what the industry standard is, no matter what the cost, so if something goes wrong, they won’t personally be to blame. This isn’t even mentioning that doing these kind of analyses costs money, and if the results are in favor of what you’re already doing or inconclusive, that’s just wasted funds from the point of the view of the management.

          And who really wants to risk their career, their very livelihood, over fighting against DRM? Even if someone is super-passionate about video games, aren’t there so many better things they could risk their jobs over? There’s a reason why the only companies that take a stand against DRM are small, or where the owner feels really strongly about it. You’re really underestimating the inherent inefficiencies in a bureaucracy.

    3. Hector says:

      But the objective reality may be that the marginal customer for avoiding DRM, or, for that matter, better graphics, is nobody. Companies, or even entire industries, completely fail at even elementary logic all the time, and the supposed importance of DRM hasn’t stopped GOG. Plus, various natural experiments imply that piracy has basically no statistically measurable impact on sales

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        the supposed importance of DRM hasn’t stopped GOG.

        GOG made $34 million of profit 2018. That is literally a hundred times less than Steam. I feel like you’re making my case for me.

        1. Geebs says:

          Steam – which also sells DRM free games – also makes 10 times as much as the Epic store – which doesn’t – even before you subtract the amount Epic spent on exclusives. Competing with a monopoly is difficult. I don’t think this line of argument has much merit?

          1. Thomas says:

            No, but the person who brought this up was saying that GoG is proof there is a market. Thats absolutely not a good line of reasoning, because GoG has remained a small-time player despite offering DRM free games long before Steam did.

            1. Trystan de Lyonesse says:

              No one said that percent of anti-DRM market is large. Question is, if number of people, who wouldn’t buy a game, because of DRM is comparable, to number of people, who would buy the game, because they can’t pirate it, then DRM doesn’t bring extra profits. Also DRM costs money to publisher and not a single one protected any game from piracy for more than a few months.

              1. Thomas says:

                I think I’m arguing too hard for something I don’t care about! I’ve never pirated a game, so it would be nice for me if publishers removed all their DRM.

          2. ivan says:

            What? Steam doesn’t sell DRM free stuff? Does it? When did that start?

            1. galacticplumber says:

              There are things on the store that you can completely manually back up, and are allowed to.

              1. ivan says:

                From what I can see all such things, and I’m going to assume they’re extremely rare, require an installation of and via Steam, and an initial run of the game through Steam. And then, after that step, which does require Steam and the Steam servers, then you can manually backup the installed game files.

                And that, to my mind, is still DRM. GoG gives you a standalone installer, that you can keep forever and requires nothing from their end to use, forever. Bit different, no? In 30 years your install will have broken due to lacking registry files or some other kerfuffle, and Steam will be required once again if you wanna run it. Not as bad as most, I’ll grant you, but still DRM.

                1. Sleeping Dragon says:

                  Just for the record there are games on Steam that pretty much just unpack and I’m 99% sure you could copy the files, drop on an entirely different machine and they’d run (or at least that was the case in the past). The thing is these are a fraction of all the available titles and this is not marked, marketed or searchable in any way. Unsurprisingly for all intents and purposes Valve/Steam does not appear to consider it a feature and it seems neither do devs or community to a larger extent since there is no “DRM free” tag that I know of (probably along the lines of reasoning that “the only reason you’d want it is if you wanted to abuse the refund system”).

                  1. Liessa says:

                    List of DRM-free games on Steam

                    There’s quite a lot of them. I assume however that all of these require the initial Steam activation, which counts as DRM as far as I’m concerned.

                    1. galacticplumber says:

                      ALL digitally owned games require you to access some manner of server not your own when initially acquiring them. This is not DRM.

                      No more so than having to physically exist in a store in the old days for a transaction to take place was.

                    2. ivan says:

                      replying to galacticplumber

                      Except most (most) physical copies are more like what I described you get from GoG. Ie: they are a means to install the game, essentially. Again, with what’s been described here, these things still require access to Steam to install on a fresh PC or whatever. That is after you initially acquire them. That is not the same thing as buying a physical copy in store, or what GoG offers. You do not need to go into the store with your reciept, to get a fresh disc, every time you want to reinstall your game. It is DRM, your analogy is false.

                    3. galacticplumber says:

                      most of what I’m talking about requires just the executable, which you can literally just copy onto a thumb drive of appropriate size should you desire.

                      Even should you need access to the steam program, which is ALSO backup ready, you do not need access to anything related to the steam servers. If it is physically impossible for an outside force to prevent you access to your product save your own lack of backing up, it isn’t DRM.

                      Not even a little.

                    4. Liessa says:

                      Obviously having to download your game from the server is not DRM; they have to get it to you somehow, after all. Having to activate your through a third-party client (or even a first-party client), after it’s already downloaded and installed, is a different matter. The only purpose of this is to try and prevent piracy, so as far as I’m concerned this is definitely DRM. It’s a borderline case if you can just copy the installation folder and use it to install the game on another computer, but there are often problems with this (e.g. if the game creates registry entries that are needed in order to play), so I definitely wouldn’t regard any game tied to Steam – or any other launcher – as totally DRM-free.

                    5. Sleeping Dragon says:

                      The commenting has become somewhat unwieldy but to make it clear, some of these games literally do not require an install, some will just work when copied.

                      Also regarding the list one of the things is it doesn’t specify is just “how much DRM-free” the games are, like exactly do they require an initial install or can they be copied freely (guess I could test some of them back home). Also, it’s an outside resource and not part of the Steam store so I’m going to say my point about Valve not seeing it as a feature stands.

        2. Trystan de Lyonesse says:

          That’s because GoG has much smaller amount of new big releases. Because most of the AAA game publishers won’t sale their games without DRM. Measuring net profits of two selling platforms isn’t helpful here.

          1. Hector says:

            And started long after Steam and also had no massive killer app, and specifically spent most of its history deliberately serving only niche markets. IIRC, Fortnite alone had many times the number of users GOG ever did, which gave it a huge leg up. Half Life 2 served that function for Steam of course.

    4. krellen says:

      The argument that companies develop better graphics to sell more games doesn’t follow, because the biggest selling games ALL* have inferior graphics – because inferior graphics allow them to sell to more people with less powerful hardware. Better graphics has no correlation to increased game sales.

      *(The sole exception being GTA5)

      1. Echo Tango says:

        Wouldn’t having good graphics, plus an auto-detected low-graphics mode be the way to appeal to the widest possible market? You can sell the fancy graphics to people with the powerful hardware, the in-game graphics match the marketing videos which also look amazing, and then people who have a crummy computer have a box pop up that says “Your computer needs lower graphics. These settings have been enabled for you.”

        1. krellen says:

          No, having a good art design would be the way to appeal to the widest possible market. The people who pursue graphical fidelity over all else are such a small slice of the market as to be completely ignorable.

          1. Echo Tango says:

            I think you might be overestimating how much the average person cares about an artistic style, aesthetic, etc. When I talk to average people about videogames, they care if something loks “old”, or “like an Atari game”, but they don’t really have the knowledge or language to care or talk about style. It’s like movies – the average person watches Transformers, and Hot Tub Time Machine not Beyond The Black Rainbow.

            1. tmtvl says:

              Well the average person doesn’t play Call of Honour: Battlefield, the average person plays some casual game on their phone.

              EDIT: also remember the Wii outsold the PS3 and the worthless garbage fire.

    5. Xeorm says:

      Shamus has gone on before about how DRM doesn’t really lead to more sales. Companies may be thinking that it does, but the info has generally shown that it’s a wash at best. Considering that DRM usage costs a fair chunk of money, and has very much caused issues with some games, it seems good to argue that DRM overall hurts sales. At best you get a marginal increase, but more typically you run into some issue with it, like always-online creating a bad news cycle because people can’t play their game they just bought.

  6. Chris says:

    There is something to be said for only feeling like a killing machine after learning the game well. For example devil may cry has this. In the cutscenes Dante moves around and slices enemies apart but if you control him you just get pummeled. Until you get good at the game and start pummeling the enemy. The bulletspongy enemies does sound bad though. I prefer it when they lower your health over just hiking up the enemy’s health. But then again cyberdemon was known to be so tanky they had to give the protip “shoot him till he’s dead”.
    I dont get why bethesda seems to refuse to fix their stuff after failing again and again. Sure people forgive you for FO4 and skyrim being buggy, but Fallout 74 was so bad that people got really pissed. So why doesn’t anyone in the company do something.

  7. Ninety-Three says:


    Shamus, schadenfreude is pronounced “Shaw-den-froy-duh”. I don’t want to sound mean but thanks for giving me a laugh in tough times because that’s the wrongest I’ve ever heard someone pronounce that word.

    Also, the “your name’s Ron” joke was a reference to Kim Possible, whose sidekick is named Ron Stoppable.

    1. Nimrandir says:

      Hey, at least the word isn’t native to Shamus’ language. I once said ‘overZEElous’ in front of a school assembly. I still hear stories about that every now and then.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        This is why English needs a phonetic character set!

    2. Shamus says:

      Incorrect, this is obviously the correct pronunciation:


      Joking aside, I’ve read the word countless times, but I can’t remember the last time I heard someone say it. Which is why I pronounced it in this ridiculous way.

      Also, I can’t promise I won’t make the same mistake in the future. The next time I need to say it out loud, I’ll have forgotten the correct way again.

      1. Kylroy says:

        I’ve mostly heard it as “SHAY-den-froy-duh” or “SHAH-den-froy-duh.” Not helping matters is that German has accents that diverge so much they pronounce the first person singular differently.

        1. tmtvl says:

          Yeah, if Bavarians and Prussians were to speak their regional dialects it’s like they’re speaking two different languages from the same family.

          1. Nimrandir says:

            . . . So it’s like Spain?

            1. Hector says:

              Every country, really.

              1. Nimrandir says:

                True enough. In college, I was English-to-Dixie translator for fraternity brothers from Pennsylvania or New Jersey.

                I just remember the Spain example because I played a CCG which printed versions of cards in three different Spanish dialects.

                1. tmtvl says:

                  I get the sneaky suspicion that the three “dialects” may be Castilian (a.k.a. Spanish), Catalan, and Basque, which actually are languages rather than dialects.

                  1. Nimrandir says:

                    That was it! Thank you for setting me straight on the language/dialect distinction.

                    1. Lino says:

                      In my experience as a non-native speaker, dialects within a, given Spanish-speaking country aren’t as problematic as they are in other languages. The big differences start appearing between the different Latin American countries.

                      While most words mean the same thing, what really trips you up is the differences in pronunciation, which in some cases make common words sound completely unfamiliar. Couple that with the fact that most Spanish speakers talk like machine guns, and you get a recipe for total frustration!

                      If you’re speaking to someone in person, and ask them to talk slowly, it’s not as big of an issue, but if you’re watching a movie or listening to the radio, the only salvation is to “Git Gud”…

                    2. tmtvl says:

                      Yeah, no problem. The only reason I know about that is because one of my anthropology books (Peoples and Tribes – Southern Europe and the Balkan) mentions Galeusca, and talks about the Galicians, Catalonians, and Basques.

              2. tmtvl says:

                Yes. Excluding the really small ones, of course.

      2. Ninety-Three says:

        This wouldn’t be a problem if you watched Avenue Q.

    3. Mr. Wolf says:

      Just like Sigmund Frood!

  8. Thomas says:

    Love the Kim Possible reference! Did not expect to hear one of those in the diecast (Ron Stoppable)

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Lol! You’re welcome. I guess Shamus is too old to catch the kids hip slang. Or, in this case, watch tween targeted cartoons on The Disney Channel.

      1. Nimrandir says:

        Does Phineas & Ferb count as tween-targeted? I’m way past tweenhood, and I really love that show — to the point that I have a Pathfinder character whose name is an anagram of Heinz Doofenshmirtz.

  9. ccesarano says:

    So listening to the podcast while working on some stuff, and here’s my commentary on the following.

    DOOM Eternal Difficulty: Haven’t played it myself, but you’re not the only one that feels like it’s more difficult than 2016 was. It seems like it has something to do with low ammo quantity encouraging players to keep swapping weapons, but then having “optimal strategies” for defeating certain monsters, both of which seem to work against each other than complementary. That’s what I’ve gathered, at least. I haven’t grabbed the game yet and don’t know when I will.

    GameStop as Essential: At first I wondered if they might have a point since Best Buy was open during New Jersey’s initial quarantine measures (which have now gone into a further “stay at home” policy), but then I realized Best Buy is pretty essential if people are starting to shift to work-from-home environments. Some offices aren’t equipped to give people monitors or the necessary cables but can cover the expense, so employees may need to make stops to get necessary equipment to make working from home possible. GameStop offers nothing of the sort.

    However, Bellular News also waved GameStop aside and told people “Hey, just buy digital!”, but I think that’s a very closed-minded perspective of the consumer that may want to go to GameStop. Even if you yourself don’t believe in pre-orders, I imagine there are many that pre-ordered physical editions of DOOM Eternal or Animal Crossing: New Horizons, or other upcoming titles like Persona 5 Royal, Resident Evil 3, and Final Fantasy VII Remake (the latter of which has had to release news statements regarding potential physical altercations in the delivery from the Squenix store and to retail partners due to the virus). Personally, I’ve found digital more convenient, but I still buy physical at times for the purposes of collection. Considering how some titles like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game are no longer available due to licensing Hell, or the more common P.T. example, there’s an argument to be made for opting for physical games in the long-term rather than the immediate convenience of digital.

    Does this make GameStop essential? No, and unless things changed from when I worked there (and given it has been almost 20 years since then so it could have), you should be able to move your prepaid deposit to another game should you choose to purchase digitally. Even so, it is a bit dismissive to just shrug off the prospect of a physical purchase simply because digital exists.

    But, that’s also just picking nits because in the end there are worse things to worry about then not being able to purchase that game you pre-ordered immediately on release.

    1. Syal says:

      There’s an interesting freedom of competition question involved in closing Gamestop but letting Walmart continue to sell videogames.

      1. Shas'Ui says:

        Given that gamestop is owned by walmart, I doubt they’ll make any complaints.
        I wonder if they might just move stock & employees over to get around the closures…

  10. Ninety-Three says:

    Regarding the handwashing confusion, it seems like what’s going on is that media and experts are focused on getting people to behave optimally: when people think telling the truth will cause dumb, panicky animals to respond wrong, some of them abandon the truth. Handwashing is better than not but it isn’t perfect, so on one side you get people emphasizing it because it’s an easy gain if everyone not currently washing their hands starts doing so, and on the other you get people downplaying it because we can’t have a bunch of people walking around thinking they’re immune because they used hand sanitizer.

  11. Moridin says:

    Re: Denuvo
    Isn’t it natural to assume that how much it effectively slows down the game depends on how powerful your CPU is(well, I assume the CPU is the main concern, but I suppose it could be memory or storage bandwidth instead)? So if you have a CPU well above what the game actually requires (especially if you’re not encountering a CPU bottleneck), the impact is minimal to done, whereas if you have a CPU that’s just barely good enough, the impact will be much more noticeable as Denuvo takes proportionally more resources(even if on absolute terms it uses less cycles because the game is now running slower).

    1. Hector says:

      AFAIK, this isn’t the case. Denuvo has some weird but very erratic performance issues and it’s simply unclear how it will impact a given player. I avoid any games that have it.

      Additionally, it seems there isn’t “a” Denuvo DRM but that they constantly change and update it. I am no expert on this, however.

      1. ElementalAlchemist says:

        They also started wrapping Denuvo with a second DRM, VMProtect to make it harder to bypass (aside – it’s worth clarifying that Denuvo has never actually been “cracked”, merely bypassed). Which, ironically, they essentially pirated: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170605/11285237517/vmprotect-accuses-denuvo-using-unlicensed-software-antipiracy-drm.shtml

      2. jpuroila says:

        Has anyone actually looked into it systemically, though? Performance testing is incredibly noisy(different OS versions, varying RAM and storage speeds, background programs like anti-viruses, actual malware, etc.) so it’s hard to make any sort of conclusions based on anecdotal data.

        EDIT: Quick googling finds https://www.techpowerup.com/review/denuvo-performance-loss-test/2.html which suggests to me that (on a clean test system) the performance impact is negligible until CPU bottleneck isn’t an issue, and noticeable when it is. Though interestingly, the severity of the bottleneck doesn’t seem to matter. Of course, that’s just one version of Denuvo and one implementation of it.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Further muddling the waters is that, particularly early on when Denuvo was proving a particularly tough nut to crack (ba dum tss), certain interested parties took to spreading misinformation about its supposed damaging effects on hardware.

  12. krellen says:

    A Diecast opened by Paul? My immersion, she is ruined!

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      It’s true, it’s not a real Diecast. I pieced it together from audio clips of previous diecast episodes.

  13. SupahEwok says:

    I choose to believe that DOOM Eternal releasing without Denuvo is an intentional decision by id to callback to the original Doom’s legendary shareware status.

  14. krellen says:

    LOTRO’s monetisation comes from a combination of content gating (there are basically adventure paths in certain zones that need to be unlocked before you can do those quests, but IIRC there are no zones where this is ALL the content) and in-game bonuses and visuals. There’s a touch of pay-to-win, but nothing serious.

    And unless DDO has radically changed since the last time I played it, you do not create an entire party in it, so you were thinking of some other game, Shamus.

    1. Joshua says:

      You have official expansion areas and quest packs (basically smaller expansion areas). The quest packs are automatic for those who pay for the ~$10/month subscription, but everyone has to pay for the full expansions (which are basically 6-8 zones plus. If you do not have access to a region, you can wander in it and explore and fight things there, but you won’t have access to the quests, deeds (achievements which give you more points to spend), or any instanced content.

      What you may be thinking of as free is the Epic line, which is kind of the main story quests, often called “Book quests”. Technically, you can do the Epic quests in the different areas, but they’re really not that much content even though they fulfill the narrative backbone of what’s going on (they actually introduce many of the instances). Helm’s Deep was actually the first expansion that required you to purchase the expansion to finish the Epic quests, since they were tied into the main instanced content (Epic Battles). There’s also a number of other restrictions (5 gold currency cap, limit of 2 characters, 2 bags of inventory, etc.), but most of them go away once you have paid *any* money at all, which puts you into “Premium” status (between F2P and VIP).

      All in all, it’s one of the nicer F2P games I’ve played. You can actually get to about level 30 or so before you start experiencing any real kind of pushback to pay real money, which is plenty for a demo.

    2. Yeah, DDO you just play your character, although you can get hirelings to help you out (a little, they’re pretty stupid) or just play with other people.

      DDO is very different play-wise than LoTRO even though they’re both from the same company. DDO is all instance-based and doesn’t really have much of an “open world” (although there are some wilderness areas that are ENORMOUS–it’s not all tiny maps either), and the gameplay is much more active and fast-paced.

  15. EOW says:

    Fun fact: the first covid case in my town was a gamestop clerk. They had to send the cops to force them to close cause the suits didn’t want to close that anyway

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Dang. What did the police say about the official notice from GameStop headquarters? ^^;

  16. Exasperation says:

    Re: Gorogoa:
    I was following the development of this since the first demo of it came out back in 2012. Before the game got picked up by Annapurna Interactive, the Gorogoa website was also somewhat of a personal site for the author, Jason Roberts. There was a dev blog there where you could follow along with the development of the game (and I did). Some of your questions were answered there (and are still findable in the internet archives with enough patience).

    3D vs. hand-drawn: he considered 3D, but switched to hand-drawn art early in development. All the art in the final game is hand-drawn.
    Pronunciation: “Recommended pronunciation: stress the third syllable, as in “Arizona” or “Barcelona””.

    There was also a little collection of hand-drawn web puzzles there, but they are sadly defunct (the pictures they were made of don’t display in the archives, and I don’t know of a personal site for the author they might have been transferred to).

  17. Asdasd says:

    So now it’s been on the podcast, does this mean Jennifer Snow’s love of D&DO is canon in the Shamus Young cinematic universe?

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      It was already part of the drinking game.

  18. Zgred says:

    Mike Gordon, a composer for Doom and Doom Eternal, said in his live stream that Eternal was designed to be really, really challenging in places – to make you think about what you’re doing. He even calls it “thinking man fighing game” and mentions that some audio tracks had to be turned down for being too agressive for that kind of experience, which Eternal is trying to evoke (which, fair enough, it did sound a little bit too distracting).

    If anyone is interested, it’s around 43 minute:


    1. Nimrandir says:

      “Thinking man’s fighting game” is the guy’s quote? Is he talking about Streets of Rage or something? I’ve always considered fighters in the Street Fighter or Tekken vein as pretty cerebral.

      1. Nimrandir says:

        It’s too late to edit, but I had a moment to listen to the clip (thank you for the time stamp, by the way), and he later says ‘thinking man’s shooter,’ so I’m guessing he meant fighting in the sense of ‘game with combat/violence.’

        As such, I retract my disdain. Move along.

    2. Higher_Peanut says:

      “Thinking man’s shooter” was similar to how classic Tomb of Horrors was described as the “thinking man’s dungeon”, which is not a good sign. What it really was, was a “guess wildly what the designer had in mind or die” experience. Puzzles like a 90’s Sierra adventure game. With the comment above from the interview about having the “one” way to play it looks to be headed in a similar direction.

      Slapping hard counters for specific weapons or approaches on enemies doesn’t feel great to anyone who doesn’t gel with the “intended” play pattern and generally inhibits creativity in playstyles. Unfortunately they seem to have removed some of the balancing levers old Doom (2016 Doom could still limit ammo by limiting chainsaw pickups, if not hp) used to try and leverage your approach. With functionally infinite hp/ammo/armour resource limiting is out. Massively increased mobility on both sides leaves any suitably open area similar to any other arena. Classic Doom’s monsters may have been dumb, but if you designed the level well the terrain features kept them to their purpose but now they move off it.

      Designers seem to have replaced encounter approach design with direct weapon-monster balance and then drive you to interact with the cooldown systems through low ammo caps. I’m not a fan of this kind of style, it’s like regenerating health but with extra steps applied to ammo as well. With infinite resources from respawning trash mobs, there’s no need to plan ahead for ammo usage or adjust playstyle on hp levels. Each encounter is essentially run in a vacuum and you don’t end up with a level that flows.

      1. Khwarezm says:

        This isn’t really how it works, first of all they pretty clearly lay out the particular weaknesses that monsters have that you can exploit, there’s no second guessing the developers intentions based on nothing.

        Second there’s only a few egregious ‘X must be used to kill Y’ scenarios, the main one that annoys me personally is that if you punt a grenade into a cacodemon’s mouth it immediately goes into a stagger state that you can glory kill him with, its too optimal and easy for killing cacos imo but then I think cacodemons have always been sort of problematic enemies through all the Doom titles. Another one might be using the plasma rifle on energy shields since that causes them to blow up, but honestly I kind of like that idea of turning the tables on shields and flipping them to your advantage, on the shielded gunner enemies the same tactics of getting behind them or stunning them still apply if you want.

        For a lot of enemies their weaknesses are things like disassembling some of the ways they can attack you by blowing off some of their guns, this is particularly the case with Arachnotrons, Revenants and Mancubus. You don’t have to use any particular weapon for this, personally I found the sniper mode for the heavy rifle and the sticky grenade mode for the shotgun good for this but any other weapon or mod can achieve this if you want. There really isn’t any requirement for you to just slavishly adhere to what the stated weaknesses are for any enemy when it comes down to it, rockets, bullets, shells, plasma and your fists and chainsaw kill everything equally but it can be useful to keep in mind to even up the odds for a fight, like the lock on mod for the rocket launcher can still turn tons of enemies into paste in you want and its not explicitly considered the weakness on any particular monster.

      2. Olivier FAURE says:

        Part of the problem is that the fact that some options are so powerful really limits you to certain tactics.

        Rotating shotgun and micro-missiles might be fun, but I need to grenade shotgun for the cacodemons and the sniper for the mancubi. Ice grenade is your only reliable source of life (glory kills can be hard to get in a pinch, because if you’re using, say, the super shotgun, you’ll often kills enemies without staggering them), so regular grenade is out.

        The chainsaw is designed in a way that you either hoard the gas cans until you find an enemy worth spending all three cans on, or you use it as often as you can to avoid running out of munitions.

        Neither is much fun, and it makes the chainsaw feel kind of mundane, whereas in Doom 2016 it was kind of something you only whipped out for special occasions, usually as a “get out of jail free” card to get rid of a really tough enemy.

  19. Lino says:

    I’m not that excited for the new Doom. Doom 2016 was OK, but I never finished it, because I quickly got bored. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the weapons and the way combat felt, but it just got dull after a while, since areas looked the same, and there was nothing to break up the fights. It’s like “Wow what a thrilling fight that was! I wonder what colour the next arena’s gonna be! I hope it’s brown. I like brown!” Yes, the enemy types are varied, but after a while of jumping around, firing rockets, it felt like I was doing the same thing over and over again.

    After the second time you went back from Hell, the game started feeling like a chore, so I promptly left it. Now, I feel no drive to pick up Eternal, even if it’s deeply discounted.

  20. Dragmire says:

    Gorogoa is awesome!
    That style of game could be its’ own genre. I hope more games like it are made.

  21. AnonymousTechEmployee says:

    I only caught up with this Diecast now, but I wanted to add a bit of color to the discussion about YouTube’s automated reviews and why it’s not just an “excuse”.

    I work in Silicon Valley, and while I don’t work for Google/YouTube, I know something about how these companies operate. The key thing to remember is that these companies almost never have their own employees do content moderation. Instead they contract with other companies that actually do the work of reviewing the ridiculous amount of content that works through their system.

    I know one company where, during the start of the crisis, just as the main company was recommending that the employees work from home, the contracting companies that did content moderation were dragging their feet in doing the same. Turns out there were a lot of complications.

    For example, there’s less control over the work environment, which means that it’s harder to guarantee preservation of privacy of the content being reviewed. Admittedly it’s less of a concern for YouTube where the content is mostly public, but even YouTube has private videos. There was also the issue that mental health support for the contractors was focused around in-office support. Remember, these people see a constant barrage of the worst of the worst content on a regular basis: beheadings, child exploitation videos, you name it, and the support that was available to them was focused on having e.g. therapists in the office. I understand that it’s weird to be focusing on mental health when there’s severe risks to physical health, but still, it’s a major ongoing risk of the job and the contracting companies were unprepared to deal with the dismantling of the support systems they put in place to mitigate that. Then there’s the practical complications of coordinating two large companies like this: for example, do you let the employees of the contractor take home the devices that can access the internal systems of their client company, with all the privacy and security implications that entails, on a moment’s notice?

    The end result of this is these contracting companies eventually sent home their employees, but they took them off this kind of sensitive work. Instead, the tech companies are relying on their own full-time employees to fill in the gaps in enforcement by volunteering some of their own time in addition to their regular work. The automation is there to bridge some amount of the gap as they adjust.

    It’s a shitty situation all around, including for the users of the platform, but I wouldn’t classify it as “an excuse”. They wouldn’t be doing this unless they had to.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.