Why the 'Doom Eternal' Marauder Sucks So Bad

When Doom 2016 released, it was with a fire and energy unlike anything we’d ever seen before. Oh, sure, games have been violent, and that’s nothing new, but Doom 2016 brought personality to the fray. While the characters droned on about lore nobody cared about, Doomguy understood what we were here to do: rip and tear. Together, we did just that. With the release of Doom Eternal, things have changed, and not necessarily for the better, and nowhere is this illustrated better than with an enemy known as the Marauder.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/jgezzk/why-the-doom-eternal-marauder-sucks-so-bad
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On the difference between feel in Doom 2016 and Eternal, I’ve been increasingly of the opinion that Doom Eternal wants to be Quake 2020. Quake, more so than Doom, had a tendency to build levels full of traps and tricks (including floors that fell away from you, and swinging blades a lot like those in Eternal).

It especially encouraged you to also use traps against enemies - just as Eternal does in several levels - and included a limited selection of enemies with resistance or vulnerability to particular weapons (Zombies and non-explosives; the Shambler and explosives), with hints in the code that more was planned.

There’s a bunch of jumping puzzles in both Doom Eternal and Quake - with more in the Quake Mission packs; whilst the grapple-hook in Eternal looks a lot like the same item added to Quake deathmatch in the wildly popular PainKeep mod.

About the only things that differ are that Quake [by necessity not intent] has almost no actual story, whilst Doom Eternal has one that thinks it is cleverer than it is; and Quake would never have included an enemy design anything like the Marauder…


The Marauder is a pain in the neck even on Easy. The timing window to stun it isn’t very long and even when it is stunned, it doesn’t stay that way for long. It requires you to basically play matador for three minutes and pray you don’t get owned by one of its many absurd attacks. I get that Doom is supposed to be hard, but given how good 2016 was at satisfying hard, the Marauder (and lots of places in Eternal in general) is just kind of disappointing.


Am I the only one who feels like Doc Burford’s tone and style as a writer seems very… how do I put it… matter of fact? I understand that even when writing an opinion piece, it pays large dividends to be confident and not hedge one’s conclusions, but the extent to which things are characterized as objective qualities about the game seems… excessive?

I felt the same way about Doc’s Destiny 2 piece a few weeks ago, it felt like an analytical piece that worked mainly if the reader was coming from the same assumption as the title: that “Destiny isn’t working”. I felt super alienated from the article because I’d been playing a lot of Destiny 2 and having a blast, partially because I’m just not the kind of player who will run into the problems Burford outlined in that piece. The problem I have with it isn’t necessarily pointing out that, for high level players, those problems do exist, its more that the piece in no way specified that. The title wasn’t “Destiny isn’t working for its most dedicated players”, you know?

Now… this article. I feel like between Rob’s review and this article I’ve been playing a different game than Waypoint Staff have. I just totally disagree with the chief criticsms of this piece, both about the Marauder and the game in general. I’ve had fun with the Marauder every time I’ve fought him and actively look forward to doing so, but I guess he “ruins the flow” and “just doesn’t fit”. I think the weakness system encourages creativity instead of inhibiting it (there are always multiple ways to attack weak points and different times to create openings by attacking them), but I guess it’s all on a “spreadsheet” and the game is fundamentally “reactive”.

I feel like there is a fine line between stating one’s perspective confidently and stating in a way that feels actively exclusionary of opposing experiences and views. Idk guys, am I trippin? Do I need to talk to my therapist about parasocial relationships?


It’s not just you. That tone has been there going back to his stuff when he would occasionally have stuff on Kotaku.

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That’s a really interesting point; something that’s indicative of one of the weird earmarks of gameswriting at this place in time.
I think a lot of authors at outlets are still learning how to escape from the “objective criticism” that typified both turn-of-the-millennium gameswriting and critical writing in the academic spheres a lot of them come from. Like if you look at what is touted as one of the most influential pieces of gameswriting of all time, Bow Not-Saying-That-Word (a label it deserves, it’s brilliant), it frames the experience as being intensely personal in a way that day-to-day coverage at the two sites which I find to be the most consistently interesting (Waypoint and RPS) often alludes to but rarely hits cleanly.
I’ve critiqued (or attempted to critique) different pieces of writing from Waypoint before because A) you’re the harshest critic of your favorite material and B) I find that I am not-infrequently disappointed with the way that what is very clearly subjective criticism (I thought that early podcast coverage of Disco Elysium is a good example) is framed, I think chiefly by simple virtue of this being a “news outlet,” as somewhat objective.

UNRELATED (and more on topic), but I’ve seen a lot of people, not even “git-gud” types, pushing back against this common criticism of D:E by saying “oh actually there are a bunch of ways you can beat the Marauder, you just have to do this really weird or unexpected thing, it’s fine.” I think this is such a weird response, especially since D:E tutorializes most of its mechanics really heavily, to such a degree that emergent play is almost actively discouraged.


The analogy I usually reserve is that it’s like if an enemy in Bayonetta or DMC3 was so tedious and narrowed your tactical options so badly that you had to use the Killgore exploit or jump-canceling to circumvent it.

Exploits and high skill ceiling tricks are fun to have around, but having access to them doesn’t negate instances where a piece of design throws a spanner into a game’s combat loop.

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Yeah, whilst I agree with this specific article, it’s definitely the case that Waypoint articles recently have confused subjective critique [especially from a particular NA perspective] with objective critique, and it was similarly the Disco Elysium articles which made this most evident for me.


I appreciate how thorough Doc is, but I felt similarly in some respects. I think they bring up a lot of salient points in this article (and the Destiny 2 article, for that matter), however I don’t agree with these almost casually passing assertions that the increased story/lore focus was a universally bad decision. Which leads into…

I agree with this so much. Having listened to and read Rob and Patrick’s experience with this game, I feel like we’re engaging in completely different languages. It may be a matter of pre-existing expectations, but so much of what Eternal brought to the table absolutely worked for me. Which is why the Marauder was such a headscratcher to me, because 95% of the design choices worked so well that I was left trying to figure out why this particular one fell so flat for me.

The spreadsheet comment seemed really out of place too. I don’t know what motivated that, but this game doesn’t feel like a “spreadsheet” game at all. I really appreciated the rock-paper-scissors approach to this game because it forced me to use different weapons and mods constantly. DOOM 2016 kind of let me stick to two or three configurations throughout most of the game.

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This was this issue for me. Both the media put out by Id and the game itself reinforce the idea that there are very specific methods and weapons that are hard counters to different enemies. And while the way the game keeps you on the knife’s edge of having just enough health and ammo is thrilling it also discourages experimentation. I don’t really want to try techniques other than what the game has specifically tutorialized because I feel that if I mess up I’ll die very quickly.

I’ve been kinda feeling this with a lot of their talk about the primary on the podcast recently. While I mostly agree with their politics I feel like they’ve been voicing their beliefs as objective in a way that I don’t find very useful. They are media critics who live in major cities and spend too much time on twitter. I like that they talk about politics, and enjoy many of their thoughts, but I wish they voiced them as their subjective opinions.

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I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who feels that way, its been really disheartening to see a loose consensus forming that Eternal just has to be worse than 2016. I’ve seen so many variations of the phrase “no one wanted [insert feature of Eternal] from Doom”, and it feels like there is a very narrow conception of what made 2016 work that has become accepted as axiomatic truth. I feel as though no other franchise is perceived so monolithically. It’s well accepted that there are different types of Zelda fan, Pokemon fan, or Final Fantasy fan, but Doom? There’s a perfect formula for what makes Doom good and the author of whatever article you’re currently reading just happens to know it.

I’ve spent a lot of time immersed in Doom fan culture, from modders explaining the code of how the BFG works in original Doom to Redditors eagerly pouring over lore entries, and I can say that saying there is a “one size fits all” capital R Reason that people like Doom is just plain wrong. I’m personally not super invested in some of the deeper lore questions, but I know with absolute certainty that tons of people are. “Who wanted the new Doom to explain all this lore, or who the Betrayer is?” May I kindly direct you to a forum thread with hundreds of replies of heated debate over exactly those questions?

As for the Marauder in particular, I personally found fighting him to be a consistent treat. I love duels in video games, and while he was challenging he never felt unfun or unfair. However, I’m someone who has put nearly 100 hours in since release and who put nearly 200 hours into 2016, and who plays pretty much always on Nightmare. I think that @miscu put it best by saying that the tactics that make the Marauder fun to fight are ones toward the top of the game’s skill ceiling (weapon switching, split second dodges) and that if you haven’t mastered them fighting him isn’t fun. I think most of the game is actually very good about giving you room to make mistakes or play inefficiently but still have a good time, especially on lower difficulties. The Marauder, however, is too Dark Souls for the game’s own good in the way he gates progress. That people who were having fun with the rest of the combat so consistently find him a stumbling block is indicative that he is too inflexible in comparison to the rest of the game’s challenges.

I disagree with the assertion that he “ruins the flow” of the combat, to borrow an analogy I read in a review (sadly cannot remember which one), its that he occupies a different place in that flow. Usually, the player is setting the pace with the highly aggressive playstyle the game is built around, but when the Marauder arrives he takes the lead and sets the pace. If you match him step for step, you find that you’re dancing as fast and aggressively as you were before, but not to your own frantic beat. If you fall behind, you take the place of the demons as someone outmaneuvered and outgunned. While I think that this is all intentional, and personally really enjoy it, I think for most people its a bridge too far and I get that.


Exactly this. I am pretty okay at Doom, but the Marauder demands a whole lot more than “pretty okay” in a way that often stands athwart whatever progress the player is expected to make. If you want to make the Marauder the final boss or an optional encounter or something, fine and dandy. But don’t punish your standard players like that. People who want the extra challenge know how to find it.

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I think you have a valid point there, Re skill ceilings, and their relationship with the Marauder.
I personally did not get on with Doom 2016’s mechanics at all, and the Marauder feels precisely like the acme of everything stressful and unfun about Doom 2016/Doom Eternal mechanics for me. But I completely understand that there are a bunch of people who don’t just feel overwhelmed by split-second reactions and rapid switches - what is problematic is that the difficulty modes in the games don’t really engage in helping the player to get better at the core skills that the game is built around.
So, as you say, you can ‘half-ass’ your way to the point where the Marauder turns up without having really understood what the devs think is ‘core mechanics’, and then he’s like a horrible, unfun, skill gate.

(Speaking of different people getting different things from Doom, I will say that as someone who loved the original Doom and Quake - and still replays them and modern map packs - Doom 2016 is nothing like what I liked in those games, sadly, and it’s not just that I no longer have the reflexes I had in my teens)

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You’re thinking of Noah Gervais here.