Pretty much everybody agreed that last year's Doom reboot was great, although not everyone was as taken with its rather undercooked multiplayer mode. Over the past twelve months, however, Bethesda has been furiously tweaking and expanding the game's multiplayer side, and its newest patch, which should be live now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, is the tweakiest, expandiest, update yet.
Known as update 6.66 (which I'm assuming is a play on the number '666', which for those unaware is "the natural number following 665 and preceding 667" according to Wikipedia), the latest patch massively overhauls Doom's multiplayer. There's a new progression system, for starters, the old Hack Module abilities system has been replaced with the new Runes System, and there's a completely revised, hopefully more informative user interface.
Doom's new progression system is a major departure from that of old; it ditches random unlocks in favour of guns, demons, equipment, and customisation options that are unlocked on reaching specific levels or via in-game challenges. This makes it easier (and theoretically more rewarding) to get the specific upgrade that you want.
The new multiplayer Runes system, meanwhile, functions much like the one in Doom's single-player campaign. As originally implemented, Hack Modules in multiplayer were activated manually and would eventually expire. Runes, however, are persistent abilities that can be included within your load-out, helping you tailor it specifically to your preferred play-style.
Finally, Doom's multiplayer user interface has been refreshed for clarity, and to enable faster access to more meaningful information. According to the official Doom blog, changes include:
- better callouts for challenges, awards and scoring
- a clearer, more accurate kill card, featuring information on the players, weapon types, and damage that combined to kill you
- revised post-match summaries
- updates that better illustrate player status in lobbies, highlight the new progression options and status, and better outline weapon, equipment and demon characteristics
Bethesda's other major change for Doom in 6.66 is that the game's Season Pass has now been retired. As such, all previously paid-for DLC maps and additional content have now been bundled into the core game and will be playable for free. That equates to nine maps, three guns, three playable demons, new equipment, armour sets, and other goodies.
To mark the release of update 6.66, Bethesda is holding a free-play weekend, wherein you'll have access to the first two levels of Doom's supremely entertaining single-player campaign, the same levels in the thunderously fast-paced Arcade Mode, and all of the game's multiplayer and SnapMap modes. The free-play weekend starts today at 5pm on Xbox One, and 6pm on PC. You'll need to wait until 5pm next Thursday July 27th on PlayStation 4, however. And if you're so impressed that you end up buying the full game, says Bethesda, your weekend's worth of progress will be carried over.
On that note, Bethesda has also announced a permanent price drop for Doom. From now on, the whole thing will cost a mere £11.99, which, if you don't already own it, is a complete steal.