There's plenty of gloom to go around, even at the best of times, but can we ever have enough DOOM [official site] in our lives? Well, this weekend there will be DOOM for all as last year's unexpectedly brill reboot is free on Steam from 6pm UK time (1pm EST) today. You can play the first two campaign levels, and tear about in multiplayer and on the Snapmap custom level tools as much as you like. If you buy the game over the weekend, progress in the trial carries across, and there's a meaty discount ($14.99 (US) / £11.99 (UK) / $17.99 (AUS)).
Not all the news is for newcomers though. With update 6.66, Bethesda have "retired the DOOM season pass", which means all multiplayer content is now available to everyone who owns the game, forever. Full details below.
When a game like DOOM "retires" its season pass, you can only imagine that the season pass was taken around the back of the barn and reduced to mince and jelly. No gold watches and fishing trips for Old Man Pass; he's resting in pieces.
And it's about time. The campaign is DOOM's biggest draw but for those who are enjoying the multiplayer, a fragmented playerbase was always going to be a problem. Now everyone has the same maps, same demons and same guns, plus some other additions that have made their way into the game since release.
"That's three multiplayer DLC packs, which include nine of our best maps, three additional guns, three additional playable demons, new equipment, armor sets and more. That's on top of the modes and features, like bot support, that players have been enjoying since late last year."
This is being treated as a refresh of the entire multiplayer system so it does involve a reset of progression. DOOM has unlocks, gained by playing and gained more quickly if you're playing well. Previously, they were randomised but everything has changed in this new update.
"With this update, we've changed when and how players unlock additional guns, demons, equipment and all of the player and weapon customization options. Instead of relying on the current random unlock system, everything now unlocks through specific leveling requirements and/or in-game challenges. Now, if there's a specific helmet you want, you can work toward unlocking it by focusing your play style on the related challenge. We're confident new and veteran players alike will enjoy the control and predictability in this new multiplayer progression system."
The reset doesn't mean you'll lose any unlocks you've already earned. Your character will be back to level zero but your guns and equipment are still yours.
"We want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to both retain previously unlocked items if they choose, but also unlock anything they don’t have through the new level- and challenge-based progression. To do this we will be resetting all veteran players to level 0. Don't panic, though – that's just your level. All veteran players will have the option to completely reset their unlock progression items and experience the new progression system fresh, OR retain all of their existing guns, equipment, demons and customization unlocks that they’ve acquired or purchased and then unlock the remaining items through the revised progression system."
There are some other changes to multiplayer, including the addition of permanent rune upgrades and HUD tweaks. You can read about all of that here. Meanwhile, I'll be over in the corner trying to figure out if this noble attempt to invite more people into hell means a single player expansion is more or less likely to happen before the end of the year.