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meow1917's Doom tips and tricks!!

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Now I'm definitely not a Doom pro (I like to see myself as a veteran n00b) but I've been playing this game for a long enough time that I want to share some tips with you! ^_^ I absorbed many of them from watching much more experienced Doom players and all this information is well-known in the community, although I couldn't find anywhere else that collected it all in a single document. In some ways, this is a reference sheet I put together for myself. I welcome all sorts of input & feedback! Keep in mind that some details vary a lot depending on the source port you're using, or even the WAD you're playing. (Oh and most of these don't apply to Doom 64 or total conversion mods at all.) I like to use GZDoom because it's super duper flexible with compatibility and gameplay settings!

I recommend checking out Eevee's recommended GZDoom settings. Also I owe many thanks to decino's and Coincident's Doom analysis videos for teaching me the finicky details of the Doom engine I otherwise had no idea about, as well as excellent tactics. I owe thanks to SoBad for the latter as well. Check them all out!

Doomguy getting fragged by a rocket

What you gotta know

You'll figure most of these out after playing for a while but keep scrolling even if you've got the chops, because there's stuff even long-time players don't realise down there! Remember, the only way to get better is to keep playing! ✨

Actors have infinite height
This one gets thrown about quite a bit about how Doom is 'technically a 2D game' and such, but in reality, Doom is a 3D game that sucks at being 3D. 😜
  • You can't jump over or walk under monsters.
  • You can be damaged by a monster next to but much below or above you.
  • Splash damage will hurt all monsters at a spot, no matter how high or low.
This means you should beware lifts with monsters on other storeys and you can shoot at walls to clear monsters below them. Now, keep in mind that most source ports will have a way to work around the infinite height issue but you'll get mauled to death with mêlée attacks if you try to crowdsurf monsters, hehe.
Autoaim will vertically aim your attack on the nearest target
This one's quite obvious... You can't look up or down (or jump or crouch) in vanilla Doom but the game helpfully points your attacks up and down to the nearest monster right in front of you. Keep in mind that autoaim just gives up and stops working after 1024 units, so you can always cheat by enabling free look to snipe far away monsters hehehe...😝
Cyberdemons and spider masterminds are invulnerable to splash damage
Yep, that's why E2M8 is a chore! Always use plasma weapons (plasma gun and BFG 9k) against da big bosses. Or better yet, get the spider mastermind to hurt her grunts with her hitscan attack and watch them do her in! 😉 But if you're keen, you'll notice that cyberdemon isn't the only monster that deals splash damage. Indeed, the archvile isn't immune to his own attack's blast and is the only monster that can kill itself with its own attack by targeting nearby monsters! Silly boy. A baron of hell
Monsters are not hurt by the types of projectiles they shoot
Exactly what it says on the tin. Imps can't hurt other imps. Hell knights and barons of hell can't hurt each other and so on, so you can't get them to infight. But hitscan attacks hurt everyone and all monsters will retaliate to hitscan attacks. Monster mêlée is a special kind of attack that can hurt everyone but monsters will never mêlée each other on accident. (Fists and chainsaw are still hitscan.) You can play peekaboo with large groups of zombiemen to get them to kill each other! 😈
Monsters can't infight pain elementals
Ten points if you can guess why. If you said 'because they'll be infighting the lost souls instead,' you got it right! But keep in mind that pain elementals will focus on monsters that hurt them and can quickly fill up sectors with lost souls if you don't intervene...
Monsters won't infight archviles
I bet you can never guess why... 😉 It's because they're hardcoded as uninfightable (is that even a word?) in the game code. It also means an archvile can't 'infight' himself even if he hurts himself with splash damage. But he will nevertheless happily zap away helpless mooks for hurting him.
Lost souls will forget their targets after attacking once
Seems like there's no brain in that skull because these annoying jerks will forget whom they were angry at after charging once and go back to focusing on you! So if a pain elemental is infighting another monster, you've got a mess to clean up.
Cyberdemons, spider masterminds, archviles, lost souls and pain elementals cannot be resurrected
Thank goodness! Oh and crushed monsters can still be resurrected, unlike in Quake II. Resurrected gibs turn into ghost monsters in vanilla source ports where they are only hurtable with splash damage. Spooooky~ 👻
Berserk lasts until the end of the level
Because you stop seeing red after a while, n00bs think berserk goes away after a while but it actually lasts until the end of the level... Or not! It actually lasts about 4 years (for real!) but you'd probably finish the level under that par time no matter how n00bish you are heheh.
Green armour (⅓ protection) and blue armour (½ protection) replace each other when picked up.
Yup yup, stay away from green armour unless your blue armour is running, like, super low. Oh and armour bonus gives green armour if you had no armour.
Slow crushers are inescapable without invulnerability
There are two types of crushers: Fast crushers don't give a cat's whiskers if anything's standing under them and just give you a good bonk of 60 damage. But slow crushers will slow down once they reach you and won't let you go. If you're caught, you're doomed (no pun intended) because they will inflict a whopping 940 damage in total!!
If you're caught under two crushers at once, the damage is exponential
I've never had this happen to me but if you somehow manage to get in such a situation, you probably deserved it. 🥴
Weapons and ammo can get crushed
Everyone knows if you leave a corpse under a door or on a lift, it turns into gibs. But did you know that if you leave a weapon or some ammo there, it gets 'crushed' too? (It simply disappears!)
You can telefrag monsters but monsters cannot telefrag you (outside M30 of Doom 2) or each other
Monsters spawned by the cube, monsters respawned in Nightmare! difficulty, and monsters revived by archviles can telefrag you in M30. Players can telefrag each other in deathmatches regardless of the map. Otherwise, the player is immune to telefragging.
Standing on an exit teleporter will instead block it and prevent monsters from teleporting in, which is a useful tactic for stalling the influx of monsters.
Invulnerability only protects up to 1000 damage at a time
You thought you were totally safe? Nope, the invulnerability won't stop attacks that hurt more than 1000 hit points at a time. Fortunately, no such damagers exist in vanilla Doom, right? Oh wait, you can still get telefragged in M30 or deathmatches, what's up with that? It's because telefragging inflicts... wait for it... 10 000 damage! That's right, nothing can protect you from telefragging (save for Pentagram of Protection demon magics in Quake).
Damaging floor only hurts if your centre point is on a damaging sector
If you hang off the edge of a damaging floor platform, you can avoid taking damage without falling down as long as your centre point is in the neighbouring sector.
Rad suits can randomly leak on 20% damaging floor
Yeah, you aren't imagining things! There are four types of hurty floors: Nukage (5%), hellslime (10%), strobe (20%) and super hellslime (20%). There's an itsy bitsy chance (2,3%) each tic that strobe and super hellslime floors seep through your rad suit and hurt you. What are they making these suits out of anyway? A pain elemental
Pain elementals will not spawn lost souls if there are at least 21 alive
Unfortunately, nearly all source ports remove this limit, making pain elementals a force to be reckoned with that can fill up entire sectors with their super annoying hell spawn! 👿
Pain elementals will not shoot lost souls if you hug them
Goes to show that there's nothing you can't overcome with a little bit of love~! Well, to be fair literally anything blocking them can stop them from shooting lost souls (and you can even walk into their death animation to the same effect in some source ports) but I like my interpretation better, ehe~!
Shotgun spread is horizontal, whereas super shotgun spread is circular
As great as the SSG is for close-range combat, you should make use of the pump-action shotgun's tighter and horizontal spread to snipe off firing squads at long range. At a closer range, it's still useful for shooting into horizontal windows/slits on walls.
BFG shoots hitscan tracers the moment the projectile lands, in the direction of the projectile
N00bs struggle with this a lot but you gotta grok the big flippin' gun to be a pro. You pull the trigger, the projectile gets cooked and pew it goes. Once it hits a monster (or a wall or anything), your body shoots a cone of hitscan tracers (like a big phat shotgun) exactly in the direction you shot the projectile (even if you moved away, turned elsewhere and switched to a different weapon!) that perforate anything in their way. Pew!
Check out The BFG FAQ for more detailed information.
Weapons make 'sounds' only the moment the trigger is pulled
It sounds super silly but the sounds only propagate in the sector the trigger is pulled in. That means you can pull the BFG trigger in a room, dash into another room with sound-blocking walls and blast at monsters whilst unhurt monsters that don't see you keep sleeping in the same room! It even works across teleporters: You can prefire a rocket or BFG before taking a teleporter and silently blast out of the exit teleporter.
Only your weapons' sounds can wake up idle monsters
That's right, this even applies to the your fists' gentle whooshing in the air. They won't give a cat's whiskers about other monsters' attacks! They will also wake up if they see you or if they get hurt because, c'mon, who wouldn't? (For some reason, they will keep sleeping if you only hit them on their second idle frame and don't trigger a pain state, however.)
Monsters will be paralysed if they have nowhere to move when they wake up for the first time, are infighting, or have an unreachable target
You can paralyse a monster satisfying one of these conditions by blocking all the eight directions they can move (hug them in a corner!) and it will politely stay paralysed for you to kill it! The paralysis doesn't last for ever, mind you, about 1,5 hours, actually.
Monsters with both mêlée and ranged attacks can convert one to the other depending on the target distance
All projectile monsters also have a mêlée attack (save for mancubi and cyberdemons). If you get close to them, imps will scratch you, cacodemons will bite you and hell nobles will pummel you. If you get close to a monster whilst it's 'cooking' its projectile attack, it will turn the attack to mêlée and hit you instead. Similarly, if you stand back just as you're about to get hit, it will immediately shoot out a projectile. Revenants are a notable exception, however: their mêlée attacks be indefinitely whiffed and they can still shoot you at point-black range!
Monsters can immediately attack after a pain frame
If you hit any monster (except the lost soul, which will always immediately stop moving), there's a chance that it gets stunned in pain. There's also a chance that it immediately retaliates with an attack after that (or the next time it sees you if it can't see you at the time), so think twice before you try to chainsaw through that pack of revenants. 💀
Revenants will not shoot fireballs in mêlée range
You can do the cha–cha–cha with some skeletons by always staying within their mêlée range and moving away right after you hear the punching noise. There's an intermediate area of 'chase range' where they will always try to walk up to you to enter the mêlée range (where they will always try to punch you instead). However, if you trigger their pain state, they can instantly shoot a fireball right in your face before you can even say super shotgun. 😿
Note: The retaliatory missile only gets shot in the chase range. You can delay it indefinitely if you stay in mêlée range.
Homing revenant fireballs have smoke tracers
Ever wondered how to distinguish between straight missiles and missiles? If you look carefully, you'll notice that homing missiles have a tail of smoke coming out of them!
Revenants are only as tall as imps
Now you know how the boneheads can fit in low corridors with their skulls clipping through the ceilings.
Attacks have knockback
All weapons, hitscan and projectile alike, knock back the actor on the recieving end proportional to the damage inflicted. In addition, if you're playing on Boom, the knockback can push actors off platforms as well!
The sole exception is the chainsaw. To make its latching ability to work, your attacks' knockback is disabled when you're holding the chainsaw. This means if you shoot a projectile and quickly switch to the chainsaw before the projectile hits its target, the target won't be pushed at all.
Archviles remember targets across teleports
Yep yep. It doesn't come up often but if you're fleeing from archviles into a teleporter right as their igniting you, their demon magics can fry your butt if the target teleporter is also in their range! 🔥 Since teleporting briefly freezes you, you're not gonna survive that! Cyberdemon shooting at you
Monsters will never change targets until their target dies or they get hurt
By default, monsters are either asleep, roaming (chasing after you) or focused on a target. Roaming or sleeping monsters will focus on a target right after they get hurt and won't switch targets until either the target dies or they get hurt by someone else (after the minimum number of steps they need to take).
Monsters need to move 100 steps after getting hurt to change targets
This is why you shouldn't shoot that cyberdemon that you want to infight with the barons. He's going to get mad at you and ignore the barons shooting him! Monsters don't have any focus by default and generally go after the you but if anything hurts them, they go after that target until they move exactly 100 steps (not necessarily away, just moving at all, so turret-positioned monsters will also switch targets), after which they stop being mad and return to the default state of casually going after you.
BUT!! archviles will instantly change target the moment they're hurt! They have no infighting threshold and they will forget the henchmen they're frying to get at you if your rocket splash burns them. This brings us to...
Archviles will continue to cast the same attack even after changing target
That's right! If you interrupt an archvile the moment he's about to zap some poor zombie, he will immediately turn his attention to you and finish the spell on you instead! That's why you should wait until he's done casting before shooting him.
Archvile attacks do splash damage that can be dampened by hugging a wall
Can't find a pillar to hide behind in time? No opportunity to shotgun him in hopes of triggering the pain state? I guess the only option you have is to... Hug a wall! That's right, some of the splash damage will happen behind the wall and hopefully you'll take only 20 damage from the hitscan attack alone.
First chaingun/pistol shot is guaranteed to be accurate
This is why chaingun is actually an excellent sniper gun! Just tap the trigger instead of holding it down and you'll be sniping those pesky hitscanners down their towers in no time. 😎
You don't have to be alive to trigger linedefs
That's right, this means your corpse can hit the level exit linedef and you can win the game after you die! You can use this to cheese some levels by strategically dying with some momentum to slide under objects you can't normally cross. 🪦
The first actor to damage a barrel provokes the ensuing infighting once the barrel explodes
Just because the projectiles won't hurt each other and they won't accidentally claw each other doesn't mean the Bruiser Brothers won't get in a feud! If someone damages a barrel, each monster that gets hurt once it explodes will get miffed at that monster (or you, if you're responsible). A mancubus
Mancubus fireballs have a small chance of noclipping through walls
Mancubi can wallhaxx and occasionally shoot through walls. Make sure you aren't hiding behind thin walls when dodging their projectiles! This also applies to imp, hell knight and baron of hell fireballs as well, although to a much lesser degree.
Any object will stop a lost soul regardless of Z position
Even a shotgun lying on the floor will stop a charging lost soul no matter how high up! This also means that lost souls will hit whatever's beneath them whilst they're charging at you.
Lost souls can spawn inside walls after a pain elemental dies
Pain elemental's death explosion spawns lost souls, but if it dies too close to a wall, the lost souls can spawn in inaccessible places. Keep this in mind if you find yourself confused by zombieman sounds coming from outside the map!
Chainsaws will latch onto monsters during use
That's why that poor cacodemon you stunlocked can't move away from you. Be careful when playing with -fast monsters though, because the chainsaw's rate of fire can't keep up with those turbo pinkies that can bite you between the firing intervals and will maul you to pulp in no time! 🙀
Ranged monsters closer to you are more aggressive than farther ones
All (awake) monsters will constantly try to approach you, no matter where you are in the map, and they must at least move a bit before they can initiate an attack. Ranged monsters are increasingly more likely to shoot the closer they are to you. This is why, when tackling multiple stationary monsters, you should prioritise the ones closer to you.
Note: This does not apply to Nightmare! difficulty, where monsters constantly shoot at you for as long as you are in their lines of sight, but respawned monsters take longer to begin to shoot you to compensate for this.
Running against a wall builds up speed
You can use this to your advantage by running against a corner or a door to enter a room at full speed.
An archvile zapping you

~Special moves~

This section is under construction! Sorry for the inconvenience!
This one's so simple that people almost always independently come up with it themselves in first-person shooters where you can strafe fast and dodge slow-moving projectiles. Strafing in a circle around large groups of monsters whilst shooting at them will
  1. tightly confine them into the circle because they will keep trying to come towards you,
  2. provoke infighting as the monsters in the back will accidentally shoot the ones in the front,
  3. dodge projectiles because you keep moving away from incoming ones, and
  4. keep you moving so you have constant access to pickups.
A lot of seemingly difficult fights can be reduced to 'circlestrafe to win' with some strategising.
Strafe running
As fast as the player already is, sometimes you need to be much faster, especially in order to jump over (run across?) wide gaps (in which case it's strafejumping without the jumping part). 🏃
  • SR40: This is the most fundamental one, known since about a year after Doom came out. It becomes second nature for traversing long paths of land, much like Quake bunnyhopping, and helps you reach secrets. Basically, if you strafe left or right (40 units per tic) whilst running forwards (50 units per tic), you move faster diagonally, simply because you move in both directions at once at 502 + 402 =64 units per tic towards the direction you're strafing at an arctan 5040 38,66° angle. To give an example, if you turn left by about 38,66° (with your mouse, maybe), then hold down forward and right strafe at the same time, you will be moving straight ahead at 6450 =128% times your regular speed.
  • SR50: This one was discovered much more recently. If you hold down the 'strafe on' key (the one that makes turn keys act as strafe keys, including your mouse movement), press a turn key to strafe and strafe in that direction with a strafe key, you will be moving at 50 units per tic instead of 40. Move forwards whilst pressing down this mess and you'll be moving at 502 + 502 70,71 units per tic at an arctan 5050 =45° angle towards your strafing direction. That's 70,7150 141% times your regular speed! Nyoooom~ In reality, SR50 is very rarely used outside speedrunning tricks involving short jumps because it's so unwieldly to press and you can't turn whilst using it (because your turn keys work as extra strafe keys now). I suggest assigning strafe-on to an unused mouse key.
Original Doom maps will never require you to straferun at any point (although custom maps may) and SR50 is rare enough that you won't ever need it outside speedrunning tricks.
Nukage rhythm
Let's see some facts!! 📠
  • Fact #1: Nukage inflicts damage each tic.
  • Fact #2: Your weapon bob is in sync with the game clock such that the weapon peaks on either side exactly at a tic.
  • Conclusion: You can waltz with your weapon right before going onto damage floor and not take any damage in the nukage if you time your weapon's sway right.
This is why you shouldn't disable the weapon bob. A lot of in-game mechanics are tied to tics and your weapon bob is practically a clock.
This one is actually much rarer and harder to pull off than in Quake. Due to the lack of freelook, the only time you can footrocket is when autoaim scams you when you shoot at a monster below a ledge, and even then it's totally useless because you can't jump either way. But! you can run really fast and that means you can rocketrun even faster! Make sure you have enough health and armour, straferun in one direction, shoot your rocket at a wall to propel yourself in the opposite direction, then turn towards your destination. Remember: You can change direction and move (thus, straferun) midair.
Archvile jump
You know how each time an archvile zaps you you get blasted into the air? You can use this annoying oddity to your advantage by running in the direction you want to jump, timing the blast accurately and "jumping" onto otherwise unreachable platforms. Simple in principle, difficult in practice. You can get blasted way up in the air if several archviles zap you consecutively, letting you reach ridiculous heights (with invulnerability, of course).
Coöp jumping
Your attacks will push monsters a bit, and you can knock them off platforms by shooting them off the edge in Boom–compatible WADs. A consequence of this is that you can shotgun your coöp friends midair to push them further, to help them reach otherwise unreachable places.
todo: easier on -shorttics
todo: north, east
Fast switching
When you pick up a weapon for the first time and autoswitch to it, you can switch to a different weapon you already have in the middle of the switching animation to shave off a few seconds. This is especially useful with traps that abuse the autoswitch delay, such as a room that releases a horde of pinkies when you pick up the rocket launcher. Press 1 after your current weapon goes down and before the rocket launcher can appear in your hands, so you switch to fists/chainsaw instead.
Linedef skipping
Peekaboo shooting
One of the most common tricks in Doom, which is intuitive enough for any new player to discover and internalise on their own, just like circlestrafing, is peekaboo shooting. Shoot monster, hide behind an obstacle to dodge their attack and reload your weapon, repeat. This works well with shotguns (reloading time + increased pain chance) and BFG (see 'streetsweeper' below), and is especially useful against hordes of zombies (who can be picked off before they start shooting), archviles (you eventually develop an intuitive sense of how long archvile's ignition attack takes to optimise this process) and pain elementals (who can be indefinitely prevented from shooting lost souls). Conversely, this doesn't work as well for cyberdemons and mancubi whose volley fire doesn't cease when you leave their line of sight.
BFG rush
BFG is, in essence, a super duper shotgun that happens to launch a powerful projectile and waits for it to land before spraying. Thus, it is the deadliest when fired up close. (I suggest installing a damage numbers mod to see where the tracers hit and how much damage each shot inflicts and experimenting to grok the tracer cone.) BFG rush is the art of 'cooking' the BFG projectile, running up to a cyberdemon or a spider mastermind and trying to land as many of the tracers as possible with a warm, green hug. Spider mastermind can be easily taken down with a single shot this way, sometimes before she can even react.
Cyberdemon, however, is the only monster in the game that can endure a max damage BFG shot and the common tactic to take him down is prefiring a BFG ball after he starts shooting, zigzagging through the volley and landing the shot at mêlée range before swiftly retreating for the next round. If everything goes well, he can be taken down in exactly two shots. The most important point is that you must approach him after he's already begun shooting at you, so that you know exactly when and where the rockets are fired in the process. Alternatively, simply distract him with infighting and BFG blast his butt before he's done killing his new target.
Sometimes you just don't care about BFG's projectile. It's a nice bonus when you fire it up close, but from a range, it significantly delays the tracers, limiting its usefulness when a pack of revenants is about to corner you. A common tactic is to sacrifice the projectile altogether and peekaboo shoot (see above) with the super duper shotgun only. Hide behind a wall, set your angle to face the monsters, fire at the wall and immediately strafe out of your cover to blast whatever's standing in front of you with the tracers. (There's about half a second of delay between the projectile's impact and the tracers' firing.) It is imperative that the projectile hit the wall before you peek out or you'll have to wait until the it hits something before shooting the tracers.
BFG stacking
There's no kill like overkill! This tactic works under very specific slaughter map conditions with lots of open space and tightly packed groups of heavy monsters being released in waves. You need to prefire your BFG towards where the cloud of cacodemons or party of archviles (or any other group of strong monsters) is about to be let loose into the arena, and simultaneously run to that point. But don't stop shooting once the projectile leaves the gun. Keep running and shooting all the way until you're there. If everything goes well, you will be running behind a tightly stacked chain of projectiles (owing to the Doppler effect), none of them having landed yet. If you time it well, all of them will land on the first row of monsters in quick succession, turning your BFG into a super duper automatic shotgun, with rapid-fire cones melting through hordes. This trick can also be used with the rocket launcher, to a lesser extent.

BFG projectile

Advice for n00bz

The marine! That's you!

Tactics and tricks~!

More specific advice

A skull coming out of a personhole
Under construction!!

Fun facts! 😸

Prepare to get your socks knocked right off because these facts are fun (and too nerdy to be in the essentials section)!! (Again, many thanks to decino and Coincident! In addition, check out Colin Phipps's Classic Doom Curiosities.)

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