The DOOM closed beta just ended on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Bethesda Softworks and id Software have another round planned, though, and they are opening it up for everyone to play this time. The publisher shared additional details for multiplayer DLC packs that will hit after launch.
An open beta for DOOM will arrive on Friday, April 15 and run through Sunday, April 18. No codes will be required to participate. Those interested in taking the over-the-top first-person shooter for a spin will simply need to download the beta.
Like the closed beta, players will be limited to two maps during the DOOM open beta – Heatwave and Infernal – while the available game modes will consist only of Team Deathmatch and Warpath featuring six vs. six matches. Meanwhile, the following power-ups and weapons will also be available.
- Demon: Revenant
- Weapons: Rocket Launcher, Plasma Rifle, Super Shotgun, Vortex Rifle, Static Rifle, Heavy Assault Rifle, and Lightning Gun
- Power Weapons: Gauss Cannon
- Equipment: Frag Grenade, Personal Teleporter, Siphon Grenade
The purpose of the DOOM open beta appears to be to stress the multiplayer servers ahead of its May 13 launch. That’s a necessary evil in the current gaming climate due to concern over flubbed launches.
There is a mix of good and bad news when it comes to post-launch support for DOOM. Bethesda has promised a mixture of free updates (good) along with paid DLC packs (bad). The primary focus of the free updates appears to be aimed at the SnapMap map-making component. However, multiplayer will receive new game modes as part of free content updates.
On top of being able to access and play new modes and maps created by your fellow gamers, id plans to offer content updates for SnapMap, including map modules, props and objects, additional features and functionality, AI enhancements, editing tool enhancements, and more. Multiplayer will also receive content updates in the form of new game modes. Both of these SnapMap and multiplayer updates will be free to use and play.
Meanwhile, Bethesda will release three premium multiplayer DLC packs for DOOM starting this summer. Each pack will cost $14.99 individually or $49.99 as part of a Season Pass for the shooter.
The first DLC pack will be released this summer and includes the following.
- Three new maps
- One new weapon
- One new playable demon
- One new armor set
- One new piece of equipment
- New hack modules and taunts
- New customization colors and patterns
The primary concern with Bethesda’s move to DLC packs for DOOM is how they will split the player base. The concern over splitting players between haves and have-nots has led to some multiplayer games such as Halo 5 and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare to go with free map releases and supporting their release in other ways. Even the upcoming Battleborn plans to release its multiplayer maps for free while charging for story content.
There is also a larger concern over how paid weapons and other content, such as a playable demon and hack modules, will fit into DOOM multiplayer.
The traditional DLC pack release is still used by Call of Duty. Activision doesn’t appear to be interested in changing the formula there, as it has continued to be successful for the series. Star Wars: Battlefront is also taking the traditional approach, but it is too early to determine its level of success since the first DLC pack just released.
The DOOM community on Reddit has not responded well to the announcement. It will be interesting to see the response when the DLC packs first become available and players vote with their wallet and stick with SnapMap content created by the community.
[Image via Bethesda]