Tips and Tricks: Doom 2016

General tips, notes on difficulty, enemies, runes, weapons

Published Apr 25, 2019

Note: check the accompanying post Game Impressions: Doom 2016 for my thoughts on the game and an analysis of what makes it enjoyable.

This is about single player only; I haven’t tried the PvP.



If you find yourself bored, raise the difficulty, preferably to Nightmare. A non-Nightmare campaign can be upgraded only to Ultra-Violence, so you might have to start a new one.

The campaign is relatively short, but is never really “over”. You’re meant to replay individual missions in arbitrary order. You always keep your guns and upgrades.

Glory Kills become less viable on Nightmare because other enemies attack while you’re locked into a recovery animation. Under fire, you’re better off just shooting them.

On Nightmare, enemy shots tend to lead the target. Straight movement gets you shot.

Some enemies have surprising moves and behaviors. Ranged enemies can suddenly rush into melee. Imps have surprisingly agile melee moves. Pinkies will track you surprisingly well while charging, and can quickly turn 180 degrees to smack you. The list goes on. The developers have done an amazing job with the enemy movesets. When you find yourself going “WTF this move, this is bullshit!”, appreciate the game’s ability to surprise you!

With slow-firing weapons, it’s faster to switch to another gun than wait for the recovery. Cycling between the Super Shotgun, Gauss Cannon, and Rocket Launcher, or at least two of these guns, can increase your burst DPS.


The runes are generally well-balanced, without any game-breakers or must-haves. Pick the ones that match your playstyle.

The Equipment Power rune allows Siphon Grenades to regenerate armor. Armored Offense lets you restore armor through Glory Kills. The Intimacy is Best rune helps this tactic by making enemies more easily staggered and keeping them alive. This stops being viable on Nightmare due to increased enemy aggression and damage. You get better results by focusing on not getting hit. You can recover off zombies between fights, but it’s not worth the time.

In-Flight Mobility gives you more movement control in the air than you have on the ground. Handy for dodging.

Ammo Boost roughly doubles the ammo pickups. Makes ammo-intensive guns such as the Gauss Cannon more spammable. More consistently useful than Rich Get Richer.

Kills under the Berserk powerup count as Glory Kills. When berserking, use the appopriate runes, namely Seek and Destroy (launch from farther away), Savagery (kill faster), and Blood Fueled (move faster after Glory Kills). When Berserk ends, revert to your normal runes.

Utility Upgrades

I recommend not buying the “exploration” upgrades. You don’t want to constantly check the map for secrets. Instead, you’ll replay each level using a video guide. Worse, once you find all secrets, one of the upgrades keeps beeping when close to where a secret used to be, with no way to turn that off.

As for the other upgrades, I would prioritize becoming immune to barrel explosions, then faster weapon swapping and ledge grabbing. Grenade and powerup upgrades are more situational, so get them later. Your mileage may vary.

Weapon Mods

Most guns have one useful mod, and some guns are more useful than others. You can upgrade most useful things around halfway through the game. With all secrets and challenges, you can max out everything by the end.

See below for weapon mod tips.


Has infinite ammo. Useful against zombies. They die from a single left-click headshot, but due to the low accuracy, you’re better off with the right click at zero charge. Don’t bother upgrading until you run out of useful upgrades for other guns. Don’t bother using it against non-zombies, ammo is mostly a non-issue.

Combat Shotgun

Explosive Shot is useful early; it gives you a strong, ammo-efficient mid-range attack that one-shots Imps and staggers Possessed Guards. Removing the charge delay makes it even better.

Charged Shot is comparatively useless. The charge delay makes it too hard to line up, and it’s weak even at its best. You get better results by just focusing on your movement and aim.

This gun is nearly-obsoleted by the scoped Assault Rifle you can get in Mission 2, and completely eclipsed by the Super Shotgun you find in Mission 4. Don’t bother upgrading it much.

Assault Rifle

Tactical Scope is the superior upgrade, if you can land headshots. Upgrades increase headshot damage and bullet damage, letting you one-headshot Imps and Possessed Guards, and two-headshot Hell Razers. With perfect aim, it’s probably the quickest, most ammo-efficient way to murder humanoid enemies.

Micro-Missiles, while undoubtedly cool, are useless. They’re supposed to let you spend ammo faster for more DPS. This niche is already filled by the Chaingun. The Missiles’ DPS is way too low. The explosion radius is way too small. The explosion delay causes you to waste time and ammo. They have way too little stopping power, so enemies continue attacking you while being shot. Against humanoid enemies, which dominate the early game, you’re better off headshotting them with the scope. Against tougher enemies, you need more DPS and/or stopping power, which every other gun does better.

Regardless of upgrades, the Assault Rifle DPS is too low against big hulky enemies, so it’s better to specialize it against humanoids. In late game, it’s superseded by the Rocket Launcher, which lets you clear minions faster and without exposing yourself as much.

Plasma Rifle

Stun Bomb is overpowered. It instantly stuns enemies for several seconds, has a decently large radius, costs very little ammo, and has a short cooldown. It works on all non-boss enemies, even the hulky Mancubuses and Hell Barons. Get it, upgrade it, use it. Even though switching guns takes time, this actually increases your DPS by letting you safely shotgun enemies at melee range or line up a Gauss Cannon headshot. It also saves your ass against Pinkies, which charge with surprising speed and agility and have armored mugs.

Heat Blast manages to be both useless and boring. It deals splash damage in front of you, enough to one-shot humanoid enemies even at partial charge, but not enough to kill Hell Knights and other tough guys. It’s completely eclipsed by the Rocket Launcher, which is spammable, has range, and has better stopping power. Use the Stun Bomb instead.

The Plasma Rifle is useful only for the Stun Bomb. Its DPS is not particularly brag-worthy. For rapid-fire damage, a scoped Assault Rifle is much better: it deals more headshot damage, hits instantly, and shots don’t obscure the screen. The Gauss Cannon is much better at converting Plasma Cells into damage, with enough left-click damage to instagib humanoid enemies, enough charged damage to one- or two-headshot many big enemies, and excellent stopping power. Upgrade the Stun Bomb and use this rifle only as a combo piece.

Super Shotgun

Amazingly useful weapon that completely supersedes the Combat Shotgun. High single-shot damage, DPS, and stopping power. Has no equal at melee range. All humanoids die from a single shot, and most tough guys die in 2-4.

This weapon has no mods, and upgrades improve its primary firing mode. The mastery upgrade effectively doubles the rate of fire. I recommend fully upgrading it right away. It can be found in a “secret” in Mission 4 (Argent Facility). Make sure to hoard enough upgrade points.

The stopping power is surprisingly handy. It stops charging enemies and interrupts attacks. This makes it easy to finish them off with the next shot. You still need to dodge attacks, but the interruptions make it a lot easier.

Combines well with the Stun Bomb. The stun lets you safely shotgun the enemy at melee range and makes it easier to aim. The stun lasts long enough for 2 cycles / 4 shots. With good enough aim, this kills anyone but a Hell Baron, and those die from another shot or two.

Rocket Launcher

Remote Detonation makes the weapon better at its unique job: quickly clearing groups of enemies. It passively increases the splash radius and damage, and allows you to detonate the rocket in better positions, catching more foes in the blast. Humanoid-sized enemies tend to be instagibbed by splash damage. The weapon mastery prevents the rocket from exploding along with the payload, making it possible to shoot big targets while splashing off to kill any surrounding vermin. I suspect that detonating the payload just before it connects increases the damage, but this is tricky to verify.

Lock-on Burst improves single target DPS, a job that other guns already do better. Humanoids already die from a single rocket, while big foes require more than one volley. It’s not enough to compete the Super Shotgun, Gauss Cannon, or Chaingun. Cacodemons and Summoners can already be instakilled with a well-placed Precision Bolt. It’s also suicidal at close range, which is exactly what the big meat boys charge into.

The Rocket Launcher’s unique niche is to quickly kill groups of humanoid enemies. Late missions consist of arenas that spawn multiple waves, mixing humanoids and big guys. The launcher, particularly with the Remote Detonation evolution, is particularly good at killing humanoids with splash damage, requires very little aim, and can be used without exposing yourself. It easily supersedes the scoped Assault Rifle at this job. It also has good stopping power; while big guys require multiple rockets, said rockets will often stop their charge or briefly stop them from shooting you.

Gauss Cannon

Both Gauss Cannon upgrades let you charge a more powerful shot, with similar charge times and damage values.

Precision Bolt is for long range, with a scope. A fully-charged Precision Bolt headshot instakills Hell Knights, Summoners and Cacodemons. Note that the Cacodemon weak spot is their eye, not the entire body. When upgraded, it doesn’t impede your movement, but does impede aiming sensitivity, which is awkward at close range and even midrange. The mastery upgrade makes the victims explode, instakilling humanoid enemies in proximity, making the weapon useful against all targets.

Siege Mode is for midrange, without a scope. Some enemies that die from a single Precision Bolt headshot also die from a single Siege Mode body shot; examples include Cacodemons, Summoners, Revenants, and possibly more. It also one-shots Pinkies in the mug, the only non-BFG weapon that does. Unlike Precision Bolt, it impedes your movement while charging; you can work around this by hiding around corners, which you should be doing anyway. The wide beam makes it less accuracy-dependent than Precision Bolt. It doesn’t impede aiming sensitivity, but does impede movement, which is risky at close range.

The Gauss Cannon is very well-rounded and works against all targets at all ranges, as long as you have decent accuracy. The only problem is ammo. Depending on your ammo capacity, it ranges from 10 to 23 shots for normal or Precision Bolt, and from 5 to 11 shots for Siege Mode. Upgrading the ammo capacity, using the Chainsaw, and using the Ammo Boost rune help make it more spammable. Late-game arenas also have more ammo lying around.


Mobile Turret has a (short) deployment time and impedes movement, but eliminates the spin-up time and greatly increases the fire rate. It deals very high single target DPS. Unlike the unmodded Chaingun, it doesn’t impede your aim sensitivity.

Gatling Rotator appears to be inferior to Mobile Turret in every way. It still has a spin-up time, still impedes your aim sensitivity, and doesn’t have enough DPS to compete with other guns.

The Chaingun is supposed to have high single target DPS against big enemies. Unfortunately for the Chaingun, this niche doesn’t need filling. Mancubuses are easy to avoid, Summoners are evasive, and the other big guys tend to rush into close range, asking for the Super Shotgun. The Chaingun also requires you to stay exposed while shooting while lacking any splash effects, risking getting crossfired. The Rocket Launcher is much better against enemy groups, and the Stun Bomb trivializes isolated targets regardless of your weapon choice.

BFG 9000

You find this gun about halfway through the game. It can instagib large groups of enemies.

The BFG shoots a slow projectile that damages all enemies around it and deals large damage on impact, kinda like the Quake 2 version. For better results, maximize the travel time by shooting into empty space rather than enemies or walls.

Maximum ammo is always 3, unaffected by suit upgrades. Starting with Mission 8 where you find it, each mission has a handful of BFG charges, so you get to use it sparingly. I don’t know if chainsawing enemies can produce BFG ammo. The rough rule of thumb is that large arena-style rooms that spawn waves of enemies with often have a BFG charge. Some later-game arenas have more than one charge. The upgraded Ammo Boost rune gives all enemies, including zombies, a chance of drop a BFG charge regardless of how they die. This is handy if you find yourself relying on the BFG, and is the only way to replenish BFG charges in early missions.

Best targets for the BFG are whatever tends to kill you. Even the biggest enemies are easy prey to the Stun Bomb; enemies are more dangerous in numbers, particularly if the arena layout allows them to crossfire you. If you find yourself overwhelmed and cornered, the BFG guarantees breathing room to regain control of the fight.

The BFG doesn’t instakill bosses, but deals serious damage and briefly stuns them, which is handy for interrupting hard-to-avoid attacks. Bosses occasionally drop BFG ammo in addition to all the other ammo they disgorge when damaged, so hoarding all 3 charges is basically wasting it.


That’s all for now. Read the accompanying post Game Impressions: Doom 2016, and have fun!

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