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Here's how Doom avoids splitting up players with its new premium map

A free update arrives this week with new modes, followed by the first premium DLC next week.

Another big free update arrives for Doom July 29, and will be followed shortly after by the game's first premium downloadable content. That consists of, (in part) new maps, something that could be problematic for the game's player base, but developer id Software has a plan to avoid that.

Typically when a multiplayer game receives premium DLC maps, it breaks up the user base -- those without the DLC can't play with those who do have it except on servers only running the original maps. That will still be the case in Doom, but it avoids splitting up groups of friends. Through a feature id calls PartyPlay, Doom allows people who don't own the DLC to play on the DLC maps as long as they're in a party with someone who does own it.

This first DLC pack Unto the Evil consists of three new multiplayer maps, a demon (the Harvester), a weapon (the EMG Mark V pistol), a piece of equipment (the Kinetic Mine), armor, hack modules and more. All of this is usable in existing maps and modes. You can get a quick glimpse at it toward the end of the trailer above. It arrives August 5 for $15 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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Bethesda Softworks

The primary focus of the video is on the free update coming July 29. This adds a pair of new modes, both of which are playable on existing and future maps. The first mode is Exodus, a one-flag capture-the-flag game where the flag and each team's base is constantly moving; the second is Sector, a territory mode where you try to capture zones and hold onto them.

The update also introduces new SnapMap functionality, such as customizable weapon wheels and jump pads, new modules, more weapons, another playable demon (the Mancubus) and more. While this will be available tomorrow, id said it will provide a full list of detailed changes next week.

Additionally, this weekend marks Doom's first-ever double XP event. From July 29 at 12 p.m. ET until August 1 at 12 p.m. ET, all players will level up twice as quickly.

Tomorrow's update is the second big one since launch, with the first adding a photo mode, a way to position your weapon in the middle of the screen (like in classic FPSes), and more. More recently, id Software introduced Vulkan support on PC, improving performance for anyone with capable hardware. Future updates will bring free-for-all multiplayer modes, a scoring system for the campaign and other new features.