Quake Champions: The black goat of the arena FPS

In 1996, following the success of Doom and its sequel, id Software released “Quake,” a shooter which also received sequels of varying quality. To many in the gaming community, this series was considered one of the benchmarks of the multiplayer first-person-shooter genre – enjoyable and fluid gameplay, plenty of maps, and mod-ability to boot.

In 2017, id Software brought “Quake” back into the spotlight with “Quake Champions.” With this release came changes to the formula that its predecessors followed. At the time, Blizzard’s “Overwatch” saw success from its release in 2016. Much like that game, “Quake Champions” attempted to implement gameplay elements such as character-based abilities, while having varying health and armor values, along with some different movement styles. Others retained standard “Quake 3: Arena” movement while including the new abilities.

This wasn’t implemented well.

To give some idea of what I mean, let me first explain how standard gameplay works. There are pickups around each map in every “Quake” game: health, armor, and weapons. Health and armor help to increase what’s called the player’s “stack,” or the total health of the player, while each weapon is situational and helps maintain position and control on a map.

So what does this have to do with the abilities presented in “Quake Champions?” It’s simple – a good number of these abilities have the potential to do high amounts of damage and even possibly outright kill an opponent. This would be fine if they were difficult to hit, but that is not the case. In fact, it’s a joke among people in the arena-FPS community that the ability button is called the “delete button.”

That is not a good thing.

This is made more egregious with the new implementation of the relatively popular duel mode. In it, you and one other player fight for 10 to 15 minutes, and the player with the highest number of frags (kills) is the winner. Unlike the previous version of duel that only had one long round, this version consists of a series of five-minute rounds in which people have three lives with different champions. So after three deaths, the round is over. After each round, stacks are reset and everyone is back to three lives, or the person with the best of five rounds wins.

So, rather than having the ability to die and whittle down the player who has map control, now it turns into a very slow-paced drag where the out-of-control player has to play perfectly to even have a chance.

Some more frustrating things that come along with this game are rather sloppy netcode, a very frustrating loot box system, and a rather shocking lack of maps and a map editor with currently only 11 in its map pool as I write this. In comparison, “Quake 3: Arena,” released in 1999, had 30 maps AND a map editor that allowed players to create even more.

I don’t think this is a very good Quake game. I’d honestly recommend “Quake: Live” over this and see what happens when The GD Studio’s “Diabotical” comes out.

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