Shit Quake Players Say
The following is a mini rant on how dense Quakers can be at times.
Today I’ve stumbled upon a twitter rant by one of Quake’s more prominent casters, Ketchup. He got triggered about someone roasting his casting ability on YouTube comments. Now, I’ve really only watched him cast once, at QuakeCon 2017 and I don’t even remember how I felt about it. Therefore, I can’t say if he can cast or not but I do get it. When you pour in the hours and effort in to something, it’s not really great to see some random twerp insulting you and taking a big dump on all the work that you’ve put in. Still, the general thought is that you should be bigger than that and not give the prick the satisfaction to see his comments made an impact on you. Still, Ketchup’s tweet is not really the point, it’s the reply from one of current players on Myztro roster, Dooi.
Here we have the actual statement that made me write this: “ Quake is so hard it will scare off many.” Welcome to Quake Bubble, a place disjointed from reality and common sense. In this bubble Quake is still the epitome of skill, the hardest game to master, the game that when mastered gives you unparalelled advantage over anyone else playing any other FPS games.
Now let’s do a reality check and see what actually happened when Quakers decided to move to most recent, new IP — Overwatch. Right, nothing happened. Aside from winz, every other Quake pro that gave OW a shot isn’t even worthy enough to be a footnote in that game’s history. Well ok, Cooller did win that DreamHack with Misfits. A LAN with almost no top OW teams at the time, but still — win is a win and let’s treat it as such.
So to sum up: out of whole echelon of Quake pros that gave OW a legit shot, only 2 players actually achieved something. And apparently that game’s supposed to be dead easy and stoopid and everyone thought they’d just roll over the competition given how advanced and more skilled Quake is. Whoops. But ok, yeah, we didn’t like that game, we didn’t care. Ok, apology accepted.
Let’s move on to the actual presumption, a hypothesis if you will: “Quake is so hard that it turns off casual players”.
What? Yep, apparently so. Apparently Counter-Strike is child’s play, Dota 2 a walk in the park… And what to say about StarCraft, the first and only real e-sport for a long time? Well pfff. And that’s just to name a few games. The difficulty of the game is not the issue here. All of the aforementioned games are at least as hard to get in to as Quake is, if not harder. In the end, a game’s skill ceiling is not determined by the game itself, it’s determined by how good the next guy plays and how far players are able to take it. There’s no code in games that prevents you to be as good as you can be and push the limit and innovate.
So why is Quake Champions played by a couple of thousand players at best and other games in span of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands? Or to rephrase, why Quake won’t be as popular anytime soon? For me, it’s not the toxic community or difficulty of the game or lack of something new or any other spin you might’ve heard from Quake community figures. Why do I think this way?
Let’s take community for example, Dota 2 is obnoxious people 90% of the matchmaking games I’ve played in, CS:GO the same. Quake players seem like rose petals compared to people that inhabit matchmaking games in those games. What about difficulty? Covered that point already, the games mentioned above are at least as hard to get in to as Quake is. How about no new concepts, modes or what not in Quake? Or should I say, Quake being stale and all that? StarCraft 2 — same old core game on a new engine. Dota 2 — same old game on a new engine (up until recently at least). CS:GO? Same thing.
All of these games kept the core intact more or less, and built on top of that, by adding new features like matchmaking (we’re talking 2010 here), improving user experience, giving players something to do in the game when they don’t actually want to play it, providing them with features that help with learning the game. Quake Champions has a shoddy tutorial system and mildly retarded bots, whole game feels like it was crammed together with random ideas that have no common points. It’s a Venn diagram that doesn’t intersect anywhere.
For me, the game doesn’t have any real direction. It’s like they just keep adding stuff for the sake of it and it’s not enjoyable. I mean the ranked modes don’t even have unranked counterparts where you could practice before going in to the game. Apparently the reason for that is so the unranked player pool doesn’t cut in to ranked matchmaking. Here’s an idea, how about not adding 10 random arcade game modes no one will play anyway before you have a player base that can sustain ranked play and it’s unranked counterpart?
To me it’s pretty clear, only ones to blame for Quake Champions not being popular are people over at id Software. And their most important fuck up was Quake 4, the game that was supposed to pick up players from Quake 3 and transition them over to a new game. Unfortunately the multiplayer was a mess and everyone went back to Q3 before Q4 managed to become a good game.
Next up was Quake Live. For a browser game, they could’ve integrated anything they wanted — from stats to social features. The game even had players at the start, but ultimately it was Quake 3 in a browser, where browser served just as a means to launch the game and had no other functionalities. They ripped out matchmaking from the game, along with leaderboards, etc just before it exited beta. Apparently it was too much work and not worth the hassle as for example matchmaking doesn’t do anything to retain the players according to one of Quake Live’s developers.
Unfortunately, players just went away from Quake after Quake Live turned out to be nothing special. The 12 years of void in Quake universe really left it’s mark. It made Quake irrelevant in today’s gaming world. It left Quakers with no game and player base to ease the transition to a modern Quake game when the time finally came with Quake Champions.
StarCraft also had a long break between new titles, but it had and still has a strong community in TeamLiquid, Korean e-sports heritage and more importantly — it didn’t have mediocre releases in between that would dilute the player base and have them move on to a completely different game. CS community had Source along with 1.6 still being popular to hold the critical mass of players together needed for when something new lands. You get my point.
Quake had nothing. Not only it didn’t have a significant player base that would move to a new title when the time comes, but the Quake brand itself faded and lost all “star power” to the point of it not being able to attract anyone new to the game just on the premise of it being Quake. And the blame is solely on id Software. No one else, specially not the community (or what was left of it) that was willing to take the bait even with QC, a game that can’t be further away from what Quake is.
To wrap it up — Quake isn’t so hard it turns off people. Quake is too irrelevant to attract anyone new. Quake’s e-sport scene is too miniscule to attract competitors/pros from other games with well established scenes and developed infrastructure. Quake is not Quake enough anymore to get the old player base back. That is, in my opinion, the only truth and until something drastic happens it will stay that way.
It also turns out this wasn’t a mini rant after all.