It’s impossible to recall the history of first-person shooters without the word Quake being mentioned. The series, first released back in 1996 on PC, has come a long way. The newest installment, Quake Champions, was first announced at 2016 E3 and has been steadily gaining hype ever since. Originally considered as an expansion to Quake Live, the newest addition to the series entered a closed beta in 2017. Champions has been in early access ever since, but it’s already becoming very popular in esports.
As of June 7, Bethesda released a massive new patch that added a ton of new features to Quake. The addition of bots (AI-driven combatants) to most game modes add an additional element of flavor. This also helps new players practice their skills and fills in if a teammate disconnects (or rage quits). Which happens quite a lot in online player-versus-player gaming. Bots are now in the updated tutorial as well, giving fresh players a feel for Quake mechanics right off the bat.
A new gore system has also been implemented, making for a much more “colorful” arena. Quake just wouldn’t be Quake without “gibbing” – the process of an enemy exploding into chunks upon death – and Champions came through big on this. Gore may be disabled by default, so players may have to go into options and turn it on.
Bethesda also added multi-mode playlists, meaning that gamers can queue up different game modes. This allows the player to choose which modes they want to play next and switch accordingly. Continuous play flow was also updated, meaning after a match players automatically return to the lobby to queue up for their next battle.
The update also added a killer cam, allowing players to see who fragged them and how much health they have left. Friendly players’ armor and health can also be viewed now in team-based modes. This will allow for better cooperative play among teammates. Quake Champions also received significant tweaks to its progression and loot box systems. The amount of experience gained from matches is significantly increased. In addition, players who join into parties will now enjoy an addition XP boost. Haste potions were also added – consumable in-game items which increase the experience gained per match. In-game items have also had their duplicate rates significantly reduced, meaning that players will gain more items they don’t already have. These changes were implemented to make the game easier on new players and have been received positively so far.
Other updates include updates to the Champion Rental system. The system initially allowed players to “rent” a Champion instead of spending money to buy one. This has been changed, and there is now a rotating selection of free Champions for everyone to play. This selection changes periodically from time to time. In addition, players can now purchase Champions using favor – the currency earned in Quake – so it is possible to own all Champions just by playing. This is a very welcome change, as it no longer places in-game content behind a paywall.
For those unfamiliar to the series, Quake Champions is a fast-paced multiplayer shooter. Players start out with a beginner weapon on a map of their choosing, with allies or by themselves. Scattered throughout the arena are weapon upgrades, power-ups and health tokens. It requires a degree of strategy to collect proper weapons and upgrades to gain the upper hand. Power-ups, ammo and weapons respawn periodically so replenishing your stuff is crucial for success. The objective is to defeat as many enemy players as possible. When a player is killed (see:fragged) they lose all of their gear and respawn with their starting weapon. The enemy team gains a point every time this happens, and enough points signal a victory.
Different playable characters – called “Champions” – have different abilities. These abilities range from Scalebearer’s speed increase to Sorlag’s acid spray attack. A full description of all Champion abilities is listed on Quake Champions‘ wiki page. Abilities are broken down into two types – active and passive. Active abilities, as the name implies, must be activated for use in combat. These are on a cooldown after use and will require some time to pass before the player can re-activate them. Passive abilities remain active constantly, with some including increased jumping ability and health bonuses. This means that whichever Champion someone chooses has distinct differences from the rest. This adds another strategic component to the typical FPS environment.
Another important aspect of Quake Champions to note is the ‘stack’ – your combined armor and health level. Armor power-ups yield an additional amount of health on top of your normal health bar. Maximizing your stack can mean the difference between fragging and getting fragged. In addition, there are also ‘mega-health’ and ‘heavy armor’ power-ups. These grant additional health and armor past your previous capacity – but only temporarily.
Other power-ups include the following:
It has been more than twenty years old, has changed quite a bit – but the series continues to retain its core elements. Much like its predecessors, the game moves at a faster pace than most other FPS titles. There are many factors to consider, from Champion selection to map and power-up farming. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. In fact, there are many guides out there to ensure newer players jump into the action quickly. Despite all of these years, Quake still feels fresh and offers a very challenging experience.
Quake Champions can be purchased in an All-Access pack for $20.
The latest patch notes can be viewed at the official Quake website.
Programmer. Writer. Digital media specialist. A competitive gamer in the sense that I’m competing with the constant urge to throw the controller across the room.