Written By: Steve Vegvari
Quake Champions is still a very young competitive title. Up until 2017, Quake players would have to travel to QuakeCon or attend grassroots LAN events to get their fix of Quake.
Now, Quake Champions has begun to fill the void and deliver a online twitch-shooter. In its infancy, Quake Champions struggled with finding an audience. Dedicated Quake fans grew to love the arena-based shooter, however the audience never broke out of its own bubble.
That is until Bethesda’s E3 conference. Joshua Boyle; the community manager of Quake Champions came out and announced a free-to-play window, where players can download the game and have access to all features after the fact. Boyle also spoke on how the development team is determined to keep supporting Quake Champions as “the original eSport”. Id Software will continue to support the title at competitions such as QuakeCon and Dreamhack Winter. This initiative goes into the game as well. A promise of new characters, features and arenas was made and will continue to roll out.
As Quake Champions dropped it’s price, the player count steadily rose. More players were incentivized to give the game a shot. I was able to speak to “Phaze” about his thoughts on the prospects being brought to the game.
Q: To begin, can you give us a introduction to yourself and your eSports background?
A: My name is Wiktor, I go by “Phaze”. I started playing Quake Champions when it first came out. I had never played Quake competitively until the release, playing Quake 3 only for fun. When Quake Champions came out, I was lucky enough to be seen by one of the pro players of Myztro gaming.
He introduced me to the team and that is how I began playing Quake Champions professionally. That was is about a month after Quake Champions had launched, so in September of last year. Shortly after I attended my first LAN event which was ESWC.
Q: Since Quake Champions launched in August of last year, how has the game evolved?
A: It has evolved plenty. I look at what it is now compared to before, there is a big difference. With Champion and weapon balance, the overall game itself, and it is being played right now. The massive difference is the newer players. It is so new-player friendly than it used to be. Before, you would be matched with skilled players and that was it. You would sometimes go 0-20. The community did not like it. Now, the release of free-to-play is matching players with their own skill level.
Q: Has the free trial of Quake Champions opened the gateways to a lot of players? Have you seen increased chatter about the game in your communities?
A: It kind of blew up. During the first two weeks, it went from a couple thousand players to almost 20’000 players. I’m a streamer myself so I will usually get 100 people when I player Quake Champions, and the number of viewers exploded too. Follower count went up as well. People were going crazy for the game. It was awesome seeing that players did not have to worry about getting matched above their skill level.
Looking at Steam charts, the game is retaining a lot of these players. There is a lot more balance, and alot more fun for the players so they stay. Even streamers like DrDisRespect and Lirik play Quake Champions. In the beginning, you could tell there was a learning curve for them, but they began getting a hang of it. The chat blew up and wanted them to continue playing and streaming the game. Seeing this happen to Quake is really amazing.
Q: During Bethesda’s E3 conference, the community manager ensured that a continued stream of content would release. As a professional player, do you have any ideal features in mind you would like to see?
A: There is one feature, and it might sound a bit silly but timeout feature. Timeout used to be an old Quake feature. For example, when you are playing a LAN event and your mouse stops working, at the moment you can’t stop the game. You are unable to pause the game if the admin needs to do something. I also think it comes to content. We need more maps at the moment. I know the developers are working very hard and are preparing Capture The Flag. I would also like to see a new gamemode for new players. Something like Freestyle or Instagame Freestyle.
Q: Bethesda also mentioned that new Champions would be arriving. Are there any traits or Hero archetypes you are hoping to see?
A: You know there is one character that most of the community want. It is Orbb. He’s just an eyeball that squeaks when he jumps and is a very lovable character. Over on Reddit and different forums, people just want to see Orbb come into the game. I think id Software might be working on something like this. I know there is a new character coming out before QuakeCon. The only thing I can say is for readers to visit the new Quake Champions trailer. Just watch the entire trailer and you will see the new character coming.
Q: Are you planning on attending QuakeCon this year? What are you anticipating the most?
A: We are actually having talks with an organization and will hopefully be going to QuakeCon under their banner. I anticipate playing as the new Champion. If you look at it from a competitive perspective, every time a Champion comes out the meta changes. The abilities he may have will be a really big gamechanger. If they drop it before QuakeCon it gives people time to practise. Some players may not even use him. But in the tournament, you could be at a disadvantage if you are not use to the Champions playstyle.
Q: Where can people keep up with you online?
About The Author: Steve Vegvari
Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His enthusiasm and adoration of the video game industry go back to the days of SNES. Find him on Twitter and join in on the escapades.