Quake Live Remains Free, Adds Subs

After eighteen months or so of beta, Quake Live has finally announced its subscription plans. You can still play for free, but you can also sign up for $1.99 a month, or $3.99 a month options (although these are “billed annually”), which give different levels of access the clan management systems, freeze tag, match stats, and so on. The full details are below the cut. In some ways I wish I still had enough time for Quake III for this to be attractive to me, but my monthly hour with the railgun doesn’t really justify it. And, while it’s interesting to see such an old game repackaged and sold like this, much of what made the original so attractive to me – IRC pickup games, specific maps (Spider Crossings!) and mods – hasn’t made an appearance here.

The Premium Subscription, which can be purchased for $1.99 per month, billed annually, includes:

* Access to 20 QUAKE LIVE Premium only maps at launch with more to come. Premium maps are a combination of brand new maps and frequently requested community favorites from previous QUAKE games such as Aerowalk, Theater of Pain, Japanese Castles, and Realm of Steel Rats;
* An all new ‘Freeze Tag’ game mode;
* Exclusive premium level awards;
* Create your own clan and join up to five separate clans;
* Custom QUAKE LIVE profile wallpaper; and
* Match statistics stored for six months.

The Pro Subscription, which can be purchased for $3.99 per month, billed annually, includes all of the premium subscription features as well as:

* The ability to start your own game server, specify a server location, determine the game mode and invite who you want to join you;
* With the Pro Subscription, you can invite three friends with Standard level memberships to play with you in any Premium level map;
* Exclusive pro awards;
* Create your own clan and join up to ten separate clans; and
* Match statistics stored for 12 months.

The QUAKE LIVE ‘Standard’ version is still free to play and includes friend lists, access to one clan, matchmaking, and stats tracking delivered through a web browser with over 40 arenas and five game modes.


  1. FinalSin says:

    It’s nice though. I hope more games get revived like this and left in a nicely playable state, F2P. Theme Park is hard to run at all nowadays without a working knowledge of emulators; yet it’s so simple to play music or watch films from the fifties.

    Got to preserve the history one way or another.

    • Starky says:

      Emulators don’t require much working knowledge these days (for the older stable ones at least), but I’d love a HD revamp of Theme Park.

      I’d drop £5 for that in a heartbeat (just the original as it was with touched up art and resolution support), for £10 I’d expect it to be very HD indeed (all new art), with cool extra’s.

  2. Unaco says:

    I’m still waiting for it to get some Chrome support. I deleted the shortcuts to IE and FireFox from my desktop… and can’t be bothered hunting them out… so can’t get it running. Not that much of a loss… I was always more of a UT fan anyway.

    Reaction to this (from the few Q3 ‘pr0’s’ I speak to) was somewhat muted.

    • Theory says:

      Good news everyone, it’s there! I had to go to about:plugins and disable the version I already had before I could update to the newer one, but having done that (and enabled it again afterwards, obv.) it’s up and running.

  3. capt_dizzy says:

    I’ve been playing QL since it first went live and this update is sorely needed though totally inadequate. It’s pretty clear that ID lost interest in QL because for the past 6 months there has been no response to the community of players’ requests. No new maps (except a lame christmas one). No cool mods. No private hosted servers. No fixing the awful kick/ban system. No new American server locations. The game really has suffered from a lack of care and a new payment system with a few new maps isn’t going to solve this. I still play it for the love of an old near perfect game, but QL desperately needs a real commitment from ID to thrive.

    • Starky says:

      Keep in mind that id are in the crunch-time for Rage right now, so they may not have lost interest, they simply may not have the time/manpower to do anything about it. id is not a huge company after all, in fact they’re pretty small as modern AAA dev houses go.

    • Zogtee says:

      id disintegrated years ago, imo. They push out a game occasionally, but they never reach a fraction of the popularity that Doom and Quake had. I don’t think Rage will go far either.

      Carmack and Romero should get back together, pick up Paul Steed on the way, ditch id, and strike out on their own.

  4. DrGonzo says:

    I seem to remember John Carmack saying that free to play doesn’t work and Quake Live has proved it.

    That is flawed. Quake 3 was crap. Quake Live is crap.

    • Nick says:

      Yes, its more like ‘most people have moved on from Q3 and did so years ago’.

    • JonFitt says:

      Yeah, I liked Q3 at the time, but just can’t see myself going back to it ever.

      It’s like your old favourite climbing frame: it was a perfect piece of play equipment, but now it’s too small, and doesn’t seem appealing. You could probably give it a go, but after the rush of nostalgia wore off, you’d feel silly.

    • MD says:

      You guys are philistines. I bet you’ve ‘moved on’ from football and chess too, because they’re rubbish and old.

    • Nick says:

      Nah, I love old games, just really really tired of the quake MP and have been for years.

  5. Daryl says:

    Arena shooters, sadly, are a dead genre. Epic doesn’t care about UT and id doesn’t care about Quake. And there are no developers that I know of that are attempting to make new games in that genre.

    • Mark O'Brien says:

      There’s a bunch of open source ones though, like Nexuiz or WarSSow. Not that I’ve tried them.

    • Mo says:

      Carmack talked about doing a new Quake Arena game using id tech 5, but unfortunately, no publishers were interested. :(

    • Schaulustiger says:

      Sadly, neither Nexuiz nor War§ow ever came close to the perfect, flawless gameplay that Q3 (only in duel mode, to be honest) had.
      I agree that the genre has not evolved for many years, but it’s not dead. Look at ESReality.com, there are quite alot of tournaments for QL and the skill level is amazing these days. It’s on its decline, but slowly and with an enduring, hardcore player base.

      I wonder if deathmatch shooters will – some time – evolve, become a new niche for indie developers and grow in popularity again.

    • Daryl says:

      @Schaulustiger Well the problem isn’t that there aren’t tournaments; there are. For example, UT3 had a lot of money tournaments and yet the worldwide player base for that game was, and remains, extremely small. Tournaments don’t really attract the average player, so I don’t really consider that a sign of how active a community is, or whether or not the game can actually be considered dead.

      The problem is there is no new blood coming into the genre because the learning curve is so steep, and because the people that have been playing are mostly hardened veterans who have been playing for many years, sometimes since the game originally came out. It’s very disheartening to new players to get steamrolled in every server that they play in. This obviously isn’t a problem that’s exclusive to this type of shooter, but combine that with what I said about there not being any new games coming out. Sure, there are indies, but there hasn’t been one that’s reached the level of the big hitters like UT and Quake.

      And since mainstream gaming seems to have lost interest, it’s hard for me to see a bright future.

      Oh yeah, and Rage looks like crap.

  6. Bungle says:

    I tried Quake Live and it didn’t seem to have any type of auto balance. So that didn’t last very long.

    Indie developers are putting out good shooter games! DogFighter and Lead & Gold are two recent examples.

    • Theory says:

      There’s a full ranking system actually, but you have to play a few games while it measures you up.

  7. ScubaMonster says:

    My biggest complaint about Quake Live is that they sanitized it of all gore.

  8. jane says:

    Do you heart the Louis Vuitton handbags before?
    It is a very welcome line today, and it well-like by famous people. It is also a popular product by the west countries. We can see that its pattern is unique, and it is limited production. If you like our LV handbags, especially the
    Replica Handbags that you are prefer to own, please contract us as soon as possible.

  9. Collic says:

    I’ve played a fair bit of quake live, and still dip into it on occasion. It does have it’s problems though…

    Firstly, it is quake 3, and it is a little dated. Not everyone will be interested, free or not. Secondly, a large amount of those who are interested are serous quake players, and have been for years. As such it’s not unusual to get utterly destroyed. The ranking system does a decent job, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of people playing just a tier below them and utterly annihilating the opposition. The skill differences across the tiers are frankly huge.

    And finally, hacking is a bit of problem. Since the game is free there are no consequences to players using obnoxious cheats to troll, or get an edge over people. I wouldn’t say it’s destroying the game, but it is a problem a free game is bound to suffer – get caught? Simply make another account, while trolling the forums.

    I haven’t played in a while, so it could be that some of these problems have lessened over time.

  10. manveruppd says:

    I didn’t notice many cheaters myself, I haven’t touched it for a couple of months but I played it 4-5 times till then (and several times daily in other periods).

    I’m glad they introduced this option, it seems to answer a lot of what people wanted (private servers for their clans to practice in etc).

    Not sure if the premium maps are a good idea tbh, because that segments the playerbase. What happens if you’re in a map rotation that includes some free and some premium maps? Do all the non-paying players get kicked from the server when a premium map comes up? Or are you limited to only playing with other subscribers?

    But anyway, I’m highly tempted to subscribe, not because I desperately want any of the stuff premium subscriptions give me, but because I’ve played this game A LOT (and I played Q3A and especially RA3 a lot for the 11 years before it, making it possibly the best £30 I ever spent!) and $2 a months is literally throwaway money, so they deserve a trickle of support.

    However, if the extra gamemode was Rocket Arena, I’d happily pay up to £5 a month for it and still consider it a steal!

  11. bill says:

    I liked the idea of a free quake live.

    But is it me, or do people now have to pay $50ish a year to get all the features of quake3? A game which you can buy for $1.
    I guess it has ranking or matchmaking advantages, but can’t all the people who want to play it just pick up the original, or OpenQuake and then they can set up their own servers, etc.. right?

  12. hamster says:

    Erm why on earth would they bring back Quake? The game is frickin’ hard to play. Every gun is counter-intuitive to use (except for the machine gun: which you start with: which sucks. Oh and the shottie…?) You got power ups and weapons strewn all over bits of the map and no objective to pursue which means instead of naturally rallying to the objective point with teammates and acting intuitively i.e. (quasi)-tactically, you have to spend time devising your own item grabbing circuit PER MAP. Then there’s the lack of a single player campaign. This is also why games like UT3 failed, although at least UT3 tried to appeal to a more modern day audience by adding in vehicles.

    Bottom line is if they’re gonna make a quake 5 or a doom 5, PLEASE make sure there’s a fun campaign. Get the guys who made painkiller to do it or something – Q4 had less in common with Quake than Painkiller did. Then for multiplayer, include game modes other than TDM; stop scattering weapons and items all over the map (reserve just a few in strategic spots maybe); DO something about the bloody weapons being a pain in the ass to HIT with and instead focus on movement options. Oh and create an objective based mode. And really that’s about it.

    Addendum: one more thing. Market. The. Damn. Game. So people know it’s not the same old same old.

  13. Phydaux says:

    Aaargh, if only I could dip into and out of it. $2 is pocket change, but $24? For a year only. It’s just not worth it. I do love the idea of playing freeze-tag again. Q2 freeze tag is what I was playing the years Q2 faded into the shadow of Q3. Still have my fondest multi-player gaming moments on the FireFox freeze-tag server.