18 is a difficult age, especially for a child prodigy. Even in its game-womb, Quake was praised as the greatest FPS ever. As a baby, all came to coo over it. But by the time it hit high school, people had already turned on poor little Quake. “You used to be cool,” they’d sneer, “what happened to you?” Quake’s early teens were difficult. But then! 18 years old! The series can drink and smoke and go to university and a new city and pretend it’s whoever it wants to be! They’ll like it now!
The latest Quake Live update has added starting weapon loadouts, auto-bunnyhopping, unified ammo packs, and timers for item respawns. You’ll like it now.
“While Quake will always be a home to the competitive base, we have often longed for a wider audience who could experience, appreciate, and fall in love with all that it has to offer,” producer Adam Pyle explained in yesterday’s announcement. So they’re trying something a bit different.
These changes come with a new default ruleset for Quake Live, changing a lot of how Quake has worked for yonks. Duel mode still uses the traditional rules, mind, and subscribers can create olde-style servers for any mode for everyone to join. But here’s a big list detailing the new hotness:
Players may now hold jump to continuously jump. Players may now hold forward and jump to ‘bunny hop’, allowing them to slowly gain up to 2x their base movement speed. Introduced Loadouts in select modes; allowing players to select one Primary Weapon (hmg, rl, lg, rg) and one Secondary Weapon (sg, gl, pg, mg). Added the command “weapon toggle” to toggle between your Primary and Secondary weapons. Defaults to “f” for new users. Unified weapon respawn time to 5 seconds across all game modes. Unified friendly fire, disabled across all game modes. Added global Ammo Packs, in lieu of weapon specific ammo, where each pack grants you a small amount of ammo for each weapon in your inventory. Reduced ammo respawn time from 40 seconds to 10 seconds. Added in-world item timers for “major” items, including armors, megahealth, power-ups, and medkit. Items have taller pickup collision boxes, so that players will not miss items as they jump over them. Added Power-up Spawn POIs, that appear 10 seconds before a power-up spawns. Added Power-up POIs, that indicate when an available power-up is available in the arena.
Gasp! Shock! Horror! The update also adds a new heavy machinegun weapon, weapon damage number popups, and other new things. New, new, new, it’s all so new. Weapon loadouts are merely starting weapons, do note, rather than a hard limit. That auto-bunnyhopping is slower than proper strafe-jumping too, so players do have incentive to learn.
It’s not the Quake I knew and loved, but I haven’t played that in a decade so I’m not sure I can complain. Quake Live obviously isn’t the stonking success id Software and ZeniMax had hoped for. It hasn’t found the new audience they’d wanted–or even the old one really. As Quake Live’s Steam launch approaches, perhaps this will help it find a new audience and be a gateway to Good Old Proper Quake. Perhaps not. The world has an awful lot of F2P FPSs and not many Quakes.