I'd like to preface this by saying that since QuakeCon 2017 was the first event for Quake Champions, it is important to keep in mind that things can only improve from here. As the game finds a footing and the production teams become more well-versed with its nuances, we should be in for better times as spectators. Not to mention other events hosted by other companies (Dreamhack, for example) should come out a better product.
At the same time, this is a different era. Companies and events that become involved in QC should not use the guise of 'learning experience' to take their sweet time in bringing things up to the level we should all expect from an esport production these days. Things have been lagging behind for a while now, especially at QuakeCon events, so if ID Software has plans on QuakeCon becoming The International of our scene, they better speed up their efforts.
The same goes for the on-air teams. Just as how Quake Champions has a been a sort of reset button for the scene and the competitors, it should be a reset for the on-air staff too. Let's not pander to personalities and critique them all equally, whether they are old names from Quake's heyday or new names wanting to ride the wave.
The Quake/ESReality communities have not been forgiving, and for good reason (a discussion for another time). So let's keep that going and channel it into reasonable criticism that helps improve the scene you care about. Stop giving blind support and pats on the back just because "it's Quake".
When watching duel, it is not instantly clear what player you're watching, and it is also not obvious when the POV changes. Having the name in the bottom left isn't doing enough. This needs to be worked on and made more obvious. Also, if we're going with assigning players as blue and red, having more unobtrusive accents on the spectator HUD may help in making things clearer when the POV switches.
ESReality member wata made a post
that is a very good start for what needs to be done.
Speaking of FPS games only, I have always believed that spectating team modes in games that had more degrees of action was a subpar experience (unless you understand how to play them, which is a moot point for discussion). Before anyone says it, past modes like TDM or CTF are also a mess when watching, so I don't think dropping Sacrifice for one of them is a solution. Counter-Strike, Rainbow 6 Siege, and maybe certain modes in modern Call Of Duty, are about as far as it goes for a balanced viewing experience. But when we start pushing it with games like Overwatch, Team Fortress 2, Unreal Tournament and Quake, it becomes a visual mess where at times even the casting is convoluted.
I'd like to be proven wrong though, so here's some feedback:
- Improve observing. Apart from game-related elements such as spectating tools and HUD, there needs to be actual effort put into observing, or even hiring someone proficient, to help improve what the viewers see. This will obviously be very challenging because of the pace of the game, but eliminating dead player screens on stream, as well as using good angles and focusing on the soul when it is being tossed around, would be good first steps.
- Improve commentating. I understand that with time the casters will get better at casting Sacrifice, but they must focus on pace and delivery since I'm sure Sacrifice in QC has slightly different demands from a CSGO or MOBA match. Also, having at least one of the casters have a playing background, or be a current player himself, will help a great deal in making sense out of the situations for the viewers.
While there is no denying that it was too early for the game to make this big esports jump, seeing the game stutter or freeze in a live match is disappointing. Regardless of the root of such problems, the game is in very urgent need of fixing a multitude of technical problems to at least make it pleasant for players, especially since there are more events very soon
- I'd like to add that the death message that says "Fragged by <weapon icon>" with the name underneath should be reworked. In my opinion, the name of the opponent should be part of the "Fragged by" line, and the weapon icon could either be underneath the line or alongside the opponent's name.
- At a future event, it would interesting to hear the comms of the Sacrifice teams in small bits at certain moments. I think it would be an interesting insight to how some top teams play.
- 2GD was on the analyst desk for a short while, but his input was pretty good. I believe he might still be a great fit as an analyst or co-caster. Top level playing background and experiences from a more recent era, along with the ability to put the point across, means that he is already a level above almost all the other analysts/casters at the event. DDK and ZSX were not bad at all, but in my opinion they still have a little work to do.
- This is wishful thinking, but it would be very interesting to see players like CZM, Jibo and Fox to see how they would play QC. Hell, a part of me would be interested even if Fatal1ty gave it a shot.