In a new extensive interview with Russian esports site GoodGame.ru
, Quake Champions
Executive Director Tim Willits revealed
several important details for the game and its future in esports, including:
- Quake Champions will be featured in a tournament at QuakeCon 2017
- All future Champions will be free with a purchase of the full game
- Team gamemode 'Sacrifice' (and Duel) is being built for esports
- Ranked matchmaking will be for both Duel and team gamemodes
- Anti-cheat measures are being put into place with a third party organization
- Another classic map will make its return to QC
- Closed beta will start in the next few weeks
"So. Yes. We are committed to have a large e-sports presence. We can not announce any partnerships right now, but we're talking to all of the big esports companies, I mean we were just in Poland, Katowice IEM which is ESL's event. So we're definitely talking to the different companies, we want to make a game esports-friendly, spectacular, with different spectating features and we want to have a game modes that are esports-friendly, and we feel, after talking to a lot of pro players, that the one versus one (Duel) is something that is missing in the first-person esports scene. As well as one esports game mode which we're currently working on (Sacrifice) based on a feedback from some number of pro players. So yes, we very, you know, we very focused on e-sports. Quake has a long history of e-sports and we definitely want to work with a number of partners to ensure that we will have as many tournaments as possible."
' Volodin has made the interview in its entirety available for ESReality
goodgame.ru: So let's start then! Very first question is about PAX East 2017. PAX is the first event where Quake Champions was shown so massively, any participant could take a seat and play Quake. What is the feedback from the community?
Tim Willits: We've brought the game to PAX East this weekend which was a lot of to us. The overall feedback that I heard was that: "It is still Quake!", which is really important to us, because we want it to ensure, that we stay true the the Quake's, you know, the spirit and core. So the people had sat down and said "Wow, movement is so good!", "Wow, weapons are so familiar!", all that cores are like Quake. And we have got many responses, and you can see it all online, like "Champions did not change the way that you play", that "it is still Quake", it was good for people to see, you know, how the Champions' abilities added to overall game experience. So, I've been very happy with this feedback from the show this weekend.
gg.ru: Okay, very nice. Now you have the feedback from the PAX participants, what will you advantage with it?
Willits: There are some things we want to adjust. A lot of feedback that we want to take action on actually came from some of the pro players, that played it. Like for instance, we had a game at Katowice, Poland, about two weeks ago, and we had a number of pro esports players who played it. And some of the feedback from them was like, you know, they wanted some adjustments to a team game modes, they gave us some very specific responses about movement techniques, they wanted weapon switching to be faster, so they gave helpful thing we wanted to address.
And then, in the next few weeks, we are going to the closed beta, and it will be a small closed beta, then we will have able people to play the game for longer that just at the show, and hopefully we can gather more feedback and make changes to the game. We are committed that we are listening to our fans and we are trying to make the game as best as possible.
gg.ru: Okay, that is very nice. So. The closed beta is very close, right?
Willits: Yes, yes, yes! If you go to quakechampions.com and sign up, we should invite you with some other people in a few weeks. So stay tuned, it is coming ip closer. But, remember, it is gonna be small and it gonna be growing. And we will kepp inviting people because we want to test the infrastructure, we want to test a backend, we want to test a game modes and the Champions balance. So we will grow closed beta over time.
gg.ru: One more little question about closed beta. Can you say how many people already signed up for the beta?
Willits: Oh yeah. I actually have that number, but it is a lot. We've been very happy of signed number, it was an amazing for us. So we definitely have enough people for all our plans on beta. As I said we want to test a backend, we want to test the server integrity, will servers crash when many people get connected to. We want to test progression, the balance of the Champions make sure that not one Champion is more powerful. We will definitely grow closed beta numbers over time, but we've very happy we have so many signs so far.
gg.ru: So could you throw a bit of light about range of signed people - is it hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands? How many?
Willits: Oh. again, I will not talk about numbers. But I will tell you this. Guess what country after the United States has more beta signups than another country in the world? I will tell you. Russia.
gg.ru: We all are waiting for the closed beta till Quake Champions was annonuced for the first time and Russia has a huge quake community, even bigger than in US. Okay, now I'm going to ask you a set of big questions about the plans of Quake Champions and mostly about e-sports plans. Will Quake Champions be promoted to the third-party e-sports organizations like ESL or whatever, or it will more involed to the Quakecon and related events?
Willits: So. Yes. We are committed to have a large e-sports presence. We can not announce any partnerships right now, but we're talking to all of the big e-sports companies, I mean we were just in Poland, Katowice IEM which is ESL's event. So we're definitely talking to the different companies, we want to make a game esports-friendly, spectacular, with different spectating features and we want to have a game modes that are esports-friendly, and we feel, after talking to a lot of pro players, that the one versus one (Duel) is something that is missing in the first-person esports scene. As well as one esports game mode which we're currently working on (Sacrifice) based on a feedback from some number of pro players. So yes, we very, you know, we very focused on e-sports. Quake has a long history of e-sports and we definitely want to work with a number of partners to ensure that we will have as many tournaments as possible.
gg.ru: So you've said about competitve game modes and ranked matches, could you please giva a little more information about. What the modes will be?
Willits: You will be able to play ranked matches. Both TDM and duel modes, and we have a new e-sports mode called "Sacrifice" which one guy of pro e-sports players played at Quakecon and fold it said we need to change it at all (hehe). So, actually we work on the game mode based on what pro players told us to do. That mode is an objective-based gamemode. And we hope pro players will play "Sacrifice" and duels. And classic TDM for sure.
gg.ru: What about automatic matchmaking. If I, for example, want to play rated "Sacrifice" match, will I have the option to find an appropriate match automatically?
Willits: We're always and continously improving matchmaking over time, but the first you have to do is a pick a region where you playing in. And then, when you're going to the matchmaking system it will find other players with around you skill, and based on region information where are you playing from it will find a server for you. And initially in
closed beta you will pick a region then matchmaking could start work. Make sense?
gg.ru: Yeah, anything is pretty clear. The next question is about maps and gameplay. The Blood Covenant, for expample, is a reproduced Campgrounds from Quake III. Will we see any other well-known map from previous series of Quake like Blood Run or maybe Aerowalk?
Willits: Oh, that is a great question! So... So, yes! It should be surprise, but yes. We have another classic well-known map that in coming down. I won't tell you which map it is, but I know it is the one you're very familiar with. We have an another duel map that people would be happy to play on.
gg.ru: Nice! Pretty nice, I'm glad to hear it. Any previous Quake has its own physics and gameplay, like, for example, Quake World has bunnyhop, Quake III has strafejumping, etc. And that options any time affect the maps: its design and size, propotions. In that new Quake the Champions have a different set of abilities including different movement styles and speeds. How this problem is being solved?
Willits: That is a very good question. As you said the Champions have a different move styles, for example, Anarki has more air control as Quake World and Ranger has more strafejumping like Quake III. So it is more challenging with the maps. I think, you know, current version of q3dm6, the Blood Covenant that we have, there are some place which Anarki or Slash could reach easier that Clutch can do it. That is a part of playing most Champions. Part of the strategy and a part of the design. We've tried to make a map playable for everyone, but there are number of features that one characters can do and other characters can not do. For example. Q3dm6 railgun area and the bridge. If you're playing Nyx, yeah, you can actually jump, then use an ability "wall-run" and reach the railgun. And get back same route. But you're playing Snorlag you have to use rocketjump to reach the same place. And if you're plaing someone like Anarki you can just accelerate with air control and fly over gap from bridge to railgun. So, based on Champion you're playing for you have to know all options and strategies.
gg.ru: Will we see Quake Champions contest at upcoming Quakecon?
Willits: Oh, yes. Sure. We are definetely want to have a tournament at Quakecon and I've said it at last year's Quakecon. We will talk more about it soon, but yes, we will have tournament at Quakecon with Quake Champions.
gg.ru: Ok, we're all waiting for the event. Now I have my personal set of very technical questions about how the game actually works. If you know, I'm hosting set of Quake Live servers at Saint-Petersburg and Amsterdam, and I am full of curiosity of how game is working.
Willits: Oh, sure. I am not so techician, but I think I am able to answer you. Go on.
gg.ru: Will there a community-managed dedicated servers? I mean can I run my own server of the Quake Champions game?
Willits: Initially we will run the servers. We will run it to be sure that we have servers in the right territories, it is important for us. Because progression is important, because cheating is important, because free-to-play nature is important. So we will actually have to run the servers. You can create a custom game, and you can invite people to play on, but official servers will run and need to be managed by us.
gg.ru: So, make me sure: I will not be able to run "official matchmaking server", because all official infrastructure is under your management, but I am able to run a custom server and play with friends without being rated.
Willits: Yes-yes. We will run doze of matchmaking servers but you will be able to create your own custom one. Yes.
gg.ru: What is "120Hz gameplay" actually? I saw you interview about Rage couple years ago and you said that almost any game runs at 30Hz, but Rage is designed to run at 60Hz, now we're talking about 120Hz. Do you really mean that that quantity of Hertzs is real frequency of game world is being updated? Or it is something esle?
Willits: Oh. The Hertz. So, there is FPS and there is Hertz. And Hertz is a speed at which game makes a decisions. In Quake Champions we are targeting at 120Hz with uncapped frame rate. So game's responsiveness will be as fast as possible, so I believe that how faster your Hertz are that better gameplay experience it will be.
gg.ru: So, does that mean that server will 120 times per second send gamestate packets to the client or is it the client's refresh rate?
Willits: Internet will chuck if you set server's refresh rate to 120Hz. Sure it is on the client's side. It is responsiveness of the client.
gg.ru: What is the very common system requirements for the client side of the Quake Champions? I mean, for exmple, what videocard I must have to feel as full as it is that "120Hz responsivness".
Willits: Well. We haven't quite worked with optimization yet. You know, right now we're focusing on general features, balancing. We haven't started focusing on optimizations. So we really don't have that information. But. We do understand that we have to make it as accessible as possible. So we do our best to run it on a most machines, so when we will have that information with system requirements we will definitely release it.
gg.ru: Actually I have a last one question for today. So, Tim, what about possible cheaters in Quake Champions? You're introducing it as free-to-play, so everyone could play it. You're introducing it as competitive e-sports game with massive e-sports presence. Cheaters will be there. How to prevent cheating or how to fight against them?
Willits: So. We know about the problem and we taking it in the two focused approach. First one is we're trying to move a lot of critical decision making from the client to the server. And then we're cooperating with a service, we haven't announced that yet, but I can tell you that we're working with another companies, also helping us with the anti-cheat. One part is the game site developers working with a company that helping us to make an anti-cheat services, we haven't announced that partnership but we will do it soon.
gg.ru: And in the end of our chat let we discuss the business model of Quake Champions.
Willits: Yes, sure. So game is free-to-play. In free version you're able to play only with Ranger. There is also Champions Pack buying which means buying all the features. Also you may buy single champions for a limited time range or even forever for real money or in-game currency. So you can just download it and start with Ranger or buy features.
gg.ru: Actually, keep me clear, if I buy full Champions Pack does it means that I will have an access to all the Champions even introduced in future?
Willits: Yes. If you're buying the Champions Pack in the very beginning of the game you are getting all the Champions already released in the game, or that will be released as base of the game. So best option for everybody is to buy the Champions Pack. You will get the Champions!
gg.ru: Surely I will buy the Pack.
Willits: Thank you. I very appreciate it.