Hey all,

I have always been interested in the difference in perceptions between old gamers and modern gamers when it comes to a game like QC which is trying to bridge that gap. I have a friend who is exactly that, a young modern gamer, but he is also very analytical and critical of games. I asked him to give QC a try and just give me some of his impressions. I'll leave what he wrote here:

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Quake Champions critique

I was recently asked by a fan of Quake to give my view on why Quake Champions was struggling to attract new players and to retain the players it did attract. Having purchased the champions pack and played the game, I am not really surprised that the game is struggling to grow its player base. From the start of my experience with the game to the end, I ran into problem after problem that made me wonder why I wasnít playing another FPS game that I enjoyed more than this game. Having said all that, Iíd like to take this opportunity to highlight the issues I found with the game and what I feel like potential solutions may be.

Visibility in the marketplace

Prior to being introduced to this game by an acquaintance, I had never heard of Quake Champions. Iíd heard of Quake and Doom sure, but not QC. I asked people I play other FPS games with if theyíd heard of it they also hadnít. Perhaps the game is not being widely advertised during its pre-release phase and the developers will increase the advertising reach upon launch. Either way, I thought it was worth mentioning.

Tutorial

The opening sequence of the tutorial covers the basics of movement and the different types of pickups that can be found in the arenas, nothing particularly exciting. The main issue I have with the tutorial is that the weapons, their differences and their optimal use cases are so poorly covered. This seems like a major oversight considering that the use of these weapons is the core gameplay mechanic. This is most clearly exemplified by the shooting range which has the same target setup for each weapon. Perhaps more concerning than what the tutorial is teaching you poorly is what it doesnít teach at all. Specialised movement mechanics are mysteriously missing from the tutorial, although more observant players will notice mention of these mechanics in the passive abilities of certain champions. Having said that, the abilities of champions, how to use them and how to charge them were also missing from the tutorial which seems kind of important for a game named ďChampionsĒ.

Queue Times

Itíd be amiss of me not to mention just how bad the queue times are as an Australian player, but I do appreciate that I donít get put onto high latency servers.

Gameplay

One of the most jarring experiences in the game is shooting at another player and having your weapon forcefully switched when you werenít expecting it. Weapon swap on pickup is great when you deliberately step onto a weapon platform and really frustrating outside of that. I am aware that auto weapon swap is an option in the settings, but itís on by default and rightfully so. There are however some changes I would make to the way auto weapon swap works. Firstly, if the player is currently firing their weapon the game shouldnít auto swap. Too many times I have been waling backwards only to accidentaly step on a weapon pickup that requires a totally different aim style. Secondly, if a player already has the weapon in question, the game shouldnít switch to it. If I already have it and Iím not already using it, chances are that thereís a reason for it. These changes should help newer players maintain better control over which weapon theyíre using.
Speaking of controlling which weapon is being used, weapon management is a huge hurdle for a newer player to overcome. There are only two small UI changes Iíd suggest as improvements. First, add the melee weapon the line-up on the right. Second, add the option to have the bound key for each weapon (1-8 by default). Together I think these changes would help new players switch to the weapon they want to use more efficiently.

A Sense of Pride and Accomplishment

As much of a meme as the phrase is, itís important that players feel like theyíre achieving something whilst playing. If the reward for the work is insufficient, then players are less inclined to continue to play. So, what is the payout in QC? Where is the sense of accomplishment? To be honest, I have no idea. Looking at competing FPS titles and where players get that satisfaction is a good place to start. In Overwatch the matches are centred around objectives. Completing those objectives is in my eyes a major source of that accomplishment. The next major sense of accomplishment is unlocking the cosmetic youíve been working towards. So since, deathmatch and team deathmatch have no major objectives letís look at Call of Duty. Call of Duty knows full well that TDM provides no real goal to work towards. So how does CoD provide that sense of accomplishment? Level restricted unlocks. Allowing players to level moderately quickly and gain small rewards for doing so means youíre never that far from the next little reward until you get to the ďbigĒ reward of prestiging before you do it all over again. So, what does QC provide? I would say nothing. In fact, itís significantly worse than nothing because unless you put money into the game, you canít even unlock champions permanently. As far as I can tell, thereís nothing to work towards in this game and thatís not good for player retention. It could be argued that the cosmetics you can unlock are something to work towards, but I donít becauseÖ I Donít Particularly Care About the Champions, And Iím not talking about their stats and abilities, because those do matter. What Iím talking about is the stories behind the champions. The champions are their own people, not avatars for the player. Despite this the entire character is condensed into their appearance and a handful of voice lines (selection, game start and respawn). I even tried to find out more about the champions in game, but the lore codex is locked behind random drops. If people donít care about the characters, they wonít care about the cosmetics. Furthermore, itís not even hinted at, let alone openly conveyed that the characters (or at least some of them) come from other games. If it wasnít for Doom Slayer I wouldnít have noticed because I havenít played any of the games these characters are from and even having played QC Iím not particularly motivated to. If players care about the character theyíre more likely to play the game the character is from. For examples of this, see Heroes of the Storm which I have no doubt has encouraged a lot of fans of one Blizzard game to at least try other Blizzard Games. Overall, the characters just seemed to be poorly expressed in QC.

Final Thoughts

There isnít anything wrong with QC that canít be fixed. Some of the issues are quick fixes and others will take major development work to be rectified. Having completed what I bought the game to accomplish itís extremely unlikely that Iíll invest any more time into playing it until the progression system is revised and even then I would be hesitant to pick it back up. As for recommending it others, unless youíre particularly interested in an arena shooter Iíd give it a miss until either it goes free to play or they fix the progression system.