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Not So MMO: Quake Champions - When You Suck But Have Fun Anyway…

Previews By William Murphy on May 02, 2017

Quake Champions - When You Suck But Have Fun Anyway…

Quake Champions is finally letting the press folks talk about their time in Closed Beta, and we’re happy to report that we’re absolutely terrible at the game. Normally, this wouldn’t be something we’d celebrate, but that’s the thing about Quake… its breakneck speed and over the top action mean that even when you’re dying every few seconds you’re likely still going to have a good time. Read on for our first impressions.  Be sure to grab a key for future beta tests in our giveaway HERE too.


Quake purists and vets aren’t too happy about Quake Champions bringing the “hero” form of gameplay into what has always been an “everyone is equal” shooter. The “Champions” part of the name refers to the fact that instead of playing a character that’s just like every other player’s character, in Quake Champions you’re choosing from a cast of fighters that each has their own strengths and weaknesses.

I was a little torn by this, at first. It’s obviously the in thing to make a Hero Shooter, but could it work for Quake? I think, at least initially, the answer is yes. Each Champion has its own ups and downs, speed, shields, health, etc. And to top it off, each one has their own special skills. Slash, my personal roller-derby favorite, leaves behind a damaging trail with her hover-skates than can also be detonated to absolutely wreck enemies in her wake. Visor gets a temporary wall hack, Ranger gets a teleport, and so forth.

The unique skills work for each character, and in my experience, I can’t say any felt overpowered. What seems to be a “miss” with the Champions direction of the game is the notion of different stats between characters. Quake was always about skill over stats, and I personally think the game would be better served by letting all Champions have the same health, speed, and shield. The special skills are more than enough to make the battles interesting.

Quake was one of the pioneers in Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch gameplay in shooters, so it makes sense that these are the beta’s two primary modes of play. No Payloads here. TDM, a Free for All DM, and Duel mode are all available in the beta. The last one is a 1v1 play mode where you pick a team of three characters and fight to the death against another player’s three chosen champions. While the TDM is the highlight, the Duel mode felt like it could be its own sport in the competitive scene, with loads of potential for team comp and strategy.

There’s also a Sacrifice game mode coming, where your team tries to hold onto a Sacrifice Point on the map, and choose when to “activate” the extra points it earns as you kill the other team. It was not yet in the beta, and we’re told it’s still undergoing development.

There are tons of achievements and customizations in Quake Champions, as the game takes a page from the Overwatches and Paladins of the world with different tiers of loot boxes rewarded at different intervals and available for purchase. New character skins, shaders, profile icons, and so forth are all begging to be earned as you play the game and add to your frag count. And of course, Champsions can be bought with in-game earned currency or right off the bat with real money. Everyone starts with the classic Ranger, and in beta we were given some currency to easily test and play other Champions.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed Quake Champions, even if the video embedded here proves just how absolutely horrible I am at the game. It speaks a lot that someone as awful at competitive shooters like me would want to keep playing. The fact that Quake doesn’t punish you for dying by keeping you out of the action longer than a few seconds is part of this. I keep playing because I feel like I’m learning, I’m slowly getting better and figuring out what weapons and tactics work for me. I’ll never beat some of these guys, but I’ll be damned if I don’t take a few people with me when I go down.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.