Quake Live Isn't Free-To-Play Any More, And Fans Are Pissed [Updated]

Out of all the games to get patched today, the last thing I was expecting to see was a 1GB patch for Quake Live.

As it turns out, I wasn't the only one. But what nobody saw coming was the fact that the game is no longer free-to-play — and that's not the only disturbing change that's been unleashed on Quake fans this morning.

Without warning or provocation, Quake Live — originally the browser-based free-to-play conversion of the iD multiplayer classic before its re-release, and eventual exclusivity on Steam last year — has become a US$10 game on Steam.

The reaction from the Quake community has been instant and palpable. "You have to be kidding me. You killed Quake," one thread reads. "I Want my MONEY BACK," screams another. Another suggests players move over to the Melbourne-made arena shooter Reflex.

But apart from suddenly adding a US$10 entry price for a game that has been free-to-play for years — something it arguably needs, considering the extreme skill ceiling of high movement, high intensity shooters targeting only PC players — the most grating aspect about this morning's update was the way it has wiped players' friends lists, statistics, and even settings in some instances.

"So my old user name is gone, my clans are gone, the match browser is absolutely useless, everything looks all ****** up," one user complains. "You absolutely 100%, undeniably just destroyed THE greatest FPS ever created. It is completely ruined. You WILL be giving me my 10 dollars back. I guarantee you you will be giving me that money back. And I will be going back to Quake 3 now."

"There's no possible way I can thank person or a team who purged, truncated, nullified the entire statistics, awards and progress we've earned during past 5 years," another seething fan posted. "What the actual hell were you thinking? Oh, let's start from scratch - 5 years is nothing. Old nicknames and clans? Screw it, we'll give them steam achievements!

The Quake forums on Steam isn't a happy place to be.

At the time of writing there's no stickied threads on the Steam forums outlining any changes or information, and the link for the forums on the Quake Live site is returning a "file not found" error.

For a community that must rank up there in terms of sheer devotion, this seems to have come completely out of the blue. Perhaps the only positive out of all of this is that those who added Quake Live to their Steam account when it was free won't have to pay for the game twice — although if you lost all your preferences, clans and stats that might not be much of a saving grace, particularly if you forked out money for a premium or pro account.

Update: The developers have since posted an update on the Steam forums announcing the "Quake Live Steamworks Launch", a post which leads with the note that iD has "retired our old launcher and services in favour of integrating a robust array of Steamworks alternatives", while old subscriptions have also been shut down.

"Steam accounts are now used for all player interactions. Players may now use their Steam display name and profile avatar in-game, and still uniquely identify players by SteamId and Profile pages," the post reads. "Steam Statistics will track your progress in-game, and you will instantly be awarded achievements as you earn them, rather than as matches are completed. Improve your teamplay communication by chatting with players using our new Voice Chat. As you play online you can use the player admin menu to select players and send them Friend Invites, and right click on your friends in the Friend List to view their Statistics and Achievements progress."

The post goes on to say that "all players now have the same benefits and features in-game" and that any users with "an active Pro subscription" can contact customer support for assistance if Quake Live was not added to their Steam account.

It doesn't answer any of the users complaints though: while there are immeasurable benefits porting over to the Steamworks API, it also means that people who have stuck with the game through the browser conversion and the upheaval involved have now had all their history and hard work wiped clean.

It also means those playing on Linux or GNU are still lacking support — and while that's inevitably a very small percentage of any game's player base, it's another group of Quake fans who are increasingly feeling left out of something they love.

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Comments

    "Payday 2 started it, I just wanted to be cool too!"

    I guess they'll be moving over to UT4 now.

      Quake fans? Might be too stubborn to go to the old enemy. More chance of converting to Overwatch (I can't imagine people will go huge on Reflex).

        Err accidentally down-voted instead of hit reply!

        I only just grabbed this the other day on steam. It seemed pretty dead already, I played a bit of quake live a long while ago, as I could hit it up on my work laptop.

        Can't imagine a pay wall is going to do any favors. However the best features like creating your server and playing mods were behind the wall anyway.

        Yeah I actually just thought of that after I posted. The very dedicated fans will most likely just buy it.

          there is nothing to buy?? anybody who played quake prior to this update still gets it free??

            I played quake before the update and steam have said they have no proof of ownership so how can get quake live again?

        actually a large number of "quake fans" are just general "gaming fans" and play loads of other games... including UT4. Not sure how you can throw the word stubborn around, it just makes you sound like you're just a close minded judgmental person

          I know, mate. It's a light-hearted comment throwing back to the memories of when UT/Q3 first launched and the word "might" was included :p No need to go on the ultra defensive.

    Company moves forward, things change, community is outraged.

    The online was dead anyways.
    I'm a bit pissed that i can't just invite friends to play with me, but it works out cheaper then a subscription.

    Okay, it was sloppily done. But can anyone really argue that this isn't progress?

    No more subscription system, better framework for infrastructure and social functions.

    To be honest, I miss the web version. I thought it worked well, and osx\nix support was nice. After they turned it standalone, I felt somewhat aghast by how shit it was, but this is somewhat a return to form.

      They deleted everyone's info, alienating their player base. Alienation is rarely considered progress. Not saying elements aren't progressive but it's definitely not a case of "it's either progressive or it isn't" (most things aren't), because that doesn't highlight anything developers still need to learn when making changes. Being progressive is being honest and holistic, not supporting something whilst dismissing relevant factors.

    Let me just make some points that need to be said to attempt to counter-act the misinformation and uninformed opinions here.

    1. This update has been a year in the making.
    2. This update has fully opened the game up to the community.
    3. 10 bucks is less than what I pay for lunch every day. and is CONSIDERABLY less than the previous subscription model.
    4. Anyone who says 'quake players will now move on to X game' shows me that you have 0 understanding of Quake at all and are clueless about the game.
    5. Players were repeatedly told to migrate over to the steam version months and months in advance of this launch to retain all of their profile data.
    6. This is what the REAL Quake community has wanted since 2008 and it has finally come. iD should have turned over QL to the community years ago because it has and always will be the community that makes Quake what it is. CPMA, OSP and RA3 - the defining mods of Quake 3 were all developed by the community and it was what made the game great.

    Hey, regular QL player here. I was one of the many testers for this new version, and I have a few things to add on this.

    First off nobody knew about buying into the game until it happened. For something they were hyping up so much it was really disappointing to see a price tag slapped on without telling anyone.

    This update means that QL no longer needs a team (of 2 people) maintaining it. Everything happens through Steam services, and people run their own servers. The QL website and stat tracking cost money and required administration, and for a 6 year old game with dwindling numbers it wasn't feasible any more. Basically they had to change over like this, or the game would have shut down completely. On a similar vein, none of the developers have experience with OS X or Linux, so as much as they'd like to bring back support to those platforms they were never able to. They were only forced to move away from the browser-based model after Firefox and Chrome announced they were dropping support for the features the old Quake Live plugin relied on.

    The development history of QL is pretty messy, and it's a game that never had the playerbase or popularity to get good support. It's sad that they sprung the price of this update on everyone - they wouldn't be getting the same knee-jerk reaction if they'd just announced it. It's yet another really bizarre decision in the game's history.

    I don't want to defend this game, because it's had serious problems, but I felt like there was some context missing from this article. At the end of the day I'm going to keep playing where there are other people out there, and the game is still worth the price if you were unsure about the premium model before.

    Hi all i am creator of the Australian Quake Live community www.4seasonsgaming.com. I feel like there has been a huge misconception within this news post. First of all, the fans aren't pissed? a very small minority of the non-australia player base is having a whine.. The game was available on steam months and months ago. Those who moved across when they first released on Steam do NOT get charged anything and the game is still free to play from day 1. Those who did not participate in quake live and move across to steam are the only ones that need to pay $10 to play an unlocked game, and that's only if they didn't purchase a premium or pro subscription prior to the change over. Not every game is free to play and $10 for an amazing long-standing game is not a burden on any "fan". Thanks for your time reading

      Hey Mick, dippa here (bring back the old times!).

      The anger I've quoted isn't from Australians specifically, but from the entire base on Steam. I just had a chat to baest, actually -- been talking to him on Facey for years and never connected the two names together.

      Anyway, the majority of the anger could have probably been quelled with a bit of advance warning -- something many, many indie developers do -- so at least people knew that they were going to lose all their stats.

      Obviously you've got the super hardcore like the 4seasons crowd who are on IRC with the devs and are in touch as much as you can be, but you've got to think about the others who are out of that loop entirely and have just gotten blindsided by this. Maybe they're not worth caring about in terms of the broader competitive cycle, but they do have a reason to be cranky.

        Don't get me wrong ID software surprised everybody, myself included, charging the game out like that. But for new players coming to the game i don't see how $10 is out of reach for anybody. The die hard fans switched to steam ages ago and don't have to pay anything, it's really only for new players and as mentioned not all games are free to play. Infact in some cases I find the microtransaction system more infuriating (i'm a platinum LoL player) who has sunk hundreds of dollars into the game and i still don't own 1/8th of the items in the game (which to me, is frustrating). tl dr; yes ID pulled a shifty move, but if the game is going to be sitting in the steam store why shouldn't it have a price attached to it. They are selling a final product of a game

          sooo I was wondering... (just stealing your replies)

          I'm playing QL since 2008 or so but haven't done so the last few months, logically I didn't have a sub anymore.

          Now I'm "accidentally" reading this and QL does NOT appear in my Steam Library anymore?!

          Do I have to buy the game or is there anything I missed and can still play this?

            You'll still have the game if you bought it in Steam prior to this update-- if uninstalled it, you can go to the page on the store it'll probably say it's already in your queue and that you can "Play Now". Click on "Play Now" and it'll download the game and install it, then it should appear in your library. That's what I had to do anyway.

              Tazcu812 was my name years ago. I dont have this game anymore but want to play it. I use to be a CDC player. Email is [email protected] kind of hoping a person in canada can help me through this. Ty

    I'm planning to buy this game. I've been playing Quake Live since 2013 completely free and didn't want to sign up for a recurring charge. But for $10 I'd feel good about donating to this awesome franchise. I never played quake before 2013 and I gotta say it's more fun than any other game I own, even AAA titles like BF4. My only concern is that the playerbase might shrink too much due to the price.

    What about the linux and mac users? First you remove support for your systms which worked flawlessy because of your incompetence to write a crossplatform launcher with qt or whatever. And now you launch this shitshow on steam and no linux or mac steamplay support just great

    This is no longer ID Software! Bethesda what have you done

    Hey. I've played since 06. Just wanted to say the only thing that's pissed me off is that the game does not run as smooth. I don't even get a solid 125fps anymore with a powerful computer. Whatever they changed was bad. I had a pos computer that isn't even 1/4 of what my new machine is. And it got an absolutely solid 125fps. Losing my stats sucked losing my friends. Needless to say, I'm too busy for it now. But some of the best Mon productive years of my life spent on that game. Its sad knowing the meories are stuck forever in the past.

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