New patch is already here for a long time - Vea decided once again to ask Quake Champions scene for a comment!

There were a few performance updates - how you find these changes? Is you game performing better this patch?

Zoot: Patch has been probably the first where the smoothness of PTS has translated over to live servers. Although I don’t see a change in my FPS, mouse movement in general feels much nicer. There are a couple of situational issues I’m having versus BJ on a couple of maps, otherwise it’s certainly been positive for me.

Yakumo: Things have definitely been smoothed out but I'm mostly really looking forward to the October optimization pass, really focused examination of performance in stages is a standard part of game development and the improvements can be really significant :o)

Flee: I do notice a small performance improvement. I really only ever play while streaming and that already limits performance quite a bit, but I do notice higher overall FPS when I don't limit it to 150. Unfortunately, this doesn't address some of the issues I still have. The game still rarely feels perfectly smooth, especially on maps / modes with a lot of players or action. There's frequent jitters, stutters and frame drops even on low settings, which is a bit of a shame considering I can run much more graphically demanding titles at consistent and high FPS on maxed out settings. Quake Champions is also the only game where I get frequent screen tearing, so there's definitely still room for improvement. However, it feels that performance keeps getting better patch after patch so I'm hopeful for the future.

Jehar: This has been the most stable patch for me by far, on my intel cpu/amd gpu machine. Most of the reports from others I'm hearing is that overall framerate took a minor hit, but it's much more steady. It takes a long time for an alpha product to put new features on hold long enough to optimize what's been implemented, and I'm breathing a bit easier now that id seems to be getting into that phase.

Xhep: I think every patch the game has been running a bit better but there is still a long way to go. Personally I overclocked my CPU this patch and my game has been running amazing!

FrothyOmen: First -- thanks for inviting me to join this interview! It's much appreciated. The most recent performance update, for me, is palpable. I'm noticing smoother framerates, and things are feeling better than ever. I'm pleased with the direction the game has been heading, and I'm sure future updates are only going to continue improving.

Notuern: For me it has stayed pretty much the same to be honest, maybe even slightly worse now.
The last patch caused severe performance issues for most players but i seemed to be one of the lucky ones that didn't really notice it very much.

Since this patch i've noticed the stutters a little bit more in 4v4 games, but to be honest i don't play them very often so i might just had been lucky with my games in the previous patch.

How do you like champion and weapons balance changes?

Zoot: I like the fact that several of the champions have had their abilities toned down. Including the likes of Clutch, BJ, DK and even a slight nerf to visor. Over all I’m content with how weapons are functioning right now, although I wouldn’t be upset if the HMG got a small nerf. With 0 spread while zoomed in, it’s incredibly powerful.

If we can keep getting patches like this that aren’t making very erratic buff/nerfs but blending the balance of weapons and champions subtly – I think it makes it easier to digest the changes in each patch and provide feedback moving forward.

Yakumo: I really think everything is moving in the right direction, I'd never been a big duel player in Quake but I've been really enjoying it recently and played more public ranked duel in the last month than I have in years. I tend to stick to medium champions, some light champions may need a very tiny pick me up still but it is such a fine line between too weak and overpowered for those, I do also think duel more than other modes shows Death Knight's ability still needs to be a bit more balanced so I expect his flames may be further examined.

Flee: I'm definitely a fan of the recent balance changes. More champions are becoming viable picks while some of the arguably overpowered ones have seen well-deserved nerfs come through. Champions like Anarki, Sorlag and Scalebearer used to be picks that put you at a major disadvantage from the start but are slowly becoming more usable through small buffs. Similarly, the champions with really powerful abilities like Death Knight, Visor and BJ are being toned down so that they've become less of a go-to / necessary pick you'll see used every single Duel. As far as weapons go, I'm also satisfied with the changes. I like that they've aligned the normal and super versions a bit more (identical spread for MG and same fire rate for shotguns) as the differences could be somewhat jarring otherwise, and it's good to see the tribolt receive a bit of a nerf due to how dominant it was on some maps. The balance might not be perfect yet but I really like the tweaks from the last patch.

2. Every competition has been elevated by this patch, and it's been evident in how many champions are picked in 1v1/2v2, as well as weapon choices in maps like Blood Covenant and Blood Run. The starting machinegun took a small hit, which is keeping fights from happening as early as they were. Anything that gives value to weapon pickups on the actual map is a good thing in my book.

Xhep: Some changes were really needed like the death knight nerf. Squishies could receive some love. Right now the squishies are not really viable in any game mode other than duel, and even there you really need to know what you're doing to make them somewhat effective. On the other side of the medal I feel like the heavies are a bit too stacked and they didn't receive any nerfs to their stack either. The heavy machine gun changes might be a bit too strong. Zooming in with the heavy shotgun you will have no bullet spread. With solid aim you might even be able to do more dps from long range than you would be able to do with a railgun, which is a bit too strong in my opinion.

FrothyOmen: Right now, I think light champions might finally be on the cusp of being good again. I'm seeing them crop up more and more in casual modes like Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, which is exciting to see. They're a tough breed to balance, but I'm mostly happy with where they are at this moment. Heavy champions I'm reserving my opinions on until CTF comes out -- I have a hunch that Sorlag is going to be pretty strong in that mode in particular, and Scalebearer might not be awful either. Only time will tell!

Notuern: Overall i think the balancing has been improved, but there are a few decisions i don't quite agree with.

DK needs to have the max damage of his ability reduced, i'm sceptical about removing spread on zoom HMG and i'm not sure i think the attempts to buff Slash and Anarki where heading in the right direction either.
I think the issue with lights vs mediums/tanks is simply down to stacks, these stacks would make sense if Anarki and Slash where still virtually impossible to hit, but that's just not the case anymore.

What do you think about new ‘Play Now’ menu and arcade modes?

Zoot: I’m really enjoying the Arcade modes, it spices things up week by week. I would prefer it if they would surprise us on live servers occasionally, add a temporary mode that nobody is expecting and see how everyone reacts to it. I believe Unholy Trinity was a strong success for established community members, and that Mystery Champion is a really enjoyable mode for completing Rune challenges and allowing new players to test out champions they may not immediately have access to.

Of course, being up to queue up for DM and Instagib in a party is always good. And we are all expecting more changes with the anticipation of Slipgate and CTF.

Yakumo: It’s big, bright and easy to navigate. Everyone's clearly having tons of fun with the Arcade Modes at the moment as games pop there really quickly, they're great for practising various aspects of the game depending on which weekly mode it is, Hot Rockets really improved my air rockets and direct hits for example.

Flee: The new menus are a big improvement over the previous ones. Everything is more accessible and easier to get to. This lay-out makes more sense and is more intuitive than what we had before. The only complaints I have about the menus relate more to the function rather than the look. For example, the countdown timer between matches feels pointless. The mandatory wait before or after a match during which you can't stop queuing or go back to the main menu feels unnecessary and slow. I also regret that it's not possible to queue for more gamemodes at once. I personally enjoy playing every mode in the game and like the variety of modes. While I'm glad they removed the previous system of having to pick one of two modes and then having the rest be left up to the vote, I would love to be able to queue for all gametypes at once and not forced to pick between Traditional (FFA/TDM/Instagib), Arcade or Ranked. I think doing this would also bring more people into the Ranked modes and make it less about Arcade. As for the latter, I really like what they're doing with the modes. Unholy Trinity has been my favorite so far but they've all been a lot of fun. It's a great idea to make a framework that allows the developers to quickly change and update these modes. Excellent work, in my opinion.

Jehar: It's a tough one - more modes is always fun, but a lot of people lose trust in being able to find matches quickly in whatever mode they prefer. Letting people play what they want is always important, and maybe the next step is some transparency in how quickly people can expect to find matches

Xhep: They luckily keep improving the main menu and the overall UI. It looks way better now and is more intuitive. The arcade playlist adds new fun modes for us to try every week and so far they've been fun. Unholy Trinity was a lot of fun and I wish it would become an actual queueable playlist. Hot Rockets was fun but in my opinion Hot Rockets will work better with special maps made for that mode. Maps that are big and high. Rocket knockback from floor damage should be increased and you should only be able to do damage above a certain point vertically. This way you can only kill the enemy when hitting an airrocket and it becomes a lot less spammy and more skillbased.

FrothyOmen: The new Play Now area is a marked improvement over prior iterations. Not much to say here, big fan, keep it up! Let us matchmake for both regular and arcade modes though, please!

Notuern: In my opinion it looks way nicer, and even though i'm not personally interested in the arcade modes i think they're a great addition for the more casual players out there. Having the arcade modes rotate each week is also a good decision because it will keep people coming online to try the new mode, in general it's just good for player retention. I do however feel like you should be able to queue up for both other modes and arcade at the same time, when unholy trinity was around it was just impossible to find a game in TDM and FFA.

The Longest Yard - hyped or indifferent?

Zoot: A bit of both to be honest. I like it being around, it’s an iconic map in the Quake series and it hypes me knowing that others are excited for it. As for my personal view of the map, I am indifferent because I’ve spent so long with the map already. Definitely glad that it’s in the game though.

Yakumo: The longest Yard was always one of my favourite maps in the earlier Quake games so I was definitely hyped to see it return when I saw the news, I had often witnessed requests for it as well.

I think it's probably right to keep it from the ranked modes, but I have so much fun with it in FFA and Arcade. I'm biased as a huge Railgun fan of course but if anything that is less overpowered than it used to be for higher level matches, it is harder to get and keep hold of unscathed and there is also less opportunity for camping which is great.

Flee: I'm pretty indifferent about the Longest Yard. Now don't get me wrong, I've already had some fun games on there and don't actively dislike the map. But space maps have never really been my thing and, by Quake standards at least, I haven't been involved in the scene all that long. The first Quake game I really got into was Quake Live when it moved from browser-based to a standalone client. I knew what Q3DM17 was and had played it a few times afterwards, but the map never held any sort of significance to me. It's a nice throwback to have in Quake Champions but I'm pretty neutral about it making a return.

Jehar: Hah - it's really a beautiful port, and the layout changes give it a tiny bit of tactical texture. Until it's mirrored and re-purposed for CTF, I probably won't be seeing it much myself. Space maps are definite instagib fodder, almost by design.

Xhep: For casual gameplay The Longest Yard is absolutely amazing and king. If you went to a LAN Party in the early 2000s you would always find these VQ3 DM17 only games running filled to the brim with players playing that map all LAN long. Competitively I don't think this map will be useable unless they decide to mirror it and turn it into a CTF map called The Longestest yard.

FrothyOmen: Indifferent. I was massively excited when the map was first revealed to me, but in practice, it is honestly just not very fun in my opinion. I think a big part of what makes the map bad feeling for me is that the center bounce pads don't conserve momentum, so you can't have interesting movement off them even with CPM champions. You're simply dead in the air, in a game with a perfect accuracy heavy machine gun. Ouch. In addition, you can't even rocket jump off these pads, since the point at which you're "launched" floats quite a distance away from the pads themselves. It's a bad mixture, and I groan every time I am placed on the map, unfortunately.

Notuern: I'm not hyped or indifferent, i'm actually borderline upset about it. I understand that it's a classic map that honestly all of us spent a lot of time playing, but as it is right now we need more maps that are good in every game mode. I think putting out Dreadful Place, Grim Dungeons, Hidden Fortress, Purgatory, Deep Inside, Furious Heights or whatever would have been better, a lot of these maps can be played in multiple game modes and where in general loved by players from all skill levels. They could have put it out further down the line, but i just feel like it's work better spent on higher end maps that would make a larger spectrum of players happy.

What you expect to be fixed next patch? What you think the game creators should focus on?

Zoot: Team modes, fun modes, clan features and player onboarding (tutorials). Of course, further optimisation is always passively included in each update. I’d like to see duel get a revamp one day, but it’s far from the main pressing issue. I think Slipgate is going to be amazing for streaming, due to it’s round-based nature. It’s a lot easier to engage with an audience while playing a mode that isn’t deep-focus for 10+ minutes at a time.

On a selfish level, I’d really like more spectator features to be added. But I can’t wait to have clan features included, where groups of people can build relationships further in the game and potentially establish rivalries with others.

As for balance/weapon changes, I don’t really expect anything until we know how the up-coming team modes are going to play out in the current balance. So I maybe only expect some minor changes here and there. Buffing Scalebearer, slight adjustment to DK ability damage, Ranger Orb cooldown change or shub hitbox nerf – things like this.

Yakumo: Optimization, optimization, optimization! That is meant to be one of the main goals for October with the "Hardening pass" so it answers both parts of this question and I can't wait to see the results, I do think at the moment it is the most important thing as it is universally important to players.

Beyond that from everything I know the team is really steaming ahead in the right direction, especially with Capture The Flag (CTF) due to go into testing on the PTS servers fairly soon, Slipgate in production, outline configuration being mentioned on Discord (eta on that unknown though) and at last a new female character to add to the roster, Athena!

Flee: Despite the recent performance improvements, I still think that making the game run better should remain a priority. Smooth performance is important for any game but arguably even more so for the highly competitive ones that rely heavily on fast reflexes and accurate reactions. As mentioned above, screen tearing has become a pretty significant problem for me when playing Quake Champions and it's something I don't experience in any other game I play. I really hope they continue working on this and manage to provide a buttery smooth Quake experience for all players. For me, that's the number one thing I hope they fix in the next patch. As for other changes, I'm hoping to see more features to facilitate the game's esports scene. A built-in system to organize tournaments by picking/banning maps and champions, making and managing clans, joining mid-game as a spectator... Those would be some excellent additions for the players and admins/casters. Also, please - please - make it so that players don't randomly change sides or colors in Duel. Person on the left pillar in the lobby should always be on the left and in blue in-game. It's a pain to update the overlays constantly! Other than that, I think id is doing a great job at putting out a solid stream of updates and new content to enjoy.(edytowane)
How's that?

Jehar: I was really happy to see the number of bug fixes in this last patch, more than ever before I think. We have far fewer things to complain about now than we have in the past, and that's such a relief. It will make some elements stick out, however - I think audio is a particularly tough thing in a multiplayer game, as you have to ensure predictable results in a system that's typically a little more loose. I'm a big fan of positional audio/hrtf, but I'll admit that marrying it to a soundscape that's primarily about getting information is a hurdle. Every patch is like Christmas though; everything is going in a good direction.

Xhep: I am really hoping that the love that SyncError keeps saying the squishies will receive will finally be given to them so I can go back to my beloved Anarki and enjoy him in every gamemode again. Now that Quake Champions is free to play on steam I think they should really add more tutorials. I have complete faith in the ability of the developers to get the game to where it needs to be and whereas in 2017 some patches were misses and some were hits, in 2018 so far every patch has been a hit! So keep the good stuff coming!

FrothyOmen: For the next patch, I'd love to see minor tweaks to either bring light and medium champions up ever so slightly, or to bring medium champions down ever so slightly. Nothing major at all, just a few more nudges are all that's required. Otherwise, a full focus on CTF is what I'm looking forward to right now, I hope that the team can deliver on this mode in a big way.

Notuern: I expect better performance, further champion balancing and i hope to see some changes to the netcode as well. I think they should focus on issues like being killed while you're invis, which seems to happen sometimes just because your opponent has high ping or because the server desyncs. Another thing they should start to look at more at this point is fixing the sludgy input and upgrading their servers, because the PTS always feels great and then the patch drops and it just feels infinitely worse and the only explanation i can think of is server load being smaller on the PTS.). Other than that i'm just looking forward to try out Slipgate and start grinding CTF, because i just feel like CTF is going to be great.

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