During the ESWC Quake Champions Duel Tournament at the Paris Game Week 2018, Shazzik interviewed Raisy, Garpy and Nykho on different aspects of the game.

The interviews were conducted orally on the October 27, 2018, and then adapted to a more formal and concise textual format. Raisy and Garpy were interviewed together, and Nykho was interviewed afterwards in French.

Q. What are your thoughts on Athena?

Raisy: Athena has a lot of potential, I think that if people tried her more they'd notice that. She can be a great counter to Clutch: she can get away from him when he's rushing with his shield up, and after when the shield is down she can rush and attack efficiently. She's especially powerful on open maps with a lot of verticality. For instance, when Clutch is coming at you from mid level you can grapple up to the highest level of the map and run away easily.

I think she's not really played in comp right now because most people haven't properly tried her yet, and also EU tends to lack behind: if a character isn't in the meta most EU players won't really try the champion.

Garpy: As Raisy said: EU is behind in terms of champions meta: if a character isn't useful straight away we tend to just think it's not viable and not use it. I think that when someone will start using Athena to her full potential and destroy people with her everyone will start playing her. It takes someone to show them the way for them to see that it can be good.

Raisy (answering what Garpy said): I agree with that, it was exactly the same situation for every single champions that was in the meta so far: someone started played a certain champion, and all of the sudden everyone started playing that champion: that was the case with Anarki, then Sorlag, Clutch, Visor, Doom, and also Peeker in 2V2.

Nykho: Athena is very OP, she's not played in competitive because of the netcode, the last patch reduced the game performances, so you get a lot of rollbacks with her. I had practiced with her for ESWC but didn't use her because I had a bad feeling with her on that day and didn't want to take a risk. But yeah, she's OP online because with the lag you don't see the enemy arrive. But on LAN she's weaker because there it’s 0 ping.

Q. How would you explain the fact that light characters like Slash and Anarki are very seldom played at a high level anymore?

Raisy: The game's changed, with the new hitboxes and the improved hit registration it's much easier to hit, so before everyone was playing light champions because it was hard to hit while being super fast. Whereas now they're easier to hit and they were slowed down alongside mediums and heavies. They can sometimes be useful, Anarki for instance can be powerful on Corrupted Keep if your aim is really good, and Nyx is also some people's pick because her phase shift acts like a get out of jail card and her movement allows her to get into positions in a way other champions can't.

Garpy: Most lights now get destroyed when they're caught out, that's why Nyx is still played: you can play her quite quick, and you can risk getting yourself into difficult situation and run away with her ability. Slash is sometimes played by Toxjq because he manages to make her efficient with his amazing aim, but it seems like it only really works on certain maps. I'd like devs to make the lights' hitboxes smaller to give them more survivability.

Lights are much more fun to watch and they make the overall game more interesting, because with other champions you can just sit in a corner and wait, but when you do that against an Anarki you get destroyed because he comes around the corner so quick you don't have time to react, and he used to be hard to hit with the small hitbox and the speed.

Nykho: Quite simply because they're light and have little HP. Nyx's case is different because she can easily run away from a fight. The speed difference between classes isn't as important as before, and also the burst potential with abilities right now is very strong and lights don't have enough to counter it.

Q. What are your thoughts on Slipgate?

Garpy: It's amazing, I love it

Raisy: I like the mode, but there are some things I would like to see changed: such as the item timers, the third person spectating camera (making it 1st person instead), and it'd like it if you could see which champion your team is picking, because during the Battlefy Slipgate tourneys there was a rule where if your team has twice the same champion during a round you had to forfeit that round, so there were moments when you'd change strategies and there were some messing up in the picks so two people accidentally had the same champ. That wouldn't happen if you could see who your teammates are picking and if the one champ limit was implemented in game.

Also having a pick and ban in game system would make things easier.

It would also be nice if they changed the position of the slipgates every round, that way it would mix up the map and item control and make stuff more interesting. Overall, I don't think it's the competitive mode, but it has the potential to be a good competitive mode.

Nykho: There's some good, but also a lot of bad. The round-based system is a good idea but it leads to a slower +back rail gameplay (you stay back on your base near items and spam the railgun), it's kind of like Shootmania: it's all about taking a position and defending it with spam, leading to a very slow and stale gameplay. And we saw what happened to Shootmania: it didn't not succeed well and Slipgate is living the same thing.

Q. Which game mode do you think should be the competitive team mode? 2V2, Slipgate or CTF?

Raisy: I think CTF has the most potential: 2V2 is fun but for me the more players there are the more of a team game it is. And Slipgate is fun but as I've said needs adjustments. CTF was always very popular and very liked, so it has the potential to be the team mode.

Garpy: The problem with team modes like Slipgate is that it's difficult to organize on a financial aspect: there are few teams who are going to support four players to travel around the world for tournaments: it's too expansive. Because of that I can't see a LAN 4V4 mode ever being competitive again.

I think 2V2 works the best, everyone can follow it fine, it's easy to understand. Sacrifice on the contrary is very difficult to follow, I played it but when I watched it I had no clue what was going on. So I can't imagine what it must have been like watching sacrifice for those that didn't play it. I think 2V2 is better for competitive because you've only got 2 people to worry about, so your teamwork can be a lot better. Look at Team Liquid, they're the best team in world, not because of their aim or anything else, but because of their teamplay that is second to none and because of how well they know each other. I think the fact team Liquid has been winning everything proves how much teamplay matters in 2V2, if it weren't the case you'd just have to take two players with amazing aim to win.

Nykho: CTF, clearly. I feel like we've seen all 2V2 has to offer. Sure, it's closer to QL/Q3 Duel and that's nice, but we've seen who the best players are: Rapha and Dahang , and they are just going to keep on winning everything.

What I see in CTF is that with the champions there could be some very interesting team strats.

Q. Are you satisfied with the state of duel or do you think it should be reworked/modified in some way? If so: how?

Raisy: The problem isn't with Duel as mode, but with the game. For example hitreg and the unreliableness of the game, for instance: getting hit through the teleporters with the railgun, or as Nyx when you use your ability before dying, you hear the sound of the ability being activated but you still die because there is a small delay between what you see and what the server registers. So first they would need to fix those issues with the game, and then focus on how to make the game mode better, but until then it's still going to be a mess because the game is unreliable to its core.

I personally would like them to keep the round-based system but increase the champ count to 5 per round, and the time limit per round to 10 minutes. Sometimes the duels are over too quick, you're here to play after all, and it would be less random that way, because with 3 champions you can get out of control and not have enough to work with to get it back. I think it would overall make it more skill based.

Garpy: I think they don't want to go back to the same old time limit system. It's odd because you've got different champions that do different things, and when you put that into duel it's a bit awkward to balance. I think it needs to be different from before, but better than it is now. Doing the two is difficult.
But I personally enjoy the round-based duel more than the time-based one.

I think some maps need to be changed, Blood Run for instance: if you're out of control you can pretty much never attack the nail room, because your enemy can hear you or see you come. That's where the light champions come into play: they can get in the room quick, and catch the person out. But with the mediums and heavies you just haven't got the ability to get in there and do something. Your enemy knows you're coming from a certain direction and just has to spam rockets while running away in the other direction. That's why light champions need to be viable, or the map layout has to be changed.

Camping needs to not be viable in duel, Corrupted Keep for instance is great because you can't really camp on that map nor run away and it's easier to catch players

Nykho: I think a rework would be nice, the round system was a cool idea but since the spawns are quite random (despite the devs trying to make them tied), on maps like Blood Run, when you spawn at lower armor you can often see the enemy coming while you're in the spawning animation, and you know you're screwed.

Duel would be better if the game engine worked more efficiently, however it's not there yet, so there are some problems, such as with sound.

But I'd like duel to go back to time limit, for my mental sanity so I stop getting those 2 - 3, and I think it would reduce the impact of abilities, like in 2V2. In round-based duel a telefrag does 1/3 of your job, whereas in time limit it doesn't matter as much because you've got more time to come back.

Q. The community managers have announced a rework of abilities, what do you expect from it?

Raisy: I just hope that they're going to make it balanced with no insta-kill abilities: I really hate the dire orb, and I don't like Nyx's telefrag, especially when you die because you both went through TP. Galena's totem is also a bit stupid because it blocks damage when you set it up, so you can set it up, the opponent shoots a rocket at you, and the totem will absorb the rocket, dealing 0 damage. A lot of people are using Galena that way; saving their totem in order to use them mid-fight.

There's also Death Knight's ability, it's still strong after the nerf if it hits directly, so you can just camp around corner, wait for the enemy and then use it.

The biggest problem with abilities is that overall the game is unreliable, for example the dire orb, on your screen will pass your shoulder, yet it still teleports inside you, so what you see is not what happens inside the server. Keel's grenades also, sometimes the grenade doesn't even appear, so nothing goes up in your face. A lot of abilities are unreliable because of that reason so I'd like them to fix those issues first.

Garpy: I think they're going to stop the abilities from insta-killing, so you can't kill of the spawn, stuff like Ranger's orb or Death Knight. I think they're going to make it more of a passive ability that helps you instead of destroying other players, something like Visor’s piercing sight.

Nykho: I'd like it if the TTK was made longer, so less burst damage. Also removing the Ranger orb telefrag would be nice because its impact is too strong. For a long time I played Ranger a lot, Zoot even called me "European Dooi", and it’s not until Ranger was nerfed that I realized I was relying on the orb too much and started seeing my mistakes.

Q. If a new duel map is added, which map do you think should be removed from the competitive map pool?

Raisy: Right now Blood Run is the least enjoyable map to play on because of the +back and "hide and seek" playstyle when you're out of control, or when the time is in your favor. Apart from that I like all the maps, and don't want them to be removed; they should just rework Blood Run a little bit.
The difference with previous Quake games regarding Blood Run is that before you couldn't hear so much, so you could move up and down stairs without being heard. That's what makes nail room so easy to defend in QC: you can hear two sides out of the three.

But I would like new maps as well. Keep 'em coming. More maps more fun.

Garpy: Vale, it's only fun when you get the right spawn and the other player doesn't know what he's doing. To win you need to play so passive and always stay at the top for control, and when you do the other has no chance at getting back control. It's not a bad map, but it needs reworking.

I actually think Blood Run is worst though. Both maps could be removed.

Raisy (answering Garpy): I think Vale is a good map, it's fun and it's an interesting addition to the game. Spawn matter if you play well. Only thing I don't like about it is that you sometimes you take damage from the acid pool without standing on it.

Nykho: Vale of Pnath: the first who gets to rocket wins. During PGL I played against Sib, he knew all the spawns so he always managed to get to rockets and destroy me on this map. But on the other maps I managed to destroy him.

Q. What are your thoughts on the organization of the event? And compared to last year?

Raisy: It's good, it's just a bit of a shame that the monitors are only 144Hz instead of 240Hz. But my biggest problem is that it's cold, just like most events and as a player you can't have shaky hands when you're playing.

Garpy: It's just like last year: high standards.

Nykho: The organization is great, the PCs run well, but the screens are pretty bad: it's 144Hz, but bad 144Hz with a lot of desync which makes it really unsmooth.

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