One of the true tragedies of the esports resurgence is that duelling games like Quake haven’t risen with it. This weekend will be the only chance fans have to watch a major Quake tournament this year, a sad state of affairs for a game and genre that’s the progenitor of esports itself.
The best Quake players in the world descended on Dallas this weekend for Quakecon, the yearly celebration of all things Id (and now Bethesda). It’s one of the oldest esports events on the calendar and has featured five-figure prizes since 2001. But it’s also an event that’s stuck in that era, compared to the new esports events that have risen along in tandem with the online streaming business.
This year’s festivities feature a $32,000 Quake Live Tri-Master Tournament, a team event where squads of four players compete in Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, and Duel game modes to become Quakecon champions.
That’s disappointing in a number of ways for fans of the genre, and for esports history in general.
For one, Duel isn’t the primary game mode, meaning it’s possible, but unlikely, we’ll see many classic matchups like Anton “Cooller” Singov against Alexey “Cypher” Yanushevsky. We certainly won’t see Shane “Rapha” Hendrixson take back the Quakecon title from Cypher after the pair traded the trophy for years.
Plus that $32,000 prize pool pales in comparison to other purses awarded in esports recently or even in Quake over the years. Last year, for example, Quakecon featured a $42,000 purse for its Duel tournament. This year’s total is certainly lacking compared to other big events this weekend, like the $75,000 CEVO MLG Pro League Season 7 finals or the $150,000 Halo Championship Series Season 2 Finals. And that’s not even mentioning the $16 million plus available at The International, which starts on Sunday.
In many ways, Quake is a forgotten game, even by its own developers. And that’s too bad considering it’s long history and the skill of the players involved.
But all is not lost. This weekend, at least, many of those storied players will be in attendance in Dallas. And while we may not get to see some of the classic duel battles fans crave, it’s still Quake. We’ll be treated to raw, fast-paced action filled with crazy movement, insane aim, and an intensity that isn’t often matched in many other esports titles.
Plenty of legends are competing at this year’s Quakecon, despite the small prize pool. Cooller, Rapha, and Cypher are all in attendance with different teams, while other superstars like John “ZeRo4” Hill, Tim “DaHanG” Fogarty, Johan “Toxjq” Quick, Sergey “Evil” Orekhov and Kevin “Strenx” Baeza are also in attendance.
The glory days of duelling may be over, and the next era of duelling may not feature Quake—there are a number of upcoming games attempting to revive the genre, like the Doom 4 title featured at Quakecon itself.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy this weekend. Matches are already live. You can check them out at the Quakecon stream on Twitch: