This article has been written from the second-person perspective of your local head Doom Murderhead, Barcode. Direct all questions and suggested tweaks/elaborations to him…er, me, in-channel.
Get Quake here.
- Game has matchmaking, so you’ll be able to play against people your skill level at all times so long as you aren’t joining friends’ games.
- Use the friends list thing and add Barcode711. He’ll give you any extra help you need.
- Keep moving. Given the mechanics of the game, this is the only thing that isn’t stopping someone from killing you immediately.
- Pick up everything you find. Less on the map for your opponents, more for you to use, what’s not to love?
- Listen carefully for a weird “whoosh” or funeral bell noise. You will hear this no matter where you are on the map, and it means a power item (super health, quad damage) has respawned. I forget how often they spawn - I think it’s every thirty seconds?
- Learn the maps. Item locations are absolutely vital in competitive play and will help greatly in general play too. Get a good idea of where every weapon is.
- Weapons spawn quickly. Weapon spawns are every 5 or 10 (I forget) seconds post-pickup. Don’t be afraid to stick around an empty weapon spawn space (marked by a white metal circle on the ground with yellow electrical discharges flying under it) to pick up a weapon you like, so long as the person that just took it isn’t still around, waiting for some weaponless sap to stand by said weapon space.
- Defend low, attack high. If you are not in good condition, don’t actively seek out enemy players. Jump around looking for health and armor packs. In contrast, if you’re looking good (good: 100health and 100 armor - 100/100 - and with a rocket launcher), don’t be afraid to go find people to pick on.
- Armor stacks; health doesn’t. Health only goes above 100 if you pick up the 1HP globes or the Megahealth (the blue sphere with an M in it); armor will freely go over 100 if you pick up any piece of armor. Both “decay” steadily over time to 100 if they go over 100, though.
- Armor acts as a 50% reduction to the damage you take, but armor takes the full damage percentage regardless. If you’re at 100/100 and you get hit with a shot that does 50 damage, you will be at 75 health, 50 armor.
Basic weapon strategy
Weapons have been listed in general order from most to least useful in your traditional deathmatch game.
- Rocket Launcher (RL) - Every Quaker’s bread and butter. If you have the option, use this weapon when on equal footing as your enemy OR when he is below you OR to shoot at doorways to buy yourself some escape time. Because it is an explosive projectile, your goal is generally to find surfaces extremely close to your opponents to shoot at in order to damage them. As you get better you’ll find situations where you can shoot at your opponents while still potentially hitting a surface behind/below them if you miss. To defend against rocket-launching, jump to minimize surface-shot damage, and keep your distance so you can sort of avoid the incoming rockets.
- Lightning Gun (LG) - Possibly the most powerful head-to-head weapon in the entire game, excluding power weapons such as the BFG9000 (most people don’t like playing on those sorts of maps, anyway). The LG has limited range, operates on damage over time (as opposed to any kind of “popping out of cover” style of shooting), and no splash damage - but it’s a hitscan, 100% accurate death ray that puts out scary-huge amounts of damage. The single most important trait of the lightning gun is that it is very good at pushing other players who are airborne; if you catch an opponent mid-air. you can keep him up there for just a little longer with the LG, effectively scoring free hits on a gun that already puts out a lot of DPS. When using this weapon, it’s easiest to stay planted and strafe around - hopping around (IE, when avoiding rocket shots) is only going to make shooting harder for you. This weapon is best used on opponents standing above you, opponents in mid-air, and when you can catch your opponent in the middle of the open at a range that you can still hit them at. If being attacked with the lightning gun, STOP JUMPING, try to get closer, and try to throw off their aim by knocking them around with the rocket launcher. You may be able to out-DPS them given how much your shots will throw off theirs. If you’re near their maximum range when they start shooting at you, step out of said maximum range and keep firing.
- Railgun (RG) - A very powerful, single-shot, perfect accuracy hitscan weapon with infinite range and a long reload time, the RG is one of those guns that features in Quake montages and definitively makes plays happen in-game; however, it is a very poor general-combat weapon because it will not kill your opponents in one hit and it takes forever to reload. Use the Railgun to take potshots and to take “parting shots” while leaving an area where you can shoot at your opponent; in these situations the railgun’s reload time will not affect you. If someone’s trying to hit you from afar with the railgun, start moving around and get out of their field of fire. if they’re close, get close with a different gun.
- Grenade Launcher (GL) - A defensive weapon, the grenade launcher fires projectiles affected by gravity that bounce and then explode after…I think it’s a set period of time. Grenades explode instantaneously if you hit someone with them directly, or if they bounce off a wall and hit someone directly - however, once they bounce on the ground (I think), they will explode after a set period of time. A technically powerful but extremely difficult-to-use-directly weapon, use grenades to cover your escapes and to deny paths towards you rather than to actually hit people directly.
- Shotgun (SG) - I am not very good with this weapon. It has a fire rate of approximately 1 shot every 1.2 seconds, which shoots a fairly thin spread of shotgun shells in front of you. Unless you’re dead-on and close with this weapon, it doesn’t seem to do much damage - but I’ve been absolutely torn up by people who know how to use it and can get close to me when I try to rocket-launch them. Try it for yourself and remember that, as a shotgun, it works best up-close.
- Gauntlet - The Gauntlet is your “out of ammo” weapon that you can nonetheless switch to if you have a key bound to it. The Gauntlet is actually pretty powerful, but the extreme speeds and general range of the weapons involved in Quake mean that you only really get to use it in chaotic Deathmatch games, and you should only use it if you get up-close and haven’t found a weapon on-map yet.
- Machine Gun (MG) - Your default weapon sucks. It does piddly damage even under the best of conditions. It does have infinite range, is hitscan, and is almost guaranteed to hit your opponent if you aim properly, so you may find it useful to land a hit or two from far away while you find better weapons to do the same thing (the LG and the RG).
- Strafe jumping - Strafejumping is the primary - and possibly most difficult - manuever in Quake outside of actually shooting your opponents. This guide does a pretty good job of explaining how to do it. By “running” diagonally in mid-air while steering towards the . It’s the fuckiest piece of physics to ever feature in an FPS game, but it’ll become only natural as you play more Quake. If you can reliably do the first two or so sections in Quake Live’s Strafejumping Practice arena, you’re probably better than I am at it.
- Warsow also provides strafe jumping indicators which WOULD prove useful if you were already familiar with how QL does it; warsow’s SJ-ing works differently.
- Rocket jumping is not really useful unless you’re playing clan arena, because it takes a lot of your health away and is extremely hard to chain into successive jumps (which would take even more of your health away) or strafejumping (since you’re usually headed into a wall and fast). However, it’s occasionally useful and will help you understand rocket dynamics (RJing bounces you the same way it bounces enemies, and bouncing your enemies up with rockets is important for juggling). Worth doing the first tutorial or two in-game to learn. To rocket jump, shoot the ground while jumping and crouched. That’s it. (I’m not even sure if crouching improves your speed from the jump, but jumping certainly does.)
- Juggling - Quake’s physics dictate that weapons fire damage is directly proportional to the knockback they cause. Rockets MAY provide more knockback than other weapons, but every weapon otherwise follows this rule. In addition, air control (movement you can perform mid-air) is much, much weaker than ground movement, With these things put together, airborne enemies can (with practice) become subjects of easy additional hits. The easiest way to pop up an enemy to juggle them is to shoot the ground where they’re standing (or under them, if they’re strafejumping); once they’re airborne, their paths are much easier to predict, and you can (again, with practice) land an extra shot or two on them while they flounder* in mid-air. If you are using a single-shot weapon, be sure to shoot at them around the peak of their flight (or so that your projectile hits them at the peak of their flight) - this is where they will be moving vertically the least, giving you the highest chance of hitting them.
*Given Quake’s speed, “flounder” time is approximately 0.3 seconds.