Quake Live

Quake Live

Quake Live is a 'free-to-play' web browser-based FPS from id Software. It is based on the popular game Quake III Arena, and focuses solely on online multiplayer.


Quake Live (formerly known as Quake Zero) is a free, web based version of Quake III Arena and Team Arena complete with stats tracking, skill matching, friends lists and other community features. Quake Live was announced by Todd Hollenshead, id Software's CEO, during their press conference at QuakeCon 2007. The game went into open beta on February 24th 2009, and was released on August 6th, 2010 with a subscription model for additional content.



The fast paced deathmatch gameplay found in Quake III remains mostly the same with some minor tweaks. Like it's predecessor, Quake Live's main focus revolves around taking points by killing (or fragging) other players. In Duels and Team Deathmatch games there's a large focus on controlling key items (Armor, Health, Quad) around the map, keep your opponent from picking them up and grab them yourself.

Some adjustments have been made to the weapons from the original games, perhaps most notably they made the railgun and lightning gun weaker, as requested by most of the top players. Other changes include faster rockets and a fixed shotgun pattern instead of random bullet spread.

All of the maps are found in Quake III and Team Arena as well as several new ones are available for matches. In total, there are around 40 maps of various sizes included in the free-to-play version of the game. There are currently 20 Premium exclusive maps including old classics and all new arenas, some of which is community made. All of them features several billboards with in-game advertising.

Game modes

  • Rockets are quite useful
    Rockets are quite useful
    (FFA) Free For All - The classic form of Deathmatch. Every man for himself. Shoot anything that moves.
  • (DA) Duel - A 1v1 fight which lasts 10 minutes. One of the spectators replaces the loser at the end of the round.
  • (TDM) Team Deathmatch - Red vs Blue. Two teams face off in a standard deathmatch
  • (CTF) Capture the Flag - Two teams fight over two flags, one in each teams base.
  • (CA) Clan Arena - Two teams attempt to kill their opponents and be the last ones standing. No items are available on the map, but both teams start out with all available weapons, and full health/armour. Previously found in the modifications Rocket Arena, OSP and CPMA for Quake III, Clan Arena has been added to the list of game types due to it's popularity.
  • (FT) Freeze Tag - This mode is a similar set up to TDM (except you spawn with a Plasma Gun and Grenade Launcher), however when you are killed you are frozen in place. You can revive your frozen team mates by standing near them. Your team scores a point when all of the opposing team is frozen.

Post Launch Updates

  • Free Premium Event - On September 16th all premium content was unlocked for standard users for a week. It was later extended through to September 26th.
  • Site Update 28/09/10 - This update included the first post launch premium content. Included were 4 maps (Devilish, Fatal Instinct, Somewhat Damaged and Thunderstuck) mainly focusing on small scale CA, various tweaks to existing maps and a revamp of the skill ranking and matchmaking system.
  • Site Update 27/10/10 - "Premium Pak 3" added 4 new maps (Finnegan's (CTF), Gothic Rage (Duel), Solid (2v2 TDM), Window Pain (Small CA)), health/armour/weapon chat tokens and a variety of Freeze Tag changes and miscellaneous fixes. "
  • Site Update 17/11/10 - Two new small CA arenas, Evolution (ra3map1) and Three Story were added, as well as new awards for premium members and increased customizability when spawning new server.
  • Site Update 14/12/10 - This Christmas themed update bought in 3 new premium maps (Double Impact (CTF), Overlord (TA CTF) and Tornado (TDM/CA/FT), 2 new Holiday Arenas with the return of Silent Night (CTF) and a re imagining of the Quake 2 classic "The Edge" which also includes freeze tag for standard players. A Santa model was also available for this period. There was also a brand new Duel Scoreboard for Premium subscribers, with a wide range of new stats.


Far from being a simple port to a browser plug-in, Quake Live now houses a community component that records aspects of the game that are made available to browse through the Quake Live website. Amongst the details recorded are: who you previously played with; games won or lost; accuracy; favoured weapons.


In keeping with the new stat-tracking system, achievement badges, here called 'Awards,' can be gained for performing certain actions. The Awards are then displayed on the player's profile for everyone to see. In addition to those visible, there are several secret awards to be had, many of which involve playing with the Quake Live development team.


Quake Live allows players to invite and accept friends on a personal buddy-list. When running the game in a browser view (as opposed to fullscreen) a chat list is visible even during a match. Players can bind a key, much as they would to activate regular, in-game chat, to respond to any messages. But to start a chat, especially in fullscreen when the buddy list is not available, players can use the command '/tell_buddy [name] [message]' in the console to start a conversation.

Release Phases

  • Closed Beta - In late 2008 an invite only closed beta was launched for Quake Live. All attendees of QuakeCon were given beta invites, and anyone could sign up for email invites, but only a select few were chosen. Later in the closed beta people allready in the beta were given a limited number of friend invites.
  • Open Beta - On the 24th February 2009 (exactly 13 years after the first Quake beta, known as QTEST, was launched) the Open Beta was launched. Early on there were issues, such as occasional server problems (both content delivery servers and game servers), and extremely long queues to get into the game (around 40,000 for the majority of the first day).
  • Full Release - The game launched on August 6th 2010, including a new subscription model for exclusive content.

Subscription Model

From release, Quake Live has had a tiered annual subscription model.

  • Free Users (Free!) - Users who choose to not pay have access to all of the game modes bar Freeze Tag and more than 40 maps. They can also play on Premium exclusive maps against AI.
  • Premium Users ($24) - This grants access to 20 classic and new Quake maps, either officially developed by id, or built by the community. These include Aerowalk, Japanese Castles and Overkill. There is also new clan support.
  • Pro Users ($48) - As well as all features of the Premium subscription, Pro users have the ability to spawn their own servers (either private or open) on the official Quake Live data centres.

Id Software have also promised regular content updates for subscribers, and a possibility of rolling out Premium features to free users with time.

Special Events

Quake Live sometimes holds special events around certain times of the year, offering new maps, awards, and even player models for a limited time.

 'Trick or Treat'
'Trick or Treat'
Halloween 2009 (31st Oct.) - 'Haunted' arenas were made available for one night, in which every player was forced to be a glowing skeleton. A special 'Trick or Treat' Award was given for completing a match in the special arena.

'Silent Night'
'Silent Night'
Holidays 2009 (22nd Dec. until 6th Jan.) - A new, large CTF map, 'Silent Night,' a slightly re-worked version of an arena from Team Arena called"Distant Screams," two player models ('Santa' and 'Vixen,') and a special award were added for a limited time. The award, 'Silent Night,' was awarded to players for completing the new map.
'The First of Many'
'The First of Many'
Year One Event (Feb 23rd - Mar 9) - In celebration of a year in open beta, Quake Live added a special event award, a new CTF map, Fallout Bunker, and some new features for the plug-in itself. The new features include: bloom post-processing effect; new, extensive in-game option menu include new options for cross hairs, config file switching, and various color options for rail, and weapon colors.

Technology and system requirements

Quake Live can be played through either Firefox or Internet Explorer on a Windows XP, Vista, Mac OS X, or Linux machine. The game requires you to initially download and install a small plug-in (around 10MB,) for your browser, but every other file is downloaded and updated in the background as the player completes an AI ushered tutorial/ability assessment. The game media is saved locally on your computer--around 300MB in total.


An in-game billboard
An in-game billboard

The financial model of Quake Live was also announced through a partnership with IGA Worldwide. As expected it will be financed through advertising and sponsorship deals which relate to the game. IGA Worldwide have been appointed by id Software to manage this.

Useful links