I've been playing Quakelive for years. I've always turned a blind eye to some of the lesser issues that people have had with the game across all the game modes because I felt it was just petty whining that people had because they couldn't hack it in their tier, or they were paranoid about cheaters. I still feel that way about a lot of things, but in the last few months the quality of the game has declined so much that I can barely bring myself to log in and play. With the last update, I'm debating just walking away from it entirely.
I've been a premium subscriber for two years, and juggled between duel and free for all back and forth depending on my mood. I never dabble much in the other game modes, but I like skipping ads and the money I've spent so far has been a fair trade for the convenience of getting into servers quickly and playing premium duel maps, which is the only premium game type that gets regular play.
The reasons the game has gotten so bad isn't the cheaters, or the trolls, or the lack of premium content. It isn't because there aren't enough players or that people don't play Devlish or some other mediocre map that's tossed into updates as an afterthought. It isn't bad because there isn't a ladder. I could care less and would be happy doing away with stats entirely. It just doesn't matter.
I can hardly play the game anymore because of how badly the servers feel. Every game is a constant roll of the dice as to whether or not I'm going to lag out, or ping 90-100 on servers just a day ago I pinged 20-30 to. Even when my ping is low enough to play Quakelive has a habit of 999ing for no apparent reason. I know I'm not alone in this because I hear the problem from other people as well. Lots of players I've been dueling and shooting around with for years are getting on less and less because the connectivity issues have gotten so bad that it renders the game nearly unplayable. This in itself is a good enough reason to walk away., but there's always more.
Premium content should not be considered content if it never gets used. I don't think I've ever seen a premium FFA server with people in it. I occasionally see people messing around in premium CA, but it's a rare occurrence and hardly worth mentioning. Yet update after update more maps are included in premium only packages for a dwindling premium/pro playerbase that will only shrink over time because of the same reasons I find I'm playing less and less. Why put money towards a game that doesn't deliver the content that you want? Why put money towards a game where you can't get below 100 ping only a few hundred miles away? It's 2012 and I'm on a mid-tier FIOS fiber optic connection in Virginia, and I sometimes ping 50-60 to Ashburn. I have family near that area. It's 2 hours away from me. How is that even remotely acceptable?
On top of ping and dropped connections, there are hitscan issues that make even 20-30 ping unplayable because of how warped out so many other players are. I cannot believe the amount of times I've played people where I will by all rights completely screw up a rail, aim nowhere near a player, and get a DINK and do damage. There are other times my aim is on point, and out of nowhere the players model has no bearing on whether or not I can connect. The hitbox is trailing behind so far that connecting any damage is a matter of good fortune rather than good aim. I never had that problem going all the way back to Quake 2, yet somehow with Quake live this is still an issue? Unacceptable.
I know Quake is just some afterthought for Id because of the other technologies they dabble in. I know some of the Ql staff was dragged over to help on the development of new engines like Rage and I'm assuming the same will happen with the next incarnation of Doom/Quake. This shouldn't matter. It's an old game. It shouldn't be an issue 5 years ago let alone today with the connections and technology available.
Keeping the game alive would be a good thing, but I just don't see ID putting any real effort into giving players what they want. It seems more and more that it's becoming a sandbox for the developers to experiment in, constantly striking down requests from the community and implementing ideas that nobody wanted to begin with. This new system of voting for maps is a good example. I've yet to hear a single positive thing about it from anyone who plays FFA regularly.
Anyway, I just wanted to vent a little bit because I do love this game, but the changes that have been put in place that effect the way the mechanics of the game plays out, to the connectivity issues on the back-end are just simply ridiculous and unacceptable. If ID has any interest in keeping players like me who have legitimate concerns about the state of a product they paid for, they might glance over this. I highly doubt it though. I don't mean that to sound insulting, but I can only base any prediction of how they would react to criticism based on past experiences.
What a sad state of affairs to see such a good game slowly ruined. Such a shame.