QuakeCon 2016: Competitive fragging, 3,000 custom PCs, and a board game called “Doom”

Dubbed the “Woodstock of gaming”, QuakeCon returned for the twenty-first time this past weekend for a week of peace, love and rockets.

Dubbed the “Woodstock of gaming,” QuakeCon returned for the twenty-first time this past weekend for a week of peace, love and rockets. QuakeCon has always been about a couple of things: its massive BYOC (bring your own computer) and tournaments in id Software’s games of high competitive repute. Over the years, this community event has transformed from a tournament-focused event to becoming an extension of ZeniMax Media’s (the company that owns id Software, Bethesda and Arkane Studios, among other things) E3 showing.

This year’s BYOC saw gamers carting their massive gaming rigs (3,000 of them) across the United States to QuakeCon 2016 in Dallas, Texas. If you’re curious to know what some of these custom PCs look like, head here. With the promise of glory in BYOC tournaments and zero-lag fragging thanks to internet with a whopping 6Gbps download capability, this is one LAN party you wish was happening in your town.

Tournaments have always been an integral part of the QuakeCon experience, and 2016 was going to be no different. The two main events, the Quake Live Duel Masters Invitational, and QuakeWorld RDM 2on2 Open (in QuakeWorld, an updated version of the original Quake) had a prize pool of US$50,000. If you’ve forgotten and/or are unaware of the sheer awesomeness of competitive arena shooters, the videos to the grand finals of both events are linked above and below.

Doom was given its due as well, with a trailer release of the Unto the Evil DLC, while a VR version of the game was playable at the convention. Its map editor, SnapMap has been a huge hit with the modding community, who were able to interact directly with id Software developers in the Doom SnapMap corner at QuakeCon this year.

Tabletop games have been a fixture over the last few years, and this year it was announced that there was going to be a Doom board game! Doom going D&D seems like an odd fit, but the game sure looks cool enough to check out, particularly if you’re into elaborate, needlessly complicated tabletop games featuring miniature demons and menacing-looking dice. It’s coming out later this year and is expected to be priced at US$80 (around Rs 5,352).

Bethesda’s Prey was the first game to get the trailer treatment. Marooned on a space station? Otherworldly apparitions? Superpowers? Transforming into a mug? Sold. Let’s get some of that awesome gravity manipulation gameplay and it’s already ‘game of the year’ in my books. It’s more of a reimagining than a reissue of the eternally delayed original, and this is a good thing.

We also got to see some Quake Champions gameplay in a new trailer. Open environments, rocket jumps and loads of vertical space means this is as much a Quake game as there’s ever been. Visual similarities to Doom are a direct result of the graphics engine, but the gameplay is likely to feel different, given the character classes and map design.

Hearthstone, watch out! Not really, but The Elder Scrolls Legends: A Strategy Card Game is more of a thing now, and there’s an open beta on PC for which you can sign up right here. Legends allows players to dig deeper into Elder Scrolls lore and experience it in an entirely new way. Unless you’ve painstakingly read through every book in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim (trust me, I know at least one person who has), you’re likely to learn something new. Legends has been marketed as being a lot different from other card games out there, with the game featuring several layers of complexity such as lanes, runes, and different ways to build decks. You can read all about it here.

The Elder Scrolls Online will be getting the One Tamriel update soon — where the entire playable world of TESO will be opened up to all players, irrespective of their level. The game will use a level-scaling system, matching players to the level of the game’s various DLC zones.


Dishonored @QuakeCon 2016

Personally, I was really looking forward to seeing some gameplay video from Arkane Studios’ Dishonored 2, but all we’ve got are three gifs and some elaborate text descriptions of the game’s features. Corvo’s “Blink”, “Bend Time” and “Windblast” powers have been enhanced, allowing for executions with more flair, while mission design is supposedly going to offer multiple paths — more so than before.

Finally, if you’re invested in the world of QuakeCon at all, don’t miss watching this 20-minute documentary of what goes on behind the scenes at America’s largest LAN party.

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