Quake Live, arguably the most enduring free-to-play first-person shooter, is no longer free-to-play. An update published yesterday on the game's Steam page announced the arrival of Steamworks integration and the termination of the Quake Live subscription service. That means friend lists, chat, lobbies, voice chat, server browsers and statistics now all run through Steam.
That's fine, but as Kotaku notes, not all is well in paradise. For starters, it's unclear whether id Software or publisher Bethesda ever gave forewarning that the game will now attract a US$10 charge – not that it really matters to current players anyway, since anyone with the game in their Steam library already won't have to pay.
What does sting is that veterans of the game are reporting that their old statistics and friend lists have been lost. The Quake Live forums are awash with complaints that their stats have been wiped, which must hurt anyone who has been playing since its launch in 2010.
Meanwhile, the changes brought by the removal of a subscription service seem to compensate for the newly installed price tag. "By retiring our services and subscription service, all players now have the same benefits and features in-game. All players can participate in map voting processes, have full access to customize their game to the same degree as others, and have the ability to run their own Listen Servers and configure their matches to their own liking.
"Players wishing to have more control over how they play now also have new callvote options, allowing them to opt into some of our newer gameplay mechanics such as Starting Weapons, Global Ammo, and Item Timers. Over time we found that these features were effective in some modes more than others, and so modes like Free For All now have loadouts disabled by default."
Quake Live hit Steam last year, causing a bit of controversy at the time due to its seeming desire to appeal to more casual FPS players.