Interview with Trajan – QUAKE Live’s First Dark Angel

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Recently SyncError, the Community Manager for QUAKE Live, got a chance to interview Trajan, who was the first player on QUAKE Live to achieve 250,000 frags and earn the Dark Angel award. An impressive stat, and congratulations to Trajan from the team here at id! Hit the (rocket) jump for the interview.

How long have you been playing computer games; when did you begin playing QUAKE titles?

I started out on an Acorn Electron and a Commodore Amiga in the late 1980s, before switching to a PC in the mid ’90s. One of my earliest games was Lemmings, the music and graphics of which are still ingrained in my memory. I tried Quake shareware briefly, before getting hold of a copy of Quake II around Christmas 1997. I’d spent two painful years playing Q2 on a 56.6k modem when Id Software released the Q3Test in April 1999. By the time the game was commercially available in December, I was addicted and have been playing it ever since. Thankfully, the days of the 56k and ISDN have long sinced passed.

Campgrounds is listed as your most played map, but what are your three most favorite arenas and why?

My favourites are probably the Temple of Retribution (qzdm7), Siberia (qzctf8) and the Grim Dungeons (qzdm14). Despite the number of free-for-all games I ended up playing to get the Dark Angel award, I’ve always preferred team-orientated maps.

qzdm7 is a classic map, early versions of which I remember from the Q3Test. While some item placement has changed since then, it still reminds me of what it was like to explore and learn a map for the first time.

qzctf8 is graphically different from the original Q3A maps, which were traditionally high-tech, Pagan or Gothic, so Method’s map stands out more. The ice is always entertaining, and the speeds at which it’s possible to move across the two floors typically increases the pace of the match.

Finally, the dual power-ups on qzdm14 provide some variety in team death-match, a mode otherwise dominated by the quad. Shooting the enemy into the void as they attempt to grab the battlesuit is quite rewarding, especially if they try to rocket jump out.

What QUAKE LIVE feature do you like the most and what missing feature would you most like to see introduced?

The aspect I appreciate the most is the way in which Quake Live is actually delivered. Clients and servers are now updated simultaneously, and are ultimately supervised by a dedicated team of a single company. Subsequently, the service itself is clearly designed to be more accessible and streamlined than its predecessor, and it shows.

I think the Friends system could be overhauled, and, to take an example from the competition, one enhancement would be to allow users to create groups as sub-structures. These groups could be national, clans or real-life groups of friends. It should also be possible to create petition groups, within the Friends structure, to get a sense of how many users would advocate the introduction of a given feature.

Players often become comfortable playing on their own computer setup, is there anything particular branded hardware that you can’t stand to play without?

It was never really a conscious decision to collect so much Logitech hardware. I purchased a G9X mouse late last year, which now neatly sits alongside a keyboard and headset from the same company.

When I started playing Quake 3 Arena, I favoured the Intelli Explorer, on the basis that it was often reviewed as amongst the most accurate. However, there were several aspects of the build that I always disliked: the cheapish side-buttons and the overall size. Since then, I’ve experimented with the cordless Logitech MX700, the Intelli Explorer 3.0 and the Razer Deathadder.

Similarly, I’ve been through a variety of different mouse-pads, such as Ratpadz and the Steelseries Icemats. I’m currently using a Razer Goliathus simply because it doesn’t destroy the mice feet as efficiently as plastic or glass.

In short, my current set-up is mainly the result of trial and error.

Do you have any QUAKE LIVE rituals that you like to perform before, during or after a match?

There’s just the one ritual: I’ll spend hours rewriting my configuration, especially the acceleration and sensitivity of the mouse.

I was given the following piece of advice, which I still use, and it’s essentially an exercise in learning hand/eye co-ordination:

In a practice game, fire at a wall from close-range or about the middle distance, strafe left and right randomly, moving the mouse as necessary to keep the impact marks in the cross-hairs. Note down the sensitivity used, and then do the same thing twice over, once with the sensitivity set a fraction higher, then a fraction lower. If you find the original was a bit off, adjust the sensitivity to whatever seems smooth yet accurate and repeat the steps again.

What has been one of your most memorable in-game moments in QUAKE LIVE?

Defeating SyncError 27-0 in a duel on The House of Decay (qztourney9). Admittedly, the match was biased heavily in my favour: my ping was 43 and his an unenviable 126. I still feel a little guilty…

Yakumo hot on your heals just became the second player to earn the Dark Angel award, what are the chances of someone beating you to a million frags?

First off, congratulations to Yakumo.

I think a million frags would be an incredible achievement for anyone. My own score works out as 250 frags per hour, and at that rate it’d take me about 167 days playing time to get to a million. Since it’s already taken some of us an entire year to get to between 40-50 full days of Quake, it shows how much of a commitment 1,000,000 kills would be.

Maybe I’ll get there in time for Quake 5.

Thanks for your time

Thank you.

Reader Comments

  1. “The aspect I appreciate the most is the way in which Quake Live is actually delivered. Clients and servers are now updated simultaneously, and are ultimately supervised by a dedicated team of a single company. Subsequently, the service itself is clearly designed to be more accessible and streamlined than its predecessor, and it shows.”

    Hmm.. this is probably the thing I like LEAST about quake live. No custom content means the entire community is completely dependent on the developers to keep it alive. The last thing I’d want is for pc gaming to emulate the dumbed-down experience that is xboxlive/psn. Also, running the client as a dll through a browser adds its own problems. It’s not necessary. Just set up some javascript that calls the executable with the requisite cmd line options to connect to the server..