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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | From the Hardcore Side - 8/11/00

From the Hardcore Side
There are people who play Quake, and then there are people who live and breathe it. In "From the Hardcore Side", Pappy-R brings all his hardcore gaming experience to you and talks about what's going on in the hardcore scene today.
  — by Pappy-R

1 on 1 Play

This edition of the Hardcore side is going to begin a new series that I've been asked for by alot of readers. We're going to start off with the basics again, but this time, it's going to center on 1v1 play. Since I'm not a real 1v1 enthusiast, I'll be getting input from some very impressive sources in the following weeks. This week, we'll start off by introducing the Quake III weapons and descibing how they are best used.

Of course, it's easy to use whatever you have if you don't have much, but when you have a couple of weapons from a level, you need to use what you have to your best advantage. For a quick look and intro to the Quake III weapons, take a look at PQ's Q3A Weapons Page before or after you read the rest of this piece. I recommend opening that page in another browser window as an open reference. Again, we'll start off at the most basic and work our way through to help players from the newest newbie to the seasoned fraggers. Here's a little on each weapon and how it can be used.

The Machine Gun

The Machine gun has two or three uses here. First off, it's your base weapon, the weapon you spawn or start with, so you'll use it at some point to GET bigger and better guns. The second use is for finishing off an already heavily hit enemy. Considered an "instant hit" weapon itís great for long range small damage like the finishing touch to an already very weak enemy that you have previously railed or rocketed close to death. The third use is in close quarters, like a fight with an enemy that you have and will touch and be strafing around each other in a tight pattern.

The Shotgun

The Shotgun is another instant hit weapon and can deal quite a bit of damage in the close battles mentioned earlier. Sticking this bad boy in the ribs of an opponent and pulling the trigger can totally weaken or even kill. I like to use it as a retreat weapon to keep people backed off as they try to follow me and Iím in need of a health or armor pick up. I do LOVE it for close in battles as well, because as I mentioned, it deals a great amount of damage if the pellet spread is reduced and the foe takes most of the pellets. Mid range to finish off or deal damage is great again with this gun. Remember, the pellets spread with distance, and the more that hit the enemy, the better. Another more advanced use for the Shotgun is for making people miss what they are jumping for by hitting them in midair. Great effect nailing mid air foes launched from a jump pad.

The Grenade Launcher

The Grenade Launcher is a useful tool in the right circumstances. It deals explosive projectiles that have limited flight and go off at the touch of a player and certain entities (like doors) or will sit for a four count and explode. Limited flight means that the projectile or Grenade will not be in the air long and is greatly affected by the Quake III world physics causing an arc in the short flight, and bouncing in an empty hall or room till the payload explodes. Great as a retreat weapon to spam behind, or throw into a room to make the enemy choose another way out. It's also very useful to rain down death from a high perch in selected situations.

The Rocket Launcher

The world famous Rocket Launcher is not an instant hit weapon because you can see the projectile travel in the Q3 world. This weapon packs a serious smack with a direct hit but since the rockets rate of speed makes it avoidable by a skilled and/or long distance enemy, the explosive damage spray or "splash" is what most will rely on. This is NOT an up close and personal weapon due to the fact that in most cases with self damage being ON in the server, you will take splash damage from the explosions along with the target youíre trying to decimate. The RL, as itís commonly referred to, is for midrange or prediction shots. Midrange for damage to an area close to your foe and not close enough to cause self damage. Prediction shots are when you know where you target is headed and can have the rocket meet him there or damn close to it. Hit walls near the target and the floor at his feet to damage the enemy with the splash. With the Q3A physics being what they are, you can throw your target around a bit with the explosions of the rockets. Get into the habit through practice of not only making your him land where he doesn't want to go, but put him where you want him to land for the killing blow. You can also use the rocket's power to propel yourself in the well known Rocket Jump. Point the weapon at your feet with consideration to the angle for where you'd like to go, and hit fire and jump at the same time. These jumps are something we'll get into much more later.

The Plasma Gun

The Plasma Gun is a weapon we havenít seen since the DOOM2 days and can be used to a devastating conclusion. The PG is also not an instant hit weapon and has limits on it again as a long range weapon. This gun is best used in midrange fighting and does cause self damage if the plasma balls strike very close to you. In other words the balls or ammo does have a limited splash. The fairly high rate of fire or constant fire and the damage from each ball makes this gun a real danger in a fairly close range foray. Great chase weapon in areas where the target canít lose you around too many corners, and it again makes a nice retreat weapon if you spray back and run backwards to safer ground and much needed supplies. This puppy will go through ammo quite greedily though so watch your use.

The Lightning Gun

The Lightning Gun is considered a ranged weapon as itís discharge has a limited range for doing damage. I primarly rely on this weapon as a finishing touch to an already weak foe or for exploring smaller areas. Hold this bad boy on an enemy that is in the air and it sucks out their life points like pop through a straw. No self damage and a constant rate of fire in a stream make this a deadly gun inclose or midrange. SWEET!

The Rail Gun

The Rail Gun needs little intro here for those of you that have played Quake 2 at all. The Rail is an awesome long range weapon. Itís considered an instant hit weapon and can be lethal in the steady hands of what we like to call "a Rail Ho". Extensive damage, pinpoint accuracy, instant hit and a slow rate of fire make this a hard weapon to use effectively. But with practice, you can become a REAL threat on the servers. This weapon is not a choice for the tight dancing fights between enemies and should be pulled out when entering large open areas. Combined with the scope or "zoom" function that is a default option in Q3 this gun is a snipers dream.


The BFG is something you'll see more in Free For All (FFA) style games and not in serious team or tourney games. This weapon is a powerful hybrid combo of the Rocket Launcher and Plasma Gun. Rapid fire balls of energy with more splash damage than a normal rocket, this gun will unbalance any game. Newbies beware, due to the power and splash damage of each "burst", blowing your own ass up is quite likely if you're not careful.

The Gauntlet

Some of you wonder why I left the Gauntlet for last I bet. I did this because I donít consider it a real threat as a weapon. This weapon is not a gun but an extension of your hand or arm. An electically charged blade does the damage, but you must have contact with the target. I have seen this weapon become well used and quite dangerous in a few trained hands. Having it on a quick switch key and bringing it up in a very close fight can result in a win. The Gauntlet does deal a heavy damage load per hit, so beware or learn to use it. The Gauntlet is a humiliation weapon. If you die by this weapon, feel bad. Feel very bad 'cause that means you let some player in close enough to cuddle your kidneys.

Now that you have some usage examples, play the Q3A bots and use your weapons wisely. Create a section of weapon switching keys that are easy to reach in the heat of battle, and switch, switch switch. Quake III weapon switching isn't as instant as in Quake 1, but the half second it takes is a damned sight faster than the Quake 2 switching which seemed like a lifetime when you really needed it. Here are some real examples of just how basic and important weapon usage and switching is.

In the recent PQ Arcade Challenges, we had a run on 1v1 Quake III DM games. I went quite a while without a loss, and some players were actually better shots than I was. In one game, I was heavily out matched and down in score until I realized one very important thing. My foe was a "rail ho" almost exclusively. He had an awesome rail shot, but little success with anything else. Once I fragged him and kept him from gaining the rail again, I took the game. Close, but I won, and he was actually a better shot than I was.

In waiting to pick another opponent after a win, one perspective challenger asked another what weapon I used or liked best, so that he could probably do the same to me. The answer from the player I had just beaten in a 1v1 was that I used and liked ALL the weapons. This answer got a prompt "oh crap!" from the fellow asking.

I've done a goofy little demo for you to see how weapon switching is used and which weapons work best in some situations. The demo is just myself against three Q3A standard bots on "Hurt Me Plenty" skill. This demo is not to show anything but weapon selection, and I recorded it very early in the morning as an addon to this week's Hardcore Side, so don't expect too many "flick rails". The demo was recorded on q3dm6 TMP version and you'll need the TMP maps pack to play the demo. The TMP pack is a teamplay pack of the Quake III maps used by leagues and ladders for competition play, and was made by members of Team Abuse. What this does is changes some weapon health and armour locations for maps q3dm6, q3dm7, q3dm12 and q3dm14.

Becoming adept with all weapons in their proper circumstances is a large factor in becoming a good Quake player. Practice this on some bot butt, and come back next time for more. CYA out there.

  — Pappy-R

Don't forget to mail your hardcore questions about strategy, gameplay, or just about anything else to Pappy-R so they can be included in our newest feature, the From the Hardcore Side Mailbag. Pappy will answer your question, or he will find someone that can!

Questions? Comments? Random screaming? Send it all to feedback!

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