id Software launches subscription options for Quake Live

In terms of pro first-person shooting, you’ll find that there is a rather large and dedicated contingency to the idea that nothing ever quite topped the focus and refinement of Quake 3: Arena. When the game was re-released and subtly revised as a browser-based title called Quake Live, that very contingency was quite happy. Their favorite competitive game now had its own matchmaking system, an easy game browser, and friends lists. The best part: it was all free. It was enough to revitalize the game and bring it to the forefront of many gaming tournaments.

Yesterday, id added a whole slew of new stuff to the game. The new stuff, however, is not free.

New subscription options are in place to gain access to the new content; the Premium Subscription will cost users $1.99 per month billed annually, so $23.88 per year if you want to keep score. The listed features in this subscription are:

– Access to 20 QUAKE LIVE Premium only maps at launch with more to come.  Premium maps are a combination of brand new maps and frequently requested community favorites from previous QUAKE games such as AerowalkTheater of Pain, Japanese Castles, and Realm of Steel Rats;
– An all new ‘Freeze Tag’ game mode;
– Exclusive premium level awards;
– Create your own clan and join up to five separate clans;
– Custom QUAKE LIVE profile wallpaper; and
– Match statistics stored for six months.

The Pro Subscription will run $3.99 per month, and also be billed annually ($47.88 per year). Two extra bucks a month will get you:

– The ability to start your own game server, specify a server location, determine the game mode and invite who you want to join you;
– With the Pro Subscription, you can invite three friends with Standard level memberships to play with you in any Premium level map;
– Exclusive pro awards;
– Create your own clan and join up to ten separate clans; and
– Match statistics stored for 12 months.

Of course, the core game that everyone is familiar with will remain free. 20 maps sure is an awful lot, though. For the hardcore fans, maybe that’s worth at least a Premium subscription?