We can't say we didn't see it coming but it doesn't even matter now as Quake Champions is going proper free to play and even though id Software's already touting Champion packs, you should be able to grind all of them out for free.
Not that we're trying to talk anyone out of rewarding id's hard work, it's just that as fun as it is, Quake Champions is still some way off being called a finished article. After all, the game is still in Steam's Early Access, even if the developer is polishing it lightning fast lately.
Having popped up in Early Access in August 2017, Quake Champions hasn't had the best of times with player population. Charging for the pleasure yielded a maximum of 1,350 concurrent players, which is the playerbase that carried the game until id and Bethesda threw a giveaway in June 2018.
As you'd expect, numbers soared at the time until everyone had their fill of Quake's new thaeng, but as July progressed numbers slowly settled between 2,000 and 3,000 players, with occasional peaks at around 4,000.
It is worth keeping in mind that there are about 5 more players running the game exclusively through Bethesda's launcher. Jabs aside, it's hard to get an accurate estimate.
Of course, it didn't help that the company had technical issues with bots, being forced into removing them from matchmaking. They returned eventually, along with an old face from the first instalment of Quake - the Death Knight. Unfortunately, and this could be just me, he seems to have received a Blizzard treatment in the meantime because as pixelated as the Death Knight was, he sure didn't seem undead at the time. Oh well, I'm old and my memory is shaky.
Even though the free to play model definitely brings its own set of problems with it, Quake Champions didn't have much choice. After all, lovers of pure, unadulterated old school shooting found Quake Champions to have way too much Overwatch, while Overwatchers and TF2ers found too little of their own favourites in there.
According to the newly announced f2p deal, new Quake Champions players will get access to the Ranger for free, whereas the rest of the roster will require them to grind them out. Or buy, but we all know what real men do.