Maybe a Free Weekend Wasn’t the Best Idea…

RRRE 2015-06-27 13-07-13-56In theory, Sector 3’s concept of opening up everything RaceRoom Racing Experience has to offer for one weekend in June was a flawless idea. The game is loved by the handful of drivers who choose to call it their main sim, but the absurd pricing model turns off all but the most diehard of racing sim enthusiasts. Managing to achieve a relatively niche following, with new users trickling into the game primarily through word of mouth, the Free Weekend promotion opened the floodgates to a huge wave of new users.

On most days when I come home from work, R3E is a ghost town online. It doesn’t help that I’m in Canada and the majority of R3E drivers are across the pond in Europe, but this picture accurately demonstrates the limited options I’m presented with when I feel like racing online. The size of the online userbase definitely increases during Euro-centric hours, but never to a size where rooms can be considered populated. There’s basically one room with a bunch of people, and a handful of rooms with one or two drivers.

https://pretendracecars.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/rrre-2015-04-09-18-00-22-59.png?w=1628&h=916

Obviously, with all content in the free-to-play racing sim being temporarily unlocked, online activity saw a noticeable increase.

RRRE 2015-06-27 10-01-28-27I personally really enjoy R3E, so at first I was stoked. Even some of the game’s older content that we’ve been advised to stay away from, such as the GTR X cars, were getting some love thanks to the game’s really simple dedicated server application.

However, making the game totally free for a few days doesn’t just open up the racing sim to experienced drivers curious about a title that rivals their personal sim of choice – it also unleashes waves of noobs that as of this writing, have made most servers insufferable.

RRRE 2015-06-27 10-10-41-92

There’s no way to describe it other than pure chaos. Most people couldn’t keep their cars on the track for more than a lap or two. Every wallpaper-worthy screenshot I took had someone gloriously shitting the bed in the background.

RRRE 2015-06-27 10-13-03-36So I just stopped taking pretty pictures altogether and focused on the wrecks.

RRRE 2015-06-27 10-04-10-90Despite the huge grids, very few people in practice or qualifying were competent enough to complete a lap. Those that did were woefully off pace, despite the consensus away from PRC.net about R3E’s allegedly dumbed down physics. In both a GTR X room, and a mixed class P2/GT3 room, multiple people spun off the starting grid. This, in a game where you can shift into first before the lights go out and it feels like there’s a built-in launch control.

RRRE 2015-06-27 10-04-56-84It’s a frustrating experience, as time and time again I’d spend a decent amount of time running laps in practice, only to see that 90% of the grid probably shouldn’t have been there. I took the Group 5 Skyline to both Mid-Ohio and Hockenheim, and each lap would pass numerous cars parked on the side of the track. Had there been a 107% cutoff rule in qualifying, 5 of the 24 cars in the room would have been allowed to race. It was really disappointing. There was no point entering a Group 5 room as nobody could deal with the 1970’s turbo lag.

RRRE 2015-06-27 10-07-40-34We didn’t even make it to the problematic braking zone in Macau, as a track-blocking wreck occurred mere seconds into what was supposed to be a fifteen minute race.RRRE 2015-06-27 10-08-48-00Nothing compares to turn one of the famed Nurburgring. Starting 23rd out of the 24 car field (I joined the server with a minute left in qualifying), I was really excited to see how multi-class racing would work in R3E. I didn’t even make it through the first sector; a huge pack of cars washed out, and then proceeded to simultaneously spin back onto the track. This track has been in numerous high profile racing games for almost a decade, and people still haven’t figured it out.

RRRE 2015-06-27 10-05-35-08Again, what could have been a fun 20 minute race was ended before it really even began. Must have been absolutely demoralizing for the people who had taken the time to run proper practice and qualifying laps.

RRRE 2015-06-27 10-06-10-66What makes this clusterfuck even more disappointing is that the netcode is really fucking good, and there aren’t any noticeable performance issues, even with a full field. This one can solely be blamed on bad drivers. I look forward to reading other people’s opinions of R3E in the coming days, because the abundance of new users and bored kids who downloaded the game out of curiosity means you sometimes can’t get 800 feet into a race regardless of what car/track combo the server is running. All of these inevitable my experience with R3E threads that’ll pop up will be based off of guys trying and failing to survive 30 seconds of carnage.

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14 thoughts on “Maybe a Free Weekend Wasn’t the Best Idea…

  1. There are about 20-30 competent drivers I’ve met online in R3E, and a dozen more aliens (those usually race the modern DTM / ADAC. I mostly drive the 92 DTM pack and the WTCC series and I can usually meet at least 2, often 3 drivers that match my pace, which is okay but not alien-like. To be honest, those that own content are mostly solid drivers that can make a race fun.

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  2. You can’t fix stupid. I don’t know what else there is to say about that. I’ve seen some horrid pileups and wrecks in the quaint little FWD Touring cars and those are the easiest and slowest cars in the game.

    That’s not to say I didn’t have good races. In fact, I had a surprising amount of good races once the chaff gets filtered out after lap 1. I tend to stick to DTM 1992 which are both really fun and relatively slow. Those seemed to be the least chaotic.

    Like ravenousbeast said, I usually get pretty solid racing when I play online outside of this weekend. I’m not especially fast/good, but I can usually keep up and give a good race. I’m more persistent than I am fast, and usually end up in the top half of the results, if not on the podium, simply because I’m pretty consistent.

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    1. They may be the slowest, but the FWD cars definitely aren’t the easiest. The way they are set up, the rear end tends to get very loose in corners. If you enter a corner the way you do in the RWD cars, you will likely spin out of control. Those cars require smooth inputs from the steering wheel (if you jerk the steering, the front wheels will lose traction and you’ll get understeer) and constant balancing on the throttle, to keep the rear end in line. To me, they are more difficult to drive fast in corners than the DTM 1992 cars and a lot of others. That’s why they are so much fun.

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  3. Yeah same old shit, but tbh Ive found similar issues in Iracing, despite all the safe guards, and if manage to survive first lap, ive found some good scraps.

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  4. I’ve spent more time offline just trying out the cars/track I don’t have, but it doesn’t surprise me that the influx of new players would bring issues like this.

    But at least with R3E, there’s decent AI to race in the meantime.

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    1. I have still to find the decent AI to be honest.
      I run them at 100 to 120 depending the tracks but still get rammed in some corners and/or have to hit the brakes big time in other corners – on the same track. Eg. at 120 in T1 and T2 at Hockenheim I can drive around them, but at the hairpin I get rammed hard every time…
      Curios to know your AI settings that ake them “decent”

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      1. I think I had them at or around 100, never really bothered to look this past weekend, but I’m no super-driver, I could compete with them in the ’13 WTCC cars, but was way off pace in the P2’s until about an hour of practice, and even then I was mid-pack at best.

        I’ve been ‘hairpin-bumped’ by the GSCE AI more than in R3E, oddly enough.

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  5. I tend to do leaderboard stuff because the AI racing is rubbish – long way to go there. This article prompted me to go multiplayer but the times I did join I clicked the Drive button and nothing happened (all other buttons worked eg. Setup etc) then the times I did get in to the race the screen immediately went black and game crashed…
    Not sure I missed much but was keen to check out the “the netcode is really fucking good” that you talk about

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