The reception to Race Room Racing Experience’s newest piece of premium content, the 2015 ADAC GT Masters pack, hasn’t resonated with avid R3E players to the extent Sector 3 was hoping. Bringing a collection of around 20 liveries to existing GT3 entries, and just one new car – the pigfag Bentley Continental – fans of Sector 3’s most prominent simulator have put their foot down and became very vocal about the lack of value in the latest pack. Dane R. has sent in a Reader Submission to us, outlining the situation currently transpiring on the Swedish developer’s forums.
Sector 3 has done it again – it’s the fourth time in a single month that they’ve published new content for R3E. But this time, it’s a pack featuring cars from last years ADAC GT Masters season. In contrast to the previous releases, such as the Nordschleife or the GTO Class update, which both received quite positive feedback, this time Sector 3 was forced to deal with a lot of valid criticism. It’s not that difficult to notice the new pack contains almost no innovations in comparison to the 2014 offering. The only new car is the Bentley Continental GT3, that isn’t really that new because it was already shown weeks ago when previewing the Nordschleife. Nevertheless almost all promotional screenshots show the Bentley, and also in the related trailer the car is omnipresent. It masks the fact that there isn’t much else in the pack to justify the purchase.
But the lack of new content was only one part of the overall criticism. People were unhappy about the developers’ decision to not bring out a complete Experience Pack as they’ve been doing for previous seasons. The negative consequences of this means you are not able to play the entire season with the original alignment, fancy menus, and other little gimmicks. Playing the 2014 ADAC GT Masters expansion pack, you had a special double race format with a driver swap after half of the race. Now, I get that some people might think this feature isn’t all that important, bit in your opinion, you can create a custom championship as you have all the tracks.
But then I have to ask myself: Why should I buy this car pack? The generic GT3 class in RaceRoom contains much more cars, and especially liveries. The GT Masters 2015 pack contains only 19 cars, so your maximum field size is smaller by default if you belong to the group of people who think driving against two #21 Zakspeed SLS AMG’s is dumb. Some guy found fault with the fact that the Ford GT is not in the DLC despite racing during the real season. Yes, this car only appeared for one event on the calendar (Hockenheim), but this is also true for the Chevrolet Camaro, and that is featured in the pack. The other Mercedes, which only drove at the Nurburgring, is missing as well. It’s also not understandable to omit some of these one-off cars, because the WTCC 2015 pack contained two drivers who only participated in one weekend as well – Schmitz and Homola.
As a whole, I don’t understand why RaceRoom needs GT Masters content. Apart from the main game features a very good generic GT3 class, the race series itself is quite unimportant. According to J-F Chardon of Sector 3, Germany is the biggest market for RaceRoom, but the ADAC GT Masters series is relatively unknown. The TV broadcast is on a channel called Sport1, a “sports” channel whose programme consists two thirds of call-in quizzes, home shopping, and soft-core porn. One of the most important German motorsports websites, motorsport-total.com, has stopped reporting on the races. I understand that back in early 2014 it was advantageous for the game to cooperate with a series whose tracks were partially already in-game thanks to the DTM Expansions. But now, two years later? Shouldn’t the game try to move on, or to expand their horizons?
I’m a huge sucker for liveries, so at some point I’ll probably check out the 2015 ADAC GT Masters pack. I’m pissed that there isn’t a McLaren in the field – because that’s sort of my car – but in my opinion, more liveries is always better. I love having these massive encyclopedias of race cars to pick from, and that probably stems from the old Papyrus stock car games, where it basically turned into virtual die-cast collecting. However, I agree with you that the value of the overall pack is shit, and this is coming from someone with a media account where this content gets injected into my game automatically. It would be extremely difficult to get me to be happy with this purchase had I been playing the role of a common customer.
The stream of ADAC GT Masters content is something I suspect to boil down to a licensing agreement. Typically when companies such as Sector 3 pursue a license for a real-world racing series, it’s a multi-year deal, and part of the contract is to produce content for each season, starting from year X, and ending with year Y. I agree that they could have done more, especially after setting a standard with the 2014 pack and then going backwards, but we’re looking at something that was the product of a business deal.
As for the patchy list of drivers, NASCAR games have traditionally suffered the same fate, and this was extremely noticeable in the EA Sports titles from many years ago. 2004 Nextel Cup contender Jeremy Mayfield was randomly left out of NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup, even though he ended up qualifying for NASCAR’s version of the playoffs that year. Tony Raines, a fan-favorite backmarker was demonstrated in preview footage of NASCAR Thunder 2004, but was not present in the final game. And have you ever seen screenshots of NASCAR 09? EA Sports couldn’t even get the rights to each individual car manufacturer that year. This is not photoshop, or a leaked preview early on in the game’s development cycle: a NASCAR game really did ship without Dodge/Chevy/Ford/Toyota adorning the cars. This kind of shit is a licensing thing.
It’s all business. I’m sure Sector 3 is aware players are unhappy – these guys don’t operate in a manner comparable to Slightly Mad Studios or Kunos, but this is one of those deals where hands have been more or less tied. My biggest personal issue is how the game now includes four sets of identical GT3 cars that aren’t compatible with each other. Your average sim racer can buy the 2015 ADAC GT Masters pack, and essentially still not own a valid GT3 car for online racing unless the host specifically selects that option – which is basically never. I’ve been in online rooms where the qualifying session is four times the length of the race, so good luck getting everybody to sync up their GT3 class filters.