It appears a single half-decent car on the iRacing service hasn’t been enough to convince users that the eight year old simulation is making a tangible leap forward to justify the increased cost. Released with no prior build-up to iRacing members about a week ago, the 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was the first car on the service to implement everything the team have learned from their time spent trying to accurately produce dirt oval racing, and at first, reception to the vehicle was overwhelmingly positive. While most cars available in the online-only simulator at a price of $15 per-vehicle exhibit strange handling behavior at the limit of adhesion, even iRacing’s toughest critics were convinced that the 911 GT3 Cup was an incredible step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, today’s Reader Submission from Charles H. notes that while the car itself is indeed fairly enjoyable, the rest of the platform still has some catching up to do.
Hey PRC, I’m just writing to you as a way to share my experiences with the new Porsche Cup car. I’m honestly feeling a bit retarded at my decision to re-subscribe after hearing such glowing feedback on the first day rather than waiting it out for more critical, well-rounded pieces to surface.
A bit about myself: I quit iRacing back in 2014 (God, I make it sound like an addiction) because of the tire model woes, service issues, and the price needed to advance my B license. So many users claim iRacing is a worthwhile substitute for a real racing career, but it cracks open your wallet as frequently as a real career does. This week, I decided I would re-subscribe and at least try out the new Porsche GT3 Cup car.
I was first greeted by a small price increase of $13 per month instead of $12. No big deal, I thought after shelling my shekels for the Porsche and the Nurburgring circuit. And after some practice, I decided to partake in an Industriefahrten Fun race, since I could at least bust out consistent 6:43’s in the Mercedes AMG GT3 at the ring and hold my own in an online race. Well, I ended up beating second place by a solid minute or so in my first race back, without too much effort – leading to what I thought would be a free increase in iRating and Safety Rating.
But after an hour and a half of waiting, the race results still weren’t in. I assumed the race was affected by some bug that made it not count, so I signed up for another hoping they’d eventually appear on the website – which as of this submission they still haven’t.
When this next race started, I encountered the extremely common “Starting the Sim” bug, where the simulator hangs on the loading screen and eventually crashes. After a restart of my PC, I was finally able to get into the race, but I had to start from pit lane as is the case with all late entries. I was already pretty bummed at this point, but figured if I can win by a minute, I would be able to catch up the ten seconds or so that I’d lost with a less than ideal starting position.
The first few corners were fine, but then as I exited the first sector, iRacing suddenly decided to fuck up the calibration of my controls, or at least my brakes. I put more pressure into my T3PA pro pedals than I’ve ever put in before, and only registered about 50% input. I was unable to stop the car because of a software calibration bug and binned the car into the barriers. A ten minute tow pretty quickly established the fact that this race was a write-off.
A race doesn’t count, a common and still unfixed bug ruins my race start, and a sudden calibration error ended it four corners after I took the green flag. On top of that, the tire model on cars other than this divine entity with the Porsche logo is still trash to put it bluntly. The real kicker is that as of this Email hitting your inbox, it has been about three hours since I’ve completed the first race, the results still aren’t in, and probably never will be. I posted a condensed version of this submission within the complaints department in the forums. Whether you give a shit or not, I’ll let you know if I’m banned for it.
I’m a sucker for paying $13 per month for this.
This is why it’s very important for iRacers to be as vocal as they can possibly be about gremlins in the software. New content for an aging simulator doesn’t mean jack shit if there are underlying software issues that are being swept under the rug by a userbase who are more than happy to hold hands with staff members on the forum and sing kumbaya in unison. iRacing will sit in a stagnant position without a mass of voices demanding the quality of the product to live up to the amount they’ve invested into it. Of course, there are people who are fine with what iRacing offers as a racing simulator in January of 2017, but as you’ve written above, sometimes these problems get in the way of actually enjoying what the game does do well. A loss of wheel calibration and failing to register statistics in a piece of software all about tracking statistics is like, basic software functionality far more important than tire heating patterns or which licenses they’ve acquired this month.
The approach you’ve taken to reporting the problem is the correct action. Yes, it’s fun to come to PRC and blow off steam in our comments section; either shitting on the developers or arguing with brainwashed fanboys, but when you want to get shit done, bombard the forums with error reports. Make developers very aware that their product isn’t up to snuff. They’re not your friends, they’re not your co-workers, and they’re not your family members – they’re a company who sold you a product. It’s your duty to tell them when it’s broken, not make excuses for them and apologize for their mistakes.
It’s indeed disappointing that iRacing suffers from such widespread technical problems despite almost a decade in operation and obsessed fanboys throwing hundreds of dollars at them, but that’s what you get when there’s a cult-like mentality infecting the official forums and people are treating it more like an elite social club than an overpriced video game constructed from the ashes of an obscure NASCAR simulator. If you’re a developer and the majority of your audience shower you with praise as some sort of revolutionary figure in what’s admittedly a niche genre, what incentive do you have to listen to any sort of criticism, even if it’s valid?