A racing MMO might have its work cut out for it. In the world of racing, your performance is measured by your position on the podium, and for many, anything less than first place means you didn't try hard enough. We had the chance to check out the current build of World of Speed at E3 2014, and while winning is important, it isn't the only way to succeed. The game is based on teamwork while working as a team of drivers, and it's set up in such a way that gold medal finishes aren't the end-all be-all of success.
In World of Speed, you can set up your own racing clubs, which allows you and like-minded racers to compete against other clubs. You can establish a custom livery set for your club, which club members can assign to their cars as a show of solidarity. While racing, you can win by simply having better position at the end of a race, but you can also win by completing race objectives. For example, one objective is to maintain a set percentage of racing along the course's optimum line, while another is to find a certain amount of shortcuts or by drafting another racer. In this way, racers who aren't skilled enough to get a strong podium finish can still contribute to their team's success.
This is also how the game reinforces a strategic aspect of the gameplay. You may want to have someone racing for your team in a fast car to get and hold on to first place, while a heavy car with good acceleration is the bruiser that tries to muscle out anyone who tries to squeeze past him or her. As cars take damage in the game, it does not affect their performance stats, but at the end of a race, you have to pay to repair any damage sustained during the race.
As you race, you can gain currency and modify your car. Aesthetic upgrades include things such as new headlights or other cosmetic touches, but they offer no performance impact and are in the game purely for creative purposes. Performance upgrades, on the other hand, let you modify your car, though it's usually at the benefit of one stat and the detriment of another. A bigger engine may offer greater horsepower or top speed, but its weight also affects the car's handling. In this way, it is not possible to "max out" a car since you're just tuning it more toward your racing style rather than chasing upgrades.
Ultimately, I only got the briefest taste of hands-on time with World of Speed, but the racing seemed solid in its mix of arcade and simulation features, and while the club and modification aspects were only spoken of, they could add some depth to the racing MMO. The true test will undoubtedly be when the game sees a wide enough release for clubs to form, so the real racing can begin.
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