We're always trying to improving the ranked race experience, so we've made a stack of changes to improve this as part of our upcoming Cagney software update.
Some players will always look for ways to exploit the game. Here's the easiest way to cheat:
1. Create complex routes that only you know, and then start the race quickly to ensure your rivals don’t get the chance to preview the course.
2. Lock everyone into 5 rounds for maximum points.
3. And if you're really devious, host Paradise Drive routes but then change them at the last minute before launching the event.
This is a real pain for players just looking for a good, fair race, so we've made a bunch of changes that'll go live as part of our Cagney software update.
Custom Routes are no longer featured in competition races
You can choose from 40 predefined Paradise Drives that we’ve sanctioned – 7 came from fans, 10 more came from the team. They're all great routes – we hope you enjoy them!
Sanctioned Routes have their own Time Leaderboards
The new routes each have their own leaderboard, so you can all see who’s the fastest per route. Now, it’s now not just about winning a race, you can now measure your finish time against everyone else's.
Traffic can no longer be switched off in competition races
For the sanctioned routes, we've optimized the traffic density for great racing, so there's no need to switch it off.
No more ‘rounds’ in competition racing
Most 5-round races don’t end with the same number of players that started. Many players disconnect, when they feel like there's no chance of winning, so we've got rid of the concept of rounds.
Now, you can't get locked into a 5 round race without knowing where the races are going and you can select a car that suits the race and your driving style. It also means the scoring system reacts after every race, so it's quicker and if you do disconnect, you only lose your results for the race you were on.
Cars can be grouped by Boost Rating
If you're hosting, you can limit the cars available based on the Boost Speed of the car. Limiting to Boost Level 3 cars, for example, still gives you 10 massively varied cars but they'll all be pretty closely matched for great racing. (We’ve also fixed a few anomalies in the car groupings and changed the order so it's easier to check out the cars in the select screen). This adds a ton of variety to the racing and we'll see a much wider range of cars used – not just the PCPD!
Car Select now appears after the Race Route has been selected
Switching to single races also allows us to make sure everyone gets to see the route before the car select. The host can't make sure they're the only one who knows the route, and now everyone gets a chance to choose an appropriate car.
The host can't kick other players any more
Hosts are kicking players in ranked games to ensure they can win. Pointless and irritating. So we’ve stopped it. The downside to this is that there's no way to kick an abusive player, although if you're hosting, you can just quit the session. In the future we'll have a simple vote system that allows the host to vote to kick someone - they'll still need a majority decision from the remaining players for the kick to activate.
Grid position is based on player ranking
In the past, the very first grid was set randomly – clearly this doesn’t make sense. Now, the grid's based on ranking with the highest ranked player at the back.
Full Boost Bars
We've made it so that all cars have full boost off the grid. Now, the race can get going quicker and with the higher ranked players at the back of the grid, lower ranked players benefit from a small advantage.
Rank and Ranking Points are displayed in game
We’ve added your rank and ranking points to the player list on Today’s Best. This will update periodically if races are run so you can see how everyone's points and rank have changed whilst in the game.
New map icons differentiate the Start and Finish points
Simple change but one that makes a real difference. We’ve seen players making poor route choices, because this wasn't clear, so we've fixed it.
Overall these changes add up to a much sharper ranked race experience.
The racing's better, we’ve removed the ability to exploit, we’ve added clearer ranking changes and the addition of leaderboards gives a completely new way for you to compete. Now it’s not just about scoring from a win, it’s about racing to become the fastest on a route. Real Competition.