Henceforth to be known as NSFW for the entirety of its existence, Need For Speed: World is another attempt by the EA juggernaut to attempt to make money out of the pirate-riddled PC market. It's a free-to-play racing MMO, a bolted together spaghetti junction of former iterations of Need for Speed, designed to suck coins from the sweaty hands of its players through microtransactions and paid-for content packs.
As you enter its world, which will initially comprise of the towns of Rockport and Silverton extracted from NFS: Carbon and Most Wanted, you're presented with the ghost cars of other players running amok. Someone with too many exclamation marks in his name will hurtle by with a police car in hot pursuit, while another car might choose to excitedly drive in circles around you, either eager to make a new friend or to insult you through the chat window below.
To access the different races just requires a brief click on the map. This will line you up with fellow competitors in an instanced race away from the hubbub, where ethereal forms are replaced by solid livery. It's here that the true MMO trappings of NSFW become more evident, with four chosen power-ups lurking in your numerical keys much as troll-bashes and buffs do in World of Warcraft. Nos, for example, will give a familiar burst of speed, while more amusing abilities such as Emergency Evade and Traffic Magnet respectively throw cars surrounding you into the air, and instructs passing NPC cars on a morning commute to bundle in on the car in front.
Access to the skill-trees that ladle these delights into your menu bars is granted through levelling, since during each race you'll earn XP (although NFS cool kids call it 'Rep') as well as in-game cash to spend on refilling your power-ups. And those who want power-ups on tap can purchase Boost, another in-game currency, with their own real-world cash and make sure that their stocks never dwindle.
This is a fascinating project, and one scaled to run on the lowliest of laptops, but whether the somewhat utilitarian and chunky graphics of NFSW will truly hook the masses is yet to be seen. As indeed, is whether or not it is safe for work.
- It's Need For Speed
- It's free
- It's an MMO
- It's a free MMO
- Silly acronym