Forza Motorsport Week in Review 11-15-13
Depending on where you live, there’s more or less than seven days until we’re all playing Forza Motorsport 5 together on Xbox One. That’s 168 hours away, give or take. Something around 10,000 minutes. After seven years of waiting for the next generation of Xbox, seven days is the flit of a hummingbird’s wing. It’s an eye-blink from an over-caffeinated hipster. It’s… well, it’s not much time at all. So let’s kill some of those remaining minutes with a jam-packed edition of the Week in Review; the final edition before Forza 5 gets the green flag!
Credits and Cars
Let’s talk in-game economy and car collecting. Specifically, I want to take some time to talk about in-game credits, unicorns, and gift cars in Forza Motorsport 5. You longtime Forza Motorsport 4 players are familiar with two issues related to the Forza 4 economy: one was having a garage full of cars you didn’t necessarily use, and the other was the disparity in credit earning between creators and racers. Essentially, for many painters and brokers, credits came way too easily, while players who primarily raced in the Career or Multiplayer often had trouble earning enough credits. In terms of cars, part of the issue was that the game gifted cars to you at every turn – each time you leveled up, for example, you earned a car. As for credits, between the auction house and the storefront (not to mention the unfortunate presence of credit hackers), it was a relatively easy task for some players to end up with more in-game cash than they knew what to do with, while other players (normal racers and some tuners) didn’t have enough credits to buy the cars they wanted.
As we’ve been working on Forza Motorsport 5 and discussing our philosophy behind the game in public, you’ve probably heard a familiar refrain: “Every car matters.” When we went back and looked at the player data for Forza 4, we learned that most players were using a small percentage of the gift cars available in their garages, leaving the majority of their cars relatively untouched. For Forza 5, we wanted to focus on the cars that mattered most to the player.
Instead of filling your garage with cars you don’t necessarily want, we wanted to let players choose the cars that mattered and be able to spend as much time with that car (or cars) as possible. It’s for that reason that we’ve normalized the amount of credits you earn throughout career event in Forza Motorsport 5. For example, you won’t earn more credits per mile because you are driving in a supercar event than you would when driving in a race full of hot hatches. You can spend all of your time in your Toyota GT86 and progress just as quickly as the Forza 5 player who races in the McLaren P1™. While the base credits per mile are the same as Forza 4 in Career; now Multiplayer, Rivals, and Free Play will also earn at the same rate. Supercar or vintage; same credits per mile. The biggest variables are skill- and strategy-based: assists, opponent difficulty, and manufacturer affinity bonus.
While Forza Motorsport 5 does not feature a storefront or auction house, there are new, more skill-based and strategic ways to earn credits. For example, when racing, increasing the difficulty level of your Drivatar opponents gives you a far higher credit scalar than adjusting AI difficulty settings in Forza Motorsport 4. By building your manufacturer affinity, you can increase the amount of bonus credits you earn as well. Just as in the past, you can earn bigger credit rewards by turning off driving assists. Your Drivatar will also earn you daily payouts as it goes out into the world and competes in races when you aren’t playing the game. If you are a tuner or a painter, you’ll earn a daily credit payout based on the community’s usage of your UGC work. And, let’s not forget Forza Rewards, where you earn cars and credits each month just for playing Forza games.
Another persistent issue in Forza Motorsport 4 was the idea of exclusivity. Essentially we had an inverse exclusivity problem. Expensive cars, such as the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, were relatively easy to obtain through level gifting. Conversely, due to the presence of unicorn cars that were essentially only available via gifting from the Forza Community Team, some (admittedly more modest) cars were essentially impossible to get for a big chunk of the Forza fanbase. For Forza 5, we want to make exclusive cars feel truly special, while at the same time, giving you the opportunity to earn your way to those upper echelons.
The flipside to the credit formula is the cost of cars. In terms of credit price, the median cost for cars in Forza Motorsport 5 is the same as in Forza Motorsport 4. In fact, half of the cars cost 60,000 in-game credits or less. This amount of in-game credits can easily be earned in less than a half hour of racing in any mode at the easiest difficulty setting. Most people reading this will be able to earn that in 15 minutes at higher difficulty. The most expensive cars in the game are far cheaper this time around. For example, the 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO, the most expensive cars in Forza 4 at 10 million credits, now costs 6 million credits in Forza 5. That’s still a lot of credits but it’s certainly more obtainable than before. The 250 GTO and the Lotus E21 grand prix car are the two most expensive cars currently in the game, at 6 million credits apiece.
As you know, any car in Forza Motorsport 5 can be purchased and added to your garage either with in-game credits you’ve earned by playing the game or by spending tokens that you purchase. Tokens were added to Forza 4 and Forza Horizon based on feedback from a small number of our players who wanted the ability to jump straight into any car in the game without having to earn the credits through normal racing. Just as in the past, different cars will cost different amounts of both credits and tokens.
On the upper end, our goal is to make the truly elite cars feel really exclusive. As a result, the top-end cars in Forza Motorsport 5 will cost significantly more in tokens than they would if you earned them with in-game credits. In the past, expensive cars could be purchased with very few tokens (not in proportion with the amount of effort required to earn the cars through racing), thus allowing players willing to spend tokens to jump straight into the most exclusive cars in the game. Now, we’ve made token prices equal to in-game credit prices. For those who want to spend some extra real money and get those exclusive cars, they’ll have that option, but they will no longer devalue the hard work of those who earned the cars through racing and building up in-game credits. Either way, expensive cars will have real rarity.
One other thing that I know will be of interest to the community: Unicorns. As of Forza Motorsport 5, unicorn cars are a thing of the past. We don’t have a list of cars that we are holding back – cars that you can only get by doing something specific in game – yet we will still be able to gift cars to the community. The cool thing is, by putting more value on each of the cars in the game, essentially any expensive car in the game will have real value and exclusivity. Going forward we will still have lots of opportunities for players to win gift cars via community contests and, as you’ll find, some of these prize cars will be truly amazing.
It’s not just Forza Motorsport 5 and Xbox One that’s launching next week. We’re actually launching a brand new version of everyone’s favorite Forza Website on Friday, November 22. That’s right, FM.net is getting a fresh new coat of paint to coincide with the release of the biggest Forza Motorsport game yet. This will be a fundamental redesign of the site, with some new functionality and a look that… well, it looks awesome. I can’t wait for you all to see it.
Not long after the relaunch of FM.net we will also be launching our new forum software. That’s the good news. The bad news? We won’t be bringing legacy posts over to the new forums. That said, we will be keeping a read-only archive of the old forums up on the site for a period of time (probably around a month or so). So, if you’ve got posts that you’d like to save and repost into the new forums, my advice is to find those posts and save them now.
If all goes to plan, we’ll have a special sneak peek of the new FM.net early next week – stay tuned for more.
New Forza Gear
Isn’t it enough that we’ll all be unpacking our brand new Xbox One consoles in a week? Isn’t it enough that Forza Motorsport 5 is coming in a matter of days? Or redesigning the entire Web site? Isn’t that enough!? No. Oh no. In our continuing bid to take over the world with all things Forza Motorsport, we added a ton of new gear to the official Forza Motorsport Store yesterday. New T-shirts, hoodies, jackets are all in there and, of course, the Paddock Pack collection of Forza coolness is also still available for purchase. The holidays approach, people! You know what to do.
Your Forza Launch Plans?
In last week’s Week in Review, I put out the call for readers to tell us about their launch-night plans for Xbox One/Forza 5. We got some great responses. Here’s some highlights:
Launch night plans? Plenty of junk food, Xbox One, and Forza 5 LCE. Can't say much more, because that pretty much sums everything up.
I had originally made plans for the midnight launch but decided against it. I was going to dress up as The Stig. I thought it would be funny walking into the store, picking up my gear and walking out without uttering a word just like The Stig. But instead of hiring the costume I decided to buy the Car Pass instead.
Although I may not be getting my Xbox One until some time in January due to an over sold issue, I will be picking up my copy of FM5. I will be hanging on every word of every post in these forums too. I'm sure the launch party will be a blast and I look forward to hearing about the game while I anxiously await my turn.
- Old Hippie 1
As if my anticipation wasn't enough already the WIR gets me all in a muddle. I'll be celebrating Forza 5's release by calling work and feigning ebola. I shall then play until my eyes etch apexes into my tv screen.
Personally, I plan on stalking as many local retailers as I can this coming Thursday (including the two local Microsoft Stores here in the Seattle area, natch) to see how many Forza 5 fans I can track down. If you plan on being at either store, let me know in the forums– I’d love to meet you and talk some Forza before we all start playing. And, wherever you are in the world, if you’re in line on Thursday night – send us a Tweet with the hashtag #Forza5Launch. Next week I’ll feature my favorite pics and Tweets here in the Week in Review.
Finally, I leave you with an absolutely epic Volvo commercial that has been making the Internet rounds this week. It stars an action star from the 1980s with a sweet Belgian accent, two huge Volvo trucks, and an ability that few men on earth actually possess. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the Epic Splits:
That’s it for this week. For those of you getting your Xbox One and Forza 5 this week, enjoy! We can’t wait to get online and play with you. The fun starts in one week!