Need for Speed World

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Need for Speed World

Need for Speed World

There's no need.

If you were in the Headstart week of Need for Speed World, in which early birds could tour the world a week early, you'll have experienced a discouraging sense of isolation. The first multiplayer race I tried to join was a matter of sitting in a lobby with a single, silent avatar chosen from the small and self-consciously macho collection available.

The minute-long lobby wait was so pregnant with tension that I typed an embarrassed “hi” into the chat window, with 30 seconds left to the race. Fifteen seconds later, I got the reply “bailing if only 2”. He proved himself no liar, and some seconds after I was kicked back into the world. Was he rude? Was I expecting too much? Is it mentally ill to fall in love so easily?

As the week dragged on, it became clear that I couldn't honestly review the game as an MMO racing game on the basis of the races I was having. There simply weren't enough people. I experienced the reasonable but testing difficulty curve of single-player games - and their inferior Rep (NFSW's XP) rewards - and I initiated a lucrative set of familiar solo pursuits with the police force. But those multiplayer races - surely the entire point of a genre with MMO in it - were attracting a maximum of three participants, whether I was on the American or European server. Generously enough, you can take your drivers onto either server, a boon to anyone who keeps odd hours.

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NFS World open beta this weekend

NFS World open beta this weekend

Online racer opens roads.

Need for Speed World is to go into open beta this weekend, opening its servers to all comers from today until Monday.

The beta for the free-to-play online PC racer begins at 6pm UK time today, Friday 2nd July. The exact end time on Monday 5th isn't specified. It's open to anyone who registers at the game's website.

If you were part of the closed beta - perhaps after picking up a key from Eurogamer earlier this week - your account won't be wiped, which is nice.

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Week-long NFS World beta imminent

Week-long NFS World beta imminent

Third phase begins on Wednesday.

Need For Speed World is to enter its third stage of beta testing with a week-long test starting on Wednesday.

That's according to the Need for Speed Podcast, dutifully listened to by VG247.

You can still apply for a beta key at the official Need for Speed World website.

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NFS World closed beta begins

NFS World closed beta begins

Game to launch this summer.

EA has announced that the closed PC beta for Need for Speed World has begun and that people can sign up to claim one of the limited number of available slots at world.needforspeed.com.

NFS World allows players to race against one another in a persistent online world, and spend the fruits of their racing labours on performance upgrades and new vehicles. There's also a range of power-ups to master.

The game is free to play on PC and will be supported by micro-transactions for additional paid content.

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Need for Speed World

Warning: following content is NFSW.

My first thought, as I start to jab happily at the cursor keys, is that it feels a little like the glory days of Midtown Madness - albeit with more people and buffing. Such idle nostalgic conjecture, however, throws few dice with Need for Speed World's creators - a dual-attack squad from Canada and Singapore tasked with creating Need For Speed in its very purest form. Their mission is to distil the essence of the franchise, cherry-pick their audience's favourite modes and maps, and then expand them into a free-to-play PC MMO they hope will be as unstoppable as a Toyota on the school run.

EA Black Box doing secret NFS game

"Our strategy is the inverse of milking."

EA Games marketing bigwig Keith Munro has told Eurogamer there is one more secret Need For Speed game in development beyond the three titles revealed earlier today.

Revamped NFS series launches this year

Revamped NFS series launches this year

Broken up for different audiences.

Electronic Arts has told Eurogamer that it plans to reinvent the Need for Speed series by launching separate core, casual and 'Play 4 Free' games this year.

Need for Speed: Shift will launch on PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and PSP this autumn - as will Need for Speed: Nitro on Wii and DS. Need for Speed: World Online will be released to the Asian online PC market this summer, before heading West in the winter.

Need for Speed: Shift will be made by Slightly Mad Studios of GT Legends and GTR 2 fame, with help from EA Black Box producer Michael Mann and EA Games Europe bigwig Patrick Soderlund.

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