rFactor 2’s Online beta candidate has revived a sim that many had given up on. With healthy player numbers and a consistent weekly release of content, rF2 needs to capitalize on this momentum for the full release – and there are important elements to get right.
With the Le Mans Virtual drama in early 2023 in addition to aging content, rFactor 2 was dead and buried for a lot of sim racers. However, Studio 397 did not give up that easily.
With the release of rFactor 2’s impressive new online beta candidate came a wealth of new and returning players to the sim.
So what does Studio 397 need to have nailed down when their new online mode hits the main game? What does rFactor 2 Online have to get right?
Online Server Stability
rFactor 2 Online struggled with server stability throughout the first four weeks of being live. Apparently, enough players tried to race to reach the AWS server limit. Could this same problem rear its ugly head again when the online mode is fully released into the game?
Consistency, transparency and honesty are vital for such a major change to a game’s fabric. To ensure rFactor 2 Online’s momentum continues for years to come, server preparation and an accurate estimate of player numbers need to be executed correctly.
Studio 397 appears to be on top of this problem, however. In recent weeks, complaints relating to servers have significantly decreased, showing that rFactor 2 Online is heading in the right direction in this regard.
Track and Vehicle Combination Variety
rFactor 2 has a healthy pool of good-quality content to choose from. Whether you prefer open-wheel racing or banging doors on the ovals, Studio 397 and the modding community have you covered. So why have we not seen a large majority of what this diverse simulator has to offer?
Of course, this is also an issue of quality control. Mods would need to be checked for compatibility and their overall completeness. While modding opens the door for spectacular community-created content, tracks and vehicles that are sub-par are also part of the equation. Quality control can be quite time-consuming, however, so we probably should not expect too much third-party content to appear on the schedule.
Moving forward into the full release, Studio 397 should aim to implement a broader range of events. The beginner, intermediate and advanced setup works with the current player base, however, when the majority of the players have access to the new mode, it will get repetitive very quickly for casual and hardcore players alike.
Individuality is hard to come by in sim racing with a lot of simulators having the same tracks and cars available. However, rFactor 2 has some of the most unique available in the sim racing space. Studio 397 needs to use that to its advantage when transitioning into the full-release state.
GT3 cars at Spa and Touring Cars at Donington Park have a shelf life dependent on the userbase interest. Creating car and track combinations players cannot find on other sims will likely be key to rFactor 2 online thriving in its full-release version. The lack of oval and karting content, when both exist in a plethora, cannot be excused in the main release.
Creative Use Of Special Events
The special events tab in rFactor 2 Online has only been used for generic weekly events so far. The most notable was the swansong to the GTE class of endurance cars. However, the special events section of rFactor 2 Online has a lot of untapped potential. With the content on offer, if the mode is not utilized efficiently at full release, it could slam on the brakes for rFactor 2’s momentum.
Even though TOCA has cancelled the BTCC license, an unofficial touring car calendar to run alongside the BTCC could also generate interest at release.
The IMSA license may safely lay in the hands of iRacing, but the unofficial recreation of events such as the Daytona 24 could certainly be undertaken with the diverse selection of endurance cars in Factor 2’s store. GTE and LMP2 cars, even though they are at the end of their life cycle in real racing, are both available, as well as several GT3 cars.
rFactor 2 Online’s Licensing and Security
Licensing issues have plagued not only rFactor 2 but Motorsport Games’ future releases over the last quarter of 2023. Cutting 40% of its workforce included the Motorsport Games Australia, which handled KartKraft the IndyCar project. Official licenses are disappearing from Motorsport Games’ arsenal left, right and centre.
After the IndyCar project was scrapped, the championship separated from Motorsport Games. Consequently activating a clause in the contract that could potentially sink MSG as a company. However, it’s not just Indycar that will be chasing Motorsport Games for not fulfilling a legal agreement.
TOCA, the organisers of the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship) are reportedly owed in the region of $800,000. With all these licenses going so horribly wrong, is there a future of rFactor 2 Online amidst all this havoc – just as it is on an upswing again? We certainly hope so.
What aspects do you think rFactor 2 Online needs to nail at release? Let us know over on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!