Written by Djoszee. Part 1 of 2.
The goal of TrackMania United (TMU) was to unite different features of all the previous versions, combining them in a single game. This game features all the environments from the three previous games, adding some new features to the recipe. New features like different blocks, ManiaLinks, fame, online favorites and probably tons of other things I forgot to mention. The point of this article is to sum up what TMU is about, and to question the uniting element brought to us by Nadeo. I’m going to try and criticize TMU from a few points of view, these being:
- The community
- Online play
- Offline play
I’ll start with a small overview on what’s new in TMU and I’ll end with a conclusion referring to this question: Did Trackmania United really unite?
I’m going to describe all the new elements in TMU, and add some critics to them if possible:
1. The 7 environments give everyone something they like, whether it’s high speed Stadium racing or technical Coast racing. There’s no way to deny that all those environments together will give everyone something to enjoy. With all the new blocks it doesn’t get boring for the oldschool drivers that own (some) of the previous editions of TrackMania, although there were some complaints about the new Stadium blocks. Changes cause both positive and negative effects. Since I personally don’t experience anything negative apart from lag in the Stadium environment, I won’t add to this. Maybe you can?
2. The ManiaLinks are an online addition. When you play TrackMania without internet, you can not benefit from them. It’s not possible to download them to your computer and view them offline. That is a bit disappointing, but on the other hand: there’s data on them where you will need to pay with coppers (something you can’t do offline). On the frontpage of the ManiaLinks (manialink:home) you will see a couple of banners. Noticed they never change? You can email the admin of ManiaLinks (benjisite) to have your banner up there. You’ll need to send a reasonable amount of coppers. I’ll get to that soon.
I think this feature is useless. All the stuff a ManiaLink offers can be offered on the www (without needing TMU). The only benefit from a ManiaLink is that you can charge people for your stuff, whether the quality is good or pathetic. Let the gold-farmers arise!
3. The copper system in TMO and TMS – it was unpresent in TMN – has been updated. You will no longer need to gain coppers before you can play tracks or build tracks with a reasonable length. Copper cheats, which were present in both TMO and TMS, are no longer needed. You can gain coppers in different ways. DABH wrote an article about it earlier on this blog, read it here.
Coppers are used as a payment method. You pay for official times or ManiaLink downloads, you earn them by driving (medals), loging in, or winning them in a competition or on a server. The only thing I dislike about coppers is that more coppers means more power. The ManiaLink thing I mentioned above: The people with the advertising gain their coppers from downloads off their ManiaLinks. I’ll admit that it might be worth it, they spent tons of hours on skinning, but I’d like to see some different adds on the ManiaLink pages.
4. The stars system has been replaced with a so called ‘fame’ system. How this works is still unknown, because this has not been implemented yet. I personally think that it stinks buying a game with certain features inactivated (they are probably ready, but untested) Maybe we will never find out if this feature is any good 😦
5. You can play puzzle mode on all environments 😀
6. You can now save your favorite servers online, which is a cool thing. For the people that didn’t know, they show a yellow bar next to their server name. When you login to the multiplayer section, they will be listed on top of the list of servers.
So much for the new features. Maybe I forgot some things, but overall you can say that these create a good addition to the previous games. Tomorrow, let’s look into the ‘United’ feeling.
To be continued…