Article – TrackMania United, or didn’t it? Part 2

Written by Djoszee. Part 2 of 2.

In part 1, some of the changes made from the previous TM games to United were listed. In this part we take things one step further…

The community

The community is spread on loads of different sites and places on the internet. A lot of clans have their own homes, and so do most of the active leagues. When we speak about websites, you can say that most of the community is to be found on TMX, the official forum and on the French forum. The biggest part of this community is French. Most of them are only shadows hiding on the French forum. They do not add tracks to TMX, play on foreign servers, or have an English conversation when you try to. Just look at the serverlist – at least half of the servers are located in France. They are more occupied then the servers in other countries (although Germany takes a good second place) The TMX I mentioned before is filled with what I call ‘nations-elite’. They are the people that loved TrackMania Nations so much, they spent money on TMU. Just have a look at the tracks – a huge percentage of them are Stadium.

I think that loads of people stick to Stadium because it’s just as attractive as when it was new due to all those new features added. It has new scenery, a completely different set of roadblocks (dirt) and it’s got water! Why would any of the ‘nations-elite’ care about the other environments? Solution: we have to get the French to upload their tracks to TMX! Why you ask? Because they probably played all the TrackMania editions…

I don’t think the ManiaZones add to the community. There are already enough places to find TrackMania people and downloads for the game.

A different thing that I did not mention before are the competitions. I’m happy to see that TMU has loads of competitions for people to participate in. And trust me, it’s not just the French. Most of the times you can win coppers, like the competitions around this blog. In some competitions you can win stuff like shirts or maybe there’s real money to win.

Online play

I did mention that most of the people playing this game are French, just like most servers. I think this creates some language barriers. Some of them don’t speak English when you are in a mixed server. You won’t see me in a server full of French-only people. I don’t hate the French, but I want to greet with ‘hi’ and say ‘good game’ in stead of ‘lu tlm’ or whatever.

Bringing this to my own country, which are the Netherlands (don’t say Holland, that’s just a part of the Netherlands) I’m even more disappointed. A lot of servers disappeared (just like my clan server) because there’s just no one there to play on them. Gaming is more comfortable when you can play with people who speak your own language – it’s easier to understand each other and talk about stuff. When you compare the number of players with the number of servers, the French and Germans probably have the most fun while playing TMU. They have enough servers to play on whilst speaking their native tongue.

Another thing that adds to the online play is the fact that you can play on servers with seven environments combined. You no longer have to race on just three environments (or one, like in TMN). There’s plenty to choose from. Add all the different modes to it, and the joys are immense.

Now that I’ve mentioned something positive, I’ll have to go with a negative thing again: The ladder! Just like the Nations ladder (which is controlled by boosters), the United ladder doesn’t really match skill with points and ladder positions. A part of the top ladder (luckily not the entire ladder) is controlled by ‘lol-drivers’. They play on servers with extremely short and stupid tracks. When I say ‘bump the castle and finish’ or ‘do the fastest flip and finish’ you will get the idea without even playing the track.

To end with something positive, a lot of servers have plug-ins that add to your gaming experience. Whether it’s just the simple ‘jukebox’ or the ‘donate’ panel, you can do more stuff on a server while racing. On some servers you can even win coppers when you win races 😀

Offline play

When you play offline, there’s tons of stuff you can not do.

The solution looks simple: get yourself an internet connection. Do you really need an internet connection to play TMU, or can you enjoy it just as much without?

I’d say this game is fine without an internet connection. There’s tons of tracks for you to play, you can build tons of tracks on your own, and you can initially download tracks (or upload yours) at a friends place. To be completely honest, I think I spent about 30% of my TMU time online. The rest was spent playing tracks in solo mode and building tracks. When you do have an internet connection and want to play offline only, you can enjoy setting ‘official times’ and compare your scores with people from around the world.

Conclusion

Did TMU unite? I think so, but the magic is about to expire. There are tons of new features for everyone to enjoy, but the main event (the whole online scene) is too unbalanced. The French people stick at their own place, the ladder is partially dominated by unskilled lol-drivers, TMX seems to be Stadium only, and loads of countries barely have servers to play on. I think that Nadeo should get more ‘foreign’ (read: the not-French) people to play TMU and create servers in their own country. The French people should learn how they can benefit from the knowledge within the TMX community (I’ll refer to that when I mention the non-french). They should participate more in trackmaking on TMX.

For me, TMU is just an offline joy. I enjoy tracking and I build new tracks from time to time – and yes, I’m one of those Nations-elitists. The fact that I can’t enjoy the online play (where are you Dutchies?) has brought me back to Trackmania Nations. I’m not the only one…

I hope I didn’t harm anyone with what I wrote in this article (and part 1). I was just trying to state my opinion. Feel free to discuss below.

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7 Responses to Article – TrackMania United, or didn’t it? Part 2

  1. Pocho says:

    Hey, nice article.
    I think TMU unites those who can afford to it and dis-unites those who can’t.
    I live in Argentina, TMU isn’t on sale (and I doubt if it some day it’ll be), I just got it by chance because a teamate got to Brazil to buy some magazines that sell it cheaper, and sent it to me (plus some more of my clan). And well, in TMU Argentina doesn’t exist. Yes, online I’m from Spain 😛 I play oftenly in the ATP server, but I mainly make tracks (like you), so to play online and have fun with my team, I play Nations. Yes, maybe the online thingy is dominated by France, Germany and USA.

    TMX is a BIG change. I’d say TMX is more international, for example, some of them are from Sweden (sweSebbe, Bajs, Sivert, etc..), Norway (Andree), India (smok3y), Argentina (Crusard), Switzerland (insane), Croatia (Low-B). And of course the dutch, GanjaRider, JumperJack, you, and some more. And then the USA (some of them ATP) and France (mainly ORA). So, the authors are more varied, it’s more enjoyable being an international community.

    But here comes a problem, not everyone can afford United, so there comes the dis-United. Most of my clanmates don’t have United (a server’d be impossible) and maybe it’s the problem in your team, some F07’s don’t have it, so they remain on Nations.

    I play TMU to make tracks and vary the environments, and TMN to play in my team-server and make tracks too.
    The ones that are in a United clan, have a server (like the french), enjoy a lot the game! The ones that are in a Nations team, but have United, the enjoy partly the game (race and make tracks), but you can’t meet with your clanmates.

    About the so-called ‘lol-drivers’, you right, those 12 seconds-tracks server sucks, it destroys the ladder. Same happens in Nations. TMX is the only way to distinguish good drivers (by the WR system).

  2. alcator says:

    The “French” question has, in my humble opinion, one cause:

    While the French are powerful enough to be “proud” of themselves and they don’t really need other languages for everyday life, people in other countries (except english-speaking) are presented with the necessity to learn one of the “world languages”; the language of choice being most often English, not French (approx. 2 billion people on Earth can speak English). This basically means that French people are left aside and French are considered language-arrogant (it’s common that if you try to talk to a French person in French, they will instead switch to English or other language so that you don’t incorrectly speak French as that tears their ears; as a consequence, you can’t practise your French).

    That’s why French are (on average, mind you!) quite nationalist-ic, they stick to themselves and don’t go abroad.

  3. TimeBreaker says:

    i think nadeo did unite.. but only the neviroments, they didnt unite all drivers from the previous games
    so this is the problem about the online mode in united
    i really dont like to play united online because i loose the fun to drive and to chat there
    tmx united is defnitely a better place than tmn x now, but thats it
    i had fun playing tms online, i had and still have unbelievable much fun playing tmn online, but what about tmu, i got the feeling that the tracks are not what i watn to drive, stadium feels totally different to drive here, the new moods are unnecasary and it lags like hell, which makes it less fun to drive online
    i got the feeling that nations did unite the drivers all over the world more than united does

    and the fact, that united was only available in some french speaking countries for months, is a fact that shows that nadeo is not that interested in selling the game all over the world

    so what i hope now is that some add ons will make united more interesting and that united is really the new platform for all new environments

  4. TimeBreaker says:

    oh, and great article, djoszee 😀

  5. djoszee says:

    tx TB 😉

    Good point about the add-ons btw. There should be some free add-ons, and bugfixes 🙂

  6. [ATP]Kopatch says:

    well… i disagree about the online thing.
    true, there are tons of French and German servers out there.
    but there also great other servers in GB NL or whatever.
    problem is, people don’t join them for several reasons.
    1. there are no people there, and no one wanna race alone.
    2. even if there are people there usually they are with low ladder points, so on the server list most likely you wont even see the servers.
    3. so naturally all the competitive guys, even those who play for fun, will try and go to those they see which has lots of people inside or/and got a good average ladder ranking people in there, cause thats what popping out on the server list.

    so i think that instead saying i don’t like playing online, just choose a specific server located in a none German/French area with good tracks, and spread the word out on that specific server, and slowly but safely people will most likely go in it, and the more that will be inside, the more chances it will list on top of server list, if higher ranked people can join its even more likely to happens.

    too bad tho, that i cant play in any server cause i got some internet issues which will be solved in a couple of months.
    but till then make it work 😀

  7. alcator says:

    Yep, Kopatch is right; me being a Czech means I have trouble playing when American friends from ATP play, as there’s about 9 hour time difference between us, but it is doable. And the fun we have there, chatting about everything, commenting other players’ unfortunate crashes just before finish etc. – priceless.

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