Motor City Online
|Motor City Online|
Motor City Online was a racing massively multiplayer online video game released by Electronic Arts on October 29, 2001. The point of the game was to buy classic cars (mostly American muscle cars) ranging from 1930s to 1970s models, tune them up, and race them against other players. The game went offline on August 29, 2003 so EA Games could focus on their current online game at the time, The Sims Online. EA, however, developed a new online racing game, called Need for Speed: World. Many fans of Motor City Online consider Need for Speed: World a Spiritual successor of Motor City Online, although EA has denied any direct link between the two games.
Originally conceived as part of the Need for Speed series under the title Need for Speed: Motor City, all single player elements that may have been developed for the game were discarded in favor of an online-only model. The game featured some role-playing video game elements, such as levelling up after completing tasks (e.g. winning races), and a functional, supply and demand economy for players to get involved in.
Aside from EA focusing on The Sims Online, another contributing factor to MCO's demise was the game's technical setup. Lag, as with most online games, was a problem, with cars acting unpredictably during times of high latency. Falling subscription rates (from an alleged peak of 36,000) and a lack of new interest in the game eventually led to its downfall. Previous Motor City Online users were offered access to The Sims Online, Ultima Online, or Earth & Beyond. However, while Motor City Online was dead, one fan developed a Motor City Online "updater" (some files are needed to be update in the original install folder) and a new single player launcher, which allows to run the original game in single player mode (with AI), all Motor City Online tracks and cars are available, everything is same as the original game excluding the car tuning (parts sales) at the moment. After 10 years the game is playable again (but unfortunately just in single player)!
The vehicles featured in Motor City Online were all American models, ranging from coupes, coupe utilities, sedans and station wagons of the 1930s to 1950s, to muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s. Later in the games life, 3 classic truck's were available. Most of the vehicles could be cosmetically modified by chopping the roof, removing bumpers, which gave the vehicle an additional suffix on its name (i.e. "Ford Ranchero Chopped", "Ford Coupe Bumperless & Fenderless") painting the car different colors or with Scalloped/Flamed paint jobs. You could also add little trinkets like fuzzy dice, and even change the sound of the horn. Convertible versions of certain cars were available, as well as specialty and ultra rare paint jobs on cars. These paint jobs couldn't be purchased from the modification shop, the car had to be purchased with the paint job already. Some of these cars came as shells only if they were particularly rare.
At the end of the run of Motor city online, two foreign cars were available. One was the '99 Mitsubishi Eclipse. The other was the '97 Toyota Supra. Both cars were equipped with V-8 engines, and were made to be rear wheel drive in the game. This caused a lot of controversy amongst the MCO purists who believed that any car going into the game should be true to its real life mechanics. So outfitting a AWD Import with a V8 engine and RWD was ruining the experience. By the time these two cars were released EA had already announced that they were shutting down the game. They were experimenting with import cars as an attempt to attract a wider variety of players.