Need for Speed: World

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Need for Speed: World
Cover art featuring a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Nissan 370Z being chased by police
Developer(s)Quicklime Games
EA Singapore
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Composer(s)Mick Gordon
SeriesNeed for Speed
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
ReleaseJuly 27, 2010
(July 20, 2010 for users who pre-ordered the Starter Pack)[1]
Genre(s)Massively multiplayer online racing game

Need for Speed: World (previously known as Need for Speed: World Online) was the fifteenth installment in the racing video game Need for Speed franchise published by Electronic Arts. It was co-developed by EA Black Box (rebranded Quicklime Games before closing in 2013) and EA Singapore. It was the first freemium massively multiplayer online racing game in the Need for Speed series and was available on Microsoft Windows. World was released worldwide on July 27, 2010. However, people who ordered a "Starter Pack" had an early "head-start" in the game, which started on July 20, 2010.[1][2]

Need for Speed: World, along with other EA free-to-play titles Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield Play4Free, and FIFA World, went offline on July 14, 2015.


A screenshot of early gameplay, when the game was known as Need for Speed: World Online. World combines elements of role-playing with illegal street racing.

World took on the gameplay style of 2005's Most Wanted and 2006's Carbon, focusing on illegal street racing, tuning and police chases, and added some elements to the game such as "power ups" (somewhat similar to Mario Kart). World was set in a fictional city which combined the cities of Rockport from Most Wanted and Palmont from Carbon into its map design, with redesigned graphics and new locations added to the map to connect the two cities. The game featured over 100 licensed cars consisting of tuners, muscle cars, exotics, race cars and SUVs. Manufactures ranged from Alfa Romeo to Volkswagen and there were over thirty manufactures in the game.

Before September 8, 2010, after reaching level 10 and access to only first tier and some second tier cars, the player would not be able to progress further in the game and would cease to earn any more experience points or cash. To continue the game, the player had to purchase a "Starter Pack". Without it, the player was allowed to play the game for as long as he or she wants, but they would cease to earn experience and cash.[3] [4] On September 8, 2010 World passed one million registrations. To celebrate that, the game was made completely free-to-play and the level cap was removed.[5]

Performance upgrades and skills[edit]

In the initial release version 4 (July 20, 2010), car performance could be improved via street or pro upgrade kits (purchased with in game cash), depending on the car. Some cars only had street upgrade kits as an option, and the fastest car in the game at the time, the BMW M3 GTR, did not have any upgrade kits. The game also had "driver skills", 3 of which directly improved performance (acceleration, handling, top speed) and applied to any car that a player was driving. The skills unlocked as a player leveled up and a player could select up to 49 of 81 possible skills.[6] Once a skill was chosen, it couldn't be undone, and players would have to start with a new driver or account and level up again in order to choose a different set of skills. In November 2010, with version 5, the upgrade kits were removed and replaced by performance parts, each car having its own set of performance parts.[7] In May of 2012, "driver skills" were removed from the game and replaced with skill mods, each car having its own set of skill mods.[8] There were no performance skill mods to replace the acceleration, handling, and top speed skills, so the cars ended up being slower. The lowest rated parts or skill mods could be directly purchased for free using in game "cash", but higher rated parts or skill mods could only be won by chance from card packs, either free "lucky draw" card packs rewarded at the end of any event, or card packs purchased with real money converted into the games microtransaction currency called "speed boost".

Visual aftermarket parts[edit]

On March 16, 2011, visual aftermarket parts were made available, and later added to lucky draw in December, 2011. All the in-game cash bodykits from previous versions were removed. Most body kits required SpeedBoost to purchase on May 31, 2011.

Night Mode[edit]

In December, 2010, night mode was added to the game. This required adjusting the night mode lighting via a brighter moon, as the part of the map that came from Most Wanted had light posts that could be knocked down by a players car. Since Carbon was a night mode game, almost all light posts were located so that players cars could not knock them down, so this was only an issue for the Most Wanted part of the map.

Holiday Themes[edit]

In September, 2010, an Oktoberfest theme was added to the game in the form of decorations to parts of the map. In December, 2010, a Christmas theme was added to the game, and included snow and hills added to the golf course. For New Years, the game would go into night mode for 24 to 48 hours (depending on year), with fireworks at some spots in the map.

Team Escape Mode[edit]

On March 31, 2011, Electronic Arts introduced a new game mode called Team Escape, a semi-cooperative version of a police pursuit where up to four players participated in a sprint from point A to point B while avoiding numerous cops, within a set time limit depending on the event. For this mode, two team versions of the game's power-ups were released.

Treasure Hunt Mode[edit]

On July 26, 2011, a feature called Treasure Hunt was released. In Treasure Hunt, played during free roam, players would attempt to collect fifteen gems located in various areas. If the player collected all fifteen gems daily, they would get boosts of reputation and in-game cash. Playing the Treasure Hunt mode daily would build up what was known as a Treasure Hunt Streak. Players earned random high-end performance parts or additional power-ups after completing every hunt based on the day count of the streak (for example, if the player completed Treasure Hunt for twelve days in a row, they would receive a random tier 1 pro performance part). Players doing treasure hunts were unintentionally getting into pursuits since ramming a police car while in free roam triggered a pursuit, so on November 16, 2011, police vehicles were removed from free roam in World . Players were no longer able to start pursuits by ramming police vehicles; police chases were only possible by joining Pursuit Outrun or Team Escape events.

Drag Mode[edit]

On October 16, 2012, drag racing was introduced to World. This mode allowed players to race other players to the finish line in various strips of straight roads. Players would need to use manual transmission and shift their way to the finish. Automatic transmission was also available to the players. Single-player mode was also made available with in-game traffic.

Achievement Mode[edit]

On April 10, 2013, an opportunity to win valuable in-game rewards by completing various achievements was introduced.[9] The old player achievement system that only showed a players stats was dropped, and replaced with the milestone based achievement reward mode.

This aggravated the pre-existing and largely ignored problem of cheating in the game. Prior to this, client side cheat detection could be defeated by game hacks, so some server side cheat detection was added, but due to being prone for false detection of a cheat, a "detected" cheat just meant there was no post event rewards. The existence of the problem was finally acknowledged by a Community Manager on April 15, 2013.[10] However, Quicklime Games, which was in charge of game development, maintenance and updates, was shut down on April 25, 2013, so virtually nothing was done to improve cheat detection, and instead the focus was to ban players "caught" cheating with the existing cheat detects, but this resulted in innocent players getting banned, which put a burden on EA support to undo unfair bans.[11]


The game was first announced to be free-to-play. In October 2009, World was opened to public beta-testing limited to residents of Taiwan. There have been seven closed beta sessions in total. Except the first one, all were available worldwide to residents who sign up, meet admission criteria, and get accepted. An open beta was started on July 2, 2010 at 10 AM PDT. The Beta was scheduled to close on July 6, 2010 but was extended to July 9, 2010. A stress-test was opened from July 13 through 14th. Players who purchased the starter pack were able to play the game on July 20, 2010, one week before the official release. Players who did not purchase the starter pack were able to play on July 27, 2010.

The main part of the game's map was completed on October 26, 2010, when the final three areas (Downtown Rockport, Kempton, Fortuna) and the Turnpike bridge were added to the map. This left only the area that would link three areas, Kempton, Palmont, and Rockport to each other, but this area was never added to the game, and left blocked off.

Over time, the priority on game development transitioned into focusing on increasing revenue, so plans such as adding Carbon's canyons to the map, completion of the final link area, addition of NFS Undercover's map to the game, ... , were dropped and eventually most of the development focused on adding more cars to the game, since the cars helped increase revenue, and the game evolved into a "pay to win" game as the best cars could only be purchased with real money. [12]

The EA Canada NFS World team, later named Quicklime Games, which was in charge of game development, maintenance and updates, was shut down on April 25, 2013, and no significant development of the game occurred after that. [13]

On September 10, 2013, a Community Manager announced that Easy Studios (developers for Battlefield Play4Free) took over from what little was left of the Quicklime Game team.[14] After the takeover by Easy Studios, the game had been left in a vulnerable state with the new studio not knowing how it functions even after many months of training and transition, and over time, basic things like rotating the pool of cars available for sale stopped working.[15] On September 4, 2014, a Community Manager announced that Easy Studios would no longer work on Need for Speed: World, and that a new "Task Force" (a mix of people who have worked on the game before as well as new people) from EA Canada would start working on the game.

Map of World[edit]

World featured a large map consisting of the cities of Palmont and Rockport, from Carbon and 2005's Most Wanted respectively. Highways from the game were placed to interconnect with the other cities and several new roads had been created in both cities, as well as tunnels. The games map showed a series of connector roads linking Downtown Palmont and Kempton to Downtown Rockport, but they were never made open. EA announced that some of the canyons from Carbon would be linked end to end and added to an unused part of the map, linking north Fortuna with west Silverton, and nearly completed, but the development of this was dropped.

Even though it only featured two maps, there was a rumor that the Tri-City Bay and Bayview, the cities featured in Undercover and Underground 2, would be updated and placed in the game. This was due to a road called the Rockport Turnpike that connected to and ran south of Downtown Rockport over a bridge which led to a closed tollbooth, that was going to be a teleport point between maps, as World's map had reached its limits. It was mentioned that Undercover's textures were "compatible" with World's textures, but Underground 2's textures were lower resolution and it would take much more work to add Underground 2's map to World.

Content from Undercover[edit]

The HUD (heads up display) in World was based on the HUD from Undercover. All of the police chatter in NFS World was from NFS Undercover, which has a different map, so the street names you heard in World's police chatter referred to streets from Undercover. Some of the police chatter included names of locations that happened to be common to both games, such as "spillway", "stadium", "sub-station", ... . Some of the graphical objects from Undercover such as some neon signs were used in NFS World.


Aggregate scores
Review scores

Need for Speed: World was met with mixed reviews. It received a score of 63.83% on GameRankings[16] and a score of 62/100 on Metacritic.[17]

The highest praise of the game came from GamingXP, which commented that "The game feels like a combination of previous Need for Speed games except the single player has been cut off. Add some role-play elements and you have a racing MMO."[23] PC Format gave a somewhat mediocre review in their October 2010 issue, concluding that the game "feels like a missed opportunity."[24] Eurogamer commented that "It's a real shame that the MMO aspect of World is effectively a needlessly elaborate lobby."[25] In November 2012, World surpassed twenty million registered users.[26]


On April 15, 2015, EA announced that on July 14, 2015 they would be closing Need for Speed: World and turning off services for the game, as the publisher felt "that the game no longer lives up to the high standard set by the Need for Speed franchise." The ability to purchase SpeedBoost and create new accounts were disabled since the announcement.[27][28] Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield Play4Free, and FIFA World were due to be closed on the same day.


  1. ^ a b "Need for Speed World Launches July 27". Electronic Arts. July 9, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-20.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Impulse Driven: Need for Speed World". Stardock Corporation. February 8, 2010. Archived from the original on May 29, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  3. ^ GameTrailers. "Need For Speed World review".
  4. ^ Hahn, Drew (2010-05-18). "What is the Need For Speed Starter Pack?". Retrieved 2010-11-20.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Hahn, Drew (2010-09-09). "Need for Speed World Goes Free to Play". Retrieved 2010-11-20.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ GameTrailers. "Need For Speed World review".
  7. ^ EA, NeedForSpeed. "Ask Marc (performance parts)".
  8. ^ EA, NeedForSpeed. "Ask Marc (skill mods)".
  9. ^ "NFS World Maintenance Window – April 10 [COMPLETE]". Retrieved 11 May 2013.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Haan, Drew (April 15, 2013). "Official Cheating in NFS World Discussion Thread". Need for Speed: World forums. Retrieved 11 May 2013.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Lien, Tracey (April 25, 2013). "EA restructure results in hundreds of layoffs, two studios closed". Polygon.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Lien, Tracey (April 25, 2013). "EA restructure results in hundreds of layoffs, two studios closed". Polygon.
  14. ^ "EA Forums".[permanent dead link]
  15. ^[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ a b Need for Speed World for PC. GameRankings. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  17. ^ a b Need for Speed World Critic Reviews for PC. Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  18. ^ NFS World Online Reviews[permanent dead link]. 1UP. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  19. ^ Need for Speed World MMO Review. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  20. ^ Need for Speed World Review, PC Reviews. GamesRadar. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  21. ^ Need for Speed World Video Game, Review. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  22. ^ (2010-08-06). Need for Speed World Review. IGN. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  23. ^ "NFS World Review". GamingXP. 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  24. ^ "Need for Speed: World - Critic Reviews". Metacritic. 2010-12-24. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  25. ^ Jon Blyth. "Need for Speed: World review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  26. ^ Kyle Hayth. "Need for Speed World: 20 Million Registered Users Racing Down the Lanes". Retrieved 2011-11-07.
  27. ^ "The Race is Coming to an End". April 15, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ Makuch, Eddie (April 15, 2015). "EA Closing Battlefield Heroes, Need for Speed World, FIFA World, and More". GameSpot. Retrieved April 15, 2015.

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