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Sad News: TrackMania Nations Forever is Going Away

A year ago, I downloaded a free racing game called TrackMania Nations Forever (TMNF). It was fun and I played it for a while. Then I shelved the game for more urgent tasks. Last night, I got back in the game, recruited two new friends and was about to show them how great this game was.

Problem started when we couldn't join each other's games by clicking on the player names. Next problem, we couldn't connect to each other's private online server. So we decided to play on the FreeZone servers. My friend barely oriented himself to the car and the tracks when a message showed up that says we have to sit out once for every five races. That was the last draw as we threw our hands up in frustration. My friend immediately exited the game. On TeamSpeak 3, he mentioned the frustration to the second friend I was going to introduce the game to. My second friend immediately stopped downloading TrackMania Nations Forever without even giving it a chance. We all switched to our current favorite game, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, to vent frustration.

It wasn't until today that I realized what is happening. Everything is documented in this thread: FREEZONE.

The gist is that Nadio has severely crippled TrackMania Nations Forever, hoping to convert any many free players to paid players, prior to releasing TrackMania 2 (TM2) at the end of the year. They are doing it with these crippling changes:

  1. Limited favorite server list.
  2. Players can only connect to FreeZone servers unless the server is on the favorite server list.
  3. A private server will only show up on the favorite server list by clicking a link on an external browser.
  4. Free players on the FreeZone servers must sit out once every five races.

All these changes really serves only one things, killing the TMNF community quickly to pave way for TM2. After all, these changes provides virtually no incentive for new members to play. And without no new members playing, they will have practically zero conversion to paid players.

Why Nadeo even bothers to keep FreeZone servers running is beyond me. There are hardly any players on any of the FreeZone servers. If they are going to kill the games, they might as well axe them right off the bat. Nadeo claims that using this method, they can convert more new players to paid players. But given the experience with myself and two friends, it's obviously not working. Sadly, another great community game is going down the tube.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 07 Jun 2011 20:34:52 +0000

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Title: Free No Spectate TMNF Server
Weblog: CynoRPG
Excerpt: December of last year, Nadeo placed restrictions on non-paying players of their free TrackMania Nations Forever. The restrictions included one round of spectating time-out for every five races participated when playing on their FreeZone servers. It was an unfortunate move that frustrated new players . . .
Tracked: Fri, 10 Jun 2011 21:28:29 +0000

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