Some of GT Sport‘s top-ranked players, and prominent game streamers, are taking to social media this week to talk about the game — and not in a good way. As the official FIA season started this week, leading players are taking aim at one aspect in particular: the penalty system.
GT Sport‘s penalty system has always been a work in progress. Polyphony Digital has tinkered with it right from launch, adjusting not only how heavy the penalties are but also the conditions required to generate them.
There have been some mis-steps along the way, notably around Christmas 2019. Around that time the penalty system was initially far too sensitive, before PD replaced it with a version that almost didn’t give out any. The net result was that almost everyone increased their Sportsmanship Rating (SR) to the maximum despite unsporting behavior. As GT Sport’s matchmaking system leans on SR as a primary ranking metric, that caused a few issues.
In recent days, something has changed — although it’s not clear what. The first warning signs came with this week’s Daily Races. In each of the three events, the game is awarding huge penalties inappropriately — usually to those forced or punted off the circuit — and giving out so little SR that any penalized contact whatsoever results in a drop of SR rating. If a player’s SR falls too low, it drags their Driver Rating (DR) down too, with many players experiencing a “reset” this week.
This has unfortunately also proven the case with the first round of the official 2020 FIA Online Championship this week, and it hasn’t escaped the attention of some of the game’s leading drivers. Some are even calling for a boycott of the event until the penalty system’s deficiencies are sorted out:
We had enough.#FIAGTC MUST BE FIXED NOW.
I want to ask gently to everyone to stop racing until this changes.
Is the only way we can do something about this!#PleaseFixGTSport@Williams_Coque @HizalMikail @Veloce_TsuTsu @Veloce_StorM @ManuRodry94 @saika159 @osash6107 @Tidgney
— Fabian Portilla Camus (@PerrolocoMcQ) March 19, 2020
Portilla’s Tweet is by no means an outlier (although it’s among the few not to contain expletives). A number of the World Tour’s repeat attendees — and even winners — have voiced similar concerns, posting videos of their own experiences this week. This includes world champion Mikail Hizal, WT Sydney Manufacturer Series winners Randall Haywood and Nico Rubilar, and other leading drivers like Nick McMillen, Adam Suswillo, Rick Kevelham, Tom Lartilleux, Jonathan Wong, and Manuel Rodriguez.
The penalty system issues also leaked into GT Sport’s own official live stream this week, with host Jimmy Broadbent receiving a mid-race 4s penalty after being hit off the circuit. Next week’s host, Steve Brown (SuperGT) had a similar experience in his own stream, as well as quite visible surprise at discovering he suffered a Driver Rating reset from the Daily Races.
Right now, gaming is receiving a boost as people worldwide stay at home to stifle a virus pandemic. GT Sport can ill-afford to have such glaring issues, and players who should be ambassadors for the game turning on it so publicly.