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Wheel needed to be great at Dirt Rally?

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After more than a year and almost 400 hours into the game, I can say that it is even possible with keyboard only and semi-manual gearbox to be somewhat competitive: I even managed to complete some daily events on the podium, including very few first places. Also was I temporary holding a few world records - still holding one or two I guess, but I have to keep it for me, otherwise it will be gone super quickly, since there are a lot of clearly faster drivers around =)

But keyboard clearly has its limits: Whereas tarmac (Monte and Germany) is more or less ok, problems start with gravel. Especially in Finland and Sweden, it is hard to impossible to hold the pace of the top guys. Furthermore, most of RWD cars and the group B Peugeot are terribly hard to control, and modern 4WD cars are clearly beneficial to be competitive. But overall, a top 10 result in a daily event is possible with almost all cars on all tracks, even with keyboard. I even played RBR with keyboard, which probably does make even less sense.

However, it is crystal clear, that you dont get as much rewarded from the game as a with a proper wheel including the whole feedback from car and track. But somehow, I created a challenge to be as fast as possible with my silly keyboard controls.

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KevM said:
OzoreXS said:
You´ll never feel a countersteering or a back loss using gamepad or kb
So that means I'm hallucinating when I feel that happening and it actually happens while using a gamepad, eh? :p 
Chase-cam tells you visually what the car is doing, but no, you aren't 'feeling' it. That view would be a no-no for a wheel user. 
It's easier to make your corner line being more symmetric using chase cam, but it lack of precision. Even with that little lack of it the overall result is more likely to be better.

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Hengist said:
RyuMakkuro said:
So that means I'm hallucinating when I feel that happening and it actually happens while using a gamepad, eh? :p 
I wouldn't call it an hallucination. It's more like the power of imagination, filling in the missing gaps that 'usually' a wheel provides.
Last time I checked, you can have a "feeling" both from sense of touch and sight ;) For example, you can see someone constantly failing, and you can say "I have a feeling this won't end quickly". It's not imagination filling gaps, it's brain translating visual feedback into "feeling", just as it translates feedback coming from your sense of touch into "feeling".
KevM said:
Chase-cam tells you visually what the car is doing, but no, you aren't 'feeling' it. That view would be a no-no for a wheel user. 
It may be "no-no" for you, but not for me. I played with a steering wheel using that view (albeit crappy one) and it felt just about fine. The only time I would switch from chase camera is for a dashboard in a 3-monitor setup.
But that's how it works for me. Just as you prefer other things. There's no one "right way" of doing things here. My view gives certain advantages, your gives others. Just because you don't like it/can't use it, doesn't mean it doesn't work at all, as that's obviously not true.
Just doesn't make sense with a wheel.  Nothing about ability or liking.  But then, playing a rally sim with something other than a wheel, doesn't make sense either! lol

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Thanks for all the responses people! I guess it looks like the view is that ultimately I can get good with a game pad but a wheel would be more fun. :)

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Ok so I made it into Masters and just came 200th in world leaderboard for something. Obviously that's not great but I can use the pad now everywhere except Monaco ;)

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i have been trying to get good but on later races particularly where ice involved there is no chance as no precision. Need a wheel realistically?
Short answer, and like in any other racing game. No

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Ok so I made it into Masters and just came 200th in world leaderboard for something. Obviously that's not great but I can use the pad now everywhere except Monaco ;)
While Finland is all about lines, others more about keeping it under control, Monte Carlo is all about the flow. If you got it, the car just goes through the corners like a missile. If you lose it, it will understeer/oversteer and generally speaking will feel like it just doesn't want to corner at all. Once you get the flow, Monte Carlo becomes incredibly enjoyable. At least that's the case with me.

The best thing to do after getting something wrong and falling out of that flow, is to brake early, go with a slightly lower speed into the next corner than normally and you'll regain the flow immediately. From then it's all about keeping that.

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I think it is a very personal thing.

To answer the question I don't think a wheel is needed to do great times, whether a wheel would make you as an individual faster is another question.

Personally I suck with controllers but I was never bought up with controllers in racing games before driving, I drove real cars for over a decade before I ever tried driving on a computer so that could have a big bearing. A 10 year old (maybe less!) could probably beat me with a controller :)

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Ok so I made it into Masters and just came 200th in world leaderboard for something. Obviously that's not great but I can use the pad now everywhere except Monaco ;)
200th really isn't bad, considering there's only a few seconds difference between people over 100 places or so. You also need to consider the amount of people who have probably hot-lapped that stage over and over again for a few hours. 

Keep going :smiley:

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A wheel overall will help with its force feedback and greater precision but there are plenty enough people that do well enough with controller or even keyboard and mouse, its all about the practice and dedication to get better. This game takes a long time to be good at but thats part of its appeal, when you push through and start posting good times the satisfaction makes up for it all and some :smile: .

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Ok so I'm doing career and during the first location I got 5th when averaged out. 5 locations to go. I don't know if that's awful or not. I don't know how many points I will need at the end to move up from elite to next level - anyone know?


Just finish the championship in 3rd (or better) and you'll move up. I think the order is Open, Clubman, Professional, Elite and finally Master. Don't finish in the bottom three or you go down a level.

 I didn't vote because I have a wheel and I struggle to be competitive in the Elite class. That said, I only got the wheel to play DiRT Rally...so all of my prior racing experience was with a pad...and I'm pretty good at every other racing game :-)

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Maybe it's just that I suck at dirt and all rally games but I think the game is extraordinarily difficult if you're not using a wheel

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I've got a pad and a wheel, my times are pretty similar with either, and have been in every racing game I've ever played in the last 20 years.


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Wel I have only had my Xbox since Christmas (never played any racing games before or any others for that matter since I was a little kid), have played 84 hours and just won a elite championship. With a controller. So I will keep going! :smile: I must say though my first two races in masters? 5th and 9th. ;) hmmmmmmmmm

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5th and 9th. That's plenty in your first season after promotion to a higher level. Thumbs up!

Consolidate => Challenge => Win

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I think that you have been playing for 20 years may help? Only been playing since Christmas. Then again, I have been playing guitar for twenty years and I'm still awful. So hmm ;)

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Was this a rhetorical question? How can you possibly "drive" a rally or racing game without a wheel and pedals?

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Ok. Update. I bought a wheel yesterday. Cannot drive with it for sh*t. Think will need several weeks to get used to it. Differences:

- with a wheel you can really throw the car around a corner. You can't do that with a controller. 
- not having the handbrake so accessible (I used a paddle on an elite controller) sucks. Will get used to it I expect and won't need it as much now I can throw that car around the corner.
- had to buy a stand. Don't have a table to attach the wheel to. This then makes my tv too low which also sucks.

my first reaction is to return it all because it's hard to go from placing 2-8 in elite championship to pretty much not being able to finish a race but will stick at it.

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I play a lot of career, so I end up finishing in a good overall position due to AI retirements and damage, although rarely set times deserving of a decent position in one off stages.

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