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Something needs to be done about these cuts.


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A couple of days ago, I have decided to stop racing championships and actually focus on one stage, in one car and try to get the best time possible. I cannot say that is wasn't fun - but soon the experience turned from improving corners and tweaking the set-up to finding crazier and crazier cuts. The fact that it was Germany, with it's flat grounds prone to insane cuts just helped even more.

Again, I am a fan of speedrunning, so "cheating" isn't a big concern for me, since everyone plays by the same rules. But I think anyone can admit that big cuts look and feel dishonest and nobody would really miss them if they were gone. In fact, I already saw private/online tournaments banning cuts.

The end of support for Dirt Rally 2.0 is approaching fast and I am afraid we'll get no meaningful changes after March. If a change is needed, it needs to be pushed for now.

First problem

The first issue that will obviously pop up is: "what about everyone's scores"? Well, I believe there's an equally obvious solution. Instead of dropping any patch on us in surprise, the change should be announced a month before that. This announcement should be summarized as - "Hey, we are changing most of the tracks and everyone's scores will be reset after that. You've got a month of grinding to become champion for life on one of the old versions". Make it an event and market it. Once it's over and the patch drops, reset the scores and keep the top score from the previous version somewhere on display.

First solution

The obvious solution to cuts is to put some form of obstacle in the way. While it can certainly be effective, it also requires a lot of work - every cut needs to be identified and blocked, and there's always a chance something will slip past. At the same time, the maps can start looking ridiculous with a rock placed on every corner. All of that does not mean it shouldn't be done - but what it suggests is that there might be a second solution to go in tandem with it.

Second solution

Unless there has been some patch I am not aware of, soft tires are obviously overpowered. I believe that's not much of an issue, but it gives us some design space to combat cuts in an interesting manner. Since soft tires and more prone to damage, yet everyone that wants the best time uses them, we can target them specifically for cuts.
Increase the damage dealt to soft tires (and, in fact, every tire, but most drastically on soft tires) when driving off-road. If you've got softs, you stay on the road - a series of cuts, especially on a longer stage, should even grant you a flat and a wheel change, ruining your chances to get the best time.
This shouldn't be a big change for people that take this game seriously, but it'd give the newbies a reason to pick the hard tires over any others, giving them a reason to exist.

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