While it’s certainly a big step in the right direction for Codemasters, there is still plenty left to be desired.
With so much focus being placed on the management-side gameplay, it would only be sensible to allow players to seek out a tougher challenge should they desire it. Here are a few ideas on how different difficulties could be implemented into My Team.
As things stand, when you start a new My Team campaign, your car will be the second or third worst on the grid. However, the performance levels begin closer to the lower midfield cars than they do to the Williams’ and the Haas' at the back end of the field.
PUNCHING ABOVE: Ice F1 team start out life 9th in performance
I found this to be a shame. My first points didn’t feel like as much of an achievement as they ought to have been, as my car was a solid midfield car by the third race of the season. Progression up the real F1 ladder is not easy, nor should it be in My Team.
Different difficulty levels could therefore include varying levels of performance of the initial car that your team builds.
For instance, if you set the difficulty to the maximum, your car would be significantly worse than even the Williams. Imagine the exhilaration of finally scoring your first points with a car that had such lowly origins.
Random occurrences have been implemented to a limited degree in the F1 series’ career modes for a while now. This has taken the form of car failures for AI cars and part design failures. While these are nice, they are a somewhat token gesture.
Your own car will begin to get failures as the durability of the engine parts goes up. Again, this is a nice start, but the linearity of the way durability works makes it too predictable to matter very much.
RANDOM CHANCE: Car upgrades come with a certain percentage chance of failure
If My Team were to add higher difficulty levels, random car failures for the player could be implemented. These might take the form of hydraulic leaks, front wing failures, cross-threaded wheel nuts, or anything else that can go wrong with an F1 car over a race weekend.
The random events could arrive in off-track forms as well. Perhaps your 2nd driver picks up an injury as a result of crash or from a training session that you put them on. In such a case, you would be forced to acquire the services of a reserve driver for the next race or two.
WEAR AND TEAR: Engine parts degrade over time
Other, similar events affecting acclaim or department happiness could also be added.
Speaking of My Team’s new acclaim system, this could take a somewhat different form at higher difficulty levels as well. At the moment, losing acclaim is not something that the player needs to worry about at all.
Answering questions poorly in a press interview could lose you a tiny amount of acclaim, but in general your level will only rise.
ON THE RISE: Increasing your acclaim allows you to attract more sponsors
Players who prefer a more challenging experience, such as myself, would enjoy an acclaim system that is more volatile. Perhaps a large crash with a popular driver could tank your acclaim.
We’ve seen this happen in real life, with general opinion of Esteban Ocon plummeting after his incident with Max Verstappen in 2018.
GOOD PR: Upgrading your marketing department can accelerate your acclaim gain
Losing acclaim would come with the risk of losing sponsors, and perhaps even your second driver. This would make for a more interesting and dynamic My Team experience.
In general, My Team mode in its current form feels like your team is railroaded to eventual success. Once you have upgraded everything there is to upgrade, there’s nothing to stop you dominating the sport.
Of course, success should still be achievable. But the sense of satisfaction from your first podium, race win, or championship could be so much greater if higher difficulty options were available. Eventual domination should be a possibility, not an inevitability.