Need for Speed: World

Need for Speed: World (previously known as Need for Speed: World Online) was the fifteenth installment in the racing video game Need for Speed franchise published by Electronic Arts. It was co-developed by EA Black Box (rebranded as Quicklime Games when the game was developed) and EA Singapore. It was the first freemium massively multiplayer online racing game in the Need for Speed series and was available on Microsoft Windows. World was released worldwide on July 27, 2010. However, people who ordered a "Starter Pack" had an early "head-start" in the game, which started on July 20, 2010.[1][2]

Need for Speed: World
Cover art featuring a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Nissan 370Z being chased by police
Developer(s)Quicklime Games
EA Singapore
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
SeriesNeed for Speed
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
ReleaseJuly 27, 2010
(July 20, 2010, for users who pre-ordered the Starter Pack)[1]
Genre(s)Massively multiplayer online racing game

Need for Speed: World, along with other EA free-to-play titles Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield Play4Free, and FIFA World, went offline on July 14, 2015.


A screenshot of early gameplay, when the game was known as Need for Speed: World Online. World combines elements of role-playing with illegal street racing.

World took on the gameplay style of 2005's Most Wanted and 2006's Carbon, focusing on illegal street racing, tuning and police chases, and added some elements to the game such as "power ups" (somewhat similar to Mario Kart). World was set in a fictional city which combined the cities of Rockport from Most Wanted and Palmont from Carbon into its map design, with redesigned graphics and new locations added to the map to connect the two cities. The game featured over 100 licensed cars consisting of tuners, muscle cars, exotics, race cars and SUVs. Manufactures ranged from Alfa Romeo to Volkswagen and there were over thirty manufactures in the game.

Before September 8, 2010, after reaching level 10 and access to only first tier and some second tier cars, the player would not be able to progress further in the game and would cease to earn any more experience points or cash. To continue the game, the player had to purchase a "Starter Pack". Without it, the player was allowed to continue playing the game, but would cease to earn experience and cash.[3][4] On September 8, 2010 World passed one million registrations. To celebrate that, the game was made completely free-to-play and the level cap was removed.[5]

Performance upgrades and skillsEdit

In the initial release version 4 (July 20, 2010), car performance could be improved via street or pro upgrade kits (purchased with in game cash), depending on the car. Some cars only had street upgrade kits as an option, and the fastest car in the game at the time, the BMW M3 GTR, did not have any upgrade kits. The game also had "driver skills", three of which directly improved performance (acceleration, handling, top speed) and applied to any car that a player was driving. The skills unlocked as a player leveled up and a player could select up to 49 of 81 possible skills.[3] Once a skill was chosen, it couldn't be undone, and players would have to start with a new driver or account and level up again in order to choose a different set of skills. In November 2010, with version 5, the upgrade kits were removed and replaced by performance parts, each car having its own set of performance parts.[6] In May 2012, "driver skills" were removed from the game and replaced with skill mods, each car having its own set of skill mods. There were no performance skill mods to replace the acceleration, handling, and top speed skills, so the cars ended up being slower. The lowest rated parts or skill mods could be directly purchased for free using in game "cash", but higher rated parts or skill mods could only be won by chance from card packs, either free "lucky draw" card packs rewarded at the end of any event, or card packs purchased with real money converted into the games microtransaction currency called "speed boost".[7][8]

Visual aftermarket partsEdit

On March 16, 2011, visual aftermarket parts were made available, and later added to lucky draw in December 2011. All the in-game cash bodykits from previous versions were removed. Most body kits required SpeedBoost to purchase on May 31, 2011. There were several choices of customisation, some which were exclusive to specific cars. Along with body kits there were spoilers, wheels, neons, hoods, window tint and license plates. Most of these parts, like bodykits, had to be paid with by SpeedBoost. Players could also redeem gifts that they could equip to their cars.

Night ModeEdit

Night mode was added on December 15, 2010. The lighting was also changed from mostly white to the color scheme used in Carbon.

Team Escape ModeEdit

On March 31, 2011, Electronic Arts introduced a new game mode called Team Escape, a semi-cooperative version of a police pursuit where up to four players participated in a sprint from point A to point B while avoiding numerous cops, within a set time limit depending on the event. For this mode, two team versions of the game's power-ups were released.

Treasure Hunt ModeEdit

On July 26, 2011, a feature called Treasure Hunt was released. In Treasure Hunt, played during free roam, players would attempt to collect fifteen gems located in various areas. If the player collected all fifteen gems daily, they would get boosts of reputation and in-game cash. Playing the Treasure Hunt mode daily would build up what was known as a Treasure Hunt Streak. Players earned random high-end performance parts or additional power-ups after completing every hunt based on the day count of the streak.

Drag ModeEdit

On October 16, 2012, drag racing was introduced to World. This mode allowed players to race other players to the finish line in various strips of straight roads. Players would need to use manual transmission and shift their way to the finish. Automatic transmission was also available to the players. Single-player mode was also made available with in-game traffic.

Achievement ModeEdit

On April 10, 2013, an opportunity to win valuable in-game rewards by completing various achievements was introduced.[9] The old player achievement system that only showed a players stats was dropped, and replaced with the milestone based achievement reward mode.


The game was first announced to be free-to-play. In October 2009, World was opened to public beta-testing limited to residents of Taiwan. There have been seven closed beta sessions in total. Except the first one, all were available worldwide to residents who sign up, meet admission criteria, and get accepted.

The main part of the game's map was completed on October 26, 2010, when the final three areas (Downtown Rockport, Kempton, Fortuna) and the Turnpike bridge were added to the map.

Over time, the priority on game development transitioned into focusing on increasing revenue, so plans such as adding Carbon's canyons to the map, completion of the final link area, addition of NFS Undercover's map to the game, ... , were dropped and eventually most of the development focused on adding more cars to the game, since the cars helped increase revenue, and the game evolved into a "pay to win" game as the best cars could only be purchased with real money.[10]

The EA Canada NFS World team, later named Quicklime Games, which was in charge of game development, maintenance and updates, was shut down on April 25, 2013.[11]

On September 10, 2013, a Community Manager announced that Easy Studios (developers for Battlefield Play4Free) took over from what was left of the Quicklime Game team.[12]


Need for Speed: World received mixed reviews from critics.[13]

The highest praise of the game came from GamingXP, which commented that "The game feels like a combination of previous Need for Speed games except the single player has been cut off. Add some role-play elements and you have a racing MMO."[19] PC Format gave a somewhat mediocre review in their October 2010 issue, concluding that the game "feels like a missed opportunity."[20] Eurogamer commented that "It's a real shame that the MMO aspect of World is effectively a needlessly elaborate lobby."[21] In November 2012, World surpassed twenty million registered users.[22]


On April 15, 2015, EA announced that on July 14, 2015, they would be closing Need for Speed: World and turning off services for the game, as the publisher felt "that the game no longer lives up to the high standard set by the Need for Speed franchise." The ability to purchase SpeedBoost and create new accounts were disabled since the announcement.[23][24]

Preservation projectEdit

Preservation efforts by fans to reverse engineer and make a playable version of the game led to a network of private servers under the title "Soapbox Race World" in 2017.[25][26]


  1. ^ a b "Need for Speed World Launches July 27". Electronic Arts. July 9, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  2. ^ "Impulse Driven: Need for Speed World". Stardock Corporation. February 8, 2010. Archived from the original on May 29, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  3. ^ a b GameTrailers. "Need For Speed World review".
  4. ^ Hahn, Drew (May 18, 2010). "What is the Need For Speed Starter Pack?". Archived from the original on May 20, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  5. ^ Hahn, Drew (September 9, 2010). "Need for Speed World Goes Free to Play". Archived from the original on September 8, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  6. ^ EA, NeedForSpeed. "Ask Marc (performance parts)".
  7. ^ EA, NeedForSpeed. "Ask Marc (skill mods)".
  8. ^ "NFS World: Skill Mods announced".
  9. ^ "NFS World Maintenance Window – April 10 [COMPLETE]". Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  10. ^ "3 Ways Mobile Games Are Destroying the Video Game Industry". March 4, 2014.
  11. ^ Lien, Tracey (April 25, 2013). "EA restructure results in hundreds of layoffs, two studios closed". Polygon.
  12. ^ "EA Forums". Archived from the original on January 26, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Need for Speed World Critic Reviews for PC. Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  14. ^ NFS World Online Reviews. 1UP. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  15. ^ Need for Speed World MMO Review. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  16. ^ Need for Speed World Review, PC Reviews. GamesRadar. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  17. ^ Need for Speed World Video Game, Review. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  18. ^ (2010-08-06). Need for Speed World Review. IGN. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  19. ^ "NFS World Review". GamingXP. July 27, 2010. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  20. ^ "Need for Speed: World – Critic Reviews". Metacritic. December 24, 2010. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  21. ^ Jon Blyth (August 2, 2010). "Need for Speed: World review". Eurogamer. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  22. ^ Kyle Hayth. "Need for Speed World: 20 Million Registered Users Racing Down the Lanes". Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  23. ^ "The Race is Coming to an End". April 15, 2015. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  24. ^ Makuch, Eddie (April 15, 2015). "EA Closing Battlefield Heroes, Need for Speed World, FIFA World, and More". GameSpot. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  25. ^ Arguello, Diego (June 11, 2020). "How players resurrected the Need for Speed MMO you didn't even know existed". PC Gamer. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  26. ^ "Soapbox Race World". Retrieved February 15, 2021.

External linksEdit