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The Other Side of iRacing...

Discussion in 'iRacing' started by Austin Ogonoski, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. It seems for every few good words said about iRacing, there are many awful horror stories about the way members are treated by staff and administration. The more friends I'd make in the community, the more I'd hear, and it became genuinely upsetting to know that a great platform for competitive online racing was tarnished by incompetent moderators and a definite agenda in the upper ranks.

    I was hoping never to experience this "side" of iRacing as my experience with it has been mostly positive until a few months ago when the game switched primarily to a NASCAR sim, but only recently did I finally have a less than stellar run-in with the Admins.

    I am known for running more "alternative" custom paint schemes on iRacing, as I would rather run a bright pink car than a real-world scheme to associate myself as a fan of a certain driver. HOWEVER, before I began my foray into painting, I contacted the head of the custom schemes department and asked for the exact guidelines as to what is allowed on custom schemes. He assured me that almost anything goes aside from blatantly racist or homophobic cars, and that iRacing can't ban you for a custom paint scheme because everyone has different standards when it comes to offensive content.

    I always stay well within the guidelines.

    So, for the new Nascar iRacing Series, I worked out a deal with an Xbox Live buddy to have her online persona advertised on my Chevy SS. I put over 2000 miles on the car over the course of two weeks, running in front of high ranking drivers and staff members. Not once, was anything said about my paint scheme even being remotely "offensive", because it was nothing more than a Leopard Print car with links to the social media accounts of my Xbox Live buddy.

    I ended up having a successful first race weekend in the Nascar iRacing series, posting two top fives, leading almost half of one race, and actually WINNING another race against none other than Ray Alfalla and several other DWC drivers, although a couple times I was warned by a good friend "don't race him too hard." I laughed; this isn't real Nascar, it's a video game.

    On Monday, my iRacing account had been suspended for 60 days, for violation of the "custom paint scheme" policy. iRacing lets you appeal this sort of thing, so here were the main points I made.

    - It's a legit advertisement and no way is any part of the scheme intended to "harrass" other members or be a display of senseless vulgarity
    - I put over 2000 miles on the car, and was not informed there was even an issue until EIGHT MINUTES AFTER my account was deactivated, despite competing against the same users for over two weeks
    - A facebook post by a prolific iRacing member clearly shows users ganging up to protest me despite not actually being offended by the car, which I provided evidence of
    - Other users, including high ranked and high profile users, have run much more "vulgar" schemes with zero repercussions, some of which are still in use over a year later
    - I was told by the head of the custom paint scheme department that there was no issue with any of my cars
    - I was told by the head of the custom paint scheme department that iRacing can't ban you for a custom paint scheme because each user has different standards when it comes to offensive content
    - I was told by the head of the custom paint scheme department that if a user is so gravely offended by a custom paint scheme, there is a user-friendly block button to avoid seeing any of that user's schemes
    - Any custom scheme featuring logos the user does not own the rights to (example: any replica scheme) is in violation of the custom scheme policy and that user can be subjected to a ban

    I was given a one sentence response:
    Our policy regarding custom paints is pretty clear and other peoples alleged violations doesn't justify yours or relieve you of being held accountable for your personal actions.

    After talking with several iRacing friends over facebook, they began to inform me of the "other side" of iRacing, one hindered by politics, agendas, and cliques. One very high ranked member in particular stated over and over again that "black stripe" drivers often band together and protest anyone who is seen as a legitimate threat to their "exclusive club." Another mentioned a situation where an entire group of road racers were threatened with lifetime bans for a comment one user made during a live broadcast that wasn't even derogatory (think Denny Hamlin).Another high profile user was suspended for a week for failing to merge properly when coming out of the pits during a practice session. A relatively unknown user was given a two week suspension when his wheel mount snapped and he uncontrollably spun into another car, even after providing iRacing said pictures of his broken wheel. Some users are given full account refunds for simply complaining to the right person, while others are told that iRacing "doesn't give out refunds." One members parents PAID the admins not to have their child banned or suspended. This is after maybe half a day of talking to a few different people over Xbox and Teamspeak.

    This is on top of the insanely misguided development cycle that focuses primarily on NASCAR content, scheduling car and track combinations that would never occur in the real world (IndyCars at Talladega), releasing new content while ignoring basic flaws in the tire model that make several cars completely unstable and horrible to drive (even compared to amateur rFactor mods), providing default setups created by drivers who are 4-5 seconds off pace, making aero adjustments to primarily suit 3 out of the 31 cars in the game, and implementing touch screen driving controls instead of sorting out netcode problems that have ruined many races for the better part of a year.

    The Lotus 49 isn't coming out for a long while, either. You're better off re-installing Grand Prix Legends.

    I'm posting this here because iRacing promotes themselves as a "world-class racing simulation" and costs several times more than what most people are willing to payto drive pretend cars on the computer.The average consumer deserves to know the downfalls before dropping $100 per year, plus $200 on average to race in a few series every week.

    We're talking about a company that, seven years ago, tried to sue its own fanbase because they were worried that free community mods would be of a better quality than the retail game and would take away potential sales.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Better brace for the iceRacing fanboys to come here.

    You aren't the only person who has had experiences similar to this. I was suspended for 4 weeks for dooring(under yellow) a guy who wrecked me out of the lead under the same caution caution, this is after he wrecked the previous leader hard to bring out the previous caution.

    The wonderful iRacer (who's car has a paint scheme that says "racing with integrity" for his league or some crap) protested me and said that what he did to me was a Racing incident. He also said I should lose my text chat for calling him a worthless "SOB" which is all I said SOB not the full spelling of the cuss or anything.

    What does iRacing do? Suspend me for 4 weeks for retaliation and take my voice chat for 6 months. Apparently certain members can dictate to the staff what they feel others should be protested for.

    Other members in the session emailed support,appeals and staff to say that the guy who wrecked me and the other leader out of the lead was really being out of control and that this should be taken into consideration. To no avail.

    I spent about a day mulling over a well thought out 3-4 page apology and appeal, finally sent it to iRacing. I got a 1 line response saying I "speculated about being wrecked under yellow" despite the fact that others had emailed in my defense. I then was kindly treated to game playing by the "appeals committee" as they pretended for 3 days that my attached replay of the wreck showing me being wrecked out of the lead under caution was not attached to the email. Until they stopped answering me.

    Here is another good one of me.

    I raced a short track like a short track and got suspended 3 weeks for retaliation. This after the guy who puts me in the wall did the exact same thing to me the night before and I was told that he did nothing wrong. He comes off the corner like I wasnt above him, puts me straight into the wall I lose momentum. I dive it in the next corner and move him up 3 lanes, not wrecking him mind you to get my spot back coming to the checkered flag. I receive an instant protest/decision (30min or so) that I am suspended for retaliation, even though there were no incident points exchanged and he was not wrecked, only lost the spot he gained by racing me dirty.

    So basically run up over someone and so long as it's not under yellow you're in the clear. Get mad and want pay back like a real short track? Prepare to sit 3+ weeks.

    Its a shame, they chose this path and have driven away many guy's who used to be mainstays on the service for years.I have had conversations with higher ups, they aren't unreasonable when you talk to them. . But there are games being played at the moderation/appeals level.

    Regarding cliques? You bet it goes on, oval top split is worse than high school lunch with the egos and idiots performing for their buddies.

    I know I brought most of the penalty on myself for being critical of the physics on their forums, but hey what can you do.

    OP- I know you did the same, which is probably why they were so eager to drop the hammer.
  3. I was successfully protested for calling a well known computer seller a moron....Apparently moron is a more profane word than the rash of F bombs that are launched every oval race.
    He was swerving in and out of Mustangs on the banking at Daytona for no reason and not caring that many of them freak out and wipe out....He was in the DP with his nearest competition nowhere to be seen front or back...seemed like a pretty moronic thing to do and I hit the button and said such.
    I've been wrecked out of the the lead by lapped cars, straight no two ways about it dumped, and every time it has been deemed a "racing incident". I have been slammed from behind and pushed into car in front of me on a restart and successfully protested against for being a "malicious wrecker".
  4. @DC88 - I expect my yearly dose of EA Sports titles to come with occasional glitches and exploits, but if I'm unsatisfied, I can always take it back to the store, or buy it for a more reasonable price a few months after launch. However, spending $800 to $1100 on one game alone, I have a right to voice my concerns on a private forum that can only be viewed by other paying customers. If I'm putting up 10x the amount I usually spend on a video game, I'd really prefer if the devs didn't delete my topic about concerns I had with the direction of the game after six hours and five pages of replies saying "well said."

    As for cliques, it's pathetic and immature to have that in a video game. I understand there's a certain need for that kind of thing in real-world sports... there's just too much money pumped into NASCAR for companies to rely 100% on chance, but what is the point of protecting "golden children" in a video game? So what if Alfalla loses a non-broadcasted race to a guy nobody aside from IndyCar regulars have heard of? Accept defeat and try again next week. There's no need to look for a reason to ban the guy; it just makes you look incredibly butthurt that you can't win without a perfect setup.

    @Hornbuckle - I know exactly who you're talking about, and he gets away with it because he's an official iRacing sponsor, which is hilarious.
  5. Ehm...
    Did your car really have "Motherfucking foof" on it?

    If so, I understand the ban, as they made a clear statement on swearing some time ago.

    Still a warning and some more info on what is not good on your paint would have been fair.
    And 60 days is a bit (very) long.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. I was told things like that would not be an issue, and the most iRacing can do is send you a warning to change it, and educate the person on the receiving end how to block certain users paint schemes using TradingPaints. I also ran the car for two weeks in front of the very same group of people, and find it funny how it only became an issue within hours of beating the #1 ranked oval driver.
  7. Chris Hempsall

    Chris Hempsall

    After a few weeks now of playing F1 2012 online, I've been wondering which direction to go to advance with my sim racing.

    I was holding out for rFactor2 to get a little further along, but my friend told me iRacing was the way to go.

    After reading this, and having a look around on Google, the decision has been made for me. Not touching this game.

    What a joke! Cry baby moderators, drivers that bully if they don't win. I don't think I've heard anything like it in my life :confused:
  8. I have been playing iRacing for over 2 years and have never had any problems with moderators. And I think only 1 (big) problem with another driver.
  9. Same for me! Member since 2009, I never had any sort of problem with the staff.
  10. I personally don't think the Sim is entirely bad, but there are definitely things that drag it down.

    First of all, there is zero point in buying iRacing if you're not a NASCAR fan. The only two road cars worth driving are the Mazda MX-5, and the Skippy, as they're pretty much spot on. Everything else iRacing offers in terms of road racing cars are an absolute disaster, with many of them suffering from the same tire model issue, where the car has a tendancy to spin out when driving between 60 mph and 120 mph for no reason at all. The road racing cars are rarely updated, and some have been abandoned altogether by the community. In all honesty, even some amateur rFactor mods drive better than the road cars iRacing offers. I will not go into specific details as to why each individual road car is bad, but in general, it's best to just stay away.

    However, on the NASCAR side, each of the top three cars are updated regularly, and a new oval track shows up, on average, once a month. While the Dallara DW12 hasn't even been announced for iRacing after running an entire season, the Gen6 Chevy SS was available four days after it's competitive debut at the Sprint Unlimited.

    When I first signed up and plopped down more than $800 (I was loaded at the time), I was under the impression that iRacing's passion for auto racing and attention to detail would apply to ALL cars, not just the ones that only turn left.

    The second major thing that drags iRacing down are the moderators and administration. Most of the staff are ex-league admins from the NR2003 days, but it seems there wasn't much of a process when selecting these people, as all of them were known to be biased and unfair in the leagues they ran, prior to iRacing's existence.

    The protest/complaint system is a fantastic idea in theory. However, don't expect to get a fair ruling if you actually USE it. I have personally seen a user purposely wreck 6+ cars out of a race individually, and after protesting him, told to "stop ganging up on him, you're just jealous that he won." Some users are allowed to cause mass destruction on a daily basis with no punishments, while other users are kicked off for two months for having a "bad word" on their car (yet a clean driving record). There are other stories in this thread which go into more detail about this, but it's safe to say that iRacing desperately needs a fresh set of eyes behind their holy protest system.

    This kind of bizarre moderation continues over to the forums as well. Threads about hearing your parents having sex, or 150-page marathons about rival racing sims are allowed to flourish, but genuine complaints about the direction the game is heading towards mysteriously disappear. YouTube videos of physics glitches vanish almost instantly, yet it's totally okay to post videos of 3D sex games.

    I'm sorry, but if I paid $800+ (before subscription fees), and stuff like this is gonna get ignored in favor of touch screen driving controls, I have a right to complain on a private forum that is only accessible by other paying members.

    The third major thing dragging the game down, and one that has already been discussed at length in this thread, are the politics that govern the upper tiers of the actual racing. In short, beat any high ranked driver, and 10 others will find any way they can to protest you to make sure it doesn't happen again. No one should be standing for this or even letting it slide. There is no point to having a "status quo" in an online video game. Period. I really don't care that the guy in the white car behind me is the #1 ranked driver on the sim, and has made $20,000 off of the game and gets flown to Florida once a year. There's 50 laps to go, and my spotter said I'm faster in 3 & 4. If he's THAT good, he can catch me and make the pass.

    And he didn't.

    Since I've made this post, I've had a surprising amount of people message me on facebook to confirm this sort of thing happens with striking regularity, and have sent in my own proof to iRacing. Ironically, they've stopped responding to my messages.

    Maybe I should pay them off, like the parents of the winner of the DWC Daytona race did?

    As I've said before, this game costs several times more than something you can pick up at WalMart, people deserve to know about the stuff that can and does go wrong before making an investment.
  11. what´s your name?

    (i´m not affiliated with iRacing in any way, quite the opposite)
  12. Austin Ogonoski
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Thats not true. The Ford GT e.g. has been in constant development since its release and is now one of the better cars on the service.

    I even think, that in terms of development, iRacing is one of the better games out there. You get 4 mayor updates each year. That is much more then you get from other game developers...
    (pCars & rFactor 2 are not officialy released at this point and are still Beta)

    I 'm always surpised by the standards some people use. There is no such thing as "perfection". You can just hope that you encounter not much problems and, in case of problems, that they get fixed as soon as possible.

    Is every car in rFactor perfect? How good is the online driving experience of other games? Is there 1 game in the last 2 years that has released everything it promised on time?

    People see a lot more good things in the games they like and much more negative things in other games. Has always been and will always be...

    The things that I like about iRacing (in order of importance)
    1. Arrive and drive
    2. Good community
    3. Good physics
    4. Improving graphics
    5. No fiddling with mods and compability issues to drive online against others

    Do I bash other games (that I may have only played a fraction of the time in comparison to iRacing) ? No, I just enjoy a game that fits my needs the best and always keep an eye on other games and how they develop. If something better shows up, there is a chance I will start driving with that game.

    I just don't like when people start spreading things around that are not true just so others wouldn't play the game they dislike...
  14. member since 2011 and no problems with any of staff.

    I would say to the OP to just drop the parts of your paintjob that the iracing staff does not like and get back to racing.
  15. Let's put it this way:

    iRacing costs approximately 10x MORE than any other sim racing game on the market. If you're going to be charging that much for a "world class racing sim", half the cars shouldn't be prone to unexplainable low-speed spins, IndyCars shouldn't be going to Talladega, and Touchscreen driving controls shouldn't take priority over developing a tire model that actually has proper heat-up/cool-down.

    However, there is still a lot to like about iRacing.

    The oval side is quite good and is updated regularly.
    The community is centralized and relies on real names, significantly cutting down the troll posts.
    99% of the time, the progression system prevents braindead idiots from advancing through the ranks.
    The fluctuating XP system does a great job of perfectly determining the skill level of each driver.

    If you're looking for a NASCAR sim, iRacing is the way to go. But it is not hard to run into horror stories of all kinds.
  16. For those saying they never had issues with staff, maybe then you should consider what has been said, mainly that being fast is a "clique" at iRacing. You need to be invited to the club, otherwise people put you down for you are potentially costing them money :)
  17. That´s not true though.
  18. Bram

    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    When making such bold statements a source would be handy. I hope its not just the posts above.

    The clique that is now fast in iracing has been fast in other sims too over the years. Most of the pro drivers have been aliens for years.
  19. Sure, but then there's a lot more money involved in iRacing. I'm not claiming it is the absolute truth, but then I wouldn't be surprised if some of it is. The example by the OP is quite striking to be honest.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. I'm talking mostly about the Oval side, as the road racing in iRacing is so horrible that every attempt to even complete laps in a practice session ends with me booting up rFactor instead.

    The physics engine and tire model(s) are designed primarily to suit asymmetrical setup American stock cars first and foremost. Some cars will just flat-out not work properly on that physics engine, and iRacing realized it with the Lotus 49.

    I mean, why else would a company go from "we're so excited for you guys to finally get to drive the Lotus 49 next week", to quietly giving everybody their money back after TWO delays?

    There's some interesting stuff I've learned, to say the least. I feel completely retarded for spending money on ANY of their road course content.

    As DewFan88 said earlier, the higher-ups aren't unreasonable when you talk to them, but there are games being played at the appeals/moderation level. The admins are all guys that used to run private NR2003 leagues, leagues that were KNOWN for favoritism and politics. It was more or less a case of "friends hiring friends," regardless of their skillset.

    Among the lower levels of racing, there's really no need to worry about this kind of crap, because it's not like the staff ever spectates medium-to-low split races. If they did, several problematic users would have been issued lifetime bans long ago.

    I think the best way to explain how the admin favoritism works is like this:

    If Ray or any other 15 different DWC drivers flat out wreck someone with 3 to go, it's considered a "racing incident." (I saw this happen in a race at Vegas)
    If I or any driver who is relatively unknown, did so much as nudge a DWC driver while in a corner, we'd be hit with a two week suspension, hence the "don't race him too hard" comments in the OP.

    Unfortunately, because of how well-constructed the progression system and overall online structure is, most people are willing to bite the bullet and ignore this garbage.