Celebrating Two Years of Need for Speed World

To anyone who hasn’t experienced it, the idea of a racing or driving MMO seems rather odd. But after two years of updates, and notching up over 16.7 million registered gamers worldwide, the team behind Need for Speed World has been proved right. The careful blend of high-speed events, set inside a mesmerizing open world, generated an army of fans across Europe, Latin and North America.

As part of the celebration of their two year anniversary, I spoke to producer Marc de Vellis and lead designer Melvin Teo. While we raced through the grand, open-world city, they demonstrated some of the recent changes to the game and revealed a couple of the new features in the pipeline. From the latest word on Drag Racing, through the August supercar bonanza, there’s a lot going on in this free-to-play MMO.

If you fancy taking part in the two year anniversary, the team is also giving away free in-game cars and kit to help fill your garage. Head over to the Need for Speed World website and get in before the celebration finishes!

ZAM's Q&A with Need for Speed World's Eneko Bilbao

Updates for Electronic Arts' Need for Speed World MMO have been racing along at a steady pace. The game went free-to-play in September and recently received a new performance customization system that added more depth to the game. To top it off, EA studio Black Box announced earlier this month that NFSW has surpassed three million registered users.

We got the chance to talk with Technical Director Eneko Bilbao about the customization system, the game's free-to-play model and the future of Need for Speed World. Keep reading after the jump for his answers!

Need For Speed World Beta Preview

Scheduled for release on July 27, Need for Speed World (NFSW) is an ambitious racing-sim MMO developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts, based on the company's popular Need for Speed video game franchise. It's not the first to join the ranks of "massively multiplayer online racing games," or MMORGs as they're referred to in the MMO industry. The Trackmania series and Test Drive Unlimited are both successful titles in the MMORG arena, published across multiple platforms, from Windows to the PlayStation Portable.

Earlier this month EA hosted an open beta test for players, which ended last week. On July 13 and 14, the developers briefly revived the open beta for a final stress test and gave participants about $20 worth of "SpeedBoost" (the free-to-play MMO's version of RMT currency) to mess around with. We at ZAM thought this would be the perfect time to jump in-game and provide readers with an early preview of the MMORG's beta gameplay. In our first look at Need for Speed World, we cruise around the streets and find some familiar MMO staples and "level up" after winning a handful of solo and multiplayer races. We also get a little frisky with the police; it turns out that barreling through roadblocks and ramming cop cars off the road is just as much fun as it sounds.

Get Your Need For Speed World Beta Key

ZAM has gotten access to 20,000 beta keys for the upcoming MMO racing game, Need for Speed World. The keys are free to anyone who signs up as a ZAM member. The latest beta will launch on July 20 with new features, vehicles and an all new region.

To get you even more excited, we have the second video developer diary from the team talking about powerups and how they can influence the game.

EA Announces "Need For Speed" Racing MMO

EA recently unveiled its upcoming racing MMO, Need For Speed World, at the company's EA Showcase in London [via Massively.com]. Aptly named after the popular Need For Speed racing-sim franchise, Need For Speed World will feature a persistent world for gamers to race each other, including plenty of Web 2.0 integration with Facebook and other social media. According to the official Need For Speed World site, EA is already accepting up to 20,000 applicants for the MMO's beta-testing phase; interested gamers can sign up here. Strangely, the publisher isn't pushing a multi-platform release for Need For Speed World; the MMO will be PC-exclusive.

Last week EA released a handful of in-game screenshots and wallpapers, which you can check out at this link. Scheduled for release sometime in the second quarter of 2010, Need For Speed World will join a sparse lineup of similar "massively multiplayer online racing games," or MMORGs. The Trackmania series is another popular online racing-sim, but Need For Speed World promises to include RPG-like progression and other MMO-styled elements that transcend the usual multiplayer racing genre. News site Hexus Gaming scored a video interview with Jean-Charles Gaudechon, Lead Producer of Need For Speed World, at the recent EA Showcase; check out the video here [via MMORPG.com]. For more info about the MMO, visit the media section of the official site and stay tuned to ZAM.com for more news as it's released.

Need for Speed World Trailer Unleashed at GDC 2010

One of the most popular games for the PC during the 90s was the vaunted Need for Speed series. After a brief time on hiatus, the venerated driving series is back and in a MMO format! If you're at all interested in racing games and you're looking for a new, non-typical MMO, Need for Speed World may be your ticket. And boy does it look pretty....

So don't waste any more time, check out the trailer now!