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F1 World Preview: F1 23's new hub is a complete game changer


F1 World is easily one of the biggest changes in F1 23. Combining Grand Prix, Time Trial, online multiplayer and last year’s divisive F1 Life into a single, easy-to-access hub, F1 World introduces a wide range of exciting events and races for all players to enjoy.

With only a couple of weeks until F1 23 races onto consoles and PC, Codemasters and EA invited us to try out F1 World in a hands-on preview event.

It's safe to say F1 World is a game-changer and a welcome addition for F1 players of all skill levels.

A new central hub

F1 World has been built using the same environments as F1 Life. This time, though, these spaces have a purpose. When you first load the game, you’ll see your avatar sitting enjoying him or herself in their apartment surrounded by up to three other avatars.

These other avatars can be made up of either your online friends who own the game, AI-generated characters, or a combination of the two. Unlike the rest of F1 23, F1 World is designed to be more arcade-like. For players wanting the more realistic, sim race modes, Career Mode is the place for you.

F1 23 F1 World main menu
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If, however, you want to learn more about how to drive F1 cars and master various tracks, F1 World is far more welcoming for new players who haven't played an F1 game before. Attracting new players to F1 games is essential as Formula 1 is more popular than ever thanks to Drive to Survive, attracting new players to F1 games is essential.

Instead of just dropping you into Grand Prix mode and forcing you to make your own fun, F1 World introduces you to every game mode of F1 23. Players start in the Series and Welcome to F1 World events. These ease players into the types of events F1 World offers, starting with a three-lap race around Austria, before heading to Silverstone and Abu Dhabi.

Completing events in the Series unlock more single-player and multiplayer challenges to take on, with the difficulty ramping up with each one. Eventually, the game will throw you into endurance races of 50% or even 100% distance, as well as races with all assists turned off to really test your racing mettle.

You can hop in and out whenever you want - there are no championship formats forcing you to sit through a five-race event just to find out at the end you’ve failed and have to do it all over again.

Solo & Multiplayer events

The Series is just part of F1 World though. Solo and Multiplayer events are also available to compete in. Unlike the static Series though, these events are a lot more dynamic, being updated daily, weekly or seasonally to reflect the real-world F1 calendar.

F1 22's Weekly Grand Prix feature can now be found here, as can Scenarios, which replace the former Featured Events. While Featured Events only took place during off-weeks in F1 22, Scenarios rotate every week, challenging players to replicate a real-life result from the 2023 F1 season or even change the course of F1 history.

F1 23 F1 World Solo and multiplayer events
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A Scenario we were shown was to take Lewis Hamilton to victory in the Canadian Grand Prix. This is probably a stretch in real life, but doable in F1 23.

F1 Esports events have also been incorporated into F1 World this year, with results still leading to rewards even if you don’t qualify for the main event itself.

If you reach certain objectives during events, you’ll unlock rewards. These can be upgrades to your F1 World car, contracts for your F1 World team members or even trophies for your virtual trophy cabinet.

Rewards aren’t limited to objectives, however. Just by completing laps, players can receive rewards. According to Codemasters, these rewards were created to prevent players from giving up if they’re struggling with a specific event.

This is a welcome improvement. Previously, the car may not be good enough to pass the objective. But without passing the objective, you can’t unlock any upgrades to the car.

With the new per-lap drops, even a failed lap attempt can unlock that vital upgrade needed to progress. They can even be won through custom games and events with no objective rewards. The harder difficulty you play, the higher the chance of receiving a per-lap drop.

Upgrades

So you’ve finished an event, and you’re rewarded with an upgrade to your car. Now what? Simply head over to your garage, and apply that upgrade to the respective area.

Upgrading the car improves your tech level, with your current tech level being the average of all components on the car. Your tech level isn’t just an arbitrary number though - it dictates the AI difficulty in Series events.

Your tech level starts at 100, with the goal to reach 1000. For players who max out their tech level in the first week of playing, you’re not finished yet. Every seasonal update will increase the tech level cap, enticing players back to play the new events and continue growing their tech level.

F1 23 F1 World upgrades
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Multiplayer races will use your tech level to help calculate a finishing position, with extra rewards on the line if you exceed that target.

Players wanting to play ranked races but are worried about their rivals’ tech levels need not worry. Ranked is a level playing field - your tech level is not factored in whatsoever. This means you can race freely without worrying about being blown off track by a 1000-tech-level player.

Besides upgrading the car, F1 World also allows you to upgrade your team members. Contracts won during events can be applied to your team, signing up a new Team Principal, team strategist or R&D to help boost your performance.

Different team members offer different perks, from reducing the car’s weight when tyre degradation reaches a certain point, to increasing rewards after an event. Contracts last a set number of events and prevent players from shuffling their team around for every single event.

Contracts can also be created by players using team resources. For those worried about microtransactions, contracts and components can be provided from the Podium Pass, but only once per season. Beyond that, resources, contracts and upgrades cannot be purchased separately, so there are no pay-to-win mechanics.

Safety first

Tech levels are just one aspect when it comes to online lobbies. Replacing the previous safety rating system, F1 23's new licence system makes the online experience so much better.

Ranging from D to A, players are given a licence level based on their ability, experience and cleanliness. All new players are assigned a C licence, with clean driving and race wins resulting in ranking up to a B licence and eventually to the A licence.

Players who would rather play dodgems than race F1 cars will be demoted down to the D level, only emerging again once they’ve cleaned up their act.

F1 23 screenshot Miami
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As well as assisting with matchmaking, a player’s licence also determines the settings for each lobby. C lobbies have collisions and damage disabled, auto recovery enabled, and pit stops and safety cars set to cinematic. B lobbies are largely the same but with reduced damage and collisions enabled after lap one.

A-grade lobbies are the real deal, with full damage and collisions enabled alongside interactive pit stops and safety cars. Players with higher licence levels can still choose the race level, but there are benefits to racing on higher licence levels.

For example, rewards are better on higher levels. Bonus events can also be unlocked, but players struggling to get beyond a C licence can still enjoy F1 World without being penalised for their licence.

All events within F1 World affect your licence level, from solo Series events to custom races with your friends. Those wishing to play destruction derby in custom games can make it so the race doesn't affect your licence so you can enjoy ramming your friends into the barriers on the Nouvelle Chicane.

Rising the ranks

Along with progressing your licence, ranking points can be earned from ranked multiplayer. In F1 World, players are split into divisions, with the highest ranked players at the end of every week gaining promotion to the next division.

The lowest division is Bronze, with a higher number of players able to be promoted from this division. Just like with the lap drops, you’ll be able to win ranking points just by competing in races, even if you don’t win every time.

F1 23 F1 World ranked multiplayer
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F1 23 wants to reward players of all abilities, not just the elite. As a result, ranking points are easier to obtain than you might think. Once players reach the top Elite Division, the league table is gone.

Instead, a leaderboard will show how you stack up compared to the rest of the world. Rewards are also increased by climbing the divisions through XP boosts, with the Elite Division boosting your XP by 20%.

Ranked races are also different this year. Instead of choosing from the entire circuit pool, races take place on one of three tracks per season. This smaller pool rotates every season and is limited to three to make tracks easier to learn for racers with limited time. Combining this with the track mastery series in the Series will really help players when it comes to ranked racing.

Compendium chronicles the history of F1

Finally, we have the Compendium. On the surface, this looks like a virtual sticker book, but there’s a lot more to it.

Stickers are awarded through upgrading the car, race rewards and the podium pass. Completing a section of the Compendium not only reveals an image from the history of Formula 1 but also unlocks the ability to read about what the image shows.

F1 23 F1 World Compendium
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The Compendium educates new fans, the Drive to Survive generation if you will, as to just how incredible F1 can be. From the infamous Senna vs Prost rivalry to Max Verstappen dominating 2022, there is so much history to F1 that the Compendium covers. It's also a great way to track your progress in F1 World if you don’t have time to grind through races.

According to Codemasters, there are three main ways to complete F1 World. These are completing all available events, reaching the maximum tech level, and filling your Compendium with every sticker. For all those completionists out there, you need to start collecting those stickers!

F1 World is a fantastic addition to F1 23. Codemasters has clearly listened to the feedback on F1 Life and improved on last year's mistakes.

The menu screens are easy to navigate, the Series is a great way for new players to get stuck into the world of Formula 1, the mastery series is perfect for those who need to brush up on their skills, and the Compendium is a great way to take a nostalgic look back at the sport we all love.

Gathering all game modes outside Career Mode and My Team into a single, accessible hub ensures players will see everything F1 23 offers. We can’t wait to explore it when the game releases in just two weeks' time.

For more articles like this, take a look at our F1 page.