For Multiplayer mode in this installment of the series, you will need to complete ideally five - but hopefully no more than ten - 5-lap races in ranked lobbies for two trophies. Then the remaining trophies for the mode can be unlocked via further ranked racing or boosting in unranked lobbies or an online championship. As you do this, you will also be making further progress on the ~35-40% remaining for the "Bright Spark" trophy.
RANKED ONLINE RACING
The key focus in your ranked online racing is obtaining an "A" safety rating, so this means prioritising racing clean and avoiding any contact with other cars or barriers above all else. The game is not especially intelligent at determining the driver at fault in any such collisions, so even deliberate contact made with you by other drivers is likely to negatively impact your safety rating.
Ranked Lobbies Still Allow Friend Invites: Given the relatively low online population for the game, you may end up in a lobby either by yourself or with just a few other randoms. If you have a boosting buddy or buddies you are working with, take advantage of this by searching separately for a ranked lobby, and if you find separate lobbies, whoever ends up in the smallest (or perhaps best average safety rating) lobby should then invite the others in. This will help to minimise disruptions or interference from random racers as much as possible.
To get started, from the main menu select Multiplayer. Note that within this menu, you have the option to change your region by pressing . This region only guides the game as it attempts to find you a lobby with a good multiplayer connection, but if there are only a few lobbies available, then you are still likely to end up with racers from all over the world. However, if you have a friend to play with, you may also try to use this to your advantage, seeking out a different region to hopefully get into your own ranked lobby and avoid random racers to make an easier time of improving your safety rating. After optionally adjusting your region, select Ranked. You are then prompted to choose your preferred race length - either 5 Laps or 25% (of full race distance). Your initial safety rating is only set after completing five ranked races, so specify 5 Laps to save a lot of time and then select Search.
When you are placed in a lobby there may be a race in progress that you will have to wait out. The first time you join a lobby, you will not yet have a team and driver. Toggle over to the Select Team and Driver tab in the lobby screen, then you can highlight and select your preferred team, and then your preferred driver (provided nobody else in the lobby already has that same selection). Then when the cycle commences for a new race, you have the opportunity to vote on the next track. Sometimes there are short track or classic car variations available in the list of choices, it is worth targeting short tracks and avoiding classic cars that you may not be used to driving. After the votes are in and the next track decided, the countdown to the session start begins. Select Ready Up - if you and all other drivers do this, the session can then start immediately.
Most ranked races will have one-shot qualifying first to determine the grid order. On the Vehicle Management screen, you can optionally review and adjust tyre selections and car setup, but the default selections are always reasonably suitable for the track and weather conditions. Select Go To Track - you may have a short wait while other drivers do the same, but eventually all drivers are released onto the track to complete their qualifying lap. You won't see any driver ghost cars, and so you won't know your position relative to other drivers until they finish their lap. If you are racing against randomly matched players, your approach for your own qualifying lap here should be to take it slow to ensure you start near the back of the grid - deliberately add an extra 10-15 seconds minimum to your normal lap time. This will make it easier to avoid any carnage off the starting grid or at the first corner. You may still not start last if another driver had a disaster or possibly didn't even perform their qualifying lap. If racing amongst trusted friends, then you can target pole position as per usual.
After your lap is complete, you will be shown the Rewards / XP & Milestone Progression screen. As you reach these various milestones, you will be rewarded with bonus XP beyond that which you earned through the qualifying and/or race itself. You can optionally select Skip here, but otherwise, you are still fairly promptly advanced to the Results screen where you will see the makeup of the starting grid for the race. Select Advance to go to the starting grid for the race.
On the starting grid, you can select Car Setup if you wish to vary from the defaults, otherwise select Start Race. When the lights go out, make a smooth getaway. If you are on the last row with random drivers ahead, take it slightly slow to build up a buffer ahead of you. However, if you have random drivers behind you, alter your heading to the outer edge of your side of the track to give them clear passage up the middle, and slow down slightly to let them pass. Assuming you are not targeted maliciously at this point or racing friends, the remainder of the race should hopefully run smoothly. Keep a good distance between you and the cars ahead, and be wary and ready to take evasive action if any other drivers exhibit suspicious behaviour.
After a hopefully incident-free race, you will see that you are 1/5 of the way to a placement in terms of both Rank and Safety Rating and will again see the XP earned from racing and any milestones reached. Advancing from here you will see the Results screen for the race itself and from there you can return to the lobby. Repeat this same process for another four races. Just after completing the final lap of your fifth ranked race you will unlock...
Unlocked by 760 tracked gamers (33% - TT Ratio = 1.75)
Progress through to the Results screens post-race and you will receive your initial Safety Rating. Your results during these races seem to be taken into account here. If you performed well with some podium finishes and a perfect safety record, you will be rated better from a safety perspective than if you retained a perfect safety record but had raced conservatively towards the back of the pack. Regardless, if you drove the five races with a near perfect safety record, you should have a "B" rating with close to or at 100% progress at a minimum. This percentage is progress through that current rating and it increases with continued safe driving. When you reach 100% progress through given racing, you then have further races to complete before finally being promoted - most likely only one or two races - as per the screenshot below.
This is to prevent your rating from fluctuating rapidly if on the cusp between two ratings - the game is looking for a trend in a single direction in terms of your driver safety. Complete these further races required for promotion to "A" rating (if any) with the same approach as you have used thus far. The trigger to unlock the trophy does not seem to be immediately when an "A" rating is reached. Do not panic if/when this is the case for you. Just complete the next ranked one-shot qualifying or race, and at the conclusion of your lap(s), you should immediately unlock...
Unlocked by 479 tracked gamers (21% - TT Ratio = 2.20)
That is the end of the necessary Ranked Online Racing. By this stage you will most likely be at around Rank 6, having earning approximately 40-45K XP so far. Just under 400K XP is required to hit Rank 25 and unlock the last trophy. The most time-efficient means for this ranking up and other multiple trophies is via Online Championship as outlined in the section below. However, if you cannot arrange a boosting buddy, you can continue to level up by earning XP via either Ranked or Unranked Online Racing, but be aware, based on a rough estimate of hourly XP earning rates, this will take around three times as long (~14 hours at ~25K XP per hour) versus an Online Championship boosted with one other person (~4-5 hours at ~80K XP per hour). You will also need to battle for four race wins rather than easily trading them with a buddy.
Because the XP awarded for race results is not related to the race distance, it is best to run the shortest races possible. In Ranked and Unranked Online Racing, there is a 5-Lap minimum race length, as well as other players and idle time waiting in lobbies to contend with. Thus, the quickest ranking up can be done in an Online Championship where races can be configured to be 3-Laps, and can focus on a "short" track variation to save even more time.
From the main menu select Multiplayer, then select Online Championship. You then need to set up a save slot to store the progressive results, so select Start New Championship and then enter the name of the session (eg "Japan Short Boost") when prompted. Next you will need to select appropriate restrictions on who can see and join your session. If you have a boosting buddy to cooperate with, select Invite Only. If not, you can still try your luck with random racers and select No (Open) instead. This is not so potentially problematic, because being the session host, you control all the options, including turning on/off vehicle damage and even collisions themselves. The game will create and put you into the session lobby. Once you are in the lobby, select Host Options and configure each of the settings tabs as outlined below.
Configure the Session Options tab as follows:
- AI Driver Level > 0 (Very Easy)
- Era > Modern F1 Cars
- Car Performance > Equal
- Maximum Participants > 3
- Practice Length > None
- Qualifying > None
- Race Distance > 3 Laps
- Starting Grid > Random
- Quick Weather > Clear
- Session Start Time > Midday
- Session Privacy > Retain as per previously set when session created
Configure the Race Settings tab as follows:
- Parc Ferme Rules > Off
- Collisions > Off
- Vehicle Damage > Off
- Ghosting > On
- Car Setup > Fixed
- Safety Car > Off
- Rules and Flags > Off
- Corner Cutting Stringency > Regular
- Formation Lap > Off
- Race Starts > Assisted
- Tyre Temperature > Surface Only
Configure the Add/Remove AI tab as follows:
- No drivers selected (if selected, a driver will have a tick icon in the Active column)
Configure the Assists Restrictions tab as follows (NOTE: This enforces the minimum allowable restrictions, so these should be as broad as possible so as not to eliminate potential randoms from becoming cooperative boosters):
- Braking Assist > High
- Anti-Lock Brakes > On
- Traction Control > Full
- Automatic Gearbox > Automatic
- Pit Assist > On
- Pit Release Assist > On
- Dynamic Racing Line > Full
- ERS Mode > Automatic
Then to retain these settings for future re-use, within the Save/Load Settings tab highlight an empty save slot and select Save, then enter a save name (eg "Japan Short Boost") when prompted.
Return to the lobby and then toggle over to the Track Select tab. The full race calendar for the 2018 season is selected by default. Select Delete Track repeatedly until only one track selection remains. Then highlight Japan Short from the track list, and then repeatedly select Insert Track Above to replicate the same track into all 25 rounds (the maximum allowed).
Your online championship setup is now primed for maximum efficiency level boosting. You can now invite your boosting buddy via Invite Friends, or wait for a random to join your open lobby if that is your intended approach. Also review the settings on the Assists tab to make sure they are how you want them to be for yourself. Once you have another driver with you in the lobby, select (the newly available) Ready Up to get started. From here, is it just a case of churning through race after race, and setting up a new identical championship as each one is completed. Provided your races are incident-free and you select Ready Up promptly upon returning to the lobby, a full race cycle takes about 3 minutes, perhaps just over, which makes for 19-20 races per hour. Given how short these races are, it will take quite a few of them for each 1% of progress towards the "Bright Spark" trophy, but it will keep ticking over as you go.
After crossing the finish line to end your very first online championship race, you will unlock...
Unlocked by 714 tracked gamers (31% - TT Ratio = 1.80)
By trading wins cooperatively with the other racer(s), you will soon enough have your fourth online win, and at race end of that victory, you will unlock...
Unlocked by 617 tracked gamers (27% - TT Ratio = 1.94)
Within the first hour of this boosting method (assuming you have completed the required ranked online racing already), you should have earned the total 111035 XP required to reach Rank 11, and at race end via which you ranked up, this will unlock...
Unlocked by 723 tracked gamers (31% - TT Ratio = 1.79)
Then within another three hours of boosting from Rank 11, you should have earned the total 398629 XP required to reach Rank 25, and again post-race you will unlock...
Unlocked by 529 tracked gamers (23% - TT Ratio = 2.09)
With everything else now done, if you haven't already unlocked "Bright Spark" trophy, you should be fairly close, in the order of ~90% progress or above. You can race some single races in Grand Prix mode or continue your Career further to complete the remaining progress.
Alternatively, you can idle-boost the remaining progress if you remain in Multiplayer and let the game drive laps for you in Unranked Online Racing. From the main menu select Multiplayer, then select Unranked. The game will search and list for you currently available unranked sessions for you to join. If available, choose a lobby where "Session" is "In Lobby", this will hopefully give you the chance to join the lobby in time for the next race that is about to start. Also check the "Race Distance" setting of the lobby in the detailed information in the lower section of the screen - look for "25%" or "50%" in priority over "5 Laps", as this will mean you can let the game drive for you for a longer period before needing to return to check on progress, but "5 Laps" will suffice if that is the only current option. Highlight your preferred session and then select Join Session.
Having joined a session, either complete or skip any one-shot qualifying, and then when the race begins, move off the starting grid manually and then open the Pause menu. While in the menu, the game will drive the car for you, but the ERS deployment and harvesting will continue as normal, contributing to the remaining trophy progress. If you find a 25% distance race, roughly 2.5% trophy progress should be made over this distance, so just a handful of such races should be enough for what is still required.
Once the required energy has been generated across all your driving in the game, as you finish your current lap you will immediately unlock...
Unlocked by 730 tracked gamers (31% - TT Ratio = 1.78)
After gaining the last trophy you should also unlock
Unlocked by 342 tracked gamers (15% - TT Ratio = 2.61)
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