Daily Archives: November 24, 2021

Forza Horizon 5 with Friends

As I mentioned in my first post about Forza Horizon 5, my talking about it go Potshot interested enough to take the plunge for a dollar as well and, after having faced the same issues I did trying to go from Microsoft Store to actually playing the game, we found ourselves both in the game and decided to try to play together.  Again, it was something we had managed in Need For Speed: World back in the day, how hard could it be?

Forza Horizon 5

How hard indeed.

I was already vaguely aware that there was a grouping mechanism in the game that allowed you to create a “convoy” with friends (or strangers I guess) in order to drive/race together.  So once we were chatting on Discord we started exploring the UI to see if we could create a convoy.

In digging through FH5 we found a screen that would let us invite a seemingly random list of people to a convoy or see nearby convoys, but there didn’t seem to be a way to search and find a specific player to convoy with.

It seemed like proximity might help the situation, so we picked a spot on the map and both drove there hoping to see each other and group up that way.  I had seen options pop up when close to other players in the game and had even had some rando invite me to a convoy at one point, so off we went to meet up, choosing one of Horizon event points to meet up.

However, when we both had announced our arrival we couldn’t see one another.  I don’t know much about FH5 really, having purchased it on a whim, but I know it is a shared world AND that it sold something like ten million copies in its first week, so I was not entirely surprised that we were not just parked next to each other.  I barely seem more than a few people on the road generally, so the partitions between parallel worlds seem numerous.

There didn’t seem to be a way to make friends, invite, or otherwise see each other on demand from within the game, so it was time to go to Google.

Google said that for those of use using the XBox Game Pass PC version of the game needed to be friends in the XBox app, which meant finding each other there.  It was time to press the Windows key once more and fumble about.

Somehow we managed to get on each others list in the XBox Social window.  But getting into a convoy was another matter.  Back in the FH5 UI we were still lost as how to invite each other.  It might be possible, but we haven’t figured it out yet.  But you can also invite people to play from the XBox Social window.

We had greater success there, though even that took a few tries.  You have to invite in the social window, the other person gets a pop up in the game, but you have to open up the social window to accept it.  Honestly, I am not sure I could replicate the process as we were just poking buttons by that point.

Eventually though he managed to invite me to a convoy and I managed to hit the right buttons to accept and we were together.

In a convoy at last, a GMC Jimmy and a Pontiac GTO

His handle in FH5 was potshot3285 because apparently when 10 million people buy your game it feels the need to append a four digit number to the end of your default XBox handle just to keep track of you.

Unless, of course, your XBox handle already has a four digit number appended to it.  Mine is wilhelm2451 by default, also my Twitter and blog email address ID, so the game felt it could leave me be without appending any additional digits… though you can see in the background of the screen shot above somebody with the name YourMAD5244614, so maybe it isn’t limited to just four digits.

Also, as an aside, I pointed out to Potshot that way back in the Need for Speed: World days he also opted for the ’64 Pontiac GTO.  I even have some screen shots of that here on the blog.

The Xmas GTO

Anyway, we were now grouped up, time to figure out something to do.

FH5 has the same problem that vehicle based games seem to… and I include EVE Online in this category… in that there is a very impersonal feeling that comes from just being in cars or spaceships or whatever, as opposed to having a human avatar.  Also, just driving around it is easy to get separated or lost.

So, in search of some focus, we decided to run some races.  Potshot looked at the map while I swapped into a car more akin to what he was driving.

Waiting for him to find something on the map

Races are all over, but you have to drive to them and the convoy system doesn’t seem to have a way to pin a route or destination for everyone, so after some time going back and forth over things that were on his map but not my map, we picked the closest thing to hand and ran that.

Races went… well, as expected for the two of us the way we play.  We did co-op, which meant only one of us had to win, which still ended up being a tall order.  We mostly alternated holding down 12th place.

In a convoy only the convoy leader can start the race and if the convoy leader chooses an event that is part of the festival story line, you may not get credit for running it if it isn’t already on your list.  We did a run through one of the Aztec sites… you cannot actually four wheel over (most of) those pyramids, but you can have drag races and do donuts to your heart’s content in Teotihuacan… that Potshot had on his event unlock list and you basically get another identical car to run the event, but I didn’t get credit.

Not that it was a big deal, just an advisory.  And when I ran the event later on my own, at least I knew what I was supposed to do, having run it before.

Also, whenever we ran a race or an event Potshot got an echo on voice comms.  We were using Discord to talk, but it seemed like when you go into a race or event as a group, the game opens up a voice channel as well, and one of the channels was slightly behind the other, causing the sense of an echo.  Of course, there wasn’t anything I could see on the screen that indicated that voice was live, but since we already had voice live I suppose it doesn’t matter.

And then, of course, one of us got disconnected from the game and we managed to disband the convoy and had to go through the “did you push the button? I don’t see anything?  push it again?” routine to get back together.  But we got there.

So we accomplished our goals.  We managed to get on our respective friends lists and we were able to play together.

But the game wasn’t done with this.  Once you have somebody on your friends list, the game immediately starts comparing the two of you.  Every time I notch up one of the things they track, like signs crashed through or roads discovered, I get my total then a comparison with Potshot’s progress.

How many roads must a man drive down…

I assume if you have more than one friend it compares you with the friend you’re ranked closest to.  But with just Posthot on my list, it is always him.

And the game also takes names from your friends list when you go on to race solo later on.  So now whenever I run a race on my own there is Potshot’s name on one of the cars.

Faux Potshot ahead of me

The game does seem to like to put him in some odd cars though.  For a stretch he was always in a Mazda MX-5 which, while a fine car in its league, seemed to get matched up against me in a 90s Nissan GT-R.  Even in that screen shot he is in a Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R which, while not a bad car, used to be referred to as the starship back in the day for its sci-fi look.

Anyway, op success.  We managed to drive together.