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A Comprehensive Beginner's B-Spec Guide
For many, B-spec has been source for a lot of frustration. Drivers with powerful cars losing to Mini Coopers, others who seem to just refuse to pass the car in front of them, all of them braking randomly for no reason, and so on. So, I write this in hopes that this will clear up some confusion. I am not making this an FAQ, because I have not maxed out my level on B-spec, or gotten gold in every event (though I'm working on it, even as I write this), as well as having some minor unconfirmed information as well. All of the information I am posting I have tested on many, many races, and I hope that the you will benefit from reading this, as I have from using these general . Without further extension of the wall of text, let's begin.
Let me begin my guide by stating, all of the following is for people who want to enjoy B-spec, and experience some challenge in it, without it being too horribly boring. I quite enjoyed it, and (for the most part) used somewhat equal power cars to win my races. If you plan on using super powerful cars to simply set the controller down and wait for 15 minutes to win a race, you will probably not get much out of this, and I ask that you please, please, do not post dumb remarks about using powerful cars. Also, this is a beginner's guide. The pit system is odd, and (to me) seems kinda broken, so I'm not going to include advice for late late game.
Please do not post until I am finished
Choosing your driver
When you first start, choosing your driver can be very confusing, as (regrettably) you are given little information from the game what any of the bars you're staring at mean. Braking, Cornering, and Accuracy are quite obvious, these are your driver's general ability. Strength and Mental Strength can be a bit confusing at first. During races, your Strength will deplete constantly as the race, depleting much more quickly as your driver races more aggressively (for example, passing other cars.) Mental Strength will not deplete until your driver has been racing for quite some time, often around 15 minutes, sometimes less. Experience is, of course, how experienced your driver is. Now for the really important one, the Personality gauge. As you'll see, the Personality gauge is a gradient between blue and red, with a dot in the middle, and an arrow positioned somewhere randomly on it. The arrow indicates your driver's "comfort zone," if you will. Cool drivers tend to be much better at getting low lap times and tend to have higher stamina than Hot drivers; However, the cost of this is a much lower ability to pass other drivers, and these drivers can become very frustrated, causing lots of very drastic mistakes easily, such as braking early, over accelerating, and even crashing. Hot drivers, on the other hand, will quickly jump into first place (most of the time), but once there, may become lazy, generally driving slowly. These drivers tend to be worse at getting good lap times, but much better at passing other drivers. As with any gradient bar with an arrow on it, as it moves further one way or the other, you get more or less of the respective skills. After creating your driver, you will see a "Speed" status as well, this indicates your driver's ability to get low lap times. You will also see an arrow in a green box, pointing to the right. Consider this to be your driver's general mood, which greatly affects their overall ability. When it is green, and pointing sideways, it means the driver is in the middle ground (drivers start here). Sometimes, it will turn orange, and point slightly down, or turn blue, and point slightly up. When it is orange, the driver's general ability is much lower than normal, and (when possible) it is best to use another driver. When it is blue, the driver's abilities are greater than normal, this is the time to stick them in the harder races.
So, you know what they do now, what does all of this mean? Well, let's say you want a racer who is going to pass people quickly, gaining first place and putting a bit of distance on your competition. For this, you'll want high braking/cornering/accuracy, and a hot tempered driver. With these pluses, you'll get a lower amount of stamina, your Strength and Mental Strength will drop. Let's say you want a driver who, once ahead of everyone, will put a huge amount of distance on your opponents, with little to no interaction from you, and race for a long period of time. For this, focus on a high accuracy and high stamina abilities, with a very cool personality. With this, your driver will not have much ability in passing your opponents, but you may be able to simply set your controller down and wait once they are in front. Consider what all of the statuses do, and derive what you want from those.
For beginners, I recommend choosing a driver with slightly higher overall abilities, with a temperament in the middle. They will have low stamina, but the early races are rather short, and even in the longer races these drivers can carry you far, but during very long races you may find them making mistakes as their Strength and Mental Strength deplete.
Your drivers in action
When you begin a race for the first few times, it will give you a few tips on what everything means; However, I will try to explain it in a bit more detail. The cooler side of the bar is when your driver is more calm, while the hotter side of the bar is more tense. If a driver is more towards the calm side, they will generally not put a lot of effort into passing the cars in front of them, only doing so when the driver in front of them wrecks, or if their car is much more powerful (and the road is wide. If the road is narrow, they may not pass). On the calmer side of the bar, they will consume Strength and Mental Strength more slowly. If you allow them to get too calm, they will begin to drive more slowly in general, ending up with lower lap times, and allowing the cars behind him/her to catch up. If a driver is more tense, they will behave very aggressively, attempting to force their way around the drivers in front of them or looking for openings to pass. On the flip side, they will consume Strength and Endurance more quickly, and they can even end up braking early (or randomly), smash into other cars or walls (a level 0 hothead wrecked my favorite car, which cost me $57,000 to fix, leading to his immediate firing), and over-accelerating out of corners, causing them to spin out, cause wrecks, or end up off the road.
So, where does your driver's cool/hot bar come into play? Cool-headed drivers will make less drastic mistakes when fully on the cool side of the bar, when compared to middle or hot drivers, they may still slow down a bit, but will have overall higher lap times than the other two. Hot-headed drivers will, once again, make less drastic mistakes when fully on the hot side of the bar, keeping better control of their cars when driving too aggressively, often regaining control when beginning to spin out, or avoiding collisions more easily. Remember that the calmer the driver is during a race, the less likely they are to pass without completely obvious openings, while the more tense a driver is, the more likely they are to try to find or force an opening. Also keep in mind that the more tense a driver is, the more quickly their strength will deplete, which is why choosing the right driver for the job is critical. You don't want to pass a huge amount of cars in a short period of time with a cool-headed driver, as they will run out of strength very quickly, and begin to make a lot of mistakes. At the same time, you don't want a hot-headed driver to be out on the track in front of everyone for a long time, as they will run out of stamina quickly, and you can use a cool-headed driver and keep them calm once ahead of the pack to conserve stamina, and keep them getting low lap times.
As your driver levels up, they will make less and less mistakes. Remember when you start that your driver is very new, and he will often brake early, miss apexes, wreck, and miss opportunities to pass often. If you are using equal power cars, you may not win many races early on, but remember that just finishing them will get your driver experience to do better the next time he races. Patience is key, if you go with equal power cars. But....nothing's stopping you from going with an extra 20-40 horsepower, or 30-40 less kilos except money, so go for it. I stayed relatively close to my competition, except in a few more annoying races, and it kept it from being too boring until my drivers got to a high enough level to not need much direction from me.
Directing your drivers
As your driver nears other cars, he will naturally become more tense, and may even ignore some of your commands if you let him get too tense. As your driver pulls away from the other cars, they naturally become more calm, but if they become too calm, they'll drive slow, leading to the opponents catching up, so take care to keep them either in the middle, or around their preference. Telling your driver to pace down will calm them down a little, while pace up will make them more tense. Keeping pace will, of course, keep your driver around his current attitude, however this is affected by what is happening around him, and is best used for keeping your driver from getting too calm once you are in the lead until the later races, when you have had some practice managing them. Overtake will, obviously, cause your driver to attempt to overtake the car in front of them. When unsuccessful, or when they experience difficulty doing so, they will become more tense, so be careful. At the beginning of the race, drivers almost always begin to get very tense, and depending on their car, and their preference, it may be wise to tell them to pace down at the beginning. Pace down at the beginning of a race keeps them calm, and ready to pass their opponents as soon as they are able, instead of getting super tense trying to pass them all at once. A good thing to keep in mind as well, is that hot-headed drivers will become tense with less provocation, getting tense as a car creeps up behind them and such, while cool-headed drivers tend to remain calm even when they need to be a little more aggressive. Keep these in mind while giving orders.
When you first start, you may think it's a good idea to just spam overtake, and pace up, but there's a few things to consider... When you tell your drivers to pace up, they will become more tense. When they are close to other cars (be it trying to pass a car, or a car trying to pass them), this will often end up making them skyrocket into the tense side of the bar, causing them to make mistakes, and lose their chance to pass, or allowing the competition to pass them. Spamming overtake isn't always the best thing to do either, as when you tell a driver to overtake, they will begin to drive much more aggressively, attempting to quickly pass the driver ahead of them, and becoming much more tense. Telling them to overtake at the wrong time can send them all the way into the tense side, ruining your chances of passing the other car. As mentioned previously, a tense driver is also likely to ignore your commands, so unless your driver is a high-level hothead, be careful about getting them too stressed out.
Once you're in the lead, and you've put some distance on your opponent, you may think it's time to kick back and do nothing for a while, but as mentioned above, overly calm drivers become lazy, and slow, loafing around the track as overleveled pokemon like to do. Give them an occasional prod (pace up) to prevent this, or spam the keep pace command to ensure they don't end up having the car behind them pass.
When you have multiple drivers, take advantage of their "mood arrows" (or whatever you want to call them), and use the drivers that are blue, as they will preform much, much better than drivers that are a lower arrow. Sort of a short tip, but a good one to keep in mind when selecting a driver for a race.
The biggest things to remember, are to be patient with your drivers in the beginning, and get a good feel for just what they can handle, while watching what is going on in the race to determine what the best course of action is for a particular situation. Watch for openings to pass, or for your opponents to make mistakes. Be very patient and don't force your drivers to rush ahead, and remember that your drivers are going to attempt to not slam into other cars as best they can (unless they're waaaaaaay tense), and if you push them too hard and they end up off the track, they may wait for everyone to pass before they get back on to avoid a pileup.
I hope this helps some of you having difficulties, and I am sorry for the length. B-Spec is more complex than people give it credit for. Also, I am sorry for the lack of indents on my paragraphs, Gamefaqs seems to not like them.
Make a game guide, least people will not lose this as a referace ;)
I tried making a guide but I never knew a hot or cold driver meant so much...I thought it meant how long before they boil XD
I would, but I don't want one that is incomplete. This way, people can add to it until someone who has completed all of B-spec, and/or has more information on the pit system can either make one, or contribute to one. Most likely that won't happen, and there will be a lot of posts arguing about things, but eh, one can hope.
Learned a couple things. I thought that having a driver that is cool headed actually makes him slower and less likely to make mistakes, because that is how it is in the race. Alas it is different.
But paragraphs are your friend, and us bold or italics for titles. Just for future reference.
Does "most people" include anyone other than you, yourself and Bob?
Whine less about trophies/achievements and work more for them. Thank you
I had paragraphs, but since I didn't double space them, Gamefaqs killed my indentations and made it eye-stabbingly painful :X Once again, I apologize
The blue/green/orange arrow thing is a little odd sometimes, sometimes it will randomly change, and sometimes it seems to drop if you aren't using a racer and go up if you are....it may just be random, but I'm unsure :X Also, kind of a neat thing, you can use a keyboard to play B-Spec if you so choose. Not really important, but nifty if you're talking in chat