Path of Exile has a game feature where they periodically start up a new league that lasts for 1 or 2 hours. There's a set starting time and you can register in advance but your character can't move until the start time. Then you have until the time limit to earn the most experience possible of all the players competing! There seem to be a wide variety of different options. It can be forced solo or it can allow parties. Most seem to be hardcore. Some take place on an endless map instead of the normal story mode. There's a 'cutthroat' variant where you can invade the games of other players and kill them for big experience!
I logged in today to try out a different character and got a message popping up indicating that there was going to be one of these races starting in half an hour. I figured I'd give it a shot! What's the worst that could happen? It was a 2 hour solo hardcore game. (Hardcore is a little different here than in Diablo... Dying in hardcore removes you from the hardcore league but it lets the character and their gear exist in the standard league.) I'd made it to level 8 with a duelist but figured it would probably be wiser to start a witch since I've played that a little more and know the sphere grid around that starting point better.
I ended up living about an hour and a half or so before dying to a boss. I'd built my character around frost nova for faster killing of monsters which seemed like a good idea but it left me without much of a chance against a boss that could freeze me. I really don't know what I should have done to deal with her. Level more? Actually look for defensive stats on gear? Maybe I was supposed to just go toe to toe with her and hope I had enough healing potion charges? I think I was on the final boss of Act I, and I think there were already people in Act III when I made it that far, so clearly I was way behind the people who have played the game a bunch. It didn't help that I got disconnected by desync errors three times and was forced to walk the same stretch of land four times before I finally found the next waypoint!
I ended up at level 15 and finished in 445th place. 1st place made it to level 33. 4112 characters gained some experience over the course of the race so I did end up beating an awful lot of people. I had fun and can see trying to do a bunch of these... I can imagine trying to optimize out the sphere grid and the right materia to use...
I love the idea of an experience race. This is exactly the sort of thing I wanted to exist in Cookie Clicker to see who had built the better spreadsheet. A game enforced race from scratch!
At 3pm on Sunday there's a 1 hour hardcore turbo party race starting up. I don't know how many people are allowed to be in a party in this game, or if a race requires you to have a full party, but I plan on trying to be awake and online to give it a try. Turbo apparently means the monsters move and attack 60% faster so it could be really insane! Give me a shout here or in game or something if you want to join the party and we'll see how it works!