Need for Speed: Most Wanted's online play is equal parts chaos and confusion, going against the normal regimented competitions and controlled environments found in other racing games. Criterion Games creative director Alex Ward says this design is part of the studio's "philosophy" for online play.
In Most Wanted online, players are called to a meeting area before an event starts, without much warning or information. Unless you've played the particular event before, you have no idea what to do and – as mentioned in Joystiq's review – there's nothing stopping other players from foiling each other before the event starts.
"The philosophy there is that we know people are utter degenerate hooligans online," Ward says – and the actions of these "hooligans," as he calls them, is a "valid" part of the overall online experience.