If one player in an online lobby owns the Booster Course Pass, everyone else is covered
It’s worth stressing again, just in case you missed hearing it, that you don’t strictly need to cough up $25 to play the Booster Course Pass levels in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s online multiplayer. If you’re facing random online players in Worldwide, Regional, or Tournaments and someone’s got the DLC, the just-released Wave 1 levels can show up in the rotation.
Assuming the folks in the lobby vote accordingly, you’re good to go. And this only-one-owner rule also goes for Friends, Wireless Play, and LAN Play if any of those are more your speed. Nintendo confirmed this in the Ver. 2.0.0 patch notes, if you’re curious.
That said, as demonstrated in this wonderfully painful clip from Reddit user IceBre4th, it’s tough to reach a consensus with other Mario Kart-loving strangers. No matter the odds, the course selection RNG is going to do its wacky thing. If you’ve got any superstitions about its sentience or intentions, well, they’re probably true. Ninja Hideaway is a blast!
Hey, maybe someone is just really into Yoshi Circuit. They can’t be swayed.
Or maybe they’ve already had their fill of these (mostly) basic tracks after going all-in.
The Booster Course Pass levels can appear in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s multiplayer rotation as long as “at least one of the players you are matched with online has access to the [DLC],” as Nintendo puts it. Basically, they aren’t splitting us up. That said — and this will likely go for future Booster Course waves as well — the timing isn’t day-and-date.
In the case of the Wave 1 tracks (Toad Circuit, Choco Mountain, Sky Garden, Tokyo Blur, Shroom Ridge, Paris Promenade, Coconut Mall, and Ninja Hideaway), they weren’t available in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s online pool until March 21 — so, a bit after the March 18 launch. If you hopped online on day one and were confused, that’s what happened.
For my part as a silly N64 fan, I have access to the DLC as a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass subscriber, but otherwise, I probably would’ve paid $25 for a standalone Booster Course Pass purchase down the road. I don’t feel like the value is here yet (not that I’d expect it to be so soon out of the gate), but with 48 total Booster courses joining the game, I’m sure it’ll get there. For the time being, mooch away as needed.
Wave 1 courses have shown up more often than not in my sessions, and — so far so good — other players have tended to vote for fresh tracks over old favorites. We’ll see how long that lasts. CJ has a good breakdown of the eight additions and how they stack up.
It’s going to be wild to hop back into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in 2023 and have this huge pool of courses ready to go. I’m curious how the dust will settle, and which tracks will get the most votes in online lobbies. The sheer chaos of online Mario Kart helps keep these levels fresh. Playing against low-level AI is fine, but real human jerks bring out the best in them.