We’re Ready for ‘Always Online’ — SimCity Wasn’t

I can't help but feel bad for EA Maxis. This is SimCity we're talking about, one of EA's flagship properties. Let it be an object lesson to others: You can't do this stuff half-baked.

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Electronic Arts

Back in 2004, a little company called Blizzard released a game — maybe you’ve heard of it. For nearly a decade, that game has run almost without fail, and the only way to play it has been with a persistent Internet connection. The dictate “always online” is part and parcel of the World of Warcraft package. Double-click the game’s Battle.net-based launch icon without an Internet connection and you’ll get nowhere. If you’re in a rare no-Wi-Fi coffee shop or on a flight without wireless Internet service, you can’t play. That’s simply how WoW rolls. If you find it confounding, well, you might as well expect your computer to run without electricity.

Ergo SimCity: There’s been some hand-wringing in the press about SimCity being an “always online” game, as if EA Maxis had been obligated to make some different game entirely. As a guy who prefers offline games, I sympathize with those of you mourning SimCity‘s metamorphosis from a game that’s playable anywhere to one that mandates an Internet connection. It is what it is. EA pulled no bait and switch here. Love it or leave it — and you can always leave it — SimCity was designed from the ground up as an online game. You don’t have to be WoW to justify doing this: We live in 2013, not 1993.

What isn’t justifiable is the way SimCity met its doting public last Tuesday, March 5. You’ve probably seen the news about the Hindenberg of a game launch, and if you’ve been trying to play the game, you are the news, intermittently dropped or unable to play at all. That, according to EA, is because the game launched with too few servers, or as EA Maxis honcho Lucy Bradshaw put it in the first of several official mea culpa blog posts, “a lot more people logged on than we expected … [more] people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta.”

How EA screwed this up is anyone’s guess. How a corporate entity as massive as EA, with over 9,000 employees and operating revenue of over $4 billion annually, didn’t have all of its bases covered and safety nets deployed — not to mention redundant safety nets and extra bases and frankly entire batteries of failsafes — for the latest game in a series as patently popular as SimCity is astonishing. By contrast, when ArenaNet launched Guild Wars 2 last year, company president and co-founder Mike O’Brien was so adamant about maintaining a healthy player-to-server ratio that he told me he’d temporarily “turn off sales” if that’s what it took to keep the experience grooving (fortunately, despite Guild Wars 2‘s instantaneous popularity, this wasn’t necessary, and the game’s gone on to sell over three million copies to date).

Tom Chick perfectly captured SimCity‘s launch fiasco as only Tom Chick could in his one-star Quarter to Three review, noting:

The problem with SimCity isn’t just the launch issues, which are bad not just for locking people out of the game they’ve bought and implementing one of the worst server queues I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen so many of them). The mismanaged launch also impacts the people actually able to play SimCity. Electronic Arts has addressed the server load by literally slowing the game down for everyone and disabling significant social features that are supposedly a selling point.

To be fair, EA Maxis’ Bradshaw claimed on Sunday that “the core problem … is almost behind us” and that “players have been able to connect to their cities in the game for nearly 8 million hours of gameplay time and we’ve reduced game crashes by 92% from day one.” Though to be doubly fair, TIME Tech editor (and SimCity series sage) Doug Aamoth, who’s been trying to play the game since last week, confirmed to me this morning that throughout the day yesterday (Monday) he still couldn’t connect to the server in North America where he’d been working on several cities, and eventually had to resort to a server designated “Antarctica” (wherever that actually is…who knows) to start a new city.

I’m not convinced, as some seem to be, that we’re not ready for “always online” games. It’s not a question of can or can’t — we’ve been doing “always online” for over a decade — but of will or won’t, as in “Will game companies spend the time and money building out infrastructures capable of supporting players from the get-go?” While it’s annoying, we’re accustomed to spotty connectivity during an “always online” game’s preliminaries. But by the second or third day? Through the first week? Longer still? First impressions matter. All those one-star Amazon reviews — 1,667 out of 1,902 so far — are never, ever going away.

I can’t help but feel bad for EA Maxis. This is SimCity we’re talking about, one of EA’s flagship properties. I’ve interviewed Lucy Bradshaw about other EA games like Spore. I’ve spoken with few designers more enthusiastic about what they get to do for a living. I’m sure no one at EA Maxis planned to screw up the launch…and yet they did, badly. Let it be an object lesson: You can’t do “always online” half-baked (and if SimCity‘s launch is your definition of fully-baked, it’s time to reevaluate your criteria). If you’re trying to hedge server and support staff costs against the inevitable concurrent player drop-off that typically follows these launches, then for goodness sake rent what you expect to be redundant six months to a year down the line. Overcompensation should be the watchword here, not “good enough.” There’s simply too much at stake.

64 comments
anthony12345
anthony12345

hi can i run simcity on a hp pavillion i3


adaptivesalvations
adaptivesalvations

I lost interest in gaming since the end of 2012 . DRM EA Ubisoft and developers killed it for me . Games with no innovation filled with bugs and on top of all that DRM waiting to spit in your face . Now I rock climb and paintball -- best spent DRM free investment ever ! .


MichaelMelway
MichaelMelway

Like it or not, online games are the way of the future.

BJWyler
BJWyler

As many others mentioned - missing the point here (as was Frank G. from EA). SimCity are two different games in two different genres. Always On-line should never be the norm because in the end, Electricity goes out. The Internet goes out - sometimes for days or weeks at a time (remember that little storm the East Coast had back in October?). It is at those times, in between the work and stress that it is still a relief that we can pop in a disc and relax to a good single-player game.

AlwaysOnlineBad
AlwaysOnlineBad

Matt, I believe you are missing the point entirely.  MMO's and always online...well of course we are ready for that!

"Always-online" single player games (Diablo 3 is another example) plagued by lag, server crashes, etc, is the problem.  That can all be completely avoided with an Offline game.  Single player games should have the OPTION for multi-player/online play yes, but the base game itself should not be.  Also, to spin it for any reason, (like "this wasn't our Vision") is just silly.  Just be honest and say "we are doing this to prevent hacking, so take it or leave it."  All Single player games can be delivered digitally and not have to be "Online" to play them.  Working with other players for economical reasons in SimCity is great and can be accomplished as an OPTION, rather than mandatory and always online.  There really is no excuse for it.

Cybertronic
Cybertronic

Matt Peckham is comparing apples and oranges and clearly did not do his research. WOW is an online only game because it is a Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game as in all the main characters are real players and is not a game that could be played offline, It if it were possible to launch the game offline, the world would be very empty and dull. If WoW was designed as an offline game, it would probably resemble The Elder Scrolls series and all the other players would be NPCs with severely limited interaction abilities. That makes that game successful is the community aspect, much like the same reason Facebook is popular. Sim City 2013 on the other hand, runs its City simulations just fine without an internet connection or help from the server.  The only thing the server does is (sometimes when it feels like it) store the save file of the city and check to see if the game has a valid license. The interactions with other cities are extremely restrictive and feels much like you are playing one of the older offline singleplayer predecessors of Sim City 2013. You can even turn off regions and have your city completely isolated from neighboring cities. There is barely any sense of a player community while playing the game and feels just like single player. Normally online gameplay is used to provide challenges that AI could not. This this game does not do that.

kreaturen
kreaturen

If they had made the cities in the region border each other like they in SC4, it wouldn't matter that they are small. The new SC region looks really ugly with those tiny city sqares spaciously distributed in middle of an otherwise empty region. The cities should have had random shapes too. Shapes that fit the topography of the maps.  

starivapollo
starivapollo

u sounds stupid, ur compairing two entirely different games. maybe u should look up what a genre is. and the whole piracy reason is complete bull shit. fact, there is not an ocean of hackers out there with the know how to hack into games and copy a game. so let keep that in mind and do some number, 1 in 100 gamers that play bootlegged games or the 20 out of 100 gamers who pay for their games with hard earned money? they know this, piracy sucks and honestly i wouldnt buy a bootleg game anyways, but its not killing them like they say it is. this is abut having control over the gamin community. make something too good and people will just keep playing, so how do you get them to move on to your next product? easy, make a kill-switch for the ability to MAKE them move on. its a shame, i was really looking forward to this one, but even if everyone else complaining now goes and buys it once the "server problem"(lol) is fixed i will not be giving EA money for anything that they apply this to.


And if they do this to the next Mass Effect or Dragon Age.... i dont even wanna think about it. 

NathanBollman
NathanBollman

Matt Peckham, lay off the video game articles, you suck at them.

NathanBollman
NathanBollman

World of Warcraft is an online game, because that is what it is, massive multi-player online game... This is a single player game with extreme DRM and Anti-Piracy policies, which I understand because of rampant online piracy.  THIS IS NOT because Maxis wanted to create this awesome multiplier experience.  And when you play the game, you feel it, set non-editable regions and extremely limited game play area, limited server AI issues and full of latency glitches... This is not a game developers would make for themselves to play, this is a game that forces you to go out and pay for it, to play it, and unfortunately it kills the gaming experience that this COULD have been.  I hope the source gets leaked and we can play this game as  it should have been, someday. :(  I have to agree with AnnahMariaHinman below, some authors are spitting out crap on paper without even doing their research, this author is retarded.

AnnahMariaHinman
AnnahMariaHinman

The author of this article is very misinformed. 

The anger comes from the DRM policies that EA had enacted. It is very anti consumer.

Also, World of Warcraft is a MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role playing game). It was designed where you consistently interact with other players. Simcity you do not consistently interact with other player...you're only mostly so that the servers can validate you as a legit player.

Also, an MMORPG lets you play the game on any computer in the world as long as you know  your own password and username. DRM limits you to no more than 5 computer installations.

Matt Peckham, get your facts straight before posting another article.

nsr019
nsr019

I haven't been following the development of the new SimCity, as I haven't had much time for video games in years, but I've known for a while that it was going to be online-only. This wasn't some big secret that EA was hiding. The problem is that EA utterly failed to deliver what it said it would. 

Conceptually, I would have loved to pit my best SimCity 2000 and 3000 cities against those of other  people. A franchise has to take risks to stay relevant, and to me an online component seemed like a logical track. I would have zero interest in buying a new SimCity game that was just a shinier version of the old ones, with new buildings and curved roads and more realistic traffic and whatever.

Of course, there are many financial reasons to go online-only as well (anti-pirating, etc.). 

I am not apologizing for EA, as this was a total disaster and they deserve a lot of lost business for it. They've seriously damaged one of their greatest franchises. But I think it's disingenuous for fans to throw up their arms and act shocked (shocked!) that they can't play the game offline, as if this were a feature that came out of nowhere at the last second.

CGLnyc
CGLnyc

This is one of the most uninformed, superficial articles I've read on the topic, and it completely neglects the anti-consumerism of unnecessary online-only (DRM) and the ever-expanding amount of rights we lose with every release like this. The fact is that the game was built around DLC content and DRM. And let's not forget that you are totally letting EA off the hook for their outright lie that the game can't be played offline without serious work by the developers.

There is no integrity in this design. They made the game around DRM and DLC, knowing that there'd be a shelf life until the next iteration. It's horrendous.

seraphimblade
seraphimblade

There's a tremendous difference between SimCity and WoW, and the article's equating of the two does a disservice to both. (And I don't even like WoW).

WoW was always meant to be multiplayer-only. From its inception, it was intended and promoted as an MMORPG. Being online is necessary for an integral part of the game's functionality--interaction with the game world and the other players. Expecting to access WoW while offline would be like expecting to access an Internet chat offline. Even if you could, you'd be talking to yourself in something inherently intended to be interactive. What would be the point? So of course WoW requires an Internet connection, and no one expects otherwise.

On the other hand, the SimCity franchise has been around for many, many years. It is at its core a single-player game. It always has been. Even an optional multiplayer mode would've been a significant change to what a player of SimCity expects, but hey, if you don't like it, ignore it and play single-player. If you're somewhere you have unreliable or no connection, play single-player. But that option isn't even there.

A mandatory multiplayer mode, and no single-player at all, makes the game, well, not SimCity at all, but some cartoonish, Facebook-game style poor imitation of it. That's the core of the problem. The lack of adequate server capacity just adds insult to the injury that, once again, EA has wrecked a formerly great series. Part of the fun of playing SimCity was always that you could use the unlimited-terraforming "god mode" to make yourself an insane map to try to build a city around, or flatten the whole thing out and focus exclusively on city without worrying about terrain. In single-player, that's stretching your creativity and tailoring the game to how you like it. In multiplayer, that would be "cheating".

So no, we're not ready for "always online". For games with a large, interactive, central world, that's obviously a requirement. For single-player games, or games that should be single-player, it's an unnecessary hoop to jump through. Not every game is meant for multiplayer, nor should they be.

DavidMarbaus
DavidMarbaus

 The issue is that the game should not be designed as an 'always online' game. It is fun without it. As well as any one SimCity player from the past knows, saving and reloading a game is well needed. Also, sometimes you just want to 'city build' using cheats to 'see what happens' for the FUN of it, not some MMO competition. 


It deforms the original SimCity concept, abilities and overall fun. I have been playing it for a while and I can say from experience... I am already getting bored... This is after the first week. There are only a few more features, worth the 'working space' I'm allowed to explore here. 

Though we are 'able' to have always online some games just are not preferred in such a way. In fact, Sim City is one of those games that people to don't like MMO, or 'always online' games are drawn to. 

someone should have done some research before managing this project. An option for online play for a game like this would have been just as interesting and less of an issue overall. Besides someone will make an offline version of it. It is just whether it will be EA or not. At this point they have no choice but to create it themselves to maintain control and loyalty.

ebdanger
ebdanger

But...They DID pull a bait and switch. It wasn't advertised at all as being an online game, just that it had an element ("Look! Your friends can help you!") of being online. And as it's always been a stand-alone game? Of course we're angry that we bought it and then realized that we paid for a city-version of WoW. There's a reason I don't play most online games--I don't want to.

MartinGarcia
MartinGarcia

I bet they made the starting plot sizes small so you are forced to buy a "Land Expansion DLC" for a "more diverse" experience or something like that. Sad thing is, people will buy it and feed the trolling gaming industries. I could imagine them like 3 years later they come out with a "Offline DLC" and saying stuff like, "due to immense popularity, you can bring the SimCity experience right at home on your PC....without an internet connection! For a low price of $39.99!".

chipochipo
chipochipo

It's not that I'm not "ready" to bend over for my corporate feurer; it's that I refuse to. I refuse to be forced to socialize in a completely impersonal way online -- I have real live for deep personal friendships, and forced interaction with faceless strangers has zero appeal to me. Playing games is by my choice a private hobby, like reading a book. Is there something wrong with wanting to read a book alone? No. Neither is there anything wrong with wanting to tinker with a little simulated city alone. So I will not accept a forced -- and grossly impersonal -- cloud society.

TheNMP
TheNMP

I've been following the coverage of the SimCity debacle since it started, and it seems the most frequent excuse offered in apologetics such as this one is the classic "World of Warcraft is always online, so why shouldn't SimCity be?" This argument is so unbelievably facile that it is genuinely depressing how often I have seen it used. The only upshot is that the writer trots it out in the first couple of paragraphs, meaning I could happily skip the rest of the article.

"SimCity was designed from the ground up as an online game" - if anything has become clear since the launch, it is this. But what anybody even vaguely familiar with the mechanics of the game knows that at the very least it should have the option of an offline mode. It's unfortunate to have to spell it out, but unlike WoW, the essence of Sim City is that it does not require you to interact with other gamers (quite the opposite, if anything), so to actually mandate it under the guise of some half-baked gameplay "features" is just a kick in the teeth to everyone who has ever enjoyed any of its previous iterations.

For me, the most depressing part of this is not the inevitable deluge of microtransactions that EA have lined up, nor the oppressive and invasive DRM; lets even assume that we can live with the basic concept of "always online" and all the restrictions and unwanted software downloads that it entails. What really kills me is the fact that EA can't even be honest and say "you can't be trusted, so play your single player game where we can see you". No, instead they dress it up in meaningless buzzwords like "connectivity" and "community", pretend you need the power of their servers to run it, shoehorn in some useless cloud-based gameplay elements, and boom, you have a mandatory multiplayer in which you're forced to deal with your neighbours' crappy cities, just one of the many restrictions on your game experience.


Articles like this which do nothing but parrot the corporate line blaming all the problems on "coping with demand" do the industry no favours, especially at a time when consumers are increasingly marginalised by unscrupulous corporations such as the widely-loathed EA. As much as I hate to say it, this game deserves to die, and I hope it does. Who knows, in a year or two EA may decide that they need to clear some space on their servers for Sim City 6. Then it will die, like it or not.

Times23
Times23

I think one of the most interesting things is that on the Maxis website the lead designer talks about the three types of people that like to play Simcity, 1 - People that build to make the most money and biggest population, 2 - people that build for asthetic reasons (to make pretty cities), and 3 people that play for both reasons. It seems an odd choice then that they chose to not have a save function for that 33% that want to try and build beautiful cities. I don't know how many times I have saved and reloaded a city because I didn't like a small change I made and wanted to switch back. Or what about those moments when you actually deleted something by mistake? Hope it wasn't pricey because you can't reload. Not to mention how another 33% like a little bit of both. Great move EA/Maxis! I won't be buying a game I was looking forward to.

jcondor
jcondor

We're ready for Always online?

No we're not. Maybe if you have a cush job in a good privileged area (i.e. the writer). There are still people with shoddy connections in the US and the internet infrastructure isn't as top notch as the other developed countries. Not to mention the moment your connection/their-server goes down, so does these always-online-drm games (cough Diablo3, Simcity, cough cough). Throw that in with the ever increasing pressure from the ISP giants that really do not want to pay more for the ever growing amount of data being sent around by throwing caps on all their customers. Why do some people keep thinking it is ok for game companies to now sell "a license to play but not own" on a product that has never been for so long? Do people LIKE to not be able to play a product they BOUGHT when the company decides their servers need to be closed? No, I think a lot of these people just don't care, or have not come across some of these pitfalls themselves. Just like how people in the real world don't care about something until it happens to them personally.

CameronChingChongRogers
CameronChingChongRogers

Whoever wrote this article is a moron. Always online DRM *WILL* be the death of gaming.

Read the petition to remove the DRM and ban that form of DRM. Its at almost 70000 signatures. 

Benny_Vito
Benny_Vito

I have plaed SimCity ever since Nintindo donut city days.  I played every version and even bought SimCity 4 at least 3 times whenever I got a new computer. 

I was very disappointed with SimCity Societies, and so I patiently waited for the next SimCity.  After finding out it is an always online game, I have decided I will not be purchasing it.  I mostly play games when I'm working offshore and I have no internet connection.

sleeplessinva
sleeplessinva

The question everyone who bought the game should ask is "How long is EA going to keep the servers running?"  They could easily stop running the servers next year and take your money and run.  I don't think the game came with a "lifetime warranty" let alone a 1 year playability guarantee.

In a way, Simcity 5 is like a Facebook game.  The only difference is, you didn't pay Facebook $60.

sleeplessinva
sleeplessinva

The original concept of always-on internet as a form of DRM is suppose to thwart the pirates and increase revenue.  You have to wonder if EA's crippled launch and design decision did more harm than what the pirates would have done through piracy.

ChrisHempel
ChrisHempel

WoW is a game that cannot be played offline.  It's an MMO, and every MMO requires an internet connection.  SimCity can, in fact, be played when Maxis's servers are down.  It can be played alone, populating your own region yourself.  And it comes from a tradition that is not, like MMO's, always online.  SimCity was designed from the ground up with DRM in mind, not players.

PetroniusLaLuna
PetroniusLaLuna

I'm getting tired of every single journalist and blogger misquoting the statistics on Amazon. It's over 4500 one star reviews. There are 2 SimCity products available on that page and you're only counting the download version.

badpuppy3
badpuppy3

I'm an avid SimCity fan, and I've been dreaming about the next SimCity since Maxis seemed to abandon us almost 10 years ago. I would routinely check for the latest gossip and rumors about the game and read up on SimCity fan sites and forums about what fans wanted almost every month for the past 10 years. NOWHERE, NEVER did anyone ask for an online only multiplayer MMO-style SimCity game. Not once, did anyone ask for terraforming and the ability to save games be removed. Never did anyone ever complain that cities were too large, and we needed smaller boring square-shaped cities. Never once did anyone suggest the game would be better without expressways, subways, museums, zoos, and the myriad other things they removed from this game. All I ever heard was fans wanting MORE, not less.

So, we have a right to be pissed. They didn't listen to a single thing we've been asking for. They were completely tone-deaf. If you're not making a game for the people who actually play the game, then who are you making it for? And you know what really makes me pissed? I just realized how old I'll be if it takes another 10 years for them to right this wrong!

tql89
tql89

The question shouldn't be 'are consumers ready for always online?', it should be 'do consumers want always online?'. In the case of Sim city, the answer is no. This is a case of an arrogant and greedy company telling consumers what they should want.

juliajoost88
juliajoost88

I don't blame them for making it online only.  With offline games, it makes it too easy to pirate.  Online games that have on key and one username are a lot harder to pirate (though it won't stop hackers and that's another issue altogether).  Point being, if people (the consumer) could be more honest and not steal when they get the chance to, companies wouldn't feel forced to make it online only.  It doesn't bother me one way or the other.  I switched to a dif. server than what I started sure, but I haven't had any problems since then and that's fine by me.  I had problems the first few days, but that's just the way it goes.  

At the end of the day, they apologized and are giving people a free game.  People act as though WoW is perfect, but they have issues all their own when it comes to their online game.  When wrath of the lich king came out I remember waiting sometimes up to an hour before logging on for the first month because it would put you in a que and then lo and behold 10 mins later your internet drops out due to high server overloads of people and you're back to waiting another hour.  Oh, and this lasted for a solid month of 20+ minute wait times and disconnecting issues.  Considering EA fixed theirs in about a week, give or take some issues for other people who just don't want to migrate to a dif. server (understandable for those who spent a lot of time working on their cities), it still is a lot better than other issues faced.  And now EA knows what to do differently.  Can't learn how to improve a system until you make flaws.  

People will still play, and it might even attract a new kind of crowd.  This is the first SimCity I have ever played and I am enjoying it.  Despite all the issues I had (I too could not play for about 4 days and yes, I too had to restart cities on 3 dif servers).  I look forward to future upgrades and patches where they add new features and the like.  Plus, it's really fun making a city with my husband or just doing it by myself.  We're both having a blast!  :)  We don't have to play with the world, but being able to find a cheap multiplayer online game that is something besides WoW or other pay to plays full of other people we don't care to play with is actually really nice.  :)

kevhurst
kevhurst

But with other games like WoW, gameplay is dependent on teamwork and interaction among players.  SimCity has always been a one player game. There's no reason why it should be public, and there's been no outcry from gamers to make it so.  I suspect that the reason for "online-only" has nothing to do with the quality of the game, and everything to do with a new business model that profits mostly from selling information about when gamers are online, rather than from selling gamers a quality game.  In other words, following the Facebook & Netflix model, you are the product, not the consumer.  If this is the case, I hope EA and this whole new idea goes down in flames.  

This is from a longtime SimCity fanatic who has been waiting for years to buy this game.  I'll wait until there's an offline version---I'd rather observe Sims than pay $60 to be one. 

Business_Casual
Business_Casual

@CGLnyc Absolutely, the author is missing the bigger picture. This represents another infringement on the rights of consumers, who are being treated like pirates and don't even own the software they purchased. 

IanWalker
IanWalker

@seraphimblade I think you'll find War Craft was around for many years before WOW and was a single player game too, the comparison is perfectly apt. But at the same time I'd be happy for Sim City to remain that way, but I also haven't played the new version and the online/social aspect may be a great evolution in the game, I'll have to wait and see.

badpuppy3
badpuppy3

@chipochipo Totally agree. I'm a working adult with a busy life. I sneak in a video game here and there just to blow off some steam. Waiting around for my friends to be available to play multiplayer when I can isn't an option. And there is no appeal in playing against a stranger online, especially when their bad decisions can affect my outcome and enjoyment. What genius at Maxis thought that would be a good idea?

AndrewTheExperienceDixon
AndrewTheExperienceDixon

@TheNMP I don't think Matt is trying to tow a company line or anything like that. I understand why you are angry and why you would jump to that conclusion. I believe (and not to speak for him) his thinking that the problem is not necessarily in the only online aspect but in the ways that companies time and time again make boneheded fiscal decisions when dealing with the launch of these products. Anyway, he is not trying to excuse anything the company did, he just views the problem from a slightly different perspective.

I do tend to lean more towards your thinking though, NMP. At least on this particular game released at this particular time. All simulation  games are inherently single player. You can not have a decent simulation without a lot of control over what happens in your game, but in a multilayer game you are competing for control with other people so it doesn't fit. I never played Minecraft, but from my understanding it is a sandbox type game but not really a simulation game. Anyway, host a party at your house sometime and build a house of cards. See how many people can walk through the door without destroying it intentionally, That kind of behavior is human nature and one of the main reasons that I, personally, play simulation games is to spend some time away from human nature.

badpuppy3
badpuppy3

@TheNMP I agree. I looked forward to this game for 10 years. No game has had me so excited. I imagined I'd be locked away at this point in a marathon session of the next SimCity. Instead, I am full of disappointment and disgust. I want to see this game go down in spectacular flames. Hell hath no fury like a gamer scorned.

eduardomezencio
eduardomezencio

@ChrisHempel That's what I say... SimCity is a big stinky pile of DRM that ended up turning into a game, unfortunately

joebas66
joebas66

@badpuppy3 You'll be able to put all those things down soon enough.  I'm sure that you'll have the ability to buy zoos for $2.95, Museums for $3.95, Subways for $4.95, or all THREE for the LOW LOW price of $9.95... 


Welcome to the new era of gaming...

PaulCastillo
PaulCastillo

@juliajoost88

"With offline games, it makes it too easy to pirate."

I stopped reading there because the piracy argument is downright stupid, especially with the sim games. Even without DRM and rampant PC piracy you prescribe to via what the big name publishers try to convince you (with really little to no substantial evidence), EA still managed to sell at least over 5 million copies of its 'Sims' franchise, which also sold expansion packs as a fair form of its current DLC.There have been many software sold in the last 10 years without obtrusive DRM that were quality made and have sold very well. PC Piracy definitely isn't the problem and anyone pointing their fingers at it without any real evidence against it really should do more research why it can actually help more than it hurts.

In regards to your new experience playing sim city, have fun with it. I had fun with all the past sim cities myself and after learning how to play sim city 4, nearly engrossed myself for 3 days in basic city design. But truth be told from the many experienced players, the new game definitely takes away from the creative side of things and gimps any further creativity through its DRM measure that can't justify its lack of potential sales due to the supposed stigma of EA with PC piracy.

sleeplessinva
sleeplessinva

@juliajoost88 with offline games, yes, it makes it too easy to pirate, to sell, and to play.  Incorporating the always-on DRM, it made the game that much less attractive to buy or to pirate.  To that effect, EA's goal was achieved.  No one wants to pirate this game, and I for one don't want to buy it either.

The question all consumers should ask will they be able to play the game tomorrow.  Next week?  Next year?  5 years from now?  Will EA continue to run the Simcity servers indefinitely?  If not, did you really buy a game, or are you just leasing a game?

badpuppy3
badpuppy3

@juliajoost88 Since this is the first SimCity you've ever played, I won't blame you for your ignorance of what you're missing. Enjoy. Just know the game could have been so much more.

CGLnyc
CGLnyc

@IanWalker @seraphimblade No. You don't one-man instances and raids and some group quests unless it's old content or you're overgeared. You can play single-player in SC. You just don't let anyone in your region. It's a silly comparison in every way. It doesn't need to be online but is.

TheNMP
TheNMP

@AndrewTheExperienceDixon @TheNMP Fair point; the opinion of the writer is most likely his own, as is probably the case with the majority of similar reviews. I just feel that dismissing the many problems of the game as a result of the handling of the launch belies the fundamental flaws in its conception and how it is expected to be played. I would expect this line from the developers, but professional reviewers should really be looking at the bigger picture and its future implications. 

The problems with DRM is valid concern, but not the sole issue. SimCity, as it is, is a square peg in a round hole: a game dressed up as something it isn't in order to justify restrictions on the user, and in the process destroying the very concept that popularised the game in the first place - as you say, control over your own gaming experience.

ChrisHempel
ChrisHempel

@CameronChingChongRogers Start playing the game.  Pull your internet plug.  See what happens.  Regional interaction requires an internet connection, but the processing done on Maxis's side is minimal and artificial, and you can continue playing after seeing 'Lost connection to servers' messages.  There's a great article about it on Rock Paper Shotgun, where a programmer at Maxis details how it works and how little EA's servers actually do.

juliajoost88
juliajoost88

@badpuppy3   Well my husband has played every simcity game (he got this one and it looked interesting to me so I tried it)...and he's enjoying it and thinks it's a great game as well.  So it's a shame you feel the need to insult my intelligence to judge a good game from a bad game.  Personally, there are people out there that enjoy games that I don't enjoy.  I don't act as though they are wrong or ignorant for feeling the way they feel.  I hate FPS games.  I could go out and say I think games like Call of Duty could be "so much more" based on the way I feel about those kinds of games.  

At the end of the day it's all preference in what you like.  You don't like the new concept, simply do not play it.  Just because other people are enjoying themselves doesn't make them wrong though.  Plus, since the game is online they have the ability to upgrade through patching, etc. (as in I don't have to go out and buy expansion packs that will "fix" the bugs for me because it's no connected to the internet).  But then again, I shouldn't expect people who have made up their minds based on emotional decisions simply because they couldn't log on (or had some connection issues).  I for one have had no problems connecting in the past week.  So maybe I am lucky or whatever the case may be.  But at least I am enjoying myself.