Sim City mildly blues

I haven’t played enough to have much of an opinion yet. However.

EDIT for full disclosure – after trying to get into a game for half an hour, and then trying to create my own game for another half hour, I’m rapidly sliding out of the “Oh, silly EA” opinion chair and into “You guys just had to force us to play online and you just had to fail to have the server infrastructure (or whatever it is) to cope.”

During the ENTIRE development process, did nobody stop to say “You know, this game will be utterly unplayable if the servers aren’t working, and yet we’re not calling this an MMO?” – or, for that matter “Is it really wise for force the internet connection thing on people for a single-player game? We haven’t done it to the Sims yet, maybe we should hold off on doing it to Sim City…”

I now bring you back to the original, less bitter post.

1. When I buy what has been a single-player game (with recent multiplayer elements) since the late 80s — and I too had SimCity 1.0 on my Mac SE — I expect to be able to enjoy a single player experience. Meaning I should still be able to play if the servers are down.

2. If you’re as big as EA, PLAN FOR LAUNCH. This really isn’t rocket science anymore and saying “Oh, we didn’t expect the internet!” really isn’t an excuse.

3. The cities are too fecking small. I don’t care if I can play 16 cities at once in the same region. What if I want to play one giant, single-player, orgiastic megalopolis? Too bad, so sad, go back to playing the game in the single way Maxis feels you should be able to. Shame shame shame.

4. Did Microsoft give Maxis design lessons? Because it sure feels that way.

5. EDIT – And what’s with the crappy zoom out distance? That’s just nasty.

I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’m sure this version has some interesting new things to offer, and there are some cool new features (like non-grid roads, because not every city in the world is designed the way American cities were), but I’m still a bit peeved.

If I wanted launch day bullshit, I’d have bought an MMO.

SimCity bah

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6 thoughts on “Sim City mildly blues

  1. I made some comments on it too, I haven’t bought it though. I feel disappointed in the way every big gaming company out there seems to think that dumbing down games from their predecessors is the way to go. And having DRM influence design decisions, well…

    Blizzard did that with D3, now EA with SimCity, what does the future hold for gaming; beautiful but bland simplistic always online AAA games, or wonderful indie games without the huge graphics budgets?

  2. The problem is the same as with MMOs, you can’t plan your server usage around the initial burst of activity. If you need X servers for launch but X/3 servers to handle traffic later, you just can’t triple the number of servers you need. You’ll end up spending way too much money at launch if you are able to meet the peak demand at launch..

    Poor access to servers also lets the company put out a press release saying “Demand exceeded our expectations! Nobody could have foreseen this!” People accept that so much more than them meeting demand then quietly merging servers later, where the gloom and doom people come out of the woodwork. I mean, look at Planetside 2 which had only a few hiccups at launch, but now that they’re merging some servers people are declaring it “a failure” despite not knowing what the actual figures look like.

    Yeah, it sucks when you want to play the game and it’s not working quite right. But, public perception is important.

  3. You’re absolutely right, and I’m usually one of the first to say that – but a 20 minute wait between each connect attempt? That seems kinda silly. That may not have been what was actually happening, but it’s what people saw (a timer counting down from 20:00, one attempt, then that same timer again).

    I was mostly pissed that I’d fallen for launch day. I should know better by now. ;)

    • Well, having the game constantly pound the servers to reconnect wouldn’t help, would it? The 20 minute window is probably what the developers assumed was long enough to wait for the heaviest traffic to subside.

      Yeah, you fell for the launch day hype. Since you asked why people do on my blog, I’ll go pontificate over there. :)

  4. I’m still… exceptionally displeased… with the “online connection for a single player game” schtick. That’s a gamebreaker for me. Bad EA, no twinkie!

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