While lots of people are probably going to say this isn’t enough, it’s still nice that they’re trying to do something.
The full post is worth a read – it’s pretty short, but I don’t want to reproduce it verbatim. TL;DR below.
So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta.
OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 percent. It’s working – the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically. The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent.
So we’re close to fixed, but not quite there. I’m hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us.
And, by way of apology, “we’re going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio”. Again, lots of folks will say that’s like piling poo on top of crap, but I like that they’re trying to do something, even if it’s not something that costs them all that much in terms of bottom line. ANY effort to make things right is better than no effort at all. Mistakes (or major screwups) happen – what matters to me at the end of the day is acknowledgement and some attempt to fix things down the line.
So, presumably EA woke up this morning and saw the shitstorm. (Actually it’s very likely most of them worked through the night. I actually love game people, I just hate the way launches are always poo.)
They’re rolling out a server update. Since I’m not sure everyone can access that page, here’s the text:
We are working hard to resolve a problem that is at the heart of the issues which some players have reported. Namely:
Trading not working consistently
- Unable to load/claim city errors
- Getting stuck in a loop in the tutorial
To that end, we are currently rolling out a server update which we believe will improve performance considerably. This will involve restarts over the next 4-5 hours across all of our current severs. Minor player impact may occur, such as trading not working consistently and the region wall not working occasionally. We appreciate your continued patience and support while this fix is being deployed.
Please continue to check back here for updates
It seems the tutorial-loop issue may be fixed already, or that could just be because I finally thought to run the game as admin. Then again, it still wouldn’t let me play. It probably knows I should be working.
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.
I haven’t had much time to play anything in the last week and a half.
For some reason, a particular game demanded to come back out of the closet and that’s what I’ve been putzing around with when I have the odd half-hour before bed. There are times when I’m too tired to chop up zombies.
Bet you can’t guess which game it is.
Gah. Now I’ve given myself REM’s eponymous cover version as an ear worm. I guess there’s worse ear-worms to have.
Skyrim is addictive.
I’ve had far less time to play it than I’d like, work being what it is, but even so I’m hooked like a trout on a humpy. (Yes, I went and looked up fish fly names. That is how much I care for you.)
It’s also made me realise that while I love love love the start of a game, I’m not so hot on the middle bits and I positively dread the end bits. Which presumably makes me something of a freak in MMOs, since these days it’s all about the end game and I’m all about the beginning game. The same seems to hold true in single-player RPGs too.
My first Skyrim character just… didn’t work out (long story), so I rerolled. The second character “fit” much better and I played her like a maniac at every opportunity (sleep is for the weak). She got to level 20 pretty fast, but I got all anxiety-ridden about having too many quests, being werewolfed before we’d even been properly introduced, having too many quests, being caught between the stick-up-their-asses Empire and the stick-up-everyone-else’s-asses Stormcloaks, and having too many quests.
The first time I had NO clue what I was doing and just got sucked up in the current (and gave up around level 3). The second time I thought I knew it all, but I still got sucked up in the current; somehow I ended up with several criminal bounties on my head when I really didn’t think I’d done anything that bad. Mostly I really didn’t think anyone had seen me killing those Thalmor bastards escorting their prisoner out in the wilds; turns out some city guards saw me, and before I knew it (whoops! my axe slipped!) I’d killed them too and only realised what I’d done when the game told me “All the witnesses have been killed.”
Ulp. I don’t think I’ve ever killed witnesses before. I thought they were bad guys, honest guv.
So I re-rerolled.
What’s interesting is that all three experiences have been quite different, at least as much as they can be in the framework of a single-player RPG. It was only with the third character that I noticed a choice in the very first scene, the tutorial scene that basically just lets you walk (which isn’t as easy as it may sound for an old bat used to her arrow keys and playing this on a console). You don’t HAVE to follow the Imperial guy – you can follow the Stormcloak guy! It makes little difference in the grand scheme of things, but it’s illustrative of how Skyrim is as a whole: there’s so much stuff in that game, you could play it a half dozen times and probably still find stuff you’d never noticed before.
The game is giganormous, and the quintillion quests are almost an imposition. If I had my druthers, I’d just wander around exploring stuff and clearing out bandits, which is pretty much what I’ve been doing. In the Elder Scrolls games you really can ignore the story line if you want to, and it seems most obvious of all in this chapter. I’m stuck trying to decide who I hate less, Empire or Stormcloaks, in order to decide whether I want to join one or the other; I could stay neutral, but I’d be missing out on a big plot arc, so sooner or later I’ll make a decision.
In the meantime, I have some ore to mine and some mountain flowers to pick. Also: elk are hard to stalk.
Also: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2011/11/14 - cue hyena laughter because it’s oh, so true.