Children of the Sun > Games

Simcity 5

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I was thinking more Fox News Corps.

Man...this saga has been hilarious to follow. Many patches and three months later...still a mess. Here's a fun recap:

--- Quote ---For anyone who's wandered into this thread and wondered if buying SimCity is a good idea, but can't be bothered to read a bunch of pages, let me give you a quick recap:

SimCity gets released to much hoopla after some preview videos and a very short and limited series of closed betas where people get enough time to whet their appetite but not much more.

The release is an absolute disaster because of EA's requirement that the game is "always online" (with the oft-repeated claim that being online is totally necessary because it will offload calculations that would otherwise just absolutely punish gamers' rigs, and absolutely not because it is a form of DRM. No siree bob, nuh uh no way no how); and yet amazingly enough EA, after resounding MMO successes like Warhammer Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic, just completely under-anticipated the need for actual game servers for people to play their "always online" game. This made the game completely unplayable for many people since they couldn't play it offline and they couldn't get onto a server. And even if they did get online, the server was as stable as a tower of Jell-O and would often kick people out or wipe their cities (the latter is still happening for many players).

Finally the server situation is stabilized enough for more people to get to grips with the game, which is revealed to be surprisingly shallow, requiring people to use numerous methods of gameplay that are actually counter-intuitive to city builder games. The game is rife with pathing issues, as vehicles will choose the shortest route every time, even if it's actually slower. Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles dispatch en masse to fires, with all trucks arriving to a single fire (even if other buildings elsewhere in the city are burning). All of this is before you even take into account that the game actually does not allow you to build a city the way you want (both due to the limit on city sizes and the fact that the "always online" "social" component actually forces people to build "specialized" cities instead of the usual traditional R/C/I mixture).

As people get to grips with all this, more enterprising gamers start to delve under the hood, in the hopes that they can find a way to mod the game for offline play (which they do after a fashion, and I believe it was subsequently denounced by EA/Maxis as a "hack" that could cause gamers to get banned). Many of the game's dirty little secrets are discovered: the "always online" component is literally two lines of code that ping the servers and kill the game if there is no response after a period of time. The highly-touted "agents" system is at least partly responsible for all the game's traffic congestion issues, as it merely sends agents to available tasks (houses, jobs, etc.) all at once, with every agent converging on the first place until it is full, then moving on down to the second, and so forth, with the result being that the game's Sims actually just go from random house to random job to another random house to another random job, repeat as necessary. This also has the hilarious unintended side effect of having uneducated Sims actually go work at the nuke power plant (which requires educated Sims), while educated Sims sit at home and lament their unemployment (at least, until the nuke power plant melts down and kills everyone). Speaking of unemployment, it is also discovered that the game actually fudges population numbers, so that the game will literally complain about unemployed Sims that do not even exist. I could go on about many of the game's other horribly broken features but I think you get the point. I should also add that many devs confirmed that a lot of the game's problems were intentional, either by omission or by the fact that many of the broken features were intentionally designed that way. One dev gave a talk where he actually said "you should always be asking 'what can I remove from this game?'"

Oh and it's also discovered that all the offline calculations EA/Maxis claim the game does to their servers is actually complete fiction and there is no actual need for the "always online" requirement beyond saving games in their server cloud. No calculations actually take place on EA's servers and the game is perfectly capable of running offline (apart from the previously mentioned saving of games).

During all this time, EA and Maxis delivered a fascinating example of How Not To Do PR, as they stubbornly refused to accept even a single shred of responsibility. Instead, EA/Maxis blamed everyone from the gamers (who overloaded their servers and don't understand their "vision" for the game) to the games industry media (for either being too negative towards the game, or for hyping it too much, I forget which), with particular bile reserved for the Consumerist. This is because EA managed to handily win their second "Worst Company in America" award in a row from the Consumerist. EA's Peter Moore then claims the reason they won this is because of angry conservatives voting against EA in the Consumerist's poll because of EA's LGBT-friendly policies. Either that or angry sports fans voting against EA in the same poll because they didn't like whatever player/athlete was featured on a given EA Sports game's box. I am not making this up.

Additionally, EA told people they could flat-out get fucked on a refund (even when, depending on the country, there were actually legal protections in place that mandated EA had to issue a refund). In some cases EA begrudgingly issued refunds, in other places people were either forced to seek refunds via the point of purchase for non-Origin-based purchases (Amazon in particular should be commended, as they took most people's requests for refunds cheerfully and quickly), or by issuing a charge-back thru their credit card provider/bank. Incensed by people actually wanting their money back for such a shitty game, EA ran around banning users and game key codes willy-nilly (many of the affected keys were ones issued via Amazon, which in several cases fucked over people who hadn't actually contacted Amazon for a refund). EA finally begrudgingly offered an olive branch to gamers in the form of a "free game". This offer consisted of a bunch of games that generally required paid DLC to play successfully, and Sim City 4. The "free games" were then subsequently highly discounted during a sale on Origin. Again, I am not making this shit up.

Oh and somewhere in there EA's CEO finally resigned, and I think one of the top guys at Maxis left. And throughout it all EA and Maxis just kept their heads buried right in the sand, issuing increasingly :smug: and condescending press releases about how "millions of people" were still playing SimCity even after it became apparent that they had a huge failure on their hands. After a while, EA/Maxis seemingly went silent and apart from the announcement of the much-vaunted 2.0 patch (which will arrive next Tuesday and looks to be completely underwhelming), they have finally figured out that it's best to keep mum, since every time they open their mouths they have to extract a football team's worth of feet from it.

If you managed to slog your way through all that text and still think SimCity is worth a buy, then by all means do so. I think you'd get more enjoyment out of just setting $60 (or whatever the game costs now, last I knew several US retailers had it at half-price or even possibly less than that) afire and roasting marshmallows over it, but to each their own.
--- End quote ---

Well...the "offline patch" goes live sometime today. Will that save the game? Or is it just a hopeless mess from top to bottom?

It's because it's not Titanfall.

So... Cities Skylines. This looks like it's the Simcity 5 we all wanted (and will never, ever get). I've been watching Quill18's gameplay footage and it's got me pretty excited...


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