Electronic Arts Disables "Non-Critical" SimCity Features - UPDATED

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Electronic Arts Disables "Non-Critical" SimCity Features - UPDATED


Electronic Arts is disabling leaderboards, achievements and other functions in an effort to alleviate the strain on overloaded SimCity servers.

The launch of SimCity, if you've somehow managed to miss it, has not gone well. It's not exactly a surprising development, given the disastrous launch history of games that require always-on internet connections, but it's still an ugly scene. Players can't connect to the servers, can't access their cities, can't make contact with friends; right now, the game is like a box of chocolates, all of them filled with crap.

EA is struggling to get things under control, naturally, but its latest move makes the situation sound pretty dire. "We are continuing to do everything we can to address the server issues. In the meantime, so that we can give you as good an experience as possible, we are in the process of deploying a hotfix to all servers," Community Manager LadyCoconut wrote on the EA forums. "This includes various improvements and also disables a few non-critical gameplay features (leaderboards, achievements and region filters). Disabling these features will in no way affect your core gameplay experience."

EA did not indicate how long these features will be disabled, but the simple fact that it's willing to cripple the game to make the "core gameplay" work speaks volumes about its desperation to get something going. The company also announced earlier today that it will be adding more SimCity servers [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/122550-Maxis-Adding-More-SimCity-Servers-Over-Next-Two-Days] over the next two days and as always, thanked gamers for their patience.

Source: EA Forums [http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/posts/list/0/9341242.page]

UPDATE: The SimCity 1.2 patch is now available [http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/posts/list/9341807.page], promising to fix crashes caused by lag, broken server select dialogs and other issues. But it also disables "Cheetah speed," which is apparently a pretty big feature of the game - Cheetah speed is now the same as Llama speed. Less crashes are definitely a plus, but it's utterly mind-boggling that EA is cutting back all these features just to hopefully bring some semblance of stability to the basic gameplay. This is an absolute debacle.

Have any of you tried the game with the new patch? Does it actually fix things - and, perhaps more importantly, how is the game without Cheetah speed?


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dragongit

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Please enjoy your always on DRM, and micro transactions. Leader boards and other minor services will be released as future DLC. A functioning game will be released as an expansion: It wont be a new game, it'll just work.

Seriously, I just read that they are blocking people who ask for refunds and other stupid crap. I'm surprised if EA still had legs, I've lost count on how many times they've shot their own feet.
 

Bernzz

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I am in shock.

Nobody saw this coming, especially after Diablo 3's stellar launch.

Oh wait.
 

Ickabod

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Too bad they didn't have a large beta test of anything to test these issues before the launch.

As a side note, there were lots of connection issues with the beta. I've now learned that a difficult beta is an indication of how a launch is going to go.
 

Something Amyss

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Desert Punk said:
And just think, all of this could have been avoided if they hadnt introduced pants on head retarded DRM

Obligatory inb4 Thrikeen comes to the defence of his former employer
It's not even like they couldn't have foreseen this as an outcome, either. How often has there been a problem with an always-online game, especially near launch?
 

Falcon123

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So, no word yet on how they justify threatening to ban people's accounts for trying to claim the refund EA offered? Awesome. I'm so glad EA are such good guys like CliffyB said. Otherwise, everyone involved in this wreck would look REALLY dumb and at least a little evil...
 

Lt. Rocky

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This is very frusterating to read.

The idea that they're opting to fix the issues at hand, when the real problem is what's causing these issues to begin with. It's so infuriating to think that EA thinks they can control their consumer base, when such problems like these suggest they might not even be able to properly do such a thing, yet insist on enforcing it.
 

CriticalMiss

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You know, I'm starting to think EA are actually pretty good at entertaining people. It's just a shame for them that the entertainment is watching them make bumbling mistakes and tripping up over their own feet. There aren't even microtransactions involved when watching them take a metaphorical rake-to-the-face over the SimCity launch fiasco.
 

shrekfan246

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Capitano Segnaposto said:
Bernzz said:
I am in shock.

Nobody saw this coming, especially after Diablo 3's stellar launch.

Oh wait.
I love how people can't seem to wrap their heads around how hard it is to organize, set-up, protect, and keep hundreds of millions of people on servers at once.

Nope. It is all easy. Simple as flipping a switch.

/facedesk
Logic flies out the window when EA is involved around here.

Though it's probably just hundreds of thousands, considering even World of Warcraft doesn't have hundreds of millions of people playing.

OT: Do people really care about leaderboards and achievements that much anyway? Especially in a game about building and managing a city? Doesn't really seem like anything to get worked up about to me.
 

Absolutionis

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So they put up always-on DRM with the justification that there will be leaderboards and other useless junk. Then, when their servers can't handle it, they disable the leaderboards and other useless junk. EA, you're adorable.
 

FEichinger

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Capitano Segnaposto said:
Bernzz said:
I am in shock.

Nobody saw this coming, especially after Diablo 3's stellar launch.

Oh wait.
I love how people can't seem to wrap their heads around how hard it is to organize, set-up, protect, and keep hundreds of millions of people on servers at once.

Nope. It is all easy. Simple as flipping a switch.

/facedesk
The problem I personally have isn't that it's "easy to prevent".

The problem is this: It shouldn't have to happen at all.

Why on Earth do we need always-on to begin with? Take that out of the equation and suddenly you don't have the game entirely unplayable for a bunch of people on day one.

Why does noone prepare for this? We saw Anno, Diablo 3 and now SimCity. Is it so hard to conceive that you have to expect a metric fuckton of users on day one and need to prepare for that?

Yes, actually preparing for it is hard, but for god's sake, if you force always-on and bullshit like that, you will have to deal with having to prepare for such a strain before it's released.
 

thisbymaster

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And yet they keep wondering why people pirate? Well if doing it that way gives you a better experience and costs less, then it only makes sense. Right now I just couldn't care about it at all, I got Civ 5 golden for 75% off from steam.
 

ZZoMBiE13

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shrekfan246 said:
Capitano Segnaposto said:
Bernzz said:
I am in shock.

Nobody saw this coming, especially after Diablo 3's stellar launch.

Oh wait.
I love how people can't seem to wrap their heads around how hard it is to organize, set-up, protect, and keep hundreds of millions of people on servers at once.

Nope. It is all easy. Simple as flipping a switch.

/facedesk
Logic flies out the window when EA is involved around here.

Though it's probably just hundreds of thousands, considering even World of Warcraft doesn't have hundreds of millions of people playing.

OT: Do people really care about leaderboards and achievements that much anyway? Especially in a game about building and managing a city? Doesn't really seem like anything to get worked up about to me.
Obviously I can't speak for everyone, but the achievements annoy me more than anything in that game. I like the idea of achievements, but the way they are implemented in Sim City is to throw out a huge pop up right in the middle of your screen. It's annoying as hell and gets in the way of what you're doing. I hope they keep them out.