SimCity Was Never Meant To Be Online

Yahtzee Croshaw

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SimCity Was Never Meant To Be Online

EA forgot it's own history with online games when it decided to turn SimCity into a multiplayer-focused game.

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Thaluikhain

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Hmmm...I can get behind the "my town" thing, but being able to interact with others is sorta cool.

OTOH, they could have just made that an option, rather than a focus.
 
Mar 19, 2010
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You know, as much as I hate the practice of naming a new game after the original in the series with no change to the title
I bet you are in love with the new Thief game name.

captcha: THAT'S ENOUGH. How fitting.
 

itsthesheppy

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Mar 28, 2012
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DVS BSTrD said:
I'd be amazed if anyone in EA's management has even seen someone play a videogame outside of creating trailers.
That's really the main problem. The people who actually understand games are beholden to people who don't, who just so happen to have all the money. Venture capitalists and bankers who see video games as the 'next hollywood', a ripe new field to make money in.

Yahtzee is right; these bad decisions form over time, in parts, all across the massive organization, to the point where when they finally get implemented, nobody's individual signature is on it.

The village stoned the victim together, so that the rock that finally did the job couldn't be traced back to a single thrower. They're all to blame. EA as a whole needs to fall apart for the industry to have hope of real growth.
 

DrunkOnEstus

In the name of Harman...
May 11, 2012
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EA-Land? How arrogant and pretentious can you get? Could you imagine the arms race for that one...Activision-Ville, Ubisoft-Burg? Dystopian (not a word?!?) society indeed.
 

itsthesheppy

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Mar 28, 2012
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DVS BSTrD said:
itsthesheppy said:
DVS BSTrD said:
I'd be amazed if anyone in EA's management has even seen someone play a videogame outside of creating trailers.
That's really the main problem. The people who actually understand games are beholden to people who don't, who just so happen to have all the money. Venture capitalists and bankers who see video games as the 'next hollywood', a ripe new field to make money in.
And of course, they want their investment to be "safe," in either they'll only push buttons that everyone is already used to pushing, or that there is not no way those evil pirates can take our profits. And of course for any game to even be noticed it HAZ to have ridiculously bloated budget and sell MILLIONS of copies in the first week.

Captcha: Describe this brand (People) with any words
Answer: soylent green
:p
Despite being critically acclaimed and selling millions of units, Tomb Raider could be considered a failure for not hitting targets. It's madness, sheer madness.
 

rofltehcat

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Jul 24, 2009
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Bioshock in EA-land? Now you've got my attention!
There could even be a hell filled with all those tortured Sims that are stuck in a pool without a ladder, or in a room with 3 stoves but no door. Drown, burn, drown, burn.... ahahahaha!
Add a mortuary of scape goats to that... it will be the most hilariously horrifying game ever!

Also, make it always online. Just for the sake of it.
 

Killclaw Kilrathi

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Dec 28, 2010
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I'll be honest, I kinda like the multiplayer aspect of SimCity. It's nice to see my city developing as part of a small nation, and to have some small interactions with other mayors. I found it enjoyable to have a polluted, oil drilling industrial city while my neighbours futuristic eco-metropolis glimmered within view across the bay. With all the wealth I was making at the expense of living conditions I felt like one of those cartoonish corporate bosses with the huge cigar and piles of cash strewn about the office, scoffing at the do gooders and their quaint concern for the environment.

That said, an offline mode would have been appreciated. Not just an online private map with one city (which you can have), but a properly designed single player experience designed to be self-sufficient and with a huge map space to build whatever you want. I know they didn't want to disadvantage people with slower rigs but surely all you'd have to do is introduce a map size option when creating a new game, you know like the previous games had.
 

Trishbot

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May 10, 2011
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This is companies afraid of losing control. These are less "business decisions" and more the acts of wounded or dying animals lashing out defensively to cling to life and relevance.

Sim City did not need to be online. You know this. I know this. EA knows this. Everyone knows this. If it HAD to have online functionality, it didn't need to be ESSENTIAL. It could've been a feature. An option. And NO ONE would've complained because they'd be too busy playing the game offline when the servers go down. Making it essential is like saying you NEED online to play a game of Solitaire so it can "track your score and give you new features".

What's baffling to me is how they've drunk their own kool-aid so much they believe it. I'm sure they genuinely believe everything they claim, even as we insist it's stupid and untrue. But, to them, it's the only thing that makes sense because the people in charge don't play video games; they just look at numbers and have no empathy towards a number, or how the number came to be, or what the number means. What's that? Large numbers of people play Call of Duty? The numbers don't lie! Let's make every game like that!

But that's so weird because, in every OTHER industry, you can be damn sure the business people actually EXPERIENCE their products. Nobody signs a musician to a record label without LISTENING to them. Nobody fronts the money to a movie without seeing screenings of the movie they just put money into. And yet I doubt most of the business heads have ever played any of the games they publish, thus they also have no sound measure of what constitutes a good game! I'd love to force someone from EA or Activision's leadership to sit down and play some of these games and see how quickly they get frustrated punching in 50-digit online pass codes, syncing their profiles and signing up to mandatory Origin servers, figuring out which retailer is offering which specific pre-order content and trying to minimize your losses, entering in a few more 50-digit codes to get that pre-order and special edition content, updating the system and updating the patches for their broken games, then dealing with content that's geared towards microtransactions, always-on online, forced social elements, and much worse. See how quickly they give up and say that type of gaming environment sucks hard.

But then you look at games like Skyrim. No online pass. No day-1 DLC. No always-online. No forced multiplayer. No pre-order bonuses or retailer-exclusive DLC. No locked-on-disc content. No microtransactions. No DRM. It sold better than most games released by their competitors ever will, and it did so in a climate filled with this type of crap.

People will pay for a superior service, but right now game publishers and developers are putting more and more and more walls between you and the game. In some cases, it has taken me over 40 minutes to get a game "ready" to play with all the passes and codes and patches, but it takes literally a few seconds for me to put in a game in my Wii, PS2, or Gamecube and get right to playing a fully complete, fully enjoyable experience without any hassles whatsoever.
 

Darth_Payn

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Yahtzee hit it out of the park here. The way he described it, this current SimCity is meant to be a reboot of the series, isn't it? Not that there was any continuity present. EA totally dropped the ball by making the online component the focus instead of an optional feature. Did everybody who worked on the original Sim-whatever games and knew what made them fun to play leave years ago?

captcha: minty fresh
If that's what game publishers think by naming their games with the same titles as their originals, they should think again.
 

geizr

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Oct 9, 2008
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Yahtzee Croshaw said:
Certainly I'm of the opinion that the triple-A industry is not sustainable in its current form...
I've been saying this for a while now, but it is nice to see that someone with a lot more visibility and clout than me now shares the same opinion.
 

thehorror2

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Jan 25, 2010
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Darth_Payn said:
Yahtzee hit it out of the park here. The way he described it, this current SimCity is meant to be a reboot of the series, isn't it? Not that there was any continuity present. EA totally dropped the ball by making the online component the focus instead of an optional feature. Did everybody who worked on the original Sim-whatever games and knew what made them fun to play leave years ago?

captcha: minty fresh
If that's what game publishers think by naming their games with the same titles as their originals, they should think again.
Yes, that's exactly what happened. To every dev house EA has ever bought. The original team gets fed up and leaves, and EA just hires new guys to replace them until the new team is so far removed from the original that it can't do its job anymore and they collapse. Rinse, repeat. You can see this happening with Bioware right now.
 

sid

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Jan 22, 2013
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pfffftahhahahahahahahhahahah, EA Land is a thing? I just burst out laughing in the middle of work, imagine an entire game routed around praising EA, why can't we be as cool as our 2007 counterparts?
 

FallenMessiah88

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Jan 8, 2010
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I hope this whole debacle will companies like EA that always online is a bad idea, even in the year 2013.
 

Headdrivehardscrew

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Aug 22, 2011
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Y'know, I was looking forward to Sim City, or Sim City 5, or Sim City 2013 or whatever they could have called it. The whole always on thing pisses me off severely, though.

So, what I did, just in my spare, private time over the past Easter weekend, was to dig out Sim City 4. I installed it... wow, that was fast. I booted it up... wow, that was fast. Wow, that's a pretty low resolution for the FMV bit. I set up a random little city, and... all of a sudden... WHAT? WHY DO I HAVE TO CONNECT TO EA? WHAT IS THIS? WHY ARE THEY... HOW DID THEY? DID I NOT BLOCK ONLINE ACCESS?

And then I remembered... oh, this feature that lets me connect my various cities to each other, to sell my goods, get rid of my trash, let my Sims find jobs elsewhere... that's no online shenanigan thing at all. It's an offline feature that lets me use little blackboxes of presumably smart code that, using mostly statistical data about each of my cities, generates, at worst, nothing at all, at best some cool productive synergies that feel good. Most of the time, it did not really have much of an impact on me.

Why anyone would want to make this the one must-have feature eludes me and my at times overabundant imagination. It's a nice-to-have you get shoved in your face in Sim City 4. In Sim City 2013, which is Sim City 5 but goes by the name of Sim City, it's an annoying bit of always-on DRM that completely ruined it for me.

I'd like to play a Sim City with fancy new graphics. Not at the cost of seeing one of my favourite franchises come to feel like one of those soul-sucking black hole time sinks of friendface games or other micro transaction vehicles that simply are not worth the effort, ever.

I will not buy Sim City (5, 2013) as long as the always-online bit cannot be circumvented properly. Either by an aftermarket patch from EA/Maxis, or by other means. It sucks, but it's the way they chose to play war against their own faithful clients. I find that to be quite offensive.
 

nezroy

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Oct 3, 2008
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Cities XL tried it too. Failed miserably, and at least that game was stable and relatively bug free at launch. It's not the bugs and broken servers that make an online city sim stupid; it's the basic concept that makes it stupid. The arrogance of EA to think they could ram it down our throats anyway is quite telling...
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

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Apr 2, 2008
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thaluikhain said:
Hmmm...I can get behind the "my town" thing, but being able to interact with others is sorta cool.

OTOH, they could have just made that an option, rather than a focus.
This is what makes me mad. I think there are good ideas in there somewhere that could've worked if the execution was done well, but the developers of the game sound like they went into it backwards - as Yahtzee suggests - and the end result is a game where the focus is entirely lacking in what people actually want from a SimCity game. I can't judge the quality of the game itself - I haven't bought the thing, and have no plans to after the reviews were so bad - but as a fan of some of the previous entries in the series, EA and Maxis have just turned me right off the franchise.

Hopefully there's a Sim City 6 (is it 6?) and some of the faults of this game are corrected.