The new SimCity...*sigh*

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Sheep, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Sim City 4 Deluxe is a great, engrossing, sim-city game. It's still brings me enjoyment (also get the NAM, third party add on which allows you to adjust aspects of the transportation system (how much Sims rely on certain types of transportation, how far they're willing to walk to transit stations, how much they pay at these places.) I'd STILL recommend getting it.

    I've still not been able to play this one, when I finally got into a city lot I, for some reason couldn't build or do anything. When I tried the tutorial I got put into a city with no instructions from the tutorial and all of the UI aspects ghosted out.

    This game, for me, so far is a disappointment and I haven't even begun building anything -because I can't! and I struggled to even get to play it. I hate this cloud computing notion.

    I'll keep giving it a try, there might be something to enjoy here, but, damn, Sim City 4 is just utterly engrossing simply in just building a transit network alone.
     
  2. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is why i rarely am a first adopter of anything.

    Nowadays you are the final beta tester of a game because companies know that they can distribute bug fixes very easily over the internet so they'd rather risk some annoyed fans than miss a deadline and much needed revenue.

    This always on DRM method seems to also have gotten quite popular and the introduction of social aspects (controlled over company servers of course) is also a kind of copy protection no matter how much they want you to believe otherwise.

    In the end i don't have such a big problem with forced internet connection (everybody i know has an internet broadband flatrate that's always active even if the computer is shut down) or social aspects of a game because that's the development since the inception of social sites.

    BUT i have a problem when the company doesn't provide their part of the bargain, i.e. providing stable servers so i can actually play and providing means to play their game without the social component for people who are just not interested to be forced to play with others (such as me).

    These are both technical and game design problems (in the case of SimCity.. you will be shit out of luck apparently if you are stuck in a region with some people who are just not interested in the regional great work and don't pitch in) that need to be solved before the game even begins to interest me.

    Sadly that's not the case with this SimCity.. i'll wait a few weeks to see what people are saying then and will decide after that if i'll buy the game.
     
  3. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Will Wright's last game was Spore, the very definition of an awesome concept that was crippled by its attempts at mass appeal. Will Wright made some great games throughout his career, but I can't say that I implicitly trust his more recent opinions on game design.

    Sometimes removing features and adding restrictions works. I would argue that it worked for Civilization 5 for the most part, although I'm sure some Civilization 4 fans would disagree. ;) But the scale of what they've pared down in this new SimCity is just too much for me.

    Diablo III broke sales records and is the fastest-selling PC game in history. So yes, most gamers will take it up the ass, those of us that care about the way these companies treat customers are in the minority. Always-online DRM is here to stay for as long as people keep buying those games.
     
  4. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There are still people playing all four previous iterations of SimCity today. What happens to this one in X number of years when EA decides they're done supporting it and shuts down the servers?
     
  5. Kronos

    Kronos Admiral Admiral

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    One would be up the creek, but it doesn't appear that this game will have a problem with people playing it for a long time.
     
  6. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    Exactly... THIS. One thousand percent.
    We can still plug in old 8-bit Nintendo systems and play those ancient games for nostalgia's sake... but good luck getting into games long abandoned by their host servers shutting down forever.

    I won't get into a game that I can't grow and age with... I get a lot out of playing my favorite games I haven't touched in 5-10 years. New games that start off dependent on their developer's servers are dead to me...

    Yes, I know I'm in the minority here, that doesn't make it any less lame or downright insulting to a consumer that the producer assumes that I am complicit in piracy before the software is installed! I don't care how awesome the game is, I wouldn't install an always-on DRM game if you paid me.

    Also... some people live in Canada with shitty download caps and outrageous internet access fees. I don't want anything talking to the internet that doesn't need to.
     
  7. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Yeah, but then game publishers don't care about people like you. They also don't care if their game is still playable in 5 or 10 years, because they know they are going to make the vast majority of the game's total sales within the first few months. They'll continue support for a few years, depending on how well it sold (ongoing support costs money, after all.) But eventually, they'll pull the plug and that game you spent your money on will be worthless. It doesn't matter much to the publisher, since it's a net savings to end support, and by that point most gamers have moved on to newer titles, so they aren't going to miss that old game.

    EA's a bunch of bastards but they aren't entirely unreasonable. They are still supporting Spore, 5 years on. Where you have real problems is with games that just totally bombed in sales (say, well under 1 million copies) and the company just wants to cut its losses, or even goes out of business. Obviously, if it has an always-online requirement, you're screwed--but then the company that sold you the game isn't inclined to care, because they lost money or don't even exist anymore.

    The only reason an Internet connection didn't become a requirement sooner was because the financials didn't work out--not enough people had the required connections to make it viable. But now, there is plenty of broadband penetration in the major markets where games are sold, and requiring a connection serves multiple business needs: it thwarts piracy, enables various social features that wouldn't otherwise be possible, permits purchasing of in-game content, and allows the publisher/developer to unilaterally "retire" the game and push people to buy a newer version (or another title entirely.)

    From a business standpoint, it's incredibly astute, and the publishers have figured out that the very vocal minority that hates connection requirements is just that--a tiny minority that the company can safely write off caring about.
     
  8. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    SimCity 3000 feels exactly like a sequel to 2000, better graphics, and more things to build and a large land, really makes the city feel alive.

    4 I haven't played too much, but it feels like there is too much in it.

    I still play 2000, I'd play 3000 but I have a Intel Mac and don't know how to make it run.

    I still play Animal Crossing for the Gamecube 11-12 years later, no need for servers to crash, be hacked, or shut down. I turn on the power and have the memory card in and my village is still there. We shall see where this SimCity is in 11-12 months.
     
  9. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think the fear of it being online only stems not so much because that function, but that EA has been known to rule servers with an iron fist, closing servers far too soon after the game's release, especially if they feel the game hasn't been successful, severely limiting the game's lifespan. We've seen them close game servers as soon as 2-1 years later. So, perhaps because of that history, the idea that it's online only is sending warning signals to everybody, and why there's so much backlash to the idea. The idea itself is fundamentally sound, and I think that under a different publisher that has more respect for servers and letting communities be, that there wouldn't be such a backlash.

    It's a trend that's going to only become more prevalent, and I'm surprised that there hasn't been more of a push for it, but the signals EA sends to their communities by being skittish with their servers doesn't sound very healthy in the longterm for the viability of their products.
     
  10. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The new Sim City changes are all about heavily pushing users towards social multiuser play. The small city size means multiple cities are needed to do the big stuff and each city affects others, but one person can only edit each city in turn rather than concurrently. So you ideally need multiple players in a region to work it dynamically. Plus, this has the added goal of encouraging DLC purchases as other players will see what new stuff you've bought for your city.

    I don't really have a theoretical problem with any of that in an abstract sense. It's a popular & potentially lucrative business model. But on a personal level, it feels a little too much like I'd be the Sim being nudged to behave in certain ways, rather than the person running the city.

    I think a lot of older SimCity players probably feel that way. I was only a casual player because after a while, I just got bored managing everything. But a lot of SimCity fans enjoyed the game precisely because it let them feel like they were in complete charge of this vast ecosystem, rather than someone being pushed around in a certain direction.

    So aspects of the new SimCity will probably not appeal to them. But they will probably appeal to a whole different tranche of people, so I still expect very good sales figures.

    In fact, the last thing I'd be worried about with the always on connection is the game's servers being turned off; they'll want to sell DLC and other expansions on a title like this for as long as there are enough gamers are playing it. If need be, they'll reduce the number of servers but as long as there's a critical mass, they'll keep pumping out DLC for at least 5 years or so, probably 10. I wouldn't even necessarily expect a new SimCity any time soon. Instead they'll probably pump out various large-scale expansions of this game, like what happens with various MMOs. Vanilla will still be played, but on a shrinking number of regions, as new major expansions come out over the years to come. If it doesn't sell well at the start, sure, yes, EA have historically been swift to shut servers. But on a title like this, I don't think the sales figures will disappoint, so they'll want to milk it for as long as possible.

    Whether you buy this game is more about whether its mindset jives with the kind of game environment you want to play within. It's not my cup of tea, personally. But if you're like me, it's not like there aren't already perfectly good SimCity games out there.

    EDIT: currently watching JP McDaniel & Day9 on Twitch TV, attempting to play SimCity. Multiple difficulties logging in, then keeps crashing, kicking them to desktop; trololololol. It's kind of funny. :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  11. ThunderAeroI

    ThunderAeroI Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My game continues to be an expensive paperweight in which I cant do anything.
     
  12. Cutter John

    Cutter John Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sounds to me like they're trying to turn their games into Facebook style social media events. Screw that. I want a game that I can fire up and play to pass the time whenever my internet goes down.


    That just means a lot of people fell for the initial hype. I'm love to know how many people are still playing it.
     
  13. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have no interest in any kind of multiplayer experience, so I won't buy this, which is a pity because I like that kind of game.
     
  14. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've stopped playing after reaching Inferno and getting my ass whooped constantly /and that's been months ago).. gear was not good enough but monsters rarely dropped anything useful besides Potions. So i had absolutely no desire to farm gold and buy better gear through the auction house.
    Was a blast though initially and together with some friends over teamspeak was really great.

    For whatever reason i'm still itching to buy SimCity.. everything i hear is mostly critical and EA has major troubles getting their crap online DRM to work so people can actually play.

    Yeah i know.. i'm pathetic :( :lol:
     
  15. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hype, or nostalgia for the old games. After StarCraft II did well, we thought Blizzard knew what it was doing. We were wrong.
     
  16. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I agree with you completely, the moment they announced that SimCity was going to require a constant internet connection to play was the moment they lost my business. But the majority of consumers just don't care about that. I wish it wasn't so, I wish that more people would oppose this transparent attempt to shift power away from the consumer and towards game publishers, but most people just want to play a game and don't care about the back-end stuff.

    I'd like to think that the negative PR from the failures of SimCity and Diablo III's launch will encourage gamers to be more cautious about purchasing games with this kind of DRM in the future. But I fear that the next game to try it will just throw millions of dollars into generating hype and this sort of crap will slowly become the norm.

    There's already a rumour that the next Xbox will require a constant internet connection to run, and Sony may well do the same if MS decides to.

    There's another big advantage to this system: preventing user mods. Why let people download free mods when you can charge them for DLC instead (and SimCity has a big ad for DLC packs right on the main menu). By making SimCity an online game they can justify banning modders for "hacking". I think it's pretty telling that this SimCity has a global leaderboard, which is weird in a game that's ostensibly about the challenge of designing the city of your dreams, not competing with other players.

    EA may not choose to do this with SimCity if players find a way to mod the game. But I have little doubt that this is the direction EA is planning to go long-term.

    But does that matter? Millions of people bought the game and Blizzard made tonnes of money. From a business point of view, it was a huge success.
     
  17. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

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    They already have one, called "Sim City Social". It's like Farmville meets Sim City. Cutesy graphics with missions and you have to have neighbors who also play.

    I play it, but meh.

    I do like all this complaining about the servers being shit. If everyone gives up then it'll be that much more server space when the Mac version comes out in a few months.
     
  18. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    I think that may be a premature assumption. User-generated content is a major draw for games like this, so I don't see EA getting rid of modding entirely. What they would likely do, if anything, is provide a supported means of modding the game while keeping the social playing field (e.g. global leaderboards) level. If you engaged in unauthorized hacking of their files, however, I would not be surprised if they detect this and consider it a "compromised" client, going so far as disabling the game entirely. Things like that are trivial to do with an always-connected game. But since there are good business reasons to have a user-driven modding system in place (such as the value it adds through user-generated content for very little expense on the business side), I don't think the industry is poised to eliminate that just yet.
     
  19. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You may be right, and it's possible that I'm just being overly negative about their intentions. But there does seem to have been a trend in recent years away from modding and towards DLC and microtransactions. I'd like to think that EA are smart enough to realise the downsides of that sort of thinking, but this is a company that just removed the singleplayer component from a traditionally singleplayer franchise, so I don't hold the management of that company in particularly high regard.

    As for modding in SimCity, according to a reddit thread I read earlier (which is the most respectable source of information around :shifty:) while the Glassbox engine used for simulating cities client-side is moddable, the Glasshouse engine that simulates the regions serverside doesn't currently support user mods. Maybe Maxis will construct an infrastructure to allow mods work in the future, but right now they're struggling to even get the basics working properly. They've even been reduced to disabling non-essential features just to allow people play the game.
     
  20. Timby

    Timby LIKE LIGHTNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING Administrator

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    Always connected to the Internet =/= removing single-player.