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A Fistful of Simoleons

March 4th, 2013 - 4:23 pm

It’s been years since anyone has gotten a good SimCity upgrade fix. SimCity 4000 came out, what — a dozen years ago? Then Polygon wrote this over-the-top glowing review of the brand-spankin’-new SimCity, and my playlust went into overdrive.

Until I got to this sidebar in the review:

SimCity demands a constant connection to the EA servers, through Origin, in order to play. This can be problematic at times, but in my experience with SimCity, it was also (when it worked) seamless.

We reviewed SimCity with pre-release code provided by EA, and played on one of their reserved servers. Server inavailability was a minor issue, at first, but after a handful of false starts over the course of an afternoon I experienced no problems.

More problematic (for me) was my home network set-up and a wi-fi router that has taken to dropping connections of late. If you lose an internet connection while playing SimCity will most likely stop and you will be forced back to the loading screen. Sucks to be whatever sims you may have been trying to help or rescue. If you do not have a connection when you try to start playing, the game will not start.

While I did have one brief experience of being able to continue playing the game offline in a private server environment with no other invited players, in all other cases (about 8 separate times, over the course of three days) the game simply halted and waited, politely, for connectivity to be restored.

While an impromptu (but costly) router upgrade solved my wi-fi problem, the server issues were beyond my control, and the lesson lingered. It remains to be seen if EA’s servers will be up to the task of hosting however many simultaneous SimCity games will be played post-release. And those with unreliable internet connections may need to consider if the ability to play SimCity is worth an upgrade of either your service provider or equipment, which may be a cost too high to bear.

Forget it. It will be months after it rolls out for Mac — if ever — before I play a game dependent on EA’s notoriously crappy servers. In fact, I’ve never played any game requiring an always-on connection, nor am I likely to.

And can anyone give me one good reason why a sandbox game like SimCity should require one? If I want to play co-op, that’s a great feature. Otherwise, get the hell out of my sandbox.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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I bought SimCity *ahem* "for my wife", and I feel duped. Not only are certain important aspects of game play flaky (resource trade between the tiny city plots is dependent on the remote servers as I understand) but if you try to switch servers because one is full, your saved games don't go with you. And those are just my practical complaints, never mind the principle of the matter!

This is the last time I buy "access" instead of a program! (Unfortunately I swore the same thing after our unfortunate experience with Civilization over Steam)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"And can anyone give me one good reason why a sandbox game like SimCity should require one?"

If you have to authenticate against a server, then it's much harder to use a pirated copy.

I don't like it, but there *is* a good reason for it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's a "reason". It's not a "good reason", which is what Steve asked for.

As for myself, I'll never buy a game that forces me to be online to play
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's a solution to *their* problem, not mine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Stream does that (most of the recent Call of Duty releases), but their servers are typically up. When I bought COD, though, I didn't know that. I wasn't pleased at all, but eventually their uptime record made me comfortable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's why I passed on Diablo III. I don't want to have to play with others. And I was so looking forward to it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
ArsTechnica didn't like the newest SC nearly as much: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/03/simcity-impressions-we-waited-ten-years-for-this/

I had really high hopes too... the last SC game is looking very dated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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