I’ve been quietly watching the wreckage that is the new sim city launch this past week, where people were not able to access the game they had paid for, or their progress gets deleted or rolled back without an explanation etc. All of these things which should not be happening at all if EA hadn’t taken the monumentally stupid decision of implementing an always online DRM system, leading to the problems the game has been suffering with this week which everyone saw coming from a mile away… Everyone but EA, naturally.
Even with all those problems i took the plunge and bought it on origins, as im kind of an idiot like that. The first thing i noticed was just how bloody quick the download went, which was not a good sign because my connection is nowhere near THAT fast so you are left wondering just how much of the game is sitting in your hard drive and what percentage is being left server-side? So forgetting about that worry I booted the game up to be met with an update screen…Ok so that’s not too bad, mostly par for course with games these days so i waited patiently (perhaps it was part of the game that got left out of the initial origin download?).
The wait wasn’t too bad so perhaps the server issues were nearly resolved? Still with some trepidation though i started the game up after the update fully expecting it to say server load full or wait in line mother fucker etc etc. But no it was a smooth transition from menu screen to starting your own city (although I don’t think you can skip the tutorial) The graphics look all very clean and crisp with a menu system which is concise and straight forward to use.
All the while through the tutorial i was wondering, so when will the problems start? Seemingly not yet as i got through the tutorial smoothly, so i tried to join a region of people with there own cities to play with, and that’s where i hit my first and admittedly only problem with the game. I couldn’t find a region with any free space in it, none at all, they were all filled up and it took me roughly 20-30 minutes to find a free region. Now that’s not necessarily maxis’ fault but they could have at least included the search filter function to include regions with free space! I did however find a region with some space so i moved in before some other bastard took it and I immediately started my plans to build a utopia fit for kings… or something like that.
Before i knew it i’d ploughed 5 hours into a city that hardly resembled a well planned out mega sprawl because to begin with i was still experimenting with what I was meant to be doing, so my city ended up looking random, full of traffic and barely any police or fire services to speak of as I don’t possess the patience to save up for them preferring to spend my money on more roads or something else other than what i actually needed.
Then the fire-breathing lizard struck…. Yep I was the lucky candidate to receive this monstrosity and have it run amok on my shitty town, so I did rebuild what I had lost but this time we even less care and attention than before, and then you hit the boundary limits of how far out you can build and then you get kind of stuck because once you’ve filled in your lets face it quite small plot of land just what the hell are you meant to do then?
Anyway though as I got through this glorious time sink I was struck by how little a problem I was having with the server, after hearing so much stuff about how no one could get on or your city progress gets rolled back it was refreshing to not suffer any of that. I’m not saying that problems don’t exist or that people have had huge problems with playing the game but I count myself one of the increasing lucky ones that were able to play without any hindrance.
So what im trying to get at is, despite all the headlines blaring “WORST LAUNCH EVER” etc it might not be as bad as the journalists are trying to make it as lets face it they have to jazz things up to try to get you to read their articles. As long as you don’t let yourself get swept up in the hype and the mob hate mentality, you will have a ton of fun with the game as Maxis seems to be a master of the time sink genre…
(My first city, ill admit taking this screenshot took me about half an hour because i was stuck in a server queue…..)
Thank you for reading