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SimCity 5: How Not To Design a Single Player Game

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the profit-above-all dept.

Cloud 569

It seems that the requirement to be online and save games on a remote server even in single player mode is leading to a less than ideal launch for SimCity 5. choke writes "Players attempting to play EA/Maxis' new SimCity game are finding that their save games are tied to a particular server, are facing problems with disconnects, inability to track friends or search for specific coop games online and failures to load game, and wait times of 20 minutes per login attempt. The question is, why the online restriction? Does this possibly indicate future micro-transactions in game?"

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EA at it again (5, Insightful)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093083)

Seems like every new EA release has similar issues. With hordes of bad amazon reviews because of it.

Re:EA at it again (5, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093139)

There's been a good reason that I haven't bought any EA games for a long time.

These issues have been A SECOND good reason for a somewhat less long time.

Re:EA at it again (4, Interesting)

CodeHxr (2471822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093479)

There's been a good reason that I haven't bought any EA games for a long time.

These issues have been A SECOND good reason for a somewhat less long time.

I personally see no need for online requirements for a single player experience. EA, Blizzard, or any other developer/publisher/whatever doesn't matter - the point is I won't buy games that require an online presence for a single player experience.

Re:EA at it again (5, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093231)

What really annoys me is the absolute limit of what I can do to these bastards is not give them money. There needs to be a way to take money away from companies that deliver exceptionally bad products.

Re:EA at it again (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093345)

You could always call tech support and see how much of their time you can waste.

Re:EA at it again (4, Funny)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093567)

You could always call tech support and see how much of their time you can waste.

"We have detected a sharp increase in the number of lengthy tech support calls following the game's release. For our next game, as a pre-emptive measure, we have included the 'Help me!' button, which will instantly connect you to one of our SimCity helpfriends, who will aid you with whatever you need! To reduce call waiting time, your phone will be dialed when you log into the game, and the call will remain active until you sign out."

Re:EA at it again (5, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093661)

The next big trend: "premium" support. Free access to a "community" support forum, where other users -- for free -- may or may not help. Then for bigger problems you can call a 1-900 number, or a 1-800 number to pay up with a credit card per incident. Maybe the Premium box set versions of their games includes one free incident resolution (expires 3 months from purchase, no guarantee they will actually fix the issue).

Re:EA at it again (4, Insightful)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093369)

The real problem is stupid people who continue to give them ridiculous amounts of money.
If people stopped doing this, EA would have no money and stop making this "products".

Re:EA at it again (5, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093413)

Awww, come on now.

Ctrl-alt-shift God_mode
Giveme 100000000000

(Web window pops open)
"Please click to confirm $9.95 micro-purchase."

It's very well thought out.

Re:EA at it again (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093455)

Note they didn't even step on Amazon's no-confirm purchase!

Re:EA at it again (1)

Shajenko42 (627901) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093637)

If you cared enough, you could keep track of each of their new releases and warn your friends ahead of time of all the nonsense that went on with previous releases. That would probably hurt them a bit.

Re:EA at it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093665)

It's been clear for a long time that EA wants to go out of business, and I'm happy to help by not buying their games.

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093109)

first hahahaha

Re:first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093371)

Score: -1, LOLFail

This is unfortunate. (5, Insightful)

Servercide (2820403) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093149)

I miss the era simple gaming. Where myself and my buddies would have a LAN party. COD4 was a godsend when I was deployed.

Re:This is unfortunate. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093463)

The era is still here, just it isn't hosted by any large Corp like EA. It is the Indie developer who you need to be looking at for good gaming.

Re:This is unfortunate. (5, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093519)

Many of the good old games are still for sale (cheap) [gog.com] , without all the modern BS connection requirements, broken first releases, DRM, etc.

Re:This is unfortunate. (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093591)

Yes but a lot of those GOG games have things like MP removed. And because of how they are reworked, are not compatible with, say, the CD version.

Wrong lesson. (5, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093151)

From the Ars Technica story:

Hopefully EA will learn from the experience and buff up its servers ahead of the game's official European launch on Friday.

As nice as that would be, it's the wrong lesson. The lesson EA needs to learn here is the same one that every other video game publisher has to learn: don't build inherently single-player games with always-on requirements! There was no reason for this in SimCity.

Maybe the next SimCity will learn that lesson from this one. Maybe EA will release a patch that offers the option of offline play. We can hope ... but as it stands now, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the end of the SimCity series -- Maxis' version of Master of Orion III, if you will.

Re:Wrong lesson. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093383)

I've watched the demo videos, the new Sim city is not a single-player game. It may be (incorrectly) sold as a single-player game, and it follows many years of single-player games with the same name, but this revision is not single-player.

The root functionality in this version is that people divvy up chunks of a region and build. The different microcities interact, and together you build something big and cool. The drawback is, that is not what Sim City has ever been, and I think the developers are overestimating how much support that model will have.

Re:Wrong lesson. (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093457)

> The root functionality in this version is that people divvy up chunks of a region and build.

Exactly, the game is made with multiplayer in mind.
You can play it without any other players, but the mechanics then become annoying and are obtuse.

Re:Wrong lesson. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093517)

Minecraft with buliding shaped blocks but less sand to play with?

Re:Wrong lesson. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093503)

The lesson EA needs to learn here is the same one that every other video game publisher has to learn: don't build inherently single-player games with always-on requirements!

They're not gonna change.

Battlefield 3 only has a very small (and generally rubbish) single player component, most of it is online, which naturally has to be done via EA's Origin service. When BF3 initially launched most people had a horrendous time getting on a server for the first couple of days because the Origin servers just couldn't handle the number of people trying to register and download the game and sign in/play.

So, lesson learned, right? EA then knew roughly how many players there were and therefore had a good upper guesstimate of people downloading the next DLC, so they could upgrade/tweak/fix/whatever their system to handle the load this time. Right? Nope. Exactly the same thing happened when the first DLC was released: the servers couldn't handle the load and an unreasonable amount of time was spent by a lot of players trying to get the damn thing to download and launch. This has happened for every single one of the 4 DLCs so far, and is almost certainly going to happen again for the last DLC when it launches on the PC in a week or two.

Worse than that, every time there is a major release on Origin, such as SimCity, it seems to crap out the system for BF3 as well. A patch was released for BF3 on the same day as SimCity and, as a result of the SimCity players hammering Origin trying to register and download their game it took a crazy amount of time to patch BF3 via Origin which, naturally, can't be played unless you're officially up to date.

If they can't learn the lesson of "if a game must be played online make sure the servers always have adequate capacity" after BF3s initial release plus 4 and soon to be 5 DLCs they're not going to learn the lesson of "don't build an always-online component into an offline game".

Re:Wrong lesson. (0)

Sporkinum (655143) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093525)

I run steam 99% of the time in offline mode. No problem!

Re:Wrong lesson. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093641)

All it takes is a management change, a hacker, or bad bug and you'll lose everything. If you had physical media without online activation, you'd lose nothing. Some of us don't want to take the risk. There are plenty of games to try that aren't on stream and aren't published by major gaming companies.

Re:Wrong lesson. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093555)

No, the lesson they need to learn is that online authentication is inherently evil. This is exactly what I've been complaining about ever since Steam came out and people didn't boycott it en masse. Steam may do its best to play nice (so far) but there's no getting around the fact that if I install a piece of software that at some point needs to connect to someone else's server, I am at their mercy.

Now all these copycats are popping up and doing things wrong, and we've lost the moral right to complain because we were already duped by Steam into thinking it's okay for them to expect us to pay for something that we can only use as long as they say we can.

Actually, I hope they don't learn their lessons. I hope the users are outraged, bad publicity makes the game sales not worth the cost of running their authentication servers, they take those servers down, and the people who can no longer play their games finally decide to never again buy a game that requires authentication.

I can only hope.

Re:Wrong lesson. (5, Funny)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093611)

We can hope ... but as it stands now, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the end of the SimCity series -- Maxis' version of Master of Orion III, if you will.

Hey! That's unfair!

In the case of Master of Orion 3 an always-on requirement that prevented you from playing the game at all would have been a great feature.

Why the online restriction? DUH! (-1, Flamebait)

llZENll (545605) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093639)

Are you joking? Have you been living under a rock the past 10 years? The online restriction has 100% everything to do with piracy, anything else is simply a side effect. It is no secret, piracy has been raping the game market, well guess what, you can't have free games forever! Each year you have more games pushed to server only for the one simple reason of authentication. EA are not scumbags! They are in business like every other single business on the planet, to make money. If you would rather steal games than pay for them then they don't have much of a choice, if you don't like it then don't buy the fucking game! It is pretty simple.

Re:Wrong lesson. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093645)

There was no reason for this in SimCity.

You haven't played the new SimCity, have you? Regions require that the game be always online, and regions are fundamental to how the game functions.

Re:Wrong lesson. (2)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093703)

Funny, regions seemed to work just fine in SimCity 4.

Re:Wrong lesson. (1)

dnaumov (453672) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093671)

From the Ars Technica story:

Hopefully EA will learn from the experience and buff up its servers ahead of the game's official European launch on Friday.

As nice as that would be, it's the wrong lesson. The lesson EA needs to learn here is the same one that every other video game publisher has to learn: don't build inherently single-player games with always-on requirements! There was no reason for this in SimCity.

How naive. Of course there is a reason. It's called planned obsolescence.

I thought EA were not scumbags? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093155)

Didn't someone just claim that EA were not scumbags?

Because this is again stuff a scumbag does.

In another X years, you will not even be able to save progress with this game. Why would anyone buy into that?

EA: Making solutions into major problems (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093531)

X Years? try now. Players are complaining that saved games won't load back.

The game has been deliberately broken in the name of DRM, without any thought of what the outcome would be. With no commitment from EA to remove this built-in self-destruct, anyone would be a fool to buy this game. In 18 months when the "water pumps that work" DLC and the "slightly larger map, so you can actually build a city" DLC fails to meet sales targets, EA will simply pull the plug and all those people who paid a premium price will find, what they had was a bug-ridden FaceBook game.

Blaming "high demand" for these problems is an outright lie. The servers were taking three hours for people to download and unlock the game and 30 minutes to connect! This was when only pre-order clients and press who'd stayed up until midnight were on-line - hardly the maximum player-base you'd expect, certainly nowhere near "high demand".
And why would they be needed anyway for a SINGLE PLAYER game? Because EA broke it.

Re:I thought EA were not scumbags? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093541)

Neh, they'll release a patch in X years allowing you to play it offline when sales have dried up.

You'll have to pay for the patch though.

Re:I thought EA were not scumbags? (1)

AkaKaryuu (1062882) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093701)

It isn't that they arn't scumbags, its just that we shouldn't be calling them scumbags. Because, you know, feelings.

Why the online restriction...?? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093171)

What a ridiculous question... We know that there are at least 3 obvious reasons for this:

1) To prevent you selling the game. I'm guessing that there is some unique key for the copy you bought tied to your online profile.
2) To make you have to upgrade when they shut off the servers for SimCity 5 when they launch SimCity 6. EA are known for this. Anyone tried play FIFA 2011 or The Sims 2 online recently...?
3) To try and stop piracy. Instead of just having to activate online, which could be bypassed by some enterprising cracker, now bits of the game need a connection to actually function. Makes the job of cracking it more difficult I guess.

Re:Why the online restriction...?? (5, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093245)

To sum up:

1) To prevent you selling the game. I'm guessing that there is some unique key for the copy you bought tied to your online profile.

Greed

2) To make you have to upgrade when they shut off the servers for SimCity 5 when they launch SimCity 6. EA are known for this. Anyone tried play FIFA 2011 or The Sims 2 online recently...?

Greed

3) To try and stop piracy. Instead of just having to activate online, which could be bypassed by some enterprising cracker, now bits of the game need a connection to actually function. Makes the job of cracking it more difficult I guess

Greed

I think it's pretty obvious why it will not sell well and yet another series dying (Dead Space 4 being cancelled because of poor sales of 3) because of greed.

Re:Why the online restriction...?? (5, Interesting)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093251)

List of servers EA took down in '11, notice there are a few '10 games on there.
http://flawedgaming.com/2011/07/12/ea-shutting-down-15-game-servers-in-august-and-october-2011/ [flawedgaming.com]

Re:Why the online restriction...?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093367)

To be fair the '10 games shipped in '09.

Re:Why the online restriction...?? (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093481)

At the tail end, so we're talking like a year and a couple months... big whoop.

Games are still being taken down when new ones are released.

Not an EA fan but (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093183)

I think SC5 is getting really bad rep for wrong reasons - no one seems to want to remember the answer Maxis gave to the online requirement: your PC is not doing the backend work for the city simulation - its cloud based now. SimCity 3000 had an incredible amount of math behind it, SimCity 5 is the same and there is so much more of it that it has been offloaded into the cloud.

Re:Not an EA fan but (4, Informative)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093241)

And if you believe that, I have some oceanfront property near Denver to sell you.

SimCity 3000 was released 13 years ago. Care to guess how much desktop computing power has advanced since then? Here's a hint: A lot.

Re:Not an EA fan but (5, Interesting)

Trashcan Romeo (2675341) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093495)

The "We must use the cloud to provide you with all the mathification going on!" claim is also weakened by the oppressively narrow limits on city size.

Re:Not an EA fan but (4, Informative)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093547)

Exactly... that was the same thing Blizzard said about Diablo 3, it needs to be always on for some server work when released on the PC; then came out on the Xbox and it's got an offline mode. Only thing they needed it for on the PC was for DRM and the auction house.

Re:Not an EA fan but (1)

1_brown_mouse (160511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093603)

Do you honestly think they programmed it to calculate efficiently? They had deadlines to meet and game play issues to work out.

Re:Not an EA fan but (1)

Zcar (756484) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093339)

They may have good reasons to do it, but it's still a reason I won't buy it for various reasons, most importantly, will I still be able to play it in 20 years? I still pull out Civ 2 from time to time, as well as other games from the early-mid 1990s. I don't have any expectation of being able to do the same with titles like this.

Re:Not an EA fan but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093395)

I'm not buying it. I would bet that 99% of the simulation is running on your PC, and the "cloud" is perhaps only sending some minor details like regional economic inputs.

And I don't even give a fuck about DRM and clod-storage. Not buying because of the minuscule cities.

Re:Not an EA fan but (1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093417)

Are you really so stupid as to think EA has more processing power at its disposal than millions of potential customers?

You're really claiming that EA has more processing power sitting around idle just for SimCity 5 players than its entire customer base has combined sitting on desktops?

Really?

That stupid are you?

You must believe EA to have the single largest computing infrastructure in the world.

Re:Not an EA fan but (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093543)

No, GP has it right, didn't you know that for every copy of SimCity 5 that is sold, EA provision and install an additional server into their cloud.

Re:Not an EA fan but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093461)

I think the worst part is the transportation system was decimated. Not to mention all the other features removed from SC4. All these guys had to do was follow Simtropolis for the last 10 years to get an idea of what the community actually wanted in a city sim.

Re:Not an EA fan but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093613)

No. Simtropolis people generally just defeat the simulator and use the game as a pixel art platform.

SimCity might be a lame game for many reasons beyond the DRM. But not pandering to the hardcore by including 37 different highway ramps isn't the reason. (the cities are too small for that stuff anyway)

Re:Not an EA fan but (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093527)

> your PC is not doing the backend work for the city simulation - its cloud based now.

Which is a crock of shit.

They found that in reality your computer was sending around 40MB/hr and receiving about 3MB/hr back. That 3MB can't be much more then basic calculations, which if it can drive the graphics it could easily do some extra back-end calculations.

Re:Not an EA fan but (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093529)

Not *that* much math!

Re:Not an EA fan but (1)

ezelkow1 (693205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093535)

That was their initial claim, but they stopped really pushing that angle once the drm backlash started. Though even a developer statement back in december briefly mentioned it again. From early reviews, since the cities are so small, and the sim resident count 1/100th of what it used to be in titles meant to run on hardware with 1/10th the speed, that whole online processing seems like complete BS. Otherwise why restrict the city size so much, why not let us build an NYC with millions of inhabitants instead of limiting us to a large suburb with at most 100k residents

Great franchise crippled by poor implementation (2)

fox1324 (1039892) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093225)

I'm sure there are many SimCity fans out there who would love to play the latest iteration. Unfortunately, EA has proven time and again that they're willing to sacrifice players' freedom in the name of profit. The online requirement is arbitrary DRM. Their backend is not thought out at all. This isn't WoW, there is no reason to tied to a particular server. Players are dealing with all the downsides of online play (long queues to log in, savegame problems, disconnects), and none of the benefits (finding friends, co-op play, etc).

And yes, there will be micro-transactions. Be prepared for the worst.

"Looks like a hurricane is headed for your city. Pay $5.99 now to save your citizens!"

Re:Great franchise crippled by poor implementation (1)

Trashcan Romeo (2675341) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093539)

"Sacrifice players' freedom"... As one person put it, given that SC is presented as a "toy", EA seems pretty damned determined to limit the ways you can play with it.

Didn't have a whole lot of trouble on my end. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093235)

I didn't have any real trouble yesterday, although I started playing in the late afternoon. The only issue I experienced was my friends not showing up for the first 10 minutes of play. After waiting a bit they popped up and we were able to set up a region and I haven't experienced any issues with that since.

Digital Restriction Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093247)

People need to put in the effort to get these DRM details before they get tricked on these EA games, because EA themselves will obviously never put it in the plain. They're really into tricking people.

Re:Digital Restriction Management (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093365)

They're just driving people to bittorrent, where people cracked the games and allow single-player offline play.

It's EA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093249)

That's the real reason for the failure.

This is not providing features I want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093255)

The fun part comes in after they release SimCity 6 and decide to disable the old servers to save hosting fees. Where are your saves then?

This is only part of the reason I prefer better city builders, like Dwarf Fortress.

Online when it's useful... (1)

torkus (1133985) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093257)

...to the consumer.

No one minds WoW (etc.) requiring an online connection because that connection serves a purpose and delivers part of your experience. Without it you lose the basis of the game. Even while farming you have some social interaction and the chance to go off and raid or help out a guildy.

But what does this bring? As I understand it there is a social component to the new simcity but is it fundamental to the game? No. Can you build a city on your own? Yep. And on top of all that you don't bother getting your auth server (and save server) working properly? What's *wrong* with the people running this show?

Microtransactions can require internet *for the transaction*. Multiplayer? Sure. But the nonsense around single player games needing to be online to check in? It just walks down the restrictive path that the music industry tried with MP3 and DRM. You won't win.

Re:Online when it's useful... (1)

petteyg359 (1847514) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093275)

What's *wrong* with the people running this show?

Everything, obviously. Perhaps you should ask, instead, what is right...

Bet the pirated version doesn't have these issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093279)

n/t

They are training the children for the future of.. (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093313)

Commerce, wont you think of the children.

We'll be having micro transactions for everything!

*This post is deliberately meant to be stupid and lulzy.

fooled (4, Informative)

Ogive17 (691899) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093319)

My brother talked me in to pre-ordering the game, it's been awhile since I had played any of the sim city games and I enjoyed the 1hr beta using his account.

But wow what a clusterfuck yesterday's launch was. I was woken up around 2am by our infant and used that as an opportunity to d/l and install the game. Apparently it was a very wise decision. Once I got home from work around 5pm ET trying to get connect and stay connected was impossible. Three times I got a city started only to get booted after about 15 minutes and the game did not save any of my progress. After making and eating dinner my brother and I tried to start our own region. That took around 30 minutes before it finally worked and again we were kicked after about 20-25 minutes. I gave up at that point since the baby was fussy and my wife needed a break.

The N. American servers were filling up almost immediately after being brought online. It's almost as if EA thought only a third of their pre-orders would try playing on day 1. But a failed launch for EA is par for the course. Fool me once, shame on you... fool me again, shame on me.

The game itself was enjoyable during the beta... too bad the publisher is one of the worst companies on the planet.

Re:fooled (1)

dehole (1577363) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093595)

Sounds like you should return the game :)

EA is a toy maker, not a game maker. (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093327)

EA hasn't been a game maker for years. They're just another Hasbro now. Turning out cheap copycat toy after cheap copycat toy. The only difference is who's branding they put on the game. They want everyone to pay more and more regardless of how much they paid for the game up front and that is much more difficult offline. With an always on, always tied to your account, always able to verify, always able to control the save game so you can't possibly just hex edit yourself the extra ???? you need.

The reason EA games suck is not because they are more greedy than useful, the reason EA games suck is because they are hundreds of times more greedy than useful. Ubisoft is hardly any better, those they at least learned how retarded always on was and stopped.

Remember, always connected means you in no way own your game. When they turn off the servers, your game goes away and you don't get your money back, its just done. No one will play SimCity5 again after that point.

Won't effect me.

When I first heard about SC5 after seeing the fucktarded SimCities Socities, I thought KICK ASS! A new SimCity ... and then put it in the back of my mind until it was actually released so I don't nag myself about it until then ... then yesterday I read a review on arstechnica.com ... Always on, small play area, economy is entirely unpredictable and irrational in its turns from bust to boom to bust with no logical reason why, all sorts of further issues in the full article. All of the issues seemed to stem from the fact that force you to play and depend on other people.

NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO FUCKING PLAY GAMES WITH INTERNET MORONS OKAY?

I certainly don't. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes I will play with friends, in certain games, when my mood fits it. But any game that I'm going to sit down and dedicate hours of effort and planning to, I'm only going to play with about 3 select friends who will NEVER have the time to be online at the same time as me (kids tend to make schedules hard on you). The rest of the Internet is pretty fucking annoying to deal with in those games, I certainly don't want my game to have to deal with how that jack ass sells his commodities and prices which screw my plan or spews his environmental mess at me.

I ALREADY HAVE REAL LIFE, I DON'T WANT IT IN A GAME.

In a game I want to be in control. I don't want to be at some little 'Anonymous' asshole's whim.

Re:EA is a toy maker, not a game maker. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093593)

"economy is entirely unpredictable and irrational in its turns from bust to boom to bust with no logical reason why"

Realism.

First impressions... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093341)

...You only get one chance to make them.

Simcity 5 dumbed down the road and zoneing system (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093353)

Simcity 5 dumbed down the road and zoneing system way to much.

I want citys in cities in motion 2

Re:Simcity 5 dumbed down the road and zoneing syst (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093419)

It's a huge backward step from Simcity 4. Perhaps a group could get together, pool resources and buy the blasted SC4 source code from EA.

Blame the pirates (-1, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093359)

The always on connection is nothing more than DRM in disguise. If the pirates hadn't been so keen to rip every game they could get their grubby little hands on this sort of nonsense probably wouldn't have happened.

Yes I know, the truth hurts. But if you're a company thats spent 10s if not 100s of millions on developing a game you're no longer going to watch that investment go down the toilet via a DVD bit copier. They figure that since most gamers now have always on broadband the inconvenience is minimal. Except when they fuck up like this of course.

Re:Blame the pirates (4, Interesting)

trdrstv (986999) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093469)

The always on connection is nothing more than DRM in disguise. If the pirates hadn't been so keen to rip every game they could get their grubby little hands on this sort of nonsense probably wouldn't have happened.

Yes I know, the truth hurts. But if you're a company thats spent 10s if not 100s of millions on developing a game you're no longer going to watch that investment go down the toilet via a DVD bit copier. They figure that since most gamers now have always on broadband the inconvenience is minimal. Except when they fuck up like this of course.

Piracy isn't the issue here, EA is making it this way so when they shut down the servers in 3-ish years you can't play the game and they can move you onto SimCity6. They already killed the "used game market" for PC games and now they are moving to the "software as a service" model so they can remove games you bought to entice you with a new one. I for one won't be renting games from them, I'll go back to playing SimCity 2000 or SimCity 4 instead.

Re:Blame the pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093691)

I'm already boycotting EA, Activision and Ubisoft. I mostly play indies and old titles nowadays, which are usually more feature rich, equally fun to play and are build for specific types of players and not gamers in general. Plus thanks to the efforts of GOG, IndieGala and Humble Bundle, they usually come DRM free and are often multiplatform. Plus their prices are not overinflated and by cutting out the publishers, all the revenue goes to the developer so that they can turn another original idea into a game (which is basically what "indie" movement stands for). If enough people do the same (boycott big publishers) they will fall and we'll be free to play the games we want to play, and not the games we settle for because the publisher tried to cater for larger audience and protect his revenue at the same time.

Re:Blame the pirates (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093553)

Again, this pointless "every game pirated is a lost sale" arguments. I'd say that most kids who pirate the game would never have had the money to buy the game in the first place.

I'd bet that companies lose more money into trying to make their games secure than the total of potential lost sales.

Re:Blame the pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093561)

So instead of EA shouldering the pain they ship it to their customers. Brilliant.

Excuse me if I don't shed a tear for a company that rakes in more money than you or I will ever see made off of entertainment.

Re:Blame the pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093569)

Except it's been proven time and time again that this DOESN'T STOP PIRATES. Another day or two, if it hasn't happened already, SimCity 5 will be cracked and pirates will be able to play the game while everyone who bought it isn't. From this we can assume one of two things is true:
1. EA is run by a bunch of fucking retarded executives who cannot process facts.
2. This always online requirement isn't about piracy at all.

As much as I hate EA, I doubt they're completely retarded. This is pretty much just a test bed for obsoleting older games and forcing everyone onto the new version of the year.

Re:Blame the pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093577)

I would much rather blame EA. You know, the people who actually implemented this fuck-up of a system.

Re:Blame the pirates (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093633)

Pirates may have hastened the process, but even without them this would come eventually as a way for publishers to battle their other nemesis: Second-hand games. An effective DRM system can also be used to stop people from selling the games on cheap when they are done, which in turn means everyone pays retail rather than sensibly waiting a few months so they can buy that $60 for $10 in the used bin.

Maybe try playing the game (3, Informative)

Godai (104143) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093361)

Look, this is from someone who last night made his first city about 8 times and lost it all 8 times because of the server nonsense. I was pretty annoyed.

But if we're going to lambaste someone for doing the always-online thing, maybe we shouldn't just jump to conclusions, maybe you should, learn something about i it first? Or maybe you just want to be hip & cool like everyone else and be against always-online without using any actual critical thinking. If so, bravo.

One of the cornerstone features of the game this time around is the Region play aspect. This was introduced in Sim City 4, but they've taken it to a much more interesting place in this iteration. Basically, there are about a dozen regions you can choose to play on; first, you choose one. Each region has X 'city slots'. This doesn't necessarily mean # of players, but it obviously puts a cap on X players in that region. Nothing stops you from building all X cities yourself over time. The cities have a lot of interconnection, hooked up by highway, or rail, or whatever. You can specialize one city as a college town, make another the bedroom community, etc. And, of course, you can invite people into your game (if its private, otherwise they just find it) to fill out the other cities instead -- and cooperate, fight, whatever.

That doesn't work without a server authority, so that needs always-online to work. Otherwise you'd need one person to host, and never stop. So this is logical. Plus, you can still play it by yourself if you want.

The part you can argue for the always-online component is whether they should have let you play in a local region offline. That's a reasonable question. But they didn't just 'tack always-online' on as a form of DRM (though I'm sure they were happy to have it) -- its pretty clearly a foundation of the way they expect the majority of people to play. And I think they're right -- the *only* reason I'm playing the game is so I can play with my brother. If it was a purely single player game, I'd have passed.

Now if could just get that server mess sorted out, I think this would be a fun game. From what I've seen so far, the UI is easily the best SimCity has ever had. It was pure pleasure laying out zones & drawing roads, etc. And I like their module system for expanding the utilities & other buildings.

It's not fair to say this is "how not to design a single player game". That's insipid. They've taken a single player game and made an interesting multi-player game, that if you really want to you can play by yourself. That's not the same thing.

Re:Maybe try playing the game (4, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093557)

That doesn't work without a server authority, so that needs always-online to work.

Thats funny because my friends, myself, and many others had that same sort of feature in SimCity 4 without a central server. And ... guess what ... EA even had a way to do it through their servers without any such always on requirement.

Thinking they NEED to be connected for this just shows how you don't understand how this stuff works and as such are being taken advantage of.

Re:Maybe try playing the game (1)

seepho (1959226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093675)

Thats funny because my friends, myself, and many others had that same sort of feature in SimCity 4 without a central server.

Not in the way SC5 has it. The cities interact with each other in a way greater than dumb road and pipe connections with neighbors that may or may not exist.

Re:Maybe try playing the game (4, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093647)

But they didn't just 'tack always-online' on as a form of DRM

I think this point is debatable. EA has shown time and time again they seem to only greenlight games that have an always-on aspect to them. I think if SimCity 5 *had* facilitated an offline experience, EA would have never approved it. Games get bonus points for *meaningful* use of online connectivity when applied, but at the end of the day DRM leaning motivations are almost certainly at the core of the design.

Microwhat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093377)

Why would they need an "always on" feature for microtransactions? Isn't the whole point of those to offer something cheap to make that you can quickly sell at extreme profit, so you no longer have to worry about people pirating/etc?

It sounds more to me like they're trying to fit their entire ecosystem into the same online framework, in a massive bungling attempt to reduce development costs by ruining their games and reputation.

EA's reason for the Always Online Restriction (3, Interesting)

Brownstar (139242) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093429)

According to EA, hte reason for the always online requirement, is because the game truly is a client server model. Each client, runs 1 region at a time. it then sends data about what has occurred in that region to then be processed by the EA server's and then pushed to the other regions in that game. This occurs every three minutes. Welcome to cloud computing.

http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/The-Benefits-of-Live-Service [simcity.com]

Don't know where they're coming from... (0)

seepho (1959226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093441)

I've logged 10 hours in the game already without issue. I guess with all the hate people had for the game before anyone had even played it, it's not surprising people are trying to drum up controversy that's more than the obvious "I don't like that the game is always online."

And while I'm on the subject, the "regions" aspect of the game is damn fun. You have to build your city with surrounding cities in mind -- taking a city that is successful in one region and plopping it down in another wouldn't necessarily work very well. It's not like they just tossed always-online DRM onto a reskinned SC4; the always-online requirement is fundamental to gameplay.

Offloading computations (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093445)

One of the other reasons for the always-on requirement is probably the fact that some computations are offloaded to EA-servers.

GlassBox is the engine that drives the entire game -- the buildings, the economics, trading, and also the overall simulation that can track data for up to 100,000 individual Sims inside each city. There is a massive amount of computing that goes into all of this, and GlassBox works by attributing portions of the computing to EA servers (the cloud) and some on the player's local computer.

source [simcity.com]

But also forcing it for save-games is a bit silly.

No suprise there... (2)

Valcrus (1242564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093465)

Sorry I got burned on Diablo 3. I love Sim City but I will never buy another single player game that requires an internet connection to their servers just for me to play. Because years down the road when they decide "Hey its not worth running this anymore" they will pull the plug and then you have a game that is no longer playable. Either that or the servers were always down when I went "Well its my day off lets go play for a bit".

Please note (1)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093473)

EA said you are now entitled to a refund! Rip them off!

Hardly news (1)

simplypeachy (706253) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093485)

This is considered news? Anyone who paid to rent this part of EA's temporary entertainment service must have known it was going to be a train wreck for a week or so, then be littered with similar problems from time to time, until the service is withdrawn.

FAIL on so many levels. (4, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093487)

Not-knowing-what-regressions-are-FAIL:

Origin didn't allow purchasers to pre-load SimCity before its official launch at 12:01am EST this morning, apparently because the development team was "working to polish the game until the very last second"

Hint: you don't "work to polish the game until the last second", you work to polish and then delay launch because you can't be sure of the quality until you've retested and had a solid set of builds passing your regression testing and product testing. Who can possibly think it is a good idea to still be changing software code seconds before the launch?

Server-capacity-FAIL:

Later, even after the problems were officially "resolved," EA warned that "due to server load it may take up to three hours for your game to unlock.

Invasive-DRM-where-you-make-legitimate-users-suffer-disproportionally-for-your-FAILures:

Some online reports indicate that even those with the disc-based retail version of the game were delayed in their installation by Origin server problems.

Got-it-wrong-before-and-still-managed-to-FAIL:

The issues bring to mind the infamous "Error 37" that prevented many Diablo III players from logging into the game in the days after its launch last year, though it's unclear how comparatively widespread SimCity's server issues are

It isn't surprising that EA treats their customers like shit, but it is still infuriating that they can get away with this.

Micro-transaction pretty much been guarteed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093509)

Maxis/EA is treating the Simcity Franchise just like the Sims Franchise, two very different games and thus is completely hurting the Simcity community as a whole.

This is "suppose" to be a single player game. 4 generations of it has proven otherwise with at least 3 generations still playable offline with no DRM.
Maxis decides to develope it multi-player, but that is truly a smokescreen as its merely a way to fight piracy aka DRM. One of the most dreaded words in the gaming industry.

EA like others thinks the whole world is on Highspeed when 1st world internet structure is truly horrible.
Its a shame this game is getting the rep it is, as I am a hardcore fan but will not support this horrible reboot.
Vote with your wallet, and outcry to the people

There is a better game idea on kickstarter (5, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093599)

There is a better game idea on kick starter

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1584821767/civitas-plan-develop-and-manage-the-city-of-your-d [kickstarter.com]

EA has gone to far this this I was thinking about getting simcity 5 but the beta was a real trun off for me. I want to get this and cites in motion 2

It's an EA title (1)

RoboRay (735839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093609)

Why are people still buying EA titles? They go as far as possible out of their way to prevent paying customers from using their products as possible. Stop giving them money and they will stop screwing you over.

Aww man... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093625)

I wasn't aware EA had grabbed up Maxis.
I played the shit out of Sim City and Widget Workshop growing up.
I had heard another sim city was being released and I was kind of excited, but ugh, not anymore.
Fuck you EA.

I'm not going to try it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093651)

I'm not a gamer at all, but really dug SimCity 2000 back in the 90's... I was curious to try this one out, but it doesn't sound very gratifying put like this!

Respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093655)

My deep sympathies to all EA coders that have worked like crazies to deliver at MBA fixed impossible deadline, to all OPS guys who worked their a.. off to deploy that gigantic piece of cr... delivered by previously mentioned burned out coders.
Respect. Hope your next job will be better.

Doesn't matter (2)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093679)

EA treats you gamers like shit all the time and you keep coming back game after game like an addict needing a fix. All this crying and bitching and I guarantee every single complainer here will be first in line for the next EA launch.

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