GUEST RANT – The One SimShitty

WHO EVER PLAYED A SINGLE PLAYER SIMCITY?

Let me start by saying that SimCity is a great game.  It’s challenging, engaging, and fun.  In fact, in gameplay it beautifully lives up to its predecessors.  However, as with any notable current EA game, it’s not what’s on the surface that counts.

I wouldn’t call the game “unplayable.”  Although its problems are significant, you only come across them in specific circumstances. At one point, SimCity force-closed as I simply tried to visit another city in my region.  For those who last played SimCity off a CD-ROM, there are multiple cities per region that either you or your friends may play together in order to benefit from each other’s resources, utilities, and services.

SimFail

If your town is severely lacking in fire trucks or water or somesuch, you may borrow or buy them from another adjacent city.  This may mean some coordination between you and your friends playing the region with you.  Or you and your other personalities (no judge zone).

Traditionally SimCity is a single player game.  Since I chose to play the whole region by myself, I would periodically have to switch between my cities in order to accomplish each one’s specific goals.  But every third time I did so, the game would boot me out like Joakim Noah after an “altercation.”  Only a GAME OVER would be more senseless.

Not willing to leave me in my frustration, SimShitty kept the best for last.  Upon a fresh startup, I had pleasantly forgotten about all the crap I was put through to make my HappyTowns™ the day before.   I was ready for another 5 hour session of running peoples’ lives like lady Zeus.  Oh ho, would I be disappointed.

CityFail

EA’s servers apparently do not have the ability to withstand the onslaught of new Mayors.  Only 2 of EA’s 9 servers are shown as available.  The rest are either full or “busy”.  Busy doing what?  Baking a cake?

Whatevs. I login to one of the European servers and load SimCity, only to learn (surprise!) my game I spent so much of my time on isn’t there… like it never existed.

It so happens that thanks to EA’s new Digital Rights Management enforcement, all saved games are stored on the cloud.  Said saves are completely server specific, even within countries.  So unless I could beat the throngs of rabid SimCity gamers and play on the server I used the day before, I would have to start from scratch.

Fuck.  That.

The SimCity release in a nutshell.

The SimCity release in a nutshell.

I have never been so cheated over DRM implementation before.  You literally cannot play a purportedly single player game without being able to login to EA’s proprietary server system.  No one is allowed to save their game anywhere but their mysterious cloud.

So I can only assume the best part of this whole server/cloud debacle will come in 15 years when EA’s servers shut down and millions of mayors lose every glorious Mecca they’ve ever built.  There will be no showing off to one’s adoring progeny.  No ma’am.  EA so non-gracefully took a shit on all our pride.

Update:  Since the posting of this rant, EA has issued a public apology, the resignation of their CEO John Riccitiello, and an Origin account credit to those of us foolish enough to try and play their game within the first 3 weeks of release.  I consider this a consolation, not a victory.  The larger problem still lurks about like the elephant in the room.  Media outlets were quick to snap up this story of the wronged consumer, and it spread like wildfire.  However, will EA use this public catastrophe as a lesson?  Or will they continue to alienate their customers with further mistrust and technical abominations?  Time, as they say, will tell.

That’s not to say I won’t keep playing…

Update:

Since the posting of this rant, EA has issued a public apology, the resignation of their CEO John Riccitiello, and an Origin account credit to those of us foolish enough to try and play their game within the first 3 weeks of release.

Media outlets were quick to snap up this story of the wronged consumer, and it spread like wildfire.  However, will EA use this public catastrophe as a lesson?  Or will they continue to alienate their customers with further mistrust and technical abominations?  Time, as they say, will tell.

Author: A K

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