Thursday, March 7, 2013

SimCity Burns

I was looking forward to writing a SimCity review. Unfortunately, I have been unable to play the game for more than a few minutes at a time thanks to the colossal launch issues caused by EA and their lack of foresight. I have been able to play. Unless you live under a rock, you probably already know that, in order to play SimCity, you need to be able to stay in contact with the EA servers, which, of course, requires that you have an internet connection. Problem is, EA hadn't provided enough server capacity at launch which resulted in constant game crashes and long server connect queue times.

I should have known better. EA has a reputation for being a complete piece of shit when it comes to gaming. However, Maxis, which put together the original SimCity in 1989 and has been a subsidiary of EA since 1997, has always had a stellar reputation. Even though I was a bit put off by having to always be online, even when all I want is a single-player experience, I bit the bullet. I rationalized it by thinking of SimCity more as "SimCity Online". And, indeed, there are a lot of social aspects to the game that serve to enhance its playability (when you can actually play it). It's a lot like a free-to-play MMORPG. I was okay with that. What I'm not okay with is the inability to actually play SimCity.

The saddest part of this whole debacle is that there's a great game buried underneath all these launch issues. I love that every Sim in SimCity has a story and a purpose. I love that you can negotiate with other players to exchange vital city services. I just hate how poorly planned out this launch was. It's something that probably could have been remedied by running an open beta of the game before its actual release. And, unfortunately, this has been a bad deal for everyone involved from the developers at Maxis who who poured countless hours into building this gorgeous game to all the people who paid for SimCity and just want to be able to play. When it works, it's fantastic. But, when SimCity doesn't work, it's frustrating.

There aren't enough face-palm meme images on the internet to adequately illustrate the level of fuckery that SimCity has reached. Ultimately, I asked for a received a refund on SimCity.  I might pick it back up if things start to clear up, but, a big part of me is thinking that the SimCity servers are going to major ghost towns once the dust settles over this.

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