EA ‘Confident’ Origin Issues Won’t Plague Euro SimCity

By Nathan Grayson on March 6th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

I like it when publishers provide screenshots that metaphorically illustrate their current situations damn near flawlessly.

In the words of RPS’ totally unneeded, never sighted on a semi-regular basis error screen, SimCity’s having a bit of a wobbly. Some people, however, haven’t even been lucky enough to get into its now-infamous queues – let alone experience the majesty of realizing they might eventually get to play the videogame they purchased. So then, is this a preview of the hoops Europe gets to squeeze its oh-so-sensual landmasses through on Thursday? EA’s claiming it’s mobilized its force of spline reticulating drones to make sure everything’s shipshape, but obviously, there’s still plenty of reason for skepticism.

EA took to that most detail-conducive of mediums – Twitter – to explain the situation:

“We are experiencing overwhelming demand which is keeping some users from accessing their games. We’re working as fast as we can to resolve. Due to the high demand for SimCity, Origin has experienced delays impacting a small percentage of users. We’re working non-stop to resolve.”

“We’re making changes to prevent further issues, and are confident that Origin will be stable for international launches later this week.”

I don’t doubt that EA’s trying, either. But I also imagine it put quite a bit of effort into turning away this tidal wave long before it ever happened. Admittedly, there are some things you can only learn by taking to the frontlines, but this approach certainly isn’t benefiting anyone in the short term. Not EA, and definitely not their customers. Frankly, it’s unacceptable. Nothing’s perfect, but – last I checked – so-called “services” were supposed to serve us. I mean, for fuck’s sake, that’s a homonym. The function of the word is in the word.

Here’s hoping most of the most egregious kinks are ironed out come March 7th. If not, well, at least we still have our memories of big-budget games prior to the maniacal, utterly obtuse zeitgeist that is “always online.” Those will never stop being single-player.

Oh, wait. Never mind.

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152 Comments »

  1. Zyrocz says:

    Karma, that’s what you get for supporting this kind of drm.
    If people bought this expecting it to work, despite knowing it required you to be online all the time, then they’re idiots.

    • Rich says:

      Alternatively you could say that those who wanted to play the new SimCity (legally) had no choice but to accept (support is a bit strong) the DRM. Some of these people may never have encountered problems with always-online games.

      • Zyrocz says:

        Even if they haven’t encountered these kind of problems before, they should still learn from other similar incidents with these kinds of drm. The group of people who didn’t know about the always online or the problems surrounding it, should obviously be entitled to their right to bitch about it on the net.

        And yes, by buying this game you do support the “always online” drm because you show publishers that you’ll still buy their games despite this shit.

        • noodlecake says:

          Yeah. I do support online games being online. I know this is an online game and I have pre-ordered it knowing it’s an online game, much like if I were to buy Everquest Online. I can’t wait to play SimCity. A little bit gutted about the late release date though. :(

          • Barchester says:

            It’s probably not a popular opinion I’m spouting here, and I’m not defending this mucked up launch or EA in general, but although I would rather see things very differently, the fact is that Simcity anno 2013 is an MMO, albeit perhaps a rather passive one. It wasn’t made for the spreadsheet-loving, city building geeks you or I were twenty years ago.

            EA/Maxis made a design choice in making the game the way it is, and while I agree with many people that the smaller map size or the lack of certain familiar features sucks, we all knew beforehand that we’d be buying (or boycotting) an MMO, and we all know how launch dates sometimes can be for those type of games.

            Again, I would very much like an offline mode like many of you do, and I get that a lot of people are upset about having to be always online for this, but come on people: this Simcity is an online, server-based, multiplayer game at heart and we all knew and should have come to terms with that a long time ago.

            Edit: meant to reply to noodlecake, wasn’t sure if I was and subsequently wrote it as a standalone post. That’s me getting the hang of the comment section, sorry for that.

          • malkav11 says:

            I don’t believe that for a second any more than I did when people made similar claims about a certain other game that the filter won’t let me name. but even if it is actually properly a citybuilding MMO, it shouldn’t be. It was a bad decision to make it that way.

      • mandrill says:

        They were warned. By many, many voices, that this would happen. I’m going to quote my own FB status here:

        “I haven’t bought Sim City, and I’m not going to. And to all those who are complaining and whining about this, stop. You paid for this. Many were the voices who were telling you that it would end in tears, but you paid anyway. Learn your lesson, and don’t give EA any more of your money, especially for a pre-order.”

        EA is bad. They feed on our hope with endless sequels to tired franchises based on well-loved games of our youth, destroying those franchise’s legacy with bizarre business decisions, and we pay them to do it. EA may be bad, but we’re worse for putting up with and enabling their crap.

      • fantafuzz says:

        You actually put the blame, not on EA, but on the people who bought it? How can you sit there with a smirk, and say it was karma on the people who bought it, instead of blaming the only thing there is to blame, EA?

        • mandrill says:

          The signs were there. The warnings given. If ppl didn’t pay any attention to them that’s their lookout. This was going to happen, and if you forked out money for a pre-order then you only have yourself to blame. Sorry, but EA wouldn’t pull shit like this unless they knew people put up with it.

        • aepervius says:

          “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice…” After decades of MMO debacle on launch, after trhe D3 debacle on launch, you would have to be a non-gamer to not expect such shenanigan with online DRM or forced MP. So yes I think it is warranted to call all those complainer idiot if they complain. Now those who are not gamer/not following the new I would not blame them. But I sriously doubt they would be the bulk here. So yeah I blame the mass of buyer for showing EA such game with such horrendus problem STILL SELL.

          • MacTheGeek says:

            I don’t think anyone has actually drawn up an accurate Venn diagram, but I suspect that there is not much overlap between SimCity’s target market and the groups that preordered MMOs or D3. It’s possible that EA’s problems here were not expected by a lot of customers, simply because those customers have never had experience with the downside of “always-online”.

        • Zyrocz says:

          EA should be blamed for the connection issues.
          Consumers should be blamed for letting there be a possibility of a connection issue in the first place.

          As long as people continue to buy games with always-on drm, publishers will try to put it into their games.

        • Dark Nexus says:

          I’d say both deserve some blame. EA for their decisions, consumers for buying it anyways.

    • Apocalypse says:

      Karma sums it up perfect.
      You get what you pay for. And you deserve every second of the experience. ;-)

    • TechnicalBen says:

      You cannot play “legally”. It’s probably impossible not to fall foul of the Eula or some law somewhere. Not that you should not try, but that it’s hard to stay legal. The best way is not to buy. ;)

    • matty_gibbon says:

      It’s NOT the purchaser’s fault. It is EA’s.

      It DOES NOT MATTER if someone other than EA has told the purchaser that their game might not work. That makes not a lick of difference.

      The product or service should be fit for purpose and work as advertised. It is not and does not. Therefore, EA’s fault.

      You can say that the way to solve the problem long term is not to buy, but it is wrong to say that those who DID buy deserve it, and don’t have the right to complain. That is plain wrong and does nothing to help the situation.

      • mandrill says:

        Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware.

        And you’ll note that nowhere did I call the people who bought the game idiots. That would be baseless and unwarranted, I don’t know any of these people personally so can’t comment on their mental acuity. What I can say is this: “YOU WERE WARNED.”

        Yes, those that did fork out have every right to complain, but not to us. They should direct their complaints at EA rather than whining to us, when we gave them fair warning.

        • matty_gibbon says:

          My comment was not meant for you specifically (notice who I replied to).

          It was meant for those people suggesting that the consumer deserved it. They don’t.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            The consumer *DOES* deserve it. The problems inherent in this were made clear across the entire Internet, and even in some print media, six months ago during the D3 release. And that wasn’t even the first time this has been an issue!

            Anyone who purchased the game knew full well that it wasn’t going to work. They were warned that it wasn’t going to work.

      • bernlin2000 says:

        This has been a pretty strong for EA the past several years, so I do think “Buyer Beware” is quite appropriate. I still thought, though, that they would be more “hands off” for Sim franchise, since they’re all about freedom to control the games as you will. They clearly don’t get the irony in trying to control the gaming experience so totally in a SimCity game. Then again, it’s also quite clear they’ve been moving in a “mass market” over “quality market” direction for a very long time, so I do believe it’s time to part ways and stick to developers and publishers who still care about the customer having a fantastic experience above all else.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    How was demand greater than what they expected? Were they unaware of how many copies they’d sold? Jesus, EA, EVERYONE called this before the launch. EVERYONE! And you still fucked it up.

    • Rich says:

      They clearly didn’t learn from Blizzard.

      …mind you, I don’t think Blizzard have learnt from Blizzard.

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        I guess failing to actually LEARN from what Blizzard did, through proper analysis, might also explain why EVERYBODY needs to try to make an MMO these days.

      • Bilateralrope says:

        Oh they did learn from Blizzard. EA saw that the only downside to always online was a bit of bad press, not a reduction in sales. So EA did learn that this online only BS is something that enough people will tolerate.

        • Premium User Badge

          Andy_Panthro says:

          This is exactly what I was thinking.

          EA will look at Blizzard and think that they just need to wait out the bad press, and then everything will be okay. There’s no incentive for them to change how they run as a business from this.

      • Carr0t says:

        Thing is, EA had it a lot easier than Blizzard and *still* messed it up.

        To explain:

        Blizzard run their own servers. It’s simply not commercially viable to buy a whole load of extra hardware for an always-on game to have a smooth launch when that demand will have dropped off within a month and they then have a load of hardware lying around doing nothing that is difficult to sell on. Of course the correct response would be to have had a game that didn’t require an always-on connection and server side calculations for the single-player aspect, but i’m putting that argument to one side for now.

        EA/Maxis seem to be running SimCity on Amazon’s EC2 service (computing in ‘the cloud’, as much as I hate that term). So what should be possible, one of the main reasons people would use EC2 in the first place, is that you pay some cash to run up a whole load of extra instances for the launch week/month to cope with demand, then you stop paying for them and ramp back down to levels just coping with the steady demand as time goes on. And as time goes on even more and fewer people are playing your game you gradually ramp down more and more until you end up with the minimum of instances. If you release popular DLC or an addon you temporarily add more instances again to cope with the demand spike after *that* release. It’s what EC2 was designed for, and yet EA/Maxis seem to be not taking advantage of it at all…

        • Premium User Badge

          Zephro says:

          Holy shit! It’s on EC2 instances? And it doesn’t scale? What bunch of cowboys did they hire for this implementation?

          Why the design even calls for fixed numbers of servers and data being linked to particular instances when it’s all on AWS I will never know. That is insane design work.

        • solidsquid says:

          … I was going to ask why the hadn’t used Amazon’s EC2 servers as a temporary measure so they could deal with the initial spike and then roll it back when the numbers dropped and shift people to their own servers. How the hell did they manage to screw up not having enough servers when they’re using someone else’s service designed *specifically* to handle varying workloads? There was someone ran a goddamn supercomputer on EC2 for christ sake!

        • Swanny says:

          If this is true, then just..wow. Completely unacceptable on EA’s part. I couldn’t find any evidence this is true, i guess you’d have to know the IP addresses of EC2. But if it does pan out to be true, then fuck this game.

          • Premium User Badge

            Zephro says:

            Usually you can spot unconverted urls being used, unless they got a static IP, most AWS instances have dynamic IPs but a static url.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        I think Blizzard learned that they can put in place anti-consumer DRM, completely arse up a launch, irrevocably damage a franchise’s gameplay and nickle and dime their customers to death and still sell 10 million copies of their latest title.

        If anything, EA have learned exactly the lesson that Blizzard did – if your game is sufficiently desirable, it doesn’t matter how much you hate your customers, they’ll still buy it.

  3. Habu says:

    The Beta had the same problem, you had to wait for half an hour (at least) to play, and yet they managed to not solve the problem for the launch. Applause.

    • MrFred says:

      This has also happened with every new Battlefield game since Bad Company.

      • Apocalypse says:

        If this is happening since ages, that it is already accepted and common business practice for EA. Congratulation for every customer of EA that makes stuff like this possible. We are proud of you.

  4. ChromeBallz says:

    Yes, EA is saying they’ll have it under control. They wouldn’t want to worry people and have them cancel pre-orders and such.

    I seriously doubt they’ve invested any time whatsoever in ‘making sure it works’. Financially it’s a much better idea to invest minimally in the servers since the day 1 rush won’t last past… well, day 1. Sadly, most gamers are stupid enough to buy the “excuses and apoligies” so they’ll just keep trying and buying…

    The saddest thing is, compared to SimCity 4, this new one seems to be pretty much….. A step backwards. Less functions, smaller cities, shallower gameplay. Graphics are the only thing that have improved, and even that’s more a subjective matter because of the miniature look and poor implementation of curved roads.

    Those poor developers… All the wanted to do is make a SimCity game, but management, sales charts and market research didn’t let them. It still baffles the mind that managers think that making a new game in a franchise should alienate it’s former fans and appeal to people who’ve never shown an interest in it before. Make it a new game then for crying out loud!

    • programmdude says:

      Maybe the pirates will release a decent version. I can live in hope. It is a sad time when I look towards the “criminals” to fix newly released games.
      Last time I tried a game with DRM like this was D3, and look how well that turned out.
      Management needs to learn, I think the only way that will happen is either get gamers to be management(look at notch), or consumers need to be smarter and boycott games that do this sort of thing.

      • Bilateralrope says:

        Were there any games with DRM like this between D3 and Sim City ?

        • J_C says:

          Oh Ubisoft could tell you about this. With their Settlers and Assassin’s Creed games.

          • solidsquid says:

            Didn’t they scrap that though? I thought they found it wasn’t actually working so they started releasing the PC games without and removing it from existing ones.

          • J_C says:

            Yes they get rid of it eventually. But it was a mess in the first few months.

          • Vorphalack says:

            Something to bear in mind with Ubisofts DRM is that although their games now come with offline modes, they still frequently lock some features into the online mode, so you don’t get the full game offline. So buyer beware still.

    • fantafuzz says:

      The previous games were spreadsheets. Plain and simple. Sim City 4 was basically, if there was 0 coverage of police, it made an equation, and found out crime was high. Then, if you put down a police station, a variable changed and there was less crime. Here every citizen is a simulation, and not just an equation.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Why? That’s the question. Cars. Yep. Good idea. People, probably. Power and water? That’s not how power and water works. You could simplify the parts that no one wants to watch (power/water etc), and keep the bits people do want (trucks, goods, sims). They shot themselves in the foot if the complex city stops it being bigger. They should have used the screwdriver for screws and the hammer for nails, instead of using a hammer for everything.

      • battles_atlas says:

        Based on what I’ve seen and read to date, I think this decision to model individual elements, whilst lovely in principle, is in practice a calamitous mistake. Its nice knowing that each Sim is individually modelled, but so what? How often in a SimCity game did you wish you could follow a Sim on his daily journey? Ever? Its supposed to be about the City, being something greater than the sum of its parts (Sims). If they could have implemented this GlassBox stuff without constraining the City building then great, the fact that they seemingly can’t, and now “cities” are town sized, is disasterous game design.

        Its constrained the game’s primary purpose to add something that seems functionally pointless.

        I look forward to the Sunday Papers link to a blog arguing how this individualising of SimCity to the detriment of the whole is a parable of our times.

        • Premium User Badge

          Wisq says:

          Simulating each and every person has been done before. It was called “Tropico”. And it scaled to a few thousand citizens, at most. Each citizen mattered, because they might be the leader of a faction, or they might become a rebel, etc.

          Or, if you want even more simulation detail, there’s Dwarf Fortress, where you’ve got every dwarf simulated in detail. It supports a few hundred, at most, and even then you’re likely to get bogged down on the CPU long before then.

          The new SimCity seems like it’s basically a slightly larger Tropico or Dwarf Fortress, without the “tropical island dictator” or “communal underground dwarf colony” things to make it fun. Each citizen doesn’t really matter; they just exist to interact and (hopefully) create unexpected situations.

          Further, SimCity time used to be measured in months; now it’s apparently measured in minutes and hours. Who could possibly plan a city in the space of hours, based on watching a few citizens go about their day? City planning is supposed to be about watching and fixing long term trends, not “gee, I hope I can redo the entire road system before rush hour hits tonight”.

          It’s really hard to imagine how they thought this would be a good thing.

          • Stromko says:

            Actually the rush-hour analogy does hold true, you really see these individual cars piling up on your streets, see emergency vehicles bogged down and unable to get to fires and crimes to put them out. In that aspect it does work. With a moderately developed city I’ve yet to see any way to actually solve the issue, even with the biggest roads and several forms of mass transit sprinkled liberally throughout there’s still heavy congestion in some areas, but if you don’t do anything at all things grind to a halt for much too long. At least commuters don’t seem to mind finally getting home at 4 AM and then heading back to work that morning, but the rest of the city suffers.

            They don’t go full-hog though, they do make (at least) a few shortcuts. Freight trucks will go from a particular factory to a commercial building, and then drive into the nearest other building to disappear rather than returning to their own business. Click on somebody in a park or standing around an industrial building and all you can find out about them is that they ‘came from’ that park or that building. As far as the UI is concerned, citizens simply cease to exist once they enter a building. All in all it hurts the illusion, and makes it seem, if not in actual fact, that Sims are simply generated and deleted on the spot rather than actually being tracked as they go about their lives.

    • noodlecake says:

      But a much deeper simulation. I always bring this up, but these kind of arguments always come from people who prefer more features than fleshed out features. San Andreas vs GTA IV, effectively (GTA IV being the massively superior game, obviously).

    • Stromko says:

      The pre-order bonuses are pretty crap, though. If I still could, I would have waited a week or two to buy this thing when they had the issues sorted out.

      The 60$ USD version comes with a central park-type thing that I can’t even tell is in the game because it’s utterly redundant among the dozen or so other parks (actually I’m pretty sure it’s just bugged and isn’t unlocked in my copy), and the ‘superheroes and villains’ pack which should be called ‘superhero and villain’ pack. It comes down to a couple of quests that you are asked to do in literally every city you start (it gets annoying quick) to build a Maxisman HQ or a SimVu (villain) office tower. The first one gives a passive boost to happiness and might help develop properties around it, the second is supposed to help industry and tourism but the high spike in crime it generates tends to bring everything down. They have some active effects, you can pay Maxisman to go out and help by patrolling, and you can release a bunch of goons from SimVu HQ to go out looting.

      If you want to go full hog for the 80$ pre-order, it did offer me a 20$ upgrade to it when I was getting the 60$ version, so it’s likely that it will be available separately if you skip the pre-order. Personally the content didn’t seem worth 20$ at all.

      It is, actually, a pretty gripping and interesting game, but it should still be that way in a week or so and there’s probably better things to do with 60 – 80$ in the meantime. Also yeah the city size is a pain, you can fill out the 2km/2km area very quickly and then it’s always about upgrading and increasing density. There isn’t really an option for a sprawling, low-density city that amounts to anything, with the scale we’re working with.

  5. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Because they haven’t orchestrated one

  6. bigjig says:

    If you bought this game knowing that it required a constant internet connection to play you’re essentially saying to EA: “I’m okay with being shat on.” Frankly you deserve what you get for supporting such draconian DRM practices.

    • chickenhawk says:

      Thats stupid. I bought the game expecting to play. Thats it. I did not buy the game and expect this to happen. They should have learned from mistakes. If this happened in my line of work I would be in jail. Gaming programming.. such a slacking job.

      • maximiZe says:

        Your loss then for not reading up on the most basic information before making a $60 purchase.

        • Mark says:

          I’m really becoming fed up of reading RPS comments after seeing shit like this. This site was great a few years ago until people like you turned up.

          People buy things with the very reasonable expectation that they will work. EA are the ones who screwed up here so stop insulting people who perfectly reasonably bought a computer game thinking they would be able to play the thing.

          Maybe you’re only 15 or something, but take a fucking step back and think about what you’re saying for gods sakes.

          Out.

          • malkav11 says:

            Expecting a game that’s being run with always-online DRM to work (or at least work as well or reliably as an offline game) is an unreasonable expectation.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            “I bought this thing with the expectation that it would not set my house on fire!” “It contains exactly the same technology that was used in a previous product which people now call the ‘Set-Your-House-On-Fire-Tron’!” “How was I supposed to know that?” “Every single review made a point of mentioning it, and every comment on every website was filled with people saying it was going to set your house on fire!” “Well, I purchased it with the expectation that it wouldn’t!”

    • Fild3n says:

      I disagree with that assumption. I think the only thing you’re saying to EA with a purchase of the game is that there’s still a market for a big budget SimCity style game. I don’t think they come back with another one with friendlier DRM if this one fails. They’re not capable of that distinction. SimCity simply goes away as a triple A concept.

      It’s not a popular position, but I personally believe demonstrating there’s a market for the game of this level of quality and budget supports the developer for making a game of this style, and encourages others to compete for it, possibly by differentiating themselves by producing a game closer to what I’d prefer in features and business model in hopes to win customers. Maybe the next Cities XL comes back with a bigger budget and more polish.

      It’s a longshot, but so is hoping that EA develops anything resembling a conscience or a regard for their consumer base after more than a decade of being functionally immune to complaints of this nature.

    • noodlecake says:

      If you bought Everquest II you’re doing the same thing. In fact if you bought any online multiplayer game ever… Supporting online multiplayer games? How terrible. We should just kill ourselves now.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        The difference is that an MMO is an MMO. SimCity was not marketed as an MMO, it was marketed as a city-building simulation that also allows you to produce larger areas using the online component.

        Buying the Tomb Raider reboot, which happens to have multiplayer (which doesn’t actually work at all, for the record), does not mean you’re supporting a Tomb Raider MMO.

  7. caddyB says:

    Yeah, right.

  8. Skaz says:

    ahhhh allways on DRM. <3

  9. dsch says:

    Don’t really know what you’re trying to say, but that’s probably not a homonym.

    • Premium User Badge

      Morlock says:

      “Service” is a derivation, not a homonym, of “serve”. Even this derivational status is not clear because the process is not productive: it is not easy to come up with a good sounding, new word that is generated by adding -ice.

    • LapsedPacifist says:

      I think the word the author was looking for is ‘cognate.’ The words share roots, in essence.

    • Gormongous says:

      “Service” and “serve us”. I got what he was going for, mostly.

  10. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Breaking news: EA confuse Llama for server farm.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Breaking broken news: Llama delivery included too many goats, server farm splines insufficiently reticulated.

      • yurusei says:

        Breakdancing news : Llama does amazing B-boy routine, EA puts brakes on Llama’s medication.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          Comrades, I have heart-breaking news. Today, the capitalist regimes of EA have bought exclusive rights to llamas. The evil regime has taken all of the llamas from our beloved island! The reason is clear, my friends: El Presidente is tired of having his favorite hat eaten and has decided to cave in to their imperialist demands. What a sad day it is when our own El Presidente would rather please the greedy foreign factions than to care for his own people.

          • frosty2oo2 says:

            In other news: I wholeheartedly support & endorse this pun

      • Zakski says:

        Woaw Woaw Woaw, don’t mess with splines you could poke your eyes out

      • MacTheGeek says:

        If EA had bought Winamp, they’d be able to whip those lazy llamas’ asses into shape.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    I’m likely being flamed to hell here, but I’m looking forward to play it. Mind you, my first chance to squeeze a few hours of it in will be on Sunday, so launch problems will most likely not affect me. But what I have seen so far in TB’s videos and some reviews really appeals to me. Even in Sim City 2000 I wasn’t much of a mega-city builder, so the small city size and increased micro-level details sound great to me.

    Besides that, I have to admit that it’s hard for me to really care about the always-on DRM. I have a rock-stable internet connection that hasn’t failed me for the last, I dunno, 3 years or so. Plus, I will – as always – play for a few months and then move on to other games, so I don’t care if I’ll not be able to play in 5 or 10 years. I will get my money’s worth out of the game and that’s it. The DRM will most likely not affect me negatively in any way. I *do* admit that it’s shitty for folks who want to play on launch day, who have wobbly internet connections or who play games for 20 years. But that’s not me, so I don’t feel the urge to rage about it.

    • programmdude says:

      You’re allowed to want to play the game, if I was more of a sim fan I might have looked at videos and had the urge to play it too. I am happy for you that the major issues don’t affect you.
      It’s unlikely that you will get raged at, the only people I would rage at over this issue are those supporting the issues. Always on DRM is a bad idea, no matter how you look at it. Not being affected by it doesn’t make it a good idea, it just means you get to enjoy the game without having to worry about them.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Well.. good for you?

      Shouldn’t you be raging about how other people are raging though? I mean, you started out well with the Slashdot Opening (“I know people are going to mod me down for this”) but then you lapsed back into a measured description of your own position.

      Don’t you know this is the Internet?

    • solidsquid says:

      Lets see, acknowledges the issues with it and the effect it’ll have on others. Mentions wanting to play and explains why these issues won’t effect you. Nope, that seems pretty reasonable. I mean, there’s nothing wrong it wanting to play the game in the first place, and if the issues aren’t going to effect you then go for it

    • Drake Sigar says:

      I have no problem with people saying ‘Nuts to this, I just want to play a damn videogame’.

  12. Klaus says:

    How lucky for you Europeans — and British.

    Also,

    “Due to the high demand for SimCity, Origin has experienced delays impacting a small percentage of users.”

    This may sound impressive, but it actually seems incompetent.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yes, it’s the PR way to say “we didn’t invest enough money into our servers to support our always online”, turned into “wow, you REALLY love us! We just didn’t know that it was so much love!”

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        “These contradictions are not accidental , nor do they result from from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.”

    • Milky1985 says:

      Exactly what I was thinking,”Due to high demand”, the same demand the pre-order data would tell them about, you know the pre-orders they aggressively push now. Along with predictions for sales etc they should have had a good estimate of how much capacity they needed. Yes you need to accept that launch day is busy and so you don’t want to overspend on permanent servers, but with the amount of cloud computing that is now available they can hire some to cover the first rush. The only excuse is money saving but the best money saving idea would be no servers required in the first bloody place.

  13. scatterlogical says:

    Wow, I’m really feeling like a dodged a bullet with this one. I was really enamoured by the preview videos of the glassbox engine, so much that I was eagerly awaiting buying SimCity – but to see how badly they fucked it all up by tacking it on to a facebook game/MMO wannabe, it makes me weep.

    This really doesn’t deserve the SimCity title. I’d hope that EA suffer a big financial hit for this turd, but in all my years of gaming, EA has somehow always managed to persist on a diet of sterile clones and sports crap – stillborn from boardroom decisions and marketing driven design meddling – in a pathetic attempt to pander to the masses. At least I am glad that the indie industry is booming to compensate.

    Not to mention the troubles people are realizing they’ll be having with some games now that GFWL is being shut down – not that that’s a bad thing in and of itself – but there’s no way that this new ScamCity is going to have anywhere near the longevity of it’s predecessors when it’s so reliant on have a server connection.

  14. sharkh20 says:

    I wouldn’t be too worried about it. What you should be worried about is how completely shite broken the “improved” simulation is. Game tries to simulate certain things and not others which causes huge problems with traffic. This, in turn, causes your city to burn down, get overrun with criminals, be filled with trash, and to be sick, because everyone is stuck in traffic. Doesn’t matter how many busses you have, they will all be stuck in traffic and empty.

    • J_C says:

      Wow, this sound pathetic. And they hyped the shit out of their “glassobox” engine.

      • gravity_spoon says:

        Wouldn’t be the first time they hyped “graphics” too much. That has been happening since………a long time I guess ?

        • Premium User Badge

          Cross says:

          You’re suffering from a bad case of missing the point, sir. Glassbox is Simcity’s simulation engine. It has little to do with graphics.

          • gravity_spoon says:

            You are a fucking idiot for not realizing that simulation is only a part of what Glassbox does and every early video of SimCity has pushed for details and simulation. What a moron.

  15. timethor says:

    Besides the obvious “It is a lot cheaper to not have enough servers for the day 1 usage spike”, someone at EA may also have recognized that this is an opportunity for getting some free publicity. Many sites are posting multiple articles per day on the current state of the game. Even if it turns away some readers, EA could estimate/hope that people being repeatedly reminded of the fact that Simcity is released ultimately leads to more sales. Also “our product X is so popular that it can’t keep up with demand” is an old sales tactic.

    • maximiZe says:

      EA wouldn’t need to shoot themselves in the foot with such a decidedly negative PR stunt to get exposure from the mainstream gaming press. It’s enough to send out several press releases a day and most of the monkeys will copy-paste it regardless of it being always the same one, but worded slightly differently.

  16. Premium User Badge

    overthere says:

    I think all the comments on how the game has been dumbed down are missing the point.

    You, insert average RPS reader , are no longer the target market for this game.

    Its been built not for the 40 year old with fond simcity2000 memories but for his 8 year old daughter, and I have to say the beta was great fun to play as a team with her sat on my knee!

    Oh and if anyone is thinking of buying it Tesco have it on preorder for an effective price of £20 delivered if you have a use for clubcard vouchers.

    • ChromeBallz says:

      The sad thing is that they could have included the option for more complex games reminiscent of older games. There’s no single reason why you have to focus on just one demographic when you can simply offer that ancient feature called “difficulty settings” or “preferences” or whatever.

      • chickenhawk says:

        Actually everyone review I saw. including quill18 and TB said the game is not dumbdown. And quill18 can be abit hardcore in crusaders kings and other games.

    • Uthred says:

      Perhaps you should check out some of the threads about the game before assuming that its been “dumbed down”? For example over on the NeoGaf OT for the game the general consensus is that the game is as complex/demanding, if not more complex/demanding than the other entries in the series.

      • J_C says:

        I will check the game out for myself, but without seeing it, I highly doubt that made it as complex as the earlier games. In 2013? From EA? Naah, isn’t possible.

        • Lanfranc says:

          Fallacious, begging the question. 10 demerit points.

        • Fild3n says:

          I know people aren’t particularly interested in hearing positives right now, but I don’t think it’s dumbed down at all. This may all be due to my own limited mental capacity, but I think it becomes a very challenging game, and there’s more stuff to occupy my attention in a small quadrant of my city, than in some of my larger cities in previous games. Managing supply chains among a number of smaller specialized cities, as opposed to one giant all purpose city, provides much to think about

          The game seems to have an inverted difficulty to previous SimCity titles, whereby I always found that it was difficult early on trying to get profitable, but once I got a stable infrastructure it was pretty smooth sailing for the most part. This game has a very gentle incline, easy to get to get into and start figuring stuff out while still staying out of the red, but as your city grows and your people become more demanding, it becomes much more challenging to keep itself from going to pieces, and bad stuff happens.

          Sure there are features missing from previous SC games and expansions that you cant do in SC, but it also appeals in ways those games didn’t, or couldn’t. And I think theyve done a good job of removing a lot of the tedious micromanagement when it comes to building structures, while leaving a lot of complexity either intact, or improved. It’s a different game, but a good one its own merits.

          /two cents.

      • aepervius says:

        the problem of TB and a few iother is that they are confusing conplexity, depth, and fun factor.

        The simulation from what I saw and fiddled at a friend home (no way i will bzy this and support online DRM) is indeed on some level more complex, but less on others. There is a bit more depth but not the much it is sadly supperficial. And it is downright gamey on some level.

        Let me explain. They made the simulation more complex in which they have now individual singleton being simulated, and by adding some rules, like needing a certain education level or your nuke power melt down (see TB video for an example of that). But this is added complexity, not added depth. The same for the curve road, you add complexity and cosmetic but no real depth. Now where the depth was really added are the requirement for stuff like metals, and metal production, mine , specialisation etc… Similar to game like anno. But due to size limitation and the fact your city don’t work offline this seriously limit your gameplay even if you go multiplayer. You won’t be able to have the whole game at hand.

        Another part which added complexity but no real depth , is real the whole everything is a singleton, like the funny things with load of bus running in circle (happenned to me a lot) or even total gridlock which is easy to get.

        The education level thingy is badly handled IMHO, it should make your nuke plant close not melt down (or lower power output to stay at safe level even with an homer simpson), you don’t put a homer simpson in nuke plant if you haven’t a good guy at hand, you close them, for example. So this part is clearly gimmicky and gamey.

        My take is that SC 5 (as I call it) hass indeed a bit more depth, but you will not feel it because due to size limitation and mechanism advantaging multiplayer you will not feel it in your average gameplay. Because your cities will specialize, and you will feel the depth of that but not for the rest. That’s where IMHO they blew it.

        Now if the game could support a much greater size, like SC4 big city for example, you could have the whole shebang of depth and get ride of the gimmicky complexity (like every sims/cars being singleton) and heck keep the cosmetic stuff like curve road, and you would have an incredible sucessor to SC4, (one which might even make me bitter on my stutborn refusal of online DRM ;)…). But as it is now with the size it is, and the mechanism of specialisation forcing you to drop down whole pan of the simulation to advantage others, it is not as good as SC4 as a simcity simulation. As a game on the other hand it is definitively fun, at least as fun as SC4.

        OH and I disbelieve fully that the game is simulating *anything* on a server farm. I do believe they are measuring stuff and making some light decision on the farm, and saving, but the upload/download was way too low over an hour at max speed to really simulate something off farm. I haven’t also measured any difference whetehr you go super speed or super slow which if it really simulated on a farm would do. Since the size of the data was about the same at both speed, then whatever they simulate on their farm, it cannot be much. I would not be surprised if it is only very basic minimalistic data, enough to make the game pirate safe, but nothing dramatic compared to the amount you have going on locally.

        • scatterlogical says:

          So it really is just DRM with window-dressing then. Why am I not surprised. Plus they blatantly lie about it. Even more so not surprising.

  17. Premium User Badge

    amateurviking says:

    Has there ever been a smooth launch of a high profile ‘always online’ game, MMO or otherwise?

    • Premium User Badge

      Surlywombat says:

      The Rift launch was really smooth.

    • Enkinan says:

      Guild Wars 2 was stable, but there were grumblings about instancing while everyone were in the low level areas at launch. It was working as intended though and you could absolutely play the game instead of sitting in queues.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Not so fast there – many of the dynamic events were broken in one way or another for much of the first two months of launch, including important ones related to storyline. Some of them have only been fixed as of this month.

        But yes, you could actually play the game in general.

  18. frightlever says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist

    The word you were looking for is “fad”.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      This is true. A more appropriate use of the word would be thus:
      “The opportunity for the smugly condescending readership to correct the language and grammar of professional journalists – almost in real time – is a prominent feature of our zeitgiest.”

      Note that “our” is in this case entirely tautological, but I kept it in because I don’t care.

      Edit: “Smugly” is probably tautological as well. The internet is a black hole of corrections.

  19. Dobleclick says:

    What bugs me most with this whole situation is how STUPID EA can be.

    I mean, if I’d want to make “always-on” a standard for this and all my future games, I definitely would make sure that my customers can swallow it nearly without noticing: Add some co-op/social/multiplayer to justify the “always-on” (which they did), then spend a few bucks more to have a HUGE server infrastructure at launch. Even if this means losing a bit of money (and it’s a tiny tiny bit compared to the overall production scheme), logins will be smooth at launch, and I can always throttle back the server farm to a suitable amount.

    EA wants “always-on” to be a standard, but their actions to this end are extremely stupid for such a big company.

  20. Windward says:

    This game is a clusterfuck. I could put up with one or two bad ‘suit decisions’ but this game… It’s like they let everyone in head office take their turn adding their own personal fuck up so no one felt left out. I think it was the not being able to load save games that pushed me over the edge. It really hurts because fundamentally I’m behind a lot of the concepts, I don’t think the region idea is bad but they fucked it up by forcing compromises in every other area to support it. I really really like the graphics and the visible data layers are gorgeous, and I don’t feel it looks particularly dumbed down (or, at least, I feel that it is on my level… make of that what you will!).

    BUT:

    The game needs to be pretty fucking polished on release to justify the absurd price that Origin are charging, I mean £45 is above a premium price for a pc game, and it clearly isn’t. They clearly haven’t fixed bugs that were present in the beta, and they have clearly taken a cynical not-giving-a-fuck approach to launch demand. I understand all the proviso’s about ‘having to make money’ and I don’t begrudge companies some monetising and profit maximising but there is a fucking limit, and considering that this game doesn’t exist in a vacuum, that I can go and play Crusader Kings or XCOM or ANNO instead, I don’t need to put up with it. I want to say that I hope EA get burned by this but I don’t know if it will make any difference either way.

    I almost pre-ordered it but… One fuck too many.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Zephro says:

    “But I also imagine it put quite a bit of effort into turning away this tidal wave long before it ever happened. Admittedly, there are some things you can only learn by taking to the frontlines, ”

    No these kinds of Server issues are well understood in the IT industry, EA just fucked it right up.

  22. bstard says:

    Still waiting for the title that makes me regret I dont have an Origin account.

  23. Arithon says:

    I would like to know if an outfit like EA claim a game requires an “always on” internet connection for their DRM, then failure by them to have their “service” always on is a breach of the contract of purchase is it not?
    Certainly I would argue that retail law here in the UK would describe the game as “unfit for purpose” at best.
    Please don’t buy this game, or you are condemning future gamers to similar turds from now on.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cross says:

      Now that you say that, i actually do think talking to a lawyer about this might be sensible. RPS, you have gaming lawyer contacts, would you perhaps investigate this?

  24. Snids says:

    What a bleedin’ shambles. Hopefully it’ll force them to put in an “offline only” mode with all the online features disabled. Surely consumer rights are being infringed upon here?

  25. MrTambourineMan says:

    A little bit off topic, but please enlighten me since when are British not Europeans? Loads of people say British and Europeans? What’s up with that?

    • realmenhuntinpacks says:

      Ehh, tricky. It’s probably representative of our past – empire and all that, and an arrogant aloofness along with the belief that Britain was separate, apart and generally better than anywhere else (!). Also we tended to get into quite a lot of wars… I still use the distinction myself, if I’m talking to a continental friend and want to be entertainingly jingoistic. Think redcoats, think subjugating Johnny Foreigner – it’s part of our fairly horrific world-ruling days, in essence!

      • Lemming says:

        Or it’s more that we are an island nation with more in common with other English speaking countries eg USA, than with mainland Europe.

        • realmenhuntinpacks says:

          Indeed, although the distinction predates the existence of the US. Does probably all boil down to the island factor, and the (entirely false and faintly embarrassing) notion that Britain was a serene, civil-unrestless bastion quite apart from the many-tongued and endlessly internecine nascent states of mainland Europe. Maybe.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cross says:

        If Cameron stays his course, there soon will be a distinction to be made between British and Europeans. It will be SAD.

        • realmenhuntinpacks says:

          Word up. We should be coming together, not pushing apart.

          • Milky1985 says:

            We shouldn’t be coming together i think, Britain has its own identity and ever changing culture, we are out of sync with Europe on many things but also in sync with others so it pays to be separate, but we shouldn’t push apart either, we need Europe no matter what the idiots in power think.

            Unless by push apart you mean put Cameron on a boat and push it out to see how far apart we can get his boat from land, that i would agree with and would happily help hold the stick used to push him (which would have to be a few miles long to cater for all the other people who would want to help out)

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      islanders are clearly not european

  26. Ginger Yellow says:

    Here’s an idea, EA. Since the game is already out in the US, why not let us Europeans “pre”-load the game so we’re not all hammering your servers at the same time?

    • Solidstate89 says:

      They wouldn’t even let people with pre-orders in the U.S. pre-load the game. What makes you think you filthy digital-ocean-separated people will be allowed to do that?

      • Ginger Yellow says:

        Because it’s not even pre-loading any more in any real sense.The exe is out there, it’s just we in Europe aren’t allowed to download it.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Cross says:

    So, yet another addition to the anti-preorder argument: If it’s an always-online game, don’t preorder, because you’ll inevitably be unable to play it for the first three days after release.

  28. Lemming says:

    I’m confident these issues wont be plaguing my copy of SimCity.

    SimCity 3000, for a fiver on Amazon. Cheers EA!

  29. Javier-de-Ass says:

    need rps and other sites to write stuff like this every time steam servers go down when a new game comes out or they do a free multiplayer for whatever game weekend as well.

    • J_C says:

      Difference is, once you download the game, you can run it in offline mode, even if Steam is down. You can’t do this in SimCity.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        There are only a minimal number of games on Steam that can run without the client. I don’t know why I need to constantly point this out when anyone with a midsized Steam library can verify it.

  30. Lanfranc says:

    Well, at least for once it seems like a good thing the Mac version comes out later. Hopefully they’ll have things sorted out by then.

  31. brulleks says:

    ‘If not, well, at least we still have our memories of big-budget games prior to the maniacal, utterly obtuse zeitgeist that is “always online.” ‘

    Many of us still have the actual games too, not just the memories, and will continue to play them in preference to buying these nefariously obstructive always-online games.

  32. Kinth says:

    Didn’t they say the same about the American launch as well though ?

  33. Solidstate89 says:

    I believe they were fairly confident about the U.S. launch as well. In fact, I believe that was their “reasoning” for launching at different dates; to better manage the load on the servers.

    Of course this would be a non-issue if they just allowed you to play without server intervention, but this is EA we’re talking about. So we can’t expect them to be so intelligent.

  34. viper34j says:

    I bought SimCity last night. I fired it up and selected the “North America 2″ server because it had a “LOW” population. I started my city and played for 3 hours completely uninterrupted.

    DAMN YOU EA!

  35. Tei says:

    DRM: theres no moral base to restrict the use of a product after the sale. DRM used to limit a game to people to bought it is ok, any other type or restriction sould be illegal.

  36. Kamos says:

    Always Online DRM. Definition: a crippling feature deliberately added to a piece of software (i.e., a game) to undermine decades of research intended to make online software reliable. See also: DERP.

  37. karumpa says:

    I’m gonna go ahead and whine about something else, although related.

    WTF is Cities XL doing? EA left the door wide open for Cities XL to come in and rescue us all from EA and turn us into loyal customers. But they actually are mucking it up worse if not as bad.

    Also, I was holding off on buying it because of irks I had with the gameplay, looks like I wouldn’t even get the chance at getting disappointed by those. ( Although I have come around to the idea that utilities could be spread via the roads now, I accept that. The lack of subway, the so-called “great simulation” which makes police cars patrol 1 street, the tediousness of upgrading a road, which is necessary to upgrade buildings linked to it, the purely cosmetic disasters (meteor), lack of terraforming, the fact that zoned areas don’t fill in which leaves gaps, ON TINY MAPS….

    What was I saying?

  38. Premium User Badge

    Klingsor says:

    You might have a look on Civitas if you’re looking for real SimCity-like game. Looks actually not bad.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1584821767/civitas-plan-develop-and-manage-the-city-of-your-d?ref=category

  39. Kestilla says:

    For what it’s worth I’ve been playing on the Oceanic server since yesterday with no problems. My one issue came in when Origin downloaded the game, and upon launching it, a launcher came up apparently to download the rest of the game.

    That was some country ass bullshit. It downloaded way slower than even Origin manages.

  40. intutama says:

    I tried to buy a game on Origin once. It was BF3. It took me 15 minutes to put the game in my cart, since it wouldn’t appear anywhere in Origin, so I had to go through the DLC and then somehow find a link back to BF3.

    So after 15 minutes, I put the item in the cart, go to the checkout, and there I have to prove I’m over 18 by entering my German ID card’s number. Now, question: where do you find your German ID card’s number when you’re French?

    You don’t. If you’re French, there’s a good chance you don’t have a German ID card.

    And that’s when I deleted Origin and went back to TF2.

  41. fish99 says:

    Skipping this one.

  42. frosty2oo2 says:

    I love the way EA’s statement makes it clear it was in no way to blame for any of this & that the fault lies with the consumers high demand, this is corporation can externalize like the best of ‘em. Have there been any cases of a smooth high profile launch involving Origin? To be fair its a lot better than Games for Windows Live, just not as nice as steam & steam had some rocky launches a few years ago.

  43. Enkinan says:

    I’m simply floored that people would actually pre-order this knowing the track record of these types of releases. Why are people encouraging these terrible business practices?

  44. AaronLee says:

    Sooooo… why is EA stilla company? Shouldn’t we all boycott their games for all this B.S. they put us through or something.

    Or maybe support Civitas.

  45. fish99 says:

    The problem is going to be even worse for the EU come friday. You know why? Because US players are using the EU servers when the US servers have queues, so there’s going to be even less room on the EU servers.

  46. crinkles esq. says:

    My review: ShitCity.