Mar/23
2013

Yes, The New SimCity is an MMO

Too bad they just didn't advertise it that way.

Players who buy and register the latest version of SimCity before 26 March can choose a free game from a selection offered by Electronic Arts.

The free games, available as digital downloads, include recent releases Mass Effect 3, Plants vs Zombies and Bejeweled 3.

The move follows connection problems and glitches caused by EA's decision to make SimCity an online-only game.

Earlier EA admitted that the game was originally going to be single player.

However those proposals were shelved early in the development of the latest version.

The admission came as players are finding ways to get round the game's need to be constantly connected.

Lucy Bradshaw, head of SimCity creator Maxis, said an offline, single-player mode did not fit with its "vision" for the urban-planning game.

She said many players preferred the multiplayer version of the game.

By many Lucy meant one: her mom.

SimCity set a new standard for how not to release a game. It also demonstrated that telling players one thing and giving them something else wasn't a way to win friends. Finally, breaking the paradigm that made the game successful isn't as brilliant an idea as you think it is. It's bad when you think you need to trick fans into buying a game. It's even worse when you believe that you know better than they do what will really make them happy.

But the worst is to lie to people about the playability of the game because (get this) NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO PLAY ONLINE. Gasp. There, I said it.

Now Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis, is stepping up to re-frame the situation. In a "straight answers" update today, she pointed out the gameplay reasons for building SimCity to be always connected. These include features like collaboration between cities in a region, social perks like world events and leaderboards, player gifts, and the global market. Additionally, cloud-based saves make for easy access anywhere.

"In many ways," she concludes, "we built an MMO." (Massively)

Yes, yes you did. And not to put too fine a point on it but... NOT EVERYONE LIKES THAT. MMO's are special, they're not someone you *trick* someone into playing. You don't take a successful solo-game like SimCity and just tell everyone "sorry, you can't play on your own any more." That sucks. Bad MMO's suck. Wrecking the fun sucks. Not play-testing sucks. Not planning for a real release sucks. And not telling buyers what they were buying sucks. Add it all up and Lucy and her team sucked in believing that gamers would just go along with whatever was shoved in front of them.

Bad dog, Lucy, no biscuit. You fail, and if Maxis management has any clue they won't give you a chance to try again.

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