New SimCity promises owners a slew of problems

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If you’re like me and pre-ordered your copy of the new SimCity, be prepared for a slew of problems. Due to its apparent need for constant connectivity, players around the world have been facing massive connection issues, not to mention other game breaking bugs.

While many have lots to say about EA and Maxis’ constant online approach, their support forums and Origin help lines have been bombarded with refund requests, with some users reporting massive wait times as well. The constant connectivity requirement isn’t very flexible either. If you have an unstable internet connection, be prepared to have your cities lost, regions go missing and game stop functioning as they’ll kick you out of the game. Prepare for unannounced server outages and server disconnections as well. Your regional servers not up? Changing servers will require you to start over, not only your cities but also restart the tutorial, which is a total chore.

When you do get to play the game, you’ll find creating games problematic as you will encounter claiming zone bugs – errors such as “SimCity servers are not available”, “your city cannot load at this time” or even “you cannot claim this land as you do not have permission/someone has already claimed it” despite you being the only player. Yesterday, players were faced with constant crashes after a few minutes of play, losing their new cities and starting over every single time they re-entered the game.

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Disconnect during a game? Prepare for a rollback of your city. Hit Alt-F4 while loading a city? Prepare for a rollback of your city. Their support forums are full of customers demanding fixes, offline modes and bug reports, aside from your usual trolls and upset gamers. Being one of the many who bought this game, it’s truly appalling to see such service, considering that the game has tremendous potential, albeit a little misguided in execution. I foresee a little Diablo 3 problem brewing, with the exception that South Korea doesn’t actually worship EA.

This doesn’t even begin to touch the surface of the problems you face playing the game itself. Build a fire station and you’ll get what I mean. Fire trucks go round and round ignoring fires, wealthy citizens move in even without jobs. The game’s economy is pretty broken, you can have a city completely filled with rich people, despite having no jobs, no lower class and no income. How did they get rich? EA would know.

But to give Maxis credit, it is a beautifully made game with new levels of complexity and Caesar-ish gameplay, but as I previously mentioned, it’s implementation is totally misguided, causing constant frustration and grief to customers. By the way, that 18 minute queue you saw was originally 3 hours and 40 minutes, and as the EU launch is today, expect servers to go down again.

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Here’s to hoping this will deter them from using such methods in the future, particularly as a facade to online DRMs. But, who am I kidding. It’s EA.

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  • Former Lecturer. Gamer. Idea Generator. Tournament Organizer. Loves Kairosoft games. Lived in a box twice in Recettear. Never turns down a Catan challenge. Cheats in Monopoly. Broke Skyrim. Sucks at Dance Central. Plays a fem Shep. Heavy bow-gunner in MH3p. Completed Persona 2 Portable 4 times. Well, he's just too damn free.

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