Maxis SVP has a few things to say to us about SimCity’s Always-Connected feature.
First up, SVP Lucy Bradshaw wants you to know that Always-Connected isn’t something that EA forced upon them, nor — she says — is it designed to control players. It’s actually part of the design philosophy of the game.
Of course, she does realize that Always-Connected is pretty different for gamers familiar with the SimCity series. (I like how “Always-Connected is capitalized every time, like some evil entity whose name makes villagers quake in fear. And that may be the way many gamers think of it.) In essence, the design of the game — including Always-Connected — is centered around the idea of players working together to build a more real-world version cities.
As part of making this work, the people at Maxis moved a lot of functions from the game to online servers to accommodate region play and social features.
Some of the features she mentioned are listed below.
Bradshaw lists some other “advantages” of SimCity always being connected such as the ability to pop into your game from anywhere to check on your town. And, she notes that most players elect to play with others, but even those who don’t still take advantage of Always-Connected.
Let’s think about this a moment…
Now, I’m going to step to the side here a minute. So far, I’ve just relayed what the SVP of Maxis is tell us, and to me a good portion of it sounds reasonable. I will note that I’m not as bothered the required online connectivity as a lot of people might be. And, once Maxis has worked out all of their launch kinks, I might actually throw money at the game.
At the same time. I get it. SimCity has NEVER been an online game. And, a lot of SimCity fans just want to hop on without the hassle of things like worrying about being able to get to the server, dropped connections, and the other issues that we think of when it comes to online games.
It’s not an unreasonable expectation. Especially when we’re talking about a series that players are used to functioning a certain way.
“In Many Ways, We Built An MMO”
And now we come to the crux of the matter. According to Bradshaw’s post, the team at Maxis know that they’ve built something they have to keep working on. Online games aren’t something you just drop and forget about.
Any MMO player can tell you that.
And,as Bradshaw states, the launch was only the beginning, not the end. Because — as mentioned above — in a lot of ways, SimCity is an MMO. They could have built a game with single player mode, but it didn’t fit with their vision for this game.
Now.. Again, I get this. My room mate and I discussed it many times when he was playing in the beta, during which I told him I’d be more than happy to get the game and build alongside him. It sounds like a great idea to me.
Of course, I am never not online.
That being said. If the intention was to pretty much build SimCity Online, perhaps the game should have been billed that way. Because, in fairness to a lot of players, there are still a lot of people who even if they are willing to do the Always-Connected bit; simply can’t due to restrictive internet choices or other reasons.
Of course, technical limitations are not the only reason people are complaining about Always-Connected. As one person commented on the post: “Does your vision fit with Simcity?”
Making it up to the players.
In a previous article, we told you about Maxis and EA’s plans to give players who had bought SimCity a free game from selected EA title. The list of games that are being offered are as follows:
- Battlefield 3 (Standard Edition)
- Bejeweled 3
- Dead Space 3 (Standard Edition)
- Mass Effect 3 (Standard Edition)
- Medal of Honor Warfighter (Standard Edition)
- Need For Speed Most Wanted (Standard Edition)
- Plants vs. Zombies
- SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition
As stated in our previous post on this, Bradshaw had mentioned that the team was looking into other ways to make up for SimCity’s launch, but it may be a while before we see them.
What do you guys think about the list? Is it a good offering or are you disappointed?