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Have EA and Maxis lied over SimCity servers?

18 Mar 2013

A few days ago you may have heard me liken the launch of SimCity to that of Diablo III, as both of them suffered terribly from server overloads and other bugs during their first few days of life.

I won’t be comparing the two any longer.

For a start, there are suggestions from some sources that despite claims, the EA servers are in fact not required to play the game and that reps from EA and Maxis have been telling fibs.

The following is a quote from a Maxim-insider source speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, who obviously wanted to remain unnamed.

“The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing.

"They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between players and cities.

"As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself?

"No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise.”

OK, so the always-online thing is unpopular, but Diablo III had the same issues; but there were no claims that Blizzard was lying to its customers.

Then there’s the fact that SimCity’s AI is apparently about as intelligent as an African Rhinoceros smacked out on heroin. Instead of being a legitimate simulator (as hinted by the name SimCity; how do they name these games? Mad, all of them) the engine in the game is actually, dare I say it, a little bit lazy.

For example, a Sim that one day lives in Neighbourhood A goes to his job in Shopping District A; but at the end of the day instead of returning back to his home in Neighbourhood A he just goes to the nearest available house.

There’s no consistency, as the next day that person will leave a house in Neighbourhood B and go to the nearest available job, in an entirely different place from yesterday.

This has caused some serious annoyance over at the EA forums where one user, with a whole lot of spare time, has apparently got the system figured out.

“In the evening, when work and school lets out, they all leave and proceed to the absolute closest ‘open’ house.

"They don’t ‘own’ their houses. The ‘people’ you see are actually just mindless agents...making the whole idea of ‘being able to follow a Sim through their entire day’ utterly POINTLESS!!”

Other issues include traffic congestion, as traffic will always take the shortest route between two points; building an alternate route is futile.

It’s also been proved possible to build a massively successful city with no commercial buildings, no industrial buildings, no traffic and very little of anything else.

If this is a simulation, Maxis and EA should combine and start making real-life cities; that’s got to be more lucrative and popular than the games they are making.

Diablo III was bad to being with, sure; but it wasn’t the catastrophe that SimCity has become.