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What Happened to The Sims?

Lorna Reid | 10 Sep 2012 15:30
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My issues with this generation of EA's obscenely popular franchise, The Sims 3, are legion but, until now, I had no idea that they were shared by so many others, and not just to the point of general grumbling. It appears that this iteration of The Sims has stirred up an alarming level of emotion, from vitriol on one hand to genuine despair on the other. I understand that people love The Sims. So do I. It has many good points, but when people - and we're talking hardcore fans - are struggling to continue their loyalty to the point where they are retreating to past titles or simply giving up, there is obviously a problem, but is it enough of a problem that anything will be done?

When The Sims 3 was released in 2009, it was a mixed bag that, in hindsight, was a good indicator of the issues that would continue to bother players years down the line.

When The Sims 3 was released in 2009, it was a mixed bag ... a bag that, in hindsight, was a good indicator of the issues that would continue to bother players years down the line. The content of the base game was typically sparse - the real meat of any Sims generation has always lain in its expansion packs - but this time it seemed a little more sparse than usual.

The Sims 3 Store would appear to be why; it is essentially an online portal, through which players can purchase extra baubles for their game via microtransactions.

While fan sites continue to report on the latest store releases, it is not without a note of bitterness, because as much as players want the creations on offer, they resent having to tear off a limb and throw it into EA's coffers. The new furniture sets available are pricey enough, but each new themed "world" for your Sims to live, work, and play in typically costs 2450 Sim Points (the store's currency), and when you consider that these can only be bought in blocks of 1000 points at $10 a block, the cost becomes eye-watering.

It is little wonder then that fans looking for decent content have turned to The Sims' mod community for salvation, paying a nominal fee at most to download a vast selection of original objects from sites such as TheSimsResource and ModTheSims, where the sheer breadth of creativity is astounding.

Perhaps more of an issue is that with each successive expansion comes a new array of bugs, while old ones have yet to be completely ironed out. The problems extend beyond this, however, to something fundamental to an enjoyable Sims experience: expansion packs.

The Sims 3's expansions may have doled out vampires and pets yet again, but the Generations pack contained a weak hodge-podge of stuff that should have been in the base game, and the series' (frankly, bizarre) infatuation with Katy Perry in the form of a special edition expansion and dedicated stuff pack has been the final straw for some players. It isn't just the content of Generations that should have been included as standard, though. The Sims 3: Seasons expansion will be rearing its head come November and, once more, The Sims pulls the cheap trick of making the weather an add-on when it, too, should have been in the base game.

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