EA Readies Big SimCity Patch

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EA Readies Big SimCity Patch

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SimCity will be offline for about two hours tonight while EA works in a hefty pile of updates and bug fixes.

I've stayed as far as humanly possible away from the whole SimCity fiasco (except to point and laugh) so I have no idea what the state of the game is currently, but I suspect that the best approximation remains something close to "not good." It will therefore likely be welcome news that Electronic Arts will implement a host of updates to the game tonight at 5 pm EDT.

New to the game will be the addition of a Mayor's Mansion, from which the big Simcheese will drive or fly to work, HUD color correction in color-blind mode and a change to data maps that shows the filtered color when a color filter is enabled. Exciting stuff!

The list of fixes and updates is much beefier, covering technical issues that were causing cities not to process (and which EA is "continuing to work on and improve," presumably even beyond this update), fixes to region filters and invites, tourism, casinos, education, water, air pollution, recycling, disasters, trade, transit and other features. "Everything" might be an unfortunately appropriate term for it.

The bad news is that the servers will have to be taken offline to make the magic happen and that means, given the always-on demands of SimCity, that you won't be able to play the game while it's happening. "Choosing a time to issue a major Update is never easy, but after looking our peak player time, we've concluded 9pm GMT is the best window for us to make these improvements," Community Manager Michael Donahoe explained on the SimCity blog. The update is expected to take roughly two hours to complete.

The full list of bug fixes and updates is available at simcity.com.

Permalink

No offline mode then?

Right, still not buying then.

Sadly, I doubt this will save the games dwindling playerbase. As much as I love the franchise, this one has just been one massive disappointment.

Hey, planned server downtime is a completely NEW downside to always-on DRM! I wasn't sure there were any of those left to find, but EA proved me wrong.

"The bad news is that the servers will have to be taken offline to make the magic happen and that means, given the always-on demands of SimCity, that you won't be able to play the game while it's happening"

Into the trash it goes.

They need to fix the clipping errors with those damn buses as well, its horrid to watch, truly.

Andy Chalk:
EA Readies Out Big SimCity Patch

SimCity will be offline

YAAAAAYYYYYYY!

Andy Chalk:
for about two hours tonight while EA works in a hefty pile of updates and bug fixes.

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And yet they still haven't commented on the mountains of evidence that the servers do basically nothing, and that the game can be (and has been) run offline, all the while sending out stories that make them look good, hoping people will just forget that they lied repeatedly and blatantly.

Wait we can't play our game with always on DRM when the servers are down and being updated? There's no way to have seen this when they thought of DRM, thank god they have the balls to still update it, AND keep the DRM. These people are brave.

**Looks at her sarcasm meter* Well that was too much
Anyways, sarcasm aside, these problems shoulda been addressed when the game come out, not what, a month after sim city came out? It's kinda sickening

So far every single patch to that game have been blundering failures that have caused the threads in various forums I follow to flare up with several new complaints.

I really don't expect this one to break the trend.

SadisticFire:

**Looks at her sarcasm meter* Well that was too much
Anyways, sarcasm aside, these problems shoulda been addressed when the game come out, not what, a month after sim city came out? It's kinda sickening

This^

And also no offline mode huh? And you are taking the servers off to patch at a time no one is playing? So any time then?

captcha skynet watches

Indeed captcha EA is watching

Unless this patch adds an offline mode I will still be keeping my money.

Andy Chalk:
It will therefore likely be welcome news that Electronic Arts will implement a host of updates to the game tonight at 5 pm EDT.

Right in the middle of my day off. Wow. If I had bought this game I'd be so pissed right now.

Andy Chalk:
The update is expected to take roughly two hours to complete.

So, if anything at all goes wrong and it goes over the two hours, they'll start crashing head-on into TotalBiscuit's archetypal after-work gamer.


Mcoffey:
And yet they still haven't commented on the mountains of evidence that the servers do basically nothing, and that the game can be (and has been) run offline,

Who knows, maybe this patch will fix that so the offline mode hack no longer works! (They must improve "server security" to protect against "hackers". After all, it's an MMO and no one complains when WoW knocks off exploits, right? Snicker.)

So who thinks the severs will crash with all those people trying to play the "new and improved" game after the patch goes live.

I'm almost betting about 75% chance we'll be seeing a story soon that reads

"EA severs can't handle strain of players coming back, crashes....again"

The point of playing SimCity is to make an entire city of fake friends to make up for the fact that I don't have any real friends. So, why the hell would I want to play my people simulator with real people?

I pretty much guarantee you that anyone who clicked this news article was hoping for an offline mode. I know I was. I didn't buy the game, but honestly might have if I could play offline. Back to SimCity 2000, I guess.

So, if the player is the mayor of the city and the mayor can ride in a helicopter from the Mayor's Mansion. Does that mean that the player is in the helicopter? And if that helicopter crashes (can they crash?) does that mean that the game just killed off the player?

These are the questions i ponder when the observant player in a god-game are personified as a fragile mortal.

So we have to be always online, but EA doesn't have to be always online?

BS.

Unless this patch comes with an offline mode AND fixes some of the major broken mechanics, it will do little good to the game's already plummeting reputation

Formica Archonis:
Who knows, maybe this patch will fix that so the offline mode hack no longer works! (They must improve "server security" to protect against "hackers". After all, it's an MMO and no one complains when WoW knocks off exploits, right? Snicker.)

So another two lines of code then? One to check for the two lines of codes from before and another to stop the game if the first line can't find the other two.

Problem solved, everybody wins!

Wow, how much toothpaste do I have to buy in order to get the helicopter?

Seriously, part of me still wishes that they can somehow fix the broken aspects of this game. I'd really like to play a modern SimCity that looks as good as this game does.

captcha: like a boss

Man I am so glad I made the decision to avoid Maxis, and every other EA unberella studio game, years ago. It has saved me so much pain and suffering.

I suppose planned downtime beats the hell out of unplanned downtime. ...sorta.

Staggered server updates, apparently EA hasn't fucking heard of them. It isn't rocket surgery, here let me explain:

-Take half servers offline, update them while the other half allow players to play.
-Put new servers online, take other half offline, downtime of perhaps 5 minutes.
-Update other half, put those online.

It's like, fucking logical or something. Unless EA only has one server.. Frankly that wouldn't even surprise me, since they don't seem to invest their piles of cash INTO anything judging by the quality of their games anymore.

Isn't this kinda late? Is there anyone actually left playing this game at this point?

RatherDull:
So we have to be always online, but EA doesn't have to be always online?

BS.

Yep! The glories of always on DRM (no it's not an MMO) in a nutshell. We honor our side of the agreement of having a constant(ish) internet connection while those who impose said agreements are omitted. Vitriol aside, this is one of the times it is kind of alright for the system to be down, for the sake of fixing something. I'm not saying that releasing a game for $60+ in the state it was is alright, but it's better than letting it rot.

MMO's go offline for large updates and maintenance all the time, but hey - you never want to miss an opportunity to bitch and moan about EA no matter what the situation right? Classy stuff.

Especially glad to see they're tweaking tourism and casinos. Just felt like transportation from other cities wasn't bringing anyone in no matter how many tourist attractions I put in.

Akexi:

Yep! The glories of always on DRM (no it's not an MMO)...

Seems we posted at the same time. I'm curious to know why you feel it doesn't count as an MMO. Granted if we want to go in on technicality you're not playing with MASSIVE amounts of people at the same time, but it's still a "Multiplayer Online" game.

I am eagerly awaiting the 'two hours of downtime' to extand to two days of downtime, when the fixes they implement actually make the game worse and cause it crash repeatedly, as well open a ton of new exploits that have to be sealed before EA and Maxis let anyone play their.. ahem.. your game.

Definitely feeling glass half empty today.

Karathos:
MMO's go offline for large updates and maintenance all the time, but hey - you never want to miss an opportunity to bitch and moan about EA no matter what the situation right? Classy stuff.

Especially glad to see they're tweaking tourism and casinos. Just felt like transportation from other cities wasn't bringing anyone in no matter how many tourist attractions I put in.

Akexi:

Yep! The glories of always on DRM (no it's not an MMO)...

Seems we posted at the same time. I'm curious to know why you feel it doesn't count as an MMO. Granted if we want to go in on technicality you're not playing with MASSIVE amounts of people at the same time, but it's still a "Multiplayer Online" game.

I find it odd that you're surprised by this. Several of the writers on this website have made this point.

So, yeah, it's clearly not "massive" since 16 is not massive. It's only barely "multiplayer". The example someone gave is that SimCity is like 16 people playing their own games of solataire and occasionally getting up from the table to trade a card with another player.

People don't have a problem with the existence of the multiplayer aspects, but that you are forced into that mode. EA/Maxis have consistently claimed that the game was intended to be an "MMO" or focus heavily on multiplayer, but hacks have shown that the game works fine in single player.

Tons of people are trying to play it like a single player game by just creating a few cities in a private region (::cough::). There's not reason they should not be able to play because EA's servers die or EA is issuing a patch. Do you really think the "Global Market" somehow makes it an MMO? You really find the experience of SimCity to be comparable to WoW or Guild Wars 2 as an MMO?

I'd be interested in hearing a good argument that SimCity is an MMO. I haven't heard anything to really ever back up that claim.

Karathos:
MMO's go offline for large updates and maintenance all the time, but hey - you never want to miss an opportunity to bitch and moan about EA no matter what the situation right? Classy stuff.

Especially glad to see they're tweaking tourism and casinos. Just felt like transportation from other cities wasn't bringing anyone in no matter how many tourist attractions I put in.

Akexi:

Yep! The glories of always on DRM (no it's not an MMO)...

Seems we posted at the same time. I'm curious to know why you feel it doesn't count as an MMO. Granted if we want to go in on technicality you're not playing with MASSIVE amounts of people at the same time, but it's still a "Multiplayer Online" game.

Except it's only an online game in the very loosest sense of the term. In a typical MMO, the vast majority of the world simulation is server-side. In SimCity, the only things that are server-side are the world economy and cloud save syncing. This is only marginally more online than a single player game with an online high score list. From a technical standpoint, they absolutely could've kept the game up for players, but for some occasional connection checks that don't actually affect the game in any meaningful way.

P.S. Thanks

Elate:
Staggered server updates, apparently EA hasn't fucking heard of them. It isn't rocket surgery, here let me explain:

-Take half servers offline, update them while the other half allow players to play.
-Put new servers online, take other half offline, downtime of perhaps 5 minutes.
-Update other half, put those online.

It's like, fucking logical or something. Unless EA only has one server.. Frankly that wouldn't even surprise me, since they don't seem to invest their piles of cash INTO anything judging by the quality of their games anymore.

All this time hearing about always on DRM and its pathetic implementation by these incredibly thick companies... And I'm always reminded of one scene in The Social Network where Zuckerberg freaks out at the prospect of Facebook's servers going offline for a day. Hell, I think I'll put it on youtube.

Here:

*reads* hrm... no patch for taking out the always online DRM? well then, don't care.

Karathos:

Seems we posted at the same time. I'm curious to know why you feel it doesn't count as an MMO. Granted if we want to go in on technicality you're not playing with MASSIVE amounts of people at the same time, but it's still a "Multiplayer Online" game.

SimCity's core game engine runs 100% clientside. Traffic, population, EVERYTHING is run on the user's machine and not on a central server.
The client has a script in it that tells the game to close back to the main menu if it doesn't get a response from the server within 3 minutes. That's not MMO, that's DRM, and the fact that you can easily comment it out and not miss a beat with any old Java editor says a lot about how poorly made the game is.

The only part that's "online", is the cloud save game system, and it's online-only because EA cut the local-save feature out of the game (no really, it apparently was local save during beta testing as there are pieces of it left over in the client).
For reference, Steam does Cloud Saves based on my local data; letting me use both out of convenience, so really this is just more enforcement for their DRM and not indicative of it being an MMO.

The multiplayer function is bare-bones and completely inconsequential, since only one mayor can work on one city in a region at a time, it's functionally identical to having one region hosting a series of single-player sessions, since the players don't actually interact with each other.

But oh! You can send money and resources to their cities!...which is about as "MMO" as your average Facebook game.

SimCity, by its own design is not an MMO; it's just always-online DRM, and even that is bare-bones.
In brief: EA lies like a rug and claims SimCity is an MMO because they think we're fucking stupid.

It seems they just don't quite get it.

The only patch that can fix SimCity is an Offline mode patch.

This is such ridiculous bullshit. You updating your servers should have NO effect on my ability to play. You see my PC is running this thing, your servers literally do nothing, NOTHING, but introduce lag issues between my various cities. Why not just reduce it to what it really is EA? Your online server is nothing more than a punch clock.

I am playing it offline anyway with the little hack your players discovered in the first week after it was released. Well playing it is an overstatement, it's sort of sitting on my hard drive unused, seeing as the depth this game has is that of a kiddie pool, without any water in it.

Not to mention that these fixes here, whilst far from including everything still don't fix the automated mess that your city turns into. For example instead of continually annoying us with the HORRENDOUS public transit system you have why not instead allow US to draw the bus lines? You see both your garbage, power, water, worker, police, firefighters, ambulance and even the shit in the sewers is governed by such retarded AI that it will ALWAYS run at a sub-optimal pace. FUCK the AI is SO bad that it would still fail to optimize itself on a STRAIGHT FUCKING ROAD! Yes that is right instead of moving on to the next house garbage trucks will form a fucking conga line trying to pick up garbage from the same house!

Just to repeat it the AI is so basic, so stupid, so badly tested that it will fuck up collecting garbage along a STRAIGHT ROAD, no branching paths, no intersections. Just a straight road is to much for this game.

Not that I even need to bother with transport vehicles because I basically figured out how to create cities that are zoned in such a way that almost everyone walks to work. Yeah, that's right probably should have tested that when you designed the game. But if it was actually tested I don't think a system so retarded as the Resource-Sink would have existed in the first place. The Sims in the city basically take on a new job and a new family every single day of their miserable existence.

Anyone else just go and check, only to find that the escapist STILL hasn't put out a review for the game... Did they just forget? Anyone know?

kajinking:
So who thinks the severs will crash with all those people trying to play the "new and improved" game after the patch goes live.

I'm almost betting about 75% chance we'll be seeing a story soon that reads

"EA severs can't handle strain of players coming back, crashes....again"

So looking forward to this. I normally don't jump on the hatewagon, but this game brings it out of me.

The DRM is still why I refuse to buy this game. Once EA (and other developers) realize that this is costing them legitimate sales, maybe they'll go back on this insane idea.

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