UPDATE: So with all the outcry for offline mode EA/Maxis held firm that the game could not be played offline. I voiced my suspsions to my friend when we were playing and the servers went down and I wasn't booted. Anyone who has played server dependent games (ie: LoL, D3, PoE, any MMORPG ala WoW/GW2) is well aware that when their servers go down, you get the boot. But as I stated below, I played for an hour before getting booted. This showed me that the majority of the game was running on my PC and not on their server. Well Rock, Paper, Shotgun has released an interview with an EA dev who remained anonymous that CONFIRMS always on DRM is NOT a necessity for this game and the always on requirement was a fabrication created to push their DRM over game stability. This is insulting as all hell, and spits in the face of a very loyal fanbase. Here's the story from RPS: Original story below.

Ah Simcity. How I've longed for you. To build a great metropolis of towering spires, webs of highway and industry as far as the eye can see. I logged in and marveled at the splendor of my new virgin land. I giddily laid down my first stretch of road. Then developed my first neighborhood! In no time I had established the underpinning of this new city's economy. I had even named it; Signaltonville!
Then it began. I was kicked unceremoniously from the server. No knowledge of whether my time was saved or not. My attempt to log back in was met with a popup, saying that I could not connect to the server at this time. The next 48 hours would become a gamer's trial terrifyingly reminiscent of Diablo III.

- My first attempt to log in is met with a launcher that loads to 100% and then sits. Staring.
- After restarting I'm met with a 3 hour queue. Yes, as others have said... for my single player game. But what is
this? It's for the wrong server! I fix it and voila, I'm in. Cities won't load. Dammit. Restart.
- Server unavailable. I have to start over on a new server. Fine. At least I'm in. Now I have to do the tutorial
again. I can't click anything in the tutorial. It's all unclickable. The tutorial is broken. So I exit the tutorial and go
back to the main menu to just jump back into a new city. But you can't. You can't do anything until you've
done the tutorial. Which is broken. I sigh loudly. I log back out.
- Sitting at the broken launcher now. I have to dig through forums to discover that EA packaged a recovery tool
that must be used to launch the launcher. I cannot make this shit up.
- Back at launcher now and I can enter but it's in the wrong server. I switch it to North America East 2. Click OK.
It switches me back to Europe 1. I switch it back to the NA server (which says AVAILABLE in big, fat, green
text). It switches me back. This happens four or five times. I concede and log in. "Cannot load cities at this
time." I smoke another cigarette.
- I am finally back in. I've got a few hours in. I notice the red notification at the top telling me I'm disconnected
from the server, but I ignore it and keep playing. This goes on for about an hour or so, until the game is sick of
my insubordination and kicks me out. I think I'm crying but I can't feel my face anymore, so I am left to
- My next attempt at logging in is a hodgepodge of all the previous attacks generated randomly and thrown out
at different intervals. However, I have some experience doing battle with the SimCity Sim and am eventually
able to kite the server and defeat it. Now I'm finally back in. I go to upgrade my City Hall. Weird. Where are the
upgrades? What's this thing up here? It says, "Visiting". I'm in spectator mode. I attempt to log in over and over
but only get spectator mode. Bested again. EA is mocking me. They are cold and heartless and they are
mocking me.
- I give it a final attempt. I'm in. I did it. I can play and the server is connected and... my buildings aren't
rendered and the water is gone from the river so the game reads it as a ditch and my roads won't connect and
fuck this this isn't real life anymore I'm so done fucking EA I don't even....

So here I am. Trying once again. I know eventually EA will get their shit together and I can play the game the way Maxis intended. On a small plot of land with forced coop interaction. Yay. But that's a tale for another time.

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/07/2013 at 06:22pm

I was hoping someone with first-hand experience would post something about this. From everything I can tell, this is one of the worst-handled launches yet. At least with Diablo 3, when you were unable to play, it didn't look like you were playing.

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/07/2013 at 06:31pm

I actually forgot about getting to the end of the insanely long login queue only to have it instantly reset...

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/07/2013 at 06:40pm

Yeah. The feeling of hope they give you and then tear away made it so much worse. However, I will say when the game would connect and the servers would load all the info, it is a really great game. There are small complaints, but not enough to tarnish the game for me so far. Maxis made something amazing. EA locked it in their basement and beat it bloody with a server rack.

AdamPFarnsworth wrote on 03/07/2013 at 06:41pm

Holy crap, that's a really bad experience. It really shouldn't be acceptable when you've bought a game for it to work that poorly.

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/07/2013 at 06:45pm

I think what bothers me the most is that everyone, literally EVERYONE, forecasted this happening. EA did it anyway. The tragedy is that it's a great game... when you can play it. I'm sure it will be fine some time down the road, but people (not me mind you... I kind of got it for free) paid good money for a broken product.

Tungsten wrote on 03/08/2013 at 12:52am

How is this compared with the Diablo Launch? Is this something that will get ironed out as online only games become more common, or are these 1st day hiccups here to stay?

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/08/2013 at 02:10am

It seems worse (to me, as an outsider who missed both launches) that it's worse this time because you get your hopes up that you're going to play.

And you'd think people would learn from previous launch kerfuffles and go bigger at launch, but...

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/08/2013 at 02:29am

@SignalWarden: Sorry about not being able to build up Signaltonville when then game launched. Id be upset if that happened to me.

@Tungsten: I think we are entering "the new normal" for the whole always online game thing. Some games make 100% sense to always require a connection, like WoW but I think for these single player games, this is the "new normal" when they require you to always be online.

I am not saying I really want this to be the case, in fact I don't, but if a company is going to toss a server in front of ostensibly a single player game and force you to do that and then the game then this is going to happen. We all remember the Diablo III launch. They sorted that all out later and its fine now but what the fuck, that's not cool. Frankly I am a little nervous about the Heart of the Swarm launch now, but I remember that with Starcraft 2, it went smooth as silk.

I am seriously glad Indie games are taking a swing at the games industry because at least someone is making stuff that doesn't dump all over your Christmas in this way. Adding in some awesome sharing and ability to build cities close to your friends is awesome, but you can handle that gracefully while respecting people that doesn't step on your users launch expectations.

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/08/2013 at 05:44am

Tungsten: Unfortunately this will be the norm. That doesn't even bother me that much though. As a PC gamer I'm always connected anyway (work out of the house). What bothers me is that companies the size of Blizzard and EA can't handle predictable server loads. This will get ironed out eventually, but for a $60 game (or $80 if you got the golden toilet paper edition) it should be ready out of the box. You don't stave off people's apprehension by showing them EXACTLY what they were afraid of on day one. I will say that as of this afternoon I was able to log in and had a blast with it for a few hours. Signaltonville is booming, Wardensburg is a killer mining/drilling town making a huge profit (at the cost of poisoning the entire region) and I made two more starter towns on a different region; one is a beachfront tourist trap and one is a university town. The university town is doing the best of all of them. This game is really deep and I'm looking forward to doing a thorough review of it. It won't be a video review but the game is amazing, so once I have 20 or so hours under my belt I'll sit down and write something up. So yeah, it's all day one stuff. As for it being worse than Diablo, yes and no. The server issues were definitely harsher as you couldn't just try to get in and get told you couldn't. You had to waste your time in a queue or finding work arounds only to get locked out anyway, so in that regard it was much worse. On the other hand there's nothing as toxic or disgusting as the real money auction house, so I feel comfortable knowing there is a good game on the other side of the problems, which was not the case with D3.

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/08/2013 at 05:44am

J-Dod (I won't let it die): There is the argument being made that SimCity is very multiplayer focused. Here's the rub though. I have made four towns now. Two on a multiplayer map with other players and two on a private map with just me. Honestly, the difference isn't striking. This may change once I get to building the region wide attraction (monoliths, space shuttles, international airports, massive powerplants, etc are all in a single area outside of the town borders and share resources and revenue with everyone in the region) but as it stands the multiplayer interaction is so limited I can easily juggle things myself by switching cities and sending, selling or buying between my own cities with minimal hassle. Which makes me wonder, how much better could the game have been if I just had a single massive city, ala SimCity 4, instead of having to bounce between several tiny plots of land? If I were to hazard a guess I'd say much, much better.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/08/2013 at 05:44am

Awesome Francis video about SimCities launch: funny

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/08/2013 at 03:22pm

So when I eventually get this (if I eventually get this) I just want to make a city in multiplayer that ends up struggling hard, so people have to turn to crime, then infest other people's cities with criminals. Better yet, entirely remove essential things after it's thriving so that other people in multiplayer have to take in refugees.

Apparently I want to play it like an RTS.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/08/2013 at 04:54pm

@SignalWarden: That makes sense, it seems like in actuality the multiplayer aspect isn't as important as they make it out to be, which makes sense. I think if they created the game to operate in the way that doesn't need always online like it was seemingly designed then that would be good. Either way, some companies will throw the always online thing in the mix where it need not belong.

Oh and why are you not going to do a video of Simcity 5? Seems up your alley. Just curious.

BR   Supporter wrote on 03/08/2013 at 07:59pm

One way to get EA to fix the servers would be to hang money in front of them. Considering that is the only thing they care about.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/08/2013 at 08:51pm

I have heard there have been many refunds issued for this game.

BR   Supporter wrote on 03/08/2013 at 09:09pm

Maybe EA will think twice before screwing people next time. God they make me mad. They ruin all my favorite games.

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/08/2013 at 09:34pm

jon-- the Origin purchasers are screwed. They've said they aren't bending on their ToS.

Also, they have suspended all advertising and asked all their affiliates to stop promoting the game.

This one just keeps getting better.

AdamPFarnsworth wrote on 03/08/2013 at 10:55pm

The downloadable version and the shipped version both have one star on Amazon lol. Some really terrible reviews too ;)

AdamPFarnsworth wrote on 03/08/2013 at 10:56pm

But there is this 5 star review:

"You'd think I'd be mega unhappy like everyone else at the constant waiting and lack of actually being able to play a game I purchased.

Well, you'd be wrong.

The hours upon hours since launch that I haven't been able to log in, whether it be sitting in queues, or server busy messages, or just plain old not working screens, I've managed to do a heap of things that I never do when I'm locked in my man cave playing video games.

I've washed the dishes, the laundry, changed the oil in the car, mopped the floors, dusted, did a spot of gardening, greeted my children who I hadn't really seen since Christmas, walked the dog, asked how my wife's day has been and listened to the entire response, restocked the groceries and many more things! My family has never been happier that they've got a father and husband again.

In fact, I feel like Simcity has given me a new lease on life. This wouldn't have been possible without the seemingly crazy decision to have constant online connections and server side save points even for single player.

So I can only thank EA and Maxis. Your failures have been my rewards. 5 stars!"

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/08/2013 at 11:22pm

Hahahah, yeah thats awesome. I love satire!

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/08/2013 at 11:22pm

@Travis: Yeah, those are the ropes for that kind of store. Kind of solidifying my stance against not doing anything with Origin. I just don't need Call of Duty that badly.

BR   Supporter wrote on 03/08/2013 at 11:39pm

Maybe buying simcity causes a magical increase in social life. MAYBE, this was EA`s plan the entire time. Instead of creating a fictional city, by not being able to play the game, we will all do better in our actual society, causing our cities to grow. :P

Tungsten wrote on 03/09/2013 at 02:19am

Amazon has pulled it from their "shelves". Talk about hanging money in front of EA's face; if they don't get this fixed, they stand to lose quite a bit.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 03/09/2013 at 02:45am

In the long run, I doubt they'll lose much. Anyone that has the game now, or wants it, will get back on it as soon as it's available and fixed. Maybe in the past, or even in a different market, a poor release would kill a product, but games seem to weather this storm better than most. Some refunds will go out, and people will call for EA's balls on a platter (as they should), but I think in a few weeks it will all be a distant memory. I mean, if Sony can survive a massive security breech and still keep it's user base, a bad launch won't kill SimCity. Sounds like from Signal's review of what he got to play, the game is actually worth it.

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/09/2013 at 03:58am

I've been experimenting quite a bit with the game and discovered that not only was there the server issue (which is fairly stableish now), but this thing is laden with bugs. Major bugs that can ruin the game. As an example, say I have two cities: Aville and Btown. I set up Aville so that them make a product to sell to Btown and set up Btown so they make power to sell to Aville. Sounds sweet right? Problem is the game randomly glitches and decides to ignore the region from certain cities, so Aville can make bank selling to Btown, but Btown doesn't register that anything is happening and ends up in the hole with the only recourse being scrap the town and start over. This becomes an even bigger issue when you realize that they designed the game with very small working areas to force your hand, and as a result you HAVE to rely on the other cities for certain resources. The alternative is you can sell products to the global market (NPC market). So to put it briefly, they forced always on DRM and very small areas on you so you can play multiplayer, but the multiplayer is broken so you end up playing single player anyway... on a tiny map with 2/3 the options of previous games. If they get around to fixing the intercity transfers it will probably be a solid game but for right now, I recommend you stay away.

J-Dod: As for not doing a video review, I have a policy of only reviewing indie (and occasionally smaller AAA) titles. Large game companies don't need any free advertising and I don't want to do it just to get my subs up. I'll leave that for Pewdiepie. That and cancer. He can have cancer too.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/09/2013 at 08:47pm

That's a cool policy actually. I mean, "the bigs" get enough attention anyway. Certainly EA needs to help pushing its wares.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 03/09/2013 at 10:19pm

Well, that sucks :( Sorry to hear that it's that bug laden.

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/10/2013 at 05:19am

I'm happy to report that as of right now the intercity bugs are 90% fixed. I am able to trade resources again and it definitely opens up the gameplay in a whole new way. I don't know if I would say this is the be all end all sim game, but it doesn't feel broken anymore at the very least.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/10/2013 at 07:06pm

So there is a sale on Tropico 4, anyone know if that is good?

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/10/2013 at 08:35pm

Tropico 4 is pretty awesome. The tropico franchise has been pretty consistently great. Tropico 4 has some great DLC too. If you like city builders with mission objectives, this is without question your game.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/11/2013 at 12:09am

Awesome. So if I wanted to just build and do some missions that would be a good one to get?

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/11/2013 at 05:33am

Yeah. You'll have a ton of fun with that one. Plus you get to be a dictator. Who doesn't love that?

AdamPFarnsworth wrote on 03/11/2013 at 04:27pm

I downloaded a demo of Tropico 4 on my Xbox a while ago and really enjoyed it. Never ended up buying it, but I would recommend it.

SignalWarden   Post Author wrote on 03/13/2013 at 04:02am

UPDATE in main article. EA/Maxis got caught out in a boldfaced lie. Bastards.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/13/2013 at 04:24am

Wow. Well, there we are. More proof of what kind of company EA is.

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