SimCity Social

During E3, I saw mention of a new, reinvented Sim City.. with city specialisation, intelligent Sims who will react to the city you’ve planned and built, and the option to work with friends and interact with their cities or create large projects together.  It’s due in 2013.. but I already know I want this game!

In the meantime, EA have released SimCity Social on Facebook.

SimCity Social places you in charge of your own city, which evolves as you interact with it.. placing buildings and roads and interacting with them either as a good or bad Mayor.  If friends are playing, you can visit their cities and interact with them too, building up a friendly relationship or rivalry.

Available interactions are related to the type of building; Have a Meeting in the Office Building, Stay in Deluxe Room at the Hotel, or Make Investments at the Bank.  Interactions provide Simoleans, Fame and a variety of collectibles.. good interactions have a higher chance to get Teamwork, Goodwill, Harmony and so on, while Fury, Rage and Wrath are the result of evil interactions.  In turn, these are required for other buildings or upgrades later on.

As it’s a Facebook game, your Facebook friends are used to populate your city.  As soon as you’ve built your first few houses, the game shows you friends moving in via a little message and thumbnail of their profile picture, and of course, a prompt to send them a gift and invite them to play the game too!

I hate the constant noise of wall posts, invites, requests and notifications that Facebook games spawn, and as I know some of the people on my friends list really don’t like them, I tend to avoid posting game invites at all.

SimCity Social regularly prompts you to invite your friends though.. either as a neighbour, to pester them for gifts, or to ask them to staff your industries.. and every time you complete a task, you get a prompt to share this news with friends as well.  I have cancelled all requests except to the two friends who also play the game, and yet Tim tells me that it’s still sent him a few invites!

Levelling up has been a disappointment too.  The first few levels, like most Facebook games, consist of excessive hand-holding and pop-up messages congratulating you for following basic instructions.  Tasks aren’t compulsory, but sit naggingly on the left of the screen, and I almost want to avoid completing them because doing so causes another message and another prompt to tell all my friends!

I got a few levels where I was able to choose buildings, to start to make “my” city.. but I quickly realised I was already into the land of diminishing returns.

I don’t have room to add more buildings, and can’t expand any further without “land permits”.  I can’t upgrade the buildings I want because I need staff and a variety of collectibles.. I can’t even finish the construction of buildings that are part of the tasks I’m on!

I can wait and hope to turn up these collectibles by interacting with buildings for the next few days.. or harass friends.. or pay in Diamonds.

Diamonds are SimCity Social’s method of handling pay to play.

You start off with a few Diamonds, and are given a few more as you level up.. though the higher your level, the fewer Diamonds you get: when I reached level 12 I got just one.  You are given many, many places in which to spend them.. finishing off construction or upgrades, expanding the city plot, staffing buildings when you don’t want to ask friends.

If you want more, you have to buy them.  I was horrified to find out the cost, though: £25 to complete the building mentioned above!

£25 to finish one building!

I guess they have to monetise the game if they can, but where does it end?  All I can think of now is the story about the kid who used his savings and his mother’s credit card to buy £900 worth of Farmville tokens.  There are so many better things to spend £25 on.. I think I’d rather wait for the real Sim City to come out, and spend it on that!

Years ago, I played Mafia Wars, Parking Wars, and some other thing with pirates.. I tried Farmville and another handful of games during a short period of “research” for work, too.  They’d offered the chance to work on our own Facebook game as a teambuilding exercise later.. they didn’t deliver, and I removed the games.  I had decided that these Facebook games were all about addiction rather than fun; about keeping you coming back and clicking, dragging your friends in, generating pageviews, advert revenue, and of course making a huge bonus from anyone who then also bought game credits.

I hoped SimCity Social would be better than this.. though maybe I was just blinded by my desire for Sim City!  In any case.. I’m done with this one.

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One Comment

  • Zeba says:

    Sending requests in citylive doesn’t work with explorer9. Everything works well with windows explorer 8. I haven’t got time to change the settings in 9 but even then it might not work properly. Probably it will take time to play games normally again ! And it will load your game well if you go to my neighbours and click on any of your neighbours and the game opens quickly. This play does not always work. You can just quit the game cause it is too slow and never know, when again some darn problem appears. You can’t fix the zynga games problems it has to be done from providers and that is stupid . Better play some computer games what works, it is more fun and less stress. I played the game but now it is just boring. I have finished all my goals and there is still the same boring goals keep coming 1 by 1 (every time I finished the old one). Same thing all the time ask friends, build this, collect from it 3 times it means 3 days from the same bloody building . Goals getting boring at the end cause’ they repeat..repeat..repeat..and repeat. 2 months played that thing and it was not fun. And this catching bandits is like gambling because 4 donuts goes off and you have to ask again because the other bandit might also need 4 or 5 even. to get 6 level you need 60 to catch, that is too much cause every 3-4 hours you can catch 2 only and you need donuts what is not enough to catch 2. this donuts collecting they should at least make it a bit easier like collecting 2 extra from businesses at least .But the idea of this game is to get real money out of the gamers pockets don’t forget! . . That’s why it’ll get boring the end cause you are stuck with your silly goals! Have fun!

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