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Customer Discussions > SimCity: Limited Edition forum

What are your thoughts on the beta?

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Showing 1-25 of 93 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 26, 2013 1:23:20 AM PST
T. Lack says:
I just played through the timed beta and I'm not sure what to think. There's a few things improved like zoning and resource management but it just feels like a step back in the franchise for me.

I don't understand why the maps are so freaking small now. How is it that 10 years ago when PC's weren't that powerful the maps are at least 3-4 times the size of the maps in this game? You can't build sprawling cities anymore. It's as though they are forcing you to play the game the way they want you to play it. In SimCity 4 you could section off your city between residential, commercial and industrial and have massive cities. In the new SimCity they want you to only build one type of zone for your city. For me this is the biggest issue of the game, even more a bigger deal then the always on DRM.

And then there's the graphics in the game. I have all settings cranked up to max at 1920x1080 and from far away everything looks pretty good till you zoom in. Once you zoom in everything seems to turn low res and blurry but the strange thing is the buildings far off in the distance look high res and clear.

Overall I'm not all that impressed with all the changes they've made. I feel like they are doing certain things in order to charge for tons of DLC later on. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if they end up releasing DLC that gives you larger maps to build on. I also wouldn't be surprised if it cost $40 to buy it.

How do you feel after playing the beta?

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 1:41:58 AM PST
Grieger says:
Well, I crashed out. Origin crashed (I was attempting to turn on in-game support because the feedback and bug report features require it apparently) and I got booted almost immediately (literally 2-3 seconds). "SimCity requires Origin"

I played part of the tutorial before the crash (now the servers are apparently down as everyone's getting a network error now trying to authenticate). The graphics are definitely nice when you're further out, I agree. The sims they show, which is sort of a nice touch until you realize how much like stick figures they are, are hit or miss. Their animation is so bad it looks like a placeholder and honestly, I'd be happy NOT to see sims if it meant a boost in texture quality or map size.

I'm not sure about the zone limits but that might be a scenario (or beta) limitation. The tutorial showed off the usual three. The only thing I don't like there is that you effectively tag zones to streets. I'm guessing the area behind it will fill in as the city grows or the zone increases in density? If not, it's a terrible waste of space.

I really got a kick out of a minor feature: filters under Graphics. You can create a retro-looking sepia toned look or a saturated one (plus they have a couple filters for color-blind folk which is a nice touch).

At this point, I waited all day long (work), watching twitter as people commented on it, looking forward to the time I could play it and now this crash and the network error (I have a feeling the server's crashed and everyone's sleeping so it'll take time for it to be fixed) means I've gotten to play all of about 5 minutes of tutorial.

My disappointment is rapidly growing...

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 2:21:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 26, 2013 2:22:04 AM PST
T. Lack says:
Yeah when I first downloaded and installed the updates the servers were down. I just relaunched the game about 30 minutes later and the servers were back up. The tutorial really should be optional in my opinion since it doesn't teach anything new to people that have played SimCity before.

Yeah I didn't even touch on the way the Sims walking around look. I'm pretty sure the people in SimCity 4 looked better and had better animations. It's strange to see people moving around like that and it reminds me of something you would have seen in gaming 15 years ago. If they can't give them decent animations and rendering then they should just get rid of them.

As of now I preordered the game since Amazon is doing a $20 promo for the physical copy of the game. I may end up cancelling the order since I'm not entirely sure I want to buy it after playing the beta. Some things are improved but a lot of it seems like a step back from SimCity 4. For me the game just feels a bit rushed and unpolished considering how close to release it is. Yes I'm aware that it's probably using an older build in the beta but I have yet to see a major improvement from any beta once a game releases. My guess would be the game will still look the same way as it does now which is a major turn off from buying it.

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 5:40:50 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 26, 2013 5:41:20 PM PST]

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 6:30:00 PM PST
Grieger says:
I read that the tutorial IS skippable (at least for the beta) after you've played through it once. But, I agree...I'd rather skip the tutorial and dig in. Most gamers prefer the choice since some people (like me) often skip tutorials in general).

I'm hoping the graphics thing will improve with the launch version. They might be using a dumbed down version in terms of models/textures to help avoid leaking too much (and to keep the download smaller). That said, I also wouldn't be surprised if they launched it with only a mild improvement on that front...hard to say. I remember beta testing an MMO where they did the same thing...used a low-res version for the closed beta with the launch version having much higher-res textures included.

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 7:32:34 PM PST
Just want to let you know you can build your industrial zone (power plants) in another lot, and it still can provide power to your city once you enable it to do so. Yes, they want you to deal with the big changes like DRM and small maps. I don't mind small maps, but DRM makes thing undesirable. Unfortunately the mentality of the EA and Maxis team is, "deal with it" and you "either buy it or don't".

Posted on Jan 27, 2013 12:19:35 AM PST
Grieger says:
Yeah, and the unfortunate thing is plenty of people will buy it and someone at EA will feel validated. I can only hope they projected higher numbers and don't reach those. Might make them realize they can't just win with the ignorant gamers who don't care (at least until it affects them).

Posted on Jan 27, 2013 10:42:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 27, 2013 11:06:47 AM PST
Eric DiPier says:
I just played two sessions and I enjoyed myself greatly. Wish I had more than an hour each time. For the record, the tutorial only plays the first time through the beta.

EDIT: wanted to discuss the graphics. I agree with Grieger, I definitely think the graphics in the retail version will be better. The beta is to get feedback on bugs and gameplay, not necessarily to impress people. I'd be shocked if the graphics in the beta were not dumbed down.

First thought: curved roads! It's about freaking time. Curved roads that still allow full zoning! Awesome. Makes the city look so much more realistic. EDIT: also loved the way bus stops work, both for mass transit buses and also school buses. Essentially, you build the bus depot or school and then lay bus stops wherever you want them...but the game shows you the houses affected by the stops before you build them. So you can easily see where to place them to get the most impact. Very cool. I really like the new building upgrades as well. Adding extra components to the town hall, the fire station, the school...realistic, fun and makes it easy to keep up with a growing population.

I don't agree that it's a step back. To me it's a step forward, although not in a straight line. A "city" in this new game is really equivalent to a small town, or maybe a specific neighborhood of a big city. This is a big change, so of course it's going to take some getting used to. But I think it'll be pretty cool. I don't like the internet requirement, nor do I like the inability to save locally, but I really do think the region play is going to be a lot of fun. It promises to be a lot more realistic too. Where I live (Washington DC metropolitan area / Northern Virginia), there are a ton of towns within a big region, and each town has its own personality. Regardless of which town people live in, they work and shop all across the region. I think the new game has the capability of recreating that, and that makes me excited. For my first region, I think I will lock it so that I control every city. But eventually I'm sure I'll play with some other people in a region.

I am sort of stunned that the Digital Deluxe version is $80 (it's only available from EA). That's ridiculous.

Think I'm going to pre-order from Amazon to get the $20 credit. That's the best deal I've seen.

Posted on Jan 27, 2013 4:29:34 PM PST
T. Lack says:
Yeah my plan if I buy SimCity is to buy it from Amazon and get the $20 code and use that for the extra DLC they have day 1. I'm still not sure if I want to buy it since it doesn't feel like SimCity to me. I feel like Maxis should have improved things in the game and leave the stuff that was there before. If the maps were massive then I could easily overlook the stupid DRM the game has. However, when they remove big cities from the game and force you to be connected online in order to play the game it just doesn't give me much incentive to buy it. Unfortunately though, I'm extremely bored with the games I have so that's the only reason I'm considering buying it now instead of later.

I still feel as though it's an overall step back for the franchise. Maxis said they wanted to wait to make another SimCity game till technology improved enough to handle it. I'm not entirely sure why they needed technology to get better in order to have curved roads and better overlays. I feel they could have done those things easily 5 years ago instead of waiting all this time. I guess I just expected to be able to build a massive city in the new game because graphics cards are so much more powerful today than they were back then. If you could build massive cities on the hardware back then, I have no idea why you shouldn't be able to do the same or more now. I had 512MB of RAM when SimCity 4 came out and needed 1GB of RAM after my city got too big. I was also playing on integrated graphics back then but I was still able to build a massive city. Now years later, I have a GTX 680 and 8GB of RAM and I'm being forced to build a city that can only be 1/3 of the size as a 10 year old game.

Part of the reason I think they have made the cities so small is so they can add a big city DLC pack in a few months time. I was worried this might happen when I first heard about a new SimCity game because what Maxis and EA has done to The Sims franchise. Once I heard there would be day one DLC 9 months before the game even released I was a little sickened but also not all that surprised. EA is no doubt the cancer in gaming that should be removed otherwise a hobby and passion many of us have will be destroyed in a few years time. It saddens me to know that my 3 year old son may never get to enjoy gaming like I did growing up because of what it has become now. Now gaming is all about giving you an incomplete game that you paid $60 for and then selling the rest of it back to you later on for another $60+. It really is a sad thing when you look back at how gaming was 10 years ago and what it's become this generation.

Posted on Jan 27, 2013 6:16:44 PM PST
Grieger says:
@Eric Yes, the fact that you can zone to the curvature of a road is great. I feel like, though, they need to fix the way you lay down zones as it's more tedious in this version. If I want to lay down a large residential area, each road stops my "painting" of the zone. So I have to effectively zone each city block one by one. Tedious.

I'm definitely hoping the city size is purely about beta and potentially something that unlocks later or is just something you can configure when the retail version comes out. The small town feel is nice but I want the freedom to build a large city.

@T Lack I have a feeling most of the DLC will be just different buildings and the like (more look and feel than functional). Look at the digital deluxe version (yes, @Eric the price is absolutely ridiculous for what you get)...the three extra packs you get on top of the LE's Heroes and Villans one are just city-themed landmarks. I hate that EA's trying so hard to ensure that you buy through their portal (Origin) rather than rewarding everyone who pre-orders. I know game pubs like to sometimes have different extras for different retailers (usually because that was probably part of the negotiations to sort of co-market the games) but I always hate that...especially since I really don't want to pay MORE by buying through a digital-only storefront. It's cheaper for EA to sell from their own site (they just gained a 50% profit as they're now taking the retailer's cut) and to sell digitally (media and packaging costs not to mention inventory management and shipping usually cost about 10% or less). So, they're adding 60% profit and giving you a couple of digital add-ons that probably required a couple artists a week or two to do (after all they're based on real world objects you can google and potentially find models for out on the internet).

EA isn't the little scrappy company that made adventure games (remember Bard's Tale?!?) and EA Maxis is not really the same Maxis that made SimCity, SimFarm, The Sims, etc. I hate to say it but that time is gone and while this version of SimCity is actually really nice, we're still at the whim of a handful of MBAs trying to maximize profit and which sees us all as values to plug into formulas to determine how to optimally separate ourselves from our money. The best thing you can do is just figure out the best way to get what you need while giving away the least amount of money (and no, I don't mean piracy...that's for lazy jerks who feel the world owes them something despite them not contributing anything to that world). I'm saying, watch for sales, avoid using Origin to buy games and if you really see little appeal in the game as it stands, just don't buy it. Nothing wakes up a company like EA than not hitting sales targets and seeing lower than expected revenue or profits. Just bear in mind, there are a lot of people out there who like the game and aren't concerned at all about the online requirement (I think most of them are younger and haven't played the earlier versions).

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2013 10:53:39 PM PST
T. Lack says:
Trust me, I'm already planning to give EA as little of my money as possible. I figure if I bought the physical copy from Amazon and get the $20 credit, I can put that $20 towards the DLC packs they will have on release. That way I'm not giving them any more of my money than I need to. Hopefully the game will be reviewed before Amazon sends my copy so I can see if the game is worth buying now or if I should wait for it to go on sale.

I do agree that charging $60 for a digital download of a game is stupid. It's fine if they want to charge that price for the physical copy of the game since they won't be getting that full amount out of each sale. When they are selling their game through their own distribution service it just doesn't make sense why they would charge full price for it. Well I take that back, they are doing it because they are greedy and want to squeeze every last dollar out of a game. I guess every company is guilty of this because even movie companies charge full price for a digital copy of a movie when you get less than if you were to buy the physical copy. The only way people will switch to completely digital media is if there's some sort of discount to make up for not having the actual media to own. I really wish Steam could still distribute EA games because we would be able to buy them for a lot cheaper than using Origin.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2013 12:33:56 PM PST
Nic Voss says:
Yea but will Amazon be allowed to have the DLC for you to buy? I'm betting that they likely won't and you'll be forced to buy it on Origin. The 20$ in essence is just good for use on Amazon for something they sell from what I can tell. Damn these map sizes...I'm sure they'll have a "Vast Lands" type DLC to expand the city tile. BS.

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 1:22:20 PM PST
Grieger says:
Hard to say. My guess is no unless they offer it up as Expansion packs (like the Sims).

The $20 is for anything Amazon sells (meaning they are the seller) which is a lot. I buy a lot of games from Amazon (if I don't buy them on Steam) and they're usually the seller unless it's an out of print or older game (or if we're talking tabletop/RPGs since they're a bit too specialized for Amazon's tastes).

And, yes, I'm sure making larger cities possible is about as difficult as setting a couple of constants in a game EXE and building it. It's just a matter of scaling up and with a modern app developed with modern tools, I seriously doubt they used a small variable type to store all the numbers that would need to scale up (population, funds, number of agents allowed, etc.).

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 1:33:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2013 1:36:09 PM PST
Devin R. says:
So I think people have hit on most of what I was thinking. The small size of the cities seems a little ridiculous. I know they want you to build in regions, so I'm even sort of willing to look past that for a second. So I can own my whole region and build lots of parts to my city that interact. Okay. That works. I'd still rather just build one big city though. Now if I'm playing with other people, we're going to need a lot more than 3 city spots in the region... like I might want 5 or so and each of my friends will want that many. How many city spots are in a region in the real game? Surely more than 3 or 4 I hope.

Anyways, the DRM is total crap. I hate game companies treating me like I'm a thief. I've had problems signing in to World of Warcraft (authenticator not synched), Starcraft II (couldn't remember login info), and Star Wars: The Old Republic (couldn't remember login info after a while). These are games I "own" that I'm not able to play for various reasons. The always online requirement is crap because after a few years EA will decide it's not worth it to keep the servers up and they'll shut it down. This means I basically just pay them to rent the game from them for as long as they see fit to keep it alive.

Day 1 DLC is a joke. EA isn't the only company guilty of this, but they certainly are one of the worst offenders. Just give me the full game at launch. I am paying you guys $60 for SOMETHING, right? So they charge you full price, and then instead of releasing stuff that should have just been part of the game, they charge you extra for it if you want it. Then instead of releasing patches like they used to, they release DLC, and guess what? Yeah, you have to pay for that too. I'm guessing EA might release "larger cities" as a big feature in an expansion pack somewhere down the road. Of course, this is a really easy settings change in the game and doesn't really require EA to do anything new. Of course, we'll all have to pay $30-40 for that too. And they might toss is a couple stupid new buildings or scenarios along with it.

The graphics aren't very good. It's true. I hope that was just for beta, but who knows? I have a decently powerful PC and I'd like to take advantage of it. If people have crappy computers and can't deal with large sprawling cities, that's their problem. I think it should be an option.

Ultimately, did I have fun? Yes, I did. I like the idea of upgrading buildings, and there are some neat overlays and displays. I also have nostalgia for Sim City 2000, which was both placated and exacerbated by the beta. It was Sim City, but it didn't really feel like Sim City. I'm still intrigued to see how the game really turns out (it's hard to tell from an hour long beta), but ultimately I'm not sold on it yet, and I really dislike what EA is doing to video games. I will make sure to give them as little money as I have to.

I would buy the game digitally, but nobody even wants to give me a discount? Come on. I know that Runic Games made like $3 profit on every boxed version of Torchlight that they sold (cost of the box, manual, distributors, etc.), but they made like $14 off of every digital copy from Steam. Digital copies have a much lower cost to the developer. Let me see some of that if you want me to buy a digital copy. Otherwise, I'll buy a retail version if for no other reason than to cut into your profit margin because you are a greedy developer. You want people to buy from Origin? Alright. Offer your super deluxe "this is what all the copies of the game should have anyways" version for $60 only through your site. Then it's heavy handed still, but at least we're getting something out of the deal. It's a win-win. You are offering a win for you guys and a screw you to the consumers. Way to go EA. I'll go out of my way to buy digital copies of games from companies I like because it gives them more money. I'll go out of my way to make sure you guys get as little profit as possible.

So yeah. Amazon has a nice sale. I'll probably pick it up for essentially $40, but I still don't like you EA. Bring back the days of SC2000 and the first Sims, before you guys screwed up Maxis.

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 1:47:55 PM PST
Grieger says:
@D Rees, from what I gathered, I think regions can be as big as 16 cities, so there's room to grow and/or play. I don't know if there are any restrictions on that (i.e. if 16 cities is only for multiplayer or something stupid like that) but from what I got here, it was 16 cities at most (and you can own cities in up to 10 regions at a time):

The creative director of SimCity (Ocean Quigley) has been quoted as saying city size was tied to performance of the engine. I agree that's BS. My computer can handle it. Just tie max city size to the ability of the computer to handle it. Especially since future computers are only going to get faster so...

And don't get me started about the price of games, especially collector's and special/limited/deluxe editions... :)

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 1:52:07 PM PST
i don't mind city size, I don't mind the size of the city we see in beta game play. I don't want to ask for something that will give problems to players with low spec computers.

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 3:13:51 PM PST
Grieger says:
I actually feel like it should be in there, despite the min recs but only as long as it's just an option. For instance, you can start a small, medium, large, huge city. It's sort of like the Civilization series. If your computer can't handle too much, you really shouldn't start a game on a huge map with 20 civilizations. You'll just run a smaller map with fewer opponents. Then if you upgrade, you'll get to replay the game with bigger maps and more complexity. Nothing new...

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 3:30:25 PM PST
@Grieger That's true, bigger lot should be an option.

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 6:26:03 PM PST
Devin R. says:
Yeah. Civilization can really give your computer a beating on huge maps at the end of the game. Heh.
Anyways, thanks for the info Grieger. I'm okay with the city size if there are 16 of them.
That's actually pretty cool. It'll just take some getting used to probably to play them in concert with each other.
Anyways, sorry for my long post earlier. I was in rant mode or something lol.

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 8:02:22 PM PST
T. Lack says:
@emmanuel pascal Why would you care if other people can run it? So those of us who actually paid good money for our computers should be punished because people who paid a couple hundred for their computer can play? If you want amazing graphics then you have to pay for it. I personally find it offensive that a PC exclusive is being toned down because they want people with mediocre computers to be able to play it just as good as somebody who paid several grand for their computer. I'm sorry but you don't deserve the same experience as somebody who paid 3-4 times what you did for their computer.

I mean seriously, are you telling me SimCity is more graphics intensive as say Crysis 2 with DX11 and High Res Texture Pack? There's absolutely no reason there shouldn't be massive cities in SimCity. If somebody can't run it maxed out then they should be forced to either build on a smaller map or turn all their settings down to low. I'm getting fed up with what EA has been doing lately with great franchises. They killed off The Sims, Battlefield and now SimCity. I'm not sure what else there's left for them to destroy at this point.

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 8:13:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2013 8:28:39 PM PST
Because simcity was never a graphics demanding game. You can't expect someone with a working computer to buy a better computer just for one game. When you are talking about intense graphics on a game, yes, you would expect the person to upgrade to a better pc to play the game, but simcity isn't that game that demands a full out gaming pc. That is a great thing, because not only it attracts more people, but it doesn't require upgrading to a whole new computer. Abandoning the majority of players who play sims games on a average computer is not good financially for EA nor fair for those who expect simcity to not demand too many spec requirements. Maxis always did an amazing job of delivering great graphics that don't demand a expensive system. If someone with a average PC wants crysis 2, but doesn't have a powerful enough pc, then yes, they need to upgrade, BUT simcity was never that game that needs photo-realistic graphics, and it should stay that way. We have to remember, whether it's a $300 computer or $1000 computer, you pay good money either way.

EA has completely waxed dry many popular games, from gaming consoles to pc, but i have to admit, simcity seems like a game that EA actually put a lot planning and work into. Sure, there is DRM and smaller cities, but the game actually looks good. For me DRM would be the only deal breaker.

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 8:19:22 PM PST
Grieger says:
@D Rees, honestly, if EA did it right, then we'd all just be here saying how we got our pre-order in and that was that. :) I'm guilty of my own share of rants on this and related forums.

@T Lack, I think emmanuel was talking more to the point of not wanting to have a game which has min requirements that exclude a lot of people. The onus is on EA. It requires planning but they could easily make the game scalable and support people running on old laptops to people running $10k rigs. Also, bear in mind, graphics isn't always the issue, especially with a SimCity game. I suspect it's less about graphics and more about CPU. I've got a great CPU but I'm sure a lot of people don't. Plus RAM. After all the sim part of it is all in the CPU and to some extent the RAM. I'd definitely want the game to let me tax my computer so I could have a gigantic city with a population of 50m sims. If my computer can take it, why not? If they wanted to, they could even include a warning. Run a little test and if you're about to start a HUGE city map, just warn the player that their rig might chug (assuming it will). After all, if some guy can run a Civ game for a decade on an old version of the game, I think they can build a SimCity game that could scale as well.

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 8:26:07 PM PST
@Grieger we have the right to rant:) after all, they are making the games for us, and we pay for them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2013 8:26:49 PM PST
Grieger says:
I agree. Buying a new rig for a game has long been more for shooters than it has for sims. And especially with Maxis, they've always tried to target the broader audience.

I hate to say it though, I suspect they're just copying the Sims series and you'll basically see a series of DLC or Expansion Packs that add in all the features we really want such that maybe in 3+ years, if you bought them all, you'd have the best game on the planet (well, ignoring the Origin problem).

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 8:33:44 PM PST
that is another issue, they will try to suck money with these simcity expansions. I'm surprised EA or origin hasn't announced a DLC store for simcity.
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Initial post:  Jan 26, 2013
Latest post:  Mar 6, 2013

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