When Electronic Arts announced earlier this month that they were planning to release a major update for SimCity, we listed better connectivity and a touch-up of the road systems amongst our wishes for what the patch fairy might bring. While Game Rant readers said that they felt limitations on city size were restricting their fun, they hoped an update that would let them stretch their creative muscles a little more.
Now, Electronic Arts has given details on what SimCity players can expect to see when the patch is released on Monday 22nd April. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the cities are going to get any bigger.
Another thing that won't be included in the update is an offline mode. This isn't entirely surprising, since EA have said that they were not planning to make the game available offline any time soon. Although they did hint an offline mode it was something that they would "look into" as part of an effort to earn back consumers' trust in the wake of SimCity's disastrous release.
CVG UK have published a full list of the changes and bug fixes that will be included in Update 2.0, which are reportedly made up of those most requested by the gamers. Here's what to expect:
- Mayors Mansion: Mayors will now drive their fancy cars to work. Mayors will take their helicopter, limo, or sports car if the modules are present.
- HUD: Now color-corrects when in a colorblind mode.
- Data map: Data maps show the filtered color when a color filter is enabled (unless in a colorblind mode).
Fixes and Updates
- Cities not Processing: Mitigates some of the issues that were causing cities not to process. We are continuing to work on and improve this issue.
- Region Filters: Now sorts regions with available cities to the top
- Invitations: Invitations to join a region should be sent and received more quickly.
- Tourism: Fixes for unexplained fluctuation of tourists. Tourists more smartly counted on transit.
- Cruise ships are now more effective at bringing medium and high wealth tourists in coastal cities.- New tourists will now decide to come into a city once leaving tourists reach train stations, bus depots, or cruise ship docs instead of waiting for those tourists to go out to the region first.
- This change will reduce the downtime of tourist buildings.
- Casinos: Casinos tuned so that Gambling will be a more profitable specialty. Players can bulldoze and replace existing casinos to see effects of tuning.- The larger casinos now invite more tourists into the city which helps keep them full.- Note that existing casinos will need to be replaced to take advantage of this change.
- More Casinos: Raised module limit on Sci-Fi and Sleek Casinos to 6 modules.
- Region Play: Cash gifts can now be received in a bankrupt city.
- Education: Fixed school buses getting stuck at the high school. Existing Schools will fix themselves.
- Education: Fixed school buses picking up students at neighboring cities that didn't have school bus stops.
- Education: Fix to more accurately track regional student population.
- Education: Fix where kids leaving the school bus stop would teleport to the nearest pedestrian path instead of walking directly into the school.
- Education: University wings now give the proper bonus.
- Recycling: Fix for the Recycling Center where it would sometimes stop working, recycling services will visit other cities.
- Air pollution: Fixed issue where air pollution would appear to come from nowhere. Fix issues where your regional air pollution would be reflected back into your box for a double penalty.
- Fire Service: Fire Trucks don't clump, dispatch to fires more efficiently.
- Water: Water pumps are now capable of pumping water from rivers at a larger radius so they can take better advantage of the water table in a city.
- Disasters: Cooldown for random disasters: Some players were getting hit too frequently with random disasters, this introduces a cooldown where no random disasters will occur.
- Trade: Fix for trade ports that suddenly stop shipping.
- Transit: Street Cars and Buses go to high volume stops first.
- Transit: A city with residents and public transit will now provide the accurate amount of workers and shoppers to its neighbors.
- Transit: A transit vehicle stuck in a pick-up or drop off loop will now go back to a garage instead of trying to pick up more people.- Transit vehicles should recover automatically after the update. If players want to force the recovery, turn off the stops that are having looping issues, wait a few game hours, then turn them back on.
- Transit: Neighbors buses will now come in lower numbers into the city and do a better job at picking up local passengers first.
- Residential Tuning: Residential-only cities have failure state.
- Buildings are prevented from going up in density when they don't have power or water.- The amount of happiness gained from low taxes, police, fire, and health outreach has been lowered.
- Fixed some cases where buildings would not go abandoned when they should have.
- Higher density residential buildings are no longer blocked from going abandoned due to not having enough money.
- Happiness from low taxes does not double up every time it is given.
- Losing happiness due to not having a job is more impactful.
- Budgets: Fixed bug that prevented systems like fire, abandonment, garbage, and sewage from turning on when they were supposed to.
- Audio: Fixes issue where audio will stop working after creating a large city or where phantom audio sounds play in a city.
- Demolish: Fixes issue that occurred when players demolished buildings that had service vehicles, delivery vehicles, or agents out in the city or region. Previously, the agents would be in a state of limbo and would not recover when new buildings of that type were placed. This will no longer happen.
The company warns that while changes are being made to the game, their servers will be taken offline for "a few hours" on Monday, meaning that the game will be unplayable during that time. The always-online model of the game has been one of the biggest causes of controversy during the somewhat disastrous release of SimCity.
The problems have left many customers unable to build their cities when either their own internet connections or the EA servers have gone offline, and even forcing players to leave their cities open to the threat of deletion by internet trolls.
EA deflected criticisms of the always-online nature of the game, insisting that a constant Internet connection was a necessary component of the game, which according to Maxis is effectively an MMO. This argument has been debunked multiple times, first by a developer linked to the game who revealed that it would be a very simple matter to make the game playable offline, and later by modders who hacked the game and found it could quite easily be played without an internet connection.
It's not surprising that Update 2.0 doesn't include an option to run the game offline, since the last time we heard from EA on the matter, they were sticking to their story of the always-on function not being DRM. Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore reiterated this when responding to EA's nomination for the Consumerist's Worst Company in America award, giving the explanation: "It's not. Period." When EA won the award for the second year running shortly afterwards, a lot of fingers were pointing towards the SimCity release as the main reason for all the votes.
For Game Rant readers who currently play SimCity, would you like an update that included an offline mode, or would you be satisfied with EA managing to fix up the server issues and other bugs within the game?