For many PC fans, SimCity was the most anticipated game of 2013. And yet it seems that EA underestimated how many people would be playing, because the launch has been plagued with crashes, server wait times, and users angry at the online only gameplay. I had originally anticipated writing an exciting review about this long awaited game, but the blatant problems have taken the fore front. The game is good and has received glowing reviews (91 out of 100 from Metacritic) but users have had a different reaction (2.7 out of 10 on Metacritic).
The first of the problems came with the initial download from Origin; for those that didn’t get a hard copy of the game. My download started at midnight and finished in just a few minutes. The initial excitement turned to dread as the launcher churned through gigabyte after gigabyte of updates and patches with no indication of progress or estimated wait time. When finished, the launcher presented me with a list of servers, most of which were already full (at 2am on launch day). Trying to get into a North American server was impossible with wait times starting at 15-20 minutes and sometimes extending much longer. I opted for an Oceanic server and got set to start my “single player” experience. I only played for a little while since I was under the weather and wanted to get some sleep at some point. When I tried to play the next day, the issues seemed to escalate culminating with my game freezing every 5-10 minutes and not saving any of the game/city data.
I’m not necessarily against having an “always connected online” game, but the servers and cloud based saves are clearly broken. Because of this decision, EA has crippled not just their multiplayer experience, but also their single player experience as well. And what is being done? EA has posted a few updated to their site and through social media but for the most part has been relatively quiet; although little they could say at this point could calm the mobs. They made a big mistake and it will certainly mar the launch of this over wise great game.
So what can you do if you are experiencing similar problems? The best thing is to get your voice heard and let EA know what you are experiencing so that they can direct resources to get these issues fixed. Contact @AskEASupport on Twitter, post to their Facebook page, and actively voice your issues on the forums.