Daily Archives: June 25, 2015

A Flirtation with The Sims

After about a week of pondering, my daughter came to me and told me which game she wanted to play instead of World of Warcraft.  The choice of a summer game was at hand.

Then she said, “The Sims!” and I went, “Huh?”

Specifically, she had decided on The Sims 4 based on something she read somewhere on the internet.

Just in case you need a picture

Just in case you need a picture

I had to ask if she was doing this because she read something about murdering Sims by trapping them in basements or pools or doors without rooms and, if that was her plan, could I watch.  That did not appear to be her plan at all, but her response made it clear that these were things worth looking into.  A proud parenting moment, where the values of one generation are transmitted to the next.

To my somewhat mild surprise, The Sims 4… and the evil of Origin that is required to play it… were both available for Mac OS.  I didn’t think EA still did anything on Apple products, aside from horrible iOS apps that you have to pay for up front and which then still show you ads.

And, as it turned out, The Sims 4 had been marked down from its original list price to something approximately equal to the three month World of Warcraft subscription, which made the math easy.  I told her she would be giving up WoW for at least three months and using that subscription money to buy The Sims 4.

She was fine with that, so off we went.

First I had to create an Origin account, which proved to be awkward.  EA has apparently somehow come into contact with every single email address I have ever used and had set aside a pre-made account for each.  Seriously, a couple old addresses I hadn’t used in years came up with, “You cannot create a new account with that address because we have already absorbed it into the Origin Collective! One of us! One of us!”

Not creepy at all EA.  I know you’ve tried to meld everything into your evil plan.  I’ve run across these account merges before.  But seriously, I had never before downloaded the Origin software or specifically created an Origin account.  It might be nice to at least make me think this was my idea or something.

Eventually I picked an email address, went through some password reset hoops, downloaded the software to the iMac, and had everything setup short of entering my credit card information.  At that point I asked my daughter one last time if she was sure.

She was sure.

So the deed was done.  The Sims 4 was purchased and downloaded and she began to play.

And play she did.  I have to admit she threw herself into The Sims 4 and played it to death.  She would have taken all her meals at her computer and stayed up all night playing if she had been allowed.  That went on for three days when she suddenly approached me and told me that she absolutely NEEDED to get the Get to Work expansion for the game.

Best expansion name ever

Best expansion name ever

I explained that she had used up the house gaming subsidy for the quarter, which only covers a video game subscription to WoW or other MMO or the cash equivalent.  She understood that and was prepared to spend her own money for this expansion, which ran $30.

I made her hand me the money before I would even get out the credit card.  This made my wife roll her eyes, but I wanted to be very solid on the fact that she was paying for this… plus I am bad at debt collection, so I want cash on the barrel head.

So the cash was forked over and the expansion purchased.

She immediately went to town on that for another day or so.  At one point I came over and found her designing the most efficient eight person sweatshop possible, a veritable North Korean work camp without the political indoctrination, and wondering how long the workers would survive.  A true child of Silicon Valley, where we are all big on fair trade coffee and work/life balance until we’re put in charge and every expense comes out of the bottom line.

The next day I came home from work and she said she had to reboot the iMac for an update and needed me to log back into Origin for her.  I said I would be over in a bit, but she didn’t seem in a hurry.  When I put my stuff down and wandered over to see what she was up to, she was playing Minecraft on some PvP server and didn’t really want to pause.  I came by a couple more times that evening, but something else was always going on, Minecraft or drawing or looking at cat .gifs on Imgur.

Days passed and I kept offering to log her in.  Eventually I checked while she was away and saw that Origin had actually been logged in the whole time. (Don’t remember telling it to do that, but you know, EA.)  So I asked her why she stopped playing.

She said the Get to Work expansion had been a disappointment and did not really open up the game the way she thought it would from the description.  The base game was still okay and she liked some of the creative aspects of it, but the lack of an open world limited the game’s appeal over time.  Having read some follow-up items on the web, she felt that she might have been better off with The Sims 3.

There was clearly some buyer’s remorse, enough that she wasn’t ready to spend her own money to jump into The Sims 3 despite it being only $20 on Origin. (At that point it was even cheaper on Steam, but only the Windows version was available.)  Still, she got quite a few hours out of the game.  If it hadn’t been for the expansion, the cost/hours ratio would have probably put it ahead of what we get out of a lot of gaming purchases.  And I am sure she will revisit it at some point.

But that was sort of how we ended up playing Minecraft on Father’s DayThe Sims were off the menu for a bit, but Minecraft was still there for her and for us.

EverQuest II Time Locked Expansion Server Names Poll Unlocks the Irony

Meanwhile Daybreak is going forward with their EverQuest II nostalgia plan, involving those PvE and PvP Time Locked Expansion servers, and holding an in-game poll to decide what they should be named.

As noted over at the EQ2 Wire, Daybreak first went to the forums and asked for name suggestions and then… I think… drew from those suggestions.  My suggestion didn’t make the cut.  I figured that since the last great server experiment, EverQuest II Extended, got the name Freeport that it was time for Qeynos to be recognized.

That was a faint hope I am sure.  The anti-Qeynos sentiment on the team, present since before the 1999 launch of EQ, remains strong and we’re probably more likely to get a server named Qekaerbyad than Qeynos these days.  Anyway, it didn’t make the cut.  Instead, these are the names you get to choose from in the currently-running in-game poll.

EQ2TLEServerPoll

My choices indicated

For the PvP server there didn’t seem to be any obvious stand out choice, but I have always felt that Bonemore was a particularly grim sounding name, so I went with that.  Deathtoll seemed too unsubtle while the rest didn’t really resonate with me, but any of the names would probably work.

On the PvE side I could say something for Stormhold, that dungeon in Antonica in which we spent so much time back in the early days.  In fact, that would have been my go-to choice had the obvious winner not been glaring at me.

Yes, I think the only appropriate way to vote is to go with the “we’re going to keep bringing it up until you bring it back” name, Isle of Refuge.

This is almost a text book example of what SynCaine refers to as “SOE being SOE.” I cannot imagine how that name made the cut for the vote.

First, the name implies that this subscriber-only server will be a place to escape from whatever sins you care to count on the live servers.  Screw you, freeps!

Second, they will be naming a server after a zone they took out of the game which represents a good chunk of the nostalgia they are attempting to milk pander to recreate.  How is that a good idea, reminding everybody every single time they log on that the Isle of Refuge server does not include the actual Isle of Refuge that those likely to play on this server want?

So clearly, I feel you should log on immediately and vote for Isle of Refuge.

Make Isle of Refuge happen.