Well Hello Again Blog – In Which I Explain Where I’ve Been

Hello Blogsphere!

I’m well aware that I’ve neglected this blog and the internet in general for the last year or so.

Mostly this is because I’ve been consumed by wedding planning fever as well as dealing with an unstable thyroid problem which saps a lot of my energy when not treated correctly.

Now the thyroid is under control and my wedding and honeymoon, which were beyond my dreams, are very recently over.

I will admit that the previously impossible has also happened and I’ve fallen out of love with The Sims PC game. This is due to EA not fixing or caring to fix numerous bugs in the game and also that the direction they seem to be taking it in is not staying true to what most long time fans want (less celebrity endorsement for a start). However I know things change and maybe Sims 4 will be better? We’ll see.

Anyway, my next few posts will be about my wedding because I recently got the official pictures and they are beautiful and I have to share them. It was worth every minute of the planning stess.

Love to you all from a new Mrs!

~Kat

The Sims 3 Supernatural: highlights from the first live chat

Being the fantasy fan that I am, my excitement since the next Sims 3 Expansion Pack (EP), Supernatural, was announced has been hard to contain. Tonight was the producers first live chat about it. I am going to briefly detail the main points I gleaned from it.

Release Date: First week of September 2012 (day varies depending on region)

You will be able create supernaturals (witches, fairies, vampires, zombies and werewolves) in a variety of ways both in-game, through breeding, magic, biting and, uniquely for this EP, in Create a Sim (CAS). You will also be able to cure any turned sim.

There are five new sliders in CAS. Using these you can further adjust ear orbit & ear points, jaw line, brow definition and nostril flare. An extreme example of their use is on the poor sim below:

There is a new skill that all sims can gain. It is Alchemy and it is gained by mixing elixirs from collectables at a new Alchemy Station. You can make an elixir to turn another sim into a zombie but it isn’t a permanent curse (although they hinted that there are ways of making it permanent if you wish.) It is possible for your sim to die practising alchemy.   There was also a mention of a new haunted death.

If you install Supernatural a new lunar cycle will occur in all of your sim worlds and some sims will act strangely around a full moon. This will be particularly suited to the spooky ambience of the new world Moonlight Falls. It was also hinted that the new world has several mysteries for simmers to uncover.

Continue reading

My Take On The Katy Perry Sims 3 Endorsement Deal

Tonight EA opened a new section of the official forum for the Katy Perry Sweet Treats Stuff Pack. A simmer by the name of TheSimling started a debate about the endorsement deal with a sensible well thought out post.

The following is my take on the situation which I posted as a reply in the aforementioned thread.

“Thank you TheSimling for your well thought out post that shows understanding of the business world.

Yes EA is out to make a profit, nothing unusual there. However they have signed a deal with Katy Perry to endorse several sims 3 projects. That is unusual. The sims franchise has never done that before.

I am one of those long time simmers who has bought every EP and SP from the original Sims, Sims 2 and Sims 3 up until Master Suite Stuff.

I took a decision not to buy Showtime as I felt the price was too high for what was included. And when I do get it, when the price drops, I will not be buying the Katy Perry edition.

I really do not care for celebrity endorsement of the sims franchise and I don’t understand why EA feels it is necessary. The Sims has been the number 1 best-selling PC game in its own right for many years now. The only explanation for this kind of cross purpose marketing is falling sales.

Katy Perry isn’t doing this out of love for the game and EA isn’t doing out of love for her. They are both doing it to boost their own profiles and inject more cash into their wallets. It is cold hard business with a powerful and convincing marketing machine behind it.

I don’t hate Katy Perry, I just don’t care much about her or her music, it’s not my thing but I accept that other people are into her. I would feel the same about any celebrity who signed a deal like this. The extra pricing for versions carrying a celebrity name just rubs salt in this wound.

As for this Sweet Treats SP. I’m sad to say that the content doesn’t appeal to me as I prefer fairly realistic worlds. But again I accept that others will like it. It is a matter of personal taste.

The Sims game itself should be good enough to appeal to gamers. If it isn’t any more then EA need to start listening more to the community to understand what those who spend their cash on the game really want”

That’s my take what do the rest of you think?

~Kat

The Sims 3 – Social Features Coming with March 2012 Game Update

So today EA posted a video explaining the social feautures coming with the March 2012 Sims 3 update which will link in with the new Sim Pages that they are working on right now (hence the official site being out of service today).

All I can say is that it seems totally pointless and judging by the overwhelmingly negative response on You Tube I’m not alone.

Traditional Sims Players are not interested in spammy updates about their friends games. If we want to know what’s going on in our friends games we’ll go to forums when we feel like it thank you very much.

Okay, yes we’ll be able to turn off this feature but I’m not sure I even want it in the first place.  I think I’ll definitely be holding off installing the next update. At least until Twallan has updated his mods to match and fix whatever EA break.

This will only serve to fan the flames of simmer rage that were ignited by the original announcement of the inclusion social features in the imminent Showtime EP. It seems even those who aren’t buying Showtime will be subjected to installing social features if they want to keep their game up to date.

I really don’t like what they are doing to my favourite game.

That’s my jaded viewpoint. What’s yours?

~Kat

Edit:
The new My Pages are live and they inform all your friends of every little comment you make.
This is live update overkill – if we had a news feed and our own wall to control (like Facebook) then it would be okay. But with this constant live feed, unless you are on the site 24/7 then you will miss most comments.  I’d happily like to see new uploads from friends but not every single little comment that they make to other people. That feels disconcertingly voyeuristic.

Sitting on the Sims 3 Showtime Fence

Never in recent memory has a pending expansion pack for the Sims PC Game series caused so much controversy. It has polarised the sims community and caused heated debates on both official and unofficial forums. It has certainly given something of a shake up to long term simmers like myself.

Since it was announced on the official forum back at the start of December this EP has earned more than its fair-share in over and under reactions from sims fans. I feel it is now time to reflect on what we know about it and how we have seen the community react.

So what exactly is it that has caused such strong reactions?
Well, there are two features in particular that seem to have inflamed passionate debate.

Below is a picture taken from the Showtime information page where it details the highlights of the new EP:
The first thing to cause a lot of simmers to see red is the inclusion of new Social Features.  The second thing that is causing a lot of debate is the Simport feature.

For many of the sims community the game has been an activity that they play privately, as a part of their leisure time, deliberately unconnected to the ‘real world’.  For these simmers the game represents a much needed break from reality where they can do as they please without anyone interfering. They choose to share only what they want to share of their games and when they do it is usually outside of game play not during it. So they find the idea of in game messaging abhorrent. In a similar vein many simmers do not like the concept of other people’s sims appearing in their game or even just requesting to appear in their game.

In an effort to cool the flames of simmer outrage one of the development team, SimGuruSnelson, created a post intended to address the concerns the community had:

Unfortunately this created more questions than it answered. Although it did state that the Social Features and Simport would be optional, it failed to state exactly what control players would have over this or how the new friendship system would work. This has led to theories spiralling out of control about how it will work and what we will and won’t be able to control.

Part of me thinks that we should have seen this coming as the Sims 3 Series began social connectivity with the Generations EP and the ability share sim memories on Facebook or your sim page. Also the Facebook game version, The Sims Social, was launched last year and proved quite popular, at least at first. I admit that I tried it but I soon became sick of the fact that it was ‘real time’ and that you had to send endless requests to friends in order to achieve certain things. I was happier when I deleted my Sims Social account and went back to my ordinary sims game which is less time intensive and always on my own terms.  I appreciate that EA are reaching out to a new audience but I fear that they are forgetting the older fanbase in the process.

For me personally it’s not the Social Features or Simport that is causing buyer hesitation, although I do want more detailed information on them before I’ll consider purchasing it, but the lack of original new content that will be included in it. Until now Sims expansion packs have shipped with lots of new in game interactions and content but this one seems, so far at least, sorely lacking. It appears to be a rehashed version of Sims Superstar with a few other bits from previous incarnations, such as fire-dancing and the pool table, and one new world based around chasing fame. It seems odd that when the series has already introduced a celebrity based system with the Late Night EP that it would then create a whole new EP with yet more celebrity features.
Continue reading