The Daily Grind: Was The Sims Online a good idea done badly?

As a gamer, I have many regrets that certain projects never came to fruition or the ones that did ended up not being quite as advertised. And in the field of MMORPGs, I definitely regret the flop that was The Sims Online, because I think it was an actual good idea done really, really badly.

On paper, such a game has so much going for it. The Sims was and still is a very popular franchise with a lot of name recognition among players. It stresses creation and creativity over destruction, and opening the franchise up to massively multiplayer seemed like a logical step. Yet TSO stumbled with its antiquated graphics, characters that had no “free will” of their own, and incredibly dull gameplay. Also, too many brothels.

I think it’s an idea that’s worth another go, maybe as EA looks at The Sims 5 and thinks about connecting players to each other more than in the past. I’d be all over an MMO that’s 80% player housing and 20% making virtual characters piddle their pants because I removed the door to the toilet. What do you think?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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17 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Was The Sims Online a good idea done badly?"

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Jeff Risu Dailey

For me Sims Online was basically on online chat version of Sims. Met a lot of nice people playing the little bit it was out.

Celestia
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Celestia

Terrible idea executed even more disastrously than anyone anticipated.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

I think right from the beginning it needed more of the semi-surreal side activities the later Sims games have – mostly via expansions. (ghosts/vacation/job/exploration side adventures etc). They had to slow down advancement in the basic skills so people wouldn’t max out immediately, and without a better variety of things to do it ended up feeling like a shared grindfest that got tedious rather fast.

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rafael12104

Well, I saw the major flaw right from the outset. No, I’m not arrogant or clairvoyant. The answer is right in the name. Sims was originally designed as a simulator and not an RPG and they tried to make it an RPG.

Remember simulators? I do. I played a bunch of them: Sim City, Sim Ant (great game btw), Sim Tower (another great one) etc. etc. Sim City was so popular that it created it’s own sub genre. The object of all of the simulators including Sims initially was still the same, manipulating the enviroment so that Sims flourish and grow. These games were more puzzle and problem solving than role playing.

Enter Sims. It was still a simulator, even as multiplayer. The core of the game remained a simulator but it had social features.

Enter Sims Online: RPG in a simulator environment? WTF?

Nah, it was a bad idea as executed. Want to make it an RPG? Make it a game about you, the mad scientist competing with other mad scientist to keep your little Sims alive.

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Mr Poolaty

I loved this game I still have a unused new in Box game card lol

A lot of things were told they were going to do never did.

It was the first “official release” that was actually beta!!

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A Dad Supreme

It always seemed like a PG version of Second Life to me, so I never understood it really. I guess it was something for the under 18 group? Not sure.

I wasn’t sure what the point of either ‘game’ is anyway. Neither one seemed exciting as far as games go.

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Schmidt.Capela

Fun thing, modders analyzing the code of Sims 4 believe it was originally meant as an online-only game, retooled to be single-player offline after the backlash from the always-online SimCity.

As for the article’s question, no, I’m not sure The Sims Online failed due to being a good idea done badly. I don’t think the idea was bad per see, but reducing the player to controlling just one character in real time makes the game dynamics completely different from its offline counterpart, which means a different target audience; it would be kinda like releasing a really good fighting game with the Teletubbies as the characters, it’s not a good match for the fans of the franchise and the franchise prevents it from attracting most players that would enjoy the gameplay.

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Mr Poolaty

Are you serious Sims 4’s code was to be online uh drool

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smuggler-in-a-yt

I don’t know. After watching EA struggle through the various online multiplayer forms for SimCity Online and the neighborhoods in Sims 4, I just doubt they’ve got it in them. Maybe they’ll keep evolving. We can only hope.

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MesaSage

Gah! Can’t handle micro-management games. To daily for me.

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Melissa McDonald

after Second Life I was really never sure why the Sims was even a thing. Why not play a better game where you really are the character, with tons more options?
but, to each their own…

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Steven Williams

It’s fun, well designed and easy to use. Second life’s fun is hidden behind a collosal wall of information and horrible engine design, it’s interface is not well-designed, and it’s not easy to use.

I can’t wait for the new SL engine coming out soon, though.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

Never even checked the website, how was the gameplay? what do you do in such game? i guess it is a combat-less game, right? which makes it interesting for me, but honestly i never even know it exists, so many Sim games it confusing for someone who never played anything since SimCity 2000.

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BalsBigBrother

The Sims as a whole is a franchise I never really understood the appeal of. Even after buying three of them in an attempt to understand it I just wrote it off as something that isn’t for me and moved on. Best I can offer is that an online one wouldn’t be something that I would find appealing given that the base franchise bores me to tears.

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Schmidt.Capela

It’s the appeal of a dollhouse in the shape of a video-game. It’s almost purely a sandbox; you don’t have game-mandated objectives, so you have to create your own goals, find your own fun.

What’s more, it’s almost completely combat-free; there are a few situations when fights happen, but those are quite limited and the fights are non-interactive to boot.

It certainly isn’t for everyone. But those players that do enjoy it, enjoy it a whole lot.

(My own attraction to the series is somewhat different, though: I like to observe and explore the game mechanics, reverse-engineer and mod them, and see how it all fits back together. The games of the Sims series are some of the few single-player games where emergent gameplay is the focus, and this makes the complex interaction between simple game mechanics quite enjoyable to study, at least for me.)

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Armsbend

I won’t bother with the next one. EA’s pricing models on online games are always stupid. I don’t even bother looking at any of their games unless it is Battlefield.

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Bryan Correll

Also, too many brothels.

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