the sims

Disambiguation:

The Sims Online, a defunct MMORPG
The Sims, an EA/Maxis single-player game
The Sims 2, an EA/Maxis single-player game
The Sims 3, an EA/Maxis single-player game
The Sims 4, an EA/Maxis single-player game

The Sims Online emulator project deals with the inevitable cease-and-desist from EA

It looks like any hopes of a Sims Online resurrection as a fan emulator project might be put to rest for good. The creator of FreeSO, a somewhat popular Sims Online emulator, announced that Electronic Arts had been talking with him about TSO. While he complied with the initial communique to remove blatant Sims references and related logos, the games developer sent a second email that basically put the kibosh on FreeSO as well as a side project to bring the original Sims to mobile devices:

“I received further correspondence from EA, regarding my plans to bring TS1 to mobile devices, as well as potentially FreeSO. To protect their IP, they asked that I cease and desist any efforts to bring either of these games to mobile or any other plaforms. While both projects are entirely legal (copyrighted content and references to The Sims provided by the user, not the replacement engines themselves), I do not want to step on EA’s toes, and will obviously comply with their requests rather than starting some kind of expensive legal battle.”

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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?

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The Sims Online emulator might be launching soon

In just two weeks, a long-forgotten social MMORPG might be making a comeback. The team behind FreeSO, a Sims Online emulator, announced on Twitter yesterday that “on 15 May 2017, things are coming.”

Excited about the upcoming announcement? Some members of the community set up a FreeSO Discord channel to chat about the game.

This is the first word we’ve heard from the FreeSO project since its update in late March regarding the progress of its test server. In January, the game had to downshift from open to closed beta due to the popularity that it was generating.

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Sims Online emulator’s test server sees strong community interest

The underground revival of The Sims Online is seeing marked interest from the community, as players are checking out the current FreeSO beta. In fact, a month ago, the team set up a Sunrise Crater test server and has been pleased to see the activity that it has generated.

“At max, we’ve sustained 350 concurrent players in around 60 lots, on one server box,” the team reported. “There are just over 2,000 lots on the map, and 11,521 avatars in existence. Cumulatively, sims have §75,528,319 in the bank, and have bought §92,393,467 worth of objects (191,956 objects)!”

A wipe will eventually hit the test server, but this won’t be coming for a while. The lead developer said that players shouldn’t expect any major new features soon, as he needs to finish up his Masters project first. So for the time being, “bug fixes and stability” are the mantra of this game. FreeSO actually had to downshift from an open beta to a closed one back in early January due to the server getting swamped.

Source: FreeSO

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Here’s how intimacy and marriage work in Revelation Online

Did you know that you can get married in Revelation Online? You can! It’s part and parcel of the game’s intimacy system, which is not as weird as it sounds, I promise.

Basically, it’s system intended to get players to duo with their close friends — a noble goal, right? Participating in specific types of content will grant you and your friend “intimacy points” — that’s everything from chatting and dueling to dungeoning and PvPing. There’s also a mentoring tool: “If one of you is a mentor to the other, you can use this skill on your friend/partner to gain 2 [intimacy] points per skill usage.”

Need to wear your heart on your sleeve? You can kinda do that too in a UI akin to The Sims’: As your intimacy points with your selected buddy increase, so do the number of hearts displayed next to him or her in the friends panel.

So what’s the point of all that sappy intimacy? Mawwage.

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Battle Bards Episode 93: It’s a madhouse!

It’s taken this long, but the Battle Bards have gone completely and irreversibly insane in the membrane! Today the team cracks open the door of the MMO music funhouse to see what off-kilter, crazy, and manic tunes may be found. WARNING: Once you’ve entered the asylum, you might find yourself a resident… for life!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 93: It’s a Madhouse! (or download it) now:

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Perfect Ten: MMORPGs that walk on the weird side

In third grade, my teacher sent home a report card with the note that “Justin is wonderfully strange.” Ever since then, I never found the terms “strange” or “weird” to be pejorative but rather a signpost pointing the way to interesting paths less traveled.

To be weird is to deviate from the safe and predictable and instead venture into the wild and woolly lands of the imagination. When it comes to MMORPGs, I feel that more devs would love for their games to be more strange while the risk-averse studios (and their publishers) pull hard to keep traditional tropes in play.

Still, every once in a while a game comes out that walk on the weird side. These MMOs don’t usually boast universal appeal, large numbers, or even great respect, but they do offer vivid imagination, hidden qualities, and a certain uniqueness that is rarely found elsewhere. Today, we will celebrate the wonderfully strange in online gaming with these 10 titles.

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New Sims Online emulator shifts from open to closed beta following excessive player demand

‘Tis the season for emulators! Think back to 2002 MMORPG The Sims Online, what our own Justin Olivetti once called “an interesting failed experiment” for the genre and one of the worst-squandered IPs in online gaming. Do you miss it? Do you miss the isometric views, the typewriter grind, the weird porn chat?

Well, you can have some of that back, or will soon. A group of players released an emulator — sorry, a “reimplementation” — last weekend for the long-shuttered game called FreeSO. In fact, so many people wanted to log in and play with wallpaper and bears and toilets that they crashed the emulator, which was built for under 1000 people. DDOS attacks didn’t help either.

The developer has consequently shut down the short-lived open beta, requested help, promised particular support for the oddly large Brazilian playerbase, and put the game back into closed beta, from which he can work on super exciting things like bot detection and moderator tools while slipping out player invites and increasing server capacity incrementally.

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Battle Bards Episode 86: World of Warcraft: Legion

With all of the unbridled love for World of Warcraft’s soundtrack on Battle Bards, historically, you know that we couldn’t let a new expansion score go without commentary. In this show, the three co-hosts tackle the weighty and lengthy Legion OST, cherry-picking their favorite tunes and confessing all manner of gaming sins.

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

We’ve got Episode 86: World of Warcraft: Legion and the show notes for you after the break!

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Massively Overthinking: The classes MMORPGs never do

No one wants to play Uncle Owen, a certain MMORPG exec famously said — except, you know, for all the people who really, really do. Including me!

Massively OP Patron Duane has a juicy question in keeping with that theme this week:

“What are some class/job/profession archetypes that you have never seen in an MMO that you would like to see? You can include include combat, crafting, gathering, or any other professions you like!”

I posed Duane’s question to the Massively OP writers this week — feel free to add to our list in the comments!

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The Daily Grind: Are MMOs better the second time you play them?

Whenever someone makes a statement like “video games are better the second time you play them,” my gut reaction is “nuh-uh!” That’s exactly the claim Kotaku’s Kirk Hamilton has made, and I’m trying to check my instinct. My contrary side flares up because that sort of statement has heavy implications: Every game you didn’t play more than once? Yeah, you didn’t get nearly as much out of it as you should’ve. Your life is a wasteland of games you didn’t play twice. You lost out.

And yet… damn if I have a hard time contesting the claim. If I list off my favorite MMORPGs, I liked them better the second time around. Star Wars Galaxies. Guild Wars 1. City of Heroes. Non-MMOs too. The Elder Scrolls games. Diablo. The Sims series. And so on. There are a few exceptions — Guild Wars 2, for example, was a superior design at its launch — but not many.

Then again, maybe that’s just survivorship bias: The games that really sucked weren’t the kind I’d play twice to begin with. I already filtered them out of the contest. And when I did go back, I understood them better, knew what to avoid, knew what to expect, and benefited from their continued development, be that patches for MMOs or mods for everything else.

What do you think? Are MMOs better the second time you play them? Which MMOs do you think were better the second time? What about non-MMOs?

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Perfect Ten: The worst-squandered IPs in online gaming

There are always going to be differences in opinion about what should be done with an IP based upon a franchise. That’s just natural. The same core universe could be used to make a sprawling sandbox with weak combat but a robust non-combat market and profession system, or it could be used to make a combat-focused experience that focuses on energetic fights, nifty story moments, and little else. In both cases, even if you don’t like the end result, you can understand exactly why the IP was used for this.

Our column today is not about those games. No, this is about games that completely failed to make use of their licenses to IPs, produced totles that did not in any way logically follow from the license that was given, or otherwise took pure gold and turned it into something… less than gold. There’s room to debate whether some of these IPs would ever make good MMOs, but boy, the uses we have were pretty bad.

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Jukebox Heroes: Great tunes from dead MMOs

When a beloved MMORPG is canceled, it doesn’t entirely vanish without a trace. After all, there are thousands (if not millions) of eyewitnesses with long memories, screenshot folders filled to the brim, videos, articles, and — of course — music.

The way I see it, the enduring soundtrack is one of the most pure aspects of the late game. It can be enjoyed today the same way it was back then, albeit with fewer visuals and furious mouse-clicking. This orphaned score holds a torch for the game that was by triggering memories and keeping the atmosphere and story beats alive.

Today I’m going to look at great tracks from deceased MMOs, some of which aren’t even that cold in the ground. I’m also going to try not to rehash the most popular (and perhaps overplayed) tunes from these games but instead branch out to others that are terrific if not as recognized.

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