Oh SimCity, it's almost here! March 5th (US) March 8th (Europe), and I'm on the fence about it. On one hand, I love the game. I love look and how they streamlined the game, while still keeping it deep and complex. The game looks great, and more importantly, it's really fun to play. The multiplayer connection gives the game more depth and longevity. On the other, it has a major issue attached to it. It has always-online DRM. There's an easy way to fix the DRM complaints that many gamers have, while keeping the core game intact. Thereby satisfying almost everyone in the process.
Simple Solution: Split the game into two modes.
In various interviews and gameplay videos, the developers talk about why players have to be connected online to play SimCity. While it's true, and obvious, that in order to play with friends and strangers, you have to be online, you shouldn't have to be online to play by yourself. That's where it goes side ways for me. It's one thing to keep everything on the servers for online play, but it's another to force players who want to play offline, into being online to play offline. That's just crazy, and lazy; the solution is right in their face.
Separate the two. Online Mode, Off-Line Mode
Keeping everything that is online, in the servers, that's fine. It keeps people from hacking, cheating, or modifying the online portion of the game. But in turn, simply create an off-line mode that doesn't communicate with the online section at all. It allows those who spent 60$ to do whatever they want with their game. To save it wherever and whenever they want, to modify and play it however they please, and to play it whenever they want. It doesn't ruin the game for anyone, it doesn't keep potential customers and players out, and it doesn't ruin the core (online) portion of the game. Doing so will definitely create more sales, and may even save EA / Maxis money on their server setup and maintenance.
You can even go crazy!
By implementing a mode that allows people to create their own servers. Which allows any one with the right setup, to do so and play on their own terms. Much like Sins of a Solar Empire. Allowing them to save the progress as a group, and continue it at a later date. Or just have the option to allow players to set up their own full 24/7 server.
The last part might be hard to do, but the developers, and EA, need to at least include the off-line mode. I'm really leaning towards buying it, but the restrictive control is saddening and really disappointing. I'll probably end up buying it. What are your thoughts on the matter? Let me know.