I haven't forgotten, and won't. Maxis or EA decided to add an extra barrier of entry to their game that was totally unnecessary from a gameplay perspective, and paid for it as they should. Almost every time someone's tried to make something always-online when they don't need to, it's gone pear-shaped, and yet people continue to do so. Sure, pirates are partly to blame (and I'm even more scathing of them, don't deserve to be called gamers), but why punish your fans?
And you talk about their humility and ethos, but do you remember how long it took them to admit defeat, and even then the weasel words they used to do it? I have no doubt that Maxis are a group of hard-working people that have a bunch of good ideas along with the bad ones, but either their pride, or EA's, meant they did not behave in a particularly humble or consumer-friendly manner until they had been forced by the circumstances. That said, they are hard working and dedicated, and working to improve the experience. True humility, however, would mean releasing a version that wasn't bounded by an unnecessary connection to online servers.
@Axe99 Firstly I want to thank you for taking the time to share your opinion with us :)
Secondly, I'd like to disagree xD
As much as always-online being a "barrier of entry" as you described, it wasn't just a piracy deterrent, it was an inherent game design. SimCity 5 is an mmo, and that's just the kind of game it is, so releasing an offline version of it is akin to wanting an offline Guild Wars.
On the topic of the way the consumers were spoken to, I agree that it was pretty terrible, but for the most part that was from EA spokespeople. The public outreaches we received from Maxis devs? Much friendlier, more sincere. I'll point to this blog post in which the launch problems were readily explained as admitted as being "dumb". http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/a-simcity-update-and-something-for-your-trouble
Most of the public mishandling was EA-branded.
@wadenewb @Axe99 I agree Maxis' outreach was generally good at the high level, but if you go onto the Simcity forums, when they were asked about specific issues (like how it could and had been tweaked to function perfectly well - indeed, even better - offline) they were far less forthcoming. The game design itself is only very, very mildly MMO - the MMO-nature is nothing that couldn't be handled by an incredlibly simple AI to handle the transfers between regions (indeed, these were shut down entirely in the initial phase after release when the servers were in meltdown).
In other words, they had a game that could be played offline, and perfectly well could be played offline. I've got nothing against online games - I'm currently playing a game of Europa Universalis IV in 'Ironman' mode, which relies on cloud saves to avoid players cheating - but Paradox also lets you play offline just as much as you like. Unlike Maxis/EA, they haven't created an artificial barrier to entry. The fact that within days people had functioning, offline versions of the game clearly shows how much hogwash the always-online talk was. It's either the case that in the many months of development no-one in Maxis thought "Oh, hang on, if we replace these transfers with a simple algorithm you can play offline", which given the talent of the group I find to be highly, _highly_ unlikely. Which unfortunately casts the always-on approach in a far less flattering light than the "it was a creative approach" argument.
Yes, there was good reason to have an online mode, but there was no good reason to _only_ have an online mode. It was exactly the same kind of narrow-mindedness shown with Microsoft's initial approach to the Xbox One (indeed, I think part of the reaction Microsoft received, which I thought was a bit disproportionate, is likely due to the amount of disillusionment surrounding the ham-fisted attempts to force gamers into always-on, always-attached-to-the-publisher-to-increase-possibilities-for-monetisation approaches, and on the available evidence, and assuming that Maxis know what they're doing, SimCity's online focus was either trying to prevent piracy or maximise monetisation, at the expense of player enjoyment.
Just having a friendly discussion here - sorry if I sound a bit short, a bit crook. Don't get me wrong, Maxis is well within their rights to try and fight piracy, or to try and fleece as much money from gamers as they can (in both cases, there have been devs and publishers that have done far worse, with far less quality games). It's just they shouldn't go calling it 'creative decision-making' when they do.
@wadenewb @Axe99 Aye, totally, it's been good chatting about it with you, and I deffo agree that Maxis were strong-armed into doing things the way they did. EA had a bit of a bright patch when things like Dead Space and Mirror's Edge were greenlit, but it's sliding back into the 'bad old' EA at the moment. Hopefully these kinds of backlash give it a reality check. That said, and like yourself, I don't want the backlash to personally hurt the people at Maxis or even EA. They're people trying to get by just like the rest of us - it's just that sometimes they'll make poor decisions (just like the rest of us :)). When I raise these kind of issues (and I did on the SimCity forums as well, and was far from alone) it's not to attack anyone personally, it's more just a friendly "it's within you're right to do what you're doing, but you may find if you go down that path you turn a lot of people off".
Good chatting with you, may all your games be good ones :).
@Axe99 You make a strong point -- it wasn't absolutely necessary to make it exclusively an online game, and the provision of an offline mode would have been a good thing from any angle, so I concede that.
And as for the forum issues, I wasn't aware of the reaction there. That makes me reconsider somewhat their appearance of friendliness on a public level if their attitude in the forums was purportedly not as kind. Though, then again, that's only purport, and I can't change my opinion on just that yet, I'm sure you'll agree.
I do think though, despite that the always-on design is defended as being a creative decision and criticised for being tacked-on DRM, I'd argue that it's actually a fairly decent combination of the two. I enjoy the online features of SC5, but they were somewhat forcefully added. It's piracy-protection morphed into a game mechanic and I think that's fine so long as it doesn't intrude or obstruct gameplay experience.
Which we know it did.
The key of my argument is that this is all true. What you say is true. It's just that we may not realise these orders for DRM design probably comes from higher up in the EA cabinets, as a mandate, and not from Maxis themselves, exclusively as a feature. The way Maxis and EA have dealt with the repercussions of this game has not been altogether great, but that is what marks SC5 as a point of progression. In this (http://thekoalition.com/2013/08/peter-moore-ea-will-continue-to-make-offline-games/) news piece, just 2 days ago, Peter Moore explained EA's aim to continue producing offline-capable games. It's not ideal, but it seems like a change of direction at least, almost definitely as a result of the SC5 backlash.
Maxis, too, are learning and changing. Slowly, and through updates, but no doubt they are heading feedback and changing what they know of the consumers' desires.
And don't apologise, you haven't come across as short. I'm just grateful I have had the opportunity to have this discussion with someone, so thanks once again :)