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TSO - the most boring fun you'll ever have

FyreGoddessFyreGoddess Albany, NYPosts: 45Member

First off, before people start jumping down my throat for the title, I hope you'll all take the time to read what I'm really saying here.  I know that several of the regulars in this forum know me from my days of playing this game (two years including beta) and I hope they already know that I'm not here to trash the game, just to give a former player's opinion of it.

I never made an official goodbye, just faded into the woodwork with (to quote an old TSO playmate) not a bang, but a whisper.  This, I think, is what I would have said had I had the inclination.

TSO was my first MMO ever.  I signed up for the beta test and started testing/playing in September '02.  At the time I thought it was a heck of a lot of fun.  I had burned out on the offline game and was tired of the God mode idea.  Having interactions with other sims that were out of my control was exactly what I was looking for.

I have to say that the beta testing period of TSO was some of the most fun I've had in an online game.  People were still figuring things out, having a good time and trying to find what the limits were.  At the time, the limits were actually quite few, reporting was almost unheard of (for all the good it would have done) and, though the content was limited, the imaginations of the players were not limited, so we created wholly unique things to occupy ourselves.

Once the game was released (and even in the few weeks before hand) things started to change.  Promised content was shelved, restrictions were imposed and the imaginations of some of the truly creative players were stifled.  I feel like this was the beginning of what a lot of people see as being what ruined TSO in the long run.  There is a quote from Will Wright along the lines of him wanting, ideally, 1% of the players to create the fun for the other 99%, but once the limitations started kicking in, that 1% was effectively reigned in.  Not that it stopped us all, not that it stopped most of us, but it got some people pushed out or banned, and it was something that jaded many of us.

The lack of introduction of custom content caused a lot of CC-creators from the offline games to leave.  The perceptions and outcry of the "masses" (or, more realistically, the  outspoken) caused the departure of a lot more people who just wanted to have fun in ways that were not accepted by others.

For me, and quite a few others I know, burnout kicked in.  Those who have left (and some who haven't) felt this at various stages, but there comes a point where you can't take any more breaks.  Creating fun for other people does become a burden - sometimes you just want to kick back and let others do the work, but there's sometimes an entitlement from the ones who partake in your hospitality, and it becomes difficult to keep going for the sake of others.

I think, in part, that the entitlement of some of the player base has caused the game to stifle.  Other factors are (IMO), the lack of regular content updates, the assumption of a certain sect of the player base that they should (or do) have more control over the game than they in fact do, and the lingering God-mode mindset that wants the game to be one specific way, without variation or controversy.  Playing Happy Family or Dysfunctional Family is great for some, but not everyone has the same playstyle and it often seemed to me (toward the end of my playtime, anyway) that there was a large enough segment of the community that wanted to dictate the "right way" that it left quite a few plays discontent overall with the supposed rules and the backlash they would experience from some of this.

Keep in mind that all of the above is without touching on the interpersonal drama that tends to wear thin for a lot of players.  As much as that, too, affected my decision to leave, it's not something that I really think is a deal maker or breaker for players of the game.

I have fond memories of playing this game, memories that I will hold on to.  I also have several lasting friendships that came from my time in TSO and that means the world to me, but it's simply not enough to justify paying for something that I just could not motivate myself to play.

All in all, though, I find the premise of TSO to be severely lacking.  Inherently, it is a boring game with the intent of relying on those with active imaginations to create something outside the box - which is not always (or even mostly) welcomed by the playerbase or the developers, and that is the major flaw.

I think it's unrealistic for any company to expect their customers to create their own amusement while having restrictions that are unclear or contradictory to the overall concept of the game.  The early lack of communication and broken promises left a lot of people wary of the long-term outcome of the game (and, I believe, rightly so).  There is an underlying boredom within the gameplay; a certain feeling of searching for something that may or may not exist and an almost-despair at what will be found while searching for the undefined fun that should exist, that used to exist, that could exist if only the right people could create it.

 No, TSO is not for everyone.  Even for the people who are dedicated to and love the game, it will probably not always be for them.  At this point, it seems to me, that the vast majority of those playing have been around for a while and the negative opinions of the game (primarily from punished players, those who have no or limited experience with it or people who just like to complain) have effectively prevented quite a few people from trying it out for long enough to actually find fun within it.

It is more successful that some of the EA games that have previously folded.  EnB and MCO are often lauded as "better games" and games that should have been salvaged to the detriment of TSO, but those games never pulled the numbers that TSO did and, as far as I can tell, never had as dedicated and hardcore a playerbase.  There is no comparison between TSO and games of the bang-bang-shoot-'em-up (BBSEU) genres, it is something entirely different and, at the time of release if not still, a revolutionary idea.

I don't begrudge anyone this game, nor would I push for the closure of TSO.  Regardless of my own opinion on how long the game will last at this point, I do see people who enjoy it, but I also see a lot of people who are still holding out for a little something more.  Something I fear, they will never get from TSO as it exists today or as it appears to be going.

To those who say the game is boring, you're right, but that's partly your own fault for not trying to find or create the fun.  To those who say it's fun, you're right, too, but remember that it's the efforts of others that make it so, and see if you can't do your part to keep it fun for THEM so that your fun can continue.

I don't really know what to say in conclusion, or even why I took this time to write all of this out.  I think that TSO fills a gap in the MMO market and it truly saddens me that the BBSEU players can't acknowledge how TSO has served the overall market by bringing in players who would otherwise never have ventured into the online gaming arena.

Both sides have their points and it takes a certain type of person to really enjoy TSO for all it has to offer.  Just because you don't like it, doesn't make it a bad game, but just because you *DO* like it, doesn't mean that it's good.

My bottom line is this: TSO, in and of itself, is a mediocre game that appeals to a niche market.  It's the players themselves that turn the basic game into something that you're either going to love or hate...  or develop an allergy to.  I once heard Jerry Garcia say that the Grateful Dead (and I think he mentioned Woody Allen as well) is like buttermilk, you either love it or you hate it, there's very little middle ground.  I'd apply the buttermilk factor to TSO as well, but I think you're in good company :)

~FyreGoddess };^>

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Comments

  • jerseyjersey Anywhere, FLPosts: 14Member
    Fyre, you said it better than anyone could. Well done! image
  • KatheryneKatheryne San Diego, CAPosts: 130Member

    Interesting.

    All I can really say is, have you tried TSO -- lately?

    Seriously, if it's been more than a few months, I think it will really surprise you!  Between the crafting, the new crafted objects, the ability to buy and wear all the clothing formerly only available to newly-created sims, the upcoming interactive War Game (currently available in Betaville), free-will, sim families (yes, real ones), and proposed city-to-city avatar moves and advanced, interactive means of skilling...  and most of that was all just within the past couple of months!

    The game is coming around; the development team has been really responsive lately, and our new Community Service Rep, Maxis Sahara, has been a real godsend to the Stratics community!

    This is not to say that I think you're wrong.  TSO is indeed not for everyone; and it's entirely possible it might still not be for you.  But don't judge the game based on experiences that are more than a year old!  Despite claims to the contrary, TSO is a fluid, evolving game - especially lately.  Any opinions or experiences you've had deep in the past are likely not valid anymore.

    image
  • FyreGoddessFyreGoddess Albany, NYPosts: 45Member



    Originally posted by Katheryne

    Interesting.
    All I can really say is, have you tried TSO -- lately?
    Seriously, if it's been more than a few months, I think it will really surprise you!  Between the crafting, the new crafted objects, the ability to buy and wear all the clothing formerly only available to newly-created sims, the upcoming interactive War Game (currently available in Betaville), free-will, sim families (yes, real ones), and proposed city-to-city avatar moves and advanced, interactive means of skilling...  and most of that was all just within the past couple of months!
    The game is coming around; the development team has been really responsive lately, and our new Community Service Rep, Maxis Sahara, has been a real godsend to the Stratics community!
    This is not to say that I think you're wrong.  TSO is indeed not for everyone; and it's entirely possible it might still not be for you.  But don't judge the game based on experiences that are more than a year old!  Despite claims to the contrary, TSO is a fluid, evolving game - especially lately.  Any opinions or experiences you've had deep in the past are likely not valid anymore.



    Katheryne, I understand what you're saying and I'm making a point to not dwell on the idea of you finding anyones "experiences or opinions" to no longer be valid.  It's been significantly less than a year since I've played.  In fact, I held on to my account for a long time after I left the O-forums in the hopes that something would change to renew my interest.

    The problem is, as I stated in my original post, is that the premise of TSO is lacking.  No matter how much content they add or how they change the available options within the game, to change the premise would be to destroy the game.

    The things you mention, new clothing, a new group object, crafting, these things serve to enhance the gameplay of those who already enjoy the game, but adding to the existing concept is not going to change the underlying design of the game.

    You mention Betaville and free will as if it might lure me (or other departed players like me) back into the game, but Betaville won't draw me back anymore than the release of The Sims 2 renewed my interest in playing offline.  I burned out on the offline game and I burned out on the online game.  Frankly, I keep up on the updates and the community and for all the bells and whistles, I don't see much of a change in the fundamentals of the game.

    As I stated clearly in the very beginning of my original post, I'm not here to trash the game.  Why would I when I've made some dear friends and, for quite a while, had a good time?  But what I think you're missing is the reasonings in my post.  There are very valid reasons that people leave, as well as reasons that people just don't *get* the concept.  No matter how hard you try, you'll never convince people to like this game if it isn't for them, let alone to love it.

    Communication with developers and community reps is all well and good, but how does that really affect the game?  I know that for the avid forum posters it makes you think you're being better or more heard than when they don't communicate, but it doesn't change the development of the game for Kyle or Randy or Sahara to poke their head into the forums and fill you in on what's going on.  There's a vast amount of people who never touch the forums and still love the game.  Personally, I never had a complaint with communication between developers and players, I only ever had an issue with the fundamental concept of game and becoming tired of that concept in and of itself.

     

  • dantekaozdantekaoz bogotaPosts: 4Member

    holly piuece of sh.... YOU PEOPLE DO KNOW WAHT YOUR TALKNIG ABOUT.really like this post. two points of view, real answers. damn good. but really.... i eman, come on. the game is not the best, but either the worst. check bloodlust, for example.... AWFUL.

    the problem with TSo is that there's no point. no real-fight style, no imnovation, at all..........................

    plz maxis, you got to update TSo like, like,,, a lot. every one. no stuff, no fun, come on. imnovation, make something like, new, you know what i mean

    PDS:

    hope got some answers... bye

  • The_Hobbit'The_Hobbit' Nowhere, AZPosts: 5Member

    Why do you think there needs to be a fight style?

    Fyre, I am quite curious - what do you think would need to be done to the basic outline of the game to make it more fun? What should the point of the game be?

    I am not sure if The Sims really ever had a direct point, so I think it is kind of hard to expect the online one to have a point other than user created goals.

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