Multi-Player? Good Luck With That
After experiencing all of the above in the single-player version of the game, which is essentially you playing by yourself in your own pre-made region, I thought perhaps I’d try my hand at cooperative play with other people. Maybe I was missing out on the real SimCity experience, building a city (hamlet) next to a bunch of other users’ cities (hamlets) and sharing resources and trying to build great projects together. I ventured forth to the game browser, to see what I could find.
The game browser is a tough thing to explain because it defies expectation and logic. As a user desire, the concept of wanting to find a game to play with other human beings was an afterthought. Up until the patch on April 22, the game browser showed at the top all the games that were completely full. Users involved in those games are shown as icons over a background supposed to represent the map in play, but doesn’t. The browser displays 12 games at a time, until you hit the “Load More” button at the bottom. Until the patch, the first 400 games were full, completely, and there was no way to tell that they were at capacity because there was no way to filter them. You had to click “Load More” ten or more times before you even had the remote chance of happening upon a game that might have a spot open. Finding a game was trial and error, and could take a long, long time. Patch 2.0 improved this mildly, but the experience is still quite bad.
During your search, you might find a grayed-out city in one of the regions you are considering joining. These are cities that have been claimed by other users, most of the time as throwaways, one-shot infusions of cash, bonded out max to $300,000 and with the money dispatched to their main city. Half of these potential spots for you to join generate an error that they're not compatible with your particular version of SimCity. You didn’t buy the British City Set DLC, and the previous user did, so you can’t have this spot. If you are lucky enough to find an abandoned city spot that you can actually claim, good luck getting out of that $300,000 hole. Alas, I would have happily played with any of the friends on my friends list, but my friends list doesn’t work.