There is a story going around the gaming
journalism news reblogging world right now about the ability to “hack” SimCity and destroy other players’ cities. The articles are spinning it as a major issue, something which it would seem to be if you spent zero time at all actually investigating. Let me do the journalism that you click-baiting morons were too slow to actually do.
If you watch the video, which I won’t link here, you’ll know that syncing to the servers is turned off. The game is not being played online during this video, so any changes that he does are irrelevant to everyone else. You cannot go into someone else’s city and destroy it because it won’t sync and save. The only thing you’re editing or destroying is some city that you’ve loaded into memory. I can do more real-world damage by swatting a fly.
How do I know it doesn’t sync over to the servers? I know this because the person who actually came out with these client mods posted it himself:
“I did not try to “spoof” the owner ID’s when doing this , so while I *CAN* “Take over” any city I like and run the simulation as if it was my own, place buildings, change taxes, play for hours, or destroy it – It *WON’T* be synced to the server at all, so no permanent changes are ever made to another player’s cities. It’s good fun though, and you can make entertaining videos with it. Spoofing owner ID’s may be a dangerous possibility to save the edits to server – but EA servers may have checks to prevent this already.”
There are fair points being made from every perspective about the always-online aspect of SimCity. However, a lot of the arguments have come down to ridiculous anti-EA moaning and it has started spilling over into half-assed propaganda campaigns. EA surely had some say in whether or not SimCity had these features, but it was Maxis who had the ultimate power over the game. It was Maxis who had every right and ability to make it offline-capable, but they didn’t. Don’t just blame EA just because you dislike EA for whatever reason. I guarantee that if this were an indie developer, far fewer people would be pissed off about the same game and the same situation.
To clarify where my profiteering media friends do not, I DO have an EA-bestowed title, and I do technically do work for several of their studios. I am however a volunteer and owe nothing to Electronic Arts – if anything, they still owe me for some of the hard and unending work I’ve put in over the years. My ideals and opinions are not swayed by EA or any subsidiary of theirs, and I promise you they wouldn’t even like half of my ideals and opinions. I am not a fan of always-on DRM, but I am a fan of rational thought.