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The Sims 3 Is Falling Apart

As I begin to write this, I'm going down the Programs And Features control panel in Windows 7 and removing the Sims 3 and seven expansions: Ambitions, Generations, Late Night, Pets, Seasons, Supernatural, and World Adventures.  I don't think I need to tell you that this represents a considerable hunk of change, as the average Sims 3 expansion runs about $40-$50.  Even buying them half-off, which is my usual frugal policy, I'm looking at about $200 spent on this franchise going straight down the toilet.
Source: Why I Love Sims 3 blog entry.  Well, I don't, I'm imagining
myself the Reaper right now, taking Sims 3 off my mortal hard drive coils
That's just too bad for me because, bottom line, Sims 3 is too broken for me to play.  What has me uninstalling it right now is that the Sims 3 Launcher refuses to launch.  It's a fairly common issue, or so my Google searches would seem to reveal.  In my case, the launcher gets stuck in a loop where it can't even be terminated in the task manager.  The usual proposed solution I've read to this is to simply run the game without the benefit of the launcher.  Unfortunately, I'm running the game through Origin, and I have expansion packs to install, and that leaves me no choice but to run the launcher in order to update the game sufficiently for the various expansion packs to launch.

I will accept some blame, as this most recent reason my Sims 3 launcher is failing to launch is because I moved my Sims 3 installation from one drive to another.  It should be expected that an application will have to rebuild some associations after that.  However, even after I took the time to manually delete a bunch of potential config files (including my entire Sims 3 Electronic Arts directory from my documents folders), the issue persists.  If I had to guess, there's a mystery configuration file that is confusing Sims 3 to look on the wrong drive, but it's entirely possible that the launcher would have failed anyway.

There is a simple solution to my installation woes: I could use the Steam installation, which should sort out all of the various snafus involved for me in a nice prefab Steam install.  There's two problems with that, however.  First, I'm not going to spend another $60 buying the expansions on Steam I don't have on Origin, and that's with the benefit of a 50-66% Sims 3 Steam sale going on right now.  Second, I've read that purchasing expansions on Origin actually makes it impossible to install Sims 3 expansions through Steam after you've purchased them through Origin.  This is likely a deliberate Sims 3 launcher limitation.  Origin was quite willing to migrate my Steam purchases to Origin, but not the other way around.  I can't say I particularly enjoy being a customer caught in the middle of a double standard.

I suppose I could eventually get Sims 3 to run on Origin if I screw around with it long enough... maybe if I re-download the whole, rather massive, thing after deleting it from my drives entirely?  However, the prospect of going through all that trouble seems grim to me because of all the other things that have gone wrong with Sims 3 lately:
  • I've already mentioned there are outstanding issues with the launcher, the very portal to launch the game.  Other issues which I've encountered with it include my downloaded content from the store not installing correctly.  You would think that issues with such an important program as the launcher would be important enough to them to fix?  For that matter, why doesn't the Origin download client distribute a version of the Sims 3 that's already fully updated?  Origin and Maxis are both parts of the same company that made the game, yet rival company Steam does a better job of distributing the already-updated software than them!
  • In Sims 3 World Adventures, you'll often find places in the world maps that have messed up pathing, resulting in various sims getting stuck there.  It's especially problematic if you need to interact with the stuck sims for some reason (such as being a step in an opportunity), producing a show stopping bug.  I eventually found a manually-modified community map that partially alleviates the issue, but the burning question here is why didn't Maxis take the time to fix this?  World Adventures has been out for 3 1/2 years now!
  • Most recently, I was playing a sim on the investigator career track, and he kept getting a "psychic investigator" opportunity at the town hall.  No matter how many times I did it, the opportunity never completed.  No error message or anything, the sim simply left the town hall and the opportunity remained incomplete.  I keep removing that opportunity, and it just keeps on coming back, largely preempting my investigator career opportunities unless I direct my sim to manually get one off a computer.  This is hardly the only broken opportunity in the game, and unfortunately I'm not aware of any community fixes for it.  The problem has been going on since October 2012, and we know exactly what the problem is.  If it's something as simple as needing to add a few exclusions to a list, again, why doesn't Maxis fix this?!
  • Some of the issues I have are not technical so much as design decisions that run against my grain.  For example, it seems to me that Sims 3 has thoroughly jumped on Twilight's coattails in that otherworldly beings are handled as "people, too," and this is what's with the Vampires and Werewolf implementation.  That bothers me a bit, really.  I'm no mundane stick-in-the-mud, supernatural stuff is cool and all, but these beings are somewhat in the vein of monsters that prey on mortals, and so it seems a bit weird and wrong that they're running around committing supernatural shenanigans (even turning normal sims into them) and the sims just look the other way.  It would have been a lot more interesting if these conditions were considered something to hide, it would create a sense of mystery and intrigue to it.  Instead, it's just goofy, it plays out like a bad Twilight fanfic.  It's a total eyesore to see a pack of werewolves running around the neighborhood: get ye hence, spawn of Stephenie Meier!  There's no "vampire/werewolf hunter" profession (at least, not without mods) but I suppose I could try getting them to drink elixirs that cure their condition.
This is list is a woeful understatement of just how much of a mess Sims 3 has become.  It would simply take me more time (and effort) than I'm willing to invest to catalog even a quarter of nitpicks of varying severity one can find distracting from the quality of their experience in the Sims 3.  So don't take my word for it: you can visit the official technical support forum right now and read some 90,000 posts.  It's 1:40pm in the afternoon and I count 55 new threads since midnight.

This is ridiculous.  Considering the massive amount of money a game with this many expansion packs and an online content store must make, I can't believe they're unable to afford to fix outstanding problems with their game.  Unless they preform a complete overhaul of their support process, and soon, I imagine the names "Will Wright" and "Origin" will be synonymous with underhanded cash grabs on shoddy product lines before Sims 4 is released.

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