Whats (Still) Broken in SimCity 5

So after playing the new SimCity for about 20 hours this week (Spring Break, wooo!). I wrote down a list of all the things I found that are still broken in the current version (V 1.8 as of this writing) of SC.

1. Using “Agents” for utilities like water, power and sewer is an incredibly stupid idea. Just use connectivity and capacity checks. This causes all kinds of odd problems – when power is being restored to a city, those “agents” can cause it to take multiple game hours to get an entire city re-powered.

2. Water pumping stations deplete groundwater and such a ridiculous rate, its almost a farce to have them. I got maybe a year or two out of my first ground water pumping station – I placed it in a dark blue area near a river to start, and I only expanded it to three tanks. Even when you shut the station, the groundwater aquifer doesn’t seem to replenish itself, it just stays dry.

3. Sometimes, when resuming my city, the entire power grid would be empty, and the city would have to “refill” the grid with agents. This was a problem if I was close or at my capacity, as people would start to have outages as the grid refilled with agents.

4. Intercity trading & gifting can be weird – I gifted another one of my cities a bunch of money, and it took a long time for it to show up in the new city. Likewise, trading water and power can be dangerous because the city you’re drawing from might suddenly not have the capacity you need for some strange reason.

5. Unreliable coal deliveries via truck can hurt your city tremendously. If you have only one way into your city via highway on-ramps, if they are jammed, the coal delivery wont show up. There is a way to import by rail using a trade port, but its not intuitive or available early.

6. When a hazmat fire occurs, sometimes your own Hazmat fire trucks refuse to respond. I don’t know why not, it seems that if there aren’t any Hazmat fire trucks at the closest fire station they wont respond at all, even if they’re the only Hazmat trucks in the entire city.

7. Overly simplistic rules about how to import/export goods. Right now its just “local-only”, “import” and “export”. It needs to allow for “local use but export surplus” – for example, if I need 36 tons of alloy for my processor factory each day, and I’m producing 48 tons, then I should export 12 tons a day.

8. No way to turn off disasters without turning on cheats (sand box mode). I’d rather have disasters turned off and cheats turned off. That seems to make the most sense to me.

9. Routing intelligence for some types of vehicles is atrocious. I mean really really bad. Most notably, busses (both city and school), as well as garbage and recycling trucks. RIght now I have a city full of recycling bins waiting to be collected and 16 recycling pick-up trucks driving around the city between 25 and 50% full, and yet they don’t bother to pick up any more recyclables. It is infuriating when I see a truck that is empty or mostly empty drive by a bunch of places that it could do pick-ups at, and then the citizens turn around and complain about too much garbage. Same goes with city busses that aren’t full yet drive by other bus stops.

10. Recycling is picked up during the day, but if you max out your recycling plant, you might find out that overnight you run out of raw materials. I think they need to tweak the maximum storage capacity of the facility.

11. Random errors when it comes to water and sewage when you’re sharing that resource, specifically sewage. I get errors a lot about backed up sewer pipes even though my sewage treatment plant has more than enough capacity.

12. Game balance – once I built a processor plant, as long as I kept it supplied with resources, I was making half a million dollars a month easy, if not more. Money was no longer an issue at that point. I could lower taxes dramatically and have really happy citizens.

That’s it for now. Hopefully all of these issues get remedied over the next few months. Maxis made a bunch of quick patches initially to the game over the first two weeks of release, but hasn’t released any patches since then.

Edit: April 2, 2013 – More things!

13. The counts for garbage and recycling pick-up don’t seem reliable. I had my garbage trucks completely clear the city of garbage per the data overlay, and yet the game said I only had picked up about half of the trash cans from a numbers point of view.

5 thoughts on “Whats (Still) Broken in SimCity 5”

  1. #13 possibly because sc5 is a simulation of a simulation, there is more population reported than is actually rendered, would not surprise me if there were more trash cans than actually displayed.

  2. Don’t forget the “cannot load the city at this time” issue that’s plaguing tens of thousands of people who bought this game. This is an extremely common issue which will render a city in your region unplayable. You cannot even restart the city. Instead, it simply exists as dead space, ruining your region.

    1. Surprisingly, I haven’t had that error yet. But I haven’t played it in two weeks (more important things to do).

  3. The garbage and recyclable pickup system is utterly broken and urgently needs to be fixed. Has Maxis even acknowledged this is a problem. Extremely frustrating.

  4. I too have seen a number of these (broken) game mechanics. I will consistently get errors about buildings having no water even though my water pumping station is pumping plenty of water. This will shut down my schools which will in turn cause my high tech industries to shut down and cause my income to go negative. Extremely frustrating on top of my school buses constantly getting stuck every 10 minutes.

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