There is simply no doubt that the YEAR In TSTO – 2019 Edition has been a complete (or incomplete?) bust so far. At the very best, every “update event” has been a thinly-veiled series of small tasks, wrapping around a new, substantial tool that makes “getting everything” EAsier…but also, likely signalling something more sinister.
This has nothing to do with the Disney takeover (which has nothing to do with the game at all) and likely has much more to do with recent major changes at EA, and gaming in general. TSTO rode the crest of “mobile device gaming wave,” and the waves are hitting the beach…and turning into a burbling line of foam marking the declining levels, as we ebb to low tide. (Which is ironic, given the current state of rising tides in the real world).
If you talk to any game designer (and I know a lot of them) the era of mobile-device gaming is pretty well done. Like comparing the “good old days of network TV” with the current wealth of content from streaming companies, it isn’t the content that has changed, but the delivery devices. It’s simply too difficult to keep adapting old programming to new technology, and remain profitable. But, that is an entirely different conversation.
When you are in your seventh decade of life, you have the choice to think “everything will just keep going on like this forever,” or be realistic, and realize that there is a cycle to everything. Gaming is no different. You can keep pretending, and be surprised when it ends, or realize that it is the nature of all things.
There are too many signs to ignore…even for the bliss-ninniest of the bliss ninnies. BUT…THERE ARE STILL LOADS OF WAYS TO ENJOY THE GAME…Which I am happy to share. These coincide with the “updates” and the tools given us during these updates. But remember…they are great tools, that also double as harbingers of the next reality.
Let’s take a look at the past Four Months of activity.
Yes. We are a Full Trimester through 2019…and have very little (compared to previous years) to show for it.
January 9th – 22nd we had the “Not Yet Spring Cleaning” event. Certainly too early for any talk about Spring…but, it turned out to be the first of a TON of “Retread content events,” a trend that has been the benchmark of 2019. EA gave us just two new characters, Alice Glick and Lewis Clark. What was the REAL key tool here?
The Golden Goose Reality, which allows us to earn Free Land Tiles every 12 hours…until you run out of land to buy…which I haven’t, so I do.
On January 23rd, right when we expected it, we got “Love Springfieldian Style” which actually felt like a “regular event” with ELEVEN new characters and SIXTEEN new buildings being offered. Pretty cool…even though people complained that it was 4 separate mini-events, tied into one 4-week event, it was still great…and loads of fun. It ran through February 19th. Like clockwork. Business as usual.
What was the “Super Tool” offered Here? The FULL TOWN Snapshot tool, which allows you to archive your town for posterity. Yes. I added that last part in there on purpose.
It is a way to capture a full look at your work…which in my case goes back over Six and a Half YEARS of work. I was/am grateful for this tool. If/when the game comes to an end, I will have a full screen shot I can print and mount on my wall…to remember a substantial chapter of my life.
Then instead of giving us something on the next Wednesday (as they had been doing in the past) they waited a week, and gave us “The State of Despair” mini update… with only TWO new characters, and TWO new buildings. It ended after two weeks.
March 13th-26th …the “Classless Reunion” event brought us a bunch of skins…no new characters.
But the HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOK was offered as a chance to get almost everything ever offered in the game. It overshadowed an otherwise “meh” update.
After two more dead weeks (including a REALLY lame April Fools Joke posted by the twit-leaders on the forum) we got “Marge at Bat,” with NO NEW ANYTHING… except for some new dialogue that used a lot of OLD content… But offered a chance to buy a CRAP LOAD of TENNIS COURTS for a bit of grinding in Springfield Heights…which primarily was used to Boost Your Bonus Percentage.
And we did. A ton. I went from a little over 600% to over 900% before I got bored with it all…and realized that I had a problem. The SAME problem I have had for over a year now. Adding all of the items for the Bonus % increases, took me ever closer to the Hard Item Limit (which now sits at 13,000 items). Until last week, after expanding my Golf Course (which required a lot more landscaping), and grinding to earn the REAL golf holes (which I wrote about in another post), I got the dreaded “You Have Reached The Limit Allowed” message.
It made me realize that whether the game goes on or not…I may be toast, unless they once again, increase the item limit.
And since then? Nothing.
So, I admittedly, like many of you, I used this “Down Time” to get a bunch of cheap stuff from the Yearbook (mostly stuff I got because I was bored, until I hit the Item Limit), and took a long time to expand and finish my golf course (which I’ll cover in another post).
I needed to figure out a way to use the Crap Load of Tennis courts, because I didn’t want to mess around with hiding them all…so I turned it into “Krusty’s Very Minimum Security Prison for the Rich and Privileged.”
I have a HUGE peninsula of tennis courts, protected by water…with a fallen statue of Krusty at the gate.
It is adjacent for convenience, to one of the Criminal Retreats (Fernando Vidal’s Villa- complete with contraband), The Recording Studio/Record Label buildings (what record companies do to artists is criminal), and Stacy’s Dream House (what the Stacy/Barbie franchise did for body dis-morphia is criminal).
It is rounded out by Herb Powell’s mansion (come on…the guy is a car dealer!), the House of the Future (forgetting the present in pursuit of the future is criminal!) and the “Presidential Estate” which belongs in the prison complex for obvious reasons (pick your President of choice).
But……………………………………. Unless they increase the item limits, and offer something that is worth Grinding/Tapping/Farming to acquire, I may be done.
At least for a bit.
It is pretty clear that EA has made it EAsier than ever before to Donut Farm. The % Bonus boost was a “freebie” for a bit of grinding…and an obvious gift. The Golden Goose made it EAsy to expand your land to the limit. And, the Yearbook is/was such an obvious way to let everyone catch up (and perhaps drop some rEAl money in the process), that it only needed the final tool to bring it all full circle.
The Full Screen Capture Tool. It’s like taking a picture of your vast collection of favorite things, before you pack it all, and haul it off to the landfill.
I know this about myself, and the concept of “posterity.” I am a true “collector” (admittedly bordering on a hoarder according to my kids). And the fact is…I have come to the realization that none of our kids want 95% of my stuff. It means a lot to me…because I have stories that go with almost all of it. But when I’m done, so is the stuff.
It’s the same with TSTO. It’s not the collection of Bonus %, or the amassing of game cash…it is the memory of where I got everything…where it fits into my town…and the fun I had getting it, building it, and making up stories to go along with it.
I will share some of those stories and screen shots in the future….along with my newly redesigned golf course. But at least for today, with the current Item Limit keeping me from further designs…I am done.
Unless they actually raise the limits again, and give us something to do. In which case, I am still amassing donuts. Hope springs eternal.