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RichardCollins

Problem with SimCity 4 on Origin

23 posts in this topic

A while back, I purchased Sim City 4 on Origin when it was on sale. I had no issues installing NAM, RHW, and even using a custom resolution. I had to reset my PC due to a virus. I reinstalled SC4, but now Origin won't update it past 1.1.610. I tried contacting support and they gave me a long list of things to do that have nothing to do with getting an update (disabling anti-virus, safe-mode, etc, etc.)

Why did they go from giving you the fully patched version of the game to blocking you to 610? Is it something on my end or did EA actually change something? No matter if I download the game to my SSD or HDD, I get the same result. 

 

A separate patch I downloaded with NAM tells me old files can't be found and won't allow me to install a new patch, so no NAM. Anyone here have the same issue? A solution besides buying another copy on GoG?

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Go to Origin and re-download SC4. This was a problem a while back, but after some pressure from Tarkus (see here), EA relented and released a new version including the patches.

If that isn't working, complain to Origin. They sold you not only an unpatched, but un-patchable copy, this isn't OK and customer support should rectify the problem for free. Make a stink, but be polite about it and you should be OK. It wouldn't hurt in this case to link to Tarkus' blog either to prove your point. EA's support reps don't often know much about their own products *sigh*.

If you do re-buy (that's a lousy solution I wouldn't personally accept), get the GoG version, it's the best one out there. No DRM, fully updated, includes the single-core setting by default and can be had very cheap if you wait for a sale. I wouldn't pay $20/£20/20€ for SC4, that's a rip off for a 14 year old game, it should be no more than $5/£5/5€

MeMyself&I, Tarkus, nos.17 and 1 other like this

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Also, if you still run into issues after following the steps outlined by rsc204 above, let me know, too.  I will go to bat for anyone who is being sold an unpatched digital copy.

-Tarkus

nos.17, APSMS, MeMyself&I and 2 others like this

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Thanks for the quick replies. I will contact EA Again. I don't think that to update the game, I have to disable UAC as well as a bunch of security features. I feel like I'm getting the runaround by the last support agent who didn't understand my issue or just plain didn't care. I'll contact them now and see what happens.

In regards to purchasing of GoG, would I be able to burn those files onto a CD and keep it forever? I like Steam and Uplay (not Origin,) but I always feel like if they ever go under, all those games will be lost. I still prefer my physical copies. 

Also, I decided to include this for giggles. It's from the last time I contacted support. I got this. 

Trustagamer.png

 

Edit: No luck. They had me delete local files, temp files, repair the game, etc. Still stuck at 1.1.610. I got disconnected from chat when they had me restart my PC and don't have time to reconnect with them. I linked them to the blog above, but the rep didn't seem to care. 

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Thanks for sharing that, RichardCollins.  I can't believe they're doing this again.  The only other thing I can think of that you could potentially try with Origin is to link them to PC Gamer's coverage of my blog post, in case they're a bit more responsive to mainstream gaming media.       

I suspect you aren't the only one in this boat.  I'll start another campaign here on my end.  If you can get a screenshot showing the version number on your executable from the Details tab of the Properties window for the file, that would be helpful, too.

-Tarkus

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When I said re-download the files, usually on any digital service like this, you buy a licence to play the game. Let's say you have bought a new computer, you don't have to re-purchase your games, but unlike with the CD, where you can just go back and install your old games, you must install Origin on the new PC. Login to Origin, somewhere should be the option to find all the games you've purchased and download them again (because your licences are tied to your logon/account). Then you can go about re-installing these games once more. In essence, by re-downloading the game, you should get the "new" version which is patched. Have you simply tried this step? Because if that works, it will be easier than dealing with support reps.

If it doesn't, that raises the question, are you expected to re-buy them if you need to re-download the files or EA update/patch the file? This is NOT normal, although iTunes works this way, it still allows you to make a backup of your purchases/licences, if you know in advance and bother to do it that is. Anyhow, if you do need to go back to support, don't be afraid to state the following. "I'm sorry, but it is clear from your responses that you simply do not understand my problem. I wish to speak to a more senior rep or manager please." My experience with all support is that it's farmed out to people who often aren't native speakers or particularly qualified, they are following scripts telling them what to do, not using their brains. But, when you get passed up the line, you will find the support gets better, because more senior staff typically know what they are doing.

This is the basic flaw in DRM, in theory it's just there to protect EA from having their property stolen. But in practise, it allows them to "switch off" all your content or dictate the circumstances in which you can continue to use the product. Even if the circumstances involved are totally beyond your control. GoG don't add DRM, you download an installer, which is stand-alone and requires no client (like Origin/Steam do) to install/run the game. So whatever happens in future, provided you don't loose the .exe installer file, you can always re-install and use the game you paid for. So yes, you can archive it anywhere, just like any other file, including a writeable DVD (CD's aren't big enough for the installer) or online file host. Not only that, but provided GoG still exist, you can at any time log into the site and re-download the games you paid for again. As many times as you need to (some sensible limits may apply).

DRM is killing games, it is evil and doesn't even stop piracy, which it's supposed to do. Vote with your wallets people, or re-buy everything at the whim of your masters.

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Tarkus, I did share the link with the rep. It was obviously ignored. Here is the screenshot of the version. 

rsc204, I did try. I even went so far as to reinstall Origin (under suggestion of the rep,) but there has still been no change in the version number. Repairing the game doesn't work, reinstalling doesn't work, and updating doesn't work. I know for a fact I used to have the updated version back in November because I installed NAM without issue as well as using a custom resolution. I will definitely contact support, again, and ask to be connected with someone higher up. The fact that I'm getting the runaround by EA is ridiculous. I'm glad I bought SC4 for really cheap when it was on sale, but if I knew I would have these issues, I would have just bought the $20 GoG one and not have had to go through the headaches of dealing with support. 

And regarding DRM, you're exactly right. One of my favorite all-time games is Hitman. The newest one essentially has two DRM's. One is Denuvo, the other is that you have to be online to use any of the content you unlocked. I feel like I rented the game for $60 rather than actually owning the game. Other games are getting cracked, so Denuvo at this point is only a minor inconvenience. For the record, I don't pirate games. I like to support PC games because if they keep getting pirated, no profit from PC means no games for PC. This is getting ridiculous though. 

SC4version.png

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Personally I abstain from buying any game with DRM. I made an exception for Cities Skylines, but that's the only time. Of course you can't be a one-man army, everyone else hands over their cash, so only I loose out. But if gamers could just be patient, a week to a month of not buying games worldwide would rid us of DRM forever. Still, before I start daydreaming...

As you can see from Tarkus' blog, this issue happened before, he managed to get sufficient media attention to force Origin to fix the problem. If they've really gone back and restored the broken version, that's truly and epic fail. I'd write a properly formatted complain letter to EA at this point. Including words to the effect of:

Quote

That of all vendors selling SimCity 4, a 14 year old game, which had two patches, themselves almost as old, EA/Origin are the only seller that can't get it right, is frankly a sad reflection of your ineptitude. Good old Games, Steam, Amazon and many other sellers have been selling a patched version from the get-go. Not only is your version unpatched, but it can not be patched, because the checksum of the .exe was changed, but the patch installers were not updated.

As you can see, this problem is not new, [link to blog post/article on PC Gamer], but somehow you've failed to learn from your previous mistake and broken things once more? That or because I had the misfortune to trust EA with my purchase, I get a broken copy and you won't let me have the fixed version which you have, through updating it, previously acknowledged to be a problem. Aren't you embarrassed that you (EA) are the only seller who hasn't patched your own game? You'd think that would lead to some sort of shame, the sort of shame that would motivate you to resolve my problem. Instead, you prefer to deny it all together, trying to fob me off by wasting my time, is that really your definition of customer service?

I plan to try and get your pathetic response to this issue made as pubic as possible. Because if you won't listen to reason from reasonable people, clearly the only solution is to publicly show the world how truly dreadful your support and customer service really is. Perhaps then you will do what is clearly the right thing here? After all, that's pretty much how this problem got solved previously. Wouldn't it be better for all involved if you took the problem seriously, acknowledged it and rectified the issue? Or is it really necessary to go through all this just to get you to do the right thing? In any case, this whole experience has made it clear to me that purchasing further products from those who value my custom so highly, would make me an idiot.

Perhaps a little strongly worded. But I have a great track record in getting what I want in these cases.

I'm sure Tarkus will be along here too, if this is verified that Origin are selling everyone a broken version once more, they'll have the Tankadillo lining up outside their doors shortly :D.

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Thanks for the screenshot of the version--that really helps.  The stats on it for the filesize and copyright date match exactly with what another user provided me back in August 2014, the last time we went through this with Origin.  It's interesting that the date modified on yours is November 2015.  Usually, that's an install date, and it would potentially indicate that they went back to distributing the unpatchable 1.1.610 copies through their retail channel quite some time ago.

This already looks pretty bad on Origin's part off the info you've provided (the chat log with support, especially).  I'm going to see if I can crowdsource some info from others who purchased the game off Origin since 2015.  I suspect there's more out there.  I do routinely encounter the "I installed the patch but couldn't install the NAM" reports on the download comments . . . while there are other causes for this error, since most of them don't divulge the specifics of their situation, it's possible some of them may be Origin retail users.

There's also the fact that the Origin version was reportedly rejecting installation of the Building Architect Tool (BAT) in recent times.  I haven't seen the version numbers on those users, but it's possible that may not be a product of Origin's DRM as much as it is a product of Origin's DRM plus Version 1.1.610 (as the 1.1.641 copies with DRM from elsewhere reportedly have no problems).

-Tarkus

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Seriously, again!? :noway:

This is absolutely deplorable. Hopefully it's promptly re-corrected and existing customers are either notified or offered a refund. If not, we really need to mount up the pressure on social media. There's no excuses at all. People shouldn't be sold an inferior version regardless, especially as they prevent it being manually updated with the official patches.

Even so, for the version to be rolled back, there's clearly a loophole in the system. After being fixed once, it's not at all reassuring the version can be so haphazardly reverted. Surely it couldn't have been intentional?
 

On 03/02/2017 at 9:58 PM, RichardCollins said:

I feel like I'm getting the runaround by the last support agent who didn't understand my issue or just plain didn't care.

Wow, sounds like a total lack of respect.

As suggested, I'd strongly advise requesting to escalate your request to a higher level. Support usually has several tiers, which also carry more influence the higher you reach. At the end of the day, that's where we'd need to penetrate. Being a legacy game, these 'agents' likely have never even set eyes on SC4.

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I'm in queue right now for support. Got about 30 minutes of waiting, which is my favorite part of enjoying a purchased game. Tarkus, that's what I noticed too. Even after repairing and reinstalling multiple times, I noticed that as well. The date of the exe was back in November 2015. To me, it seems like it was intentionally pushed back, but I hope I'm wrong.

One of the EA support members gave me a 15% off code for a future purchase, but obviously after having to waste my time trying to fix this issue, I'm not going to bother purchasing from Origin again. I may even ask for a refund, even though I have 9 hours played, but it's worth a shot. Last resort is downloading it off GoG and then storing it on multiple CD's to make sure I never lose it. Hope this gets resolved in this support chat session. 

Edit: Refund is out of the question. Way past their return window. Lesson learned. At least it wasn't learned at full price.

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So after contacting EA, again, and spending almost 1.5 hours waiting and then chatting to someone who kept stalling to keep me from speaking to a "specialist," I received a phone call. I explained to the agent of all the links and history you all posted (thanks again, that helped a lot.) The agent said that they do not "have access to the patches and can't just give out the patches/updates" but she "will keep an eye out for it." 

Even though I linked Tarkus' blog, even though I linked the PC Gamer article, and even though I jumped through every single one of their unnecessary hoops, I still was told it wasn't their fault. She tried to offer me the newest version of Sim City, which after all I've heard about it, I turned it down. I mentioned that Amazon, GoG, Steam, etc all sell the patched version, I just don't understand how EA doesn't. 

Even though I felt that there would not be a chance in hell to get a refund, she was very quick to offer the refund. Although I'm happy that I received the refund, I am extremely disappointed that a company, which produced some of my favorite games from my childhood, treat their lifetime customers like this. I've purchased every Sims, Sims 2, and Sims 3 games as well as others. EA isn't going to make another penny off of me. I am truly beginning to understand the disgust with gaming companies of today. 

To rsc204, I wanted to thank you for your complain letter. With a few minor modifications, I used most of your letter. Apparently, the person who kept stalling and later moved my case up to a "specialist," was unhappy with my responses and general mood, that he/she abruptly disconnected the chat with nothing regarding contacting them in the future or any pleasantries, which further drove me to show my dissatisfaction in their survey. Thanks for all the good memories EA, shame we had to part this way.

To everyone that responded and helped me, thank you so much. I was getting close to just throwing the game and letting it rot forever in my Origin library. It's a shame how everything went down, but I'm glad there is a great community here to support each other. GoG will be getting my money. I haven't even heard of them before, but their library is impressive. They will definitely be getting my support. 

rsc204, CorinaMarie, Tarkus and 5 others like this

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Sorry you couldn't resolve it. But honestly, it's like they still don't understand the problem? Seriously, what is so hard to understand, you are in support for games! Shocking, EA, you bring shame upon the good name of Maxis once more. It's embarrassing too, they had the patched version but seemingly removed it.

At least you got a refund... although more than likely because the time you spent with support forced EA to consider the value of that against the purchase price. There's an irony, think of the hourly rate each of the useless support people get from EA, they must have wasted a good $50 by wasting your time, so eventually, giving you back what, $5/$10 just becomes a no brainier. Most people give up long before that point, but if you stick in there, it forces their hand.

:Update: I'm so annoyed, I'm going to try and get someone at EA to acknowledge this issue myself. This is ridiculous.

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I was going to ask if there was any way to bring this up to the public. Maybe contact PC gamer to correct their "corrected" article. I am extremely irritated as well. I paid with PayPal, so the $10 I originally paid came back almost instantly, so I purchased a copy from GoG. The fact that a company can treat customers like this is unacceptable. You'd figure that with the massive amount of access people have to the internet and the amount of different venues reviews can be posted to, companies would respond a little differently. Guess not. 

If there is anyway I can help to bring attention to this, please let me know. Their cop out by offering a refund after pretending that they don't acknowledge the issue and pretend it isn't there is enough to give me the drive to pursue complaints against EA. I'll probably try to contact PC gamer myself to update them on the situation. 

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1 hour ago, RichardCollins said:

"will keep an eye out for it."

Not good enough. Watching doesn't imply the action required.

"will forward this information to higher management"

Sure, now we'd be getting somewhere...
 

1 hour ago, RichardCollins said:

I still was told it wasn't their fault.

So they dismiss responsibility and pass the blame.

Well who's fault was it then?  A thief?  A rogue employee?  Dr Vu?  The wind?  >.<
 

1 hour ago, RichardCollins said:

tried to offer me the newest version of Sim City

And that's considered an update to SC4?  Wow, what misinformation.


------------------

Glad to hear you got a refund at least, and hopefully a third-party provides better support for an EA game than EA themselves.

For the benefit of anyone else purchasing through Origin, in the fairest possible way, I don't think we can accept these answers. It's fair enough when mistakes happen -- that's human nature. It's when there's such ignorance and unwillingness to take responsibility. This only causes anger, unhappy customers, and bad publicity. Quite often, the latter is the only way to inspire change. Sadly, a single voice must be magnified hundredfold for those with authority to even become aware.

 

1 hour ago, RichardCollins said:

I'm glad there is a great community here to support each other.

Absolutely, that's what we're here for. Thanks for being a part of it. :)

Without ST, SC4D, or the wider community, it's hard to imagine the game would still be relevant all these years on.

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I think the real question is who exactly do we contact? EA is tightly sewn up, so that the only point of contact is customer support. That's not going to do here, we need a contact in corporate or some such, because support clearly refuse to acknowledge the issue. Only when it's brought to the attention of the higher ups will anything happen.

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2 hours ago, rsc204 said:

I think the real question is who exactly do we contact? EA is tightly sewn up, so that the only point of contact is customer support. That's not going to do here, we need a contact in corporate or some such, because support clearly refuse to acknowledge the issue. Only when it's brought to the attention of the higher ups will anything happen.

Even then, it seems to be suppressed at a lower level. If they were willing to give me a different game, it means there's more to this situation than just "we don't have access to the patch." If it was reverted, it seems that someone had to decide to do so. In addition, they had made the decision to give people the patched version after a rise in complaints. After a few months, they quietly slid in the unpatched version and are probably repeating the same excuses they offered people before. 

I may not own a business, but I would think that this isn't the way to treat your customers. I sent an email to PCGamer to correct their article. It just seems so petty that a company like EA would be acting like this over a game this old. 

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I've now posted about it over on SimTarkus.  I've also tweeted and referenced Origin's main Twitter account (@OriginInsider):

origintweets-02052017-1.jpg

I'm using #TrustAGamer as a hashtag for this whole thing . . . that line was too good to pass up.

-Tarkus

Update: Getting more reports of this.  I've also spread the word on Reddit.

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After my CD was damaged, I had to buy the game again.  Went through Amazon fo a digital download.  No DRM or patching issues.  Plus. I have the right to download again if anything goes wrong.

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Hi all,

I have had the same problem, had to uninstall and reinstall, can anyone give me a direction to a good download that is up to date.

 

Many Thanks.

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6 hours ago, liamallen86 said:

I have had the same problem, had to uninstall and reinstall, can anyone give me a direction to a good download that is up to date.

Hi there & welcome to the forums.

In terms of support and ease of use, the digital version sold by GOG is the most reputable and recommended. This comes fully updated and DRM-free, avoiding the issues with the disc version on Windows.

Thankfully, GOG's whole motive is being committed to supporting legacy games like SC4. Unlike Origin, which seem to have other priorities these days...

One thing to consider:

The GOG edition was recently on sale, and has now returned to full price again. So to get the best deal, unless you're willing to purchase at the inflated 75% price increase ($20 / £16 / €18), it might be worth waiting until another sale (they do occur fairly regularly).

News is usually promptly posted here in the forums when this does happen.


Otherwise, I believe there are retailers offering a fully patched game at a cheaper price, including Steam. I know Amazon was another, but they seem to now offer an Origin code which clearly isn't of much use. If they do stock the disc version, this is less future-proof (being prone to wear & tear), even if it works on your current system.

If GOG isn't the immediate solution, maybe some others with experience can recommend a few viable alternatives... *;)

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Having just checked over Amazon, with the digital version, there's two options--"Thin Game Download" and "Direct to Account".  "Thin Game Download" says "none" for the DRM, and happens to be $16.77 at the moment, whereas "Direct to Account" is an Origin copy, and full price ($19.99).

EA/Origin's attitude toward SC4 completely baffles me.  They choose to keep the MSRP at $19.99, despite the fact that they are actually in competition with another city-simulator now, and then screw consumers who buy it directly from them with a nerfed version.

-Tarkus

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      You might notice the height parameter is set to 1024 even tho we want 1025. This is because otherwise the program will create a single pixel white row across the top which turns into a wall when rendering in SC4. So, once the grayscale was generated I pulled it up in GIMP and scaled it to 1025 x 1025. Then I added Gaussian Blur of 15.0 both horizontally and vertically to make the rendered map more slope mod friendly. And finally, I set the mode to true grayscale before saving it.
      The pictures above are:
      Lefebvre2 color scheme with contour lines Satellite view from Region Census Traffic view from Region Census My first second third fourth draft of creating my own color table for the program. It's supposed to be similar to the collage of the data view topographical maps I did for the other map, but without me having to do all that tedious copy and precision pasting. Note: It will show more fine detail  because this is before the rendering and does not take into account the merging/averaging that SC4 does when rendering.  The water will also show more detail for elevations. Those (tho averaged in rendering) are still there, but the color ramp for the mini map doesn't have enough divisions to show them. To use: Put the three files in a folder called Mons Lacus Jr under your Region folder of SimCity 4 in your Documents.  Then simply render in game with Shift+Control+Alt+r from that region screen like any other grayscale import.
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