SimCity is a good game hobbled by its insistence on putting as many obstacles as it can between it and you. You can point to the ridiculous online connection problems that have bogged down the game's launch as the most obvious examples of this, but they aren't the only ones. From its online infrastructure to the simulation that powers each city, SimCity has numerous flaws that can turn a few hours of delight into a few hours of seething frustration. Many, or even most, of these flaws can be fixed, but it's the here and now that's important--and in the here and now, SimCity is a fun, engaging, and broken game.
Just how broken the always-online SimCity is depends on when you're playing, what server you choose, and the sheer luck of the draw. Did it need to be this way? Probably not: the game offers the option to have a fully single-player experience in a closed region of your own creation. Alas, you must sign into SimCity (the service)--as well as Electronic Arts' Origin service--in order to play SimCity (the game). Since the game's release, connecting has been a crapshoot. You may not be able to log in at all, or the server might be full. In that case, you don't enter a standard queue as you might in a massively multiplayer online game (though to be clear, SimCity is not an MMOG). Instead, you initiate a 20-minute countdown. Should the server be full when the countdown is finished, the countdown and the wait begin again.
So what is the benefit to the always-online aspect of SimCity? It's in the regional structure: you share an entire region with other players or, if you prefer, with other cities you yourself manage. This means up to 16 people are performing their mayoral duties in one geographical expanse, though you work with only a single city at a time. SimCity is a shared experience, though not just from a social perspective, but also from a mechanical perspective. No city is meant to be all things at once, as the relatively minor plot of land you get to work with indicates from the get-go. You can focus on tourism by placing--er, plopping, as the game calls it--landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and reaping the financial benefits. But in doing so, you may not have room to plop structures that allow you to mine ore, or export resources. You must choose: your city is not going to be a sprawling, self-contained urban center no matter how clever you think you can be.
Rest at source.