I’m proud of this one, I think it turned out great eh? But there is more to learn about charge and I need to get this into various guides. Here’s why:
I learned some interesting things while doing this. For one, being in a charged state while drinking a potion is a good thing. It makes it less likely you’ll fail, as does the My Power Grows moodlet that Sims get every time they rank up as a Spellcaster past the final rank. However, being Overcharged (or, worse, Dangerously Overcharged) will make your Sim more likely to get a bad effect from a potion.
The My Power Grows is something you’ll get repeatedly while playing a Spellcaster. Every. Single. Time. you gain a rank once you’re Overmax, this buff appears. It has a ONE DAY duration, so it’s incredibly powerful given it increases spell success, potion success, death by overcharge, and gives a +2 Happy moodlet. A huge boost that those high level casters don’t really need, but at least it is one instance of this pack making you work for it a little.
I have plans for a potion guide soon, but it’s a bit more complicated. Potions have their own effects, but they can also fail. What about quality? So I need to make a table that shows all that information along with ingredients for players to have a nice quick reference on everything.
One final thing. I learned that different curses come from different activities. Look for a curses guide in the next 48h, where I’ll share exactly how you get them and perhaps help you get a specific one (or what activites to avoid if you hate a particular curse).
All in all, I’ve enjoyed Realm of Magic coverage. If you have not seen my review, check in the site news. There is both a text and video format. They aren’t the same, but make the same points. i’d say the video is a bit more refined than the text because it was done after a bit more thought and tries to be respectful of Realm of Magic’s strengths.
I was initially very excited to get my hands on Realm of Magic, and definitely liked the amount of effort they put into ensuring there is a nice catalog of spells and potion recipes. I am grateful for the opportunity to play with it over the weekend thanks to the EA Game Changers program.
The new world is definitely pretty and unique. It always appears to be a bit dark but it presents a nice contrast to all the spell particles you’ll encounter there. It’s pretty small though. There’s a lot of pointless, unused space and it feels like everything could’ve fit into the one large lot at the center. There are portals to help you get around, but once you’ve got a broom (or the Teleport spell) you’ll completely ignore them.
Digging into spells was my priority #1. I was at first really enjoying myself. It felt meaningful to get the first few spells, but that feeling would quickly change as I came to realize how ridiculously easy everything is. Sims has never been hard, per se, but I found that you can simply stand about practicing, talk to the Sages in the Magic Realm, and swiftly collect every single spell in probably a couple days’ time max. We’re talking Sim days here. The only barrier is the level of your caster.
I discovered there is actually very little to do in the Magic Realm, and not a lot going on there. Random Sims like the Goths show up and reveal they, too, are spellcasters. Evidently everyone is one. The same animations repeat endlessly with there being no purpose to the duels. It’s all eye candy with no substance. Yet, it’s not really eye candy at this point because Sims 4 is not designed to take advantage of modern hardware at this point.
At one point I gathered all 3 Sages around my Sim, talked to them and asked for potion and spell recipes repeatedly and knocked off about 10 of the 39 items in just a couple Sim hours. This is the moment that my usual regret for how simple things have become crept up on me and changed my opinion. Fundamental problems with the way the system is designed and feeds you spells rapidly are not likely to be fixed. Even if it is, it’s spoiled the adventure of building up my spellcaster for the first time.
Games give players rewards and players enjoy unlocking new abilities and growing in power. This is the appeal of a Spellcaster system in Sims 4. We already know it’s going to be OP as hell, and we’re not wrong to assume that. It’s quite fine. You should be smoking normies as a Spellcaster. It’s to be expected, right? The problem is I got so stuffed full of spells at such a rapid pace I stopped counting and appreciating those rewards. Everything was handed to me on a silver platter and I maxed out really fast.
If you just want to play the same old Sims with a super-powerful witch wizard spellcaster whatever, you got it. Just don’t expect new types of effects. There are a couple but nearly everything that came with Spellcasting is from some other ability in the game, like resurrecting ghosts or scientists’ freeze ray ability. It’s almost like a greatest hits of special abilities including cloning. Potions include a lot of let-downs for me. I don’t like emotional boosts and I feel there isn’t any reason to make a Sim sad or to have two Sims fight, because there is very little going on with friendships/rivalries in the game. It’s only to satisfy my own cruelty as a player.
The balance here is completely non-existent and in fact destroys much of the game’s loop in caring for your Sims due to what seems to be an oversight. For instance there is a potion that replenishes needs to full. Now, ingredients should gate potions to help balance things out right – you can make a few of these, and take advantage of them at times… but the problem is , the required ingredient for that potion is.. an apple. One. Apples are common and extremely accessible. If you find one apple, successfully brew a potion with it, you not only get the potion.. you get four of them. Four full days of need refills from a single apple. I don’t know how well you play the game, but I am of the opinion you will most certainly pick up another apple within those 4 days.
It was expected to make the game easier to be a Spellcaster. I just didn’t really want it to be this easy. Every other potion but the needs one takes some other form of ingredient that might be harder to come up with. Like, a specific type of element or crystal. RNG will keep you in line on those, but when you can never sleep, never poo, and have no need to eat, it almost doesn’t matter. Once you have acquired a duplication spell those remaining few gates are removed because you’ll have infinite… nearly everything.
RoM turns The Sims 4 into your personal playground. You can bully Sims however you want, just not kill them. No one in your family ever need suffer. RoM is probably worth the $20 when compared to other packs, I just hoped for more unique effects and a pacing that made each new spell unlock feel meaningful. The ability to live in the Magic Realm, or more to do there, would have helped.
Even though Spellcasting isn’t a skill, I’d wager it takes about the same time to max out. This is a trend that has been going on a while now – a more recent example is the decision to offer the player a Mermadic Kelp for 500 satisfaction in the rewards store. No reason to look for it, when it’s available right there. Grafting was destroyed in Summer 2018. You can still do it, but you can buy rare seed packets for $1,000 Simoleons or, as with RoM, get a death flower from one of the shops.
There are only 3 spells that have any kind of requirement to attain, and they’re all exactly the same. Hit the max rank, have a little friendship established with the Sages, and ask them for the final spell. Done. Now just grind each of the practice magic abilities you have by clicking your Sim, and you’ll pick up the remaining spells in those schools. Just as easy as asking for the power to be a Spellcaster in the first place. Even minor hurdles and complexity to this system would’ve been more entertaining than just giving it to you.
Realm of Magic is the ultimate power injection for players of the Sims ,and it’s power that is handed to you rapidly, from the first needs potion you’ll learn all the way to the ability to bring back the dead. Because there is so little to do in the Magic Realm, you will quickly return to the same game, just with no need to do any of the micromanagement and routine stuff that makes Sims.. the Sims. It’s a power fantasy and you are likely to get some kicks out of it, but you will feel no sense of accomplishment along the way.
Maxis held a Realm of Magic Deep Dive livestream today, and I’ve summarized it. This kicks off my major coverage of Realm of Magic. I went video first because it’s the least time consuming and I’ll need a lot of my own pictures and don’t want to replace tons of them.
A summary of the Maxis Realm of Magic Deep Dive, held just before the release of The Sims 4’s latest game pack. Includes extensive info on spellcasters, curses, familiars, learning magic, alchemy… and on and on.
Tomorrow night I’ll begin with coverage of Spellcasters. We learned a good bit about their Magic Charge system, spells, curses and alchemy among other things.
The magic charge system is not a typical mana pool, but rather a meter reflecting how much energy your Sim has accumulated from harnessing magic. Build up too much of this energy, and you put your Sim’s life at risk.
However being overcharged can be beneficial. When a Sim is in overcharge mode, their spells may have a more potent effect but also have a higher failure rate. This sort of reflects their need to control the magical energy they’re attempting to use.
When a Sim’s Charge Meter is at full and you cast another spell, there’s a chance your Sim will explode in energy. However, familiars can be there for you. One of their purposes is the ability to absorb a killing blow. They can only do this every so often, however, and taking another while they are on cooldown is likely to be fatal. A minor criticism (or questions) I have about this system is: exactly when is this going to be useful? Are other magic users going to be attempting to kill me? Or is it only to protect me from my own excesses, using magic to tidy up and conjure up a roast turkey.
Sims can learn spells in several ways. You can win them in duels, forcing your opponent to teach you something. You can also scour the library of the magic realm’s main building, dubbed “Magic HQ” by Maxis where you might find a dusty tome with a spell you don’t know. You can buy them at a store or just ask nicely of one of the sages. They’re more likely to accept if you’re on friendly terms.
Having one of your spells backfire, you can pick up a curse. This is mildly reminiscent of the Fame Quirks system of Get Famous, only not so based on actions. Curses stick with your Sim permanently if you do nothing, but there are at least two ways to cure them that we know of – craft a potion or use a spell that specifically removes curses.
There are 15 total potion recipes to learn, and vendors in town will happily sell you ingredients – even rare ones – like death flower. Potions don’t seem to take a lot of ingredients but it does limit the player’s capacity to craft them. Using a cauldron, up to four Sims can work together to create a potion faster. However if something goes wrong they may all take a hit – in the livestream, both Sims got knocked out when something went wrong.
More to Come
I have lots more to share and will work on pages for the various systems over the weekend. While info will be sparse (and based almost entirely on the livestream) I will fill it out with full spell lists and info on familiars, potions and playing a spellcaster in general starting on Monday.
Hey everyone – late night here, but I just got a video to the stair customization tool published. I believe I have a few useful bits of advice on taking advantage of the new gizmos. Here’s the video guide. I’ll make a new addition to the building guide based on the info I’ve collected, but for now need to get ready for the Realm of Magic livestream that takes place later today.
Today was the September 2019 Maxis Monthly, in celebration of the fifth anniversary of The Sims 4. Players on PC/Mac will receive the following on September 5, while console players will be getting it in a few weeks, most likely. A video version of the guide is Available here: Maxis Monthly September 2019 Livestream Summary
We started with build/buy assets – a new gnome drink holder table, frosted glass end-tables and lounge chairs for base game players. These were currently only available to players who owned Island Living.
These new planters are very nice, and snap together so you can make walls of them to decorate the outside (or inside) of your home.
Lighted fencing posts add a little glow to night-time on the deck, and angled lights can be used to illuminate parts of the house.
Items like this picnic table and new chairs have Sims-y patterns but do include regular, everyday looks so that you don’t grow sick of the plumbob patterns.
Sims can finally dress their Sims in traditional Muslim garb, with hijab for women and men getting kufi. The hijab is not connected to the outfit this Sim is wearing, but will rather go with any outfit. We assume it’s kind of a ‘hat’.
Next up was a new staircase tool. This is going to let you use the dongles to drag stairs into segmented blocks with turns and T-intersections however you see fit. You can go absolutely crazy with this thing, and it showed when SimGuruGraham later pulled up a house that had incorporated it extensively. Sims apparently pathfind on these just fine.
Finally, Arab inspired architecture was shown – new open archways, double doors and middle-eastern themed windows all feature heavily on this house that also has that plaster wall look. Someone tell me exactly what you’d call this if you feel so inclined.
The Sims 4 Realm of Magic comes September 10 for PC/Mac and releases October 15 for Xbox One and Playstation 4. See my Video Guide to Features in Realm of Magic. We've compiled information on upcoming features from developer tweets and used the trailer to try to share everything we know.
The Sims 4 Moschino Stuff Pack is available by 12:30-1PM EST for PC/Mac and September 3 for Xbox One and Playstation 4. Click to learn about the new pack, freelance photography and the new clothing. You can also see my announcement video and the game's trailer within that upload.
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