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The Sims Online

I was probably one of the last invitees before the beta went open, but I was tickled no end to get that e-mail telling me I could get the discs. I was sick of hitting the official visitor's site and not playing The Sims Online myself! I checked the mailbox every day until they arrived, and loaded it up as soon as the discs hit my desk.

After a couple of false starts, I settled down as Tiff'ny, happily a roommate at Drift Inn, a picturesque, snow-bound little Bed & Breakfast far away from the hustle & bustle of downtown Interhogan. Tiff was also frequently to be found attending classes at Interhogan University, where she became a roommate after one of the server wipes that are a part of beta-testing.

After The Great Wipe of '02, just prior to the release of TSO, we rebuilt Interhogan University, but it was a doomed project. Even though we were one of the top 10 Skill properties on Interhogan pre-release, three of the roommates and the property owner weren't able to buy the retail version of the game, two others moved out to start their own properties, and that left only Tiff & Marnie to take care of Interhogan U. Sadly, it just didn't work out. Unable to change our property catagory to the Services lot we wanted to try, because neither of us was the property owner, we moved to Calvin's Creek to give it a go there while we wait for Maxis to purge all the non-active beta accounts. Once that happens, we'll re-open Interhogan University under a new name as a Services property, where Sims can go for a good meal, rest and some relaxation.

If you're new to playing TSO, I've got some suggestions:

Owning Property
• Don't build a house right off! Even if you make a cracker jack box house with the nappiest items, you can't make a liveable home with your startup capital of §10,000. If you feel the need to have just something to call your own, buy a slice of property. Just don't build anything yet! Build up some more capital first, visit other properties, get a feel for what you might like to make yours into. And if you meet some terrific folks you might like to room with, you get all of the money you spent on your property back. You won't get any money back for any architechtural items, and furniture/objects depreciate at a frightening rate. Don't worry about mooching off others for a place to eat, sleep, shower and play a little pool or watch TV. The property owner and roommates get §imoleons from M.O.M.I. (Municipal Observation & Management Incorporated) based on how long visitors spend on their property. So believe me, they're happy to have you there!

Don't rush into a roommate relationship! Just like in the real world, roommates can make your life hell, or be the best and most wonderful friends you have. Jumping into being a roommate on a property can have some ugly reprecussions if you're not careful. If a property owner tells you s/he'll make you a roommate if you pay her/him, I'd say run screaming in the other direction! And if your property owner or other roommates start hitting you up for cash as soon as you're on the roommate roster, I'd think about high-tailing it out of there. Make sure you know exactly what's expected of you as a roommate before you accept that key from someone. If you do become a roommate somewhere, be respectful towards the amount of time and §imoleons it took to build the place. Don't tear down walls, change the wallpaper or flooring or delete doors, windows or landscaping without discussing it with your propety owner first, at the very least. If your schedules don't often mesh, use the in-game e-mail system. And if the property has a certain theme to its decoration and furnishings, don't just plunk something down anywhere but in your own room, if you have one.

Skills & Money
Study one skill at a time! Try and figure out what you want to do with your Sim, pick one skill and study it until it's maxxed out. Once you have over 10 skill points total, they will start to decay back down to 10. You can lock one skill so that it doesn't decay.

Put your skills to work! With one maxxed out skill, you can go find places with the single-Sim job objects in little factory-like settings and make good money. The higher your skill is in the skill that job object uses, and the more people there are working on the same kind of job object, the more money you make. The single-Sim job objects can be on any property.

Hard-core money is on the Money lots. If you go to a property in the Money catagory, they might have job objects that you work on with other Sims as a cooperative effort. There will be different stations on those group job objects — the key is to put yourself in one of the stations that uses a skill you have, the higher the better. The whole team gets bonuses based on the average skills of the team.

Inter-city money trades. There is a practice of trading §imoleons between characters on different servers. If anyone asks you if you want to make a quick §10,000, that's probably what they're talking about. This isn't a forbidden practice, but if you get scammed or burned in the process, M.O.M.I. won't help you. So be careful, because once you create a Sim, you can't retire (delete it) for a week in real time. I look at it this way: the person who contacted you should give you the money first. After all, it was their idea! Then you agree where to meet on the city/server where they want you to give their main Sim money, create a Sim there, meet up and give them your Sim's starting money. It's nice if you give them a friendship balloon, too, so that they get an extra friendship link for which they don't need to reciprocate. If they have roommates around, use up your other two starting balloons on them. One week after you create that Sim, you can delete it.

What they are: Hunger, Comfort, Hygiene, Bladder, Energy, Fun, Social & Room. When they're low, the bars are red. When the bars are full, they're green. Needing to attend to motives is referred to as needing to 'green up.'

About property catagories.... The catagory of the lot you're on affects your Motives. Money and Skills lots hit your motives hard, making them decay very quickly. Services and Shops places make your motives decay at a medium rate, and Welcome, Games, Entertainment, Offbeat and Romance places are all easy on your motives. Services properties have a motive gain bonus, so you can use places like that to 'green up' fast.

Sims are social butterflies. Your Social motive will decay if you're not actively interacting with another Sim, unless you're on a property where there are six or more Sims (including you).

The fastest way to get Fun up is the Aristoscratch Pool Table. If you play pool with another Sim, you'll get your Fun up a little farther, and you'll also get Social out of it.

You are what you eat. The better the quality of refridgerator you eat food from, the more it fills up your Hunger. A food processor, good stove and the food being made by someone with a high Cooking skill also affect how filling food is. Buffet tables don't fill you up very well. Even if the food is free, it can take 3 or 4 plates to feed your Sim, and that takes quite a bit of time to eat.

To sleep, perchance to dream. The bed that makes you regain Energy & Comfort the fastest is the Moroccan Slumber Single Bed. The Moroccan King double bed has the same Energy & Comfort rating, but it takes you longer to get out of the bed when you're done resting.

Ignoring Idiots
The world is full of mean people. Some of them have made it to SimNation. Fortunately, in SimNation you can fix it so you don't have to interact with them! If someone says things you don't want to see, or repeatedly tries to perform actions on your Sim that you don't like, you can click on their Sim's portrait down in the Control Panel. This brings up their Sim Page, and on the 3rd tab you can check off the box to Ignore This Sim. If only the real world had a twit filter!

For the time being, that's it. If you're ever in SimNation, look up Tiff@Interhogan, or Elanor@Calvin's Creek and say "Hi!"

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