Tonight we dine in HELS

Published 6th March 2010

The announcement of the new stuff was greeted with something of a mixed response across the Simmers world.

Some were enthusiastic at the prospect, such as Roxy over on SiManiacs:

Zeri on the EA Forum:

and especially over on Sims Forums:

But whilst Ahmed, Justin, Somayea, Steven and The Secret Valley were enthusiastic, Cassie was less so:

Over on Sims3Society/I♥Sims, similar pessimism and uncertainly was apparant from Nikki, Chelss and Ellen, with only Kyuku a likely purchaser:

Whilst Poida addressed a concern that perhaps we’d have expected JKTee511/Mummygaga to have picked up on:

For shame EA indeed!

Cassie’s lukewarm response epitomised the major problem – EA giving the market what they wanted to give it, and not what the market wanted to be given. Since the launch of Sims 3, several reoccuring themes kept coming up: the wish for seasons instead of a land of perpetual sunshine being uttermost. Yet it was hard to feel that they were being ignored, that there was an attitude of ‘we know what’s good for you.’

As Suicidespat and Bubby189 elaborated, that would be all very well if times were good. But there’s a recession on, the first casualty of which is always spending on pastimes – forget the stories of benefit spongers never being without the latest video games. Combined with problem after problem caused by patches – and knowing a new Simming disc meant a new ‘update’ to go with it, both factors would be enough to deter some until they’d received some more feedback from a Simmers world not exactly on good terms with EA at that juncture (though it would be even less so about a month later!)

As both Vidkid20 and PollySim’s posts reminded, there is a world beyond EA and the Sims series, and woe betide they ever forget that they’re not the be-all and end-all of the majority of people’s existence.

(We hope PollySim’s doesn’t go asking Reesaroo to build a new house, or her Simmies are likely to pitch out in a tent in Central Park in protest! Go here and here if you’re not yet in on the joke)

Finally the big day came, the pack came out, and ironically even Cassie got it in the end, albeit with a sense of foreboding:

Would curiosity kill the Cass? Over on Black Pearl Sims, the word from Lorry was she need not have worried:

She was even able to help those having problems with the new pack and subsequent update:

Overall Lorry was one rather happy bunny:

Less impressed was Moryrie at Jazz-Hands, although you’ll notice the aquarium coming up again:

Whether she’ll ever pay for a copy of the goodies is of course not for us to pass conjecture on!

MakeItWork wasn’t exactly impressed either:

She was guilty of giving the new pack a modernity it ill-deserved – much of it looking like it had been subjected to Art Deco gangrape. Ironically enough, an in-your-face 50’s pack did come out shortly after in the Store – but with no Teddy Boy quiffs and brothel-creepers to go with it, it all seemed rather half hearted.

Reesaroo mentioned what was initially the one unintentional (or was it?) saving grace that the new pack had in getting the reluctant to buy it – 1000 Sims points c/o another EA cock-up:

But we really knew EA were in trouble when the God Of Love himself Sharkloverplayer/Catloverplayer gave a thumbs down to what was meant to be the crowning glory of the whole stuff pack, the return of the VibromaticLN3000 – their pièce de résistance proving to be une pile de merde :

Either it didn’t work, or it caused the earth to move a little too much!

High End Loft Stuff Pack – An Overview:

So much for the Vox Populi: what’s The Mare’s Nest ‘s take on it?

We’ll avoid commenting on the hair and clothes, what there is that comes with it, as that’s very much down to individual tastes, and none of us could agree on it anyway. One of us thought much of it too Lounge Lizard/New Romantic, another thought they were like something from an old Sci-Fi show. Either way, you’d have to be mad to get a stuff pack on the basic of hair and clothes EA were coy in letting us see beforehand anyway.

However, we did agree with Reesaroo that the new hair is awful, especially the women’s : looks far too much like some bright spark at EA’s marketing department demanded at the last minute  ‘Hey, that Lady Gaga person’s hip with the kids just now, so put in hair that sort of looks like the kind of thing she’d have, erm, or something,’

The only way any of that new hair is going to be hip is if Swing Out Sister make a comeback.

Splish, Splash, I was taking a… dump!

The Pythagoras Corner Bathtub (shouldn’t it be the Pythagorian Corner Bathtub?) is the major addition to the bathroom and one of those items EA were very keen on highlighting, and at §2600 is the most expensive new bathroom item.

Sure it looks nice – and although meant for fitting into corners you aren’t obliged to – but for what’s on offer you’d be better sticking with the base pack Shower Of Power shower/bath combined which gives you more Hygiene (+3) and Stress Relief (+2).

So what that it gives your environment less Environment points (-4)? It’s not as if any of your Simmies are going to be spending the whole evening in it (after all, EA in their finite wisdom won’t allow Simmies to read books as many people taking a bath do!)

They could easily have upped the ante with a Jacuzzi option, but no – too much like hard work, eh?

The only real advantage to the Pythagoras is for people building homes concerned with aesthetics only. Having four of them together in a self built Sports Centre would be pretty neat too, but otherwise it’s a waste of money.

Same goes for the LaShawn Rain Shower. At §2000, you’re better off with the Shower Of Power and saving yourself §600. Even if space is a consideration, there’s always the base game X-Foliator – only §925 and giving you one more Hygiene point than the LaShawn.

The Flushmaster is the only real plus here, giving you everything the base set Porcelain Throne does at §550 cheaper.

Lounging Around

There’s two new chairs – straight out of the 1960’s belief of how things would look in the 21st Century’ from those enthralled to the 1930s Cubist School of interior design – with hideous price tags to go with their hideous design.

Yet again, you can get cheaper for the same level of comfort and Enviroment bonus – and far nicer looking, not merely from the base pack but from umpteen mesh creators around the Simmers World – and they’re free to download.

There’s two equally hideous sofas to go with the hideous chairs, one of which does give you an extra Environment point at the cost of three squares of space. If you need a three seater – fine – but ask yourself is it worth it when it gives no more comfort than the Sofa Souffle or the Domedary and you can easily make up the Environment differential with a few pictures or gems/metals, etc anyway.

One thing that is worth purchasing is the new glass coffee table over the base pack one. For the sake of §150 more, you get an extra Environment point – fair enough.

More debatable is the box-end table. There’s already an equivalent coming with World Adventures giving you the same for less. But for the sake of §20’s difference, you pay your money and take your choice.

There’s a dresser that goes with it, and two sets of book shelves. Again, in comparison to ones from World Adventures and indeed the base pack, it’s all down to choice for what you’re getting in return.

There are two new TVs – but again you can get direct equivalents from those that came with the base pack for cheaper. Would it really have taken EA all that long to code these two so that they were proffering either additional or different benefits to the existing models – say Painting and Handiness – to make their presence worthwhile?

The same applies to the new PC. Are you really wanting to shell out extra for the sake of aesthetic over no extra functionality?

They have come up with a winner though with the GUGA Joy Toy video game console, only §250 more than the base pack Maxoid Game Simulator for the sake of an extra Fun point.

There’s a new sound system available – suspiciously similar looking to a number of meshes we’ve seen out there for free download (to be fair they themselves looked like the two existing base game Hi-Fi’s merged together!) – but again unless you are wanting them for some sort of Community facility like a Sports Centre, Coffee Shop, Juice Bar, etc. then you can get the same benefits from far cheaper purchases.

The same goes for the new exercise machine. Shell out more for the same functionality? Why bother?

The worst example of more money for nothing extra is the new firepit – costing more than double the existing base game one.

In far too many cases, if you want various objects that merely look different, there are meshes out there for free that will do this and will cost your Simmies no extra to buy in the game – snoop around the likes of Builders Boulevard and Black Pearl Sims, etc for this sort of stuff (though don’t blame us if as in real life you go out for a new firepit and come back with a new fitted kitchen and dining room suite instead!)

Let’s Go To Bed

It’s the bedroom where the biggest wastes of money are to be found (just like real life!). The Monodreamer is the one addition to the single beds, and for §100 saving on the top of the range Sophisticate coming with the base pack, you get one less Energy and two less Enviroment points. You’re better spending the extra.

Words fail to express adequately how much we loathe this heap of $hite – something from the early days of Simming that ought to have remained there. Mind-bogglingly tacky, it’s at best something you’d sell with Barbie, at worst something sold to pot-bellied Lotharios on the ‘swingers’ circuit in those parts of rural Britain where there’s nothing else to do except drinking and dogging.

For §4000 you get a bed giving the same Energy points as an entry level §30 effort. Your Simmies are going to spend a third of their lives here, that’s a lot of money for precious little return. For the sake of §500 and 2 Environment points less, you can buy the base pack Sleep Slave that gives you 6 more Energy points.

The reason for buying this bed is that it vibrates. As Sharkloverplayer points out, that part is pretty glitched anyway. What they leave you to find out for yourselves the hard way is – according to some sources anyway – that it’s a death-trap, causing the bed to occasionally catch fire.

It could be a Simmie ‘urban legend’ kicked off by those who disapprove of such things in the Sims series in the first place (and boy has Sims3 upset the Moral Minority at times!) – certainly we’ve yet to see any screenshots backing up the claims – so it’s up to you if you want to risk your Simmies being potentially ‘killed in action’, but if you really must have this for making whoopee in, put it in a spare room, but have your Simmies sleeping in a better bed than this one.

If you are wanting to spend this sort of money on a bed, then a better bet is the DuoDreamer in this stuff pack for an extra §500, giving you the max on energy plus the same Environment points as the Vibromatic. But are only two extra Enviroment points worth that extra §1000 over the Sleep Slave?

Two Guitars Clash

Hooray! At last, we have one extra instrument. Not a massive improvement – the sound isn’t that much different (although to be fair judging by the type it’s meant to be mimicing that’s fair enough – it’s not as if you can get fuzzboxes and effects pedals as well yet!), but it’s at least a start to any budding town troubadours – and a big help to all those music machinima makers as well.

But the most frustrating piece they’ve included in HELS is a mounted Tom Audio electric guitar. Would it really have been too much trouble for them to have made this guitar available to play as well, considering they were already putting one electric guitar in this stuff pack?

Fishheads, Fishheads, Roly Poly Fishheads

The one thing that is without any doubt worth buying is the aquarium.

With a massive hit on Fun and Environment for a measly §500, no more fiddly bowls to deal with (remember though each tank only takes six fish, regardless of their size).

Play clever and have separate tanks for separate species (which is a good idea, as there’s every danger that some fish will eat the others!): for here’s the trick – the fish will breed, giving you extra for your fridge and garden (as fertiliser) without you having to spend hours fishing, only a few minutes feeding once a day.

However, if you’re wanting to use this if you are going for the ‘Perfect Aquarium’ lifetime wish, you’ll need two of these and still have to use a sodding fishbowl for the odd one out – real smart EA!

Is It Worth Buying?

Debatable.

You wonder whether these were items originally intended as part of packs available at the Store they simply cobbled together with one or two goodies held back from what was intended for the base pack or World Adventures (particularly the aquarium and electric guitar – favourites from previous Sims incarnations – and which probably tipped the balance with many buyers that have been faithful to the series over the last ten years).

If you really need to have an electric guitar and the aquarium, then a definite ‘yes’. True, there’s also a better value-for-money top-range toilet, glass coffee table, game console; quite a number of bits and pieces that at least expand your choice over the range of existing items on offer; but equally there’s a lot of lazy duvet stuffers that for the sake of half-an-hour’s tweaking could have been worthwhile, rather than inferior to what Simmers can get for free from fan meshes anyway.

Sure it’s only a tenner – but there is a recession on. If you’ve not got World Adventures, we’d definitely say hold fire and save for that first instead of the Stuff Pack, as there’s more fun stuff from that on top of expanding your Simmies options.

Let’s hope the Ambitions pack proves better value for money than this Curate’s Egg.