EA turns off SimCity's fastest gameplay mode as it struggles with servers

Update: About three and a half hours after cutting some "non-critical" gameplay features from SimCity in an attempt to get the online-only game back on its feet, Electronic Arts announced it would be turning off one of the more basic functions of the game: cheetah speed.

Since the game's inception in the '80s, players have been able to slow the speed of time passing in the game down, or speed it up to quicken the pace of play. SimCity launched with three speeds: turtle, llama and cheetah.

The latest patch, released shortly before 2 p.m. ET, disabled cheetah speed and made it match the regular (llama) speed, according to an EA community lead posting on the official forums.

* Fix for crash caused most commonly occurring on servers experiencing lag. This crash would happen most often when claiming a new city when playing in a region.
* Fix for server select dialog not appearing on start-up if the server the player was last on is not available.
* Disabled Cheetah speed. Cheetah speed is is now the same as llama speed.
* Crash fix for finding closest points.
* Crash fixes in transport and pedestrian code.
* A fix cities having processing problems associated with helicopters.

Original story: SimCity developer Maxis is applying an update to the game that will disable "non-critical" features including leaderboards and achievements, in an effort to address the continuing server problems, the studio announced today.

"We are in the process of deploying a hotfix to all servers," said a Maxis community manager in a post on the EA Forums. "This includes various improvements and also disables a few non-critical gameplay features (leaderboards, achievements and region filters).

"Disabling these features will in no way affect your core gameplay experience," the community manager added. "Getting you playing is our absolute highest priority."

Maxis has not provided any timetable for restoring the disabled features.

The studio has been continuously working on the SimCity servers since the game's North American launch two days ago. Initial problems included difficulties downloading and accessing the game through Origin as well as issues getting onto the game's servers. Origin representatives said they expected SimCity's international rollout, which began today, to go more smoothly.

But even though Maxis added servers and patched them yesterday to attempt to resolve ongoing issues, Australian SimCity players also had difficulty getting into the game when it launched in that territory today. Senior producer Kip Katsarelis said this morning that Maxis will continue to add servers over the next two days and work around the clock to fix all the problems players are reporting.

"This team has put everything into this game and won't stop until things are smooth," Katsarelis promised.

We've reached out to Electronic Arts and Maxis for comment, and will update this article with any information we receive.

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