When SimCity launches there may be a couple of problems that will become niggly during online play. The first is that you won't be able to reset your town. The second is that you won't be able to kick players who have abandoned a city from your multiplayer region, leaving an immovable ghost town behind.
The news comes straight from SimCity Hall - a fan forum established specifically to investigate and play multiplayer games in the upcoming release. A few of their forum admins recently had the chance to play around with the finished build of the game and ask the developers questions.
Players won't be able to reset failed cities in multiplayer regions, Maxis told them, because the ability to start new cities ad infinitum would be tantamount to a major exploit. Imagine: a player creates a new city, pockets $50,000 in start-up funds by donating the cash to his own, neighbouring city, and immediately oblierates the town. Then he does it again, and again, ruining that region's economy and any semblence of balance.
While it's clear that Maxis can't allow any such thing to happen, that missing reset button will also be responsible for a potential tooth-grinder of a side effect: if you foul up your town beyond repair, then you'd better get used to seeing that struggling suburb as a permanent fixture of your cityspace.
The same applies to other players in your region. Say one of your neighbours messes up by spending all their start-up cash on parks - neglecting to build housing, industry, or amenities - and their town sinks into a helpless quagmire. And then, inevitably, they stop logging in.
Unfortunately for you, that park-based ghost town will continue to take up one of your 16 regional city spots and can't ever be removed. If you and a few friends are building a burgeoning utopia, you'll have to struggle on without the precious mineral deposits buried beneath abandoned city #4 or, potentially, have to live with one corner of your map shrouded in crime.
The rest of the SimCity Hall thread delves into a few of the more day-to-day features of SimCity, and is worth a read.
Here's everything we know about SimCity. It's due to launch in the US on March 5, with a European release to follow on March 6, and a UK release the day after.