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The Sims 3 Private Investigator in Ambitions

Traits, Types of Cases, and Helpful Information

By Branr and Carl Ratcliff

The Sims 3 Ambitions Private Investigator Career Guide - Introductory shot - a mid-level Investigator uniform and the frosted door

In this Career Guide, we'll Learn about The Sims 3's Investigator Profession brought with the Ambitions expansion pack. Private Investigator is a mixed bag, offering a few different ways to make money. There are a lot of different things to do in this job, and there's a lot of humor thrown in for good measure. If you're a power gamer and want a lot of money out of your Sim's employment, Investigator isn't for you. Note that there are no career opportunities for investigators per se, because cases take up that slot. However, cases do pop up from time to time.

Special thanks to Branr from our Sims 3 Forum for helping create this.

Skills and Traits for Private Investigators
Perceptive is the main trait for Investigator and enables the Pervasive Private Eye LTW to solve 35 cases, providing 30,000 LTR Points. The wish is bugged as solving 35 cases will likely take longer than a Sim lifetime in a standard game. I suggest you pursue another wish. Enjoy Private Eye for what it is, and don't worry about the excessive requirements of the LTW.

Other traits to consider are Genius, because the Logic skill will rise faster, Computer Whiz to have more fun on the computer, and be better at hacking. They can also play chess to raise Logic. Relationship-type traits, such as Charismatic and Friendly can also come in handy, although cases don't require nearly as much social skill as the adventures in World Adventures. Lastly, The Athletic (sheer strength) or Disciplined (Martial Arts) traits can be helpful if you want to beat up Sims for information, rather than having to talk it out or bribe them.

Getting a Job as a P.I.
Starting the Investigator career is as simple as heading to the police station and clicking Join Investigator Profession. The starting weekly stipend is $275, paid Sundays at noon. You'll get a uniform and the ability to seek out cases.

The Sims 3 Investigator Job Levels
Job TitleStipendUnlock
Eavesdropper$275Caper Crusader Outfit
Small Claims Investigator$340Magnifying Glass (Snoop for Clues)
Wrongdoing Analyzer$400Professional's Frosted Door (just a special door)
Community Crime Solver$525Fingerprint Kit (Dust for Fingerprints)
Obscure Clue Summoner$650Flatfooted Investigation Specialist Outfit
Gumshoe$850Investigator's Case Board (office decoration)
Licensed Snoop$1125Sneak Ability (click ground)
Community Sleuth$1475Yomoshoto Evasion ($9500 car!)
Flatfooted Investigation Specialist$1850none
Private Eye$2475Private Eye Outfit

As you can see, there are a lot of unlocks for the Investigator career, more than any other in Ambitions. A couple are only cosmetic however, and the sneaking is just for fun. However, the Yomoshoto Evasion is an awesome reward!

You get the following honor awards for completing various objectives as an Investigator:

  • Investigator's Trophy of Honor: Solve 3 Cases
  • Investigator's Trophy of Heroism: Solve 3 Missing Sim Cases
  • Eagle-Eyed Eavesdropper Medallion: Solve the Great Jewel Heist Case
  • Medal of the Mindful: Solve the Rogue Cop Case
  • Investigator's Ribbon of Bravery: Solve the Fish Kid Case
  • Investigator's Key to the Town: Reach Level 10
  • Investigator's Keepsake: Solve 5 Cases as a Private Eye (Level 10)

Investigator Performance Metrics
Getting promoted as an Investigator is as simple as doing cases, conducting stakeouts and writing reports, doing low level police work, and raising the logic skill. Most of this will happen naturally. There's a minor disappointment in store for you as far as gaining new job levels: the reward for solving cases is stuck at $650, even with the Profession Simoleon Booster Reward. However, the Opportunistic LTR will double that amount, helping out quite a lot. Logic will raise the bar really quickly when you're around level 3 or 4 in the career, which can be useful for unlocking the various rewards and uniforms.

Conducting Stakeouts and Writing Reports
Stakeouts are a big part of the Investigator Career. While they are used in solving cases, they can also be done independent of them. Head to a community lot, select the ground, and pick conduct stakeout. Stakeouts take about an hour and a half. I discovered that Sims will show up for your Sim to spy on them even at late hours. This will almost always result in being able to write a police report. These can be written on a computer under the Investigator menu, and will give you $250. Writing them is quick, and both the stakeout and report being written will raise your job experience. It's possible to build up reports by conducting multiple stakeouts, then go home and write them all at once.

The Sims 3 Ambitions Private Investigator Career Guide - Get your Private Eye a Laptop. You can also see the Case Board in the background.

Buy a Laptop!
A laptop can be helpful for an investigator Sim. They can stop at places like the cafe and park to find a case, complete steps in cases, or even hack. Getting it upgraded to unbreakable is highly recommended.

Low Level Police Work
If you click the police station, your Investigator can do low level police work. Early on, this can be a good way to get job experience. However, it's not very profitable. Most settings will only earn you about $30 per hour. The best setting is Crank out Paperwork but it is a highly stressful thing and should only be done with maximum fun. Earnings from Crank out Paperwork only go to about $200 per hour and can only be done for four or five hours, even with the workaholic trait.

Hack Information Database
An action that can be taken on a computer, this works just like regular hacking except can be done at any hour of day. It doesn't provide career experience, but it's a nice way to grab some quick money. Its profits are tied to your logic skill. Hacking isn't something your Sim will get much better at, and the most you can earn with max logic is about $4-500 per hour.

Solving Cases
Solving Cases is the primary way to gain experience and earn money as an Investigator. You'll earn $650 per case, or $1300 with the Opportunistic Lifetime Reward, which should be grabbed early on as it also doubles experience. You'll occasionally get objects and moodlets for solving a case. Cases are much like adventures in World Adventures, and often don't require much interaction on your part. You can sometimes solve an entire case by using the map and clicking the investigator action buttons alone. Other cases are more complex, and involve a variety of activities. As you unlock items like the fingerprint dusting kit, and magnifying glass, new case types will be available.

Get Information from a Sim
Sometimes you'll need to question a Sim. You have multiple options for getting the info. You can buddy up to the Sim, which is helpful if you want to take a charismatic route, beat them up for information, good if your Investigator has spent time in Athletic and/or Martial Arts, or you can bribe them. Small bribes are helpful if the Sim is barely known, and may tip them toward paying you. Big bribes can handle it in one swoop, at $100 Simoleons. That means you lose out on some of the profit from the case, but with Opportunistic you'd still pocket a cool $1200.

Interview Sims
Sometimes you'll need to speak to three or so Sims about an issue. This doesn't require much friendship but it may be helpful to build a core base of friends to always succeed and make these types of cases go faster.

Dust for Fingerprints and Look for Clues
With the fingerprint kit and magnifying glass, sometimes you'll need to go to a lot and dust or look for clues. Both of these are pretty simple. Fingerprints may need to come off of multiple objects, while clues will have your Sim snooping about until they stumble upon something. These are generally the middle steps in a case.

The Sims 3 Ambitions Private Investigator Career Guide

Inspect Mail and Search Through Garbage
Your Sim will rummage through a target Sim's mail or garbage while on a case. Searching through garbage can turn up items much like the rummage command. Sometimes you will get something that will let you blackmail a Sim at that residence, and get money out of them. Know that they don't like that, of course, and will get angry with your Sim. If you have trouble completing the objective, it may be necessary to cheat to enable you to build on the lot to move the trash can or mailbox.

Breaking In
When you need access to a house for a case, sometimes you can break in. This will enable you to get access to the item you need to, say, dust for fingerprints. While there, you can Collect Items for "Evidence" by clicking an area of floor in the house. The Investigator will swipe something nearby, much like Sims with the kleptomaniac trait. This has a similar limitation of three items, so you can't completely clean someone out. That is, unless you keep a case open and keep returning every day. Be careful when doing this: don't steal an object you need to dust for fingerprints!

The Best Lifetime Reward for Investigators
P.I.'s need the Opportunistic reward most. It doubles experience and profit from solving cases, which count as career opportunities. Eye candy, never dull, attractive, and observant are all helpful for befriending Sims, helpful when you need to do interviews. The Profession Simoleon Booster reward doesn't do anything for a Private Eye but boost the stipend by 20%. Otherwise, opportunistic is all you need.

Closing Thoughts on Profit and Entertainment
Investigator is fun, but it would have been nice were the case rewards not fixed. It gives little incentive to push the Sim for excellence once they reach level 10. However, with hacking, stealing, police work, and stakeouts, there's a lot to do in this career. It's also worth a laugh the first time through as you read the hilarious and ridiculously paranoid descriptions for the cases.

As a money-maker, Investigator isn't that great. As you rise in the ranks, cases get more complex and you'll need to do more and more work for that $1300 check (you will take opportunistic!). To a point, hacking might be the best option with the ability to regularly earn $400 per hour on average. This pales in comparison to other mediums for profit, but we're not always in this for the cash. Take investigator for what it is, a fun career that offers a new style of gameplay in town.

The Sims 3 Ambitions Private Investigator Career Guide
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Comments (19)

Igor140 says...
i've put a lot of time into a lot of PI characters, and i've got some notes.

first off, in my simming experience, this is the second buggiest career/ job in the game... next to lifeguard (i have never gotten a single assignment across 4 lifeguard playthroughs).

so, a few things: stakeouts are EXTREMELY buggy... except in sunset valley. i have done a couple dozen stakeouts there, and only had one fail.

other neighborhoods are MUCH less successful. isla paradiso, for example, has a 0% chance of a successful stakeout. that's not a type: ZERO PERCENT. i have attempted close to 100 (37 that i have counted, and an estimated 50 before that), and exactly none of them ever worked. so any opportunity with a stakeout will most likely have to be forfeited. fortunately, there are enough opportunities that you can master the career without them.
7th July 2014 9:29pm
Igor140 says...
"study at the library" is (as admin noted) a university related opportunity and should be canceled.

likewise, "aid police with your psychic abilities" seems to be a fortune teller opportunity, and i've never gotten that to work as a PI either. i've never received it as a FT, but i haven't put much time into that career, so maybe it does show up where it should. regardless, if it shows up for your PI, cancel it.
7th July 2014 9:34pm
Igor140 says...
finally, the awards system seems to be a bit buggy and/ or inconsistent. on my current playthrough, i did NOT receive key to the city once i hit career rank 10; i received it 3 or 4 cases later.

likewise, i did not receive "eagle eyed eavesdropper" from the great jewel heist; i got it from the routine lost ring opportunity. i had already completed the great jewel heist, and this was the second or third time i had completed the lost ring one.

also, i'm not sure how to proc the trophy of heroism, but i have found FAR more than 3 lost sims. i've been doing approximately two cases a day for four weeks, which so that's over 50 cases. i'm thinking at least 6 of those were lost sims cases... and i still don't have the trophy for that. ideas?
7th July 2014 9:40pm
Iariley says...
I hate this profession
27th January 2014 12:28pm
Silver says...
My Sims get the 'Missing Golden Llama' but no matter how many days they help out it never gets completed. Is this a bug or is there a secret to solving it?
15th December 2013 2:23am
Mr Flavell says...
I've got the same problem - my Sim went to the Police Station, helped out, and then ... nothing. The opportunity is still 'live' but I can't finish it.

I am wondering if it is a wrongly assigned opportunity - the wording off it makes it look like it is designed for Fortune Tellers.
21st January 2014 5:05am
Wiz says...
PI career is mediocre money maker, but it has a lot fun. It's LTW takes longer to complete, though, but at earlier level you can solve 1-2 cases a day, while at later level the case takes longer to solve, 1/2 to 1 case a day. Its reward objects also good. I collected 2 Festus 44, 2 Mysterious Mr. Gnome, 2 good books, and lots of scraps.
10th September 2013 10:31am
dyell says...
after i conduct a stake out i have the wish to write a report but i never see the option when i get on the computer

Do i need to have a laptop,higher writing level before i can write reports?
I've always noticed it on the computer under the investigator options.
23rd June 2013 8:33am
Liana says...
No clue if it is a bug or something
but I got a case which is called BAD CALL
after talking to the client you need to go to the stadium and ask three people about the refereee before you get the option of conduct stake out at the park,

I've done this for I don't know how many times and the sim keeps on saying

I don't see anything, maybe I need to try again

help pls :)
8th September 2013 4:15pm
BBehr says...
My sim is supposed to study at the library, however, I've done it several times and it doesn't complete the objective. Anybody have this same issue?
2nd June 2013 12:28am
Emma says...
I'm having the same problem :(
That is actually a University opportunity that is incorrectly being associated with the Private Eye career.  Just cancel it and move on to a new one.
7th June 2013 9:20am
Babydoll says...
I have the Pervasive Private Eye Lifetime Goal and it's not that difficult to achieve at all! My sim solves about 1/2 cases per day, and still has time to socialise in the evenings, she's still a young adult, about to get engaged, and already solved 18 cases, I'm past halfway already, and she's only been at it like 11 days.

Except my current case has a bug, I had to eat at the Bistro, but there was no yellow/orange option to do so, I ate there anyway, nothing's happened, so I think I'm gonna cancel the case.

6th May 2013 5:12pm
Kay says...
What kind of degree from sims university should my sim get if i want him to be a P.I.?
6th April 2013 6:29pm
kiana says...
7th July 2013 8:16pm
Igor140 says...
the technology degree will not help your starting salary or rank with PI; however, levels in PI will help your starting credit hours in the technology degree. so if you're looking to synergize these, master the PI career first, and that should (with the logic skills you acquire) guarantee you starting the technology degree with 18 hours (the max) already under your belt.
7th July 2014 9:31pm
Becky says...
It wont let me investigate i tryed to investigate matty's mail and when i clicked the option the action in the top left corner dissapppeared before i even moved HELP i really like this job
12th February 2014 7:14pm
CL says...
I found the teleporter helps a hell of a lot allowing you to get from one place to another in an instant :D
29th May 2014 9:44am
CahosRahneVeloza says...
Pervasive Private Eye is not broken/bugged, that is if you get the "Age Freeze" potion to stop your SIM from aging so you'll have infinite time to achieve it :)
26th November 2012 1:13pm
AllieKat says...
I've calculated, and my sim could definitley complete 35 cases in her lifetime. It would just take a while...
6th August 2013 12:27pm
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