I Wish There Was a Wish Management Guide. Now There Is.
by Tom "Metro" Schlueter
Wishes in Sims 3 are a defining hallmark of the game - something that truly sets Sims 3 apart from all previous incarnations of the franchise. I distinctly remember when I first fired up the game and the typical "Join the X career" and "Learn the Y skill" wishes triggered right away. I thought..."What brilliant game design." It gave my Sim immediate direction and purpose. In Role-Playing Games, the concept is similar in that your ultimate goal is typically defeating a very nasty villain/monster, but in order to do that, you need to take baby steps along the way and complete many Quests.
Like other key concepts in Sims 3 - parenting, maximizing money making, understanding mood, the many Moodlets and their relationship to other game mechanics, and career success - wishes require a little bit of practice and knowledge. That's the goal of this article - to give you more information on wishes so you can become a better, more efficient player.
Lots of things can trigger a wish - being in a certain career/profession triggers certain types of wishes; having certain traits will trigger different types of wishes; relationship levels with other Sims will fire specific wishes; engaging in specific skills will trigger unique wishes too. In short, pretty much everything in the game that your Sims does can trigger some type of wish!
Wish fulfillment is really the meat and potatoes of the entire core game mechanic. You choose a Lifetime Wish in Create a Sim and many of the smaller wishes thrown at you on a regular basis are geared towards moving you closer to achieving that LTW. Fulfilling lots of wishes in Sims 3 just has a snowball effect - wish fulfillment is the main source of all those sweet happiness points which allows you to turn right around and spend them on things that will make your Sim even more effective.
So, you're now saying, "Enough chit chat, Metro...give me something to hang my coat on." Okay, let's create Walter Wishmaster...
I just gave Walter some generic traits, suitable for a career in Politics: Charismatic, Friendly, Natural Cook, Schmoozer, and Ambitious, so his Lifetime Wish is Leader of the Free World. All of Walter's wishes trigger in the top centered blank box (blank because I have not unpaused the game at this point). I call that box the 4-hour revolving door because you only have 4 hours to left click a wish and move it to one of the permanent 4 boxes below before it vanishes. So, it's a constant challenge of deciding what you want to keep and what you can ignore (or simply delete with a right-click). As soon as I unpause the game and get Walter's butt in gear the wishes will begin firing.
I've moved some wishes that I want Walter to fulfill to the permanent 4 holding spots. Those wishes will never vanish, no matter how long it takes to fulfill them. Once you fulfill a wish, then it vanishes and frees up a spot for more wishes to be dropped down from the 4-hour revolving door. The Give a Friendly Introduction To Skip wish fires in the revolving door for Walter. That would be an example of one wish I would just ignore or delete right away. There's a lot of those in the game and you just have to always ask yourself, "Is moving this wish down to a permanent slot going to move me closer to my goals?" "How long will I need to accomplish this wish?" Or sometimes you just want your Sim to stay on task and not even concern themselves with a minor wish like the above example even though it may be related in the overall picture.
Now we get to see firsthand in the above photo a big bonus in fulfilling wishes, a nice +15 to Mood Fulfilled a Wish moodlet. Having a steady stream of those throughout the day can make the difference between being Very Happy and Elated. We also see that the 4-hour revolving door truly becomes the "revolving door" with multiple wishes inside - a Use Charming Introduction one which triggered after learning the first Charisma skill and a Become Friends With Someone which fired when Walter walked into the library. I want to fulfill both wishes, so Hank Goddard is a nice, convenient target for wish fulfillment.
Hank is still an Acquaintance, but Walter is just a few socials away from Hank becoming a Friend. Notice the new wish I moved down - Become Friends With Hank Goddard. That's golden because when he becomes a Friend, then the generic Become Friends With Someone will also be fulfilled. Always try and look for situations where you can possibly fulfill two (or more) wishes with one action. Then, you get more happiness points and free up multiple slots.
Notice in the above screenshot that Walter is now hungry. Mood bars that dip to a certain level are another source of wishes. If your Sim stinks, he'll get a wish to buy a washing machine. If your Sim's fun meter tanks, then they'll probably get a wish to go out and socialize or do something fun, like buy a TV or play video games, etc. This also illustrates why I often begin a Sim using the Bear in the Woods technique of not putting up any walls or purchasing extra objects - bars will naturally drop over time on day one, and then those object wishes will appear, such as the Buy a Fridge wish that triggered for Walter.
So, Walter became friends with Hank, quickly hopped over to the Court House to join the Political career, and then went home to drop a fridge on his lot. In 8 short hours of day 1, Walter had accumulated close to 3k happiness points thanks to fulfilling a handful of select wishes. Looking ahead to the next couple days, Walter would gain another 5k or so happiness points from fulfilling some nice career related wishes and then he'd be in the market to buy a decent reward.
Becoming a Wishmaster
The situation that all of us are often confronted with is..."I have 4 nice wishes in the permanent slots and now a couple more nice ones fired up above. What do I do?" Well, now you're on the clock. Can you accomplish any of the permanent slot wishes in less than 4 hours? If so, then it's a question of you being right on top of things - as soon as that wish disappears from the permanent slot you need to fill it with a revolving door wish before it vanishes too. If all of the permanent slot wishes are more long term and cannot be accomplished in the next 4 hours, and you really want to move one (or more than one) wish down from the revolving door, than it's time to prune a permanent wish.
Deciding which wishes to keep can be tough. If you've moved down a really enormous wish like Win the Martial Arts Tournament, Make $20000 in Sculpting, or Reach Level 10 in Career X, then you gotta keep those. They're unique and offer an enormous truckload of happiness points, sometimes nearly 10k. And chances are if you delete one of those biggies, forget about getting them again. So, if you have all four permanent slots filled and still want to move something down that triggered in the revolving door, do a mental ranking of the existing permanent wishes. That ranking basically involves you asking yourself how much reward (happiness points) is offered for the amount of work left to do. To avoid putting yourself in the position of having to make tough decisions on which permanent wishes to axe, try and always have one wish in a permanent slot that you know will be fulfilled the very same day. That way, you have a slot open to move another wish down from the revolving door.
Advanced wish management takes some skill and practice, but it's really a key barometer that sets apart an average player from a very strong wishmaster player. An average player does not pay much attention to regularly fulfilling wishes and does not see wishes in the grand scheme of things. The skilled wishmaster looks at wish fulfillment as a stepping stone to quickly acquiring lots of happiness points to further improve other aspects of their Sim's development.