The Sims 3 Late Night One Sim Band
by Tom "Metro" Schlueter
I love the new band content in Late Night, but to be honest, I really wish EA had offered players a band-specific Lifetime Wish as opposed to this one which is simple a single Sim maxing all four instruments (Guitar, Bass, Drums, and Piano). It won't be that exciting for you, let's put it that way. But, I took advantage of this opportunity and really wanted to explore some variables to give everyone the absolute best knowledge possible on playing the new instruments and making crazy amounts of money.
I created Lenny and Hotpants Kravitz to serve as hosts. Well, Lenny is the main character. Hotpants is your typical utility Sim that stays in the background with the following traits: Ambitious, Handy, Natural Cook, Neat, and Over-Emotional. LTW: Culinary Librarian.
Lenny Kravitz' Traits:
Ambitious; Artistic; Virtuoso; Over-Emotional; Party-Animal.
Lifetime Wish: One Sim Band
I dropped Lenny and Hotpants in Bridgeport's Powell House. It's my new go-to apartment in the new Late Night world. A very basic set-up for furnishings-nice bed, shower, stove and fridge were swapped in for the cheap objects that came with the apartment. Hotpants will probably be bored most of the time, so at least there's a bookshelf for her. I made the decision for Lenny's main instrument to be bass. The reason I chose bass is because the canceling/starting animation when using the exploit is much faster than with other instruments, especially drums and piano where the Sim actually stands up and needs to sit back down again. If you're really going to take the exploit sky high and do several hundred performances, then the time savings makes a big difference.
Gentlemen...Start Your Testing!
The first thing I wanted to examine was skill gain speed by having Lenny choose Play Alone vs. Start Jam Session. The result? No difference at all. The very first bass skill was gained in the same amount of time from both options. So, the choice for you, dear reader, is a no-brainer-choose Start Jam Session from the get-go to receive the mild social bar boost. When your Sim chooses Play Alone (or Play for Tips/Perform later) there's a social bar hit. But, even if no one else is in the room, your Sim still has the option to Start a Jam Session. And yes, it does not make sense.
The next test was to see what difference there was in skill gain between Start Jam Session and Perform. So, I pushed Lenny to level 5 to qualify for learning a song and had Hotpants go out and purchase In My Truck from the bookstore. First, I measured how long it took to get from level 5 bass to level 6 with the Start Jam Session option-it took 8 minutes shy of 8 full hours. So, let's call it an even 8 hours for simplicity, 480 minutes. Then, I reloaded the game and chose Perform In My Truck, cued up a bunch of those to keep the stop/start animation to a minimum, and getting to level 6 bass took 6 1/2 hours, or 390 minutes. That's a pretty decent time savings, plus Lenny's boosting the performance count in his skill journal at the same time by choosing that option . So, that's unquestionably the route you want to take from level 5 of any instrument until the instrument skill is maxed: Perform.
Wow. This is my depiction of Lenny Kravitz? This might as well be Abraham Lincoln because the resemblance is about that close!
Lenny's skill gain climbed quickly to level 9 bass by Thursday morning of Week 1, but my concern was he had not received a single phone call opportunity to play bass. The only thing I could figure is that he had not left the apartment since day 1-no one knew who he was. I changed that with Lenny playing all day Thursday in front of the Movie Cineplex, still using the Perform option. When Lenny stood in front of the Movie Cineplex to go from level 9 to level 10 bass he became friends with Lola Belle, a local 5-star celebrity...
...That in itself bumped Lenny all the way to level 2 star celeb himself. So, now he'll be getting a bunch of celebrity phone call ops from his agent which I have no interest in. It's the skill opportunities and the playing at parties I'm wishing for.
After Lenny maxed bass the skill journal listed 26 Compositions Played. So, the next day I had him perform the exploit and racked up 24 more for an even 50 to do some subway tip playing testing.
The All-Powerful Exploit
With the musical instrument in inventory or in front of your Sim, cue up 8 separate Perform options. The song choice does not matter. As soon as you hear the first couple of notes, cancel the cue and the song will register and add to the Compositions Played statistic in the skill journal. The higher you can push that number, the greater the tip amount. And it's a very strong correlation. Let's take a closer look...
Subway's Foot-Long Tip Stats (all tip sessions were 12 hours in a Bridgeport subway)
50 Compositions Played. $103,606 earned. $8634/hour.
100 Compositions Played. $188,292 earned. $15,691/hour.
250 Compositions Played. $515,216 earned. $42,993/hour.
Grinding a musician for Compositions Performed is really tedious, but you get the idea from the stats above. 500 Compositions Performed would undoubtedly net you a million simoleans in 12 hours! Insane.
Maxing the Other Instruments
Hotpants got one more job before I closed shop and that was to run to the bookstore again and pick up the level 5 music books for guitar, drums, and piano. Then she passed them to Lenny. The strategy for quickly maxing all instruments was no different than when he first tackled bass-get to level 5 with the Start Jam Session option, learn the level 5 song and then stick with the Perform option until the skill is maxed. It took around 3-4 days for each skill. And it was painfully boring. Ha ha. If you plan on doing the One Sim Band Lifetime Wish, it will set you back roughly 4 game weeks if you also include "training" your Sim with the exploit for several hundred Compositions Played.
Key Lifetime Rewards
Fast Learner is a must. Get that asap. The only other ones that really matter are the needs reducers-Steel Bladder, Hardly Hungry, Dirt Defiant, and Meditative Trance Sleep. The longer your Sim can plug away, the quicker you'll knock this one out.
Bass-ic Closing Thoughts
I'll be honest here. What EA has done with the instruments and this LTW has left me a little lukewarm. The money a musician with several hundred Compositions Performed under his belt can make in a single 12-hour subway session is probably more than a band would earn from gigs over 10 generations. Something's seriously wrong with that fact. Hey, I love making big money with musicians. But, it's really starting to dawn on me that this whole subway thing-a-ma-bob is broken. Bigtime.
Another issue with the subway tip system is that tips earned from subway playing do not advance a band's career the way tips earned elsewhere do. It's just a whole different way things are computed. When you play for tips in front of the Theatre/Cineplex-all kinds of things factor into what you'll rake in: time of day, whether or not spectators are hungry/sleepy and decide to leave, whether nearby Sims start to engage in other activities like dancing or just talking to each other, Grim can show up and bring everything to a screeching halt, etc. None of these factors happen in the subway. To my knowledge, the only concern you have is simply making sure you drop down to the subway with full needs. And there is always the slight chance you might be mugged. If that happens you get a mild negative moodlet, but you can send them right back. No big deal.
The tips in the subway fly at you continuously. It's almost beyond belief. It's like hitting the jackpot in a casino and the tokens just never stop flowing out. Yes, it's exciting for a while, but if you're like me, there will be a point where you'll say - "okay, this is really unbalanced and stupid. How is this even remotely close to other money-making aspects of the game?" And here's what I feel is the nail in the coffin-Guitar Star has always been an extremely difficult skill challenge to achieve, and I'm assuming the other instruments' Star challenges are difficult as well. But, with the amount of money you can rake in with the subway system, now it's like-why would I go through all of the work to finish a Star challenge? Do I need to make $100k an hour instead of ONLY $50k an hour? C'mon. Get real.
So, there you have it for One Sim Band. Not exactly a glowing review, but I do feel there's a lot of potential with the band stuff, and the instruments in general. This isn't a bad Lifetime Wish-a little boring, but I would just like to see a band Lifetime Wish and some serious tweaking to the whole tip playing mechanic in a future patch to make game play more balanced.
The strategy used in this Lifetime Wish walkthrough is not the only way to complete it. Share your tips for finishing this LTW with other players below!