I love to play legacies in The Sims 4 and one question I get asked a lot is “How do you stay interested in one family for so long?” In part, I think some people are just naturally more inclined to sticking with long projects than others but I do think there are a few tricks to maintaining interest in that project that a lot of people may not consider. Some things will immediately kill the enjoyment of a save file and other things are crucial to keeping your enthusiasm for one family going.
Here are my top tips for playing one single family for many generations!
I’m dead serious. Cheats are the #1 enjoyment killer of The Sims. Even if you think they enhance your enjoyment, they probably don’t. Still don’t believe me? Picture this: You create a brand new Sim in CAS, move them into an empty lot and before even unpausing the game, you type in the money cheat to give yourself 9,999,999 simoleons and download an amazing mansion off the Gallery and you still have millions left over. Then you cheat your way to the top of your career and max out all your skills. Then you cheat yourself a spouse and go into CAS and make the perfect children for them. Okay cool. Now what? What do you do? Nothing. You’ve done what was meant to take multiple generations to achieve in five minutes and now you’re bored. The same is true if you don’t cheat everything immediately but are constantly using cheats as you play whenever you come across an obstacle, like cheating up motives all the time or giving yourself 1,000 simoleons when you’re short on funds to buy something you want.
So if you are a hardcore cheater, I’m not judging you! It is a sandbox game, after all, so there’s no harm in cheating, but maybe try avoiding cheats and doing things the hard way if a legacy is something you aspire to but have trouble sticking with. A legacy is only as enjoyable as the effort you put into it. Besides, you’ll find it’s laughably easy to get rich and successful in the game without any cheats, anyway.
Just like in real life, setting goals for your projects will help you maintain interest in them in the long term. If you’re starting out with a single Sim on a big empty plot of land with no money, perhaps the goal for your first generation should be to reach the top of a lucrative career or become very skilled at a lucrative hobby and build a nice family home that future generations can expand on. You’ll find that by the time you reach generation 3 or 4, your legacy family will be quite wealthy with a very nice home and that’s when people start to get bored. Instead of quitting, switch your focus. Find a new goal to work on. Maybe your 4th generation heir should become a Global Superstar or maybe try embarking on a retail business venture. Whenever you feel like you’ve accomplished what you set out to do, pick something new to work towards. It will keep every generation fresh and exciting.
Go With the Flow
I won’t lie; it drives me a little batty when I see people complain that nothing interesting ever happens in their game, then whenever something unexpected does happen, they panic and restart the game without saving to undo it. Get out of the habit of doing this because it’s going to kill your interest in a save really fast. While it might be gut wrenching to have your favourite Sim die of hysteria unexpectedly or to get fired from a job you had almost reached the top of, letting these things happen and dealing with the fallout will add depth and interest to your game because you won’t be bored with the predictability of everything.
The same goes for those random events and popups that most of us always hit Cancel or Ignore on without even reading. I’m guilty of this one, too, but I find when I try to take part in as many of those random things as I can, I enjoy the game a lot more. I might meet the love of my Sim’s life at the Romance Festival or meet a new friend on the ski slopes. If nothing else, I did something a little different for the day which broke up the monotony of my daily routine.
I tell this to everyone who asks me how I stay with my legacy families for so long. If you aren’t emotionally attached to your Sims, you won’t last more than a generation or two. Don’t think of your Sims as little puppets to do your bidding. Think of them as real, living, breathing people with their own dreams, goals, and personalities. As you’re making goals for your Sims to accomplish, come up with a story about why they want to achieve those goals. Everything that happens to your Sims, turn it into a story that affects them going forward.
My 5th generation heir watched his parents go through a very ugly and highly publicized divorce due to his mother being a celebrity. Then he lost his father unexpectedly at a young age. He grew up with some issues because of those things and all of his actions he took during his life were motivated by his troubled childhood. While he achieved success and loved his own family fiercely, he lacked empathy for others outside of his own inner circle and became somewhat of a mob boss within the business world he worked in.
Always have a story in mind about why something has happened to your Sims or why they take the actions that they do. Make sure whatever’s happened to them in the past informs the actions they take in the future. This will bring your Sims to life in a way that will make you want to keep playing with them.
Push Through the Dull Periods
In every legacy, no matter how good you are at setting goals, telling stories, and not cheating, there is always going to be points where things slow down and become kind of dull. This usually happens in between generations; when your current heir is either nearing elderhood or has become an elder and they’ve achieved everything they set out to do in life but your next heir is still a teenager and can’t take over the family, yet.
There isn’t a whole lot you can do about this except push through it. Just remind yourself that this is a temporary dead zone and that things will get interesting again when your next heir becomes a young adult and can start their own family and tell the story of their generation.
And that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks and please don’t take any of these too personally! If you’re guilty of doing some of these things I caution against, just know that I also have been guilty of these things at times which is how I’ve learned what works for generational play and what doesn’t. It was very much trial and error over the years on my part.