Desiderata Valley is a lush neighborhood with a regular season pattern (for those fortunate enough to have that EP) surrounded on three sides by high hills and a shoreline on the other. There is a lot of room for expansion in this tightly knit community.
From this picture, we can see the majority of the community lots (light blue) and where all of the original families (light green) and some additional families (dark green) live.
I am always interested in seeing how well a new and official neighbourhood has been developed and how well it displays the new features that are in the expansion pack. Desiderata Valley includes six new families, some of which are employed in the new career tracks and are enthusiastic in different hobbies. It also includes many unoccupied starter homes and various community lots as places to go, do some shopping or even just relax and enjoy yourselves.
We have already met the Harpers and glanced briefly at the other families who were here before them. It is time to look at those families in more detail and at the other locations in this new neighborhood.
Let is firstly look at the six families. I have played out a week with each of them to give an example of how their lives could develop.
There are six families already in residence plus a few in the sim bin. From my first look, however, there are certain things that seem to be either rushed or not quite in synch with how the characters have been developed.
I recently had a second look at the Roth family in Riverblossom Hills, which was the new neighborhood that came with the Seasons Expansion pack and that also introduced new careers. Both Stella and Morty were in two new career tracks and both had the lifetime want to be the top of their current career tracks. Personally, I felt that it was helpful that a career-based Lifetime Want related to where they were already at.
I have found that with all of the families I have looked at in Desiderata Valley, almost most none of the career-based Lifetime Wants are related to the career that they are already a part, plus their predestined hobby often does not relate at all to what their bio has to say.
I am going to look at the six families in alphabetical order, taking note of their dwellings and play out one week of their lives.
ASPIR - This family family live on quite an impressive lot which is made up of a main house and a smaller apartment which would be known over here as a "granny annexe". It is a family of four, covering three generations. Luis is a retired City Planner, his son Victor is a Nurse, his wife Elizabeth is a Field Sales rep and his granddaughter Pauline is just a toddler. All of them are friends with the Bell Family and Natasha Una, who is actually Luis's cousin.
LUIS lives in the "granny annexe" and despite his retired status, his lifetime want is to again become City Planner I'll count that one as a related career-based lifetime want so that's 1-0. He discovered that there was an old lamp upstairs in the attic above his flat. He had the option of selling it or rubbing it. Do you think he put it on eBay and got §75 for it? Of course he didn't!! Yes, you've guessed it, he rubbed it and lo and behold, a genie appeared and granted him three wishes. Now that IS a surprise. Luis wished for the power to cheat death, although he might not have got what he had hoped for. He then wished for wealth and four bags of money dropped out of the sky. Then he wished to resurrect Noriko, his deceased wife and mother of Victor. Shazam! Then the genie and the lamp disappeared.
NORIKO spent the week getting to know members of the family. Despite their relationships with her being restored to the original level, her skills had been wiped and her relationship level was somewhat reduced. It took some time before she realised who Luis was and how she felt for him.
ELIZABETH works as a Field Sales Rep for one of the major corporations in SimCity, although her lifetime want is to become the Head of the SCIA. This is completely unrelated to her current career so that levels it at 1-1. During the week, she had received a few promotions and was now an Executive with her company. She did read up on parenting, but did not have the desire herself to have any more children.
VICTOR began as a nurse and also, funnily enough, had the lifetime want to become the Head of the SCIA. Also unrelated, so that score is now 1-2. However, he also chose to remain in his career track and by one week had passed, he was now one of the GPs at the Desiderata Valley regional practice. His primary want to have another child, however, did not come to pass but not for the want of trying.
PAULINE started off as a toddler and after being potty trained, this allowed her a lot more independence. She spent most of her days around the Teeny Tikes Activity Table, improving her creativity and mechanical skills. She had been taught nursery rhymes by most of the family and when she became a child, she was ready to grow. She finished her week off with school grades of B+ and a goal of achieving A+ and with a remarkable level of creative skill.
Note 1: The Genie Lamp is part of this EP's weirdness. I am impressed with it and find it to be less random than its predecessor back when it made an appearance in the "Living..." EP for The Sims. I would recommend users to either be in Gold or Platinum before they use it. I still have bad memories of spells backfiring back in "The Sims" and a very expensive lovebed getting torched. Although the Aspirs had one in their attic, other families can have one dropped off. Delivery depends upon certain criteria, especially relating to the lifetime aspiration scores of the house.
Note 2: The Teeny Tikes Activity Table might take up some floor space (2x2), but it can be used by up to four toddlers and children. They can draw pictures or play with blocks, improving their mechanical and creative skills respectively. Completed drawings can even be put on the walls. This is part of the Classic Collection, which includes the new cots, changing tables, potty chairs and toy boxes.
BELL - This family have a spacious two-storey house and gardens. The rear of the house has a dance studio with a mirrored wall, two barrés, exercise bike, hi-if system and a synthesiser. All the accessories needed to improve dance skill and acquire the skills necessary to become a successful dancer.
I don't know what it is but every family seems to get struck down with flu. All of this household seemed to be affected with it. I find this to be quite ironic considering that is what has struck me down and is the main reason why this part.of the review has been very delayed. Isaac is married to Hannah and they have a son called Daniel. They have recently been joined by Sharon, who is Hannah's sister.
HANNAH (who is on the left in this picture) is following the Dance career track, beginning at being a backup dancer. She has the family aspiration and the lifetime want to be a World Class Ballet Dancer. This equalises the score at 2-2. During the week, she was able to get a few promotions and saw the next week in as a Dance Video Star.
ISAAC is following the Entertainment career track, beginning at being a mime. However, his lifetime want is to be a World Class Ballet Dancer, which is another sim who has no relation between his want and current career (2-3).
He did not take any steps to change career, nor was he distracted by the presence of his sister-in-law. Not a lot he could do anyway as she was classed as a relative albeit without the icon. During the week, he was also able to get some valuable promotions and finished it as being a Round Table Knight.
SHARON WIRTH is Hannah's sister and is also following the Dance career track, beginning at Jazzercise instructor. She has the romance aspiration and the lifetime want to be a Prestidigitator, which is the top of the Entertainment career track. Yet another unrelated one, widening the gap to 2-4.
Although she seemed to be interested in John Mole, she focused on her career and saw the next week in as an Interpretative Dancer, always one rung of the ladder ahead of her sister.
DANIEL according to his bio "loves drawing and seems to have inherited his mother's artistic abilities. Will his mother let him develop on his own or only nurture his artistic qualities?" Instead of Arts & Crafts, his predestined hobby is Cuisine. Regularly, he'd be reading the recipe section in the newspaper. Strange kid, but I guess Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay might have started like that. It does pay off when a mysterious chef walks straight into the house and offers him membership of Sue's Secret Kitchen.
Note 3: I do find this rather amusing as even though Daniel can learn Cooking as a skill, the best he can do is make muffins in a child's oven and any child who becomes a member of a hobby club cannot go there unless accompanied by an adult.
Anyway, his grades slipped during the week, which might have been something to do with leaving all of his homework by the kerbside and hoping they got eaten by wolves. He did catch up by the time he grew up into a teenager but needed more schooling for these to be reflected before he could contemplate going to college with a scholarship. When he grew into a teenager, he chose the popularity aspiration, but the Lifetime Want automatically chosen for him was Prestidigitator.
Doesn't anyone want to be a Celebrity Chef or Captain Hero anymore?
CONTRARY - Edward and Opal Contrary began the week only about a week away from retirement. Both of them were Dolphin Tank Cleaners but both of them had the lifetime want of being City Planners. Yet again, two more classic examples of career lifetime wants being completely unrelated to the career that they are already in, pushing the running total to 2-6. Their son Rick saw himself as a typical teenager, who said he hated everyone because they weren't like him. We know he didn't really mean it.
Anyway, during the week, EDWARD made the mistake of opening the gate to the sea and letting almost all of the dolphins at his aquarium escape. His immediate firing did not come as a surprise. He was able to find another job immediately as a stand up comedian and thought he'd follow that career track until a vacancy arose in the construction business. However, by the week was over, Edward - despite being an unsuccessful birthday party mascot - managed to get a rapid promotion to a mime and after doing it for only a few hours, got another promotion to being a lounge singer.
OPAL's career may not have suffered the same setback as Richard. She received a couple of promotions and after one week had passed, she was a Dive Master but she was on maternity leave. Edward was thrilled as he wanted another baby, although that had not been on Opal's agenda.
Neither of them were in the prime of life and unless the elixir of life could be delivered every morning or some other quirk of fate could help them out, they would be seniors by the end of the following week. Nevertheless, Opal gave birth to a baby boy - William - in the dining room of their house, just having got up from having eaten her third toaster pastry of the morning.
RICK's relationship with his parents didn't really get any worse, but it didn't really improve much either. However, his relationship with Violet Joque improved from friend to girlfriend and by the end of the week, they were "going steady". However, they seemed to be as happy playing SSX3 on the video console than playing "tonsil tennis" on the couch.
His grades had however improved to A+ and Rick managed to get a scholarship and in the early hours of the Monday morning called a taxi and he left for college. Any excuse to get out of doing his homework.
Note 4: Edward's promotions were only accomplished by driving to work to cover part of the working day, which requires the "Nightlife" expansion or the driveway and cars from the official site.
Note 5: Rick could only leave for college because of the "University" expansion. Otherwise, that option is not available and he would have had another week as a Teenager.
Written at 03:03 on Monday 10 March 2008 by