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Celebrities & Vampires
Celebrities

Although sims could get a reputation as one of the new metrics with the "Apartment Life EP" for The Sims 2, we have not seen celebrities as such since the Superstar expansion for The Sims (1). Now, it has made its return and in my opinion, it is a big improvement over how things were. Although sims still need to rub shoulders with fellow celebrities in order to get higher up the ladder of recognition, they do not really need to say goodbye to their non-celebrity friends. Also, a sim does not have to be in the performing arts to become a celebrity, although a sim needs to be a celebrity in order to be successful in the new movie career and celebrity points are awarded if our sim is a member of a band. Fame and recognition can be achieved by following any career track or profession or even none at all.

There are different levels of celebrity ranging from 1 to 5. If a sim has any celebrity level, it does show up when the mouse hovers over them. With the lowest ("Fame Leecher") being someone comparable with an early dropout from "Bridgeport's Got Talent", "The Z-Factor" or even Sim Brother (can anyone remember that series?) to 5 which is a famous superstar who does not necessarily have to be a movie star or musician. For want of a better word, every simlebrity has a celebrity journal that shows their level, how far they are away from the next level, how many other celebrities they have met, discounts, freebies and savings from being a celebrity among many other. Here is the journal of Magenta Bond, who is an up-and-coming musician.

In order to become a celebrity, a sim has to be able to impress a celebrity enough for them to be recognised as being famous in their own right. They can try to impress them by talking about a good skill level, their wealth or their profession. For getting higher up the tree, they could even drop names of other celebrities that they know. However, if this was done in the real world, I very much doubt that saying you're friends with Narinder from Big Brother UK 2001 would impress Madonna in any way. The higher the rank of celebrity your own budding celebrity sim is trying to impress, greater levels of skill and profession, amount of money and class of friends are needed. Start at the bottom and work up as those 5-star celebrities need a LOT of impressing. However, if you are trying to befriend a celebrity of the same level or lower, it is automatic.

Once a sim becomes a "Fame Leecher", they immediately get an PR agent - the simworld's equivalent of Cliff Maxford - who finds events for them to attend in order to raise their status and give them some extra money.

Firstly, there are rewards from being famous. Our simlebrities get recognised. People want to take their photograph and ask for their autographs. That in turn makes our celebrities feel quite good. Our simlebrities can be given discounts when out buying something. They can even get sent freebies which range from the mundane even through to stoves and sports cars, all depending upon their celebrity status level. Some time down the line and Magenta has become quite famous and has been given a free sports car.

Other rewards to the good life include being invited to celebrity parties. Be warned, there is usually not much notice. A sim can be at work when the invite comes for later that evening. Going to parties is a good chance to rub shoulders with other celebrities, perhaps of a higher status.

Secondly, there is the price to be paid from being famous. Our simlebrities will be followed everywhere by the paparazzi. As well as going clubbing, it also includes if they go on a world adventure. Somehow, word gets around and the local paps start following your simlebrity. Patrick Fitzgerald, who we see here in Shang Simla trying to learn the martial arts skill, has got the attention of one of the local paparazzi. These relentless pursuit also means that if our simlebrities do anything untoward or anything negative happens, they WILL make the newspapers. I have had a simlebrity disgraced because the Repo Man called (I am convinced I'd paid that bill) and of course the paparazzi noticed it and reported it. This is a -20 moodlet and it is in place for 3 days. In another case, I had a sim who was an inventor and he detonated an object in public. Yes, that made the front page too.

However, not everything that is reported is accurate or true. We know that to be the case "Mississippi - real name Katie Cost - is very talented" is a classic example of this in the real world and the same also applies to our simlebrities. In this case, Zoltan Gorodetsky has been defamed because someone has been spreading a rumour they were arrested. They can try to sue the newspaper, which if successful will lift that very negative moodlet and give them some financial reward.

Innocent or guilty, a simlebrity can try to shift the blame to another simlebrity who they know to get the heat off them. This can backfire, though. Other means of damage limitation includes talking to friends about it.

Personally, I like the way that EAxis has done it. There are so many little things that have put the TS3 spin on this concept. I also like how rising stars can try and hack into a hotspot's invitation list and get their name added for the night anyway. I like how celebrities get gratuities for being who they are. This can range from getting a massive discount at their local store to getting a car given to them. Also, I like it how celebrities can come from all walks of life. Celebrities can even be unemployed and famous.

Vampires

I have always been keen on the weirdness that is introduced with each expansion and with "Late Night", vampires are making their appearance. Again there has been a massive overhaul and improvement. Instead of them looking like imitations of the Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee versions of Dracula that we saw in The Sims 2, they appear young and trendy and also it is a lot easier for sims to be turned to being this form of undead.

Vampires are still fairly easy to notice. Their skin colour has a greyish pallour to it and their eyes have a yellowy glow. Advantages of being a vampire included an extended lifespan, ability to read minds and make another sim think about them. They also have accelerated learning of skills and can be very fast running. Disadvantages include a sensitivity to sunlight, which takes effect after about an hour. This somewhat rules out our vampire trying to make a name for himself at the regular grill-a-thons. Also, vampires can now only drink blood, drink plasma juice from the fridge or eat plasma fruit, which can be purchased from the supermarket.

If a sim is reasonably well acquainted with a vampire, they can asked to be turned. The vampire will then bite their wrist and only until after a few days will the sim become a vampire with all of the merits and demerits that go with it.

Here we see Zoltan being turned. It certainly looks quite impressive but it does seem to take a couple of days before they physically change appearance and the effects of being a vampire take effect.

If your vampire sim is friendly with someone who is not a vampire, your vampire can ask to drink from them or even offer to turn them. However, there is only so much plasma to go around from one donor. I have a vampire couple who have a butler, who they have got quite well acquainted with in order for him to be their "blood doll" as well as carrying out his usual duties. After all, he can't cook for them so he may as well allow them to drink from him. If one drinks from him, the other will not be able to until some time later. Incidentally, vampires cannot feed from other vampires.

If a vampire wants to go on a world adventure, it might be a bit tricky. Firstly, any outside adventuring would need to be done between 6pm and 6am unless a sim could break up their travelling by going indoors every few hours. If your vampiric sim is a high-level celebrity, though, a limo drives them everywhere and that keeps them inside. Secondly, the dried food is of no use at all so an adventuring vampire would need to stock up on plasma fruit before their journey to be able to snack on when they are "entombed". Nevertheless, a world adventure is a good thing for a vampire to go on if they need the time to learn some crucial skills.

If you get fed up of your sim being a vampire and they have ยง3,000 saved up (or do not have qualms by cheating and giving them the required simoleons), they can go and visit the science facility and get a potion to revert them to being a human. Personally, I don't think the procedure is as atmospheric as getting the vampirocillin potion from the gypsy woman back in The Sims 2 but it does do the job nevertheless. I am yet to turn any of my sims back from being vampires to being lesser mortals as so far, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

In The Sims 2, I think only one of my many sims became a vampire. With Late Night, I already have three of them in different save slots. I even have a vampire couple. This shows how much I like this different type of weirdness. If I have any criticisms of vampirism in TS3, it is that sims gain skills TOO quickly. In another case example, I had a couple of vampire celebrities. The husband went to do a promotion at the restaurant and the wife decided to start learning to paint. By the time the promotion was over, she had maxed out the painting skill. My only other criticism is one of aesthetics and that vampires in TS3 can see their reflection, which is something I thought vampires were unable to do and it had been that way in The Sims 2.

So, if you want to master skills quickly, this is the form of weirdness to take. It might rule out getting a job in many of the professions that came with "Ambitions" and some of the careers. It will also mean that your sims may have a limited diet for some time, but the financial rewards from these maxed skills will pay off in the long run and your sim will be able to quickly buy the antidote and get a normal life back.

Written at 22:36 on Sunday 22 May 2011 by Andy.

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