The Sims 3 Ambitions Guide
The Sims 3 Ambitions Unofficial Guide by CM Boots-Faubert for SuperCheats.com
Officially the second expansion pack (Stuff Packs do not really count)
for the current series of The Sims -- The Sims 3 -- Ambitions was
released in June of 2010 with much fanfare as, in addition to providing a
major patch and update to the base game, it also introduced new career
opportunities and an expanded control mechanism into the game that was
It would be simple enough to spew out the statistical facts about the game and be done with it for the purposes of an Introduction, but that would be a disservice to you -- and besides there are some significant (if not important) points to be commented on as part of the Introduction process!
Welcome to The Sims 3: Ambitions!
The first point is that the contents of Ambitions -- while it is widely considered to be the spiritual successor to The Sims 2: Open for Business -- are much deeper and progress in a different direction than that similar expansion did. In fact it is fair to say that while the basic idea is similar, the mechanisms that were chosen for this expansion and the ultimate results are very different indeed.
The Sims games have always been about playing God -- and controlling to one extent or another the lives of the imaginary people of the game who, quite on their own, become very real to gamers who consider themselves to number among the core audience. The fans if you will, but then it seems to me that using the word "fans" is somehow degrading to those very souls because, and let us be honest here, a great deal of imagination, time, and effort is spent by those gamers in creating the Sim families and their generations. So perhaps aficionado would be a more accurate and less insulting word?
What Ambitions brings to the table is, in part, the ability to exercise more control over the working life of your Sims -- as well as the additional career pathways to be sure -- and in so doing it attempts with some success to introduce a diversity of skill sets into the game that offer an expanding sense of freedom to most players and, not surprisingly, represents a massive expansion in player involvement in their Sims careers and lives that was simply absent in The Sims 3 base game. For those reasons alone this has turned out to be one of the most celebrated -- and important -- expansions of the game. In fact it is widely considered to be a mandatory expansion by most Simmers.
The dry and banal articles that cover it within the gaming press -- and some of the reviews for that matter -- declare Ambitions to be "A career-based expansion pack," and with that presume that they have told you everything that you need to know about that. While it is certainly true that Ambitions introduces new careers, it also has the effect of altering the standard work and career experience for most players once they move beyond the careers that were part of the base game and begin to explore the depth of these new careers and the interaction that they provide. The reality is that this expansion specifically changes the style of game play that is the foundation of the game series, a subject that warrants close examination by the players.
A focus on relationships is an important part of Ambitions
In the Sims 3 base game pretty much all of the careers present as a disappearance point for the Sims who are part of them -- in that when it came time to go to work, they run out of their home and jump into their work transport, disappearing from the game for eight or nine hours -- with any interactions that the player have with respect to those careers taking place as pop-up windows that appear only after their Sim has returned home from work -- and at least for most of the core careers this has not changed!
What has changed is that the new careers that are offered by the Ambitions expansion alter that setup, making the different careers a much more hand's-on process, allowing players to have more specific control over their Sims working lives -- and when the Sim chooses to be self-employed in a profession that allows them to work from home (or a "shop" though that mechanism from The Sims 2 has not been put in place here) that sense of control is intensified. Some of the careers have a much more personal impact on the other Sims in the game too, to the point of changing their appearance or even adding to it -- like the Tattoo Artist -- of altering their very world -- as is the case with the Architect.
Most gamers and serious Simmers will not be coming to Ambitions as their first dip in the water of the rich and addictive world of The Sims, and because of that will have already established their nascent dynasties and, for the most part, will desire to continue them. That being the case, perhaps the most obvious method for taking advantage of the new careers presented by this expansion (when your Sim has already invested time and effort in one of the old careers) is to get your Sims Ability to register at City Hall to be self employed in a "Skill Career" for the following skills: writing, painting, sculpting, inventing, photography, nectar making, gardening and fishing. to the point of retirement in their current (old) career and then move them into one of the new ones.
-- A Boon for Slackers --
In the world of The Sims there are more than a few clearly defined play styles, but for most gamers this world is neatly divided up into the traditional players who like to drink deeply of every aspect of the game, including putting their Sims to work in the traditional career role, and then the other half of the scene, which is made up of gamers who prefer to have their Sims lead a more Bohemian lifestyle, as Artists or Authors and the much less traditional roles of earning their livings. The former is generally thought of as the basic player, while the latter is generally thought of as Slacker-Play. Both have their advantages, to be sure, but if your Sim yearns for the freedom and independence that can only be had by being your own boss, well, the Slacker life it is!
Ambitions certainly brings a more hands-on effect to the new careers, but it also has the effect of allowing what have traditionally been considered the "Slacker" career paths (Artist, Author, and the like) a much more reasonable and predictable path to success! In fact often the Slacker path is the more profitable since it allows the player to have much more control over how much their Sims earn and when they earn it.
A non-traditional profession can be incredibly profitable
Wine making -- added by the World Adventures expansion -- can be an incredibly profitable career choice and is generally considered to be part of the Slacker careers -- and especially when the player has a Sim in the Vintners household who is an expert Green Thumb and thus can grow the special ingredients that the Wine making Sim requires.
Even if you happen to be a strong supporter of the traditional career-based Simming play, you should give serious thought to trying out the non-traditional roles of the self-employed for at least one of your Sims -- you may be surprised at how much you enjoy that!
-- The Nature of The Sims --
It is interesting to note that most gamers consider the constant expansion of the series to be a mixture of both blessing and curse, and in particular when each new Sims series is launched, because to the gamers who consider it one of the best games going -- when this third series was introduced it essentially wiped out the value of the accumulation of base game and expansions for the previous series (as it did for the first series) -- and while there was certainly an element of the gaming community who refused to adopt the new series immediately, preferring to retain the benefits that their ownership of their Sims 2 games provided, in the end the choice to embrace the newest series was really no choice at all...
Its vastly improved graphics, game play elements, and the new adventures to be had caused them to, one by one, become converts to the new series -- but that is really as it should be, and if you are still on the fence in that regard it may help to remember that whenever a new series is launched, they always include elements of all of the expansions from the previous series in the base game. Though admittedly those elements are little more than a breath of what was, as the expansion system and how it addresses each major element of play is a well-established tradition in the games.
Still most serious Simmers admit that the launch of Ambitions, combined with World Travels and the base game, brought a level of complexity and play options to the third series that made it the equal to all of the games in the second series combined, and that is to say that everything that follows in the expansion line of the third series will, therefore, enrich the game well beyond what existed at the very end of the second series. Which is widely held to be a good thing, and who are we to argue with that?
In the end as you embrace Ambitions you will find that having a guide to use as a reference will be of great help to you, because while much of the new content added by Ambitions is easy to find, there is a plethora of small and sparkling additions that can easily be missed if you do not know where to look for them. Fortunately that is what this guide is intended to do -- demonstrate where to look and what to expect when you find it... And perhaps to assist you in making the most of it when you do embrace this new game play goodness that is The Sims 3: Ambitions!