Before we discuss how you can manipulate the age of your Sim, we first need to address the 800lb Gorilla in the room: Economics in the Era of Death.
Defining the Era of Death
History demonstrates time and again that social change requires brave and intelligent scholars to define and label it. The Dark and Middle Ages did not spring forth with those titles, a scholar branded them both with the title and the historical justification for it.
If you look at the map called "Virginiae Item et Floridae Americae Provinciarum, nova Descriptio." that was created by Dutch engraver and cartographer Joost de Hond (his name is more commonly known among cartographers as Jodocus Hondius due to the tradition of using the Latin version of names for learned men at the time) you will notice that some of the place-names are the same then as they are now.
What you may not know is that while the primary place-names on that map were set and established via the diaries and journals of explorers and ship captains who visited the region and helped to map it in the past, many of the minor place-names were actually created by de Hond / Hondius!
On fact it was a relatively common practice at the time for cartographers to name minor rivers, mountains, and landmark-worthy aspects of a map after their patron or the relatives of their patron, after their own relations, or notable members of the aristocracy that they admired both as an homage and to curry favor.
de Hond was unique among his peers in that in addition to being well-traveled and a cartographer, he was also an engraver and created the plates for most of this maps. That is significant in that it was also a common practice in the era for the engravers to take liberties with maps that they were commissioned to engrave.
Engravers often changed names or added new names for landmarks, mountains, or valleys as well as lakes and rivers for the very same purpose - to curry favor or pay homage to those that they admired.
The fact that de Hond is best known for his early maps of the New World and Europe notwithstanding, when the very face of a society changes radically -- such as the case with The Sims: FreePlay that currently is manifesting itself -- it is almost always the individuals who are responsible for the charting of those worlds to assign names and identify the important bits for posterity.
In the case of FreePlay those new elements -- and their naming -- falls to a mixture of games journos, guide writers, and the bloggers who are also serious fans of a game to document the changes and give them names.
That being so, as the end of the early era of FreePlay comes to a close and we approach what is almost certainly going to be seen one day as the Middle Ages of the game, it falls to us to help both to identify these changes and define them. I don't know about you but I am totally up for it!
The FreePlay Middle Ages
If you read and study the Sections titled "Sim Life Spans Post-Tree Expansion" and "Life Orbs and Their Uses" we have already started to explore both the changes that have been brought to bear in the game, and their likely effects. Specifically in those two Sections we have explored the possibly negative effects and the many ways that they will manifest in the world that will become The Middle Ages.
What we have not done though is to explore and define the different tactics that the player might use in addressing the issues of aging with an eye towards slowing down or retarding the aging process - or even reversing and accelerating it! Each of these are possible actions, though they naturally come at varying expenses, and some more expensive than others.
The Flow of Age
The first aspect of age that we should recognize is its similarity to time. Age flows. It is not static. By its very nature it reflects change and, because of this, it is subject to manipulation.
Orbs are the most obvious element in manipulating age because they are the most visible object that is connected with the aging process outside of your Sim itself.
The thing is using Life Orbs to temporarily suspend aging is like using a hammer to open a peanut - while it will work, it is definitely overkill, especially considering that a Life Orb no matter what the level is essentially the representation of a life! Whether that was a well-lived life or not, you are talking about trading what amounts to the valuable symbol of a Sim's entire life for a bit of extra time, and that is simply obscene.
That said, there are some other elements within the game world that directly apply to aging.
A Two-Way Street: Manipulating Age
Once aging has been added to the game your Sim is going to age on its own without you needing to do anything, since each time that your Sim engages in an intentional act and action - from working to a hobby, and even reading the paper, they are burning time off of that invisible clock that is their life span.
Would it surprise you to learn that you can directly influence that clock? Well you can - and not just in one direction! You can, spending valuable currency (and no, we do not mean $imoleons) either move that clock forward or backwards. You can spend LP - Life Points - to either move the clock backwards or forwards - get younger or older.
The cost in LP depends upon the stage your Sim is at in life and WHEN you choose to modify their age. It is far more expensive to perform a modification to their life clock when your Sim has already reached the end of that Life Cycle or Stage - while if you initiate the rewind or fast-forward while in the midst of a Life Stage it is cheaper.
The following Table covers the relative costs when the modification is sought within the stage (i.e. not at the end of the Stage):
|| 1 LP
|| 2 LP
|| 2 LP
|| 4 LP
|| 3 LP
|| 6 LP
|| 5 LP
|| 8 LP
|| 10 LP
|| 18 LP
|| 6 LP
|| 10 LP
So for example to go forward from Infant to Toddler prior to the stage concluding would cost you 1 LP, whereas to go from Toddler back to Infant prior to the stage concluding would cost you 2 LP, and so on. As you can see the cost to reverse - make your Sim younger - is higher (naturally).
Now if you are thinking that this is too easy - after all you can farm LP, right? Well yes, but farming LP now costs EVERY Sim who participates part of their life cycle to do it! Where farming LP used to be a trivial matter, and thus LP itself was not really all that valuable (say as opposed to SP which is harder to obtain) it is now incredibly valuable and MUCH harder to obtain in terms of relative cost.
That being the case, the process of exchanging LP for more life is not cheap or trivial... Essentially one of the side-effects of the new finite life system is to increase the value of any commodity that you must spend life span obtaining.
When your Sim ages - whether by time or Birthday Cake you are presented with the option to spend LP to make them younger or allow the Sim to age forward. You can also tap them for the Birthday action to have them go backwards or forwards when you are in the midst of a stage.
Using Orbs to Delay Age
As previously mentioned you do have the option to use Orbs to delay or even shut off aging - though to do so seems like a serious waste of a Sim's life legacy.
The Orbs deliver the following age benefits:
- Bronze Orb = 3 Real-World Days
- Silver Orb = 7 Real-World Days
- Gold Orb = 16 Real-World Days
- Platinum Orb = Permanent
The Birthday Cake
Before the introduction of the aging process and finite life spans Birthday Cakes were used to transition between the evolutionary stages in the game. They can still be used for that purpose - you can spend a Birthday Cake to have that Birthday but my God at what a cost!?
Do the math and you will see that the Birthday Cake is incredibly expensive - it costs 5 LP and 24 hours out of the life of the Sim who bakes it! It is obviously far better to simply allow the timer in real-world hours to run out.
Previous sections of the guide may have given the impression that aging in the game is a fixed and unavoidable process. This is far from the truth at least in practical terms - age can be manipulated, it is just a very expensive and complicated process!