TSR Hands on with 'Get To Work'

The long awaited first Expansion Pack for The Sims 4 means another visit to EA Games to get hands on with "Get To Work". But I'm thinking to myself, with so much detailed information already released about the new Active Careers on the recently released videos, what more can there be for us to report back to our communities that isn't already public? Well, not much really, as far the headline features go. There was also the niggling issue that the embargo for content gleamed from these fan events that have been happening around the globe the past week happened to be during our time at EA, so we were behind all the other sites that have already posted their reports, but hey ho.

I'm going to break from tradition (which is actually traditional for me), and not even try and cover this whole pack with the limited time of around 3 hours that we had. Instead I'm going to focus in great detail, on two of the aspects of this pack that I'm really drawn to. But first, my overall opinion of 'Get To Work'.

I'm not being all 'fanboy' here and just 'bigging up' another EA product because they invited me along. I am genuinely excited that in effect, one of my favourite EP's of all time, 'Open For Business' from Sims 2 is back with an awesome update! But at the same time they have also bought something completely new to the game which also solved one of the problems that OFB solved. That is of course, the very much requested ability to not only follow your Sims to work but to influence their careers too. So this pack for me really does offer value for money, with something old that we loved being bought back bigger and better than before, and something completely new. I expressed to SimGuruAzure that I hoped all Sims 4 EP's would follow the same trend of old and new, but as she didn't take bribes we'll just have to wait and see on that!

More of the old making a comeback with bells on are Aliens. Abductions and alien pregnancies are a given but there are many new elements not seen before too. Basements also make their return to the game but will actually be included in a free update to coincide with the EP release, so you get 2 floors of basements as well as an additional above ground floor, making 6 storied buildings possible.

There are other great preview articles around the community that have focussed on the new Active Careers so from here on in I'll be concentrating on two things that will have a major influence on the way I play my game, and they are the new Retail System, and the Baking Skill.

In Sims 2 I combined the best bits of Open For Business and Seasons to create a Farmers Market complete with huge greenhouses so that my stay-at-home Sims could harvest tons of fresh goods to sell in their shop. With Get To Work's addition of the Baking Skill and the already excellent food system of base game, I'm a man on a mission to recreate this in Sims 4!

The Baking Skill

Azure explained to me that the introduction of the Baking Skill was to allow players to make better use of the fresh produce available to them in the base game. And if you are thinking "why baking when we have cooking" then let me quote the tooltip for the Baking Skill: "Baking is science in action. You can't just throw random ingredients into a bowl like some chef. You have to have a plan!" Fortunately, that plan involves a large helping of sugar! Some essential objects will help with baking in the Retail System like the Cupcake Factory and the Warming Rack, which are used to store baked food items. As Sims progress in the Baking Skill they can add toppings, frostings or piping (at a small extra cost), to add quality and value.

I was able to find 36 new baked goods, many of which need fresh ingredients. Here is a list, along with some images of my first Store and Baking Skilled Sim preparing some dishes:

Bread Sticks
Pre-made Brownies
Sugar Cookies
Cereal Marshmallow Squares
Oatmeal Cookies
Fish Pie
Blueberry Bagel
Whole Wheat Loaf
Peanut Butter Cookies
Plain Bagels
Onion Bagel
Fruit Pie
Cheesy Bread
Sourdough Loaf
Everything Bagel
Sweet Potato Pie
Carrot Bread
Lemon Bars
Carrot Cake
Spinach & Mushroom Quiche
Potato Bread
Spinach & Onion Quiche
Fudge Bars
Shepherd's Pie
Exotic Fruit Pie
Bread Pudding
Banana Cream Pie
Banana Bread
Fruit Cake
Rainbow Gelatine Cake
Artisan Herb Bread
Chocolate Souffle
Lemon Meringue Pie
Lava Bundt Cake
Cowplant Essence Meringue Pie

The Retail System

Sims can own more than one Store. You can use the phone to start the process of buying a Retail Lot of which the game ships with 3 premade stores and one empty Lot in an area called Magnolia Promenade (photo below), a pretty waterfront area complete with scenic paddle steamer. Here are the details, and there are pictures of each at the bottom of the article:

Paddywhacks's Emporium (20x20) $21,540
JF&S Clothiers (20x20) $119,868
The Roadstead (40x30) $127,125
Preeminent Domain (30x20) $3,000

The Retail System is more advanced than the old OFB model. Sims won't just rock up and buy stuff, they need to be 'sold' by yourself or your staff. The number of customers visiting your store will depend on the store's kerb appeal. You can purchase advertising to temporarily increase kerb appeal, or place retail and neon signs for a more lasting impact (you can view your kerb appeal from the 'financial report' on the cash register).

When you set up a new business you will need to add some funds to it from your family funds balance. Each store you own has its funds managed separately to cover its expenses and actions, such as building, placing items, restocking, paying staff and advertising. Stores can also go into debt where they can then not reopen until you transfer in more cash from your household funds. Likewise, profits from a business can be transferred out to household funds at any time.

Display units can be placed in a store (including freezers for perishable goods) where items placed on them will automatically be set for sale, unless you specify otherwise. Craftable items can be copied but will sell at a lower value. Copies of copies will sell at an even lower value still, but can help maintain a supply of goods.

Employees have 3 different skills that determine how well they will work: Sales, Maintenance and Work Ethic. Sales will influence how they interact with customers and how quickly they can ring up sales. Maintenance is about how quickly they will restock items and clean, while a high Work Ethic means a Sim is less likely to slack off during their shift. If you do see staff playing with their phone, socializing with each other or goofing around having fun you should use the 'berate for slacking' interaction on them. You could also fire them. You can have a maximum of 3 staff per store, unlocked gradually as you acquire Perk Points from sales.

To summarise then....

I wish I had more time to delve into creating and running a business at the event but then again, it's given me something to look forward to when I get my hands on the game on April 2nd (U.S.A. are lucky enough to get it March 31st). I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you will be looking forward to the same additions to your game too. You can of course create a Photography Store using the new Photography Skill, an Art Gallery, Clothing Outlet, Furniture Store or almost anything else.

Feel free to share your thoughts on Facebook, I'd really like to hear what you will be doing with your Get To Work's stores! And I already have a list of needs for our awesome Featured Artists to create for me to build my retail empire, so check back here to get your mitts on some essential retail CC soon!

I make no excuses for missing out loads of the new stuff this EP brings in the time I had. There are plenty of other reports around the community, some specializing in other areas. I urge you to go visit them if you need any more convincing on this product!

Here's to the first Sims 4 EP!

Right. FA's... Gardening and Store stuff please!!!


JF&S Clothiers

The Roadstead

Preeminent Domain

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