With Sims 2, our little pixelated people had personalities determined by a number of “slider bars”. There was, for example, a “Neatness” quality, going from the extreme of being a total slob to the opposite extreme of being one of those neat-freaks we all know. Each sim we created fell somewhere on that range. I don’t even recall now what the other sliders were.
Beginning with Sims 3, things changed. Now, our sims have “traits” — and they cover a lot of ground. Some, such as the “squeamish” trait, are little quirks more or less. Others, such as art-lover and music-lover are more prominent in how a sim lives and what that sim chooses to do.
With all expansion packs to date, we have a little over forty different traits available. To be honest, with the exception of only a few “large-scale” traits, I see very little difference in the behavior and choices of my sims. It’s frustrating, too, because the traits are very stereotypical. Every “materialistic” sim will want a swimming pool. Every “good” sim will want to donate money to a charity. Every “creative” sim will want to buy an easel whether they’re an artist or not. Instead of adding individuality to our sims, IMHO the trait system only makes them more generic.
But that’s how it is.
One of the most frequently-asked questions around simming communities is, “What’s the best way to pick traits?” The answer, of course, depends on how you play and what you want from your families and neighborhoods.
Here are a few ideas and suggestions for choosing traits for your sims, whether they’re created in CAS or are young sims “aging up” in the game.
General Game Theme
Some players like to have highly specialized populations for a particular game, such as a game in which all sims are mean, evil, or have other negative traits. Another player might build a world around sims in the arts, choosing creative traits for every sim. Yet another might develop a “geekdom” with all sims possessing the genius trait and other “geekish” qualities.
Many family players — those who focus on couples raising children — will choose traits that help create strong families or which are geared toward professional success. It takes money to support large families, so giving a sim the “ambitious” trait might be a good choice.
One way in which the trait system may be helpful is by pairing them with aspirations and careers. If you have a sim who aspires to be a “musical genius”, then it makes sense, of course, to give them the “music lover” trait, and probably the “creative” trait, as well. If your sim is going to be an entertainer, then choose friendly, outgoing traits — unless you deliberately want to make your sim miserable. If that’s your plan, then choose traits that go against the typical occupational styles. Take a loner sim, for example, and try to make him or her a top entertainer, or put a lazy sim into the athletic career.
Most players I’ve talked to prefer to choose traits randomly. When I create new sims in CAS, this is my preferred method, too. I use the Random.org website to select three traits. I then look at these traits as a whole and allow them to guide me — and the sim — toward the best career choice.
Another popular site is The Sims 4 Random Trait Generator. It’s handy because you can begin with a particular aspiration — such as Popularity — and randomly select traits to correspond.
The thing I do like about the trait system is that I can create trait-based families. After all, in real life, don’t we develop many traits based on what we learned from our parents and siblings? Isn’t it true, as well, that talents often run in families?
Here’s my “trait-giving” method:
- When a baby becomes a child, I select one trait from a parent and pass it down to that child. If the child is female, she receives her first trait from her mother. A son receives his first trait from his father. To me this seems realistic since little girls often mimic their mothers actions and attitudes, while little boys want to be like their father.
- Next, when that child becomes a teen, I select a trait from the opposite sex parent — that is, a daughter gets a trait from her father, a son gets a trait from his mother.
Sometimes this practice is a bit tricky, however. Even though we have about forty adult traits, only 26 of those (at my last count) are available for children. This does limit the traits that can be “handed down”, unless, of course, I want to later edit a sim in CAS.
- When a teen sims comes of age they receive a third trait, and in my game, here’s where I go again to Random.org. I randomly choose from the forty traits available to round out my sim’s personality.
One of the things I most enjoy with Sims 4 is the fact that I can use the cas.fulleditmode cheat to alter a sim’s traits. They aren’t “set in stone” as in the past. I do change my sims’ traits from time to time as situations and ongoing storylines demand. I’ve changed non-committal sims to family-oriented. I’ve even turned a good sim to evil. In real life, people do change, and I like the fact that I can now reflect this in my game.
What’s YOUR method for choosing traits?