Hey everyone – I’m Ross Treyz and I’m a Balance Designer on SimCity. In this blog post we’re going to go over the difference between wealth and density.
There are three wealth levels of Sims in SimCity (low §, medium §§, and high §§§). There are also three levels of density a building can reach (low, medium, and high). These two things (wealth and density) are not linked, meaning you can have high wealth/low density buildings, low wealth/high density buildings, or various other combinations.
To make it easy, let’s look at all the different wealth/density types:
Low Wealth / Low Density:
Low Wealth / Medium Density:
Low Wealth / High Density:
Medium Wealth / Low Density:
Medium Wealth / Medium Density:
Medium Wealth / High Density:
High Wealth / Low Density:
High Wealth / Medium Density:
High Wealth / High Density:
Got it? Good! Now let’s go over how both density and wealth work:
Density – Buildings will go up in density when they collect happiness. This happens when your Sims are able to successfully complete their life cycle. Residential buildings must send out their workers and shoppers who need jobs and places to shop. Commercial buildings need workers to keep them running and shoppers to buy their goods. Industrial buildings need workers to keep running and places to ship their freight to.
Wealth – There are actually two different levels of land value: medium and high. Medium and high wealth residential and commercial buildings will move into areas of medium and high wealth land value respectively. Industry has its own “wealth” level, but we call it Tech Level and it is not related to land value (in fact, industry always lowers both medium and high wealth land value nearby for residential and commercial).
Let’s take a look at the two types of land value. Medium wealth land value comes from a variety of things: Government buildings (Town/City Hall, Mayors House), service buildings (police, health, and fire), and medium wealth parks (Sports and Nature). No matter how much you increase medium wealth land value, it will not turn into high wealth land value. If you want high wealth Sims you will need to plop the Mayors Mansion or High Wealth parks (Plaza and Formal).
Medium and high wealth buildings take up more space than low wealth buildings. They also house fewer Sims (residential) and have fewer spots for workers and shoppers (commercial). High wealth Sims are also more needy; they will complain earlier and more often about things like the lack of education, power, and water, as well as local crimes and health issues. On the flip side, they provide you with more tax revenue per square meter than low wealth buildings. This chart explains in detail what makes each different type and wealth level of building gain and lose happiness:
One last thing about Sims: they want to shop at stores of their wealth level. So if you have a lot of high wealth residential, make sure that you have enough high wealth commercial stores for them to shop in. The same goes for jobs: most buildings that accept workers will accept workers of at least two different wealth classes. However, medium and high wealth (tech for industrial) buildings will accept more medium and high wealth workers respectively.
In general, you want your ratio of residential to commercial & industrial to be 3:1:1. This means if you want to be balanced, you should have three times as much residential as commercial & industrial. This is not a hard and fast rule, however. As you’ll soon read, there are many things which can change this balance.
If your residential buildings are having trouble getting happiness (or you don't want to have as many commercial shops), try placing a park. Sims can get happiness from visiting parks instead of commercial stores. However, parks can change the local land value, bringing in newer, richer Sims. If you don't want this to happen, match the wealth level of the park to the wealth level you desire.
Tourists (as well as locals) will shop in commercial buildings. This can be helpful to know if you want to help your commercial industry without adding more zoning. Just add a building that attracts tourists. Some commercial buildings will even turn into hotels to service these new out-of-town shoppers. Tourists will stay the night at hotels and then spend their money the next day.
If your industrial factories are having trouble shipping all its freight, but you don't want to add commercial shops, there are plenty of other buildings that accept freight deliveries. Power plants, smelters, refineries, the airport, and trade depots all accept freight. You can even add modules to the airport or trade depots to increase the amount of freight that they can accept. This will give your industrial zones a boost without adding more commercial.
Remember – you can always raise or lower taxes. You can even tax the individual wealth levels of each RCI type with the Department of Finance. When you lower taxes, buildings will density up faster. When you raise taxes, it will take longer for buildings to go up in density. In fact, they may not even go up in density at all. And if you raise taxes too high, your Sims will move out, stores will close, and factories will shut down.
In the end, like everything in SimCity, having wealthy Sims is a choice. Hopefully I’ve given you some insight into how to control your land value to attract the Sims that you want living in your city, as well as a better understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of medium and high wealth Sims.