Sims 4 Wants-Based Gameplay for More Fun & Drama!

Sims 4 Whims-Based Gameplay

Wants-based gameplay in The Sims 4 is a strategy I use to make gameplay more fun, spontaneous, and interesting. Instead of making my Sims do things, I let them choose their own paths in life. 

Now, wants (previously known as whims) are a big issue I have with The Sims 4. They aren’t very good, and they’ve basically been abandoned by the developers. No new wants are released for the newer expansions and packs, which is hugely disappointing for someone who likes to play wants-based. 

This playstyle works much better in The Sims 2 and The Sims 3. I’ve found a way to make this strategy work in The Sims 4, but it does require a couple mods.

LAST UPDATED: 01/11/2024 ~ Changed wording from whims-based to wants-based, updated mods and guidelines.

Mods for Wants-Based Gameplay

I recommend the following mods for wants-based gameplay. Without them, you will have a very hard time playing this way because your Sims will not get unique wants based on their personality. 

  • Hopes & Fears Mod – Overhauls whimsets for Traits, Aspirations, Careers, Skills and more by adding new Wants to these sets, specifically custom ones. Necessary if you play wants-based.
  • Personality Mod – Adds six reward traits to the Reward Store inspired by the six Aspirations from Sims 2: Family, Fortune, Knowledge, Pleasure, Popularity and Romance. Each reward has custom wants included that correspond to that personality. To see how I assign these traits, check out my Sims 4 gameplay rules
  • The Hobby Mod – Adds 14 Reward Traits to the game, for children through to elders. Each of these traits are inspired by the Hobby Tracks from The Sims 2 Freetime, plus a few new categories to fit The Sims 4. Also adds  new wants related to the hobby traits.

How to Play Wants-Based

I have made a Youtube video about how exactly I play wants-based (see below), but I will also cover the major points here. (NOTE: This video is quite old and was made before wants and fears were released for The Sims 4. However, the general strategy is still relevant.)

Because The Sims 4 wants work differently than wants in the older games, it’s difficult to play 100% wants-based. Sometimes you have to make decisions for your Sims because they just won’t get wants for things. Other times, you may have to decide some wants are not right for them.

The point of playing this way is to allow Sims to make as many decisions as possible for themselves – within reason. It’s not to blindly follow every single want, but to use their wants as a guide for their lives. 

Career Wants

If a Sim gets a want to start a new career you may have to decide which career is best for them. If they get a want for a career but they already have one, you have to decide if they should switch or stay where they are. 

If you use the personality mod, Sims will often get wants for specific careers so you don’t always have to choose. You may also want to consider their college degree, if they have one. It helps to set some rules around careers. You can see my career rules here

Sims 4 Career Whims
Sims with a promotion want can do whatever it take to get promoted.

If a Sim gets a want for a promotion at work, I have them work on whatever they need to get the promotion. 

Relationship Wants

I prefer not to force romance on my Sims, but allow it blossom naturally through their own choices. 

Here’s an example. Travis, Liberty, and Summer all live together. There’s romantic feelings between all of them, but only two of them will end up together in a steady relationship. I let them choose amongst themselves. 

Travis gets a want to flirt with Liberty. I direct him to do so, and they fall in love. Now, they keep rolling wants for each other and I keep following them. They decided they wanted to be together, and Summer will have to find another partner.

Unless she gets a want to flirt with Travis anyway – and then the drama begins! Your Sims will create their own stories this way if you just follow their dreams and wishes. This makes playing the game so much more fun because you never know what will happen!

Other Wants

I fulfill other wants for my Sims as I can, allowing them to pursue their interests, have fun, buy new things, have children, etc. 

If Sims need to have fun, for example, I look at their wants and see if they want to do anything that would give them fun. If they’re currently just sitting around the house, I’ll look at their wants and see if they want to go any specific place (like a bar or lounge). 

Encouraging Wants

If I really want my Sims to pursue a romance or get to know someone, then I encourage them with their wants.

For example, one of my Sims meets his cute, single next door neighbor. He later gets a want to “call someone on the phone,” so I have him call her up. They chat for a while, and later he gets a want to text someone. 

Sims 4 Romance Whims Flirty Text
You’ll have to decide when Sims get generic romance wants like sending a flirty text.

I have him text her, and she invites him out to the park. Then, he gets a want to hug someone, so I go in for the friendly hug. Before you know it he’s flirty and wants to go on a date. I use his wants to encourage a relationship, but ultimately he decides if he likes the other Sim or not. 

If they don’t get along or he meets someone else he seems to like more, his wants might lead him down that path. If he gets flirty chatting with a specific Sim, for instance, I take that as a sign that he probably wants to go out with her.

Because Sims don’t always get wants for specific Sims, you sometimes have to make these decisions using your best judgement. Again, wants-based gameplay means using wants as a guide for your Sims’ lives. 

When to Ignore Wants

Every single want your Sim gets is not going to make sense for them. Unfortunately, that’s a problem with The Sims 4 because they didn’t really tie wants to personality or make them appear in any logical order. Mods help, but they don’t fix the problem entirely.

Sometimes your Sims will get wants you just have to ignore. For example, if your Sims is dirt-poor and they get a want to buy a new dishwasher, it’s probably not a good idea to spend every last penny on an unnecessary appliance. 

Your Sim may want that dishwasher, but that doesn’t mean they can afford it. 

If your Sim becomes confident and wants to start a new career, but you know they’re in the perfect career path already, you may want to ignore this. Emotional wants don’t make a lot of sense in The Sims 4. All Sims get the same ones, and many times they aren’t helpful.

Dates & Goaled Events

In The Sims 4, dates and goaled-events just feel like boring checklists with tasks to complete. But when you play wants-based, you can make them more challenging by only completing a task if your Sim has a want for it.

On a date for example, if your Sim has a want to flirt – direct them to flirt. If they don’t, then don’t. This way, the date may not work out (or at least there’s a chance you won’t max out the progress bar every single time). That’s about as challenging as dates can be in TS4, unfortunately. 

But this also gives more autonomy to your Sims when they’re on dates. If they aren’t really into the other Sim, maybe they won’t want to continuously flirt with them. Or maybe they just want to take it slow. Use their wants as a guide to see how they’re feeling about the situation. 

Letting my Sims Fail

Another thing that makes wants-based gameplay so much fun is that it allows your Sims to fail – at relationships, at their career, at college, and just at life. I don’t like all my Sims to reach the top of their careers and get super rich. That’s just not fun to me. 

By following their wants, you let them make the decision to progress in their careers or work on skills. Some Sims will have NO interest in learning new things or improving their skills. Instead, they’ll stay at the bottom of their career ladder and remain poor. 

Sims 4 Skill Based Whims
Some Sims will want to work on skills, while others won’t.

I only have Sims work on skills or career-related tasks if they get wants for those things OR if they do them autonomously. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If Sims get a want for a promotion, I have them do whatever they need to get a promotion.

I find this much more realistic. Just like in real life, some people are not ambitious. Some people never become rich. Some people never get promoted, and some people even get fired from their jobs for poor performance. As The Sims is a life simulator, I want it to mirror real life in this way too. 

The Sims 4 can be far too easy (in my personal opinion). But playing wants-based adds an extra challenge that makes the game more fun and dramatic. 

Wants-Based Gameplay is More Fun

I know some people prefer to play their Sims differently – controlling ALL their actions and ignoring wants OR maybe fulfilling wants sometimes but not really paying much attention to them. But for me, coming from The Sims 2 and 3, this is the way I have the most fun. 

I love giving my Sims a chance to make their own decisions, a chance to fail or succeed based on their own decisions. It adds an element of surprise to the game instead of the standard formula of work > build skills > get to the top of career > become super rich > get bored with game. 

Some Sims may never want to get married. Some Sims may want to have affairs. Some Sims may want many children – while others want none. Some Sims stay poor or make bad decisions, while other become rich and successful.

Give it a try and you might find that it’s a more fun and exciting way to play if you’ve become bored with standard gameplay. If you want more ideas for making the game fun, check out my post on Playing The Sims 4 Rotationally

2 thoughts on “Sims 4 Wants-Based Gameplay for More Fun & Drama!”

  1. I love how you try to bring over this playstyle from the sims 2! However, I have found using both these mods, I still get repetitive whims. Example, my knowledge sim with this whim overhaul just wants to get abducted by aliens, hack something, and become flirty because of the season, over and over. Really wish TS4 team hadn’t abandoned whims..


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