Whims-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, 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 whims are released for the newer expansions and packs, which is hugely disappointing for someone who likes to play whims-based.
This playstyle works much better in The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 (where it’s commonly called wants-based playing). I’ve found a way to make this strategy work in The Sims 4, but it does require a couple mods.
Mods for Whims-Based Gameplay
I recommend the following mods for whims-based gameplay. Without them, you will have a very hard time playing this way because your Sims will not get unique whims based on their personality.
- Whim Overhaul – Scroll down the page to find this one. It’s an overhaul of the EA whim system which increases the chances for family-based whims and tunes down whims to buy new stuff. Special whims for: pregnancy, elder life stage, childhood phases. Plus, it adds new whims for all the expansions. Only download the whims for expansions you own.
- 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 whims included that correspond to that personality. To see how I assign these traits, check out my Sims 4 gameplay rules.
How to Play Whims-Based
I have made a Youtube video about how exactly I play whims-based (see below), but I will also cover the major points here.
Because The Sims 4 whims work differently than wants in the older games, it’s difficult to play 100% whims based. Sometimes you have to make decisions for your Sims because they just won’t get whims for things. Other times, you may have to decide some whims 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 whim, but to use their whims as a guide for their lives.
If a Sim gets a whim to start a new career you may have to decide which career is best for them. If they get a whim 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 whims 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.
If a Sim gets a whim for a promotion at work, I lock in that whim and have them work on whatever they need to get the promotion.
The whim overhaul mod provides more relationship whims, which can help you with choosing your Sim’s romantic partners. 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 whim to flirt with Liberty. I direct him to do so, and they fall in love. Now, they keep rolling whims 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 whim 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!
I fulfill other whims 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 whims 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 whims and see if they want to go any specific place (like a bar or lounge).
I lock in important whims such as having a child, getting engaged, etc. And I will cancel whims that are impossible to accomplish due to circumstances.
If I really want my Sims to pursue a romance or get to know someone, then I encourage them with their whims.
For example, one of my Sims meets his cute, single next door neighbor. He later gets a whim to “call someone on the phone,” so I have him call her up. They chat for a while, and later he gets a whim to text someone.
I have him text her, and she invites him out to the park. Then, he gets a whim 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 whims 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 whims 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 whims for specific Sims, you sometimes have to make these decisions using your best judgement. Again, whims-based gameplay means using whims as a guide for your Sims’ lives.
When to Ignore Whims
Every single whim 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 whims 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 whims you just have to ignore. For example, if your Sims is dirt-poor and they get a whim 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 whims 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 whims-based, you can make them more challenging by only completing a task if your Sim has a whim for it.
On a date for example, if your Sim has a whim 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 whims as a guide to see how they’re feeling about the situation.
Letting my Sims Fail
Another thing that makes whims-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 whims, 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.
I only have Sims work on skills or career-related tasks if they get whims for those things OR if they do them autonomously. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If Sims get a whim 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 is far too easy of a game. But playing whims-based adds an extra challenge that makes the game more fun and dramatic.
Whims-Based Gameplay is More Fun
I know some people prefer to play their Sims differently – controlling ALL their actions and ignoring whims OR maybe fulfilling whims 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.