Traits are the building blocks of a personality assigned to Sims in The Sims 3, replacing the previous system of personality points. They determine a Sim's behaviors, abilities, and their wishes, including their Lifetime Wishes. There are 63 traits in the base game. Three traits were added with World Adventures, six with Ambitions, one with Fast Lane Stuff, two with Late Night, two with Generations, four with Pets, three with Showtime, six with Supernatural, two with Seasons, three with University Life, two with Island Paradise, and two with Into the Future. Altogether they add up to a total of 99 normal traits.
Each trait is separated into one of four categories based on mental, physical, social, or lifestyle aspects of Sims' lives. For example, social traits may include dislikes children or friendly, while lifestyle traits would consist of technophobe or daredevil. Traits are used to allow Sims a greater complexity in their daily routines over the points system. The more traits a Sim has, the more complex they will be, as a Sim with more personality traits will exhibit a wider range of behaviors than a Sim with only one.
Sims can attain traits in multiple ways. Ordinarily the player will assign a maximum of five traits to a young adult or older Sim in the Create a Sim screen under the "Personality" section. Traits can also be inherited via genetics from either parent, with babies and toddlers having two traits. If the toddler grows up well, the player will be able to choose a third trait for when the Sim becomes a child, and likewise a fourth when the Sim becomes a teen and finally a fifth trait when the Sim becomes a young adult. Furthermore, the lifetime reward "Midlife Crisis" allows the player to re-choose a Sim's traits.
There are limitations on the traits a Sim can have. Foremost, two traits may not contradict each other, such as the good and evil traits, or the can't stand art and artistic traits. Such traits are inherently built around opposing behaviors and intrinsically preclude the occurrence of the other. In addition, Sims may be unable to obtain traits based on their age; one example being that babies are unable to have the charismatic trait or that only teens and older Sims can have the hopeless romantic trait.
Traits also grant Sims different abilities or specific actions which only Sims having those traits can do. Insane Sims are able to use the command "Talk to Self" to boost their own social motive, while vegetarian Sims are able to cook vegetarian alternatives to meals containing meat (though in Showtime, all Sims are able to cook these meals, regardless of traits). Some traits can grant Sims special moodlets, with loner Sims enjoying their solitude or hydrophobic Sims fearing swimming in the pool. Other traits allow Sims a greater affinity for certain tasks, such as angler Sims being more adept at fishing while genius Sims tend to learn more quickly. In this respect, the customization that players can give to Sims via the trait system can make the game more or less challenging while offering a greater deal of variety than was possible with the personality point system used in the game's predecessors.
As Sims socialize with others, they may reveal their traits from certain interactions. For example, asking a Sim's career will reveal if they have workaholic or ambitious traits, or flirting with a Sim will reveal flirty or unflirty trait. Learning traits can be beneficial to Sims. If the Sim has the same trait as the other Sim, they will get a compatibility trait as well as a relationship boost. On the other hand, if they have any conflicting traits, they will get a negative relationship.
Learning traits is very important for Architectural Designer profession. Learning a client's traits is important in order to satisfy their desired objects, such as placing bars for party animal clients, which will boost the scores. Aside from socializing, Sims can easily learn other Sims' traits from several methods:
- Perceptive trait has 35% chance of learning a trait while socializing.[TS3:A]
- Completing the Personable charisma skill challenge will allow Sims to learn traits easier.
- Observant lifetime reward allows Sims to instantly learn 3 random traits of a Sim.
- Sims can learn all the traits by interviewing if they work in Journalism or Law Enforcement career, by interviewing using the mobile radio station[TS3:UL], or by discussing renovation if they work in Architectural Designer profession[TS3:A].
- Vampires can read Sims' minds and learn their traits.[TS3:LN][TS3:SN]
- Genies can ensorcel Sims outside the household to freely control them. Sometimes, the household members will randomly learn the ensorcelled Sim's traits.[TS3:ST]
- Aliens can scan Sims and learn their traits.[TS3:S]
- Using the holo-computer to look up friends on the holo-web will randomly learn details about the selected Sim, including their traits.[TS3:ITF]
Hidden traits are traits in The Sims 3 that cannot be seen in-game except when a Sim performs a related action autonomously or an unlocked interaction is available.
Hidden traits become available to Sims in specific careers, life states, or to babies with an NPC for a parent. The child might then get the appropriate hidden trait
This section describes features that are only available in The Sims 3: University Life.
Sims are born with two traits, and gain an additional trait on aging up from toddler to child, from child to teen, and from teen to young adult. Therefore, a fully-grown Sim has five traits. With University Life, it is possible to earn two additional traits, for a total of seven traits. The trait panel will still show only five traits, but when a Sim has more than five, a scroll bar will appear next to the traits.
The two additional traits are earned by:
- Completing a major / graduating from university. This trait slot has a red border.
- Reaching level 8 of a social group. This trait slot has a yellow border.
Sims cannot earn the extra trait slots multiple times, for example, by reaching level 8 in all social groups or completing multiple majors. If the requirement to earn an additional trait slot is completed more than once, a prompt will appear that will allow reconfirmation or replacement of the additional trait.
List of traits
There are a number of traits that were removed before the game was released. Some of them might be removed because they share similar purpose with an existing trait, or might raise the ESRB rating, while some others were removed unexplained. Some removed traits have their own icons in the game files, while some are only mentioned in the old game strings.
Boring Sims spout yawn inducing conversation topics that put others to sleep. Their jokes are terrible and they don't appreciate the funny jokes of others. Oftentimes they are satisfied doing nothing.
Replaced with No Sense of Humor.
Braggarts enjoy talking about how awesome they are (even if they aren't) to others, all the time.
Part of Snob.
Sims that are Chess Masterminds always know exactly what to do with every piece on the board several moves before their opponents.
Part of Genius. Might correspond to chess.
Conversationalists love a good conversation with family and friends. They can keep almost any conversation from going south.
Replaced with Friendly. Part of Charismatic.
Crybabies have a tearful reaction to negative situations. They won't get mad, they won't get even, they'll just cry.
Part of Loser and Over-Emotional.
Sugar and excess calories just aren't for Sims that Disdain Dessert. For these Sims, desserts are off the menu.
Dreamers dream big! They never settle for the small stuff and are rewarded more when their wishes are satisfied.
Part of Ambitious.
Easily Bored Sims find small talk incredibly mundane. They also need to be entertained more frequently than the average Sim.
Part with Childish.
Gloomy Sims see the negative side of everything and are rarely pleased.
Replaced with Grumpy.
Sims that are Good at Massages give amazing massages. They have the gift of incredible hands.
Part of Flirty.
Greedy Sims desire money with every fiber of their being. It drives them throughout life and at every turn.
Replaced with Mooch.
Sims that Hate Computers will never use a computer willingly. They hate the machines, for no apparent reason.
Part of Technophobe.
Sims that Hate Reading will never willingly pick up a book to read unless forced to do so. They always prefer to spend their time in other ways.
Conflicts with Bookworm.
Hugs are hard to get just right. There are some great huggers out there, though. The best hugs are given by those who Like Giving Hugs!
Conflicts with Great Kisser.
Materialistic Sims love buying new things, and therefore tend to strive towards great wealth. They dream of owning the most expensive items and work hard towards that goal.
Conflicts with Frugal.
Mean Sims love to fight, mostly because they never lose in a brawl. They take satisfaction with every new Enemy made and dream of new ways to be nasty to others.
It has the same description with Mean Spirited, which might mean this is the original name of the trait.
Pack Rats love to be surrounded by stuff and hate it when things are thrown away. Such a waste!
Conflicts with Frugal. Replaced with Materialistic and Slob.
Paranoid Sims are constantly looking over their shoulder for unexpected threats. They see the truth... everywhere.
Replaced with Coward.
What's there to say about Plain Sims?
Broken promises will no longer lead to disappointment. Get back on your feet and go!
Later came back in The Sims 3: World Adventures as the Stone Hearted lifetime reward.
Rude Sims love to mock and insult others with harsh words. A sneer is often found on their faces, and apologies never escape their lips.
Part of Inappropriate, Hot Headed, and Mean Spirited.
Sims that are Ruffians are typically up for a brawl. The decision is easier to make when you know you'll never lose, naturally.
Part of Mean Spirited.
Shy Sims will never approach anyone that isn't a friend and tend to stick to their rooms if they are able. They are also uncomfortable around large crowds of people.
Replaced with Loner. Recreated in The Sims 3: Late Night.
Stubborn Sims have a really difficult time accepting apologies and tend to hold grudges for a long time.
Replaced with Hot-Headed.
The road to knowledge is a slow one for Stupid Sims. They just don't get things. It's not their fault - they try real hard!
Replaced with Absent-Minded.
Sweet Talkers are the best suck-ups in school, at work, or even when complimenting their friends and neighbors. They love to flatter and are very good at it.
Replaced with Schmoozer.
Only referenced in Personas.xml game file.
Vain Sims love to admire themselves in the mirror and they will never turn down a compliment. As far as they are concerned, the sun revolves around them.
Part of Snob. Similar to Diva.
Scrapped for game rating. It has no description.
Worrywarts are easily stressed by the smallest problem and have a hard time getting back to a normal, relaxed state of mind. They take solace in sharing their worries with others.
Replaced with Neurotic.
- Carl's Sims 3 Guide
- Designing Character Traits in The Sims 3, a blog by Ray Mazza