Wants and Fears are aspects of a Sim's life in The Sims 2. Wants indicate something that a Sim, well, wants. These wants can include having a child, wanting to get married, or just speaking with another Sim. A fear however, is the downside to life. Sims gain aspiration points when they fulfill wants, and lose them when they experience fears.
Initially, a Sim is born with 4 want slots and 3 fear slots. However, when The Sims 2: University was introduced, it allowed Sims to get a fifth want slot as a bonus for completing freshman year at college, and to get a sixth as a bonus for graduating. If a Sim gets expelled, the Sim will receive a 4th fear slot.
Fulfilling Wants and Fears
When a Want (or Fear) is fulfilled, the slot it occupies, and sometimes others, will be re-rolled, and a new one will take its place. Wants and Fears are also re-rolled completely at the end of the day, usually early in the morning once the Sim wakes up. Wants will often be re-rolled when a Sim visits a community lot.
The Wants and Fears of children and teens may be rerolled when they return from school. Those of college students may be rerolled when they return from a class, and will be rerolled when they return from a final exam.
Locking Wants and Fears
Wants and Fears can be locked by right-clicking them, and once locked they will be exempted from re-rolls until they are fulfilled. A Sim can normally lock only one Want or Fear, but Sims who have completed their junior year in college receive an extra Want/Fear lock.
Aspiration and Influence points
Fulfilling Wants will increase the aspiration bar by a set amount, and in many cases will also increase the influence bar. Fulfilling Fears will, similarly, decrease the aspiration bar and influence bar. Wants and Fears which affect the influence bar will have a blue border. Wants and Fears that have a strong affect will have a yellow sunburst in the background. Generally, the more difficult a Want is to achieve, the more aspiration and influence points the Sim will receive for fulfilling it and the worse (more damaging) a Fear is, the more aspiration points will be lost if it is fulfilled.
Fulfilling Fears may lower the aspiration bar to the point of aspiration failure, which is to be avoided.
Sims also receive aspiration rewards points as they fulfill their Wants. These points can be used to "buy" aspiration rewards. Aspiration reward points are only lost when used, they do not fluctuate with the aspiration bar. Influence points can be used to "buy" influence options.
The Sims 2: University also introduced the concept of Lifetime Wants. Prior to The Sims 2: FreeTime, fulfilling a Lifetime Want will give a Sim permanent Platinum mood for the remainder of his or her life. Beginning with FreeTime, fulfilling a Lifetime Want will give the Sim Platinum mood, but it will not be permanent, though it will decay very slowly.
Examples of Wants and Fears
Sims in different circumstances will have different Wants and Fears, appropriate to their age level. A toddler, for example, will roll up Wants to be potty trained, or taught to walk, a child Sim may fear their parents breaking up or death, an adult will roll up Wants to be friends with Sims around them.
Relationships with other Sims will also change Sims' Wants and Fears about them. Sims who are just becoming friends will typically fear being rejected for a simple social interaction; as the relationship progresses, this fear will be changed for a more complex interaction or fear of the Sim's death. If a Sim has an enemy, he/she will typically want a bad thing to happen to that Sim.
Similarly, Wants and Fears tend to be influenced by a Sim's aspiration: a Sim with a Knowledge aspiration will tend to want to gain skill points or maximize a skill and fear losing skill points, whereas a Romance Sim will want to WooHoo with almost everyone around them and fear marrying, while a Family Sim will want to flirt with a Sim, marry, and have kids, fearing break ups and getting caught cheating, along with a Fortune Sim who wants to earn lots of money and buy things while fearing burglars and repo men.
Fears can also change as various elements of a Sim's life change. For example, a Sim may fear having another child if they already have 4, or a sloppy Sim may fear changing a diaper if a baby is born. With FreeTime, some wants may be related to a Sim's enthusiasm in a hobby. For example, a Sim who has enthusiasm in Fitness may want to buy an exercise machine.
Some Wants and Fears related to an event may not be unlocked until a Sim has experienced that event. For example, Wants and Fears related to alien abduction may not start appearing until a Sim has been abducted, while a sim with an aspiration other than Knowledge that has been turned into a witch may not roll any wants for a cure, if nobody he or she knows has recently turned into a witch.
Occasionally, a Sim may want and fear the exact same thing at the exact same time. This mostly happens with the "Have A Baby" want, particularly with Family Sims.
When it comes to a Sim being first made and moved in, they will start with simple wants and fears (with no other specific Sim), which include wanting to get a job and meet someone new, while fearing sickness, accidents (wetting themselves), and seeing fire.
Fears are completely removed in The Sims Stories. This was probably done so that the player can focus on the wants of the Sim)
Goals are a special feature in The Sims Stories that only appears in story mode. Fulfilling Goals can unlock story rewards and help the player progress to the the next part of the story. Goals are worth about +250 Aspiration points.