Nothing. Don’t panic. Just wait. Be patient. It’s a server issue. The servers will come back again – usually within a couple of hours – they always do. And your Springfield will be there. Until they do, do something else.

I’ll admit that panic set in the first few times this happened to me. But here are some more productive things you can do:

1. Check the clock – if its midnight to 2am central time in the US they may just be doing server maintenance.

2. Check the Origin server status at http://www.origin.com/status . If the servers are down you won’t be able to get in – and if they’ve been having problems you may not be able to see your friends (the account server controls logging in, the social server controls seeing your friends).

3. Check whether it’s a game issue or an Origin issue. Go to your computer and try to log onto Origin there. If you can, it’s a game issue. If you can’t, it’s an Origin issue. Either way, you can relax.

4. Go to the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TheSimpsonsTappedOut and see if others are having the same issue. If they are, you can certainly relax.

5. Load up a regular web page – if it loads slowly or not at all, the problem may be with your ISP, your 3G, or your wifi rather than Origin or EA.

And here are a few things you should never do:

1. Try to create a new account with the same email if you’re prompted to do so. That’s one of the surest ways there is to lose your Springfield or misplace it for the unbearably long time it will take for EA to find it again.

2. Get angry – well, a little angry is probably okay if you’ve spent real money on the game. But don’t overdo it.

3. Panic – people who’ve been playing the game since the start have been through this a few times before. Everything should return once the server problems are solved

One thing I’ve found helpful is to have a game on my iPhone using one of my email addresses and another on my iPad, attached to another. I play my iPhone game on 3G and my iPad game on wifi. If I can get into the game on one and not the other, I know to blame someone other than Origin or EA.

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