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EA Recommends Hilarious Work-Around For RA3 CD-Key

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 301

sunderbear noted that EAs Command & Conquer 3 shipped missing the last digit of the CD Key. He writes "EA's brightest minds have put their synapses into overdrive in order to whip up a comical work-around. 'There is currently a work-around that may allow you to bypass this issue. Since you have the first 19 characters of the code already, you can basically try guessing the last character,' said a note on EA's customer support site. Yes, they're serious. 'To do this, simply enter your existing code, and then for the last character, try the letters A-Z, and then the numbers 0-9. You should eventually get the right combination, and be able to play the game.'" It appears that the helpful hint has been purged.

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No longer true (5, Informative)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641225)

My god. The summary links to an article that links to an article that links to the actual customer support post.
Direct link: http://help.commandandconquer.com/cgi-bin/eacandc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=20760 [commandandconquer.com]

The post no longer mentions the workaround (the summary even mentions this now, so why even post the story?). It merely says to contact EA Customer Support now. The same page also says that the problem only affects SOME, not all, units. Full quote:

Q:
What can I do if my Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 install code is 19 characters instead of 20?

A:
If you are trying to install Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 and the code is only 19 characters long, then it is missing the last letter or number. This was due to a misprint on a small number of manuals and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

In order to get a replacement code, please click the "Contact Us" link on the left side of the page to send an e-mail to our team.

If you would like you can also contact us by phone using the number found on page 28 of your manual.

Re:No longer true (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641507)

What if the phone number in the manual is only 9 characters instead of 10?

Re:No longer true (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641811)

What if the phone number in the manual is only 9 characters instead of 10?

Well, you guess. In this case guessing might be a lot more fun.

You: "Huh? Only 9 digits...let's try lucky 7 for the last number."
Phone: *ring*
Phone: "Helllloooo. You've reached the HOT line, where sexy women are waiting to hear from you. Please press 1 nowwww...."

HOT sexy women (4, Funny)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642781)

They would probably be more helpful...

Re:No longer true (1)

Skippyboy (978787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643323)

True story:
I previously travelled a lot for business and was always shipping packages via FEDEX.
A few times instead of dialing 1800-GO-FEDEX (800-463-3339), I misdialed the last digit and a phone sex line answered.
Anyway - once I was on speakerphone at a client site and misdialed, and the clients looked at me with a variety of shock and mirth.

Re:No longer true (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642775)

You wardail it.

Re:No longer true (3, Funny)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642819)

warfail?

Re:No longer true (1)

troc (3606) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643369)

warfial

Re:No longer true (0, Redundant)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643375)

In all seriousness, hasn't the blunder already happened when they shipped the CD without the full key? What else can they do at this point? Anyone have any better ideas?

Re:No longer true (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641575)

the problem only affects SOME, not all, units.

      Yes, and we trust EA on that one, right?

      Yet another reason not to buy anything published by EA.

Re:No longer true (2, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641801)

Don't worry, I think RA3 uses securom as well.

They'll learn, someday, but remember! they'll use less DRM just like the last DRM they used! /sarcasm

Re:No longer true (5, Funny)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642841)

>>>EA will learn, someday

I'm sure they will eventually stop using DRM, but corporations are a lot like women. Reluctant.

At first.

Re:No longer true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25642401)

Well it obviously hasn't affected all the manuals, or this would have been a stink a week ago when it was released.

As further proof, I bought RA3 a few days ago. My manual had a proper key printed on it.

Incidentally, RA3 is not as good as RA2. But not bad.

Re:No longer true (0, Flamebait)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642729)

Ya, you shouldn't buy from them because of a printing problem. Cuz you know, they own the presses to make the manuals too.

Please. I got my copy premier copy and I have all the characters for the key.

Follow up Question (0, Redundant)

jbsooter (1222994) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641589)

Q.
How can I contact you if the phone number on page 28 of my manual only has the area code and 6 numbers?

Re:No longer true (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642395)

the problem only affects SOME, not all, units.

well lets ask /. ... anyone get C&C with the full 20?

Re:No longer true (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642477)

I think mine did. I don't remember having problems putting the key in. Of course, on the other hand, I don't remember putting the key in at all, so take that as you will. I will have to check it tonight and see what it looks like.

Re:No longer true (2, Funny)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642679)

By clerical error the Contact Us link and page 28 of your manual are also missing.

Electronic Asshats (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641251)

This new sub-game called "CIA unlock" puts you in the shoes of a CIA agent attempting to gain access to a secure terrorist computer subsystem. The first 19 characters are given to you, but you need to randomly crack the last digit before the timer runs out and the game deletes your hard drive. If you win the game, you get to play again by pressing a reset button.

Rumors are circling from insiders at EA, that the next amazing title from EA will enable players to enter the shoes of Joe a shoe salesman from Kentucky. Joe has a problem. He can't find the right shoe for his fat smelly customer. Players will only be able to play if they purchase and install the F.O.U.L. hardware (FOUL stands for Fresh Olfactory Universal Layer.), and you get more points from actually smelling and withstanding more and more disgusting customers. The final boss of the game is a 700 pound woman that has never bathed, and who has developed nearly every possible degenerative skin condition. The game fills your house with something totally unbearable and if you can find her a pair of good shoes after she tries on about twenty or so different ones and tells you about her whole life history, then you get to have an achievement added to your online profile, aptly named the Bundy award, named after Married With Children's Al Bundy, a reputed shoe salesman with class and pinache. Pre-orders start tomorrow and EA expects massive sales on this amazing title, that is loaded with DRM that actually forces customers to perform lude acts with garden utensils for the purpose of cultivating data necessary for visual biometrics to prove the copy of the game is legit. EA denies that anyone who cracks the game will not be able to play, and a spokesperson from EA that shall remain nameless, went on record saying that customers would never play without FOUL hardware because they wouldn't have the benefit of the use of the FOUL hardware, which is revolutionary and next generation by design.

Re:Electronic Asshats (2, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642635)

>>>you get more points from actually smelling and withstanding more and more disgusting customers.

I used to be a shoe salesman in college. Contrary to the post above, you actually get to meet lots of young high-school or college-aged women who are often very beautiful (being young), and often dress with low necklines. When they bend over, they expose all their "charms" to the salesman's eye.

Best. Damn. Job. Ever.

For a college student anyway. ;-) The pay was decent too because I averaged $15 an hour commission; getting paid to flirt with the opposite sex is not a bad deal at all! It's almost as much fun as running for president & flirting with the cute volunteers.

Back to topic:

Guessing 36 combinations doesn't seem like a big hassle to me? And you have a 50-50 chance of getting the right combination in just 18 tries.

Re:Electronic Asshats (4, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642861)

"People who work putting shoes on fat women who wear dresses should not have 20/20 vision."

"Let me explain. It's just like an elevator. There's a 2 ton weight limit on those shoes..."

"Sure selling shoes is fun. But behind the glamour, it's like any other minimum wage slow death."

- Al Bundy

Circumvention? (5, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641337)

Certainly they didn't just post details of how to circumvent a copy protection measure, right?

Re:Circumvention? (4, Insightful)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641517)

No, they didn't. Are you circumventing the copy protection when you enter the CD-Key that they give you? Of course not, so how are you circumventing it when the company itself tells you how to register its own product?

Re:Circumvention? (4, Insightful)

Objix (1354161) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642307)

Well, that's the whole point. They HAVEN'T given you a CD-Key. If they did, you wouldn't need to guess. What they have given you is a unique hint at a CD-Key. Guessing the remainder of the CD-Key is circumvention.

Re:Circumvention? (Yes it is) (4, Insightful)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642527)

It is circumventing. The protection/DRM is designed to require a whole "CD-Key" and lock out anyone who does not have it.

Whether you are missing one letter or 15, you are employing a Brute force attack to circumvent the system that requires a whole key.

Whether it is endorsed or not does not change what it is.

An Aside - I would not call this DRM Copy Protection. It does not prevent copying the DVD, just using it. (minor quibble, but that is another topic)

Re:Circumvention? (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641555)

I certainly hope not. IANAL, (but I do anal) that would entail a direct & clear violation of the DMCA.

=Smidge=

Re:Circumvention? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25642859)

dbag, stop putting =Smidge= in the body of your post. we can all see your handle in the header of your post.

bad troll is bad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641593)

Certainly they didn't just post details of how to circumvent a copy protection measure, right?

...

Re:Circumvention? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641977)

To circumvent entirely, simply repeat the guessing procedure with characters 1 to 19.

Re:Circumvention? (4, Insightful)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642447)

That was my thought as well...guessing one digit is OK, but guessing all nineteen is a brute force attack? How many digits can I guess before I am in violation of the DMCA?

Re:Circumvention? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643397)

All of them.

In courts, they call this "Precident."

Another helpful hint (5, Funny)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641375)

Statistically you should be able to guess the right letter/number in half the keyspace. But in practice, it will always be the very last character you need to try.

So take the character that you were going to start with, and take the very opposite character in order to improve your chances of getting the correct entry faster.

Re:Another helpful hint (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641601)

So take the character that you were going to start with, and take the very opposite character in order to improve your chances of getting the correct entry faster.

What's the "opposite" of seven?

Re:Another helpful hint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641773)

What's the "opposite" of seven?

Nine of course.

Re:Another helpful hint (2, Funny)

Enki X (1315689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642313)

No, it's L of course... or -7... or Gamma.

Re:Another helpful hint (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25642065)

Rotating the 7 character 180 degrees will give you an L.

Re:Another helpful hint (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642173)

-7

For the FAIL!*7

Re:Another helpful hint (1)

sister bliss (1234142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642517)

its !7 of course

Re:Another helpful hint (1)

fracai (796392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642701)

So ... 0405 ?

Re:Another helpful hint (-1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642813)

What's the "opposite" of seven?

42

Re:Another helpful hint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25643127)

>What is the "opposite" of seven?
The neves key, of course.

Re:Another helpful hint (1)

asylumx (881307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643349)

Nine, of course. That's why seven ate nine. ;-)

Re:Another helpful hint (4, Insightful)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641709)

Statistically you should be able to guess the right letter/number in half the keyspace. But in practice, it will always be the very last character you need to try.

Are you retarded??

Of course it will be the last letter you try.. Why on earth would you keep guessing after you have got the correct character??

Re:Another helpful hint (2, Funny)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641845)

^^ Sorry that sounds a tad harsh, was meant as a jibe. Insert similies where applicable.

Re:Another helpful hint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641863)

If a job is worth doing it is worth doing 100% :-)

Re:Another helpful hint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641881)

'Are you retarded?

Or course it will be the last letter you try..'

Are you retarded?

I think 'Woosh' is the term often used... and probably often in response to your posts.

Re:Another helpful hint (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641931)

the principle of it? When I was a kid i'd keep looking after I found things just to make my parents wrong.

Re:Another helpful hint (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641971)

Whoooooosh!

Re:Another helpful hint (4, Funny)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642013)

Think the joke went so far over your head it managed to achieve static orbit.

The point is, even though you mathematically should get the right one in half of the key space, in practice it will always be at the very end - thus if you considered starting at A, reverse and go with Z.

Of course as we know this wont work since that would mean the key would be at A anyways.

Re:Another helpful hint (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643371)

"in practice it will always be at the very end"

Sorry, but that may or may not be true. The original poster however made only completely true assertions.

Re:Another helpful hint (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643057)

"Are you retarded??" No he isn't but you just might be (and I'm not particularily sorry if it does sound harsh). "But in practice, it will always be the very last character you need to try." The last character you need to try is very obviously not another way of saying "the last key you try". I don't even care that you missed his point, learn some fucking social skills and stop going around calling people retarded over completely trivial things.

Re:Another helpful hint (3, Funny)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643265)

Statistically you should be able to guess the right letter/number in half the keyspace. But in practice, it will always be the very last character you need to try.

Reply by Pvt_Ryan: Are you retarded??

I wish we could have mod points for "astronomical retardation". And yes, I'm talking about Pvt_Ryan. :-P

Re:Another helpful hint (0, Troll)

superphreak (785821) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643267)

That's why he said "need" to try. To me, that implies that you've tried all the rest and are left with the last one.

Re:Another helpful hint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25642045)

But in practice, it will always be the very last character you need to try.

Well, of couse you don't need to try any other characters when you've nailed the right one...

Re:Another helpful hint (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642181)

Why? We all know that both the worst and the average case of sequential search are of O(N), so your algorithm doesn't make a difference ;-P

Or you can presumably download it from Piratebay.. (4, Insightful)

Idaho (12907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641397)

.. and just copy/paste the serial from the .nfo-file once.

Not that I care about this game or am planning to buy, download or otherwise even look at it, but it's just another hilarious instance where the pirated version wins hands-down in the convenience department: apart from not needing the DVD to play the game, you don't even have to type the serial, never mind guessing what might be the last character because EA screwed up.

And even after such a major fuckup EA can't even be bothered to release a "no-serial" executable/installer themselves. Who cares, the customer^Wconsumer already paid for it anyway, what are they going to do about it?

Re:Or you can presumably download it from Pirateba (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25643099)

and then it comes to mind... wtf has windows wanting to open the nfo file for me? couldn't they use another F***** extension (windows OR pirates)? ya know, txt, as in text files?

Re:Or you can presumably download it from Pirateba (1)

superphreak (785821) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643363)

Not if you want to play online. Haven't you figured that out yet? Pirated serials won't work for online play. Not when 300,000 people (random number), each from a different IP, all try to connect with the same serial. So no, the pirated version doesn't win "hand's down."

What's wrong with that? (0)

Reapy (688651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641419)

Sure, you can contact them and wait for customer support to figure out what your cd key is, or give you a new one, or you could just spend 5 minutes figuring out the last digit, and play the game you've been trying to install, right now. Mistakes happen, blame the publisher's printing house.

Re:What's wrong with that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25642317)

I'm sure the fastest thing would be to just search online for someone else who posted a working cd-key.

Why is this a big deal (0, Troll)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641437)

I'm not sure why this is such a big deal. They offered to replace it for you if you contact them and send them photo or fax of the bad key. That's a perfectly legit solution. However, that's going to take a bit of time while you wait for your support request to be processed.

If you could instead get the game up and running in 10 minutes by just brute forcing it, I personally consider that a much better work around. I bet most people would honestly prefer that.

So what do you want them to do? Be psychic and send you the code before you even know you need it? Yes, it would be best if there was no problem, but mistakes happen.

Re:Why is this a big deal (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641561)

I'm not sure why this is such a big deal.

People are laughing at it because it's just another example of copyright "protections" only inconveniencing paying customers. Pirates just run a key gen or download a serial online or run a crack.

So what do you want them to do?

Make it so I can put the disk in, click install, and play.

Re:Why is this a big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25643107)

Make it so I can put the disk in, click install, and play.

You could always buy an XBox (ducks...)

Re:Why is this a big deal (1)

Harlockjds (463986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641695)

So what do you want them to do?

Correctly print the code in the first place?

Not require a code since it's not an effective form of protection?

Re:Why is this a big deal (4, Insightful)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642555)

It actually is one of the few relatively solid forms of copy protection, provided a large(-ish) part of your game is only meaningful online, preferably hosted by yourself. You just make sure you can only have one instance of the key logged in to the game. Of course, "non-official" servers ruin the deal, but not even the Battle.net emulators ever got all that far in popularity, AFAICT.

Re:Why is this a big deal (5, Insightful)

number6ebf (739211) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641837)

I would return the game to wherever I purchased it and ask for a replacement since the product is defective. I would open the package at the store to make sure I had a copy with the correct number of characters in the serial key. If the second copy was also defective I would continue to go through all the copies they had in the store until I either had a valid license key or until they ran out of copies. At that point I would then ask for my money back since all copies in the store are defective and I don't want the product at this point. The store should be able to return to EA for a full refund since they did ship faulty mechandise.

Re:Why is this a big deal (1)

superphreak (785821) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643401)

If i could tag a post, it would be "goodluckwiththat" because I really doubt there would be a "suddenoutbreakofcommonsense."

Re:Why is this a big deal (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643447)

I would return the game to wherever I purchased it and ask for a replacement since the product is defective.

I think it's just made the rounds on the news sites over the past few days because EA actually suggested guessing the last digit. It's an oddly human response from a large corporate entity. I might return it, but honestly, it'd be quicker to just guess the number rather than driving all the way back to the store, arguing with the manager over the "no software returns" policy, marveling at the fact that nobody in the store had heard of this problem, given the fact that it's been on Digg, Reddit, Ars, and Slashdot, and driving all the way back home...

Re:Why is this a big deal (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642141)

So what do you want them to do? Be psychic and send you the code before you even know you need it?

      No, that's what a quality assurance department is for - at least in any company that cares about the products it sells.

Yes, it would be best if there was no problem, but mistakes happen.

      Saying "mistakes happen" and leaving it at that, with no consequences, means the company is either too arrogant to admit that they are far from perfect and yet do nothing to "catch" these mistakes when they happen; or the company thinks saving $200k or so a year for a few QA people is far more important than inconveniencing their customers. Mistakes happen SO DO SOMETHING TO PREVENT THEM.

      I'd love to be able to get away with "mistakes happen" with my patients. "You didn't need that leg anyway".

Bruteforce is... (5, Funny)

hierro (809232) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641471)

...like violence; if a little doesn't solve the problem, use more.

Apple iWork (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641569)

That's even worse than what Apple did with the iWork serial numbers. They printed all the digits, but you couldn't tell 0 and O apart.

Re:Apple iWork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25642761)

Yeah and that doesn't happen with other serial numbers, like ever.

they don't realize the danger... (5, Funny)

binary.bang (1372881) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641619)

now that they've revealed how their copy-protection scheme works, what's to stop the heinous pirates from using this advanced work around for the rest of the digits? The entire industry will crumble!

Eh, the game sucked (4, Informative)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641621)

I went out and bought the game, but to avoid their damn DRM, I instantly cracked it. I figure- best of both worlds. They get there money, I get to avoid Securerom!

But then I felt let down, it was kinda a waste of time/money...

Maybe I'm too used to command and conquer 3 and generals (zero hour), but I just cannot get used to the new computer players. I feel like defenses are severly limited in this game, and nothing is sacred. Turtling is not an option for this game. There is only one gameplay- fast, furious attacks. Don't even bother securing resources- you can't. You can't secure anything. Your job is to be the first to build a small army, and bomb the crap out of the other guys. Build resource gatherers later if you need them.

The resources usually run out just before the game gets good, and you're off to a really slow boring ending where nobody has anything left, and you're pretty much throwing sticks at eachother.

But back on the fact that you can't secure anything. They've made if very difficult to be secure. They have a few defenses- but they're typically as useful as if you weren't using them. Expect to rebuild almost every building in your base a few times- if you still need them.

I will repeat, this game is not the long drawn out strategic game as CNC, it is an abridged, attention deficit, ADHD game for those who get bored easily and don't care about building up. Hell, there aren't that many upgrades- so building up and teching up is useless anyway.

*I will admit, I wasn't an avid RA2 fan either.

Re:Eh, the game sucked (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641915)

This is the red alert style of gameplay and has always been(or well, I have some vague memory of RA1 supporting turtling more).

Anyhow, so far in the campaign atleast (Finnished soviet and done half of allies) I havn't had any problem doing my usual turtling and then assaulting with a silly amount of aircraft.

I have to say they could work a bit more on the AI, seriously trying to counter massive air forces with heavy tanks is a bit silly.

Re:Eh, the game sucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641953)

Hmm, well that blows. Base defences aren't all that useful in RA2 either; it's nearly always a better idea to build units since they can defend AND attack, especially if you're the Allies (repair IFVs.) In particular SAM sites are a complete waste of money. They had the balance about right though, you can turtle when appropriate.

Re:Eh, the game sucked (4, Informative)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642103)

That's why a bunch of us still play Total Annihilation, either straight or with a patch called TAWP.

That game allows extreme porc, octopus, rush, or hidden infiltrators. TAWP has some rather nasty vehicles (one being a bertha-car that fires 20+ screens in length). Add that to 1000 units per player for stable play, or 5k for unstable play :P

And it runs on damn near every computer since '98.

Re:Eh, the game sucked (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643053)

Actually, I was quite surprised to find that I like the game. I really, really hated Red Alert 2. If I were to list the 10 worst games I've ever paid money for, Red Alert 2 would certainly be on the list. It represented the absolute nadir of the Command & Conquer series before, to my surprise, it was rescued by EA. I honestly couldn't believe it had been put out as it was after Total Annihilation and Starcraft had turned the RTS genre on its head and C&C2 had been near-universally slated.

However, I'm most of the way through the Soviet campaign now and am enjoying Red Alert 3 quite a lot. The co-op orientation of the game is good... the AI is a little dodgy, but it's passable and an AI ally doesn't put you at an outright disadvantage in the story missions. What's far better is playing the missions co-op with a friend online. You can really tell the missions were designed around co-op play, as they're fantastically well paced; at times, you'll need to work in close conjunction with your ally towards a single goal, while at other times it makes more sense to split up and chase down different objectives simultaneously.

Yes, the pacing is aggressive, but this has always been the way with the Command & Conquer series. If I want to play a slower, more cautiously-paced RTS, I'll play Supreme Commander. To be honest, I've not found that RA3 has yet demanded the kind of all-out aggression that I needed when playing as Nod in C&C3. Certainly, my experience of playing Nod in C&C3's campaign was that if I was not launching small attacks constantly, GDI would out-produce me and grind me into the dust. I never got into the multiplayer much, so not sure if this holds true there. Red Alert 3 generally allows me a bit more time to catch my breath, at least in the Soviet campaign. Maybe the other campaigns are different.

i always try to guess at least one key character (5, Funny)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641733)

It keeps my skillz l33t, yo.

Great idea!! (3, Insightful)

PolarBearFire (1176791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641831)

That's the greatest idea ever! I'm going to save time by buying RA3 with my credit card and let EA guess the account number. Thanks EA!

Re:Great idea!! (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642995)

Well, make sure to give them all but the last digit.

More Fail (5, Insightful)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641877)

Man, out of all of the epic sequels released recently, it's been a giant litany of failure. Far Cry 2 with it's myriad of crashing issues, not to mention all of the instances where enemies / allies just don't appear as they are supposed to, forcing you to reload an earlier game and pray it's a one time bug. (And also the fact that it doesn't feature deformable terrain like they bragged about in interviews.) Fallout 3, with even more crashing issues, including a huge number of people who crash after the intro movie. In a move deemed "hilarious" the pirates have a patch out already that fixes Fallout 3, but Bethesda still does not. It fixes it by deleting the corrupted sound files so you miss some spoken dialog and have to see it on the closed caption instead, but at least you can play the game now. And now RA3 doesn't come with a valid CD key! At this rate the next PC release will give you cancer. And they'll still blame piracy for people not buying their "99% A+++++++ BUY OR DIE" games (according to the reviewers they own).

A Better Approach (1)

airship (242862) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641979)

If Hollywood films about 'hackers' have taught us anything, it's that a teenage hacker with a laptop can insert a handwired card into any slot and generate random characters until the proper password is found. I suggest a similar automated approach to this problem.

It could be worse (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 5 years ago | (#25641995)

It could be case sensitive and only give you 3 tries to get it right before writing a registry entry and refusing to install at all unless you reinstall Windows. (I hear they're rolling that out next year.)

Re:It could be worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25643015)

RegMon - monitor all registry writes and delete such a registry entry.
FileMon - monitor all file writes and delete any phantom "oh no you can't install this game" files.

You Fai7 I7!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25642117)

that supports Cultu8e of abuse playing so it's

Obligatory Penny-Arcade reference (4, Funny)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642169)

Obligatory Penny-Arcade reference [penny-arcade.com] .

alt: download the keygen (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642217)

but then, they dont want to admit that their protection got cracked and the game torrented before they even knew they were going to be making it.

DMCA violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25642347)

It should be noted that following EA's instructions is technically a violation of the DMCA, since the purpose of a CD key is to prevent unauthorized use or distribution of the copyrighted material and they're basically asking you to work around not having the (complete) key.

EA, what the fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25642433)

Evil Assholes. I came up with that name for purposes of sarcasm. But sadly, it's now true. EA keeps falling. I really goddamn hate that half of all games released are under EA's mantle of oppression. I really don't want to feed the children of EA employees anymore. Let them die - let EA die.

Understandable (1)

mindflow (557496) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642609)

I don't get why this is such a big fuzz. I can easily imagine that this hint is actually helpfull for quite a few kids out there. Having loaded up with coffeine, bought a fresh copy of the game and ready to spend the night, I'm sure this comes as a relief (however obvious it may seem in retrospect).

Direct link (1)

vincnetas (943756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642647)

Direct link [commandandconquer.com] to support site. Why hide it under two blog entries ?

What's the big problem? (1)

psychicninja (1150351) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642667)

I've worked in customer support, and I'll tell you that guessing 37 times is a HELL of a lot faster than submitting a service request and waiting for a reply.

Try (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642759)

JUSTIN BAILEY

DMCA anyone? (1)

jeroen94704 (542819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642845)

Wait until the EA lawyers get wind of this. They'll file DMCA suits against EVERYBODY who tried to guess the last character for purposely trying to break a copy-protection scheme.

Oh no wait, the DMCA is sooo 20th century. They'll probably file terrorism charges instead.

Hilarious? (1)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642865)

I don't exactly see this as hilarious. Unfortunate, certainly. It's sort of funny I guess, but really it's probably the most straight forward answer. One letter is missing, just run down the list until it works. What could be simpler? Trying to read your code back and having them regenerate it? Handing out new codes? Sending you some file to remove the check all together?

I know this is getting slammed because it involves both EA and DRM, but the response itself is possibly the best one. I don't have to call anyone, don't have to go back to the store, and don't have to do anything more than write in what the good letter is on my serial number sticker.

Ehh.. (1)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642973)

So, I understand that it's not the best public relations move, but consider the alternatives:

1. Call in to EA, wait in the call queue, then scan or fax your current product code, then have EA figure out what the right last character is (or just send you a new one), then enter in the new one. Total elapsed time: 30 minutes, if you're lucky.

2. Try all 36 combinations, presuming that it doesn't make you retype your entire code each time. Total elapsed time: 3 minutes.

If it were me, I would have taken option 2.

The critical thing here is that they told everybody which digit was missing -- without that information, the minor 3 minutes nuisance would have turned into a much bigger problem.

Re:Ehh.. (1)

rbane3 (1284976) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643437)

torrent solely the .nfo, 1-5m

It's a Feature! (3, Funny)

kpainter (901021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643033)

You get to play this COOL bonus quest before you can play the game. Neat, huh!? It's a feature! Pretty soon, all the game manufacturers will be doing it.

I'll tell you what... (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643233)

Chuck Norris once installed RA3 using a CD-key with only 19 characters. Rumors say that he threatened to roundhouse kick the kernel, thus his PC simply printed the last character for him.
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