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Blizzard Boss Says Restrictive DRM Is a Waste of Time

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the what-about-lan-play dept.

PC Games (Games) 563

Stoobalou writes "Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce reckons that fighting piracy with DRM is a losing battle. His company — which is responsible for one of the biggest video games of all time, the addictive online fantasy role player World of Warcraft — is to release StarCraft 2 on July 27, and Pearce has told Videogamer that the title won't be hobbled with the kind of crazy copy protection schemes that have made Ubisoft very unpopular in gaming circles of late. StarCraft 2 will require a single online activation using the company's Battle.net servers, after which players will be allowed to play the single-player game to their hearts' content, without being forced to have a persistent Internet connection."

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563 comments

Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (2, Interesting)

Jorth (1074589) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372782)

Seriously, this is why I love this company. Ever since being a young kid playing Warcraft Orc and Humans, then playing multiplayer against my dad, I've known they make quality games, how they want, when they are ready. I still play Diablo 2 to this day, completing Hell difficultly on Hardcore still gives me a feeling of achievement lacking in recent games!

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32372844)

omg I feel old... Other things I *loved* about Blizzard back in the days: all that was needed on Windows for their games to work was to have the game's folder. You could copy it from one machine to another etc. No crazy Windows registry non-sense. One folder. Copy it at will, have your CD handy, and the game would work. So I could reinstall Windows on my C: drive and Blizzard's games on the D: drive wouldn't need any re-install. That was great.

Nowadays I don't: I switched to Mac since many moons. And the other reason why I love Blizzard: all their recent titles works perfectly fine on Mac too (many hours of fun on Warcraft III on my Macs).

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (3, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372874)

Why the love? They are still shoving restrictive DRM at you, just not as restrictive as another company's DRM. That's like saying that the guy who broke both your legs was really nice because he didn't murder you. (Convert that to a car analogy if it makes you more comfortable)

When Microsoft implemented activation for Windows and Office I complained like mad and stopped upgrading. When games started doing it, I stopped buying games for a long time and just replayed my old ones as I didn't trust game writers enough to connect my game system to the Internet. Even now I try to avoid it by buying games on GOG.com.

You say you still play Diablo 2? How would you feel if you suddenly couldn't play it anymore because a 10 year old game had reached its end of life?

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (4, Insightful)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372942)

That's like saying that the guy who broke both your legs was really nice because he didn't murder you.

It's the DRM equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (4, Informative)

MrZilla (682337) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372946)

What exactly are you talking about?

It's a single online activation. It would not surprise me if they release a patch sometime in the future to remove even that, especially if they take down the auth server. Blizzard has done similar things in the past, although on a small scale. You are not, since 1.15, required to have a CD in your CD drive to play Starcraft or Broodwars.

I don't mind that they are trying to protect the single player part of the game from casual copying. That multipalyer is forced to be on battle.net only is slightly annoying, but I had not intended to play anywhere else anyways.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373076)

... You are not, since 1.15, required to have a CD in your CD drive to play Starcraft or Broodwars.

The current Diablo and Diablo II patches also remove the CD requirement.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (3, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373118)

What exactly are you talking about? It's a single online activation.

You just answered your question. Online activation seems so simple, until it all goes wrong. You might install it on a notebook without net access (admittedly less of an issue these days). The servers might crash. A pirate might have already used your ID and you can't install. There may be limits to how many times you can install, so reinstalling after a system crash will cause problems. I don't know if it may happen in this case, but upgrading your computer may cause the software to think it has been copied onto another system and demand reactivation (or just stop working). The company might go bankrupt or just decide the software is at end of life.

But all that wasn't my point of my original post. The point was that you can't go around saying you don't have restrictive DRM and then implement restrictive DRM, but just less so than someone else.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (5, Funny)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373212)

Yes, you will have trouble installing this on the non-existent computers that have no way to connect to the Internet, even temporarily, but still are modern enough to meet the other system requirements. Yes, if the authentication servers crash, you may be forced to suffer without a video game for an hour or two (or rather, without this particular video game -- presumably you'll still be able to play others if you really, really can't just read a book or watch TV or something). A meteor might come out of the sky and destroy your computer. YOU NEVER KNOW! So many things may prevent you from getting your SC2 fix at the particular instant you want it most...

But all that wasn't my point of my original post. The point was that you can't go around saying you don't have restrictive DRM and then implement restrictive DRM, but just less so than someone else.

Apparently, you can. Furthermore, since "restrictive" can be a very relative term, you can do so with a straight face, in perfect accuracy, and be understood by most competent speakers of the English language, just like you can claim you don't like hot beverages but then drink a "cold" beer that's hundreds of degrees above absolute zero.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (0, Troll)

nkh (750837) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373392)

Yes, if the authentication servers crash

Or shut down forever. I have 20 years-old games that I still play. Can Blizzard swear on the US Constitution that their authentication servers will be available for free in 20 years? I don't think so.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (2, Informative)

rikkards (98006) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373444)

No but looking at past behaviour and extrapolating when they bring the servers down they will put out a no-cd patch.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (5, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373198)

Online activation for singleplayer mode is still leagues more restrictive than what we had just 5 years ago.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32372954)

(Convert that to a car analogy if it makes you more comfortable)

It's like saying that the guy who cut your brakes was really nice because he didn't wire your GPS into the steering wheel and set the first waypoint in the South Pacific.

I guess some people (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372970)

Why the love? They are still shoving restrictive DRM at you, just not as restrictive as another company's DRM.

I guess some people don't mind being screwed up the arse, just so long as its gentle.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (4, Insightful)

Jorth (1074589) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372972)

How is a single online account signup, your key is then bound to this account, any real form of DRM?

I paid for the game, I bind it to my battle.net account which has 4-5 other games on. I can log in and play whenever I want with no restrictions. No install limits, nothing. I can sell my account with all the games bound to it. Or create multiple battle.net accounts one per game and sell them seperately. There's no DRM/DLC or crap like that being pushed by other companies.

If you count a simple restriction of a login to prove the account you logged in with at some point legally bought the game (note the person using the account didn't have to buy it, you could lend it to a friend, or whatever). Then you've missed the point. I download stuff as much as the next guy, but when a company lets me use my purchase of the game the way I want. Then thats a good thing and should be applauded.

I fail to see anything restrictive about what they are doing.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373122)

"I can sell my account with all the games bound to it. "
No you can't. Whoever you sell it to, there is nothing stopping you from reclaiming it later, and the sucker claming fraud, hence it violates the terms of service.

Now "Activation" from a marketing point of view is a good thing, because they can track legitimate sales, and device what to put more development into. If everyone pirates the game and they only make a few hundred sales, then obviously the game is a bomb and they'll shut it down and cease further development.

From the players point of view, "Activation" is still intrusive DRM, albeit the least intrusive next to "serial only"

LAN play was likely removed because it's impossible to keep players from not cheating in a 'netcafe' environment, the very environment that is popular in asia where the highest piracy is. Kill two birds with one stone.

Starcraft and Warcraft II had a very useful installation feature called "spawning", which let you do this kind of net play, but this was early on before everyone had the internet, and often involved dialup, or taking your PC to your friends place, very inconvenient. Now today everyone has internet, wether it's on the mobile phone, dsl, cable, or whatever, and social networks. It's a lot easier to simply load up a friends list, see who is online and play, than it is to phone all your friends to see who wants to play and by taking your PC to their place.

LAN play is dead.

Second sale (5, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373248)

"your key is then bound to this account" because this put an extra burden to the second sale market. IMHO company like blizzard saw that DRM is useless for piracy, but that they could easily pretend to be only checking the validity of your copy without being intruding, when the goal all along is to kill the second hand market and bypass the first sale doctrine.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373004)

Diablo 2? They removed the DRM a short while ago, and there already exists battle.net clones along with the fact that LAN still works?

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373286)

Diablo 2 was just a "what if" example. I wasn't saying that it didn't work. The point was what happens if a new game today was being played in 10 years time like the poster was saying he was doing with Diablo now. Will the new games with the new DRM still work?

The company will intend to remove the DRM at some stage, but this is a volitile market and one day we are bound to have some company go under without freeing up their software. The receivers will be more interested in selling the assets rather than keeping gamers happy.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

Xarius (691264) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373080)

Did you even read the summary?

"StarCraft 2 will require a single online activation using the company's Battle.net servers, after which players will be allowed to play the single-player game to their hearts' content, without being forced to have a persistent Internet connection."

It doesn't seem this game will be EOLed, activate once only...

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

EyelessFade (618151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373164)

Same goes for Windows, Office, Adobe, etc etc etc. But you still have to activate it each time you reinstall. And even worse you tie your copy of CS2 to your battle.net account.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (2, Funny)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373466)

Same goes for Windows, Office, Adobe, etc etc etc. But you still have to activate it each time you reinstall. And even worse you tie your copy of CS2 to your battle.net account.

The day I need a battle.net account to run Adobe Creative Suite 2 is the day I get nothing done with Photoshop.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (-1, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373116)

it's a single activation. are you retarded or something?

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

Eirenarch (1099517) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373128)

If suddenly he couldn't play Diablo 2 anymore this would mean that Diablo 2 Battle.net is down. If Diablo 2 Battle.net is down he won't want to play Diablo 2 anyway since someone who plays that much Diablo 2 probably plays on battle.net only and will find no satisfaction in playing anywhere else.

You may not buy games that require Internet connection but some people buy it exactly because they require Internet connection (i.e. are connected to a service). Have you ever heard of World of WarCraft? It doesn't even have a multiplayer mode with less than several hundred people.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373290)

Actually, for a very long time after it was released Blizzard has been opening more parts of D2 to the modders, and those definitely don't play online(maybe over a lan though). No need for battle.net

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373130)

I have to agree. They are so close to getting it with realizing that the strategy is fundamentally flawed, but still they cling to DRM-lite.

Oh well. One day the industry will get it and drop all copy protection, like it did in the early '90s. And then the next generation of managers will demand protection and the cycle will start all over again and again and again.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373314)

When games started doing it, I stopped buying games for a long time and just replayed my old ones

I'm sorry, but games have had restrictive copy protection since the very earliest days. I remember buying an Amiga in 1987 which came with a handful of games, all of which had copy protection that made them impossible to back up and susceptible to being destroyed by boot-sector viruses.

So your little rant about not supporting games since they started with copy protection is stupid, unless you're still playing Space Invaders or Colossal Cave.

This particular story is about a company going to lengths to minimise the copy protection and minimise the impact of it on end users. If your response to that is going to go off on a rant about copy protection, then fine; be my guest, but don't expect anyone to really take your opinion seriously.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32372886)

Seriously, this is why I love this company.

You love this company because they may brick something you paid for at any time?

Granted, it's less severe than Ubisoft's ridiculous DRM but you still have to rely on them keeping their servers up and not simply stop supporting older games (or worse, going out of business/get taken over).

You still play Diablo 2 but will you be able to play Starcraft 2 after the same amount of time?

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

EyelessFade (618151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372904)

Luckily they have made a patch for all their old games to remove their DRM. Hopefully they will do that to SC2 in time too.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373012)

So you have to HOPE you will be able to use what you paid for?

Yeah ... if that's their business model, don't expect me to pay more than 5$ per game, because I'm no longer buying games but renting them.

This is exactly the reason I haven't bought a AAA full-price game in years. Either give me indie without DRM, DRMed/rented AAA for 5$ or keep it.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373202)

Taken over by Activision, for instance? Or did you mean Activision (who made Pitfall) taken over by someone else?

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32372940)

Unfortunately, they still require online activation, don't support LAN play, and are region locking SC2 so that you can't play with people from a different region without purchasing that regions version.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373152)

Unfortunately, they still require online activation, don't support LAN play, and are region locking SC2 so that you can't play with people from a different region without purchasing that regions version.

I consider region locking a plus. It's not very fun having someone on the other side of the world lagging up your game, which they seem to love doing in Warcraft 3.

I won't miss LAN play so much assuming it doesn't hurt the third party developers adding features that should be in the game anyway (from Warcraft 3: banlists, latency reducers, hosting bots, ping checkers, etc.)

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373028)

Don't forget, this is Activision/Blizzard. They may run their own arm, but they can be screwed with by Kotick if he feels like it.

Re:Call me a fanboi or whatever but... (1)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373378)

Yet if Diablo 2 had the same sort of activation as SC2, and Blizzard stopped running BattleNet, you wouldn't be able to play it today, because when you upgraded your computer (I'm assuming you've upgraded since you bought D2) you wouldn't have been able to activate it again.

What about multiplayer? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32372784)

Hasn't Blizzard said you'll need a connection to Battle.net for multiplayer, even if you're playing with someone in the same room?

Re:What about multiplayer? (5, Informative)

GrayNimic (1051532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372806)

The second link confirms that there still will be no LAN support - the 'offline' mode is for the single-player only. Any networked game, including on a LAN, has to go through Battle.net 2.

Re:What about multiplayer? (1)

54mc (897170) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372950)

All games go through battle.net so that your progress can be monitored, stats updated, etc. You call it DRM, I call it stat tracking. Living in a home with several SC2ers, we've already confirmed that if play a game with all people in your LAN, it will be hosted on your LAN, but you'll still need a connection.

Re:What about multiplayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373008)

Unfortunately, your point of view is wrong. It is DRM, that's absolutely the only reason they do it. All of their public announcements (which you are now parroting) have convinced you otherwise, sorry.

They have removed a major feature and locked you in with DRM under the guise of "stat tracking". Required, unavoidable stat tracking. What if I don't care about that? What if I do care about it, but every once in a while I want to have a LAN party and can't have 8 people connected to the internet?

Re:What about multiplayer? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373054)

To be honest, I call it a good use of coder resources – why fuck around implementing LAN play when that coder could be doing something else, and you can *already* play against someone on the same network as you.

Re:What about multiplayer? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373058)

Sure, that sounds fine, if a connection is available do stat tracking. If it isn't then blocking the game isn't doing you any fucking favours. To not admit that is pretty bad. And I love blizz.

Re:What about multiplayer? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373106)

So why do local games between say family members require stat tracking? How about playing at LAN parties where no internet is available? What about some people who don't want stats tracked say for instance they are having a stupid muck around game rather than actually playing competitively?

In other words, stat tracking is good and fine, but where is the opt-out button?

Re:What about multiplayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373086)

Maybe this is just my inner fanboy talking, but something tells me that Blizzard will eventually add LAN support through a patch, once the initial rush of sales is over and their corporate overlords (Activision) aren't breathing down their necks about OMG PIRATES any more. Blizzard has been reasonable enough to remove the requirement of a CD in the drive in patches for their pre-WoW titles, which demonstrates both a sensitivity to DRM inconvenience and the hindsight to recognize that people are still playing those games. Seems like allowing offline multiplayer later would be the least they could do, especially since they're already forgoing online verification for single-player.

Re:What about multiplayer? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373428)

Clearly, Blizzard doesn't want your sales.

LAN is what made StarCraft the dynamo that it is. By removing that, they've removed all incentive for most people to buy the game.

They could only have two possible reasons to not include LAN (especially considering that it's coded and everything..) and those reasons are copyright infringement (stupid) and being the gatekeeper for all things StarCraft (really stupid).

It won't affect copyright infringement because nothing affects copyright infringement. Not law, not dogma, not stupid commercials, not DRM, absolutely nothing. Hell, the beta was cracked so you could play without a beta key.

If they want to be the gatekeeper for all things StarCraft, they can blow it out their asses. If I buy a game, it is mine to use when I want, how I want. Obviously this doesn't hold in a mass-user environment such as Battle.net, but that's not what I'm talking about.

Because they do not offer this seemingly normal feature, I'm not buying from them. I loved StarCraft to death, but StarCraft II is not worth it if it isn't my game when I buy it. I encourage many others to do the same if that's how they feel.

Re:What about multiplayer? (2, Informative)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372840)

This is the standard for games these days.
I'm afraid we are going to have to live with it.

Those who can't, well guess you'll be playing the cracked version.

Re:What about multiplayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373408)

Well, unless someone somewhere is able to create a BNet2 home server, which won't happen anytime soon if at all, this is very doubtful. Playing solo is quite like missing the whole point, no LAN support...

There, screwed. Kudos Blizzard.

Re:What about multiplayer? (1)

Eirenarch (1099517) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373074)

This is not DRM. This is a missing feature. They decided there is no business value in implementing such a feature and guess what - they are right. The 2 people who want to play in the same room and have no internet connection won't buy the game but they probably won't pay off the investment in developing the LAN feature anyway.

Re:What about multiplayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373312)

But the feature already is developed and works. What they did was adding an ADDITIONAL requirement for an online connection to it.

So it's still only good until the server dies? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32372786)

So it's still only good until the server dies? Or are you going to be able to back up the activation?

Re:So it's still only good until the server dies? (1)

msclrhd (1211086) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372870)

If that happens, they will likely release a patch to disable that part of the installation/activation process.

They did a similar thing with older titles so they no longer require the CD to be in the machine to run the game.

Re:So it's still only good until the server dies? (5, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373060)

Unless of course they DON'T release a patch.
Maybe because they at that point don't want to.
Or maybe they are bought out by someone else who doesn't want to.
Or maybe because they go bankrupt and there are simply no funds or willingness on the part of the company sweeping up the pieces to do so.

Copyright is NOT intended to protect media creators. It is intended to create public domain works by temporarily incentivising creators.

The deal is they get short term profits, humanity gets the product forever after. In addition there are fair use rights in the interim.

DRM breaks fair use, but not only that it breaks copyright itself.

Activation is DRM. DRM breaks copyright. By breaking their end of copyright yet taking advantage of OUR end of the bargain, they are stealing what does not belong to them. They are breaching a social contract.

What if they collect royalties for the many decades they're allowed to, and then just stiff us? What was supposed to be public domain is lost forever.

Please post your address, I'd like to come take all your stuff. You'll clearly be OK with that if I give you the vague impression that I'm "likely" to give it back to you someday.

Re:So it's still only good until the server dies? (5, Funny)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373114)

Please post your address, I'd like to come take all your stuff. You'll clearly be OK with that if I give you the vague impression that I'm "likely" to give it back to you someday.

Oh, come on. After that rant, you can't possibly be suggesting you believe individual people should be allowed to own stuff.

Re:So it's still only good until the server dies? (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373196)

I'm sorry if you disagree with copyright law as it was originally written and intended, as that is all I was trying to make clear.

Those who don't learn from history... (5, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372794)

...are destined to repeat it. I can remember, back in the early '80s, when computer games on floppies (remember them?) were "protected" by weird copy protection schemes, including scrambling the directory so that if you tried to copy the files you'd just get garbage. There were even games that blanked the directory as part of their startup, only re-writing it at the end, so that if you removed the disk before the game was over, you lost everything. It didn't last, because, among other things, people always found ways around it. Now, Blizzard is learning that old lesson Yet Again: copy protection is, and always will be a lost cause.

Gah! Where are my mod points? (5, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372808)

Yep -- proving once again that history goes in cycles even as it progresses, in line with the overarching wavicle nature of the universe. Next up: Bell bottoms, and leg warmers -- this time, together!

Whee!

Cheers,

Re:Gah! Where are my mod points? (1)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373110)

leg warmers? wait what? Don't tell me those are coming back...

Re:Gah! Where are my mod points? (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373308)

Coming back? I saw plenty of 14/15 year olds on the streets this past winter in neon orange/pink/green legwarmers. No sign of bellbottoms yet though.

Re:Those who don't learn from history... (4, Insightful)

ComaVN (325750) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372824)

It didn't last, because, among other things, people always found ways around it

The real reason it can't last is that it annoys paying customers more than freeloading pirates.

Re:Those who don't learn from history... (3, Insightful)

chilvence (1210312) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372854)

I actually stopped being a gaming customer specificaly because of being treated with no respect (by DRM, bugs and lies on system requirements), so I'll vouch for this. I wen't from being obsessed with buying new games to being deeply cynical and spiteful overnight, and I don't feel a smidgen of guilt about it. My philosophy, "you are getting paid by me, you don't get to dick me around" and if more people had the balls to use that philosophy, we wouldn't be in this mess.

Re:Those who don't learn from history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32372994)

I remember way back in the day when the internet was still a fledgling thing, or possibly just a mad dream, there was a...racing game I think it was? that asked you questions from the game manual that you had to answer in order to play it.

Once you lost the manual, though, you kind of could never play the damned game ever again. What a pain that was.

Re:Those who don't learn from history... (1)

jochem_m (1718280) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373226)

I think that was Indy 500, you had to enter word X from line Y on page Z. Civ1 did the same thing. There was a very limited number of questions with very few answers though, so most of the time you could guess.

Re:Those who don't learn from history... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373228)

Maxis did that with some of their games, as did SSI. SimEarth from Maxis at least and Eye of the Beholder from SSI.

I'm sure there were others. The bargain-bin 10-older-games-for-10-bucks boxes would include a PDF copy of the manual with a paper note to look in it, or sometimes would even have a list of just the questions and answers if they didn't offer the manuals.

So correct me if I'm wrong... (5, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372810)

but won't this "activation" business complicate reinstallation onto new OS/computer? And what about the lack of LAN play?

Don't get me wrong, less intrusive DRM is better than more intrusive DRM and I laud both Blizzard's actions and words here, but don't the standard criticisms still apply: that it only hurts paying customers (though it hurts fewer of them than worse DRM) and is ineffective against pirates?

Re:So correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

Thoggins (1162149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372846)

You're wrong. Blizzard's BNet2 keeps a profile of games you own, similar in a way to Steam's - once you activate your game, via CD key or whatever else, you own it. After that, what media your copy of the game came from (your own CD, your friend's, or download) ceases to matter. Your Battle.net account is what gets you access to the online game. I imagine that, in order to play only single player, you will simply need an internet connection to confirm the legitimacy of your copy every time you have to reinstall the game. Re-validating once per install isn't a real tax on a gamer's time or emotional stability.

Re:So correct me if I'm wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32372912)

What happens if I want to install the game on an offline computer? Or Blizzard goes out of business in a few years, or gets bought by someone else that shuts those old servers off to save money?

If I pirate the game I get a better product.

Re:So correct me if I'm wrong... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372966)

Yes, but only slightly so. See, games with constant internet connection required and other such bullshit aren't worth buying because it's LIKELY that they won't work. With this activate once and you're done thing it's highly unlikely that it will fail. If the company goes out of business then you can always pirate it then.

It's actually more of a pain in the ass to pirate the game and have to deal with half-assed cracks and things that don't unlock multiplayer options than it is to buy it. That's really the issue here. There's never going to be enough people that will forgo having the latest game due to restrictive DRM to make a difference. Why? Because people want what they want and they're willing to put up with a lot of shit to get it and they're too lazy to do anything other than complain a little bit. Of course, the laziness also means that if it is easier to pirate your game than to buy it then people won't buy it.

Any sales lost to piracy (I'm not accounting for people that wouldn't buy it under ANY circumstance) for assassin's creed 2 came from, I suspect, 50% of people not buying the game on principal due to the DRM and 50% not buying it because it was easier to get a working game if you pirated it.

For once in my life I can say that I actually like laziness. Make something too hard to do legally and people will start doing it illegally.

Re:So correct me if I'm wrong... (2, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373094)

Uh, no. You don't own it, because your "property," the key essentially the "right to play", the account, is on their server. Their server goes bye-bye? Your "property" goes bye-bye.

Like buying a Ford which can only be remote activated... from the Ford headquarters. Ford goes under or changes its business plan, you now have a nice driveway ornament.

Blizzard is selling you a very expensive coaster with a hole in the middle, and giving you the privilege (which they can rescind) of using that coaster to play a game.

Convenience vs. guaranteed access (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373190)

In terms of convenience, Valve's Steam arguably beats CDs as long as you have a fast internet connection. Switching to a new computer? Download Steam, install it, log in and re-download your whole stuff with a few mouse clicks.

But the problem remains that your access to the games depends on the availability of Valve's servers. If Valve ever goes bankrupt you can probably forget your games :-(

Re:So correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

Pirate_Pettit (1531797) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372960)

Indeed. While I approve of their activation method (I like steam), The removal of LAN play says more about Blizzard's fear of piracy than their less-intrusive-than-UBI DRM. I don't mind copy protection on principle, merely on a case-by-case basis, but lets not pretend that no-LAN isn't part of that protection, and thus QUITE restrictive, by comparison.

I'll miss you, spawn mode.

Re:So correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372976)

What Blizzard has figured out is that people will buy Starcraft 2 because of product loyalty. What I've seen of beta testing leeds me to understand that another portion of the playerbase will buy it because it's really well made.

The single verification (and not continuous online connection) will stop a large proportion of casual piracy, but it won't stop it all. Blizzard probably did the math of how much it would cost them to implement strict DRM, how many customers they would lose over this, and just how effective such DRM, ultimatly, would be.

Also, by making the verification a simple process, you don't throw down the gauntlet to pirates challenging them to try to beat your DRM. I imagine that no other game was so aggressively pirated as Assassin's Creed, specifically because it claimed to be unpiratable. And as online game will require constantly internet connection to battle.net, and you'll need to have registered version of the game attached to your account, very few people will use a pirated copy, as that is the primary attraction to SC2.

What I would like to see is that the game beats Assassin's Creed on sales, not despite lesser DRM, but BECAUSE of lesser DRM, and because of loyalty to the brand.

Re:So correct me if I'm wrong... (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372998)

I agree! Getting punched in the jaw is definitely better than being stabbed in the neck, but they both suck.

I might prefer less restrictive DRM than more restrictive DRM, but ultimately (as your last paragraph states!) it only hurts paying customers. I can't see how you "laud ... Blizzard's actions" here.

It's almost as though you like being punched in the face, because hey, at least you're not getting stabbed. Why not neither?

Re:So correct me if I'm wrong... (0, Redundant)

cabraverde (648652) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373044)

but don't the standard criticisms still apply: that it only hurts paying customers (though it hurts fewer of them than worse DRM) and is ineffective against pirates?

And that you're screwed when their activation server is eventually switched off.

To applaud blizzard for this stance is like the frogs being grateful that the pot hasn't got any hotter recently (reference [wikipedia.org])

Re:So correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373362)

>>but won't this "activation" business complicate reinstallation onto new OS/computer? And what about the lack of LAN play?

It's amazing that Blizzard is touting only "a single online activation" for a game that can be played in offline mode, as if this was a good thing.

I mean, sure, it's better than needing a constant net connection, but needing a net connection to activate a single player game is still like getting poked in the eye by a stick.

That's easy for Blizzard to say... (5, Insightful)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372818)

Their games are mostly played online, and they've left out home network play. Their DRM is not the usual crippleware, it's the new kind of crippleware that puts necessary software on the server while taking away features gamers have loved for over a decade.

That straight-faced lying bastard. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32372830)

Starcraft 2 requires an internet connection to Battle.net in order to play multiplayer. LAN support was stripped out during development.

They've removed features from the original game in order to "prevent" piracy in the sequel. That's pretty much the goddamned definition of onerous DRM.

Re:That straight-faced lying bastard. (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 3 years ago | (#32372992)

Exactly. It's interesting to see people heralding Blizzard simply for not using nazi-level DRM. They should be criticized for removing the LAN feature from the game, not praised for not using always-connected DRM.

Likely, they considered always-connected DRM and didn't use it because they didn't want to spend the money to operate the shitload of servers they would need for it. Think about it. WoW costs $15 due, in part, to the fact that these servers cost a good amount of money to run. Now imagining having to operate as many servers as WoW requires but for every single-player game as well. They'd go bankrupt without charging a monthly fee. Of course, no one in their right mind is going to pay a monthly fee for a single player game.

I wonder if this was a business decision or a customer service decision. Hopefully the latter, but the former isn't implausible.

Re:That straight-faced lying bastard. (0, Redundant)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373046)

LAN SCHLAN... the statistics tracking, achievements, and similar multiplayer features require battle.net. They would have had to strip those features for the LAN version, so the exact opposite argument could be just as easily made. Rather than provide a stripped-down, feature-lite version for LAN play, they just decided to make sure everyone always has all the features available.

"If and only if they have a connection to the Internet", you say. Yup. And they assume everyone does. They're willing to lose the three potential customers that might not be true for in 2010. I know some people find that hard to believe, but those kids playing on your lawn all have Internet access. Saying "it excludes anyone who don't have Internet" stopped being a serious argument years ago...

Re:That straight-faced lying bastard. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373098)

fuck off fanboy. LAN players don't give a shit about statistics tracking and achievements. You might figure that out if you had friends.

Re:That straight-faced lying bastard. (2)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373108)

Saying "it excludes anyone who don't have Internet" stopped being a serious argument years ago...

It excludes people that want to play the game on a computer not connected to the internet. There are some reasons to do so, but it does seem kind of odd to be playing games on a PC connected on a LAN, but not to the internet.

Ubisoft : DRM isn't about piracy but used games (5, Interesting)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373000)

And here Blizzard has a trick : WoW requires a monthly fee. So used games resell aren't a "threat" to its income.
StarCraft 2 would essentially be played online thru its battle.net servers and there you will need to have a valid account and register your game, as you would need to with Ubisoft. No one plays offline and alone.

Ubisoft's AssassinCreed2 is a game you can play only alone. So the "phoning home" from the DRM is artificial while it is "hidden" in games with a naturally online gameplay.

Re:Ubisoft : DRM isn't about piracy but used games (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373206)

And here Blizzard has a trick : WoW requires a monthly fee. So used games resell aren't a "threat" to its income.

I haven't seen anything that indicates that Diablo III or StarCraft 2 would require any kind of pay account.

Sure, you might need a battle.net-account, but there are no requirements for payment of any kind.

To be sure, I just created a new one. I own no Blizzard games. But I could still create an account. No requests for credit card or other payment options, no questions about what game I own (i.e. CD key) etc.

There IS a chance, that once I've added a game key to my account, I can't remove it afterwards, but since I don't have an account, I can't say for sure if that's the case. I also don't know, if you can have a key attached to multiple accounts.

But Diablo and Diablo II had none of those issues.

Re:Ubisoft : DRM isn't about piracy but used games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373470)

There IS a chance, that once I've added a game key to my account, I can't remove it afterwards, but since I don't have an account, I can't say for sure if that's the case. I also don't know, if you can have a key attached to multiple accounts.

with wow keys, you attach it to your battle.net account and that's it. you can't remove it, you can't attach it to more accounts. i'd have to assume it's the same for starcraft.

Fair enough but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373030)

Dropping LAN support was a dick move aimed directly at pirates.

It wouldn't be so bad if the new Battle.net was the greatest multiplayer platform ever. Heck, it wouldn't be so bad if the new Battle.net was just a good multiplayer platform period. But the fact is the new Battle.net is one of the worst multiplayer platforms I have ever encountered.

Every time they roll out new features - the latest being 3v3, 4v4, and custom maps - the more Bnet2 stumbles and falls flat on its face. I thought the game was shaping up well for release, and -game- wise it is, but Bnet2 just gets worse and worse.

Why do all recent games feel that a list/lobby based multiplayer environment is a bad thing?

Re:Fair enough but... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373140)

But the fact is the new Battle.net is one of the worst multiplayer platforms I have ever encountered.

Worst compared to... I have to ask, how many platforms have you been allowed to play before they were finished? Or were you actually comparing finished products with stuff still in development? You realize that's kinda stupid, right?

Re:Fair enough but... (2, Insightful)

Trolan (42526) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373158)

Why do all recent games feel that a list/lobby based multiplayer environment is a bad thing?

Because the average Internet using gamer has proven to be a douchebag and not suitable to be out in public.

That and it doesn't scale well at the numbers Blizzard is looking at for SC2. What's the benefit of a list, when you have 21,000 games in it? What's the benefit of a lobby when you have 2,000 lobbies? You can't realistically find something by looking manually and produce a good user experience, so you let matchmaking take over for you.

Re:Fair enough but... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373264)

Matchmaking? What about search? If you can't search for the players you want, then your LAN party can't play the game, even on BNet. Surely there's search? Automatch only would be a real deal-breaker worse than no LAN.

Re:Fair enough but... (1)

Trolan (42526) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373348)

There's a friends system built-in. You can either friend a game specific player's avatar, or if you know their email address and they approve your request you can setup a mutual "RealID" friend connection, which even works cross-Blizzard games (friend in WoW? See if they want to join you in SC2). From there you can setup a 'party' and play your games as a group.

Re:Fair enough but... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373404)

Ah, thanks. You had me worried there for a minute. I still probably won't buy the game at least for a long time, mostly because I don't buy many games these days. With all the older games I already have and the decent noncommercial games out there, I just can't see the point of buying yet another RTS at full launch price right now, even if it is really good. I'll keep it in mind next year, though.

We played pirated Starcraft (5, Insightful)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373124)

My friends and I used to play cracked Warcraft and Starcraft copies on our PCs. After we graduated and eventually had jobs, some of my friends bought authentic CDs because they felt that it was the right thing to do. They said that they've always wanted to buy the real thing but they didn't have money to do so. It was then that I realized that the figures that some companies claim to have lost to piracy are just a bunch of BS. I also realized that in order for a software company to be profitable, they need to make quality software that people actually use. Attempting to control how people copy their software is a waste of time.

Constant connec to Battle.net mandatory for multi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373134)

Battle.net appears to be a very restrictive system for multiplayer. I'm in the SC2 Beta (having preordered), and Bnet has been having issues last week, which would interrupt an ongoing game.

So apparently, a constant connection to Battle.net is required for the entire duration of a multiplayer game. I can understand the requirement for setting up a game, but not afterward. (I view Bnet as no more than a sophisticated lobby system, which is apparently wrong). Multiplayer represents 80% of SC2's worth for me, and that constant dependence on Blizzard's servers makes it little better than Ubi's terrible system.

Funny stuff.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373346)

"DRM is ugly and a horrible thing. Only IDIOTS like EWWWbisoft use DRM." -blizzard

(oh btw, sc2 will have DRM lolz.)

Fucking retards.

No persistent Internet connection required? (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 3 years ago | (#32373370)

Not to the auth servers maybe but playing warcraft without a near perfect connection is not really possible.

DRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32373476)

Excuse me if I'm wrong, but isn't a one-time registration more like a common "Product registration" than DRM?

Everytime you buy something for your computer, there usually is a "Online registration" to follow, I don't know about any who uses that, but it's more because it's something you don't need to do.
Now, Starcraft 2 is build around being online and playing your friends, it's linked to your battle.net account, so to have to register your copy to your battle.net account can't really be counted as DRM?

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