×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

DRM Broke Dragon Age: Origins For Days

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the hope-it-was-worth-the-pr-nightmare dept.

DRM 214

Martey writes "Ars Technica reports that a server problem with the DRM authentication servers has caused Dragon Age: Origins players to be locked out of any saved games that include downloadable content. Quoting: 'Thanks to a combination of DRM idiocy and technical and communications failures on the part of EA and Bioware, I (along with thousands of fellow EA/Bioware customers) spent my free time this past weekend needlessly trapped in troubleshooting hell, in a vain attempt to get my single-player game to load. The problem, it turns out, was the Bioware's DRM authorization servers.'" An update to the article indicates the problems have finally been resolved.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

214 comments

I too have resolved the problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815034)

Even before it began, I just refused to buy malware laden FUD.

Re:I too have resolved the problem (5, Informative)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 3 years ago | (#35815272)

I am lucky that I didn't get screwed with this. I normally do a quick google search on what the DRM of a game is before I buy, and most of the matches were of the announcements that this EA title didn't have SecureROM DRM. There was no mention of the DLC having it. Is this a tactic to look like they are listening to their users' complaints while stabbing them in the back once they have made their purchase?

If you look at the game on Steam (yes, I know that adds its own DRM), there is no mention of the usual EA DRM text on the Ultimate Edition [steampowered.com] that includes the DLC. They sell that version cheaper than the vanilla edition [steampowered.com] to suck you in (your local prices may vary). It is obvious which version EA want you to buy!

Re:I too have resolved the problem (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#35815664)

They sell that version cheaper than the vanilla edition to suck you in (your local prices may vary). It is obvious which version EA want you to buy!

That's just how Steam makes money, they don't lower the prices as other retailers do. Oh, the 50-75% off prices may be good, but the full retail price is often *far* higher than other places.

Once again... (5, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 years ago | (#35815036)

...legitimate *customers* get screwed. What's the bet the pirated version didn't have this problem?

Re:Once again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815064)

Its a good bet. The pirate version never connects to the servers.

Re:Once again... (4, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | about 3 years ago | (#35815128)

Obvious question though: Does the pirate version include the game's DLC?

TFA notes the problem was with savegames containing DLC content. Put another was, legitimate customers who own "DA:O vanilla" were fine, legit customers who owned "DA:O deluxe" were screwed.

Of course this highlights the real problem. Dragon Age is a single player game. It doesn't need an online component, except for patches and achievements, neither of which should involve any risk of savegame lockout when the servers crash. The sole reason for having severs that can render savegames unloadable in the first place was copy protection for the DLC (not copy protection for the basic campaign), and a fundamental rule all game developers should follow is: Don't let anti-piracy measures get in the way of playing or enjoying the game. Any anti-piracy measure that can fail in this manner should not be included in the first place.

Also, frankly, they'd have never included DLC savegame lockout as a feature if EA hadn't made it company policy to focus on DLC as their financial holy grail. If they wanted to, they could easily make single player DLC work on a machine that isn't connected to the internet. Do they really need additional copy protection for additional content? Are there really paying customers out there who'll buy the game for $40 and pirate the DLC to save less than $5?

Re:Once again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815200)

Yes, you can get the DLC's on the pirated version. I got DAO legitimately, but I'm not going to fund the DLC business.

"Are there really paying customers out there who'll buy the game for $40 and pirate the DLC to save less than $5?"
It is a silly question, there is more than one DLC, whose combined value doesn't worth $5. But you learn that only when you got them all.

Re:Once again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815206)

Judging by previous Bioware games, I believe the savegame lockout is just a sideeffect. It's more likely that the DRM just makes the DLC disappear and the game locks savegames with data from uninstalled DLCs.
Mass Effect 1 had the DLC even language dependent, because it was saved by name. When I reinstalled Mass Effect 1 in English, the game locked me out of my old saves, because I didn't have the "Kollisionskurs" DLC. Similarly, when I again reinstalled in German for my little brother to play, it complained that I didn't have "Bring Down the Sky".

Re:Once again... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 3 years ago | (#35815788)

That is really crazy. I suppose that's the influence of a Windows centric world where you only get access to one language per install. Then again, it is probably more of a question of localization being an after-thought independent to the OS at play, as they would probably have screwed this up on the Mac too - multilingual installations of software is the norm.

Re:Once again... (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | about 3 years ago | (#35815256)

Obvious question though: Does the pirate version include the game's DLC?

It certainly can, yes. And since step #1 for pirated DLC is "don't let it phone home," it obviously wouldn't have a problem when the auth servers go down.

Yes, they do (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815364)

I got the legit collectors edition but run a pirate version with ALL the dlc even the promotion offers from other shops that I can't buy from.

Yes, truly the pirate version IS the supreme version. And thanks to Bioware lack luster patches, it is 100% up to date.

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815734)

Obvious question though: Does the pirate version include the game's DLC?

Yep! The DA DLCs are "protected" by blowfish with 8 numeric characters as a key (brute forcing on a modern PC takes ~1 second), once decrypted they can be used on any installation of the game (pirated/legit) without any online authentication.
DA2 dlcs use somewhat better keys, though they all were cracked within hours of release anyway.

Re:Once again... (2)

Kokuyo (549451) | about 3 years ago | (#35815090)

Errr... TFS says it's about savegames with download content activated. If you have a pirated version, you obviously won't have download content in them (at least I'd assume).

OTOH, if you have no download content, TFS implies that everything should have been fine, even with a legitimate copy.

Now I know what the submitter felt. I've had the same problem with my Settlers 7 easter weekend, where the servers sucked donkey ass. OTOH, one must lay part of the blame at our own feet. First we bought the stuff. Then we wasted hours trying to get it to work and getting annoyed instead of doing the right thing: Do something else while the problem gets fixed. It's not like Settlers 7 or in this case DA:O is the only game out there. It's also not like we're sealed into our rooms and couldn't go outside doing something that involves no computers.

Sure, we bought it and are thus entitled to being able to play it. BUT the way we react to it (being whiny crybabies vs. adults with lives [I know, I know... Slashdot...]) says a lot about our characters and often, it isn't good (not excluding myself from that, obviously).

Re:Once again... (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 years ago | (#35815104)

Errr... TFS says it's about savegames with download content activated.

Errr...you think DLCs don't/can't get pirated?

Re:Once again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815116)

BUT the way we react to it (being whiny crybabies vs. adults with lives [I know, I know... Slashdot...]) says a lot about our characters and often, it isn't good (not excluding myself from that, obviously).

Being an adult also means responding to criticism without resorting to name-calling. I see no evidence of "whining" in TFA, so what does that say about you?

Re:Once again... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 3 years ago | (#35815152)

Being an adult also means responding to criticism without resorting to name-calling.

I thought that that's what being logical is about, not what being an adult is about. The two really aren't the same as far as I've seen.

Re:Once again... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#35815220)

"being an adult" can mean two things. One is having survived on the planet until you reach some age determined to be adulthood by your culture. The other is being some form of ideal adult, within which there can be broad variation but there are behaviors we expect in the ideal adult that are not present in the most annoying characteristics of children. Like name-calling.

Re:Once again... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 3 years ago | (#35815442)

The other is being some form of ideal adult, within which there can be broad variation but there are behaviors we expect in the ideal adult that are not present in the most annoying characteristics of children. Like name-calling.

I guess that is a characteristic of many children, yes. But, again, that also seems to be a characteristic of many adults. I guess those adults don't quite meet the second definition.

Re:Once again... (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#35815198)

Errr... TFS says it's about savegames with download content activated. If you have a pirated version, you obviously won't have download content in them (at least I'd assume).

You assume wrong [thepiratebay.org]. As usual only the legitimate customers are screwed...

Re:Once again... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35815422)

I'm getting to the point where I won't buy anything with DRM in it at all. So far I refuse to buy games that contain significant DRM. And Steam games only when they're ridiculously cheap, typically under $3 or so, with the knowledge that I may live to regret it. And even then it's usually with knowledge that I can use the game files without reactivating them.

Re:Once again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815704)

My limit is actually STILL at 'I won't buy games that I can't get on physical media.'

Mostly so that the box and disc double as my proof of purchase.

Although given the sturdiness of some of those dvd cases you can buy nowadays I might start considering GOG, a printout of my receipt/cdkey, a burned cd of my game, and call it 'close enough' :)

The fact that it has gotten to this point is ridiculously sad to me though.

Re:Once again... (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 3 years ago | (#35815848)

The sad thing is that more and more games will end up only being available online. One thing great thing about physical media is that you can at least sell it again, which makes the $60 price tag feel less bad - at least that is true for console games.

I would love to see a law being introduced that would force companies to allow the transfer of a game license. The only question is how the software could ensure you are using a copy that you still hold a license for, without requiring an online connection every time it starts?

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816028)

"As usual" is right. Isn't that how it works in real life? How many bank robbers or money counterfeiters get fired, made redundant, or miss out on a promotion? Jobs are for chumps, therefore the only choice left is to copy money.
Meanwhile, I bet you continue to lock your car and house like a fool. Hint: those locks won't stop a criminal. Only you, as the legitimate car/home owner are disadvantaged by locks.

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816174)

Locking my car and my house when I leave either of them ensures I get proper help from the insurance companies when bad stuff happens. That's an advantage to me. I get some *benefit* from using the locks. They are there for *my* using. DRM and shit like that are very much *not* there for *my* benefit. Apples and oranges...as is *always* the case when someone tries to paint DRM, or anything like it, as something even remotely useful, which it most certainly is not.

Re:Once again... (2)

headLITE (171240) | about 3 years ago | (#35815236)

This is correct, however both DAO and DA2 have a number of DLC that comes for free either with the game, or other games you buy, so chances that a legitimate customer has at least one DLC are quite high. And of course, pre-order customers are automatically affected too.

The only people who aren't affected by this are customers who either never bother to register their game or buy it used, and pirates, in other words, the more you are willing to pay the more you get screwed...

Re:Once again... (2)

Rennt (582550) | about 3 years ago | (#35815326)

If you have a pirated version, you obviously won't have download content in them (at least I'd assume).

Well, yes and no. Popular torrents of a given game usually contain the complete DLC, and this game is no exception. You can always torrent the DLC at a later date if you want, but I can't imagine any self-respecting pirate seeking out a copy with less content and slower downloads.

Of course, without any need for activation servers, the pirates would have been playing their illegitimate DLC quite happily during the unfortunate incident.

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815580)

(...) everything should have been fine, even with a legitimate copy.

This sums up everything wrong about DRM.

Re:Once again... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#35815724)

to even think that dlc's wouldn't be warezed easily, even easier than the original game, is just stupid executive daydreaming. it never ever had any proof in the pudding. added datafiles, you see, with one added drm check. there's a dozen ways to approach how to defeat it, but the real purpose is just to screw over people buying used games.

and you're just saying that it's ok that they create shitty games with shitty drm and advetise the fuck out of them and assume we'd buy them and wouldn't be bothered when they don't even manage to run the shitty drm server. it's not ok, they suck, the game money should have gone to someone else.

why need running water when we can just take golden showers? yeah, why indeed.

Re:Once again... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 3 years ago | (#35815824)

Sure, we bought it and are thus entitled to being able to play it. BUT the way we react to it (being whiny crybabies vs. adults with lives [I know, I know... Slashdot...]) says a lot about our characters and often, it isn't good (not excluding myself from that, obviously).

Certainly, but sometimes one person's cry is a way of warning others what they are letting themselves into. Maybe the way it was presented was not the best, but at least people now know that certain aspects of the game require an online connection to work - which kinda sucks if you were planning to play the game on your laptop while away from an Internet connection on a rainy day.

Re:Once again... (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 3 years ago | (#35816162)

> Do something else while the problem gets fixed.

Was it announced anywhere that there was a problem on EA's side? I loaded up the game and it told me I couldn't play my saves. There was no notice on the forums or in the game itself that said that there were problems with auth servers. So how was I to know the problem wasn't on my end?

Re:Once again... (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 years ago | (#35815098)

No they did not. Neither did those of us who were smart enough to snag the keys to decrypt the dlc, decrypt it, and set the DLC so it wouldn't be reauthorized.

Re:Once again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815264)

But did you decrypt it?

Re:Once again... (1)

PortaDiFerro (1719902) | about 3 years ago | (#35815352)

Wife pre-purchased the game and was excitedly looking forward to it, then 2 weeks after the release when she still couldn't access the game I had to dowload a crack for her after which she's been playing it "happily". Dunno if they've still fixed it though.

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815558)

As a 1st day pirate, no we did not have the problems. In fact, all of the "downloadable content" was easily accessible as part of the crack, available in the first few hours of it being out. People who legitimately bought it were screwed, while pirates were enjoying all the game had to offer. Posting as AC for obvious reasons.

Re:Once again... (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#35815696)

who would be stupid enough to take such a bet?

since there's no online aspect.. well, that's the friggin way to go of course, and maybe custom mods. even if you're a legit customer and happened to be a fan of the series(dunno why) then you'd want to get the cracked packs anyways for the simple reason of being able to play the game again in a few years once the business case of keeping the servers running has dried out totally.

but there's this thing.. that the publisher is using these dlc's as a way to keep used games sales out, so that once the 30 hours of decent playtime is extracted, you wouldn't sell the game or god forbid give it to someone else. it wouldn't be so bad if that wasn't the ONLY online aspect of the game(even betrayal at krondor has more online content, as that there's web pages that have maps and such, da needs no maps since the levels are just tunnels).

btw DA is just shitty nwn levelpacks with a face-gen attached. and loads of blur since the artists didn't bother with scenery and thought they're making a small budget film(a large budget film doesn't need to blur everything 5 meters away from the actors..). oh and they did place some sex and gay sex possibilities in there. too bad they don't make the story. and actually, the dlc descriptions were so lame that I didn't think they had any actual new compelling content.

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815882)

...legitimate *customers* get screwed. What's the bet the pirated version didn't have this problem?

It didn't, and I speak from experience.

Not new... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815066)

I bought the original for my girlfriend and she had serious issues when the DRM server went down. It was so bad she stopped playing entirely.

If you tried to load a savegame with DLC when the server was experiencing problems, it would silently remove DLC and characters from the game and allow you to continue playing without it. The trouble came when you saved again. The new savegame would be created without your characters or DLC from the originally loaded game.

Well, when you play a dozen hours of the game before realizing that that character you weren't playing at the time and those neat items you picked up poofed 12 hours ago, it turns out you're not really inclined to keep playing.

EA: No thanks. You got me once with your useless support for Battlefield 2, and you got me again with Dragon Age. I won't be buying another of your products.

Re:Not new... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815262)

I also remember that sometimes if the game lost connection to the server during play it would completely break the DLC character Shale - not removing her from the game but making you *permanently* unable to speak to her. Now if (like me) you did not habitually speak to every companion all the time and do not keep too many savegames, you would only notice the bug after some 5-10 hours of gameplay...

I did not buy (neither downloaded) Dragon Age 2.

Excellent! (1)

ZeRu (1486391) | about 3 years ago | (#35815322)

Excellent, now I have one less reason to buy Dragon Age 2 (which puts it at -1 reasons), or any other game from EA or BioWare.

Re:Not new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815588)

I played during this weekend when the EA auth servers were down and had Shale (a DLC npc) in my party the whole time and also my DLC armor didn't disappear. Just sayin'.

"There is no right to play" (2, Insightful)

rumith (983060) | about 3 years ago | (#35815070)

The game corporations will claim that there is no right to play, and maybe even insert a clause that means roughly that into the EULA. It is their right: if you don't agree with their offer, don't buy it! There are more good games around than you can possibly play in your free time, and there is no lack of other entertainment options either, so please stop whining.
There have always been (and there will always be) shitty or crippled products. Or even otherwise wonderful products that have one huge defect. There will always be stupid managers and lazy engineers. Just walk the other way, don't stick to them - life's too short. In this particular case, every single slashdotter knows that DRM is bad (if you don't, please hand in your geek card on your way out). Do we really need to revel in its failure every single time a major game studio screws its customers?

Re:"There is no right to play" (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#35815096)

Yeah, good luck with that.

Exactly how many games print their licensing terms on the outside? Or permit you to return the game for a refund once you open the box enough to actually read the terms?

Re:"There is no right to play" (1)

rumith (983060) | about 3 years ago | (#35815132)

The mighty and terrible Electronic Arts has a whole goddamn page [ea.com] on the intertubes that has links to EULAs of apparently all of their games. You don't even need to go to a game shop to read the license, if you really wanted to. Now did you?

New form of extreme masochism? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | about 3 years ago | (#35815244)

> if you really wanted to. Now did you?

Want to read the EULAs of every EA game? Wow, someone should invent a new classification in the DSM [wikipedia.org] for that compulsion, maybe we should call it "eulamania"?

Re:New form of extreme masochism? (1)

rumith (983060) | about 3 years ago | (#35815320)

While I agree with your sentiment, GP did complain on the inability to read the EULA before opening the game's box. My argument here is exclusively to prove him wrong, not to conduct psychiatric research. Still, if you do publish a paper on this subject in a peer-reviewed journal, please post a follow-up story here on Slashdot!

Re:New form of extreme masochism? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35815436)

The issue though is that if you're in a game shop and you see a cool game, is it really reasonable to expect you to pull out a smartphone, navigate to EA's website and read it on that screen? I personally don't think that's realistic. And ultimately even if you do go to the trouble, good luck actually understanding what if any of it is actually enforceable in court.

Re:"There is no right to play" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815100)

It is their right: if you don't agree with their offer, don't buy it! There are more good games around than you can possibly play in your free time, and there is no lack of other entertainment options either, so please stop whining.

Waaa... waaa... stop whining! ... waaa... I'm serious, you guys! *sniffle* .... stop it!!!... waaa.... waaa.

Re:"There is no right to play" (4, Insightful)

Sabriel (134364) | about 3 years ago | (#35815336)

The game corporations will claim that there is no right to play, and maybe even insert a clause that means roughly that into the EULA. It is their right: if you don't agree with their offer, don't buy it!

Don't know which country you're in, but mine has a law concerning "fitness for purpose" that overrides anything a business puts in its EULA.

Do we really need to revel in its [DRM's] failure every single time a major game studio screws its customers?

(a) Yes. It focuses attention on the problem.
(b) No. But hey, schadenfreude.

Re:"There is no right to play" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815402)

The game corporations will claim that there is no right to play, and maybe even insert a clause that means roughly that into the EULA. It is their right

Depends what they try to do with that clause, if they attempt to prevent someone from returning the game for cash with it: then too bad eulas like that are unenforcable, they might aswell be requiring you to sacrifice your firstborn at the altar of bioware

Re:"There is no right to play" (1)

Urkki (668283) | about 3 years ago | (#35815584)

they might aswell be requiring you to sacrifice your firstborn at the altar of bioware

You'll get some really nice armor by doing that though... And get this, you'll have it in every future game Bioware too! Pretty sweet, isn't it?

Re:"There is no right to play" (1)

LainTouko (926420) | about 3 years ago | (#35815420)

The game corporations will claim that there is no right to play, and maybe even insert a clause that means roughly that into the EULA. It is their right: if you don't agree with their offer, don't buy it!

You shouldn't have to decrypt a load of legalese (which you may not even have access to) in order to work out whether an offer to sell a game is genuine. Purporting to sell a product but designing it so that it refuses to work in certain situations should just be illegal.

Re:"There is no right to play" (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 3 years ago | (#35815448)

I don't agree that they have that right. The law might say so, currently - but laws come and go. They certainly do not have the moral right to deprive you of your purchase, especially when you might not have known the terms in the first place. A law which is neither moral nor in the public interest is tyranny.

Behavior like this from EA only hastens the inevitable abolition of copyright as a whole. DRM only leads to paying customers having an inferior product compared to the nonpaying customers. A law is worth nothing if everyone violates it, and we're more or less on the honor system already with copyright. On top of that, people are getting fed up with this behavior and the smart ones are figuring out what is wrong with the system.

If I were a fanboy like you, I'd stop complaining on slashdot and revel in the good old days of companies like EA ripping everyone off, because they're ending soon.

Re:"There is no right to play" (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#35815622)

The more these failures are in the news - particularly when it may be noted that people who legitimately bought their games are prevented from playing it, while the pirates were happily playing the game - the better chance that these companies will stop building those restrictions in their games.

Re:"There is no right to play" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815726)

You bought a game, not a service. When they lock you out of your game, it's not poor service, it's theft.

Re:"There is no right to play" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815858)

Do we really need to revel in its failure every single time a major game studio screws its customers?

Yes, for the simple reason that potential customers have to be warned about companies like EA and Bioware.

I bought Mass Effect and had my fair share of trouble with the DLC. I recently bought Mass Effect 2 and considered buying its DLC. However with my previous experience and news like this I'll just pirate the DLC and get a crack for the game itself. Pirated DLC is superior in every aspect: no activation, no online-dependency, no restrictions on which DLC you can get, you don't have to provide copious amounts of personal information, etc.

Re:"There is no right to play" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35816084)

We needn't revel, but we must advertise, to ensure people aren't buying these or similarly crippled games in the future. Eventually, hopefully, these companies will either learn or go out of business.

We must let people know.

It took 5 days to fix (1)

Kuruk (631552) | about 3 years ago | (#35815074)

Very poor response for a single player game. Lock customers out for 5 days.

Re:It took 5 days to fix (1)

masterwit (1800118) | about 3 years ago | (#35815242)

Imagine if this happened to wow... man the chaos that would ensue...

Re:It took 5 days to fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815252)

At least in WoW, they can issue a credit. What's Bioware doing for the customers it screwed in this case?

Re:It took 5 days to fix (1)

DarkXale (1771414) | about 3 years ago | (#35815308)

Outages have lasted in excess of a day in the past. In those cases the lost time was reimbursed by several days. This has been done even on a per-server basis.

Re:It took 5 days to fix (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 3 years ago | (#35816238)

Very poor response for a single player game. Lock customers out for 5 days.

In a few short years, it will be worse. The customers will be locked out forever, as the servers are taken down for good.

Since this is slashdot, a car analogy is in order: Imagine buying a car that authorizes through OnStar before you're allowed to drive it, or use any of the luxury features like the 7-speaker stereo, sun roof or headlight washers. Every time you want to use them. And where disabling this feature is a federal crime.
Can you think of possible ways this could go wrong?

If you live outside the US, you might not know how customers reacted when GM dropped analog OnStar in favor of digital, without providing existing customer an upgrade path. And that was just the service itself. Imagine if that had affected the car or its features.

So, why do we accept it for software? Because we can afford to lose $60 for a game plus five times $2-10 for DLC? Can afford to is one thing, but willing to? That just makes us stupid.

wait wut? (2)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | about 3 years ago | (#35815094)

Wait, in todays games, you need to "check in" online to play in single player mode? That's highly retarded!

Re:wait wut? (1)

tantaliz3 (1074234) | about 3 years ago | (#35815266)

We don't own our big blockbuster games any more. They're pay to play. In light of this, prices should go down. Way down...

Re:wait wut? (2)

md65536 (670240) | about 3 years ago | (#35815418)

Key word is "should". But do you think game companies make choices like this in order to get LESS money from you???

It broke Dragon Age II as well! (2)

Kwami (1104073) | about 3 years ago | (#35815102)

More than one month after release, many players still can't launch Dragon Age II because of a bug in the EA DRM software. Since the first few days, BioWare has ignored the problem entirely and provided us with no fixes or updates. More information: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/300/index/6442590 [bioware.com]

Re:It broke Dragon Age II as well! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815160)

Don't bother, DA2 sucks hairy, stinky donkey balls in hell anyway. It really is a crappy, crappy game.

Re:It broke Dragon Age II as well! (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 3 years ago | (#35815298)

Meanwhile, pirates can play it just fine. Except most of them won't bother because the game is crap. The controls and camera system are so bad, it's almost unplayable.

Re:It broke Dragon Age II as well! (1)

Eivind (15695) | about 3 years ago | (#35815624)

The controls aren't the bad part.

The bad part is, the game isn't about anything.

The first Dragonage had a point. There's a blight, you need to assemble an army, enlisting cooperation from various factions, then go fight it. Fine.

But DragonAge II ? What is it about ? What are you trying to acomplish ? Why ? How many of the quests are even related to the goal ?

I get that they're setting things up for the third, since it's planned as a trilogy. But an -entire- game that is *nothing* more than setting the stage for a sequel ? i.e. the game itself, taken for itself, isn't actually about anything, and doesn't even have a goal ?

No thanks.

Re:It broke Dragon Age II as well! (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about 3 years ago | (#35816184)

You've never played Dragon Age 2, have you? It has, at the beginning, a very clear goal; escape the Blight, make it to Kirkwall, and find a way to establish you and your family as something other than utterly destitute refugees selling handjobs in the alleys. Once you've completed that goal,other goals grow rather organically out of it. Sure, that's differnet than DA:O, where you're given an overreaching goal fairly quickly, and a task list of things to achieve said goal. But it's no less valid. That said, I do agree with the 'way too many completely unrelated sidequests.'

Re:It broke Dragon Age II as well! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815660)

Those aren't even its worst problems, the whole first phase of the game is appallingly "plotted" and sees you doing things Just Because with little to no narrative or dialogue clues as to what the fuck is going on. It gets a little better by the midgame but still isn't good. Once again, console inspired dumbing-down ruins a core game mechanic that was praised in the original - I mean why do you need characterisation and plot in an RPG, right? You just want to kill stuff ... oh wait they broke the combat too, with streams of teleporting enemies making any sort of strategy impossible.

Only affected the PC version (0, Troll)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 3 years ago | (#35815108)

Nuff said. Perhaps playing the game on the PS3 or 360 would be a better thing

Re:Only affected the PC version (4, Insightful)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | about 3 years ago | (#35815124)

Nuff said. Perhaps playing the game on the PS3 or 360 would be a better thing

That's the stupidest thing I've ever read.

Re:Only affected the PC version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815164)

Mod parent up.

The PC version was only broken because they broke it.

Re:Only affected the PC version (3, Insightful)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 3 years ago | (#35815764)

Well, he does have a point. I personally have largely switched to console gaming, despite the inferior graphics to my gaming PC, the imprecise controller and the noise, simply for less hassle.

I can play single player games offline as much as I like. Even the DLC, bundled or not, works offline. I can even resell my game after I'm finished with it, instead of it being permanently associated with my email address! Imagine that. Legitimate PC gaming is absolutely riddled with DRM. Even steam games come with extra DRM on top, in addition to steam's stopping me sharing games with my wife while I also want to play.

It takes real business genius to make the paid product worth LESS than the free version you can grab from the pirate bay.

Re:Only affected the PC version (1)

Inda (580031) | about 3 years ago | (#35815890)

This is what I thought when I bought EA's Sims 3 for the Xbox 360!

Turns out that myself and many others couldn't save games if the save-game was corrupted. It'd load, but not save after seconds of play time. *facepalm*

"Delete your save!" said EA.

Still not patched since November 2010.

EA - failing every game

DRM should come with an SLA (5, Interesting)

Marble68 (746305) | about 3 years ago | (#35815110)

When a software company embeds DRM into an application, there ought to be an SLA they are held to.
Things like:
1) Availability of DRM servers
2) A warning that unavailability of DRM servers could prevent gameplay

If we must have DRM, can we at least have some level of service with that DRM so we can actually *use* the product?

Re:DRM should come with an SLA (5, Interesting)

griffo (220478) | about 3 years ago | (#35815174)

I would add a mandatory third clause:

3) DRM cannot be used unless a method is made available to remove it through a certified third party in case DRM fails, whatever the reason. (Failure to meet SLA, software company ceases to exist, etc)

I Don't and Won't (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | about 3 years ago | (#35815114)

I don't and won't buy software with this kind of DRM on it.

Re:I Don't and Won't (1)

Hultis (1969080) | about 3 years ago | (#35815870)

This. If a game has terrible DRM I simply pirate it (or ignore it completely), I wouldn't support the game maker even if the game was awesome. This game isn't for me anyway, but if Ubisoft hadn't messed AC2 up completely I would definitely have bought it.

Seeing that Ubisoft dropped a lot of the DRM in AC3 it seems like they at least get the message.

Already beaten the game (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815154)

And while legitimate customers got screwed, I've already played a cracked version over at a friend's house and beaten the game.
I got my enjoyment DOUBLED by simply not paying for the game - I got to play it AND I got to watch legitimate customers get fucked without lube.

They didn't know it was down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815156)

What is interesting about this article is he wrote it during the fire-fighting. He makes an assumption as he writes it that EA/Bioware knew the servers were down the whole time and didn't tell anyone.

I think THEY DIDN'T KNOW!

I am pretty sure EA does not have a fully staffed NOC with people watching all of their games 24/7 to ensure maximum uptime. EA doesn't make millions hiring SysAdmins. More likely, there are two guys who run the auth server somewhere who went home for the weekend. Tech support didn't report the outage because they believed it was a bug, and the servers probably continued to operate in such a way that whatever monitoring tools they have, weren't triggered. Since most hard core gamers don't call tech support (as correctly stated in the article) there wasn't enough call volume to trigger a WTF response on the part of EA.

Took me all of 60 second to fix (4, Informative)

dieth (951868) | about 3 years ago | (#35815188)

sed -i addins.xml 's/RequiresAuthorization="1"/RequiresAuthorization="0"/g Launch DA, continue playing.

Re:Took me all of 60 second to fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815228)

A hacker!!! Quick, the torches and pitchforks!

vote with your money. (1)

rax313 (1923570) | about 3 years ago | (#35815190)

As I have read a dozen times here in /. vote with your wallet to make corporations like EA stops this sort of policy for their games. Old games didn't have this sort of issues and yet they sold a lot because they were really good , Besides if you really are into games or a "gamer" you would still buy the original even after playing/beating the game from a pirated version since you would get tons of free stuff nowadays that isn't included in a pirated game. To me that's the one edge of legal games over pirated one's

resolved (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815208)

An update to the article indicates the problems have finally been resolved.

It has not been resloved. They may have corrected the issue that brought down the DRM authorization servers, but the problem is still exists. They have *DRM authorization servers*.

play offline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35815230)

I also had that issue, but once I singned out of my EA account, the DLC content started working again.

It was the DLC (1)

Mascot (120795) | about 3 years ago | (#35815290)

Gotto love the fact the DRM wasn't actually in DA:O, but in the DLC for it. So if you just bought the main game, you were fine. If you had given them _even more_ money, you got screwed.

Re:It was the DLC (1)

tudsworth (1919278) | about 3 years ago | (#35815412)

Thing is, a retail boxed copy of the game comes bundled with DLC. About $15 worth of it, no less. And when you're already paying $50 for a game, I can't think of a reason to not download the $15 of content they're withholding from you otherwise. Not that I've bought anything by Bioware in a good few years. I was half-tempted to buy DA:O, too, but so much for that.

Re:It was the DLC (1)

SQL Error (16383) | about 3 years ago | (#35815602)

The really annoying thing is that they completely ignored it for three days because the DLC system is so bug-ridden that they couldn't tell the difference between the normal level of complaints and the entire system having fallen over.

Was going to purchase this series (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | about 3 years ago | (#35815366)

But now I won't as the DRM is broken by design.

Re:Was going to purchase this series (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#35815630)

Anything with DRM is broken by design. The DRM is the intentionally built-in failure point.

Mind that if DRM did not break anything for anyone, there would be no use for incorporating it to begin with!

You get what you pay for (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 3 years ago | (#35815486)

Unless it's entertainment. For that it's 'yo pays yo money an yo takes yo chances, sucka!'

Once again (1)

McTickles (1812316) | about 3 years ago | (#35815576)

Warez is king in the land of fail legal offers.

Why do people even bother paying for such high profile games, they know they will either be disappointed, DRM'd to hell or buggy or all...

After 5 years or so.... (1)

devent (1627873) | about 3 years ago | (#35815620)

And after 5 years or so EA will shut down the servers because they are bankrupt/bought out/waste money and all your games are worthless. There is an easy solution to this: Don't buy DRM'd games. There are plenty of games with don't have DRM and they cost much less, too. Like in http://gog.com/ [gog.com] Or just buy a older game for 10$ and apply a no-cd crack. You won't miss much, I just saw Crysis for just 5 Euro.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...