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Steam Registration Servers Overloaded

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the plumbing-problems dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 768

duckle writes "The Inquirer reports that "The World has come crashing down around Half-Life 2 players today, as Steam's authentication servers in Europe have died.", and deemzzzz_k writes "It looks like even Valve wasn't quite prepared for Half Life 2's popularity. HL2 requires registration to unlock the game and although the Valve/Steam homepage claims that it fixed registration issues the servers are still overloaded. Registration is "delayed" and temporarily unlocking the game takes 20-30 minutes over a 1.5MB DSL line." This seems to primarily be an issue for folks who bought the game from a store; I purchased the game via Steam and was playing at 12:15 am PST on launch day.

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I guess (5, Funny)

Locdonan (804414) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845538)

Steam ran out of steam.

Thanks, I'll be here all week.

Offtopic Sig comment (-1, Offtopic)

wibskey (193633) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845567)

Bob Ross rocks!!!

Re:Offtopic Sig comment (0, Offtopic)

Locdonan (804414) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845609)

He may, but I just love the fact that I see him on like 30 different shows. He was on several adult swim shows... great stuff (I hope I'm not modded down for offtopic, I'm trying to get back to good, hell neutral would be GREAT!)

Re:I guess (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845634)

Try the veal.

Clearly, (5, Funny)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845725)

this system is just a whole lot of hot air.

(Disclaimer: I am quite aware that steam is technically H2O (gaseous) and air is actually a mixture of gasses. Please do not let scientific accuracy interfere with the intended humourous value of the preceding comment.)

Good! (-1, Flamebait)

rppp01 (236599) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845539)

Leaves more bandwidth for those of use playing Halo 2 Live.

Good idea... (5, Funny)

kngthdn (820601) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845541)

...we can Slashdot them, too!

Gotta stop piracy! (5, Insightful)

sudnshok (136477) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845543)

I'm glad when companies inconvenience their paying customers like this. Because, afterall, I'm sure the mandatory registration will prevent piracy. I just searched and see an activation patch already on IRC.

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (5, Insightful)

Chaswell (222452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845576)

You are correct, they have now made it EASIER to steal and play than to pay and wait, and wait, and maybe register, eventually.

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (5, Insightful)

hacknslashdot (769458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845723)

This is exactly what game companies keep failing to understand. The harder you make a game to use because of "copy protection", the more attractive the cracked alternative is.
If I buy a game, just let me play the damn thing.

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (-1, Redundant)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845587)

maybe if someone didn't steal and release the source code two years ago, valve wouldn't have had to do this to their customers.

Don't blame Valve, blame the crackers and the hackers....

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845619)

Don't blame Valve, blame the crackers and the hackers....

Cracker ass crackers

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (1, Redundant)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845620)

Was the source code not stolen from inside? Thus the customer suffers for the company's own mistakes.

Exactly (2, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845623)

Because everyone *knows* that companies weren't coming up with whacked-out registration schemes before valve was hacked...

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (4, Insightful)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845640)

Wasn't Steam being designed long before the source code theft? Seems like revisionism to say "Steam was a reaction to the source code theft" when there doesn't appear to be any causality there at all. If anything, Steam had to be revamped to adjust for the theft, not created because of the theft.

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845670)

I believe steam was originally intended as a gaming community and a way for people to buy games online. The revision was to make CD Authentication to come off of steam after the source code was hacked and released.

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845678)

That seems like a pretty militaristic approach. "Private Hacker stole some code so now all of you will have to do knuckle push ups until your hands bleed." In the world I would like to live in everybody else doesn't have to pay for the transgressions of one person or group of people.

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845702)

It was last year, and they were probably set on Steam distribution long before that.

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (5, Interesting)

netfool (623800) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845712)

I figured this is more about money than it has to do with piracy.
Doesn't Valve make 3-4x what they would on sales over Steam rather than people buying the game in stores?
Valve knew HL2 what be very popular. I'm sure there thinking went something like "Why NOT make are own online distribution software, require everyone to have it and sell all are games that way?".

I may be way off base, but I'm guessing once the rest of the developers see all the money Valve is rolling in after this, they will quickly follow suit. If not licence Steam for themselves, or even sell games through Valves steam network (it's already on millions of computers now anyways).

Re:Gotta stop piracy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845674)

It's because of things like this that make it easier just to pirate the damn thing. I'll admit, I obtained Doom 3 a few days before the official release. It was easy as pie to get installed and play.

Later on, I received the legit copy as a gift. When I opened it, the jewel case was broken to shit and the second CD wouldn't even read properly and I almost had to fall back on the warez CD to get it going (would have been much easier, had I not gotten rid of it).

Crap like this isn't exactly a good motivator. All I got out of it was a CD key that let me play online - not very worthwhile in Doom 3.

Following the quote of the day (2, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845544)

Don't kick a man unless he's down? Don't post servers to Slashdot unless they're already down?

Forced Online Registration is Stupid (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845555)

Do I need to say anything else about that?

Last night was no parade (4, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845557)

(For the record, I got a store-bought version).

At 7PM EST, I tried installing, setting up a steam account and unlocking the game with my CD Key. The whole process took about 3 hours.

The steam registration mostly returned back cause it couldn't even hit the master authentication server most of the night. Unlocking the game took between 45-60 minutes (on a fast cablemodem line).

Wasn't this expected though? Its like when a MMORPG releases and they can't handle the load. Do they just expect a few hundred people to get the (arguably) most anticipated game of the year on its opening day and the rest to just trickle in until Christmas??

Re:Last night was no parade (2, Interesting)

Ed Pegg (613755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845690)

It took me over three hours, as well. About an hour into the horrifying process, I was thinking that if I was a criminal, I would already be playing. In order to play, you have to have Valve's spyware program running on your system. You have to go through 4 separate EULAs. You have to sign yourself up on two different services. An internet connection is mandatory as you play the game. You must give out numerous personal details, put in a long password, and keep the disk in your computer while playing. Updates are mandatory. If you click the "play" button, you have to wait 50 minutes before the game actually starts. Far Cry and KOTOR were two other games I registered recently. I think they took 5 minutes.

Re:Last night was no parade (2, Insightful)

Bricklets (703061) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845691)

I sure didn't expect it to take this long. The real issue is does forcing this HUGE extra effort onto their customers really worth it. I don't know about other people, but I personally have never spent 4 hours installing a game (started installing at 4pm, didn't start playing until 8pm). I'm not a hardcore gamer. Yet, I find it hard to believe that most Half-Life 2 buyers had "expected" a delay like this.

Re:Last night was no parade (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845714)

When I said "Wasn't this expected" I meant from Valve... didn't they expect a HUGE onslaught the day of the release?
I apologize for the confusion.

This is going to hurt (2, Funny)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845559)

So if you paid for the game at the store you may or may not get to play it for a while. This is so going to suck for valve. the fall out is going to be huge.

Re:This is going to hurt (2, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845592)

You might say that the Fallout from the Half-Life 2 launch might cast a pall similar to a Nuclear Winter on future releases from the company?

Re:This is going to hurt (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845706)

Thanks for getting my fallout joke. I woundered if anyone would.

Re:This is going to hurt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845624)

No it won't. The little FPS'ers are going to suck it long and suck it hard and come back for more when HL3 comes down the pipe. Unless they were warezing it in the 1st place - which is a moot point.

Re:This is going to hurt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845627)

fallout? halflife? i'm sure tehre's a bad joke here but I can't find it.

Re:This is going to hurt (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845697)

I doubt it. People are going to complain (fairly) for a week or so. Then Valve will work out the problems. People will be throwing saw blades at zombies and forget the Steam problems ever happened.

Further, this primarily effects the people who bought it at the store. Valve gets far more profit per unit sold when a player buys the game over Steam. People like me who preloaded and bought the game over Steam had little trouble.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845561)

first post, HA!!! steam rocks

No problems here (2, Informative)

elh_inny (557966) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845563)

I'm in Poland. I've had no problems in the morning, my friend has just unlock his copy.

You're in Poland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845654)

Just so you know, we haven't forgotten you.


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845692)

He told us not to forget about Poland. We listened.

not Steam's fault (1)

Deadbolt (102078) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845568)

Most of that unlocking time is the decryption and hard disk activity, not Steam network activity.

Re:not Steam's fault (4, Insightful)

Lukey Boy (16717) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845613)

Bullshit on that one. It took my system 10 minutes to unlock - after 2.5 hours of attempting to contact the Steam servers. If it can't get the private key for the data, it can't really decrypt it.

Nothing like paying for a single player game months in advance and then not being able to play it. Valve has managed to delay the game even after the release!

Re:not Steam's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845633)

Well they could try shipping the fricking thing unencrypted...

I don't think I can not buy this game. But I don't give a damn about CS:S so I'm going to crack it.

Re:not Steam's fault (1)

Cygnusx12 (524532) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845642)

Mod Parent Up. It took me 20 minutes to unlock my copy late Tuesday evening as well, seemed to be all hard disk.

Re:not Steam's fault (5, Insightful)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845663)

Most of that unlocking time is the decryption and hard disk activity, not Steam network activity.

That is true, however it remains Valve's fault. The cd's basically just copy over the exact same files as in the preload that you could get from Steam... which means that when you stick the cd's in your drive you have to do two install processes, at least. First you have to disc swap install the cds (5) which takes awhile. Then you have to register for Steam. Then you have to wait while it decrypts everything, on top of unpacking the entire game just like a regular install does in a single step. The decryption and adding extra steps to the install process are quite a pain in the ass, let me tell you. It took me over an hour to get the game running, and I consider myself lucky because the only problems I had were closed ports, which I quickly fixed. Some of these other stories I've heard, especially with Steam registration, would absolutely enrage me if it had happened to me. We payed for this game, we expect it to at least PLAY!

halo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845573)

halo 2! melted servers, melted cars, yum

This seems to be par for the course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845575)

I remember when Everquest was just starting up back in 1999. Their registration servers were so clogged and overwhelmed that it took me several days to register. They don't realize they are initiating a DOS attack on themselves just by having a popular game.

A telling statement (-1, Offtopic)

hellfire (86129) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845582)

It seems like little more than a rant but hopefully the marketing department for Microsoft picks up on this gem from the article:

"... Waited ****ing years for this game to come out and now can't play it? I've got the damn discs in my hands! It's outrageous! I want it now!"

Only a fool will miss that this is a completely legitamite complaint, which is just caused by more anti-piracy and copyright bullshit. And I say microsoft better pay attention because they were probably the ones who are directing Bungie to make sure this game has as much disabling crap as they can fit into the game.

Re:A telling statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845605)

You don't play computer games, do you?

Re:A telling statement (2, Informative)

joelhayhurst (655022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845622)

Half Life 2 is not the same as Halo 2.

Re:A telling statement (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845639)

I think you have this game confuesd with Halo 2.

Re:A telling statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845655)

Uh, Microsoft doesn't own Valve/Steam. So...what's your point on ranting on microsoft?

Perhaps you're confusing Half Life 2 (Valve/Steam) with Halo 2 (Bungie/Microsoft)?

Re:A telling statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845683)

umm WTF are you talking about?
To me it sounds like you think this is about halo2 thus MS. Unless theres something going on about halo not being playable after purchase?

This is about halflife 2, made by valve, no relation with MS other then the xbox port underway.

meatspace buyers vs valve-buyers (1)

yivi (236776) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845584)

This seems to primarily be an issue for folks who bought the game from a store; I purchased the game via Steam and was playing at 12:15 am PST on launch day.

It may simply indicate that the number of people buying after the retail launch, buying the boxed version in a physical store, vastly surpasses that of those that bought through Valve, either preloading or in the first rush-to-download.

On afterthought it doesn't seem that that surprising really.

this really is quite stupid (2, Interesting)

eobanb (823187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845589)

The whole idea of Steam to begin with is just utter shit. I have a Powerbook so I don't play very much Half-Life, but it simply amazes me what hardcore gamers are willing to put up with from Valve. There are lots of perfectly good other games; why the HELL should Valve even be allowed to do this? If it's M game, I should be able to play it, even if I don't have an internet connection. I don't doubt people who pirate the game are going to figure out ways around the authentication mechanism, and in the mean time it just pisses the hell out of people who really did buy the game. Scrap the whole thing.

Workarounds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845590)

Related Links

Haha, anyway, I was curious if any extremely impatient people have found workarounds for this. I'm sure there are many people who have been stuck waiting through the initial registration problems and now this slowdown, as well as all the people without regular internet access to their home machines who would like to get their hands on this game.

Not just the CD-based customers (3, Informative)

attaboy (689931) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845591)

I ordered online through Steam last night and it took about 30 minutes to unlock. I had already pre-downloaded.

On a slightly unrelated note: what's with the mid-game/mid-level load times? Are they just slow for me, or does anyone else feel like they may as well be downloading the game textures from Steam as you play?

Re:Not just the CD-based customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845650)

It's unpacking the textures etc. from the gcf file(s) relevant to your game.
It then saves the extracted copies in "<steam>\SteamApps\SteamUsername\half-life 2"


Re:Not just the CD-based customers (1)

attaboy (689931) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845703)

> It's unpacking the textures etc. from the gcf
> file(s) relevant to your game.
> It then saves the extracted copies
> in "\SteamApps\SteamUsername\half-life 2"

Do you know of any way to manually unpack these puppies ahead of time?

Re:Not just the CD-based customers (1)

atrus (73476) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845661)

10s to 30s. Can be frustrating sometimes...

Big deal. (1, Insightful)

op51n (544058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845597)

I'd love to see people stop whining about this. I bought it, it arrived today and after install was unlocked and ready to go within 20 minutes (on dialip). I saw someone say on a forum the other day 'in the time it takes, go for a walk or something'. I mean honestly, is it really such a big deal? Do you really need to sue Valve?
Even the audio bug people are getting - it happens. No game can be perfect out of the gate. Give it a couple of days, and see if they sort it or a fix is found, but it's fucking pointless getting so angry about it and threatening to sue.

Re:Big deal. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845637)

So because you aren't inconvenienced by it, no one else should be either? And have no legitimate reason to complain?

You really are ignorant, aren't you?

Re:Big deal. (1)

op51n (544058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845731)

I was inconvenienced. I tried to play it last night and Steam was down. Didn't get to, had to just hope it worked today. But I didn't really care. The audio bug, I am having problems with and thus haven't played it much today. But I'm not jumping up and down saying I'm goign to sue them, I'm just going through trying the fixes people are recommending that might work. Just finished a defrag, and will try it again now.
Countless games I have tried to play throughout the years have taken some effort to get working right, but I have never thrown vitriol at others, or the company who made it because of the issues.

Frail Authorization system (5, Insightful)

teiresias (101481) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845599)

I think this problem underscores the frailty of requiring a product to be unlocked over the Internet. While it's one way of ensuring digital rights management, Valve could certainly have put in a backup system (a la similar to Microsofts 1-800 registration number).

No, that would have been (1)

PigeonGB (515576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845701)

good for their customers, and judging from the horrible customer service I got from them when I emailed them months ago, I can see that this is in keeping with their apparent business plan.

Re:Frail Authorization system (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845732)

Valve could certainly have put in a backup system (a la similar to Microsofts 1-800 registration number)

Yes, but that would require hiring people to answer the phone and imply real tech support, and we know that valve can't do that.

This happened to me last night (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845600)

I wasn't impressed after dropping over 100 bucks for the game. Yeah, I bought the game with a t-shirt, the artwork and CS Source and HL Source.

I've always hated Steam. I think the whole phone home concept is flawed. What happens if the company goes out of business? Does that mean I can't play my game anymore? What if I don't have the Internet? What if I want to play on a lan that doesn't have Internet access?

Anybody else have a different opinion on this?

Final Fantasy XI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845603)

If I recall correctly, Japan had the same problem when Final Fantasy XI was released.

Outage was yesterday (2, Informative)

FromWithin (627720) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845606)

I'm in the UK. I got everything installed and running in about half an hour. I got the Steam account setup, but when it couldn't connect to the server, it told me it was busy but I could still play the game anyway. It connected and finished the process during the night after I'd already played the game for about 5 hours. It's a brilliant game, and I think they've done really well with Steam considering the size of the load they have taken. I have no complaints.

Poor planning by game designers (1)

xThinkx (680615) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845607)

OK, HL2 was in development for how long? And now some unfortunate folks in europe can't play their LEGALLY PURCHASED game because of poor planning and implementation of steam (I thought steam was a bad idea from the beginning, but that's not the point here).

In addition, I'm one of the hordes of beta testers for World of Warcraft, with less than two weeks until the game launches, there is lag in some areas that nearly makes the game unplayable

What are game designers thinking when they plan development timelines? Why aren't they factoring in testing for issues like these?

Grin! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845608)

Having a game in development for 5 (6?) years: several million dollars.
Developing an on-line distribution system (supposed to end casual piracy) for above mentioned game: several hundred thousand dollars.
Having retail discs protected by Securom5 (iirc?), several hundred thousand dollars.

Knowing that one single non-retail steam account is all that you and hundreds of your (possibly imaginary?) friends need to be able to play Half-Life 2 at the same time: Priceless.

For everything else, there's master card

Be grateful... (5, Interesting)

CheetahMk2 (832017) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845611)

Most of you are lucky you never had to recover a password off of the Steam network. A friend of mine purchased the game online, and since then he uninstalled CS to focus on his studies. Now he can't recover his password!

If he uses the 'lost password' procedure in Steam he gets an Operation Incomplete error, and so far he hasn't managed to get a single human person to assist him at Steampowered. I was never a big fan of activation, but this cinches it.

HL2 (1)

Drull (610112) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845612)

I have the ATI voucher. At 1 am my time, i was unlocking and waiting to play. It took about half an hour on my 2 ghz machine, but no problems otherwise. Ive been connected to steam since the game was "released", no issues thus far.

Great game, BTW.

The irony... (0, Offtopic)

oberondarksoul (723118) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845615)

The irony of all this is, Slashdot's serving a Doom 3 ad on the same page as this article. Guess which game doesn't need messing around with registration?

no problems in Canada.... (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845621)

No issues unlocking the game up here.... took about 15 minutes....

worked for me (1)

atrus (73476) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845625)

Took about an hour to install off the DVD and activate via Steam. Its mainly a lot of HD thrasing to decrypt the datafiles, and a little network to fetch the executeable from Steam.

Meh...I have to wait until finals are over to play (2, Funny)

wolfpaws (112843) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845629)

Make sure you shake all the bugs out by then...OK guys?

HL2 Projections (4, Insightful)

Silwenae (514138) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845631)

"It looks like even Valve wasn't quite prepared for Half Life 2's popularity."

I have a hard time believing Valve underestimated demand - they knew how many pre-orders they had from Steam, and they knew how many boxes shipped to all of the retailers. Retailers regularily share projections of what sales will be by week (especially since they have to know how much product to order). They had models to follow, and NPD and others track sales weekly, so they probably knew at a minimum they would do the same, if not better, than Doom3 in August.

The fact of the matter is, their system can't handle the load, plain and simple.

Worth the wait.. (1)

Prophetic_Truth (822032) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845632)

Generally I don't like how Valve uses Steam to monitor even single player play, but considering that there has *yet* to be a pirated release it seems like they may be on to something.

The game rulez and it lives up to the hype. I thought I was floored by doom3, HL2 with its wide open areas that run fine even on my modest system, loaded with action, vehicles, a plot that rivals blockbuster movies, its just great. Go get it now.

My one complaint, it seems like there are more loadpoints than in HL, but considering the fun and vertigo I've been experiencing these past 2 nights I'll deal with it.

Re:Worth the wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845676)

Are you kidding me?
Emp0ri0's HL2 release is working fine to my knowledge, and that was released yesterday. . .

Re:Worth the wait.. (1)

Prophetic_Truth (822032) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845729)

that release was nuked scenewide because it didn't work properly.

Not prepared?!? (4, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845638)

"It looks like even Valve wasn't quite prepared for Half Life 2's popularity."

Funny, they were more than prepared to take the money from customers before checking to see if they had enough servers to handle the load. When their distributor was filling orders, they could've come up with a rough estimate of what they expected to sell and made sure they had enough servers. Somebody just didn't do their homework.

Got mine today (1)

Remlik (654872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845641)

I purchased mine 9am CST USA and installed it a short while later. Took a good 20 minutes for it to unlock but is now 100% offline playable.

Note: Retail copies require the CD in the drive to play. Boo.

I bought it from a store and was able to play, but (4, Interesting)

aardwolf204 (630780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845647)

I bought the game from a store yesterday. It only took 20 minutes to install off the 5 CDs, you would think they could make it on DVD. And whats with not giving us jewl cases for a $55 game? Cheap paper sleves are for Drivers, not AAA title games.

Where was I? Before it would let me play it forced me to create a steam account, something I've boycotted since Counter Strike 1.3 and has a lot to do with why I stopped playing CS. Never-the-less I created an account and waited as it tried to unlock my game. It told me that it was unable to register me, but it would let me know as soon as it was able to. I guess at this point I was "in line to register". Then it actually allowed me to play! I tried it again after disabling my network connection and it told me that it could not verify my CD key and that I could only play while I was online. I'm kinda pissed about that and hope they get that fixed soon. If the cable goes out and I cant play HL2 I'm going to be very very bored, I might even have to go outside

From my first 20 minutes playing reaction I've got to say this game is so much more open-ended then Doom3, and though I'm a huge id fan I've got to hand it to valve, this looks like its going to be just as fun to play as HL1. I could spend an hour just throwing television sets out windows at the police on the ground.

Re:I bought it from a store and was able to play, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845724)

"Cheap paper sleves are for Drivers, not AAA title games."

Complaining AFTER you BOUGHT the thing does nothing.
Finding out that this game requires activation ensures I won't be buying it as an impulse item.

Looks like... (0, Redundant)

JazMuadDib (600258) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845649)

they should have opened the Valve a little more.

Re:Looks like... (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845716)

Dude, in American they're called Tubes.

Precedent (2, Interesting)

Sfd (827121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845656)

From now on companies will think this is a ok to do and in the future all singleplayer offline games will require this yey im so happy.

Primarily a problem for store purchases?!@ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845665)

Bought on steam weeks ago, had the game all preloaded and even launched steam and unlocked the game files before I went to work (around 6:30AM EST yesterday).

I get home around 6:30 and because the steam authentication was a mess, it took me more than 2 hours to log onto steam, get authenticated and then start playing. I've got some other minor "in game" issues, but the Steam backend was a giant mess. If they wanted to be pioneers in digital delivery and verification, they've failed in a massive way. As a legimate owner of the game I was forced to look for a steam crack so I could play something I had payed for. Absolutly ridiculous.

20-30 minutes for unlocking... (1)

eviltypeguy (521224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845668)

The unlocking time has nothing to do with the Steam servers from what I can tell, and everything to do with your PC. The hard drive on my system and the CPU were both doing non stop 100% usage practically for the 25 minutes I had to wait. So, I wouldn't be so quick to blame it on Steam's "overloadedness" (probably not even a real word).

Lack of distributed forethought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845675)

Steam isn't very well distributed on the client side. The servers seem fine, but the client typically uses one server unless you remove some file so it asks a master where to go next. There is some automated distribution, but it isn't done right, at all.

patches and hacks (1)

karmafeed (728544) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845681)

For those that say that using steam to unlock the game will encourage people to hack it or try to find a patch, I pose this question: For those who get the patch, how will they get it? I assume that they would be using an Internet connection to get it. It looks to me like most people who go looking for a crack of some sort, are the same people who will try to pirate the game.

Ah yes... (1)

brotherscrim (617899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845688)

Behold the brave new world of online product activation.

Sure, you may find yourself increasingly inconvenienced, but rest assured: the company who sold you the product that doesn't work has ensured that your problems don't cut into their profits. Problems caused by their attempts to protect their profits. Attempts that surely have already been invalidated by those who bother to look around for alternatives. Alternatives that the company percieves as a threat to their profits...

On the grand scheme of things... (2, Insightful)

HohlerMann (410170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845694)

Half-Life 2 is just a game. This attitude of "gotta have it right this second" doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It's not like people are throwing their money into a pit and never seeing results, it just takes a few extra minutes, hours, or days even. Come on, go outside, smoke a cigarette, pet a cat, read a book, reload slashdot, eat a sandwich, hit on a girl (or a guy) (or both). The servers will eventually be up and running, and you'll be able to unlock the secrets of the Combine in no time flat.

In case you're wondering, I pre-ordered it over Steam and it unlocked without any issues at 3 AM PST, three hours after the unlocking began. I still couldn't play it until after I got home from work and did the dishes and scooped the cat's litter... :-)

My experience (1)

addie (470476) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845699)

I pre-loaded the game last month, to avoid the rush that *everyone* knew was going to happen. It's not a secret this is one of the biggest games ever. Anyone who expected this to run perfectly smoothly (gamers and publishers alike) were fooling themselves. All in all, I think it's gone well. At least, for me...

I wasn't able to connect to steam for about 3 hours last night (release day) but once I could connect, I was up and ready to play in 10 minutes.

I realize that people have trouble with the mandatory online registration, and all that. But personally I've found Steam to be a very useful, stable, and innovative service. It also means more money in the hands of the developers and less to the distributors. For those of you that still can't play HL2, relax... You will be able to soon enough, and the wait is well worth it.

How to treat your customers... (5, Insightful)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845705)

From the moment I heard that even single player would require online activation, I knew it would be a punch in the face of those who actually pay for the game. There are many reasons why this could lead to problems, such as proxies/firewalls, and what happens in many years when you want to take a trip down memory lane? Will the activation servers still be up then?

And now it is even clearer that this is nothing but an insult to those who actually buy games instead of pirating them. Who are inconvenienced by this? Certainly not pirates. They download a cracked version anyway. This is apparently supposed to prevent piracy, but it obviously fails miserably!

No, the real losers here, again, are customers who actually paid for the game. They are the ones who need to connect to the Internet to activate the game. They are the ones who have been stuck all day, unable to activate the game, even for single player!

I held off buying Half-Life 2 exactly because of this online activation nonsense, and I was right in doing so. I hope to play the game, but I am very hesitant to give my money to a company like Valve, a company which lies to and deceives its customers, and adds hurdles that do nothing but inconvenience them, while pirates are completely unaffected.

If I sound like a troll, it's because I am extremely disappointed, and I am angry at Valve for being so stupid as to think that they can prevent piracy by forcing their customers to jump through hoops. I am angry because this is the way the industry is headed, and I don't like it.

Now games have started trying to decide for you which software to have installed (Doom 3 vs. various CD image programs), and they want you to activate it online, even for single-player... This is how the PC gaming industry will ultimately kill itself. By basically punching its customers in the face, while pirates remain unaffected.

should of used passport (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845713)

then the bitch meter would be off teh charts. Quit whining it is not like steam has a bunch of hacks working there. Shit happens.

Speculation:Not just demand, they are being DOS'ed (1)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845717)

If I were an evil hacker, and I wanted a shot a notoriety, what better way than to delay the release of the most anticipated video game ever? I would not be surprised if someone, somewhere, is attempting a denial-of-service attack on their servers.

Given all the hatred for Steam that a lot of people seem to have, I was suprised nobody tried to take the system down the day it shipped. (I too was gleefully playing HL2 at 12:15 the night it was released!)

Where's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845730)

Way OT, but does anyone know why FARK [] has dropped off the face of the earth?

I rank this as -1 Overrated.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845733)

because I bought half-life 2 yesterday and I had absolutely NO problems getting to play it. It *did* say that registration servers were overloaded, but it still let me play.

I dont see what the problem is. Even with the servers overloaded I didnt have any problems getting in the game.

ATI Free HL2 Bundle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845734)

I purchased a ATI Radeon 9600XT almost a year ago for ~$200 and it came with a free coupon for Half-Life2. When I heard the game came out lastnight I went online and using the coupon (containing my cd code) I downloaded Steam and entered the registration information. I was initially anxious as the "Processing Registration" screen appeared to time out (the progress bar slowly filled up).

When it "timed out" it told me that my ATI bundle registration could not be processed because the servers were busy, but I would be able to play the game until it did process. So I began the painfully slow download of the game at that time. Overnight I was emailed my registration confirmation that told me my reg info was accepted.

In short: no problems here after they gave me a temporary time to download while my reg. processed

Registration not so bad (1)

smiley2billion (599641) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845738)

While I don't think the whole idea of having to register a game to be able to play it (cuts down piracy.. for a while, at least) is bad maybe they should make it something like Windows XP's activation? Whereas, you can play the game right away, but at some point you have to register or the game will stop playing. Sounds a lot like the model for shareware, except that you've already paid for the game, of course.

BTW, I was playing within 20 mins of the release. Sucks to be the people who have to wait forever.

I wonder if Microsoft are takeing notes?? (1)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845739)

Every time a very popular producy arrives on the scene (XP, Half Life, etc) , it appears that it gets more and more annoyance-ware such as online-activation included with it. If people buying this game put up, and shut up, I bet we will be looking forward to M$ pulling the same stunt with Longhorn, and scrapping the 60 day (or whatever) grace we currently get with XP .

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