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Blizzard Patches No-CD Support Into Warcraft III

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the zug-zug-indeed dept.

Real Time Strategy (Games) 198

Rock, Paper, Shotgun notes that in Blizzard's never-ending quest for perfect balance, they've added a handy feature for still-dedicated Warcraft players. Players will no longer need to have the disc in the drive in order to conquer Azeroth. This kicks off a discussion by blogger Alec Meer about the role of copy protection and anti-piracy in PC gaming: "I don't need the Paint Shop Pro disc in my DVD drive whenever I want to butcher my holiday photos, after all. It was always doubly unnecessary for a game like W3, which also employs serial number checks if you want to play it online. Having the CD check as well seems like leaving a polite post-it note on the windscreen of a driver prone to double-parking. Don't bother. Just wheel-clamp the bastard. While there're still some reasons to be circumspect about online distribution systems, they do spell an end to miserably sorting through quivering towers of plastic discs or popup-heavy crack websites. This brave new world, in which the data already installed upon my hard drive is all that's required to play a game I've paid for, is one I know I want to live in."

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198 comments

Was I the only one... (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335064)

I just went to http://www.megagames.com/ [megagames.com] for the no cd patch. Oh this is the official no-cd patch. Well, that's a bit better. Kinda late though.

Re:Was I the only one... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335472)

Almost! Over here it was GameCopyWorld [gamecopyworld.com] .

Re:Was I the only one... (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335826)

GameBurnWorld [gameburnworld.com] ?

Honestly, who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22335066)

It's not like requiring the original media has killed any console. Console gaming is larger than PC gaming these days.

No one cares about needing the disk. I'd rather require a disk than have every time I play the game recorded in their database, tracked by a serial number.

Re:Honestly, who cares? (2, Interesting)

mmalove (919245) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335578)

I disgree entirely. I care about needing the original disk. Moving towards a steam-like system of DRM where you don't need an easily malable sub-gigabyte coaster to unlock usage of your software license is a step long overdue.

MMOs caught on to this secret early on - when the value your game offers is mostly or completely through online play, you don't need a disk, you can do a much much better job checking accounts as they authenticate with your server.

And consoles are being released with built in HDs rivaling those in gaming PCs now. I wouldn't be at all surprised to be less than ten years away from never needing the gaming disk there, either.

Kudos to Blizzard, though as was stated above, a few years too late.

Re:Honestly, who cares? (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335764)

I care. These days, a consumer can reasonably have a terabyte of storage on his PC. With that kind of storage, I should be able to have hundreds of games sitting on my hard drive waiting to be played on demand. However, because of this stupid "CD required" garbage, I have to maintain a stack of CDs that have no purpose other than to verify I actually bought the game (never mind that in most cases, I also have to enter a license key during the install phase anyway).

Requiring a CD may not be a big deal if you only ever play one or two games, but if you're like me and have a varied taste in games, and may play even 5 or 10 different games in a week, having to switch around CDs is a major pain.

Re:Honestly, who cares? (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335908)

Gaming on OSX (enjoy the laugh for the moment) has one advantage very few of the CD checkers check the actual hardware only the mount point for required data. I can create a disk image of the cd in question and mount that before playing. It does take up some storage space but generally you only need one disc in particular in a multi disc set.

Re:Honestly, who cares? (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336138)

Often they don't even verify that the disk contains the correct data; only that a disk is mounted with the correct name. Many games will work if you simply rename your hard drive to match the CD volume name. Others only verify a single folder or file on the disk (again, often only by name), and/or that the disk is removable.

If you're worried about disk space is may be worth checking -- just create an empty disk image and name is correctly. If that fails try adding the file/folder structure from the original disk using empty files. It doesn't work with everything, but it works with enough games to be worth checking, at least on space-limited devices.

Re:Disks on OSX (2, Interesting)

Psykechan (255694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336482)

MacBook Air and other no-optical systems will require this.

Disk Utility -> Create Disk Image -> mount image -> play game.

I am looking at a 631MB .dmg for the original game and a 480 MB .dmg for the expansion right now. This way I can play the game anytime I like and not have to worry about carrying my original CDs with me. I'm happy for this news because it will allow me to delete these as well as the Starcraft .dmg files. A few GB on a laptop is a big deal.

It's taken far too long for the gaming companies to figure this out. Ten years ago games would have no-cd patches out the same day that new copy protection came out. The really invasive ones took maybe a month or two but the crackers could play them. The only people who suffered were the legitimate buyers. Blizzard really should have learned this lesson back in 2000 when Diablo II was causing issues with legitimate disks but pirated copies worked fine.

Re:Honestly, who cares? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336064)

consoles don't have serial numbers, or 30 minute installs of hundreds of megs of data either.... They assume possession of the disc is proof of "ownership".

Re:Honestly, who cares? (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336724)

Consoles also have longer load times on average... not to mention once the console is a couple years old, PC games surpass the graphics capabilities. Besides you can't tell me that if you could put your game CD in your console only once when you bought the game, then never have to swap out again that you wouldn't do it. Same goes for DVDs.

Re:Honestly, who cares? (2, Interesting)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337652)

Consoles also have longer load times on average

Not if you play on a Nintendo console. Wii games usually take a few seconds to load at startup and then rarely have noticeable load times after that.

Re:Honestly, who cares? (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337352)

That's because until quite recently, consoles had no secondary storage system large enough to store a CD (much less DVD) worth of data. And when they did, hacks appeared immediately that let you copy a game to the hard drive and play it without the disc entirely. (pirates loved this - no discs to burn, AND faster load times)

However, now that hard drives are becoming more and more standard in consoles, games are beginning to use them for caching data (to improve load times) or in some cases, "install" the entire game ala PC. One of the biggest complaints about 'Devil May Cry' for the PS3 is that it literally needs 20 minutes to copy the game to the hard drive - and then you STILL need the disc to play. Just like the drain-bramaged model that PCs have used for years. Meanwhile, 360 owners can simply pop the disc in and start playing the game. Immediately.

Re:Honestly, who cares? (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336222)

I care quite a lot when the game's check fails due to some weird SecuROM system that determines my drive isn't really a drive due to a bug.

Re:Honestly, who cares? (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337138)

My son has a Reader Rabbit game that requires the CD to run. Every time he wants to play that game, he's got to have either me or my wife get the CD out, put it in, skip where it tries to reinstall the program because the CD was reinserted, and then start the game. It's a major PITA.

Please please please be a trend (4, Interesting)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335078)

I really hope this sort of thing happens more often. I remember some games I used to play only required the CD if you hadn't copied the CD onto your hard drive, and that was because the normal install didn't include all the data needed for the game to run. But now that hard drives are so much larger, it'd be nice for more games to do that, even if they are on DVD.

Re:Please please please be a trend (0)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335676)

It will only (maybe) become a pattern in games where you have to pay to play. Why does Blizzard care if you buy the game for $15 if they're getting their $15/mo from you?

Re:Please please please be a trend (2, Informative)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335774)

It will only (maybe) become a pattern in games where you have to pay to play. Why does Blizzard care if you buy the game for $15 if they're getting their $15/mo from you?
WOW was always no CD. Warcraft 3 isn't WOW. This implemented this on a $40 1 shot game with no reoccurring charges to access bnet.

Re:Please please please be a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22336416)

Well, with Blizzard it appears to already be a pattern. I just patched StarCraft and BroodWar. The latest patch includes no-CD upgrades.

Re:Please please please be a trend (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336800)

We're talking about Warcraft III here, not World of Warcraft. Warcraft III is not a subscription game.

Re:Please please please be a trend (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335790)

Epic has removed the CD check from the first updates for UT and UT2k3/4. Not sure about UTIII though.

Re:Please please please be a trend (1)

thyrf (1059934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336266)

The CD check is still very much in place with UT3 (as well as CoD4).

Re:Please please please be a trend (2, Informative)

nexex (256614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336294)

UT III has never required it.

Re:Please please please be a trend (1)

Morkano (786068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336234)

A few other games where you don't need the DVD in the drive:

Stardock's Galactic Civilization II, and their new Sins of a Solar Empire. In fact, there's no copy protection on the disk at all. And once you buy it you can download it from them whenever you want, even if you completely lose your DVD and serial number. As long as you still know your Stardock Account.

World In Conflict also lets you play without the DVD when you play in multiplayer only, which is quite nice.

Re:Please please please be a trend (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336646)

Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament 2004 both removes there disc checks in a patch, shortly after release even.

Re:Please please please be a trend (1)

mike2R (721965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336692)

Couldn't agree more. Steam is getting all my business at the moment simply because I find online activation infinitely less annoying than playing hunt the CD.

StarCraft (5, Informative)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335080)

Not just WarCraft, also SC1 (Original and BW) patch version 1.15.2

- patch 1.15.2
    Feature Changes

- StarCraft and StarCraft: BroodWar no longer require the CD while playing the game. To play without the CD, please follow the following instructions:

Windows Users:
- Make sure you have "Hide extensions for known types" unchecked under Explorer Folder Options.
- If you own only StarCraft, copy "INSTALL.EXE" from the StarCraft CD to your StarCraft folder and rename it to "StarCraft.mpq".
- If you own StarCraft: Brood War, copy "INSTALL.EXE" from the StarCraft:Brood War CD to your StarCraft folder and rename it to "BroodWar.mpq".

Re:StarCraft (1)

kailoran (887304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335222)

I think I still prefer the 0.5MB "special" install.exe file (that I uhh... got from a friend), to the several hunderd MB original. Granted, this doesn't let you play the campaign, but this isn't what Starcraft is about anyway.

Re:StarCraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22335490)

Uhh, the install.exe file isn't several "hunderd" MB. All of the actual installation files are either kept loose in a directory or in a separate archive file. The install.exe file just contains the code that says "copy these files" or "extract these files" (along with fancy things like splash-screens, EULAs, serial checks, install options, etc).

Re:StarCraft (1)

kailoran (887304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335558)

-1, Wrong. In the general case, you'd be right. However, in many Blizzard games, including Starcraft and Broodwar, install.exe is also a large archive of all the game files, taking up nearly the entire CD. There is no separate data file.

Re:StarCraft (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337326)

yep, oldstyle copy protection attempt right there is what it amounts to...of course anyone with even a little programming knowledge of pascal or even basic can copy everything the exe reads as it executes to crack the game in about 10minutes.

Re:StarCraft (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337388)

hmm, i have a directory for Starcraft that has followed across multiple installs and different boxes in my house, it has all the files needed to play multiplayer AND the campaign (original and BW), the only thing special i have to do is run a registry crack, otherwise the no-cd executable works just fine without ANY info from a CD.

IIRC, the install.exe is in the dir and the reg hack just takes the current path for starcraft and adds it as the CD path in the registry. then you use a loader to play.

and yes i still play it now and again.. can't wait for SC2 woot.

Re:StarCraft (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336572)

I wonder if they've done this for the Mac version. I got around it before by creating a disk image of my Starcraft CD and mounting it to my desktop :P

Patch notes (4, Funny)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335130)

The 1.21b patch notes can be read as:
- The game no longer requires the CD to play.

Or as:
- The game no longer requires a no-CD crack to play.

Re:Patch notes (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335182)

PS I don't think they'll be updating the no-CD cracks for this patch version.

Re:Patch notes (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337288)

Don't underestimate what some people are willing to upload.

Never really understood the CD check (3, Insightful)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335154)

I never really understood the CD check. I mean, why can't the "signature" of a CD being present just be emulated? And that's indeed what all the pirated game downloads come with. I don't think I've seen a game where you actually have to have to actual game CD in order to play it: an image of the disc could be mounted using some program and the game played thinking that it is the actual CD.

Re:Never really understood the CD check (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335266)

I don't play many games, but straight-up emulation of the Diablo II and Starcraft discs were damn near impossible back when I played them. I tried, I had friends that tried. Blizzard and plenty of other companies do stuff to the disc that makes emulation difficult for the average gamer.

Re:Never really understood the CD check (2, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335532)

And yet simply making a disc image of the install discs with Disk Copy or Disk Utility always worked with no problems under OS9 and OSX.

Re:Never really understood the CD check (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335610)

Never had luck under Windows or linux (Slackware) ... never tried a Mac, I refuse to pay Steve Job's "vanity tax".

Re:Never really understood the CD check (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335840)

I've been playing both with Daemon tools. No CD ever required and haven't for a long time.

Re:Never really understood the CD check (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336798)

How'd your rip D2 or brood wars? I was using Daemon Tools as well for the imaging. I'd always get crap when I ripped.

Not that it matters anymore ... I gave my CD's away a long time ago.

Re:Never really understood the CD check (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336888)

Use an older version of clone CD. Alcohol or blind write do an amazing job too.

Re:Never really understood the CD check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22335900)

original starcraft never had copy-protection. just create an image, and your done.

Re:Never really understood the CD check (1)

whtmarker (1060730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335488)

Instead of emulating the CD description, just copy the entire CD into a folder and either map a network drive to it, use daemon tools [daemon-tools.cc] , or virtual drive creator [snapfiles.com] . One of the tricks I use is to name the volume/drive the same as the CD's name and i've never had any problems.

Re:Never really understood the CD check (4, Informative)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335978)

You obviously haven't played any recent games this way.

One form of copy protection which is difficult to avoid involves modifying the disk to have two sectors with the same sector number. When seeking to that sector number from one direction, the drive will read one sector, when seeking from the other it will read the other (or something along those lines). This kind of disk can't be copied just by copying the files, because only one of the duplicate sectors will be copied. It can't even be got around by copying the entire disk to another, because CD-R and DVD-R (+/- and RW variants) all have the sector numbers pre-written.

However there hasn't yet been a form of copy protection that couldn't be circumvented by removing the copy-protection code from the executable.

Re:Never really understood the CD check (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335698)

I mean, why can't the "signature" of a CD being present just be emulated?
Some games do check for stuff like that - And it's sometimes a real PITA. I bought the latest C&C game a while back. It not only checks for the original media, it scans to see if you have any disc emulation running on your computer. I run DaemonTools all the time and find it enormously useful. So, when I tried to run the game, it would detect DaemonTools and refuse to run - Even with the original media in the drive. Even exiting wasn't enough - it would detect the driver. It took hours of time and about a week of waiting before the EA Games had a fix for me. And, by that time, I had acquired a functional copy via TPB.

When it was all over, I thanked them for their help, but let them know how much easier the TPB solution was and let them know that I'd be using TPB until they got the bugs out of their protection scheme.

Just copy protection (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336516)

In some cases it is simple, just checks for the CD and yes, you can copy the CD in any software and the copy will work. Not a lot of people that will weed out. Usually, it is a much more intense check. These days it is often a program like Safedisc 4 or Securerom 7. These check a lot of things to try and ensure it is the original disc. For example they'll ask the drive what kind of media it is (burners will report if something is pressed, burnable, or rewritable) and only run if it is pressed media. They also check various characteristics of the disc that are difficult or impossible to copy. They'll check areas of the CD that aren't normally copied (like sub channels) or things that are properties of the physical disc (like the ATIP). If they don't match, it won't run.

Regardless of the levels of checks, that's the purpose behind them. They are just trying to prevent you from making copies of the disc. It isn't because there is any useful data needed off of the disc.

CD checks for online games (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335158)

I agree with the summary--CD checks for exclusively-online games are pointless. Epic did it with UT2003/4, but after just a few months removed the CD check in a patch. For single-player games, I can understand it better. For me, a CD-check is far more preferable to some of the other (almost always ineffective) copy-preventing schemes out there. For example, I find Steam overly heavy-handed. Not only must you have a internet connection just to play the single-player game, but you can't sell the game to somebody without also giving them your Steam account. And the TOS specifically disallow that. For someone like me who would only use Steam because he has to, this is unacceptable, and squashed most of my interest in purchasing the Orange Box.

Re:CD checks for online games (2, Informative)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336198)

> Not only must you have a internet connection just to play the single-player game

You need the connection to activate it. Once that's done, you can play offline as much as you damn well please.

Killing the resale market isn't so great though. But I'm still sick of having to keep track of a stack of lexan dongles.

Great with WINE (5, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335204)

The benefit to No-CD patches is that it makes it so much easier to play games under WINE on Linux. While I never had an issue with War3, other newer games give me grief such as Supreme Commander and C&C3. Both of these require a No-CD hack to run as neither will recognize the DVD sitting in the drive. (Yes, I do have the CD mapped to WINE D: drive) Removing the CD-In-The-Drive requirement would really take many of the barriers to playing these games under WINE and would open up that 1% of the market that are Linux users!

these work? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337228)

Any howto's on how you got these to work? They're pretty much the only games that I still reboot to windows for...

SupCom CD check was removed shortly after release (1)

vecctor (935163) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337438)

Just an fyi since you mentioned the game: they released a patch to remove the CD check for Supreme Commander just a couple weeks after release.

Good (4, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335210)

They annoy me to no end. It was one thing to keep the disc in the drive back when the data had to be pulled off (I wouldn't want to install Wing Commander 4 and it's 6+ CDs on my hard drive back then). Recently, this has been driving me nuts though. Valve has done such a good job with Steam, that it makes the problem even more obvious.

I bought Sam & Max Season One in the retail box, and it uses copy protection. I use a Mac and the game isn't available for my platform, so I have to play the episodes in Windows. I can't use Parallels because the copy protection thinks I'm using a copied disc. I can't use a disc image for the same reason. I can't play it under OS X. I have to boot into Windows. That takes a long time to shutdown OS X, start Windows, start the game, check the CD, then get into it. It's an amazing pain.

Sam & Max is not an intensive game at all. Even with the lowered performance of 3D stuff in Parallels, it should work fine. I understand Half-Life 2 not running well (it likes a beefy system), but there is no good reason I shouldn't be able to play Sam & Max that way.

But I paid for the physical media, because I prefer that. And because of that, I get copy protection. I'm seriously considering not playing Season Two at this point.

Re:Good (1)

SynapseLapse (644398) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335618)

It's on steam. [steampowered.com] No CD fuss, no muss.

Re:Good (1)

thyrf (1059934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336588)

Steam is an excellent way to buy and play games. However when buying any 'non-steam' games (infinity ward, epic, etc) the price rockets up in comparison to that of physical media. Example: I went to my local GAME three weeks ago and bought UT3 for £20 and Cod4 Collectors Edition for £25. Absolute bargain. Go to steam and CoD4 is $70 atm which for me works out to be about £35. Add VAT and the other stupid charges and it comes to about £47 - I know this because I bought it this way for my brother over Christmas.

You're really paying for the convenience when you go with steam (in some cases - orange box is a steal).

Re:Good (1)

Daedone (981031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337390)

More importantly, if steam has the game, but you bought the physical media, then you can register it on steam, and viola download it the next time you need to install it. All you have to do is put your CD key in, it checks that its valid, and you're good to go. Then you can shove all your media in a box in your cupboard.

Re:Good (1)

zsouthboy (1136757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336734)

If you actually buy the games right from Telltale, they're simply downloads, and they simply check with their servers to play. IIRC you should be able to WINE them then.

Plus, more money goes to them than the retail packaging.

Win/win.

Uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22335226)

This took how many years for them to figure out and patch?

if only (2, Insightful)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335252)

If only other developers would spend about 10% of Blizzards amount of support to their games I'd be spending a shitload more money on purchasing new games.

WCIII is almost 6 years old now, and still Blizzard looks for ways to improve the experience.

This dedication to strive for perfection is the sole reason I have every single game they released sitting on my shelf.
Alternatively, this is also the reason I have only one EA game sitting on that same shelf. I got fooled once, won't happen twice.

You could argue that this patch is long overdue, but the fact that they even spend some resources on it is something to be hailed.

Re:if only (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335620)

You could also argue that if WoW hadn't taken off, they'd be a much poorer brand without the resources to continue to tweak its niche game years after it was released. The question is, does success lead to dedication, or does dedication lead to success?

Re:if only (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335972)

You could also argue that if WoW hadn't taken off, they'd be a much poorer brand without the resources to continue to tweak its niche game years after it was released. The question is, does success lead to dedication, or does dedication lead to success?
They had this dedication before WOW. Diablo ii, Starcraft, War 3, War 2 all had patches long after other companies would have abandoned them; and those patches were as often to fix play issues as to squash bugs introduced by the last patch. To put in perspective, each have had around 10 patches except war 2 while most games top out at 3 and for most games those 3 patches were to fix critical issues. I know it's bought my loyalty. If i spend $60 on a blizzard game I know I'll be playing it 5 years down the line (like I do with war 3). The cost per hour is ridiculously small so it's an entertainment value.

Re:if only (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336080)

Blizzard was a success long before WoW came out, but I agree that if they hadn't found continued success with WoW, they'd be spending less resources on maintaining older games. But consider that they are still releasing patches for Starcraft - a game that came out in 1998! Could you imagine Windows releasing new patches for windows 98, or Apple patching Mac OS 8.5?

Re:if only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22335894)

You, sir, deserve mod points.

I, too, have every Blizzard game on my shelf and I play, if even for ten minutes a day, at least one of their titles. Here lately it's been a mix between Diablo and StarCraft (which are both about a decade old).

It's rare I say this (no, really), but they deserve every single penny I've given them, down to the last drop. Well earned, Blizzard. Congratulations.

emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22335300)

Well for every other company who doesn't do this, that's what Alcohol 120% is for. Having to have the CD in the drive for an online game got old a long time ago.

BFD... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335304)

Give me a no-CD patch for Diablo II that doesn't lock into some weird windows API so that I can finally run it on wine without a headache.

What brave new world (2, Funny)

Kynmore (861364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335308)

The article says this is a "brave new world" to not need the CD... How old is this guy? Does he not remember the days before they required the CD to play? This isn't a brave new world, it's a return to the way things used to be. Funny, wasn't it Blizzard that started the "Disc Required" movement? I may be wrong, but I think it was Warcraft 2 or Starcraft.

BF2's CD check made me quit the game (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335340)

Last year, I moved to Ubuntu as my primary OS. I would still boot into Windows XP to play BF2 online. I bought a legit copy, and had registerd the serial, all that goodness. I bought and downloaded several expansion packs online. My DVD Drive died in my desktop. I couldn't play anymore. Didn't replace the drive, because I use USB pen drives for everything now. So now, EA won't get anymore money from me, because I can't play that game. (and I haven't booted into Windows XP More than 3 times since September.) Now, If more companies would allow you to download ISO's or whatever, and then install, I would be very happy. Been playing the ET:QW demo for Linux. I really like it, but don't want to have to go buy a Drive, plus the game. Since the game is pretty much online only, why don't they just check the keys when you come online like Steam does?

Re:BF2's CD check made me quit the game (1)

cmdr_klarg (629569) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336114)

A DVD-ROM drive will cost you all of $20 from newegg.com. Surely you could get that much use from it?

what really annoys me.... (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335392)

what really annoys me is that you have to leave the DVD in the drive, but the game insists on installing everything to the hard drive and doesn't actually pull any content of the DVD for no reason what so ever.

I don't care if it take 15% of the load time I don't want my disk space wasted and have been able to setup games under Linux+wine with links so that the games pull the data of the CD instead and they work perfectly fine.

Steam/Battle.net (3, Interesting)

SB5 (165464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335410)

I remember the old days when the games asked you to find the 23rd word in the 7th paragraph on page 18 in the game manual.

That really sucked when you didn't actually buy the game. Because it didn't come with a manual, you just copied a floppy.

Re:Steam/Battle.net (1)

contraba55 (1217056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335818)

Or (back in the day) in Dr. Brain, it would give you coordinates to a map in the manual and you'd have to use the info there to play, each time. Made replay pretty hard once you'd lost the manual

Re:Steam/Battle.net (1)

erebus24 (632942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335942)

I've still got my mix'n'mojo wheel here, one the more fun copy protections. I remember when my friend and I brought Monkey Island 2, the guy in the shop showed us how easy it was to take the wheel apart and photocopy it. Well I never said it was a good copy protection, just fun.

Re:Steam/Battle.net (1)

zegota (1105649) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336684)

Does anyone remember this in Metal Gear Solid? There was a frequency on the back of the CD case you had to call to progress with the game (true, you could look it up online, but it was more to be clever than copyright protection). I remember being so frustrated when the commander told me to "check the back of the CD case." I searched my inventory for hours.

Not another car analogy... (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335562)

Having the CD check as well seems like leaving a polite post-it note on the windscreen of a driver prone to double-parking. Don't bother. Just wheel-clamp the bastard.
This car analogy is about as effective as show chains strapped onto a steering wheel. A CD check (even with stored images & Daemon Tools) is a major PITA because it happens all the time during a normal operation, unlike the boot which happens only once in a while and only after a major screw up on your part.

Another reason (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335572)

All maphacking programs are currently fataling the game after the patch. This most likely has to do with the version number and not the programs itself, but it does kill off a few of the older MH programs that are no longer updated. I've used my lovely 32kb no-cd image for WC3 for a while, and it will be a chance to not have to have daemon tools running in the background all the time! (I have several legit CDs, I just don't like popping them in and out).

This is great news (1)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335622)

I still play fairly often -- it's one of the few multidimensional RTS playable in under 15 minutes on average. I've tried newer games (the new C&C/AoE. Supreme Commander, World in Conflict, Warhammer, Total War), but none of them seem to have the balance of playing both a quick and varied game -- with the exception of WiC.

Maybe I'm just old school, but I keep coming back to it (and Starcraft to a lesser extent) even though I played since the beta program.

This certainly is going to do nothing but encourage me;)

Anyone else still play often?

Re:This is great news (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336034)

I've tried newer games (the new C&C/AoE. Supreme Commander, World in Conflict, Warhammer, Total War)
I agree, most of the RTS are 1-2h slog fests with little resembling play balance. Either all sides are the same, the sides are different but 1 is clearly superior, or only 3 units are useful and it's a rush to get these. Sup Com is probably the closest to War 3 or Sc level of balance but it's still a 1h-2h slog involving a lot of massing.

Re:This is great news (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336366)

Most people employ rush tactics in WC3, but then say that it takes 1-2h to do a good game of supcom. Early harassment while you consolidate control of the map in SC can very much win you a game in the first 20 minutes.

Re:This is great news (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336830)

Online on US west I noticed only lower level people employ rushes. Hero Harassing is a common alternative to creeping. But "rush" is not as frequent at higher levels because the chance of winning is mitigated by lower hero levels and delay of teching. It's somewhat map and player number specific, on 3v3 a rush is rare, 1v1 it's a quarter of the games. Hero harass is almost a given in 1v1 and many new players mistaken this for a "rush".

Re:This is great news (1)

BeeRockxs (782462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336792)

Try Company of Heroes.

Re:This is great news (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337340)

so a strategy game rather than a tactical game then? You are aware that such a game was Chris Taylor's stated intention with supcomm, right?

Re:This is great news (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336388)

I do, though Company of Heroes is taking more and more of my time.

Its about time (1)

shlepp (796599) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335710)

Epic games has already done this with UT3, previous UT games had the cd detection removed. Doom 3 and Quake 4 also got protection removed with patches from ID.
Whats good is lots of games are available through Steam, which means no protection at all, if its one thing i do hate is having to get a new no-cd crack for an updated version of a game. Adding no-cd features to a games v1.1 update or initial release should be mandatory imho.

It's almost as if (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335814)

there had been a suddenoutbreakofcommonsense, but you have to ask yourself, whatcouldpossiblygowrong?

Stardock (3, Insightful)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335986)

All of the Stardock [stardock.com] games have had this for awhile. Galatic Civilizations II was awesome, and apparently the new Sins of a Solar Empire [sinsofasolarempire.com] is awesome too. It's nice to not be treated like a criminal.

Hey EA, are you paying attention? (1)

alanshot (541117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336090)

Here's hoping other companies follow this lead. I am getting tired of swapping CDs.

What? I have NEVER had to have the CD (0, Offtopic)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336104)

I've been playing WoW for almost 3 years, and play almost every day. The CD's are in the box, in a drawer, and have not left since I first installed. Is the CD check new, or something?

I'm an idiot (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336300)

WC3, NOT WoW. I can't even RTFS. Please mod me down. I must be purged.

Re:What? I have NEVER had to have the CD (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336374)

I've been playing WoW for almost 3 years, and play almost every day. The CD's are in the box, in a drawer, and have not left since I first installed. Is the CD check new, or something?

Not only did you not RTFA, and not only did you not RTFSummary, but you didn't even RTFTitle!

We're talking about Warcraft III, not World of Warcraft.

Re:What? I have NEVER had to have the CD (2, Funny)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336518)

Oh, c'mon. My UID's bigger than 500K. What do you expect from me?

Re:What? I have NEVER had to have the CD (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336414)

Warcraft III != World of Warcraft

I wish all companies did this with their old games. For the brief stint on x64 vista, I had trouble playing some games because the copy protection was not patched for vista (64bit). For instance, you can't play age of empires II conquerers (expansion) in vista x64, but supposedly macrovision released an update for 32bit vista. It's very annoying that I have all these games and can't play them. I ended up going back to XP for this and other reasons.

I could get the game to install, just not run without crashing.

Re:What? I have NEVER had to have the CD (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336454)

Warcraft... not WoW.

Damn I feel old.

wordy.... (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336118)

What a wordy way to say, "cool"....

If wishes were fishes (1)

NealokNYU (779603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336192)

"While there're still some reasons to be circumspect about online distribution systems, they do spell an end to miserably sorting through quivering towers of plastic discs or popup-heavy crack websites."


Hopefully this heralds a change in Blizzard's stance on distributing Warcraft III/Frozen Throne online. Currently, the only way to acquire them is to pay for hard copies. I have been reluctant to purchase ANOTHER Battle Chest after losing my first copies of TFT and WC3-- yes, I've purchased both games TWICE. A digital copy would help space cases like me endlessly.

Why I download pirated SW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22336476)

I was visiting my brother a couple of months ago and he told me to play this game he got for our nieces, said it was addictive (Viva Pinata, I should have known...). I'm not a gamer at all, but I do enjoy silly games from time to time.

He was at work on day while I was working from his place on my laptop and thought I would give it a try. First it complained about the CD. So I put it in, and then it complained about the network being down (my laptop was plugged to the modem, no router).

At that point I said "fuck it".

Once I got home I booted from linux to Vista, downloaded it from TPB, played some, and it wasn't even worth my trouble.

Moral of the story: copy protection generates piracy. I would have totally bought it had I loved the game and if there weer no hassles.

Nice (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336558)

Well they were hinting at this in the forums last week after they did the same for Starcraft. Sadly, there's no mention of doing this for Diablo II. They're also planning another balance patch for release at some point, which might add some features to Battle.net for the game as well.

This isn't exactly uncommon though. Epic Games usually disables the cd-check very early on in their patch cycle. I believe the DRM is mandated by publishers, while the developers seem to be more sympathetic to gamer's wants.

Online Distribution Will Save Us? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336606)

Nah.

Try using a "no cd crack" instead. They've existed for nearly a decade and I've used them on every single one of my games that try to force you to put (and keep!) the disc in even though it's not accessing anything off of it. Copy protection via a present disc is not only a complete hassle, it's also dangerous. The more you move a disc around (from case to tray and back again), the more likely it is to acquire scratches and become unplayable in the future.

Online distribution (such as Steam) is just as annoying. Why should I have to run an external program that bogs down my CPU and bandwidth just to play a game? I shouldn't. Simple CD Key checks are good enough for online play, and no such protection at all is best for singleplayer. I'm not told to turn off any virtual drives I may have when trying to watch a movie on DVD in my computer. Game developers need to get over themselves.

Great! (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337126)

I can finally unmount the virtual CD drive and free up the 600 megs that the ISO was occupying on my hard drive. :D

So long overdue, it's painful (3, Interesting)

garylian (870843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337368)

I can't tell you the number of games I've lost over the years due to damaged CDs. Yeah, you try to protect them, but when you end up switching CDs every few days because you wish to play a different game for a bit, sometimes the CD sits on your desk for a few minutes.

My copy of Temple of Elemental Evil worked fine for the orignal release, and the first patch. The second patch to come out wasn't compatable with DirectX 9.0c, so it was pointless. Applying the third patch to fix the second patch made my CD fail its check. So, the game worked out of the box, and through the first patch, but the 2nd/3rd patch broke my CD? You've got to be kidding me! And SecureROM analyzed my data, and said that it was because I had Daemon Tools installed. So, I uninstalled that, re-ran their program, and they said I must have a copy of an orignal CD. Since it's an Atari game that isn't being supported any longer, I can't get a new CD from the company.

Heck, my current copy of Hellgate: London acts up in single player mode (which requires the DVD to be in the drive. Multiplayer does not, as it should be.) Half the time I have to reboot my system, because SafeDisc doesn't recognize the DVD being in the drive. It spins, then stops and hangs. It's even told me that my OS isn't high enough, and I need to upgrade to Windows 98SE or 2000. I have XP installed. Some of that was the multi-language support, which can be clicked off, but the bottom line is, the copy protection makes the game sometimes unplayable without a reboot.

With the way today's games are, with the zero-day release always having a fatal bug (I believe intentionally) that requires a patch to be downloaded, there is no real need for this. Very few if any gamer systems aren't internet connected, so just make a simple verification check go out on the serial number, and let them play. No connection or a failure of that check, and no game.

It's one of the reasons I play MMOs so much, even though it is often solo. No copy protection to annoy me, no CD/DVD to keep track of, and less clutter in/on my desk.
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