Print 79 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on May 16 at 4:38 AM

M.E. takes a hint from E.T. and decides to phone home more regularly

While Xbox 360 gamers have been able to enjoy Bioware's action-RPG title Mass Effect -- and all the innuendo and controversy surrounding it -- since November 2007, PC gamers will only receive their first taste of Commander Shepard's interstellar adventuring and Captain-Kirk-esqe taste for alien romance later this month.

That is, assuming their computer can not only meet the modest system requirements, but also remain connected to the Internet for the mandatory authorization check that occurs upon installation and every ten days thereafter.

That's right, fellow PC gamers -- it seems that the complaints and furor that surrounded Bioshock's irritating activation scheme have been taken as a "how-to" rather than something to be avoided. Bioware marketing employee Chris Priestly has posted the grisly details on the official Bioware forums, and it isn't pretty for those who only have sporadic connectivity:

Q: What happens if I want to play MEPC but do not have an internet connection?
A: You cannot play MEPC without an internet connection. MEPC must authenticate when it is initially run and every 10 days thereafter.

Q: What happens if I install and activate MEPC with an internet connection, but then do not have an internet connection after 10 days? Can I still play MEPC?
A: No. After 10 days the system needs to re-authenticate via the internet. If you do not have an internet connection you will not be able to play until you are reconnected to the internet and able to re-authenticate.

The discussion thread on the Bioware forums has grown rapidly, with several members voicing their distaste to various degrees of subtlety -- some even openly declaring that they will pirate the game rather than buy it, simply because it will be less of an inconvenience.

In addition to the game routinely phoning home, the SecuROM copy protection will also enforce a limitation of three "activated" installations of the game -- any copies installed beyond this will require a phone call to EA Support. For those who recall the server issues during the initial launch of Bioshock, EA has addressed this with no small amount of confidence:

Q: There were some problems with authentication servers for games like BioShock. Is EA ready for the influx of MEPC players? Will we be able to play our games when we get them home?
A: Yes, EA is ready and we are confident there will be no server problems. EA has assured us that they have their authorization systems and customer support staff in place and ready for the launch of Mass Effect for PC. Anyone having issues with getting the game activated will be able to contact EA Support and get their problem resolved.
Gamers of the world will have to wait until May 28th to determine if EA remains true to their word, or if they will be forced to eat them.

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DRM again
By odessit740 on 5/7/2008 3:16:36 PM , Rating: 5
This is the reason for which people actually pirate the games.

Every single Bioware game that I have, I bought. BG1, BG2, Throne of Bhaal, KOTOR1, KOTOR2, NWN1 + all expansions, NWN2 + expansion. Why? Because I respected Bioware as a company and thus supported them.

In this case, I will not be buying this game, for the DRM reasons. Bioware has lost a loyal customer, one who is considering the pirate route.

RE: DRM again
By chizow on 5/7/08, Rating: -1
RE: DRM again
By FITCamaro on 5/7/2008 4:15:05 PM , Rating: 5
What they should do is still buy it. But still download it and play the hacked version that doesn't require the authentication.

I really wouldn't blame the BioWare team for this. I can almost bet that its EA that pushed this on the game.

RE: DRM again
By mattclary on 5/9/2008 9:25:36 AM , Rating: 4
Then they will still have our money and will have no motivation to alter their behavior.

RE: DRM again
By FITCamaro on 5/9/2008 11:56:23 AM , Rating: 1
Yes but your behavior only encourages them to adopt more restrictive means. If piracy stops, DRM stops. Piracy is killing PC gaming. You can blame them all you want, but remember that piracy came first, not DRM.

RE: DRM again
By odessit740 on 5/9/2008 12:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
That may be so, but it is widely acknowledged that DRM is not the answer, but more so adds to piracy. I discourage piracy and think that it is wrong, but at the same time it is a natural reaction, a revolt if you will, in response to the strict control and industry-wide practices of computer game manufacturers and their publishers.

Your right, piracy is killing the PC game industry, but so are the draconian methods that try to stop it.

And it isn't like piracy doesn't exist on game consoles, its just that it isn't as wide spread. If the PC game industry went all the to the dogs, I think that some of those same people would migrate to consoles and use mod chips, and download and burn their games.

I think punishing is not the answer, but rewards for buying legitimately is.

RE: DRM again
By mattclary on 5/9/2008 3:53:13 PM , Rating: 4
I'm not saying to pirate it, I'm saying don't play it at all. I have no intention of buying or pirating it. I wanted it badly, 'til I found out about this.

RE: DRM again
By jtesoro on 5/9/2008 11:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to buy Bioshock until I learned of the DRM mechanism it uses. Mass Effect I was still unsure of, but now I've decided not to buy it either. Too bad for the industry as I personally know only 2 or 3 people who buy original games.

RE: DRM again
By omnicronx on 5/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: DRM again
By jtemplin on 5/12/2008 1:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
The people who are "whining", know that a 1 minute trip to the pirate bay will yield a copy of this game. Nobody will be stopped...So I'm not sure what you're getting at there, other than what I will address below.

What follows in your post seems to be the same old argument that people who support wiretapping etc fall back on: "well I have nothing to hide".
The only people whining about this are people that probably would have pirated the game anyways.
Someone can stand up and say hey I am against wiretapping because it invades my privacy or hey I am against DRM because xyz reason. In either case, just because you are opposed of the measure designed to reduce the illegal act, doesn't provide some damning proof that you are in fact participating in said illegal act. Take drug policy for example. Plenty of reasonable people don't think certain drugs should be scheduled as they are, and dont use any drug at all. You can't just pigeonhole people like that.

Game piracy is a problem that needs to be attenuated, but criticizing draconian systems and stopgap measures to reduce the problem is part of whats great about our country. All these systems seem only to punish or reduce the experience of the legitimate consumer. The "pirates" and anyone who knows where to get these pirated materials will be getting copies stripped of any such anti-piracy systems. So obviously their systems don't work.

RE: DRM again
By omnicronx on 5/13/2008 9:06:56 AM , Rating: 2
Game piracy is a problem that needs to be attenuated, but criticizing draconian systems and stopgap measures to reduce the problem is part of whats great about our country.
You say this as though it is your legal right to have a video game with zero limitations. Its perfectly within the rights of the Devs to do whatever they want to stop piracy. I used to be against DRM of anykind, but if you actually consider how many people play computer games, and how many of those games are pirated, you may change your tune.

Its not like music where most of the money goes right into the Studios pockets, games today take 2-4 years complete on average, and that can cost a pretty penny.
Most of the money goes right back into developing the next game, and considering how stagnant the PC market has been lately, its no wonder no good games are comming out for PC.

Why pay millions of dollars to create a game, only to have half the people pirate it, when you can focus on a console that essentially nobody can pirate games.

I am not advocating the use of malware and spyware like apps that some gaming studios use mind you. But if an online activation mechanism is a way they can achieve the same results without using spyware, then I am all for it. Who buys a PC capable of playing these games today without having the internet? If you don't, then you have a mighty expensive paperweight on your desk..

RE: DRM again
By jtemplin on 5/14/2008 5:12:16 AM , Rating: 2
Well I never said I personally find this draconian or stopgap, but clearly some users do. The unscrupulous ones will pirate and others will put their money elsewhere. Either way the money will talk.

If Mass Effect is all its cracked up to be I would like to get it. KotOR was so awesome.

I want the PC gaming industry to survive more than anyone and I believe that involves an interaction between user and company. The company of course needs to protect its investment, but I hate to see a great company like BioWare getting railed on for stuff like this. You're totally right in contrasting games and music. Different strategies need to be undertaken. Hire some creative freshly frocked PhD security studnets from the halls of Ivy. Do something to have the cake and eat it too, I say. Yea I know I live in an ideologue's fantasy world... =D

RE: DRM again
By MADAOO7 on 5/12/2008 1:58:18 AM , Rating: 1
That is the most ridiculous and contradictory statement you could make. Let me get this straight. You were going to buy the real version, until they took steps to make sure you didn't steal it. DRM shouldn't affect you purchasing behavior. You can't say you are against DRM and against piracy. If you are against piracy, then you are buying the real thing, and DRM shouldn't affect that decision. It's as if you don't want to practice what you preach.

RE: DRM again
By mindless1 on 5/16/2008 4:16:10 AM , Rating: 2
Yes some would buy the retail version until the DRM makes it either less convenient to play or offensive to a potential customer.

For example, it has been several years since I have bought any games that I couldn't find a no-cd crack for. Any game I consider, I first hunt down the crack. No crack, no play the game because I will not go juggling discs around. Similarly I won't buy or play games that require internet validation continually - maybe when first installed but that is the limit.

I would never buy a game that limits how many times it can be installed or activated. My gaming system is a secondary one and if any change often that one would be it.

Basically, there's more to a game than just the few hours of play, there's also the incentives to those who respect our, the gamers, desires. I am even thinking seriously about foregoing games that require a no-cd crack for this reason, though frankly part of it may be that I just don't play games as much as i used to, these days it's more about wanting to run it just to feel I'm keeping up with state of the industry graphical eyecandy, some of them just look nice as if the gaming industry will be far ahead of most when we finally get to the point where systems are well endowed enough to support a truely immersive VR for RPGs.

RE: DRM again
By gramboh on 5/7/2008 4:23:55 PM , Rating: 5
For me, the 'convenience' is knowing whether or not the integrity of my PC is being compromised by DRM (remember early StarForce?). I have no problem paying for quality titles, and I do, but I am not going to install something that might compromise my PC.

If I am able to buy it and use a crack from the warez version to remove the authentication (since it's single player only) I will do that, as I do with most games since I hate putting the disc in the drive.

Downloading a 4GB torrent at 1mbyte/s doesn't take very long either.

I have no problem with online authentication (e.g. simple check of key against db) but if there is anything more, especially limiting the number of installs, that is ridiculous.

RE: DRM again
By darkpaw on 5/7/08, Rating: 0
RE: DRM again
By gramboh on 5/8/2008 2:13:55 AM , Rating: 2
Sure it's possible, but believe it or not the cracking groups do what they do for 'pride' and 'respect' in their scene. If they installed a trojan/rootkit etc. via a crack their releases would be blacklisted, it's highly unlikely but yes, it is possible.

RE: DRM again
By robinthakur on 5/8/2008 8:35:13 AM , Rating: 2
Actually if anyone's using vista that won't happen with UAC :) I've actually never come across a virus/trojan etc in a warez crack. Common sense is all that's needed. Anti-virus, firewall and ensure that the crack comes either with the release or from somewhere 'well-frequented' (in the absence of being able to say 'reputable')

RE: DRM again
By darkpaw on 5/8/2008 11:43:43 AM , Rating: 2
Firewall won't do anything if they're smart enough to use the same port out as the game EXE normally would. Virus scanners are generally behind the curve on catching much of anything that isn't mass distribution. Finally, most of the people that use these things wouldn't have the slightest clue their system was taken over.

Smart attackers don't run crap that is obvious and crash the system. It's pretty much been my experience that most people that whine about how unreliable Windows is are the same people that download and install absolutely anything without question.

RE: DRM again
By kondor999 on 5/8/2008 12:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
You have obviously never actually seen or downloaded a cracked release. I've *never* gotten a trojan, virus, etc from any cracked release from a *reputable* group. It's all about knowing where to go.

In many ways, I hate what these guys do (it will destroy PC gaming) - but they are good at it, and they have pretty amazing integrity when it comes to ensuring the quality of their "product". Go figure...

RE: DRM again
By 4wardtristan on 5/9/2008 4:35:15 AM , Rating: 3
backing up what your sorta saying for a bit of your post...

i believe that alot of the time (high 90%), malware is common sense.

dont open that "birthday_card.exe" attachment that your uncle sent you

dont download "J.T - cry me a river.mp3" that is 64kb big

for that matter, dont install any p2p program what so ever etc.

dont click on "congratulations! you are the 14124124124124124th unique visitor! click here to win a exorbitant amount of money!"

follow common sense and you will lead a long and prosperous OS install.

yes i know this is completely unrelated and whatnot but its a rant.


RE: DRM again
By Nik00117 on 5/10/2008 4:22:38 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, this kinda copy protection is going too far. What If I install it on my laptop, and i'm on a trip without internet acess and 11 days later I wanna play it?

RE: DRM again
By omnicronx on 5/12/2008 8:50:19 AM , Rating: 2
You have obviously never actually seen or downloaded a cracked release. I've *never* gotten a trojan, virus, etc from any cracked release from a *reputable* group. It's all about knowing where to go.
And thats when you realize, these 'reputable* groups do not distribute their own software!!! Unless you have drump/topsite access(barely exists anymore), or you know someone else has access, then you have no idea how many channels it went through before getting to you.

Sure back in the day when everyone downloaded their games right off MIRC and then it filtered out, you were much less likely to get some sort of malware or virus, but today you really have no idea where it came from, or who got their hands on it before it reaches you.

RE: DRM again
By omnicronx on 5/12/2008 8:44:28 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know why you were rated down but you are right on the button. I have had access to scene rips and games for years now, and even I do not trust every release I have downloaded. You are much much more likely to have some kind of malware or spyware of some sort installed on your computer using pirated content then any DRM scheme. If you think otherwise, then you have something coming. My guess is download 20 games, at least one of them will result in your computer being part of somebody's botnet =P

RE: DRM again
By robinthakur on 5/8/2008 8:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the downloading would be pretty brisk on my connection, and any amount of inconvenience in playing a game is too much for me i'm afraid. That's why I also own consoles. At the end of that download time, I would be able to play the game as I saw fit, not as EA want me to, after I've purchased the right to play it and forfeited my right to a refund.

I don't want to be prompted to uninstall Daemon tools/Nero etc just because EA deems that its possible to use them illegally as well as legally. Nor do I want the game phoning home every 10 days. I don't have to justify why I don't want it to do that. Who honestly would? Ea Servers are no more reliable than any other servers and how long will they keep them in operation? What happens after this period, does the game become unplayable? If EA has a server problem, does this mean that you can't play your game if it chooses to recheck that you aren't a thief at exactly the same time as the outage? Will this require reconfiguration of my firewall to play one game?

Not being funny, but as with most anti-piracty systems, this will not inconvenience a single person that steals the game through downloading it, because this securerom system will be the first thing which gets ripped out by the release group. However, it will annoy and antagonize the living snot out of legitimate purchasers and for that reason only, its a terrible idea.

The Result? Fewer people will buy the game. More people will download it. Publishers see this and stop putting resources into developing PC games. PC Gaming 'dies'. There has always been alot of piracy on PC. The only new thing is the fact that genuine purchasers are the ones being discriminated against. I will be amazed if they sell more copies of this versus people downloading it...

RE: DRM again
By MatthiasF on 5/8/2008 6:22:49 PM , Rating: 3

some even openly declaring that they will pirate the game rather than buy it, simply because it will be less of an inconvenience.

Robin-hood style pirates just need an excuse to cover what they were going to do anyway. The feeling of righteousness overrides any guilt from stealing, even if it is callous.

RE: DRM again
By Bladen on 5/9/2008 7:22:03 PM , Rating: 2
Can EA confirm that they will be able to maintain the validation servers until the end of time?

RE: DRM again
By Vinnybcfc on 5/12/2008 6:50:17 AM , Rating: 2
Probably end up being MSN Music all over again in a few years.

I can imagine the telephone support would go first so if you uninstall it too many times then its formatting time.

RE: DRM again
By Le Québécois on 5/8/2008 3:58:19 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, if you read the forum link that was provided in the article, it says that all their previous games(except the BG series) also used SecuROM so it's far from the first Bioware game to use DRM.

The difference this time is that they will use an activation process(a la Bioshock) with a limit of 3 activations, which I don't like, unless they provide a way to deactivate or "fully" uninstall the product so you can get back your "activation point", just like you're able to do with Bioshock by using a separated .exe you can download on their website.

The other difference is that every 10 days "check" which I don't like much but should not be a big problem since very few people with a computer able to play this game don't have access to the net.

In all, I would prefer they would go the "Stardock" way like Stardock did with Galactic Civilizations, its sequel, Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords and Sins of a Solar Empire.

DRM CAN be a real pain and like Stardock, I believe that if someone really want a game, they will buy it and if they really want to pirate it, they'll always find a way do to so.

RE: DRM again
By DASQ on 5/8/2008 11:59:30 AM , Rating: 2
And what happens when EA no longer wants to keep their authentication servers going?

You just stop playing Mass Effect? So you're paying for a game that EA can just effectively disable at their own whim?

RE: DRM again
By Le Québécois on 5/8/2008 2:41:19 PM , Rating: 2
That could be a problem, yes, but I don't see EA doing that any time soon.

But what does it have to do with my post?

RE: DRM again
By achintya on 5/11/2008 9:52:35 AM , Rating: 3
RE: DRM again
By Le Québécois on 5/11/2008 4:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
No, I meant, I clearly said that I don't support DRM in my previous post so I don't see why he replied that to my post.

Do not confuse stating a fact(that BioWare has been using DRM for a while now) with my opinion (About the "Stardock" ways with DRM free games).

RE: DRM again
By Hardin on 5/8/2008 3:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
This was a must buy for me, but now I will have to stick to my copy on the 360. It's not piracy that is killing pc gaming. It is the drm.

RE: DRM again
By TheDiceman on 5/12/2008 12:11:29 PM , Rating: 2
You know, while I agree that this DRM and registration crap is annoying to say the least... who cares? It in no way affects your game play and honestly, how many of you are actually not regularly connected to the internet with whatever rig you use for gaming? Do I like the fact that they want to do stuff like this? No, will it affect my purchases, no. The only major reason I would see for anyone being deeply bothered by crack pot ideas like this is if they were going to pirate the game in the first place.

RE: DRM again
By mindless1 on 5/16/2008 4:25:30 AM , Rating: 2
Then by "anyone" you aren't considering some users. I have a simple "no connections" policy, nothing goes checking on newer versions or connects anywhere any time, until I initiate it. This includes software and hardware firewalling, and something that complains and refuses to work is not going to make me into a willing repeat customer, I'm not going to open holes just so one misbehaving app can have it's way.

Connections to the internet shall only occur when _I_ choose to send specific data or retrieve it.

Maybe I just have different ideas about security than you do, but that's part of what PCs are about, that it's not an unconfigurable computing and network environment and the more demands an application makes in order to work, the more it becomes inoperable with already fixed static environments.

In other words there's just no way any one game will matter enough when there are so so many others out there, especially when it's from a company like EA which already had some negativity surrounding it for various other reasons.

RE: DRM again
By just4U on 5/12/2008 4:22:44 PM , Rating: 2
After reading much of the comments on this topic, I have to kind of agree with the people who are saying NO to DRM. Most of us tend to buy our games regardless, and those who do not will always find a way around these things so .. Why do it? In the end it puts restrictions on those with a legal copy of the game.

I love bioware games. I picked up several. While I don't know for sure that this will stop me, it does give me pause. I don't blame them, but at the same time I do.

I don't know. I guess we will see how this turns out.

Beginning of the end....
By Kenenniah on 5/7/2008 3:11:27 PM , Rating: 5
Alas, the slow deterioration of Bioware as a result of the EA buyout has begun.

RE: Beginning of the end....
By FITCamaro on 5/7/2008 3:22:14 PM , Rating: 3
So much for my hope that BioWare would remain as it was. My hope for a decent Star Wars MMO from them is waning. God damn I hate EA. You know it was them that forced this shit on BioWare. None of their games in the past have had this kind of crap. Then they get bought by EA and hey, you've gotta authenticate every 10 days.

Honestly if it was just "phoning home" every 10 days to validate the CD key, that'd be fine. But to not let people play? I mean what if you go on a two week business trip where you don't have access to the internet (many companies don't cover the cost of internet in hotels and not all offer it for free). After the 10th day, you won't be able to play on your laptop in the evenings.

And you know its not just validating the CD Key either. Nor should it be that after three installs you have to call. They should have a web page where you register the up to 3 PCs you want to play it on. When you want to change PCs and are at the limit(3), you unregister one and register another.

RE: Beginning of the end....
By Kenenniah on 5/7/2008 4:44:08 PM , Rating: 3
It's just sad that companies like EA will probably never understand that policies like these just cause problems for people like me that don't pirate, while providing almost no barrier at all for those that do. DRM gets cracked and pirates still get the game for free.

And even sadder still, we have very good examples of good games that sold extremely well with no DRM. Oblivion anyone? Yet still the publishers believe they need to do this crap. I just don't get how they can honestly think that horrible DRM will increase their sales. I was planning on purchasing Mass Effect, but after reading this that will not be happening. I'm sure many other people will do the same, therefore I believe DRM like this acheives the opposite. Even if by some chance it does increase overall sales, is the increase enough to cover all the additional expenses? The additional strain on customer support, validation server installation and maintenance, and the devolpment or purchase of the DRM software do not come free.

RE: Beginning of the end....
By SectionEight on 5/7/2008 5:12:44 PM , Rating: 3
If SW:KOTOR 3 ever gets made, I hope it is in Obsidian's hands. Yes, they were less than stellar with KOTOR 2, but at least I can play it without an internet connection. Heck, even Steam, and games downloaded from Steam, will allow you to play without an active connection.

RE: Beginning of the end....
By murphyslabrat on 5/8/2008 5:20:12 PM , Rating: 2
For the record, I don't know what the interval is, but you do need to periodically log on while online.

Nothing big, but for me that meant that about every two weeks I had to haul my computer out of my parents basement, hook it up to the internet, log on, log off, and then bring it back down.

All that just to play Condition Zero.

RE: Beginning of the end....
By glitchc on 5/12/2008 1:08:36 AM , Rating: 2
Heard of wireless?

RE: Beginning of the end....
By cyclosarin on 5/7/2008 7:59:51 PM , Rating: 1
You know it was them that forced this shit on BioWare. None of their games in the past have had this kind of crap.

Actually they did something similar a while back with NWN1. They made a couple of campaigns and sold them off the website, the one I can recall the name of is Kingmaker, they were single player campaigns as well. These campaigns were purchased on their own but in order to play them you had to be connected to the internet anytime you started playing the campaign so it could check and make sure your account had actually purchased them. When I say any time you started playing, I mean even after starting a saved game.

So Bioware has done things exactly similar to this in the past without EA being involved. Kinda makes me wonder if I should bother with Bioware anymore.

RE: Beginning of the end....
By Manch on 5/8/2008 2:18:30 PM , Rating: 3
what sucks about this is these are the types of games I play when i go on my 4-6 month rotations to the desert. Not like i can get broadband out there!

If this gets put into more games, I'll be forced to play older games or go excluively console.

I'm against piracy becuase it's killing pc gaming. It's sad if you think about it, PC gaming is getting destroyed by pirates and developers and the legitimate customers are the ones getting the shaft.

Pirates eat into the developers money, they in turn put this crap on there games to protect their investment, consumers refuse to buy or turn to piracy, developer gets pissed becuase they're losing more money, implements stricter DRM, more people go to piracy............

Soon no more PC versions or exclusive titles, no custom maps, etc. Soon we'll all be consoled and have to wait for map packs and pay 800 live points or 900 Wii ruppees,or 875.24 PS3 pesos just to add replayability.

God this sucks, and damn you EA, you are the worst!

RE: Beginning of the end....
By Akazar on 5/9/2008 1:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
Piracy is not killing pc gaming. Console gaming is. And crappy games.

Morrowind Oblivion has no copy protection and is one of PC's alltime best selling titles.

By dare2savefreedom on 5/10/2008 1:32:39 PM , Rating: 1
GREED is killing pc gaming,

think about it.
You can rape the gamers more money on consoles.
On the consoles you make a ok version on xbox360 and then half-a$$ port it to ps3,wii,ps2. Minimize development costs and increase profits.
Now if you have to port it to pc then you have to worry about actually supporting more than one configuration. You have to actually worry about supporting a product - that'll cost profit.

I say fsck it and let pc gaming die and let the developers dream of fat wallets from "protected" console games. Meanwhile my modchips are getting installed. Hell the last 2 games I bought were console games at 1.99 each so the benefit of console gaming is that I get dirt cheap games. No profit for developers - ahahahhhhh!!!!

So Stupid its Brilliant
By King of Heroes on 5/7/2008 3:21:28 PM , Rating: 5
Wow, this is so ridiculous it actually sounds calculated.

Create a DRM scheme so fucking annoying that it will prompt PC users to pirate the game, thus legitimizing the claim that the PC is no longer a viable platform because of rampant pirating.

For those people openly declaring that they will pirate it; you are not helping. You really want to one up them? DON'T BUY IT, DON'T PIRATE IT, DON'T PLAY IT.

Here's hoping more developers like Stardock release more DRM-free games that sell like hotcakes, shooting down this retarded bullshit (at least until E.A. buys the entire gaming industry shits DRM all over everything).

RE: So Stupid its Brilliant
By FITCamaro on 5/7/2008 3:23:50 PM , Rating: 2
at least until E.A. buys the entire gaming industry shits DRM all over everything

Don't joke about that.

RE: So Stupid its Brilliant
By Denithor on 5/8/2008 4:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
For those people openly declaring that they will pirate it; you are not helping. You really want to one up them? DON'T BUY IT, DON'T PIRATE IT, DON'T PLAY IT.


For once I welcome hackers.
By marsbound2024 on 5/7/2008 4:36:22 PM , Rating: 2
Please develop a program that can be downloaded to your computer and acts like it is an EA server so that Mass Effect thinks it is communicating with the EA server, but it is actually communicating with that program. Thus you can play it offline.

Or at least develop a patch that pretty much overrides this feature or somehow allows it to be implemented with third-party programs that allow Mass Effect to be played offline.

I would recommend boycotting Mass Effect for PC, but it would fail like almost all other boycotts.

RE: For once I welcome hackers.
By Master Kenobi on 5/9/2008 2:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
There will be a no-activation crack within 48 hours of release. No worries. But yea, count me out on this game. I won't pay EA a dime. I might however get this if it is offered through STEAM.

RE: For once I welcome hackers.
By Master Kenobi on 5/9/2008 6:38:57 PM , Rating: 3

EA/Bioware has decided to back off. Full details at that link.

RE: For once I welcome hackers.
By omnicronx on 5/12/2008 10:11:38 AM , Rating: 2
There has been a lot of discussion in the past few days on how the security requirements for Mass Effect for PC will work. BioWare, a division of EA, wants to let fans know that Mass Effect will not require 10- day periodic re-authentication.

By mattclary on 5/9/2008 9:24:48 AM , Rating: 3
I have most of Bioware's games, all legally purchased. I will not pirate ME, but I will also not buy it. Every time we buy a product, we send the message that we support it. If you don't support what they are doing with a product, you shouldn't purchase it.

I don't necessarily have a problem with SecureROM, what I have a problem with is the need to connect every 10 days and the limit of three activations. One day those servers WILL go away. It might be a decade from now, but I am a firm believer that what I purchase is mine, and if it will cease to work in 10 years, it is not "mine" but rather "rented".

By FITCamaro on 5/9/2008 12:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well as far as the server's going offline one day, they could always release a patch when that happens that bypasses the check. Of course by then pirates will have done that.

But you are correct that its ridiculous.

By mindless1 on 5/16/2008 4:28:48 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps, but they may not release a patch or require a fee, or even if they do release one you'd be spending time checking for it which is undesirable and devaluing to the product. Make the game cheap enough and I'm sure a lot of people will jump through more hoops, but then again make it cheaper and more people might buy it as well.

Spore will have this too
By Marcus Yam on 5/7/2008 8:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
If you guys aren't happy with this, then you're not going to like that Spore is very likely to have this same sort of protection.

RE: Spore will have this too
By odessit740 on 5/7/2008 9:20:38 PM , Rating: 2
Not if the pirates remove it, or at least bypass it lol.

RE: Spore will have this too
By Carter642 on 5/9/2008 1:54:09 AM , Rating: 2
Spore's going to be very heavily integrated with online interaction and by using it offline only you'll miss out on alot of the game. So it might not affect Spore players nearly as much.

Still it's a PITA.

By MrHanson on 5/12/2008 12:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I don't understand why PC game developers can't manufacture some sort of cheap USB hardware key that they could include with the software. That way if you have a USB hub, you could have several keys attached and you wouldn't have to hunt down the CD in order to play the game. If you don't have the hardware key, then it would be impossible to play the game even if it was an illegal copy. Would a simple USB key be too expensive? Seems like this should be the route in which PC developers should take in order to prevent piracy.

By just4U on 5/12/2008 4:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
That's accually a novel idea

By mindless1 on 5/16/2008 4:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
It's not so novel, a few softwares had in past years required using a parallel port dongle to work. Problem is, people later lost the dongle or their systems didn't have parallel port or they needed the port for a printer and didn't want to buy another card or didn't have a slot free for it, etc.

I'm starting to think a better business model would be making profit off the value-added extras. Let people have the game for free, but make addt'l content so enticing that those who have the money to pay will want to and those without who'd have pirated it just to not pay anything will just move on. That might not work out to be more profit, but apparently their past strategy wasn't working either if they're now moving towards this plan. Maybe they ultimately need to find ways to lower production costs in order to raise profit instead of thinking millions of poor kids would end up paying for games if only they couldn't play them any other way.

What happens if the kid(s) can't play? Maybe they have an incentive to work or work more for the money, but then their time available to game is more limited and the value of the product is reduced again, as well as the gamer then spending more time amongst others who aren't gaming so they tend to spend disposible income on more social activities.

What's the answer? I don't know, maybe raising the minimum wage so the youngest workers are making more. I don't necessarily mean that's the best for society in general but to the gaming industry so the average wages of the average potential customer goes up.

By Spivonious on 5/7/2008 3:16:48 PM , Rating: 5
Q: What if the cable goes out and I want to play this $50 game I purchased to pass the time.
A: Too bad, you're screwed.

Q: What if 10 years from now the activation servers are no longer online? Can I still play the game?
A: The servers will be operational for the next 3 years. After that time, you will have to purchase the Mass Effect Gold Game of the Year Enhanced Mega Ultra Edition to continue playing.

Q: What if I regularly update my hardware and pass my 3 reinstalls within a year?
A: You must call EA Support and be accused of pirating by an obstinate support agent.

Bioware pulls plug on DRM
By therealnickdanger on 5/14/2008 10:06:54 AM , Rating: 2
They do listen to their fans! Great news!

"Under the new system, gamers will only have to authorize their CD key once online. They can activate that key up to three times in case they want to install the game on multiple computers."

RE: Bioware pulls plug on DRM
By Asmodean on 5/15/2008 1:19:14 AM , Rating: 2
This is indeed very good news.

One of my favorite games was Raven Shield. You had to have an internet connection so that it too could authenticate every minute or so. If not you could still play however, you would have a noticeable pause every minute or so as it tried to authenticate. The game was unplayable. At the time I didn't have a dedicated DLS line. I for one hate being called a pirate when I have purchased every game I have put on my computer. I agree that rewards for those who buy software should given instead of insults. Forcing honest people to jump through several long and terrible hoops isn't good for business.

Thanks Bioware/EA
By Runner3001 on 5/7/2008 6:37:18 PM , Rating: 3
Mass Effect is the only Bioware game I've been interested in since the first Baldur's Gate. I'm not interested anymore. Thanks for making the choice of spending my money a lot easier guys!

Well, they just lost my money
By Chaotic42 on 5/10/2008 5:33:20 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to buy Mass Effect, but this behavior is unacceptable. I'm boycotting anything made by their group.

By FaceMaster on 5/12/2008 6:23:15 PM , Rating: 1
Your Mum's behavior is unacceptable, though her mass had such an effect on me I don't mind giving her a connection every 10 days

This sucks..
By Dudefella on 5/8/2008 6:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
I was really looking forward to Mass Effect for PC (Don't own an Xbox 360), but DRM like this really makes me reluctant to spend money on games. Over the top copy protection "solutions" surely drive potential customers to piracy.

It's already been said ...
By Iroh on 5/8/2008 9:52:38 AM , Rating: 2
...but I just want to contribute my sentiment that I too was interested in trying this game, but now will not.

There are so many games out there and so little time.

Tactics like this just make it easier to narrow down the list of games I probably won't have enough time to play anyway.

Heck, all the free demo games from have been filling my fleeting free time for going on 4 months now.

So, between all the free games out there and other activities to fill up one's free time, it seems like a bonehead move to do anything to your game to make playing it annoying.

Not to mention the prospect of not being able to play the game again (years from now) because the authenication servers may no longer be online.

2 games I can't buy... thanks.
By CyborgTMT on 5/8/2008 10:52:43 AM , Rating: 2
I was really looking forward to Mass Effect and Spore, but thanks to this phone home mess I can't buy them. Why? Because my job has me traveling from time to time to places I won't have Internet access at. I normally take along a laptop or even my full LAN system to play games with when not working. Even if I 'check in' before I leave, in less than 2 weeks on site my games are dead.

Thanks EA for once again ****ing over a long time customer, you've probably seen the last dollar out of me.

I'll buy it, but...
By kondor999 on 5/8/2008 12:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'll buy it to support PC gaming, but immediately get a crack to circumvent this Draconian DRM from Hell.

The best form of copy protection seems to be a serial number which is required for install, online play, and to obtain updates. I'm OK with that, since I simply write the serial directly on the disc with a Sharpie.

I'll wait
By Malikhan on 5/8/2008 5:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
I'll wait the 2 or 3 hours/days until someone has hacked the crap out of that stupid 10 day lease for a game I purchased.

I'll purchase it only because I want to support PC gaming. Not like it'll help really, the companies want to go to Console because that's were all the kiddies/$$ are and that's fine.
But if they keep doing jerk-off DRM like this they only have themselves to blame.

Stardock ftw!

steam, sorta
By 4wardtristan on 5/9/2008 5:13:41 AM , Rating: 2
i was pretty annoyed at the way steam used to work

until they added offline mode, at least that made it better (accept when offline mode didnt work, which happenned quite frequently)

but every 10 days? if not net connection, no game you probably paid 100$ for? i mean comon thats just ridiculous isnt it?

I was going to buy...
By albeit on 5/10/2008 3:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
...that fashionable sweater at Walmarts.

But when I heard saw they were arresting people who walked out without paying for it, I decided against it.

The benefit of owning the sweater is clearly not worth risking my right to shoplift. What are these dumb asses thinking?

Maybe I will buy it now
By JakLee on 5/10/2008 9:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
I was reading what was GOING to be part of the game & I all the comments on the forum & I agreed that there would be no way I would pay for this game or play it. I have really enjoyed some of Bioware's titles and thought I would enjoy this. The DRM however changed my mind.
The person who posted the link ( )
that said this was no longer going to happen though & I think I may actually buy this game now.

I refuse to support annoying DRM, but light DRM I understand; make it tough for idiots to pirate & fewer people will. The hardcore pirates always will but hopefully this change of heart will signal a resurgance in people who play honestly buying the game......or maybe they will pirate it anyways since the people were angry for suggesting such a horrid DRM Scheme!

this is just too much...
By SniperWulf on 5/13/2008 10:30:54 AM , Rating: 2
Just as others have said, this won't inconvenience anyone that had intended to pirate the game in the first place. The only people that its will bother are the folks like me that already bought it off of the minute it went on sale BEFORE this notice came out. I travel for work alot. I would have been hit by this scheme if they had not said something about it because sometimes I AM outta touch with the world for 10 days or more.... At least I should be able to get an exe that has this crap removed so that I won't have to deal with it.

Now that I think about it, Bioware has used securerom in the past, but I can almost guarantee that this is all of EAs doing. Using this as a beta test for the Spore activiation

If you like the game buy it ...
By jax1492 on 5/13/2008 4:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
I will be the first to say I hate the RIAA and MPAA, but when it comes to PC games I don't mind buying the game if im going to play it. I bought Bioshock and no problems with the way they make you activate it. The reason why games like Mass Effect and other like GTA 4 take so long to come to the PC is because they need to make money by first releasing it on the consoles and then the PC because they know they will lose money if they release it for all platforms at once.

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