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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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!!!!

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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