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(PC Magazine)   An open letter to EA: I farking told you this would happen   (pcmag.com) divider line 379
    More: Asinine, SimCity, copy protection  
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13311 clicks; posted to Geek » on 08 Mar 2013 at 2:02 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-09 01:55:28 PM  

Shrugging Atlas: you have pee hands: Shrugging Atlas: I learned my lesson with Diablo 3.  Never farking again.

I thought people had that problem more with Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft.

Couldn't say because oddly enough I never played either.  But D3 had all sorts of issues at launch first with just being able to get into the game at all, then with the auction house for weeks afterwards.  It sounds like Sim City has been worse though just from what I've been reading on Fark.

The sad thing is prior to hearing about the DRM 'solution' I had planned on buying this on day one without having even researched the game.  I've played every previous version, and it wasn't something I even considered skipping or thinking twice about.  But that was such a deal breaker I wouldn't have even regretted it had the launch gone well.


I bought it knowing about the DRM....  I hate that it must be always online, but I do love that I can save my cities to the cloud.  my biggest worry is how long they will keep the servers going.   Hopefully someone will hack an offline mode into a pirated version later.
 
2013-03-09 02:28:11 PM  

Lsherm: Horseshiat.  Chrome OS and Office 365 Live both let you do work if you aren't online.  Hell, gmail will cache your emails offline and then send them when it gets connected.


What about TotalFark? Are you saying I pay $5 a month and only get to look at the content when I'm connected to the internet? And it's multi-player only??!?!?

You knew what I was getting at, but good on you for scraping up a couple of counter-examples. Doesn't change the point: you're already soaking in always-on content. You get pissed about it because you think it's someone telling you what to do and you hate the exercise of authority. We get it! But don't pretend like you're suddenly getting screwed over by this recent development of storing content remotely and the only reason it exists is to stop piracy. You're wrong. There are a number of benefits to you the user (believe it or not) and also the maker of storing content online that have nothing to do with piracy.
 
2013-03-09 02:33:30 PM  

Sum Dum Gai: Piracy didn't bother me for the reason it also didn't bother early Microsoft - when you're small and obscure, the #1 thing you need to make money is exposure.


Different people make things to satisfy different concerns. You were in it for a profit, so you used the feedback of ungrateful users to develop your system. In a sense, all those idiots were working for you for free every time they complained. But some people work for the recognition, because they think that what they do is special. When you're motivated by acknowledgment and your users are griping about something they got for free, that can be demoralizing.
 
2013-03-09 02:37:39 PM  

HeartBurnKid: TyrantII: But I thought PC gaming is SOOOOO much better than console gaming!

I was told about this on Fark!

Why don't you ask Sony about that?


Hit a nerve?

Getting hacked vs Having a game that doesn't run are very two different things.  EA and their DRM for everyone policy isn't exactly the best best corporation either.
 
2013-03-09 02:40:49 PM  

Virtual Pariah: So when does the bleeding become enough for the industry to listen?


As it concerns the companies perpetrating the madness?  They won't.  That's not their job.  Their job is to make a profit for their shareholders.  They'll keep doing the same bullcrap until they go under.  The margins you need to survive with a game development model built for consoles is completely unsustainable now.  What, does anyone actually think they're going to be selling the same software and hardware that they sold during the go-go Wii years?  A lot of people are going to get hurt by this, and a lot of people already have.

jso2897: It doesn't matter whether or not people buy the games - it only matters that the suits who run the companies tell each other they will. They will just loot there own companies as they fail, and move on to new jobs in some other industry. Why should they care what some raging nerd whose money they already stole thinks?
They'll be far away and doing something else when the pigeons come home to roost anyway.


I'm wholly unconcerned about whether or not the suits run off into the sunset.  They'll hardly be the first people in the history of humanity to jump off the burning ship with a bag of money in both hands.  I'm concerned about the state of game development on the whole.  The console video game market, for all its troubles, is the last market with a true quality control mechanism.  It's the only market where you need to spend large amounts of money in order to gain an audience, it's the only market where you need to demonstrate some degree of craft in order to attract attention.  If those companies fark this up, it could be a very long time before you see new companies and faces try to take their place, trying to make the kinds of games which make video games great.  I really don't want a future where the behemoths are pouring all of their effort into crappy, disposable free-to-play titles.

starsrift: The charts tell barely any of the whole tale. There is a lot going on there - like the Guitar Hero bubble, the Wii Fit craze, etc, that drove people to the retailers who otherwise wouldn't go.


Absolutely.  The gigantic publishers were counting on those consumers to remain console video game players and continue to subsidize the riskier titles that become tomorrow's billion-dollar game series.

starsrift: NPD - the source of those charts - does not track digital distribution.


Correct.  And it disproportionately affects the console video game market that has become the lead platform choice (outside of a few monsters like Tencent and Nexon) for the largest companies in the industry.

starsrift: Throwing charts around and saying "the video game industry is crashing!!!!!" is not really a complete analysis.


I didn't say video games were crashing.  Video games will not crash.  The only thing that could "crash video games" is a complete collapse of society as we know it.  The model which has created some of the best video games of the last twenty-five years---console video games---is either going to crash, or decline so far that it becomes utterly secondary to computer game development.  And with that, one of the last arbiters for quality control in video games loses its meaning.
 
2013-03-09 03:33:14 PM  
TyrantII: HeartBurnKid: TyrantII: But I thought PC gaming is SOOOOO much better than console gaming!

I was told about this on Fark!

Why don't you ask Sony about that?

Hit a nerve?


No.

Getting hacked vs Having a game that doesn't run are very two different things.  EA and their DRM for everyone policy isn't exactly the best best corporation either.

Yes, EA does very much suck, as does always-online DRM.  Thankfully, the latter isn't all that common, and the former is easy to avoid since most of their games are trash.  But I find it hilarious that you trash PC gaming as a whole for one game having week-long capacity issues, but Sony's entire network having a month-long outage is just fine with you.
 
2013-03-09 03:36:04 PM  
Oh, BTW, there's now an offline crack for Sim City.  If you're still waiting to play the game you paid for, go Google it and go nuts.
 
2013-03-09 03:41:49 PM  
From TFA:

The game maker does offer a 14-day "unconditional guarantee" on any physical products sold through its Origin store, but the many players who downloaded the title directly to their computer have no options.

We have the option to never give EA any more of our money.
 
rpm
2013-03-09 04:23:55 PM  

MurphyMurphy: Besides, from a pure cost-benefit standpoint... why spend the massive amount of money to KNOW you will be able to support a highballed guess at anticipated user load on release day? What if you spend too much and buy too many servers (which you most certainly will have to do)? That's money wasted in 6mos when user load is 40% of what it is now.


And there's the flaw in your plan. Why would you buy any servers? Provision on AWS / Rackspace / Google and be done with it. Let it scale as needed.
 
2013-03-09 04:54:53 PM  

pacified: the amount of nerd crying in this is the annoying part.   I get it, the servers aren't working right.  But is it worth all the wrist slitting emo bullshiat?  fark.  You nerds need better priority.


You know, if you said that you actually *hated* gamers, in this thread which is specifically about a computer game, I could understand you. Because I hate gamers. I despise them with a bright and pure burning hatred, with every fibre of my being. They are not even human beings. They are pieces of amphibian shiat. They are the lowest farking form of life on Earth. I would not piss on a gamer if he were on fire. I would fark him in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reacharound.

But for you to come on here and confess, to *ADMIT* that you don't care either way...?

That's farking unforgivable.

I award you no points, and may whatever deity you are deluded enough to believe in have mercy on what remains of your soul.
 
2013-03-09 05:22:29 PM  

mccallcl: There are a number of benefits to you the user (believe it or not) and also the maker of storing content online that have nothing to do with piracy.


Funny no one can name any of these benefits. Nor can explain why it's a good thing that it's impossible to store things locally so the only option is storing it online. And EA isn't storing "in the cloud", they're using regular old network storage.

rpm: And there's the flaw in your plan. Why would you buy any servers? Provision on AWS / Rackspace / Google and be done with it. Let it scale as needed.


You buy servers because they're a tax write off, also it's not like it would take very many servers. Doing a quick back of the envelope calculation, it wouldn't take many servers to handle Simcity. Indeed the difference between everything go right and what happened could have been one or two servers, a few thousand bucks of hardware and a couple hours to put in place and get the software on.
 
2013-03-09 06:32:16 PM  

WhyteRaven74: Funny no one can name any of these benefits.


Yes, now that the Web has been out for more than a decade, no one can think of any benefit to storing content online. Now hold on while I burn this post onto a CD and mail it to you.

If you can't figure out what you're getting out of storing content remotely, I'm not going to waste my afternoon explaining it to you.

WhyteRaven74: Nor can explain why it's a good thing that it's impossible to store things locally so the only option is storing it online.


If it's going to be online, leave it there. Once something is stored in two locations, it has to be synchronized. Cache invalidation is one of the hardest tasks in programing, and is therefore expensive and troublesome. Being able to assume an internet connection is a luxury that only desktop systems can provide. May as well take advantage of it to keep development costs down.

I made my first sometimes-online app last year, before that, everything I made assumed an active internet connection since 1996. Gamers are spoiled.

WhyteRaven74: Doing a quick back of the envelope calculation, it wouldn't take many servers to handle Simcity. Indeed the difference between everything go right and what happened could have been one or two servers, a few thousand bucks of hardware and a couple hours to put in place and get the software on.


EA's IT is obviously shiat, but if you think you can do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation and come up with better resource planning than they did, you are exactly the sort of person that argued against cloud servers in the first place. Pure arrogance.
 
2013-03-09 06:33:35 PM  

HeartBurnKid: TyrantII: HeartBurnKid: TyrantII: But I thought PC gaming is SOOOOO much better than console gaming!

I was told about this on Fark!

Why don't you ask Sony about that?

Hit a nerve?

No.

Getting hacked vs Having a game that doesn't run are very two different things.  EA and their DRM for everyone policy isn't exactly the best best corporation either.

Yes, EA does very much suck, as does always-online DRM.  Thankfully, the latter isn't all that common, and the former is easy to avoid since most of their games are trash.  But I find it hilarious that you trash PC gaming as a whole for one game having week-long capacity issues, but Sony's entire network having a month-long outage is just fine with you.


Who's trashing PC gaming?  I'm enjoying the new Tomb Raider this weekend as we speak, with sexy sexy TressFX  Tessellation.

Trashing the idiots whos' small egos forces them to have a stake in a single gaming platform and miss out on some really, really great games in a golden era of gaming?  Yeah, I'll trash them.  They need to get a life and stop doing some PR hacks job for them.
 
2013-03-09 08:36:03 PM  

mccallcl: May as well take advantage of it to keep development costs down.


because running a checksum on the local store and the remote store and seeing if they match is soooooo hard.
 
2013-03-09 08:52:37 PM  

rugman11: What you do not have the right to do (the royal "you," not you you), however, is play the game anyway without paying for it and then justify your illicit behavior as somehow being the fault of the company whose product you are enjoying.


A company does not have the right to accept payment for a product and then deliver a product that doesn't work without compensating the buyer for failure to deliver on what was promised. EA is refusing to give people refunds, is suspending people's accounts for other games if they do charge backs for Simcity, isn't doing anything for the people who are trying to play the game.
 
2013-03-10 04:09:10 AM  
Maul555:

I bought it knowing about the DRM....  I hate that it must be always online, but I do love that I can save my cities to the cloud.  my biggest worry is how long they will keep the servers going.   Hopefully someone will hack an offline mode into a pirated version later.

Go ahead and join a different server and see if you can load those cloud saves...

The only cloud saving I would accept if it is to backup my local saves. Pretty much like Sony does it now (still have it disabled though)
 
2013-03-10 09:13:55 AM  

mccallcl: No website you visit offers itself in source code form so you can use it offline whenever you want.


Chrome: view>developer>view source
 
2013-03-10 10:39:37 AM  

mccallcl: Lsherm: Horseshiat.  Chrome OS and Office 365 Live both let you do work if you aren't online.  Hell, gmail will cache your emails offline and then send them when it gets connected.

What about TotalFark? Are you saying I pay $5 a month and only get to look at the content when I'm connected to the internet? And it's multi-player only??!?!?

You knew what I was getting at, but good on you for scraping up a couple of counter-examples. Doesn't change the point: you're already soaking in always-on content. You get pissed about it because you think it's someone telling you what to do and you hate the exercise of authority. We get it! But don't pretend like you're suddenly getting screwed over by this recent development of storing content remotely and the only reason it exists is to stop piracy. You're wrong. There are a number of benefits to you the user (believe it or not) and also the maker of storing content online that have nothing to do with piracy.


Not for this game there isn't, and you haven't provided a single example of why it's an advantage.  It's DRM, plain and simple.  It's a negative, plain and simple.

How much is EA paying you?  It's certainly not enough, because just insisting that the sky isn't falling doesn't make it true.  In a just world, they would fire you.  However, since they are so committed to being delusional, you're probably safe.
 
2013-03-10 11:16:58 AM  

WhyteRaven74: mccallcl: May as well take advantage of it to keep development costs down.

because running a checksum on the local store and the remote store and seeing if they match is soooooo hard.


I didn't say it was hard. It's non-trivial, which comes with a cost. (It is actually hard, though, and you'd know that if you were ever anywhere near the inside of a computer program before).
 
rpm
2013-03-10 11:18:24 AM  

vygramul: Chrome: view>developer>view source


You do know that's (probably) compiled code, and not source? Source would be PHP, ASP, SSI, ColdCufsion, JSP, and more, none of which would show up in View Source where you get raw HTML. The only time that's source is if that is indeed the file they put onto the server.
 
2013-03-10 11:22:40 AM  

Lsherm: Not for this game there isn't, and you haven't provided a single example of why it's an advantage.


Saves hard drive space. Updates as you play instead of all at once at certain intervals. Allows for content created by other users. Keeps development costs down. That's four. I don't work for EA, but unlike seemingly almost everyone else in the thread, I do have experience making entertainment software. I'm sure there are many more advantages that I don't have time to give a shiat about.

Not everything everyone does is an attempt to screw you out of $60.
 
2013-03-10 11:25:47 AM  

WhyteRaven74: because running a checksum on the local store and the remote store and seeing if they match is soooooo hard.


How did it come out on the back of your envelope? When that envelope back ships, please let me know, I would love to play it.
 
2013-03-10 11:50:12 AM  

mccallcl: Lsherm: Not for this game there isn't, and you haven't provided a single example of why it's an advantage.

Saves hard drive space. Updates as you play instead of all at once at certain intervals. Allows for content created by other users. Keeps development costs down. That's four. I don't work for EA, but unlike seemingly almost everyone else in the thread, I do have experience making entertainment software. I'm sure there are many more advantages that I don't have time to give a shiat about.

Not everything everyone does is an attempt to screw you out of $60.


That is a reason an idiot would make up.  As for the other three, none of those require a constant connection.  None of them.  NONE OF THEM.

So yeah, it's an attempt to screw people out of $60.

Keep it up - you're making a great argument against stupid DRM strategies because every single time you try to defend it, you sound like a tard.
 
2013-03-10 11:59:34 AM  

rpm: vygramul: Chrome: view>developer>view source

You do know that's (probably) compiled code, and not source? Source would be PHP, ASP, SSI, ColdCufsion, JSP, and more, none of which would show up in View Source where you get raw HTML. The only time that's source is if that is indeed the file they put onto the server.


That is certainly most likely true today, although the desire to do that has little to do with preventing people from stealing your code. But we're drifting from the point - consider this not from 2013 or even 2001 but from 1997, when the vast majority of the web was hand-coded. The web was not being damaged by openness of the source code. If anything, it was helped by it.
 
2013-03-10 12:02:28 PM  

Lsherm: mccallcl: Lsherm: Not for this game there isn't, and you haven't provided a single example of why it's an advantage.

Saves hard drive space. Updates as you play instead of all at once at certain intervals. Allows for content created by other users. Keeps development costs down. That's four. I don't work for EA, but unlike seemingly almost everyone else in the thread, I do have experience making entertainment software. I'm sure there are many more advantages that I don't have time to give a shiat about.

Not everything everyone does is an attempt to screw you out of $60.

That is a reason an idiot would make up.  As for the other three, none of those require a constant connection.  None of them.  NONE OF THEM.

So yeah, it's an attempt to screw people out of $60.

Keep it up - you're making a great argument against stupid DRM strategies because every single time you try to defend it, you sound like a tard.


"Allows for content created by other users."

McCallcl can't be a PC gamer, Lsherm. Or if he is, he's come to it in the last 6 years. He just can't be, or he'd never have said that. No farking way.
 
2013-03-10 02:11:46 PM  

xria: mooseyfate: /taking recommendations on older games I should play, btw

Looking at my list, obviously some you may have already played, and some might not be a genre you enjoy:

Paradox Grand Strategy (Hearts of Iron 2 or 3, Europa Universalis 2/3, Victoria 1/2, Crusader Knights, EU: Rome) - take a bit of getting used to, but massive depth and the flexibility to play and nation rather than being limited to a few options (depending on your computer the older ones may be more appropriate - the newer ones tend to have better UIs and are easier to play, but are not essential. Simpler but still good variants on the same theme are Making History 1/2 and Gary Grigsby's World at War

Civilization obviously (IV is my preference, 3 and 5 are both decent)

Master of Orion 3 (2 is also good) - note for MoO3 you need all the fan patches and probably one of the big mods - I think raspberry was the one I used most. Galactic Civilizations 1/2 and Space Empires IV/V are also pretty decent variations on this sort of game, for really old school Ascendancy was great (although probably need the AI patch and not the easiest thing to get running if you are post-DOS, obviously DOSBOX required but also need to mount the disk and so on)

UFO Aftermath/Aftershock/Afterlight - good updates of UFO/XCOM Enemy Unknown. Afterlight is the best balanced in my opinion, Aftermath is mostly good up until the aliens all have rocket launchers, although the unclear line of sight in enemy ships is also annoying, Aftershock has annoying base building mechanics. UFO Extraterrestrials Gold is another similar game that works quite well along the same lines.

Vampire Bloodlines - great 1st person RPG with a lot of atmosphere and story rather than being a stat/gear game - the abandoned hotel scene is particularly good

Freelancer - great open Elite type game with a reasonably large universe, main criticism is that the missions are lacking in variation

Railroad Tycoon 3 - I prefer this to RRT2 because it is more a large scale economic sim based around trains, rather than the previous version which more revolved around micromanagement of routes, loads and signals

FTL: Faster Than Light - not an old game, but very much in the style - it is a bit like a modernized version of EGA Trek - manage your power, crew, shield and weapons to defeat opposing ships and travel the galaxy

Panzer General/Allied General, etc. - classic hex based war game (there are also others such as Fantasy General, Space General but I wasn't so keen on those despite liking Fantasy/Scifi). There are also lots of free games in this mould of course (Battle for Wesnoth and so on), as well as updated versions - Domination, Massive Assault, Fantasy Wars, Elven legacy, etc.

Homeworld/Cataclysm/Homeworld 2 - one of the few RTS games I liked a lot, one key being carrying over forces from level to level, rather than starting with a blank sheet again, although it does mean if you get trashed in one level and barely make it through you can't finish the game unless it is really early on

Majesty - the other RTS style game I like, although the indirect control of the heroes can be frustrating at times

Torment Planescape is a great isometric RPG with a good storyline (with the same engine/style but not as good of course you have Baldurs Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, etc.)

Imperialism 1/2 - nice turn based grand strategy games with turn based combat

Jagged Alliance 2 Gold - squad building turn based tactical combat

Titans of Steel Warring Suns/Metal Brigade Tactics - both good turn based Mech combat games

Mech Commander 1/2 - squad building RTS style Mech combat. Steel Empire used to be a favourite in this sort of genre, but it is difficult to get the action part to run at a workable speed even with playing with DOSBOX settings (the strategy part is decent, but not enough to play on its own really)

Demigod - not all that old (although cheap already), but quite good semi-RTS/action game

Alien Shooter 1/2/R/V, Zombie Shooter 1/2 - good top down action shooters with huge gobs of stuff to gun down with exponentially more insane weaponry as you go on, good for a break from more serious strategizing

Altitude - fun little side scrolling biplane jousting game (with capture the flag, death match and soccer missions). Booster Trooper is a more recent game but similar sort of mechanics (just as a jet pack enabled soldier instead of a plane)

Patrician 3 (and probably 4 although I haven't played that version yet) - build up a shipping business, develop industries, and try to become popular/powerful. Sort of a renaissance era Ports of Call

X2 (and X, X:BTF, X3, etc.) - sort of updated Elite games, but you can build up fleets of automated craft, build lots of space factories, etc. Not the sort of game you can just pick up and play occasionally though, it is pretty in depth and complex (X3 might be better, haven't been able to commit the time to try playing it properly yet)


Thanks for all the suggestions! The only two of those that I've played are Bloodlines (AMAZING!) and Torment. Haven't beat torment yet, I'm kind of hoping they do an HD version like they did with Baldur's Gate and are working on for BG2. The UI is just so damn clunky and takes up the entire screen, it feel like I'm playing from one room away, looking through a peephole and trying to control the mouse by shining a laser pointer at it and hoping the cat does the rest. The story, dialogue, and humor are all fantastic, though, I'd really like to finish it.
 
2013-03-11 05:55:27 AM  

mccallcl: Lsherm: Not for this game there isn't, and you haven't provided a single example of why it's an advantage.

Saves hard drive space. Updates as you play instead of all at once at certain intervals. Allows for content created by other users. Keeps development costs down. That's four. I don't work for EA, but unlike seemingly almost everyone else in the thread, I do have experience making entertainment software. I'm sure there are many more advantages that I don't have time to give a shiat about.


Saves hard drive space? In what year would that be an argument? 1985?
Updates as you play? Suuuure, the game will totally update itself as I play and not when I start it. And the servers will totally be online when they update something.
Allows for content created by users? The opposite is true. SC4 has mods and a still active modding scene. Unless EA officially accepts a mod from any user and puts it on their servers, there will be no mods
Keeps development costs down? Right. It is much cheaper to code a server for multiplayer as it is to code that your own machine is the server.

You are so full of shiat, you could be a politician. Or work for EA.
 
2013-03-11 12:52:31 PM  
lucksi:
You are so full of shiat, you could be a politician. Or work for EA.

I don't know about that, even EA's employees are disgusted with the company.
 
2013-03-11 06:24:04 PM  

Dragonflew: Dr. Goldshnoz: Dragonflew: peewinkle: Pssssh.  I've been boycotting EA ever since they pulled the plug on Motor World Online, the best racing game of all time.

I bought that game a month before they pulled the plug, after only two years of being online. The game was rendered useless. With EA's history, you would have to be out of your farking mind to buy a game that required a connection to their servers.

I enjoyed Earth and Beyond. The nice thing about companies like EA pulling the plug on MMOs early is there is usually a big community effort to get a 3rd party server going. Most MMO's have this. Only notable exception I know of that ran into real problems was the first Final Fantasy MMO.

Like Luse's comment on Mech Warrior Online, there were many people begging EA for the server code so we could continue playing, unsupported, and the fans would take care of all costs. Of course, EA would not release it.


Actually I meant Motor City Online and they pulled the server space for the Sims II. Yeah, it was that long ago. MCO worked well because the online game play was decent, despite it being 1998 and 90% of people were still on dial-up.

Yes, we had a bunch of people ask EA for the code too, to no avail.  One guy even offered to BUY EA A SERVER AND LET THEM RUN IT just so we could play. No dice.

There were a group of people coding a replacement, Motor World Online; but the website/forum disappeared a few weeks before it went beta.
 
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