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DRM Role Playing (Games) Games

DRM Broke Dragon Age: Origins For Days 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-it-was-worth-the-pr-nightmare dept.
Martey writes "Ars Technica reports that a server problem with the DRM authentication servers has caused Dragon Age: Origins players to be locked out of any saved games that include downloadable content. Quoting: 'Thanks to a combination of DRM idiocy and technical and communications failures on the part of EA and Bioware, I (along with thousands of fellow EA/Bioware customers) spent my free time this past weekend needlessly trapped in troubleshooting hell, in a vain attempt to get my single-player game to load. The problem, it turns out, was the Bioware's DRM authorization servers.'" An update to the article indicates the problems have finally been resolved.
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DRM Broke Dragon Age: Origins For Days

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  • Once again... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by exomondo (1725132) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:08AM (#35815036)
    ...legitimate *customers* get screwed. What's the bet the pirated version didn't have this problem?
    • by Kokuyo (549451)

      Errr... TFS says it's about savegames with download content activated. If you have a pirated version, you obviously won't have download content in them (at least I'd assume).

      OTOH, if you have no download content, TFS implies that everything should have been fine, even with a legitimate copy.

      Now I know what the submitter felt. I've had the same problem with my Settlers 7 easter weekend, where the servers sucked donkey ass. OTOH, one must lay part of the blame at our own feet. First we bought the stuff. Then

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        Errr... TFS says it's about savegames with download content activated.

        Errr...you think DLCs don't/can't get pirated?

      • Re:Once again... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Kjella (173770) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:46AM (#35815198) Homepage

        Errr... TFS says it's about savegames with download content activated. If you have a pirated version, you obviously won't have download content in them (at least I'd assume).

        You assume wrong [thepiratebay.org]. As usual only the legitimate customers are screwed...

        • by hedwards (940851)

          I'm getting to the point where I won't buy anything with DRM in it at all. So far I refuse to buy games that contain significant DRM. And Steam games only when they're ridiculously cheap, typically under $3 or so, with the knowledge that I may live to regret it. And even then it's usually with knowledge that I can use the game files without reactivating them.

      • by headLITE (171240)

        This is correct, however both DAO and DA2 have a number of DLC that comes for free either with the game, or other games you buy, so chances that a legitimate customer has at least one DLC are quite high. And of course, pre-order customers are automatically affected too.

        The only people who aren't affected by this are customers who either never bother to register their game or buy it used, and pirates, in other words, the more you are willing to pay the more you get screwed...

      • by Rennt (582550)

        If you have a pirated version, you obviously won't have download content in them (at least I'd assume).

        Well, yes and no. Popular torrents of a given game usually contain the complete DLC, and this game is no exception. You can always torrent the DLC at a later date if you want, but I can't imagine any self-respecting pirate seeking out a copy with less content and slower downloads.

        Of course, without any need for activation servers, the pirates would have been playing their illegitimate DLC quite happily during the unfortunate incident.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        to even think that dlc's wouldn't be warezed easily, even easier than the original game, is just stupid executive daydreaming. it never ever had any proof in the pudding. added datafiles, you see, with one added drm check. there's a dozen ways to approach how to defeat it, but the real purpose is just to screw over people buying used games.

        and you're just saying that it's ok that they create shitty games with shitty drm and advetise the fuck out of them and assume we'd buy them and wouldn't be bothered when

      • Sure, we bought it and are thus entitled to being able to play it. BUT the way we react to it (being whiny crybabies vs. adults with lives [I know, I know... Slashdot...]) says a lot about our characters and often, it isn't good (not excluding myself from that, obviously).

        Certainly, but sometimes one person's cry is a way of warning others what they are letting themselves into. Maybe the way it was presented was not the best, but at least people now know that certain aspects of the game require an online connection to work - which kinda sucks if you were planning to play the game on your laptop while away from an Internet connection on a rainy day.

      • by jaymz666 (34050)

        > Do something else while the problem gets fixed.

        Was it announced anywhere that there was a problem on EA's side? I loaded up the game and it told me I couldn't play my saves. There was no notice on the forums or in the game itself that said that there were problems with auth servers. So how was I to know the problem wasn't on my end?

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      No they did not. Neither did those of us who were smart enough to snag the keys to decrypt the dlc, decrypt it, and set the DLC so it wouldn't be reauthorized.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        No they did not. Neither did those of us who were smart enough to snag the keys to decrypt the dlc, decrypt it, and set the DLC so it wouldn't be reauthorized.

        "Smart enough"? I'm a pretty old school gamer and hard core nerd who has recommended CLI fixes for Linux problems to noobs and I still think that's something you shouldn't have to worry about with a game. It's a whole new class of problem, really, this "advanced" DRM. Of course, I think anyone who buys a game and then proceeds to buy a bunch of DLC is part of the problem in gaming today and deserves problems of their own.

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Gotta remember we're a minority of a minority of people who know how to do this stuff. Me? I picked up the ultimate edition for $21 and went happily on my way not getting screwed over by being nickeled with buying DLC.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      who would be stupid enough to take such a bet?

      since there's no online aspect.. well, that's the friggin way to go of course, and maybe custom mods. even if you're a legit customer and happened to be a fan of the series(dunno why) then you'd want to get the cracked packs anyways for the simple reason of being able to play the game again in a few years once the business case of keeping the servers running has dried out totally.

      but there's this thing.. that the publisher is using these dlc's as a way to keep u

    • Certain missions in Fallout New Vegas would glitch on a downloadable content DRM check, causing the saves to be corrupted if the software couldn't find some non-existent DLC. It took them months to fix it. AFAIK, it happened across all versions of the game. It would seem that this sort of glitching is becoming more common, even on consoles.

  • Not new... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:17AM (#35815066)

    I bought the original for my girlfriend and she had serious issues when the DRM server went down. It was so bad she stopped playing entirely.

    If you tried to load a savegame with DLC when the server was experiencing problems, it would silently remove DLC and characters from the game and allow you to continue playing without it. The trouble came when you saved again. The new savegame would be created without your characters or DLC from the originally loaded game.

    Well, when you play a dozen hours of the game before realizing that that character you weren't playing at the time and those neat items you picked up poofed 12 hours ago, it turns out you're not really inclined to keep playing.

    EA: No thanks. You got me once with your useless support for Battlefield 2, and you got me again with Dragon Age. I won't be buying another of your products.

  • by rumith (983060) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:17AM (#35815070)
    The game corporations will claim that there is no right to play, and maybe even insert a clause that means roughly that into the EULA. It is their right: if you don't agree with their offer, don't buy it! There are more good games around than you can possibly play in your free time, and there is no lack of other entertainment options either, so please stop whining.
    There have always been (and there will always be) shitty or crippled products. Or even otherwise wonderful products that have one huge defect. There will always be stupid managers and lazy engineers. Just walk the other way, don't stick to them - life's too short. In this particular case, every single slashdotter knows that DRM is bad (if you don't, please hand in your geek card on your way out). Do we really need to revel in its failure every single time a major game studio screws its customers?
    • by MisterJohnny (2029510) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:20AM (#35815082)

      Do we really need to revel in its failure every single time a major game studio screws its customers?

      Yes.

    • by Sabriel (134364) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @03:24AM (#35815336)

      The game corporations will claim that there is no right to play, and maybe even insert a clause that means roughly that into the EULA. It is their right: if you don't agree with their offer, don't buy it!

      Don't know which country you're in, but mine has a law concerning "fitness for purpose" that overrides anything a business puts in its EULA.

      Do we really need to revel in its [DRM's] failure every single time a major game studio screws its customers?

      (a) Yes. It focuses attention on the problem.
      (b) No. But hey, schadenfreude.

    • by LainTouko (926420)

      The game corporations will claim that there is no right to play, and maybe even insert a clause that means roughly that into the EULA. It is their right: if you don't agree with their offer, don't buy it!

      You shouldn't have to decrypt a load of legalese (which you may not even have access to) in order to work out whether an offer to sell a game is genuine. Purporting to sell a product but designing it so that it refuses to work in certain situations should just be illegal.

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        There's unfortunately a huge gap between what should be and what is, and the gap is defended by a bunch of rabid lawyers who will do everything in their power to prevent making them obsolete.

    • by bky1701 (979071)
      I don't agree that they have that right. The law might say so, currently - but laws come and go. They certainly do not have the moral right to deprive you of your purchase, especially when you might not have known the terms in the first place. A law which is neither moral nor in the public interest is tyranny.

      Behavior like this from EA only hastens the inevitable abolition of copyright as a whole. DRM only leads to paying customers having an inferior product compared to the nonpaying customers. A law is
    • by wvmarle (1070040)
      The more these failures are in the news - particularly when it may be noted that people who legitimately bought their games are prevented from playing it, while the pirates were happily playing the game - the better chance that these companies will stop building those restrictions in their games.
    • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@@@slashdot...firenzee...com> on Thursday April 14, 2011 @08:29AM (#35816452) Homepage

      So what your basically saying, is that for your money you get "a piece of shiny plastic and the possibility that at random points for a limited time the supplier of that shiny piece of plastic may allow you to play a game"...

      If people knew what they were really getting for their money, they probably wouldn't pay. The problem is that these companies spend a lot of money on advertising and try to hide the true nature of what your paying for.

    • It is their right: if you don't agree with their offer, don't buy it!

      I wish you lot would shut up about this. They need to know about their customer dissatisfaction. If they don't buy it, then they assume their lack of sales was due to piracy.

      The next time you decide to post another stupid vote-with-your-dollars rant, go look up what happened with Spore and Amazon.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        There's some truth here I think. When the majority of people see nothing wrong with this approach to making games, losing a few dissatisfied customers won't be noticed. Especially where there's no alternative.

        Voting with your wallet works when you can purchase a competing product instead. When people buy Lemon Scented dishwashing detergent instead of Swine Scented detergent, the manufacturers figure this out. But when every single competitor is also doing the same thing it's difficult to make a purchasin

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Yes, I think we do need to revel in it's failure. Why? Because we still have plenty of DRM fans, and fans of games who don't even know what DRM is. This is even on Slashdot. Everytime someone says "I don't care about copy protection since I'm not a pirate, I just like the convenience of downloading" DRM becomes more entrenched.

      DRM is not about piracy. It's about turning ownership into rentals. DRM prevents you from reselling games, giving them away, trading with friends, and in some cases even having

  • Wait, in todays games, you need to "check in" online to play in single player mode? That's highly retarded!
  • More than one month after release, many players still can't launch Dragon Age II because of a bug in the EA DRM software. Since the first few days, BioWare has ignored the problem entirely and provided us with no fixes or updates. More information: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/300/index/6442590 [bioware.com]
    • Meanwhile, pirates can play it just fine. Except most of them won't bother because the game is crap. The controls and camera system are so bad, it's almost unplayable.

      • by Eivind (15695)

        The controls aren't the bad part.

        The bad part is, the game isn't about anything.

        The first Dragonage had a point. There's a blight, you need to assemble an army, enlisting cooperation from various factions, then go fight it. Fine.

        But DragonAge II ? What is it about ? What are you trying to acomplish ? Why ? How many of the quests are even related to the goal ?

        I get that they're setting things up for the third, since it's planned as a trilogy. But an -entire- game that is *nothing* more than setting the stage

        • You've never played Dragon Age 2, have you? It has, at the beginning, a very clear goal; escape the Blight, make it to Kirkwall, and find a way to establish you and your family as something other than utterly destitute refugees selling handjobs in the alleys. Once you've completed that goal,other goals grow rather organically out of it. Sure, that's differnet than DA:O, where you're given an overreaching goal fairly quickly, and a task list of things to achieve said goal. But it's no less valid. That s
          • by Legion303 (97901)

            And if you WANT to play destitute refugees selling handjobs in the alleys...well, look elsewhere, because DA2 isn't the handjob simulator I was hoping for.

          • You've never played Dragon Age 2, have you? It has, at the beginning, a very clear goal; escape the Blight, make it to Kirkwall, and find a way to establish you and your family as something other than utterly destitute refugees selling handjobs in the alleys. Once you've completed that goal,other goals grow rather organically out of it. Sure, that's differnet than DA:O,
            Yes, but unlike say Planescape:Torment, I just don't give a fig about Hawke, or most of his companions, and the drudgery of combat makes i
            • Well, not being interested is something completely different. I'll say that they serious screwed up the beginning of the game; same problem I had with Fallout: New Vegas. There's so many random side quests and what not that the story doesn't seem to go anywhere at all. I was more or less forcing myself to play until I finished griding all those little side quests and got to the finale of Act 1. The game really picked up from there.
        • But DragonAge II ? What is it about ? What are you trying to acomplish ? Why ? How many of the quests are even related to the goal ?

          I haven't played DA2, but what you describe actually sounds like a good thing to me. It's a typical trait of a "sandbox" RPG, where the main quest exists but can be ignored as there are many other interesting things to bother with. This usually corresponds to excellent RPGs with high replayability value, such as Fallout or Morrowind.

  • by Marble68 (746305) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:25AM (#35815110) Homepage

    When a software company embeds DRM into an application, there ought to be an SLA they are held to.
    Things like:
    1) Availability of DRM servers
    2) A warning that unavailability of DRM servers could prevent gameplay

    If we must have DRM, can we at least have some level of service with that DRM so we can actually *use* the product?

    • by griffo (220478) <lars@planet.nl> on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:41AM (#35815174)

      I would add a mandatory third clause:

      3) DRM cannot be used unless a method is made available to remove it through a certified third party in case DRM fails, whatever the reason. (Failure to meet SLA, software company ceases to exist, etc)

    • by delinear (991444)
      The problem is most gamers wouldn't read the SLA, so it would just give game companies an excuse to set the bar even lower by writing in terms in their favour. That way when the authentication servers are down, instead of having to react to public complaints they'd just put out a press release indicating that they only promised a 60% uptime.
  • I don't and won't buy software with this kind of DRM on it.

  • by dieth (951868) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:44AM (#35815188)
    sed -i addins.xml 's/RequiresAuthorization="1"/RequiresAuthorization="0"/g Launch DA, continue playing.
  • resolved (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    An update to the article indicates the problems have finally been resolved.

    It has not been resloved. They may have corrected the issue that brought down the DRM authorization servers, but the problem is still exists. They have *DRM authorization servers*.

  • Gotto love the fact the DRM wasn't actually in DA:O, but in the DLC for it. So if you just bought the main game, you were fine. If you had given them _even more_ money, you got screwed.

    • by SQL Error (16383)

      The really annoying thing is that they completely ignored it for three days because the DLC system is so bug-ridden that they couldn't tell the difference between the normal level of complaints and the entire system having fallen over.

  • But now I won't as the DRM is broken by design.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Anything with DRM is broken by design. The DRM is the intentionally built-in failure point.

      Mind that if DRM did not break anything for anyone, there would be no use for incorporating it to begin with!

  • Unless it's entertainment. For that it's 'yo pays yo money an yo takes yo chances, sucka!'
  • And after 5 years or so EA will shut down the servers because they are bankrupt/bought out/waste money and all your games are worthless. There is an easy solution to this: Don't buy DRM'd games. There are plenty of games with don't have DRM and they cost much less, too. Like in http://gog.com/ [gog.com] Or just buy a older game for 10$ and apply a no-cd crack. You won't miss much, I just saw Crysis for just 5 Euro.

  • They would fix the sheer, despicable incompetence those failure of a companies had had brought upon you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2011 @10:08AM (#35817450)

    ...if you just log out of their server. It's non needed anyway after the content has been authorized the first time. The only people this really affected are either those that bought the DLC while the server was down (since you can't register the content without the server) and those that have no clue that the DRM server isn't needed after the install and still log in anyway. While I'm not pro-DRM, this really is a non-story blown out of proportion.

  • The DRM horror stories have chased me away from the Dragon Age series. Instead I went to GOG.com and bought the full Baldur's Gate II collection. I own it on a bunch of cds (somewhere); but for 10 bucks I get the classic gameplay with no DRM, not even a cd check, and online download and installation.

  • Erm.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... m ['x.c' in gap]> on Thursday April 14, 2011 @10:50AM (#35817928) Homepage

    ...you guys know that all you had to do was log out of your EA account inside Dragon Age and you could play, right?

    I managed to figure that out without even looking online.

    The real problem was people attempting to install, as I believe they couldn't activate their copy.

    But I started Dragon Age, tried to load a game, got a message about DLC's not being activated on my account, so I, duh, just logged out, and hey, tada, I could load my game. (Yes, with all the content.)

  • I have the Ultimate Edition of Origins -- I got it from Steam. (I really like Steam -- you can use it offline and I never have any problems with playing the games I've bought). However -- DA:O is awful: often the log in lags behind the DLC loading, so it doesn't work first time, so you have to do it again. Very irritating. Also, it clearly means that when EA eventually, inevitably take the authentication servers down, I will lose my DLC and associated saves.

    You just have to head over to the Neverwinter

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