Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thanks, game industry, for giving me the time to write this.

I'm writing this while I wait for yet more launch day downloads for Mass Effect 3 to complete. I had a similarly terrible experience when Mass Effect 2 came out (which I had bought for the PC), but this time, honestly, seems worse. Thought you could just buy a game, put the disc in your console, and play it? hahahahaha. Check it, bullet point style:

  • last week, had to spend at least an hour finishing the demo of an unrelated game (well, unrelated except that EA also published it and is hoping it can ride the coattails of the more popular Mass Effect 3) to unlock an extra weapon and armour in Mass Effect 3. [also about an hour or so to download, as it was 1.3gb or something)
  • ~10 minutes: Install game Disc 1 to Xbox hard drive (admittedly optional, but will help, in light of the next point. Also will have to install Disc 2 at some point).
  • be annoyed that half the time, the xbox doesn't properly recognize the disc or has read errors (remember, this xbox is less than a year old too!). At least since the disc is installed, it only needs to recognize it at startup, and I shouldn't have to worry about a read error mid-game causing me to lose progress or crash.
  • launch game. Go through EA's mandatory "connecting to servers" crap, and luckily get to skip some of it because I already tied my EA/Origin account that I never wanted to my Xbox Live account for Mass Effect 2. Still a few screens to click and wait through (and get connection errors from, since probably tens of thousands of other people are doing the same thing today)
  • enter 25 digit code from EA for buying a new copy (enables online play, and some extra content) (can't remember how long this download took. A few minutes.)
  • enter 25 digit code from Gamestop for pre-ordering from them (tiny download, just a license file that unlocks some content in the game)
  • enter 25 digit code from EA for the Avatar item (optional, doesn't affect gameplay) (a few megs, doesn't take long)
  • enter 25 digit code from EA for buying the Collector's Edition. 680 mb download. still going, giving me time to type this.

Holy crap, I'm glad I have the chat pad keyboard thingy for my xbox controller, if I had to enter 100 digits like that using the onscreen keyboard I would have had to throw my controller into orbit and hoped it landed on an EA executive's house.

Hey, at least this time the game has some multiplayer content to somewhat justify the online connectivity and online accounts required! Here, just for giggles, I give you the post I started to write in January 2010, when I opened the Mass Effect 2 box:

I have long been a proponent of buying games in a retail box. I like the tangible aspect of having the game manual. I particularly like "Collector's Edition" games, which generally include such bonus content as soundtrack CDs, printed maps of the game world, bundled fiction (books, comics) related to the game universe, behind-the-scenes DVDs, books of artwork, etc. I like having all of these things in a form that I can hold in my hand and read on the john.

So it was only natural that I would pre-order the Mass Effect 2 Collector's Edition. I mean, check out the features! Hardcover art book! Soundtrack CD! Issue #1 of the Mass Effect comic! woooo, sign me up!

... also apparently I was reading an outdated feature list, because it just arrived in the mail from Amazon, and there is no soundtrack CD. There is a bonus DVD though, which I don't care much about honestly. Meh. Whatever.

So anyway, here's what I get to do with my physical box+disc copy of ME2 that I couldn't do with ME1, which I bought from Steam (digital delivery service, for those who don't know).
- sign up for 2 separate online services in order to play. Yep, gotta have an EA account and a Bioware social account in order to activate all the game content. So 2 accounts, and its not even a multiplayer game. Wow.
- enter 4 (FOUR!!!!) seperate authentication codes to activate the content.
-- one to install the game
-- one to get the pre-order bonus (in-game weapon and armor) [must sign up for Bioware account for this]
-- one to get the "you didn't buy this game used" bonus (bonus content: missions, a character, items, and whatever they throw in in the future) [this one is done in-game, I think? maybe on Bioware's site?]
-- one to get the collectors edition bonus

... never finished writing the post, nor posted it, but now you know this is not a new annoyance either.

Also, I give you this image, can't remember where I found it, but it's hilarious and sadly true (if a bit outdated):

... hey I just heard my Xbox beep. Maybe I can actually play now? Ciao.

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