Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Battlefield 2142... broken again

EA has broken Battlefield 2142 again and it has only been out a couple of weeks! Whats sad, is the fact that people are still buying this game. The patch problems with Battlefield 2 were bad at launch, but this mess with 2142 is taking the cake.

From AggravatedGamers:
Earlier today EA released a patch to the EA Downloader which effectively uninstalled EA Downloader and then installed the new “EA Downloader” which is called EA Link. Due to the uninstall it deleted all of the information associated with the cdkey of the game you purchased making the BF2142 that you had installed useless. By useless I mean whenever ANYONE connects to a server they are greeted with the message “Invalid CDKey”. If you are one of the lucky ones to manage to be able to connect to a server eventually 2-3 minutes down the line you will be kicked from the server by Punkbuster telling you that you have a “duplicate key”.
Once again, EA forces something to be rushed out untested and screws a game over. How do I know it is untested? Because I can look at Xfire and see that play time for BF 2142 is down more than %50 today compared to the last week. That pretty much indicates there is a whole lot of people having problems, and that only happens when OBVIOUS bugs are missed.

BF 2142 remains in a sad state. I can't believe I wanted to play it. I am damn glad I didn't though, and I will continue my fight against this garbage as long as EA is dumping it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

More Battlefield 2142 trouble

Things seem to be getting worse for Battlefield 2142. It started off with the spyware and then tripped over the Microsoft security patch issues. Now there is a problem with Comrade, GameSpy's Xfire rip-off.

From Broken Toys;
"Apparently, during the configuration process of Comrade, a duplicate soldier is mistakenly created in the Battlefield 2142 account server and becomes the only soldier you can login to with that name. Of course, this pod-soldier is fresh off the vine and doesn’t know how to use things like, say, grenades, but hey, you can’t overthrow the Battlefield bourgeoisie if you’re sitting on a stat horde of your own now can you?"
Unfortunately the answer seems to be deleting one of the two accounts. Basically, if you gained a bunch of points on one they are gone. Forever. You would think that EA would FIX the problem instead of just diverting people around it. Unfortunately, this is another sad tale in the launch of BF 2142.

I don't know why gamers are buying this game anymore. The news has to have reached them now that this is a bloated, unfinished, and horrible game. Just wait, I know why gamers are buying this! Because they rationalize all the reactions to the bullshit by simply saying; "People are just overreacting and I will enjoy the game." The sad fact is that the majority of gamers are dumb and could care less what part of their soul they have to sell to play the latest game (ok, maybe not all of us gamers are dumb, but sales figures for games like BF2142 may indicate otherwise).

It is depressing that the gaming community is voting with two big thumbs up for BF 2142. It has only encouraged EA to take the next step. Not only is that next step bad for EA, but it is bad for the entire industry. These same dumb gamers that buy games regardless of the bullshit attached will be the same dumb gamers that just stop buying crappy products out of boredom and it will be the crash of '83 all over again.

Update: 2 May, 2009 - Edited post and labels. Removed broken links.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another Reason to say NO to Battlefield 2142!

From the Dubious Quality blog:
EA released a patch for Battlefield 2142 today, and I noticed this while looking through its ReadMe: "Players who have the Windows security update KB917422 installed may suffer from an application error when running Battlefield 2142. This error can be solved by uninstalling the KB917422 update."

And what does the Windows security update KB917422 do?

From Microsoft: "A security issue has been identified in the Windows Kernel that could allow an attacker to compromise your Windows-based system and gain control over it."
First spy ware; now this. It is amazing what EA is trying to pull over on gamers with Battlefield 2142.

A lot of people are saying that gamers are just overreacting, but the truth is gamers never overreact as a whole. Gamers repeatedly buy bad games and continue to buy games where developers slip in such things as Starforce or the EA spy ware. This just promotes further bullshit from these developers. Starforce was only shutdown because of the Sony BMG DRM fiasco. If that didn't occur, I bet my best two cents that Starforce would still be in full force.

EA will weather this security patch storm and keep on marketing away the concern. They will make their money off the dimwits that haven't done their homework before buying. It's a sad tale that can be sung a thousand times over.

I only hope, with this and other posts, that we've somewhat slowed the advance of spy ware in games.

Update: 5 May, 2009 - Edited post and updated labels.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Voting With Your Wallet

I have a big secret for you. No matter how big or little your website is or how many people read your magazine nothing you say/post/write will have any effect on gaming companies. Your opinion is just that... your opinion.

I strongly believe that our opinions have a HUGE place in the gaming market, but it is obvious that gaming companies think otherwise. There is an endless supply of feedback, ideas, and information hiding in the world in regards to gaming. Most companies relegate it as just noise.

Why do most companies pass it all off as senseless mumbo jumbo? Because gamers vote with their wallets. They tell companies that it's all right to launch buggy and incomplete games. They tell companies that Madden 2020 is what they want. They tell companies that 50 Cents : Bullet Proof is the game of the year.

People want to play their games and they want to play the sequels. These people repeatedly buy crappy games because they've bought them before. They don't stop and think at all about what other games are out there because the game companies have marketing departments. Gamers money is as good as gone the second they see that commercial flash across Monday Night Football.

Games are marketing and there is a ton of proven data to back that up. The most innovative games in the world won't sell more than a handful of copies without advertising. This is why the whole idea of a publisher exists. There needs to be a way to get the game on the store shelves and to tell people how great it is.

I honestly feel the gamer crowd is populated by a bunch of idiots that believe the cinematic commercial for Madden 2007 is actually what they will be getting out of their first generation Xbox. These people will buy a game because the marketing is good.

And this leads me to where we are now with Battlefield 2142. EA knows that people are going to buy it. They know that it is going to sell. So why not throw in some dynamic advertising powered by malware/spyware to make an extra buck on the side? EA knows they are going to get away with it because gamers vote with their wallets. Enough idiots have proven them correct in the past. People will buy the crappiest game that EA can make simply because they can push it out the door with a slick marketing slogan or brand name attached.

Here is my point. Start truly voting with your wallet. Don't buy a game if it even hints of crap like what EA is trying to pull with BF2142. An anti-cheat program in World of Warcraft that keeps the playing field level is one thing. A spyware/malware program that feeds advertisements by sifting through my personal surfing habits in Battlefield 2142 (with no cost reduction or free features for me) is wrong. The only way that EA will stop pulling this crap is when gamers vote with their wallets.

I have little faith in that though. I see it with every Madden release and with the new Playstation 3/Xbox 360. Gamers will pony up cash for anything. It is a sad state and anyone thinking that this sort of behavior will not lead to a gaming market crash is blind. It's just like politics. You fuck with your voters one too many times and they just stop coming back to the polls and eventually even the best candidates don't get votes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Death In the Family

There has been a death in my family over the weekend so I will be heading out of town for the funeral this week. Have a good gaming week.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The pitfalls of beta testing...

Sometimes, when beta testing, one finds out that a game they had high hopes for is too close to release, with far too many issues, that they begin to slowly erase it off their "must buy" list. It doesn't mean they give up on testing or providing feedback, but its the one time that the dreaded word "delay" appears next to the title. All, in the vain hope that the development team has an idea of how to make a better end product.

Even worse, this particular game has the potential to turn this market upside down and shake out the cobwebs.

Update: 25 Apr, 2009 - Edited post and labels.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Battlefield 2142 Demo has NO UNLOCKS!

The Battlefield 2142 demo is upon us, and EA has dropped a big surprise in it for everyone. There is no way within the demo to gain ranks, or unlock new weapons and equipment. This demo is free advertisement for BF2142, and I don't see how eliminating 95% of the game's equipment is supposed to generate positive buzz!

The unlock system in BF2142 is not like that of Battlefield 2. Every item in a player's inventory has to be unlocked. It only takes a few matches to get enough rank to have some decent equipment unlocked. Starting classes only come with the very basics. Players have to outfit them with unlocks to be successful. Grenades, C4 packs, and many other basic items, that BF players are used to, are all unlocked instead of defaulted at the start. Also, most of what makes BF2142 unique (squad beacon, stealth device, etc.) are hidden in the unlocks.

The demo is going to be very (and I mean very) dull if everyone is forced into fighting with just the basics. It will turn vehicles into un-killable machines! It will make camping the prime time activity. No one can flush enemies out with a grenade, or stealth in to collect a camper's dog tags. It really brings into question whether it is worthwhile to even download the demo. Players will end up playing a ghost of the true game.

What worries me more is that there might be something wrong with the game mechanics, and they are rushing to fix it before launch. To save face, they are putting a demo out and eliminating the part of the game that was causing issues. This is definitely something EA has pulled before with *cough* BF2 patches *cough*. The demo may run beautiful, but what does that mean for the end product?

EA knows how to screw over customers, and someday it is going to bite them in the rear.

Update: 19 Apr, 2007 - Edited article.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

PSM3 Magazine gives PS3 testkit a glowing preview!

The team over at PSM3 Magazine have gotten their hands on some Playstation 3 test/preview consoles. And guess what; they absolutely love it and give it a smashing review!
1) It's quiet like a sleeping baby. A barely audible hum. With the TV on you simply can't hear it at all.
2) It's heavy like a planet. No, really. It's impossible to pick up with one hand.
3) It's shiny like a mirror. In fact, it's impossible to take a photograph of it without the flash spanging every picture into a starburst mess. And therefore it's massively prone to fingerprintage too, with the tiny amount of dust in the office magically attaching itself to its surface in seconds.
4) The PS3 joypad is very light and the tilt system is very responsive. We like.
5) The start up is amazingly fast. And game load times were faster than expected. In fact, PS3 does both at about the same speed of PSP. ie, Long load times due to the massive Blu-ray disc? Nope. Simply not an issue.
6) Andy's fingers kept sliding off the shoulder buttons. But that's because his fingers are slippery.
You would think being the Official PS3 magazine and being some of the first journalists to get their hands on a working PS3 they would be more objective about it. The quality of their writing is worse than most blogs I read. It's an "OMG OMG OMG we gotz a PS3... OMGZ daddy Sony lovez us!11!!" article full of vague features.

How long are the loading times? Last time I touched a PSP it took over three minutes to load SOCOM: Fire Team Bravo.

How responsive is the tilt system? What game is it responsive in? Last time I checked even with the Wiimote it is reliant upon the game being played and the developers ability to program properly.

A heavy system? Heavy usually means expensive...

oh snap!

Well I have to get to class, but this is just amusing to see.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Battlefield 2142 Demo Confirmed for October 4th

From GamersHell: Battlefield 2142 Demo This Week!
"Electronic Arts unveiled that a playable demo for Battlefield 2142 will be launched on October 4th, giving you the chance to try out the next installment in the Battlefield franchise, scheduled to ship worldwide this month. Team play features allow up to 64 players to enter the action on the front lines as part of a formal squad, or work behind the scenes in Commander Mode to direct the strategic assaults of their teammates. With in-game success, players increase their rank and unlock awards, including new weapons, medals and more."
I'll be on the battlefield, of 2142, later this week. I am curious to see if the demo will have advertisements within the game. The beta test I participated in did not have any sort of advertisement, but the places for it were painfully obvious. Empty billboards littered the countryside. Blank signs on the side of buildings were easily noticed. I can't imagine what it will be like with the Fanta girls dancing across them.

Update: 8 Jul, 2007 - Edited post and applied labels.