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.


  1. Asking the customer to remove a security fix to the operating system in order to have the game not crash is certainly does NOT "solve" the problem, it only works around it.

    Hopefully EA will provide a SOLUTION soon.

  2. Anonymous5:10 PM

    Sorry to disappoint you, but actually it is Microsoft who should check that their patches break nothing! It might be that this patch was introduced after EA started their QA and testing phase, where you usually don't change the setup for testing. Would you be angry at me or at Microsoft if one of the applications I've developed would break your windows installation? Nevermind, don't answer that, I don't need your "wisdom"! Like you said, there is plenty of other stuff to bash EA for, but lets keep Microsofts screw-ups in Redmond.

  3. Anonymous5:12 PM

    @darth continent:

    Introducing a security patch that breaks other applications does NOT "solve" the problem either... This is the problem why network administrators are so slow at deploying security fixes. They don't want their stuff to break...

  4. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Sorry to disappoint you, but actually it is Microsoft who should check that their patches break nothing!

    ...Right. Microsoft should check that EVERY SINGLE third-party piece of software is fully compatible with an important kernel-level patch. Even if the patch was released BEFORE the software it breaks.

    On an interesting note, what the hell is Battlefield 2142 doing that occurs at the kernel-level of the system?

  5. Anonymous6:22 PM

    Actually if you research a bit (google for "KB917422 problem") you will find that this patch does in fact break many different programs and Microsoft has already released patches for that:

    Also, as for programs using kernel functions, lets do some quick checks, shall we ?

    C:\>dumpbin /imports c:\WINDOWS\system32\notepad.exe | findstr /i kernel

    C:\>dumpbin /imports c:\WINDOWS\system32\mspaint.exe | findstr /i kernel
    Bound to KERNEL32.dll [424377D2] Fri Mar 25 03:30:42 2005

    kernel32.dll is not the actual kernel, but it certainly uses kernel functions to load and initialize stuff. I wont even talk about ntdll here. Good luck finding programs that do NOT use the kernel that are not viruses written in assembler.

    Also one of Microsofts most valued things is backwards compatibility, which means that they have to do unit tests against everything that was documented in MSDN. They even go further and check for stuff that was undocumented, which is evidenced by the fact that they specifically notified developers that their application might break in Vista if they use undocumented features.

    As for them not testing every third party application you're right though, but that doesn't make it any less of a Microsoft fuckup.

  6. Anonymous6:27 PM

    PS: Also it was known that the patch caused breakage and that Microsoft is working on a fix some time ago, and if I were EA, I would have done the same thing instead of working around a problem that was temporarily introduced by some malfunctioning patch. And that comes from someone with 10 years experience of C++ software development.

  7. Well thanks for the input everyone :) I looked into a lot of threads and news articles about this and not once was the idea that Microsoft was to blame.

    However, I just so happen to know some Microsoft junkies that can be of assistance. Sadly I will be out of town until next week before I'll get a chance to really dig into this and push an update.

    Don't want to blindly hate EA or anything...

  8. Anonymous7:20 PM

    And I don't really want to defend EA, but my grief with Microsoft is far greater than anything I've experienced with EA / DICE (coming from someone who had to give up his Geforce 4 for Battlefield 2, instead playing with a slow-as-hell Radeon 9200).

    But it doesn't speak for EA either, as not limiting the stack size is quite easy and has no adverse effects, except for performance if you use many threads. But I also know how QA teams under pressure act if even the smallest change has to be introduced.

  9. Anonymous11:32 PM

    we have to stop buying from EA. they have to stop doing this, and hurting them on the balance sheet is the only way..... everyone! unite! plus, the demo sucked anyway.

  10. Anonymous1:41 AM

    In response to...
    On an interesting note, what the hell is Battlefield 2142 doing that occurs at the kernel-level of the system?

    It's installing spyware that checks what you do online so it can send it back to EA, and serve you in-game advertisements.

    checkout the digg story on it... there is an insert that states that they will install spyware They tell you not to play the game on any machine connected to the internet...

  11. Anonymous3:27 AM

    Your all Paranoid. The End.

  12. Anonymous4:13 AM

    It is probably Punkbuster that needs access to the Kernel to check out hacks. I'd imagine that MS patch also breaks other applications that use Punkbuster.

    And there also seems to be misinformation about that "spyware" in bf2142. My understanding is that the game shows ingame adds (billboards, flyers etc. in the game world) and sends stats about them. NOT of your websurfing.

  13. Does anyone here really believe that it is reasonable to expect MS to test every patch they release with every application orgame that becomes available for the PC? I no great supporter of MS but I think it is up to each company to ensure that their software runs properly on the OS it was intended for.

  14. "Well thanks for the input everyone :) I looked into a lot of threads and news articles about this and not once was the idea that Microsoft was to blame."

    "Sadly I will be out of town until next week before I'll get a chance to really dig into this and push an update."

    It is just your irresponsible posting that you preferred to do. You should have "dug" into it before making the statements so that your post was fact based instead of bullshit.

  15. Michael,

    When you write patches that affect the core part of the operating system that people use, it is *your* responsibility to ensure that you have not altered code in such a way as to have other programs that use it die horrible deaths. That's how software development works. You are responsible for that piece of code and if others call it/use it, you had better make damn sure that you have maintained complete compatibilty. Can you imagine if the OS developers had free rein to change anything they want? Nobody would develop software because it would be a nightmare to release patch after patch to fix things the OS makers broke. SO, Yes, it is in fact MS's fault a) other programs broke because of this patch b) MS released another patch to fix the first one.

  16. Anonymous9:12 AM

    I would rather Microsoft release a patch that blocks access to the kernel than have some exploit left wide open in my system. EA should really start re-thinking their strategy here with the in game ads as they might have a little trouble selling games. There are plenty of other game development companies out there developing great games WITHOUT spyware or in game ads. If I go buy a game, I buy it to play the game, not to read advertisements.

  17. Anonymous10:12 AM

    WTF is BF2142Pace.exe????? My firewall asked if it can access the web, of course, after reading about spyware, I chose to not let it.

    Also, what's up with all the LAG and PB Kicks????

  18. As for the PB kicks, I ran into this last night. There is a problem with the 1.01 patch if you did not shut down BF2142 prior to installing. I had to completely uninstall BF2142, reboot, then re-install the game (don't start the game), then install the patch.

    It took me 3 tries to get it right. The final time I didn't use EA Downloader to install the patch. All is good.

    Dice released the following statement concerning the "Spyware"

    Posting on behalf of the Dev Team

    We would like to provide more information on in-game advertising in Battlefield 2142. To try and help everyone better understand it, here is how it works.

    The in- game advertisement is respectful of players' privacy: it never accesses files not directly related to the game, and it does not capture personal data such as cookies, account login detail, gameplay behaviour or surfing history. As it is an integrated part of Battlefield 2142 and not a separate program, it only runs when the game is running.

    Because BF2142 delivers ads by region, the IP address of the player is used to determine the region of the player and helps serve ads by region and language; for instance, a player in Paris will be presented with ads in French. Note that this IP address is not stored on the advertisement server and is not repurposed for other uses.

    A unique ID number is anonymously assigned the first time the player joins a Battlefield 2142 online game. It is stored locally on the PC but is not linked to any personal details.

    The in-game advertisement gathers what we call “impression data”, such as location of the billboard in the game or duration of advertisement impression. It
    helps see how many people have seen an ad – but not who has seen it.

    We are also conscious that the advertisement shouldn’t distract the player from the overall gaming experience, so all ads fit in the unique environment of each level in the game. The content of the ads is also controlled to ensure that no offensive content is displayed in Battlefield 2142.

    We all hope that this explanation will address recent concerns on the advertisement in Battlefield 2142.

    See you on the Battlefield.

    Your Dice Live Team

    Hope this helps

  19. Anonymous11:07 AM

    ok, maybe I shoudl go to file planet and download the patch. Because when I installed BF2142, I never started it, I then installed the patch. What I will be doing tonight is downloading the patch from File Planet, rebooting my computer and then applying the patch. Maybe this will solve my problem...who knows. I am, at this point overly dissapointed with EA and DICE with this product.

  20. Anonymous11:20 AM

    "As for them not testing every third party application you're right though, but that doesn't make it any less of a Microsoft fuckup."

    You work for EA don't you?

  21. Anonymous1:49 PM

    You work for EA don't you?
    You work for Microsoft don't you?

    No, seriously, I'm just a gamer with a HECK of a lot programming experience, including a self-written but sadly unreleased 3D engine.

  22. Anonymous3:00 PM

    " ensure that no offensive content is displayed in Battlefield 2142."

    The whole idea is offensive. I pre-ordered and knew nothing of this till the box hit the streets now I am out real world money. I believe they have the right to do this ad thing, but I have the right to not buy it because of it and I was not given the chance...damn them all, greed is not good! imho

  23. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Frankly, that's a damn good reason to say no to the new Battlefield game. In fact, I can't think of a better reason - though I wanted to play with those mechs so much :(

  24. Anonymous9:00 PM

    Stop crying. If you guys are so upset about free advertising then go have a strike against commercials on television. idiotic nubs

  25. Anonymous9:49 PM

    I've played the game for a good 1-3 hours or so and haven't actually noticed a single add.

    The only problems I've had are stats not getting reported 100% (server crashes or ambiguity on if a server is ranked or not) and inaccuracy with the sniper rifle (I like to snipe...) but the inaccuracy isn't anywhere near as bad as BF2.

  26. The 2142 Beta had the same problem, i.e. you had to uninstall a KB fix in order to play it. I'm dumbfounded those morons didn't address it before the game made it onto shelves. Absolutely dumbfounded.

    Because BF2142 delivers ads by region, the IP address of the player is used to determine the region of the player and helps serve ads by region and language; for instance, a player in Paris will be presented with ads in French. Note that this IP address is not stored on the advertisement server and is not repurposed for other uses.

    Looking at someone's IP is a lousy method of ascertaining their geographical location. And even if it was, in what language would you deliver ads to someone with a Swiss address? German, French, Italian, Romansh? How would you know whether a Canadian IP needed ads in French or English?

    In short, you get location and language through Windows API calls. Who the hell are they trying to kid?

    If it smells fishy, it's probably fish...

  27. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Wow, sounds like allot of people area quite pissed on both sides of the field. I don't like the idea of video games having ads during the middle of the fight, but I also know that this is probably just the begining. Sure if allot of people do not buy BF2142 the game developers may think twice about adding another form of adware/spyware into their software, but once everyone starts doing it, there will be no end. I think all of this hurts PC gaming in general and for some, it will be the straw that breaks the camels back, and they will move to console gaming to get away from it.
    What might be a good idea is for someone to start manufacturing pop up blockers that are engineered specifically for video games, but as I am not familiar with coding, I'm not sure if that is possible, and if it is, would consumers have to buy a new popup blocker program for every new game that was released?

  28. Anonymous8:33 AM

    The fact that adware or whatever it realy is happens to be included is pretty irrelevant.

    The one thing EA/Dice forgot to put in was a DECENT GAME!!!!

    Its absolute pants!!

  29. Looking into this more there is very very few programs that this seems to effect. If you actually read into the known issues from Microsoft it squarely puts the blame on the program.

    On top of this there is a plethora of downloadable fixes available from the support pages of Microsoft. I can't confirm if these work because I'm never going to touch BF 2142 again.

    For EA to even think that they should be telling their customers to uninstall security updates is dumb. Even worse is when there is fixes provided by Microsoft for both the software developer and end user. When this issue came up they should of said "We're going to fix this." Even if uninstalling the patch fixes the game it should NOT BE AN OPTION.

    I'm sorry Calvin if you are so naive to think that Microsoft should be required to fix everyone elses software.

    And talking about irresponsible posting... at least I read what I linked and researched the topic. Unfortunately all you've done is picked up someone elses idea and blindly tried to support it.

  30. Anonymous5:20 PM

    "gamers never overreact as a whole"

    Bullshit! Look at Playstation 3 and the amount of negative press they have received. It's almost "in style" for a game blog to post negative ps3 stories.

    It's a simple fact that controversy draws more attention, more readers, more revenue. Gaming is no different; anyone who stands up against the negative buzz gets labeled "fanboy" or "troll", so why bother?

    Further in these comments, another poster accuses someone of working for EA. That's about the level of intelligence I've come to expect from the gaming community. It just goes to show how little anything has changed, and why gaming blogs for the most part are about as one sided as (most of) their readers.

    For shame.

  31. I bet you that the PS3 still sells well. It may seem like everyone is overreacting, but I guarantee you that plenty of idiots out there will pony up $600 for Sony's PS3. The world of Internet hype and real world commerce are two totally different things.

    And I am simply amazed that you have finally come to the conclusion about blogging and its biased nature. I am lost for words on how much smarter you are than the rest of us.

    My opinion... that is if you care enough to come back and read this... is that the gaming industry lets money lead the way and as long as they can get dumbasses like you to buy the next Madden or Battlefield title they will keep making them. Unfortunately that is going to end up with EA burying a million copies of Madden 2020 and Battlefield 3 in the deserts of CA.

  32. Anonymous9:48 PM

    Just BOYCOTT EA-Dice , its been one lie after another latey. And the deal with IGA was a low blow .BOYCOTT EA game's and any other company or Dev. that follows this path.Dont feed the monster.

  33. Anonymous1:34 AM

    Despite all the problems, issues etc that I've had with the game, I still really enjoy the game.

  34. Anonymous2:30 PM

    Surely the advertising industry, now a part of this game is paying EA to advertise. So why is the game still at the regular New Game Price !!
    Surely EA are being greedy and then some, we all know it only costs a few quid for the Game with development cost etc!!.

  35. Anonymous4:06 PM

    2 nights ago a friend of mine opened 2142 to find that it would not load without acquiring the new EA Link software to replace the EA Downloader. Both he and I had purchased 2142 online and both had taken "advantage" of the pre-load. EA Downloader was updated to EA Link but now,attempts to launch 2142, advises that he is using an invalid key. Furthermore, Battlefield2 will no longer launch nor will it uninstall from Add\Remove. Battlefield2 was installed from a purchased DVD. The EA Link software cannot connect to server. All previous downloads from the EA Downloader have been deleted. He has system restore disabled on his system so we cannot easily put his registry back to the way it was. I though maybe he had an isolated incident because i was sure there would be a lot of posts regarding this and i could find none. So I forged ahead and tried to launch 2142. I got the same prompt to update to the EA Link b4 i could play 2142 but i cancelled it.I could still play BF2 but 2142 would not without the update. I copied all the downloaded files from my cache folder to my desktop and plunged ahead with the update. The update failed saying it could not find the original c:\program files\electronic arts\ea downloader\usernam\cache folder.The one i had just copied to my desktop.The update had totally deleted my ea downloader folder and then complained it couldnt find it! I manually created the ea downloader folder again in the Electronic Arts folder and copied my cache folder back from the desktop. This time the install finished successfully but errored out at the end with a "cannot connect to server" error.I too could not launch BF2 or uninstall it let alone play 2142. I was forced to manually remove all EA games and the new EA Link software. Still BF2 would not re-install from DVD. At the end a system restore, prior to the EA Link install,allowed me to at least play BF2. My friend ended up being able to reinstall after manual removal and a cleaning of his registry using tune-up utilities 2006. We are both afraid to try even installing this Link sofware again for a couple of days. Anyone experiencing similar problems with this EA Link software update? Telling me EA sucks is neither helpful nor news...i am just looking for a little feedback...thanks guys

  36. Yeah I covered the EA Link CD key issue.

    Without hacking up your registry you are SOL. That is the only solution I've seen. EA sucks... delete and get rid of the game.

  37. Anonymous3:36 AM

    Me and my friend have experienced the exact same problem with EA Link. Furthermore, I think it sucks big time, that EA does`nt even give one the option, to not update the downloader to ea link. It just starts to update, when you start up the downloader :-(
    Does one really have to manually remove all ea games and install them again???? If so, I hope Ea have a guy, who can come out and do that, cus` I really don`t have the time and the energy to do it :-/

  38. Anonymous4:28 AM

    i'm as pissed as everyone else about spyware in BF2142, altough if you really dont like it and dont mind paying a bit more for the game, try importing the australian version of it. Australia has a law against spyware, which forced EA to remove the spyware before it could sell to australian gamers. check wikipedia. Finally, the legal system working to our benefit :D

  39. Thanks for the AU tip. I will look into it, but I still won't buy the game.

  40. Anonymous9:30 PM

    i have finally found a post which sheds a bit of light on the bf2142 issue. I just downloaded it off of ea link and it ran fine the first time i loaded it(single player mode) until i installed the its all kinds of messed up. it consistanly crashes after only a few mins. of play single or on a server. i know bf2 had memory leak problems, has anyone heard what might cause this sudden crashing? PS my PC is only 6 months old with top of the line specs...

  41. Anonymous5:01 AM

    Actually a lot of these disparaging comments to the author can be avoided if you simply add a list of crosscheck reference links at the bottom of your post.
    As a side bonus anyone who wants to look a little more in-depth at the issue you are posting about can check out the links.

  42. Anonymous3:01 AM

    This entire thread is ridiculous and several of you need to grow up. MS has to patch it's environment, and is responsible in doing so. It is unreasonable to expect MS to test against everything out there. Something effected EA's game - okay, unfortunate and not their fault.

    However, rather than give a ridiculous answer like uninstall the security patch, EA need to get off their backside and release a patch to fix this problem pronto. Both vendors are responsible for ensuring their software works both when selling it, and while supporting it.

  43. Anonymous5:14 AM

    All, have found a fix after experimenting with some of the things on this website ->

    I applied the MS patch fix many sites have suggested - didn't do anything.

    I then tested my Direct X components - all seem fine. Not sure about DirectVoice though - ran the wizard and it checked out okay.

    Here's what I then did. Went into BF2142 (patch 1.20) logged in and went to options. I then reset the video setting - not convinced this did anything as the settings didn't seem to change, but I didn't try it afterwards, so can't be sure.

    What I think did it, is where I tweaked the voice threshold. This was sitting on 0%. I tried adjusting it, but got that god aweful sound on anything other than 100%. Left it on 100%, started up a single player game and BAM ! Problem fixed.

    I have to concur with this threads original author. EA have done little to advertise or resolve this problem which clearly lot's of people are having. Pretty crap support to say the least.

    Now all I have to do is find out why the EA Link application crashes every 2 seconds - started after I downloaded BF2142 and the patch. Marvellous :-<

    Never before have I found any other game as troublesome as this.

    Best of Luck.

  44. Then why are you playing it? You do nothing, but encourage more crappy products from EA by paying for the game.

  45. Anonymous11:58 PM

    Your probably right. Don't forget I didn't know about all these problems until AFTER purchasing the game - which was necassary for the LAN's I attend. Best I can do is join the cause and warn other people :-)

  46. Anonymous4:51 PM


  47. Anonymous7:58 PM

    I've found this page after struggling to get my 11 year old son's version of Battlefield 2142 going. Wish I'd found it earlier. Many Many problems. I don't have time to keep trying to get this sucker to work. Its a useful learning experience in that I now know to buy software from Australia if I want to avoid spyware. What a crock. My expectations for PC games would be that if spyware is going to be put in then we won't be buying it. So if we want to buy it'll be online from Australia.

    PS. Giving advice to remove a security patch ... In the credibility stakes thats like giving yourself an uppercut, pouring petrol on yourself and then lighting a match.

  48. Anonymous6:17 AM

    This game is great, never had real problems until recently, I think servers such as 3rd armored calvary have hackers on it. The aforementioned server will say it has 50 players on it but when you count the amount of players actually playing there may be only 25. What are the other 25 doing? Hacking F--king up your computer. I have had numerous worms ansd viruses from playing it. But it is a good game, but a complete mind-f--k. Beware.....

  49. Anonymous1:26 AM

    This Crap is increadibleScrew this company,
    H*ll Im already screwed. I bought the game installed saw the discloseure in the manuel
    Im uninstalling it and Battlefield 2 No more EA for me.
    This is just as bad as that f**king Steam.
    Not , the big question is, What kind of damage was done to my system, and how do I fix it short of formatting my HD?

  50. Anonymous6:51 AM

    The Australian version of 2142 did lack the Dynamic Advertising feature[18] at launch, however Australian players are now subject to in-game advertisements while playing Battlefield 2142
    Thats what wikipedia said so whoever the f****ng moron is that said the au version is free from it due to spyware laws. Your a DUMBASS!

  51. Anonymous11:06 AM

    I have given EA enough chances, first Crisis Warhead and now this....amongst others ?
    We have all been victims of these monster companies in the past, but enough is enough. When I purchased this game it said on the box (Internet Connection Required For Activation) then why the hell is it laid out like an Internet only game, why complicate things, why not just keep it as a normal game that you can play on-line when you choose, every time I want to play the game I got to sign in and wait for the damn thing to realize I have denied it Internet access, I DON'T WANT TO PLAY ON-LINE, I just want to click and that too much to ask ?

    Personally I'm sick and tired of there antics and I feel I have been ripped off and misled by EA, I for one will NOT be purchasing another game by them EVER again and will encourage all my gaming friends to do the same until they buck up there ideas and stop punishing the consumers and non on-line gamers.

    I understand the need to battle piracy and hackers but forcing your consumers to constantly pay the price is unacceptable, please give gamers a choice instead of forcing them to jump through your damn hoops every time we simply want to play one of your products, I'm not just referring to the issue stated in this tread.

    I hope EA goes bust and you irritating developers end up homeless, living in the boxes your tainted product is delivered in. Unless you re-address your insensitive narrow minded painstaking activities.

    yours sincerely

    Disappointed ex-loyal consumer.


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