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Mass Effect & DRM - Should I be disappointed?

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June 18, 2008 2:46:14 AM

I was looking for a new PC game. I saw Mass Effect and I figured that was the game to get since it was developed by BioWare; KOTOR I and KOTOR II (Lucas Arts; thanks for castrating KOTOR II).

Unfortunately it uses SECUROM (generally not too bad) and the activation key can only be used 3 times; afterward that it becomes inactive. BioWare/EA's spin on things is:

Quote:
The solution being implemented for Mass Effect for the PC changes copy protection from being key disc based, which requires authentication every time you play the game by requiring a disc in the drive, to a one time online authentication.

This system has an added benefit of allowing players to seamlessly play the game without needing the DVD in the drive.


I rather type in the activation key and keep the DVD in the drive.

Quote:
Q: What happens when I’ve reached the maximum # of computers for my game and I need more, say due to theft of computer, computer crashes, etc?

A: EA customer service is on hand to supply any additional authorizations that are warranted. This will be done on a case-by-case basis by contacting customer support.


Ummm... okay does that mean I need to bribe someone 'cause additional authorizations are not guaranteed. This sorta reminds me of those DIVX DVDs released by Circuit City (not referring to the DivX codec which did not exist at the time) which were basically rentals. You purchase a DIVX DVD movie and play it in a DIVX DVD player for a very limited before the DVD becomes a coaster.

Oh, below is the official forum link:

http://masseffect.bioware.com/forums/viewtopic.html?topic=629059&forum=125

I would like to buy the game, but the DRM is serious making me have second thoughts. That's similar to EgoSoft's X3: Reunion, the publisher (Enlight) decide to use StarFarce (StarForce) DRM. I enjoyed X2: The Return a lot and was looking forward to X3. But as soon as I read that I was using StarFarce I backed off. It wasn't until about 1.5 - 2 years after the release when Enlight final relented and allowed EgoSoft to release an official StarFarce removal utility. I that point I decided to buy the game.

I guess my options are:

1. Buy the damn game and just deal with EA "support".
2. ABORT ALL INTEREST IN THE GAME
3. Buy the game after finding an appropriate crack for the game (bypass authentification).

I am leaning towards option 2. Option 3 would prevent me from download official expansions and/or bonus material.


I guess EA wants to punish potential buyers for supporting them. I guess they basically telling everyone:

We love you for buying our products, but we hate you because you own a legal copy of them.

For those of you looking forward to Spore (I was kinda interested), it will use the exact same type of DRM as Mass Effects.
June 18, 2008 11:02:37 AM

That's why i haven't buy game.i hate DRM.i don't mind to put game cd every time when i play game but limited install is fu***g ****.
June 18, 2008 11:28:53 AM

Haven't bought the game yet because of it. I had to reinstall Bioshock after a driver reinstall.. and with even less activations, I ain't gonna bother with ME.

PS I wonder if Dragon Age will have securom..
Related resources
June 18, 2008 12:35:00 PM

Nah, I'm gonna wait until it hit $10 and under bargain bin... then if it does die, it $10 who cares?
June 18, 2008 1:38:25 PM

Having the CD on the drive ? Sure thing
Having to put codes from the manual ? Sure thing !! (Old games were like that)
Having only 3 installations possible ? A Hardware upgrade can make my license void ? No way.
Having the be online for validation? No problem, what about their server ?

The only thing that keeps me off that game, its i don't like any software to send data outside without i say so.
I don't like it.

If a software house wants my Directx reports specs so it can make better games for the general populace?
Sure.

If a software house wants to monitor my Equipment with a Warden program while i play ?
Hell no.

There is a line that MUST be drawn. And I have already drawn mine. their product goes beyond that line ? no prob, more money for me, or another game to play. Its a matter of principle yes.
June 18, 2008 4:53:39 PM

Wow.

I wasn't going to be real active in the forums until I built my first rig, but this BS motivates me enough to say something...

EA, **** you. I've already decided almost a year ago that I would never buy another EA game, and this makes me sure that I will stand by that decision. Seriously, 3 installs per copy of the game? That's ridiculous. What if I uninstall it cause I need more room on my HD for something else? Like some other people said, what if I get a new comp? I'm supposed to go out and buy another copy? Hell no. Why do they release this crap? People will always find a way around it with cracks/etc, which may make my rant seem, well like a rant, but it's a major inconvenience.

In addition, EA really provides NO, as in ZERO customer support, so the chances of them approving your 4th install, or even getting around to your request, is slim to none.

Thanks again EA, for galvanizing my hatred of you.
June 18, 2008 7:59:27 PM

jaguarskx said:

1. Buy the damn game and just deal with EA "support".
2. ABORT ALL INTEREST IN THE GAME
3. Buy the game after finding an appropriate crack for the game (bypass authentification).


I went with option #2.
June 18, 2008 9:38:01 PM

I know it gets said over and over, but the only people who are affected negatively are the ones who purchase this crapware. The ones that rip these games off do not suffer from the "copy protection" that gets installed on your system.
I too have decided to avoid these products until they remember who pays their bills - yep thats me.

Rant
Consider that Securom's products do not seem to have stopped anyone from copying games. It has only caused blue screens, performance issues, malformed files or reg entries or they install rootkits on peoples systems that are trying to comply with their dysfunctional rules. If you complain you are told to reinstall windows (knowing full well most cant or wont). And yet the publishers get in line to use these mediocre products.

The publishers need to change their mindset to one that takes care of their customers and not inconvenience them. Make it easy for me to use your product, not painful. On one hand I think they view all gamers as liars and thieves, but on the other, every nickel that comes in is from a legitimate paying customer who is also hoping you EA/Securom will do the right thing for them.

So far you (EA) have proved them wrong.
/Rant

that was probably more than anyone wanted to hear - sorry
June 19, 2008 12:21:54 AM

Securerom is the least of this game's problems, check out the technical self help forums:

http://masseffect.bioware.com/forums/viewforum.html?for...

A lot of people can't even install the game, a lot of people can install it but can't launch the game without it crashing immediately, a lot of people can launch the game but get a nice black screen, a lot of people can play the game for like 5 min before the screen goes black and if they're lucky they can hit ctrl+alt+del and kill it but most of the time you have to hit your reset button.

At first I was not able to install the game, it would get to a certain point and tell me saferun.exe was corrupt, this is a common problem and they even have a workaround on their tech self help forums to install. So got it installed but then it would crash constantly, I was hitting F6 (quicksave) constantly while in game so when it crashed i wouldn't have to do that part over again, it was horrible.

Well, after i upgraded my motherboard all my problems went away. I had a BFG nForce 680i SLI motherboard with p32 bios. Couldn't play MEPC on that for more than 30min without crashing. Got my new Asus P5Q-Deluxe and the game worked fine. It installed with no problems, didn't tell me saferun.exe was corrupt and the game never crashes now.

I think this is basically another case of a publisher rushing a game out the doors way too quickly. It looks like there was very little testing of the game on various hardware configs. There's also still no patch out yet to address all the issues people are having.

I finally beat the game and the story is amazing, suck it up and just buy it. How many times are you realisticly going to play this and install it on your computer? I don't play a game again after I beat it, seems like a waste of time when there's tons of new games I could be playing. Did you also not buy Vista because of activation? After I installed my new motherboard I had to call MS up and re-activate over the phone. It just seems kind of silly to me to miss an amazing game like this just cuz you can only install it 3 times before you gotta call someone up to activate it. If you can't get over it then get it for 360, it's worth it.
June 19, 2008 1:35:00 AM

Oh heavens, yes! The 360 version of the game is awesome, if you prefer to play your games at super-high frame rates, like 15 fps! I watched my roommate play it, and wondered how on earth he could stand Mass Effect: Slide Show during any point where there was more than just walking around. Here's my suggestion - go buy the game, then pirate it. Pirated copies are so much easier to work with than all of your DRM problems.
June 19, 2008 3:44:13 AM

I'll probably get the game when I have the disposable cash. I can deal with the DRM.
June 19, 2008 11:44:27 AM

SnareSpectre said:
Oh heavens, yes! The 360 version of the game is awesome, if you prefer to play your games at super-high frame rates, like 15 fps! I watched my roommate play it, and wondered how on earth he could stand Mass Effect: Slide Show during any point where there was more than just walking around.


I know exactly what you mean. I don't know how many times I've been watching my friends play Halo 3, GTAIV, this or any other graphic-intensive game on the 360 and seen the frame rate drop to single digits.........I mean come on devs. Stop worrying so much about making cluttered scenes that look pretty at the expense of an enjoyable frame rate. But I don't wonder how they can stand it because I know they're used to it. I'm a PC gamer so I've been used to 60fps gaming for a long time. I can't stand anything below 30, honestly. But I'm not being close-minded when I say 10-15 fps in an intense scene is inexcusable, and the fact that nearly all high-profile 360 and PS3 games suffer from these types of slow downs is pretty sad. Performance should come first, unfortunately the popular opinion is that graphics do.
June 19, 2008 12:15:29 PM

snarfies1 said:
I went with option #2.



ditto.
June 19, 2008 1:16:32 PM

I had no problems with the framerate of the 360 version. When Mass Effect came out, our 360 didn't get a break for weeks. If I wasn't playing it, one of my 4 roomates was or one of my friends would be. It was going 24x7.

When I heard about the interface tweaks on the PC, I considered picking it up and had even pretty much decided I would (partly to make use of any user created mods that came along) until I heard about the DRM. Now I won't buy it until they provide a DRM free copy, a DRM removal tool, or a patch that unlimits the number of installations. Limited installations is going too far and I will NOT support it.

Same with spore. If it has limited installations when it comes out, I won't buy it either. Though I've had a bit of fun with the creature creator demo.
June 19, 2008 1:57:43 PM

i know, im actually really looking forward to spore.
Anonymous
June 19, 2008 8:53:20 PM

ok well get this ****. I bought crysis, i paid my money PLUS extra because apparently the download from ea is more money than the physical game, whatever. Ive reformated my computer a few times in the past few months tried different oses all that good stuff. I go to install crysis on my server08 install, it lets me download the entire 6gb client and install but once installed it says CANNOT PLAY BECAUSE ONLY 3 CONCURRENT LICENSES ARE ALLOWED PLEASE WAIT FOR ONE TO AUTOEXPIRE. i cant even go to my old ones to uninstall and have it recognized. So now i have to download the no cd crack but guess what v1.21 the newest version doesnt have a 64bit no cd crack. so im **** for buying this game. If i had originally pirated this game atleast i would have known there wasnt cracks for the newest 64 bit and i wouldnt have updated the **** game. arggg.
June 20, 2008 12:36:09 AM

Magicandy, I'm completely in the same boat. I'd much rather have a game look smooth at 45+ fps than have photo-realistic graphics that are unplayable. Several games on the 360 do slow down - GTA IV is bad at points but bearable, and honestly I played a lot of Halo 3 and never noticed a slowdown that dipped below 30 fps. (Except of course in like the map editor when you place like 40 jazillion explosive barrels together and shoot them all at once) However, I honestly don't know how infornography42 dealt with the frame rate in Mass Effect. It has the most noticeable frame rate drops I've ever seen in any [fairly recent] game in my life! My roommate would be driving the Mako and it would be at like 25, then he'd hit some enemies and as he fought them, it would literally drop to maybe an average of 10 until they all died. And that wasn't just here and there - it was like every single time there were more than 1 enemy on the screen! He and I go back and forth about frame rates (I like 45+ and nothing less; he's fine at 30 because he's a console junkie and it really is easier to play a 30 fps game with a gamepad that controls smoothly, whereas mouse aiming is jerky), but even HE noticed it big time in the game. I do think they could have turned down at least 1 or 2 settings to have it looking a little smoother...gameplay wouldn't have suffered at all.
June 20, 2008 6:08:15 AM

Another vote for screw 'em.

I only make a cursory search for no-cd cracks, I can live with that requirement.

I've had to call MS when overclocking and having trouble getting a stable configuration...should that indicate piracy? If services crash due to instability, it apparently does. Activate, then a month or two later, change video cards and start bumping settings again.. and make another phone call.

So, if I upgrade, that's one necessary call to be expected. Add another for this game.. then if this crapware's accepted, that'll mean more will have it. Eventually it'll mean many phone calls for everything you have when you upgrade or reformat. It may sound like 'the sky is falling' ranting, but it seems all too slippery a slope.

Not worth it for a game.
June 21, 2008 1:16:06 PM

Apparently, 2K has decided to remove the installation restrictions on BioShock (after 1 year).

Maybe EA will follow 2K's move after 1 year. Of course, I may loose interest in Mass Effect by then.
June 24, 2008 3:53:36 AM

Is this by any chance the crap that was in KOTOR 2 that prevents me from playing it in Vista?
June 24, 2008 11:57:31 AM

Same brand of crap I think. Different flavor though. That was was merely crap flavored, this one I think is called Sewage Slushie.
June 24, 2008 12:17:35 PM

infornography42 said:
Same brand of crap I think. Different flavor though. That was was merely crap flavored, this one I think is called Sewage Slushie.

I knew I reconized it! I don't care how many different flavors those bastards can come up with, they still all smell the same. Agreed?
June 24, 2008 12:24:13 PM

^ Yup they all prevent you from playing games you've bought so they can give boring talks on how piracy effects them... all whilst pirate are happily enjoying DRM-free stuff. If you want to compete with pirates, even the playing field... (I don't support piracy tho...)

jalek said:
Another vote for screw 'em.

I only make a cursory search for no-cd cracks, I can live with that requirement.

I've had to call MS when overclocking and having trouble getting a stable configuration...should that indicate piracy? If services crash due to instability, it apparently does. Activate, then a month or two later, change video cards and start bumping settings again.. and make another phone call.

So, if I upgrade, that's one necessary call to be expected. Add another for this game.. then if this crapware's accepted, that'll mean more will have it. Eventually it'll mean many phone calls for everything you have when you upgrade or reformat. It may sound like 'the sky is falling' ranting, but it seems all too slippery a slope.

Not worth it for a game.


Wait if M$ was a phone company...

Seriously I remember "your copy of Vista is not vaild/real, now we are gonna BSOD you" I have the legal retail box! Can't believe that pre-SP1 poilcy! I lost one good itunes activation thing! Now don't even get me started on Apple...

tallguy1618 said:
Is this by any chance the crap that was in KOTOR 2 that prevents me from playing it in Vista?


Whoa, good thing Vista died on me earlier... couldn't have imagined hearing Team Gizka finishing the project and me not being able to play it...

Whoever made Kotor 2 so filled with DRM that it became a hollow story with quests that go nowhere and got cut really badly... Whoa I see a pattern... Kotor 3: Attack of the legal DRM laywers! The Jedi Exile and Revan have to figure out why their game was cut so short in an epic court battle... maybe the game designers spent too much money trying to make a buck, so some nice community effort gets used to make the game for them.

infornography42 said:
Same brand of crap I think. Different flavor though. That was was merely crap flavored, this one I think is called Sewage Slushie.


Sure that's not the cream filing...
June 24, 2008 12:29:47 PM

You know smething is screwed up with Obsidian when their version of KOTOR (Sith Lords), though newer, won't work at all but BioWare's (KOTOR) works just fine. And you want to know the difference? The first KOTOR didn't have any of this crap in it.
June 24, 2008 12:39:47 PM

^ Hey did you get to the "telos polar zone" were one option meant Kreia and Atton would just stand there and say PC cheat node?
June 24, 2008 12:43:18 PM

Next thing you know it Kotor 3 will be like "most hyped game of the year". Also I noticed that the packinging was better with Kotor 1... might just be the bargin bin redistros...

Kotor 3: Since nobody understood the part about the Ancient Sith, its time for Bioware vs Obidian!
June 24, 2008 7:24:11 PM

I pre ordered mass effect the day before it came out and hense got it cheaper(from gogamer too, imagine that).I got it two weeks ago i think and ive been playing it evreyday since then, it gets GPF faults evrey now and again but its not enough for me to pull my hair out. I registred the key as soon as i got it so i could get the first DLC free and all that.To be frank the DRM on this thing doesnt really affect me that much, hell i like it so i dont have to stick my dvd in the drive(my bf2142 dvd looks like its been through a war).It runs nice on my modest rig with evreything maxed out, if you want to pass over a great game beacause of politics thats your perogative.
June 24, 2008 8:16:04 PM

you realize that the DRM is probably the reason it is crashing as well as being something that won't really be an issue until you've had a couple format and reinstalls under your belt or installed it in multiple places.
June 24, 2008 8:50:36 PM

You dont know that it does hell i dont even know if it does,but its not like i cant play the game.When the lisence does expire ill deal with it , its not the end of the world, i have to call m$ all the time to revalidate keys, its a pain in the ass yah but i get the license back at the end of the day.I dont blank my hard drive evrey week or change my mobo evrey fortnight.
June 25, 2008 1:53:01 AM

amdfangirl said:
^ Hey did you get to the "telos polar zone" were one option meant Kreia and Atton would just stand there and say PC cheat node?

I beat the game, and am not entirely sure what your talking about. Is it like a glitch?

Btw, this was on my old computer with XP on it.
June 25, 2008 7:27:15 AM

koss64 said:
When the lisence does expire ill deal with it , its not the end of the world, i have to call m$ all the time to revalidate keys, its a pain in the ass yah but i get the license back at the end of the day.I dont blank my hard drive evrey week or change my mobo evrey fortnight.


Does it not bother you at all that you have to go through all that just to assure them you're a legit customer while the ones that aren't, are running a pirated copy with the same quality and don't have to deal with all that crap?

Personally I am willing to go to some length to show I am a legit customer, if the system is working: that is I have a working product, with customer service while non legit users do not have a working or an inferior working product. The simple fact that these re-activation measures are not working, and that the DRM software may actually cause problems with unrelated software, makes it unacceptable for me. It feels like being punished for being a legit customer. If I have a good product with proper support, then I do not rip off the company that sells me good stuf, even if others try to do so. If they sell me bad stuf I won't buy from that company again (and will not touch their stuf).

Some people now buy their legit copy and then use a pirated version, is that not a signal that there is something seriously wrong with the current DRM model(s)? Complaining is easy, coming up with a solution certainly is not but it feels unfair to put the full burden on legitmate customers instead of solving the issue. However companies will choose this route as long as they can get away with it.
June 25, 2008 7:56:06 AM

tallguy1618 said:
I beat the game, and am not entirely sure what your talking about. Is it like a glitch?

Btw, this was on my old computer with XP on it.


I dunno, it was the go peacefully option.
June 25, 2008 8:12:37 AM

BigMac said:
Some people now buy their legit copy and then use a pirated version, is that not a signal that there is something seriously wrong with the current DRM model(s)? Complaining is easy, coming up with a solution certainly is not but it feels unfair to put the full burden on legitmate customers instead of solving the issue. However companies will choose this route as long as they can get away with it.


I buy my own games. I don't get involved with piracy. Yes, I can feel the burden too as I do have Bioshock and Mass Effect - both have some sort of DRM models I believe.

One solution I can think of is to change the business model. Lower the game to, say, $1 and for that kind of money, I think people don't wish to go through the hassle of illegal download. Put in in-game advertisement and let the marketing budget of other big companies out there to fund the development of the game.

A certainly workable model. For $1, I am sure many people would just download and play the game for fun.

PS. OK, that $1 is just a random pick. It could be some other numbers that make economical sense.
June 25, 2008 10:44:44 AM

BigMac said:

Some people now buy their legit copy and then use a pirated version, is that not a signal that there is something seriously wrong with the current DRM model(s)? Complaining is easy, coming up with a solution certainly is not but it feels unfair to put the full burden on legitmate customers instead of solving the issue. However companies will choose this route as long as they can get away with it.


this bit is causing the biggest problem, say they sell 10k copies then those 10k use pirated versions to bypass the DRM, thats 10k pirated, now the companies think that's 10k in lost sales, when in actual fact they havnt lost any money what-so-ever.
June 25, 2008 11:21:47 AM

Flakes said:
this bit is causing the biggest problem, say they sell 10k copies then those 10k use pirated versions to bypass the DRM, thats 10k pirated, now the companies think that's 10k in lost sales, when in actual fact they havnt lost any money what-so-ever.


Sure they have, they lost the money that they spent on the DRM and they lost money from lost sales due to people not being willing to pay for the DRM. Though that is all money that they would not have lost if they didn't have the DRM to begin with.
June 25, 2008 11:31:24 AM

infornography42 said:
Sure they have, they lost the money that they spent on the DRM and they lost money from lost sales due to people not being willing to pay for the DRM. Though that is all money that they would not have lost if they didn't have the DRM to begin with.


They should spend more money making the game rather than DRM'ing it!
June 25, 2008 11:41:26 AM

nah, they still got the money cause a percentage of the value of the game would still go to the DRM however, they did loose the point in spending all that time incorporating the DRM. Time doesn't always equal money, specially in a case like this. :) 
June 25, 2008 2:09:18 PM

I just noticed, toms has been using Mass Effect in their benchmarks.. do they call EA every week or do they have a special version? (is the securom sitll as bad as Bioshock..? I updated graphics drivers and had to reinstall the game..)
June 25, 2008 2:29:01 PM

stemnin said:
I just noticed, toms has been using Mass Effect in their benchmarks.. do they call EA every week or do they have a special version? (is the securom sitll as bad as Bioshock..? I updated graphics drivers and had to reinstall the game..)

I am very interested to hear the answer to this question.
June 25, 2008 2:30:39 PM


Ohh, do you mean when you have to fight the HK assassin droids? I always just fought them.
June 25, 2008 10:02:48 PM

^ we mean like a whole factory level choc-a block full of them!
June 25, 2008 10:34:13 PM

Im not sure then. What I remember is that the ship crashed I think in the Polar Zone and when you wake up there are 3 assassins droids then u talk a little than ure party wakes up. Your then given the option to fight them or go peacefully I think. You fight them and then the white robed lady comes and gets you and takes you into their temple, but I might just be crazy.
June 26, 2008 5:50:42 AM

It was a deleted part...
June 26, 2008 2:25:53 PM

Wait, I think we're talking about different parts here. I'm talking about in the ice region of Telos, after you do all the stuff to get your ship working and all that becuase you get shot down somewhere else in the planet. You crash again in the ice part and then you go into the temple. This is in the normal verion of the game. I've never played the deleted parts.
June 26, 2008 10:23:09 PM

^ you can't yet...
July 7, 2008 4:01:12 PM

I must admit, I was extremely peaved when I heard about this new validation method. Only 3 times ?? I've changed my PC 3 times in the past 7 months... Online validation? What if I'm offline for an extended period (i.e. on my laptop in iraq)? What happens if I have it installed on two PCs at the same time when validation occurs?

However... after installing and playing the game on two machines, I've had no problem. I, in fact, appreciated not having to insert the DVD everytime I play.

My only two worries are as follows: I have already installed two times, on my old (no longer in use) and current PC, and now need to reinstall again due to a Vista reinstall. Will Securom "touch" or interfere with anything else on my PC? If yes, I'm out for blood.
July 7, 2008 7:19:50 PM

... It's securom... it touches things... it interferes... its what it does.

I'm not sure specifically about the version in Mass Effect, but Securom has a bit of a reputation for breaking things.
July 8, 2008 1:24:21 PM

Bioware has gone down hill, they sold out to EA and now any talk about DRM on their forums is locked, they only allow you to talk about it on off-topic forums which is hard to find, most gamers looking for info about the game will not come across the off-topic section.

I will avoid any game made by EA or any other publisher that has the same DRM, no will i will infect my pc with their DRM crap.
This does nothing but push people to pirate the game.
!