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Dragon Age DRM Servers Down

DRM run amok: how BioWare and EA are screwing users right now is the Ars Technica headline that does not mask the author's frustration at having been locked out of playing Dragon Age: Origins since April 9th because BioWare's authentication servers are failing to let owners of the game play. [H]ard-OCP notes that the problem (and lack of a solution) is addressed by BioWare in this thread, where word is: "We're continuing to investigate, both here and at EA. We have some theories about what is occurring but no firm fix at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience and request your patience while our engineers continue working towards a solution." Ars notes that this game has been plagued by authentication problems since its launch, and goes on to express the following frustration:

It's not really upsetting me that much that I can't play DA:O on a weekday—that's probably for the better. And I'm not by any means opposed to DRM for games; indeed, there's an argument to be made that it's a legitimate response to ongoing piracy problems. No, my beef is with buggy, poorly-thought-out DRM schemes that have legit users sniffing around torrent sites to see if they can get their hands on a working copy of the game they paid for. The fact that DA:O has to reauthorize my DLC every time I log into the Bioware server is just nuts, and it sets users up for all sorts of problems. (On the client side, the authorization service that runs under Windows doesn't always start, so even if Bioware's servers are up, users can still face this problem.)

Then there's the fact that, again, EA/Bioware didn't address this issue for three whole days. For three days, users were locked out of a game that they paid for due to these server problems, and there was no notice posted. Not only that, but they either don't monitor the Bioware forums, or they don't care enough to participate in them, because no one from Bioware showed up during this period to even acknowledge the issue informally. This mix of incompetence and malicious neglect is startling to me, but it's apparently par for the course for these two companies.

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53. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 14, 2011, 02:17 eRe4s3r
 
http://tinyurl.com/3stpx2r
(let me google that for you) (Don't click it, takes forever to "type" in ,p)

Answer: Wikipedia (which is not surprising ,p)
 
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52. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 17:05 Dev
 
Creston wrote on Apr 12, 2011, 23:24:
Dev wrote on Apr 12, 2011, 21:35:
Hilarious, EA has a tech document describing how to bypass the authentication for DLC (you edit a plain text file binary variable to not authenticate each DLC):
http://support.ea.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/218/showhome/true

I believe this only works if its been authenticated at least once in the past because I think the DLC is encrypted when first downloaded.

Thanks for the linkies, Dev. That actually works great. FUCK EA and Bioware for their horseshit DRM schemes, but at least the game works again.

Creston
No problem, glad to help!
AdamK47 wrote on Apr 12, 2011, 23:27:
Nothing is hacked and the authorization setting is still set to "=1". If I stay offline I have access to everything since it has already been authorized before. As soon as I log in it shows all the DLC is unauthorized. Anyway, I'll continue to play in offline mode. Like I said earlier, I only needed to log in to upload stats to my profile.
Since EA themselves tells you to do this in the support document I linked, I'm going to say its not "hacking" since its authorized by EA themselves.
 
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51. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 12:21 Jerykk
 
So is a paper code wheel DRM? ;p Or is there ARM too? (Analog Right Management?) You could argue that you have the type in the results of a code-wheel so its still digital..

The "digital" in DRM doesn't refer to the nature of the copy-protection. It refers to the content being protected. All computer games are digital and thus all protection schemes that dictate how you use them are DRM.

Here are the definitions I use:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/digital+rights+management
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management

Nowadays CD-Keys are not cd-keys, they are serial numbers. And i think its vital to make that distinction. A CDKEY doesn't have to be unique but a serial number does.

That depends on whether or not you have to activate the game using the key/serial. If a game doesn't require activation, it does not require a unique CD-key (unless you want to play online). When pirates crack a game, they typically don't remove the need for a CD-key. They just remove the need to activate it and/or they let you enter random numbers and letters. In any case, the difference between a CD-key and a serial number is purely semantic.
 
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50. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 10:42 StingingVelvet
 
necrosis wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 09:08:
"Digital rights management (DRM) is a term for access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to limit the use of digital content and devices"

Disk checks are a form a DRM. They regulate and control how you can use their software by requiring the disk to be in the drive after the software is installed. DRM is anything that prevents you from using the software outside the physical requirement of said software (installing it it your hard drive).

Where is that quote from?
 
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49. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 09:08 necrosis
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 04:34:
Jerykk wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 03:53:
Technically, the retail version of DAO did have DRM. It was just a rudimentary disc-check + CD-key, though.

I thought that was what I said. Disc-check is copy protection but not DRM. DRM means managing access after the sale digitally.
"Digital rights management (DRM) is a term for access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to limit the use of digital content and devices"

Disk checks are a form a DRM. They regulate and control how you can use their software by requiring the disk to be in the drive after the software is installed. DRM is anything that prevents you from using the software outside the physical requirement of said software (installing it it your hard drive).
 
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48. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 08:42 StingingVelvet
 
Jerykk wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 04:41:
Disc-check is copy protection but not DRM. DRM means managing access after the sale digitally.

That's pretty much what a disc-check and CD-key do. Any kind of software protection scheme that limits access based upon meeting certain conditions can be considered DRM. Disc-checks, CD-keys, activations, limited installs, etc, are all DRM. The latter are just a lot more annoying than the former.

I don't agree, I see a clear distinction between copy protection and DRM. Disc checks are completely offline and do not allow the company to manage access after the sale. Needing to have the game to play it is not managed access.
 
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47. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 08:26 InBlack
 
DRM is fail. Any way you put it.

Ahhh this little bit of news just made my day.
 
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I have a nifty blue line!
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46. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 06:36 KilrathiAce
 
Icewind wrote on Apr 12, 2011, 23:56:
If you people are really serious about boycotting Bioware, how about passing on their DLC *and* ME3? Sure, I bought ME 1and 2, but I'm not even finishing the damn story. The second game was so dumbed down and short I don't even see a reason to give them $60 for an ME3 that will probably follow their current downward spiral and be about as long as Bulletstorm and as deep as Farmville.

You all talk a big game, but how about following through? Don't let these people think they can get away with this...

because we know you'll all buy DA3 and all of ME3's DLC, proving them right when they say gamers are stupid.

This is why ME2 was last product of Bioware I bought, previously I bought number of games from them. Not buying any of the stupid me2 dlcs, or da2.... and if this bs continues as I think its only gonna get worse I sure wont be paying for ME3.
 
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Bakhtosh Redclaw Nar Kiranka
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45. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 05:29 eRe4s3r
 
So is a paper code wheel DRM? ;p Or is there ARM too? (Analog Right Management?) You could argue that you have the type in the results of a code-wheel so its still digital.. but really

The reason why you disagree is likely that you think about CD-Keys as 1-time-codes you link to a unique account or as "authorization limited" batches of maximum so and so many activations. That really is DRM. But it wasn't always this way.

Nowadays CD-Keys are not cd-keys, they are serial numbers. And i think its vital to make that distinction. A CDKEY doesn't have to be unique but a serial number does.

so a serial number is pure DRM. And this why pirates call cdkeys serials . Just saying
 
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44. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 04:41 Jerykk
 
Disc-check is copy protection but not DRM. DRM means managing access after the sale digitally.

That's pretty much what a disc-check and CD-key do. Any kind of software protection scheme that limits access based upon meeting certain conditions can be considered DRM. Disc-checks, CD-keys, activations, limited installs, etc, are all DRM. The latter are just a lot more annoying than the former.
 
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43. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 04:34 StingingVelvet
 
Jerykk wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 03:53:
Technically, the retail version of DAO did have DRM. It was just a rudimentary disc-check + CD-key, though.

I thought that was what I said. Disc-check is copy protection but not DRM. DRM means managing access after the sale digitally.
 
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42. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 03:57 Mac
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 03:41:
Frode wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 02:43:
From what I can tell, this is actually DRM on the DLC, not the original game. Steam makes no mention of DA:O having any particular third party DRM, and the game starts just fine for me (I haven't even gotten around to playing it yet, so naturally haven't bought any DLC).

Not trying to start a whole other topic of conversation but it amuses me when people who choose to buy on Steam instead of a DRM-free option complain about DRM.

Anyway, yes the retail version of DA:O is DRM-free and the digital versions have their platforms' inherent DRM and nothing else. The DLC is what has activation DRM on it, and stupidly it requires activation every time you sign in through the game. Why it has not been patched out is beyond me, though I am sure as said below not wanting to pay to make a patch is the likely reason.

Which says a lot about all these activation games being "legally" playable when the companies go belly-up.

I agree with your view of Steam as a form of DRM - of course it is ...

What is really batshit crazy is that you can bypass the DRM check by editing an inf file and changing the check from 1 to 0. Really secure DRM - you have to ask, why bother if that is all it is going to take.

Just another reason for me not to buy these games on launch - on the whole DRM devalues the product in my view (pirates get a better experience than legit users, and you are generally unable to trade the game at a later date) - therefore, I am only willing to pay sub £20.

It's just a personal value for money view ...
 
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41. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 03:53 Jerykk
 
Technically, the retail version of DAO did have DRM. It was just a rudimentary disc-check + CD-key, though.  
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40. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 03:41 StingingVelvet
 
Frode wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 02:43:
From what I can tell, this is actually DRM on the DLC, not the original game. Steam makes no mention of DA:O having any particular third party DRM, and the game starts just fine for me (I haven't even gotten around to playing it yet, so naturally haven't bought any DLC).

Not trying to start a whole other topic of conversation but it amuses me when people who choose to buy on Steam instead of a DRM-free option complain about DRM.

Anyway, yes the retail version of DA:O is DRM-free and the digital versions have their platforms' inherent DRM and nothing else. The DLC is what has activation DRM on it, and stupidly it requires activation every time you sign in through the game. Why it has not been patched out is beyond me, though I am sure as said below not wanting to pay to make a patch is the likely reason.

Which says a lot about all these activation games being "legally" playable when the companies go belly-up.
 
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39. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 03:12 Flatline
 
Sepharo wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 01:40:
Hate hearing this, "I'm just going to buy the third installment from a company I've given up on" is ridiculous. Just don't buy the third.

/this all assuming of course that it is indeed terrible, if it turns out amazing beyond reasonable doubt, I'll buy of course.


It's easy for you to say this because, as you have said, you gave up on ME.

However, when someone like Blizzard dicks over customers, it gets smoothed over by some of the same people pissed off at Bioware right now.

It's a matter of how much the IP matters to you. Take Wheel of Time for example. Books something like 6-10 sucked ass, with 10 being so bad I had to push myself through it. By the time I realized how bad things were, I had committed myself to something like 8,000 pages of text and just quitting at that moment would be the literary equivalent of blue balls. Even if the ending sucks (and Towers of Midnight far from sucked), at least you'll have seen it through to the end.

But after that, there's no real IP to keep me coming back to Bioware. Even the Mass Effect IP isn't enough to keep me coming back. If they cliff-hanger the last game I'll be pissed enough to go away, and if they finish the story, it feels like "enough".

I hate to say it... but Dragon Age: Origins kind of let me down. I loved the old school nature of it, but as far as world building, which Bioware is so good at, DA left me feeling disappointed. I'm completely skipping DA2 because it sounds like it took the worst bits of DA:O and expanded them to 30 hours. A guy who was such a hardcore Dragon Age nut that he's played through the game 5 times clocking in something like 3-400 hours in the game told me "Just skip DA2. If you see it for less than 20 bucks it might be worth it if you have nothing else to play."
 
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38. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 03:06 eRe4s3r
 
Well with neutral i mean "balanced paragon and renegade" and not always using those silly quicktime event popups, at least where i know what they do and don't want to do it....

I agree with you though, but sadly we will never see a pure RPG with such high production values. What i really do want to see is something like ME2 but set in the Warhammer Universe (and without probing and those extremely categorized missions which get better though with all the DLC where there is really some more to do... besides going straight in 1 direction, at least for a short while.. ) ehm anyway. WH40k set in ME2 style game, better shooting, more RPG and yes, dynamic space combat, dynamic exploration. Naturally NOT playing anywhere in the M40 or M41 time-frames of Warhammer40k (however much absurd that may sound) i am absolutely sick of the "end-times" setting in M40-M41, it makes the sci-fi setting too... too "solidified" too focused on one theme.

Anyway
 
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37. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 02:43 Frode
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 02:29:
God knows why they still require activation this long after release in the first place.
From what I can tell, this is actually DRM on the DLC, not the original game. Steam makes no mention of DA:O having any particular third party DRM, and the game starts just fine for me (I haven't even gotten around to playing it yet, so naturally haven't bought any DLC).

No idea how old the DLC is though. But, yeah, it should've been patched out a few weeks after release at most.
 
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36. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 02:41 Kastagir
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 02:29:
God knows why they still require activation this long after release in the first place. The easy solution to all this is to just patch out DRM after a year or so, rather than continuing to punish customers.

That would require patching DA:O, something Bioware either isn't willing to do or isn't allowed by EA to do.

And a note to Ars: where have you been? This is normal behavior from Bioware if you've paid any attention in the last year.
 
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35. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 02:29 StingingVelvet
 
God knows why they still require activation this long after release in the first place. The easy solution to all this is to just patch out DRM after a year or so, rather than continuing to punish customers.  
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34. Re: Dragon Age DRM Servers Down Apr 13, 2011, 02:24 Jerykk
 
Why would you ever bother being a neutral character? It has no benefits whatsoever. You don't get any skill bonuses and in ME2, you don't get the best dialogue options.

Anywho, I enjoyed both ME 1 and 2, though I thought of them as shooters with light RPG elements. If you treat them as pure RPGs, you'll be disappointed because they're pretty lousy RPGs. The actual shooting isn't all that great either but I like the setting and the characters enough to overlook that. Still, I can only imagine how much better the series would be if it were pure RPG, with the ability to choose your race and such.
 
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