Happy Fun Time with Electronic Arts

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | October 1, 2012 - 10:36 AM |
Tagged: editorial, ea, battlefield 3

You know, I used to love Electronic Arts.  There was a time in my younger days where seeing their name emblazoned on a PC game box as I wandered the aisles of Electronics Boutique was all I needed to see to buy it.  I can still remember the scrolling colors through the big "E C A" on my Commodore 64 as I anxiously waited for Bards Tale or Racing Destruction set to load.  Ah...the good old days.

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Sadly, that warm and fuzzy feeling is long gone, and over the years I've come to dislike just about everything about EA and what they've become.  My most recent foray into the mess that is EA has killed any nostalgia I had for them.  Let's walk through the fun.

I love the BattleField series of games, and have been an avid fan of them ever since the days of BF 1942.  Some of my best memories of LAN parties were BF 1942.  Whether it was driving like mad in a Jeep from one end of Wake Island to the other to try to stop a flag capture, or jumping into a T-34 in Kursk, it was about as much fun as I can recall having with a video game.  Over the years I've picked up most of the BF incarnations and when Battlefield 3 came out, I picked up a copy on release day for my XBox.  I generally like playing games on PC's over consoles, especially First Person Shooters, but I had a few friends that were playing on XBox and we all wanted to jump in and play together.  Even though I'm awful using the controller to play, we had a blast, but after a few months we stopped playing.

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Fast forward to the other day and the PcPer crew decides they want to play BF3 after the recent podcast.  I definitely can't pass up the option to get in on some Battlefield goodness, so even though I've already forked over $60 for the game and another $20 for the first expansion pack to EA on my XBox, I'm stuck with having to buy another copy of the game, just so I can play on a different platform.  Off to Amazon and another $35 funnels into EA's coffers.  Two hours and a 10 GB download later the install starts and up comes...

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Ugh...Origin...really?  I can understand why EA wants its own online game distribution system, but c'mon!  I already have a ton of games through Steam and everything works without a hitch.  Origin is a mess and I've had nothing but problems with it in the past.  I dislike using it so much that I won't buy a game if I know I have to install and use Origin to play.

But I digress.  I've already thrown another $35 at EA and we're going to play tonight, so I guess I'll just deal with it.  Hoping to fire it up and get my keybindings setup and a little bit of practice in I double click on the BF3 icon and a browser window opens.  What in the heck?  A browser?  Where's the game?  I close the browser figuring something is wrong, double click on the game icon again and up pops the browser.  Jeezalou.  I struggle for a few minutes trying to remember my ID and password for EA's site and when I finally do get in I'm looking at my stats page for my soldier.  My soldier on the XBox.  Clicking through the menus I vainly try to find a button that will let me launch the game when I notice a little drop down arrow under my Soldier name that says "BF3 XBOX".  Click on that and there's "BF3 PC".  Seriously?  I have to start over and lose all my unlocks?  My google-fu finds that there's no way to merge the two, because apparently EA doesn't understand the concept of a shared database.

Regardless, I eventually find a button labeled "Quick Match" and here we go...

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<Click>

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Holy batsnots, seriously?  In this day and age, I can't play a AAA title video game on my PC because my default browser is 64-bit?  Good lord!  I really don't want to change my default browser just to play this game, so I end up having to fire up a 32 bit version of Internet Explorer, copy and paste the link into that just so I can try to launch the game.  Error message doesn't pop up, but now I apparently need a few plugins.  At this point I had to replace my keyboard as the head bashing knocked a few keys off.  Once I get all the plugins installed I click on the "Quick Match" button again and...

Waiting...

Waiting...

Still waiting...

Continue reading our editorial on the pains of Battlefield 3 on the PC...

Holy Panzerfaust!  There's only 3 servers for the base game without expansions that actually have people on them.  After clicking on all 3 of them multiple times, being put in queues and getting timeout messages, finally one goes through and up comes the game.

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I get about an hour of game time in and have as much fun as could be expected being a Level 1 Soldier with no unlocks against a bunch of Level 45 Colonels.  I bet I'm going to need the expansion packs to play more though.  I don't want to fight with the rest of the goobers that don't have any expansions over a handful of slots on 3 servers.  Of course, it's easy to find the "Buy!" button and I find there's been 5 expansion packs.  I can buy them for $20 each, or spend $50 and get all of them.  Well, Mama didn't raise no dummies, and I'd much rather pay $10 an expansion pack than $20, so I spring for the $50 and we're now at a grand total of $165 that I've spent to play this one game.  Just peachy...

I click on the $50 "Battlefield Premium" pack, walk through the purchase and choose PayPal as my purchase method, put in my PP ID/PW and hit "Pay Now".

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Sadah Fingah!  Before I finish my string of curses, Outlook pops up with a new Email Alert, "Receipt for your Payment to Elecronic Arts".  Well, apparently the billing system didn't crash because they pulled the money from my PayPal account.  I fire Origin back up and guess what? C'mon, I'm pretty sure you know what's going to happen...I didn't have the Premium pack/expansions.  Oh EA, you are a cruel mistress!

I spent a few moments contemplating how much easier and enjoyable life was when I just plugged Yar's Revenge into my 2600, hit the power button and started playing.

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Once I finished my musings I start looking through the Origin client in the hopes that there was some sort of help available.  Clicking through a menu or two I find, "Live Chat".  Alright, time to bring someone else into my misery.  After a few minutes I'm connected and...

You are now ready to chat with Haninder.

Haninder: Thanks for contacting EA Help! My name is Haninder how may I help you?

you: Hey there. I just purchased Battlefield 3 Premium using Paypal.

you: Origin crashed just as I payed for it. I've been billed through paypal, but it's not showing up in Origin.

Haninder:  Hello there.

<60 Second Pause>

you: Ah, Hello

Haninder:  Let us see what can be done to fix our issue.

you: Thanks

Haninder: You're welcome.

Haninder: May i have your email id through which you have placed the order?

you: xxxx@xxxx.com

Haninder:  Thank you for providing email id.

Haninder:  Would you mind holding for a minute or two while I retrieve your account in our database?

you: Sure

Haninder: Thanks.

<2 Minute Wait>

Haninder: Thank you for waiting. I appreciate your patience.

<1 Minute Wait>

Haninder: I have checked and found that your order is not placed.

Haninder: Please try ordering it again.

you: I have the paypal Transaction ID, I was already charged $53.36

Haninder: Okay, do not worry, the money you has been charged will be returned back to you within 4-5 business working days.

Haninder: The order is not been placed and you have charged for it.

you: How will you refund the money to me if it's not in your systems?

you: I have been charged for it. $53.36 is no longer in my Paypal balance.

Haninder: Sometimes it happen that the order is not fully placed and you are been charged and the money in between comes into hold. In that case where transaction is not fully settles, the amount is returned back to you.

Haninder: Please contact your Bank and you will get all the information of the transaction.

you: Alright.

Haninder: You can place your order again.

you: Thanks, but I think I'll wait for the refund first. Thanks for the help.

So, EA's answer was for me to send them another $50 and hope that the money would magically reappear in my PayPal account, even though they had no record of me ever paying them.  Yeah, I'd sooner light my wallet on fire.  I go downstairs and have a beer (or two) and come back up an hour or so later to see if I can get the Campaign working when lo and behold, Origin starts downloading the Premium/Expansion packs. 

Needless to say, I think Battlefield 3 is the last Battlefield I get to play unless Dice jumps ship, because I'm done dealing with EA and their "Origin". 

 

October 1, 2012 | 10:41 AM - Posted by Rick Rodriguez (not verified)

Wierd I had some connectivity issues at first but I squared away with my ISP (FiOS). I've had no issues with origin or BF3 really since.

October 1, 2012 | 05:04 PM - Posted by Chris Barbere

My guess is most of the original connection problems resolved around the fact there were only 3 basic servers that I could connect to. :)

October 1, 2012 | 10:47 AM - Posted by Justin Bell (not verified)

Couple the origin being a mess with the EA chief being proud to not make single player games anymore, I see no reason to buy EA games

October 1, 2012 | 10:58 AM - Posted by mAxius

this is why i avoid ea titles origin is a pile of crap ea does not fully understand how their digital distribution platform sucks hairy yak balls when compared to steam.

October 1, 2012 | 01:23 PM - Posted by madhatter256 (not verified)

All I read from your post is you bought the basic version of BF3.... not the Premium which has ALL expansion packs and will give you access to upcoming ones.

Second, you're using Internet Explorer.... who still uses that, let alone the 64-bit version?

Your title should have read, "How do I PC Game?"

On top of that, I've spoken with EA support and no way in hell would they have an Indian with poor english sentence structure work in their support department...

Maybe if you did some research you wouldn't have ended up paying as much as you allegedly did. I only paid close to $100 for BF3 and that includes the special edition (which came with BattleField 2 maps) and then another $50 for the premium package and $5 for the co-op kit, so that I have access to the Co-Op weapons.

October 1, 2012 | 05:02 PM - Posted by Chris Barbere

Yeah, you're right, I did buy the basic version of BF3, and probably could have saved a few bucks had I done a bit of research, but it wouldn't have saved that much, but you still need the base game and the Premium version, which is basically what I did.  But as for your other points.

If you really want to play the 'My browser is l33ter than yours!' card, I'm actually using Pale Moon x64 which is a customized version of Firefox.  Why would you not use a 64 bit browser on a 64 bit OS if that's an option?

Not sure that title would have matched what I was going for, thanks for the suggestion though!

Finally, that transcript is an exact copy/paste from my chat window, with the only edits being where I added the <xxx Pause> in to reflect the time that passed.  I'm sure if I call EA in the middle of the day, I'd probably get US based tech support, but I hit the Live Chat button at 9 PM on a Wednesday night and that's what I got.  I'm guessing all the the US based folks were home playing Call of Duty.

 

October 1, 2012 | 05:38 PM - Posted by Nilbog

I miss the old EA, they were truly a model company back in the day. They need to get more flack for sucking, and becoming this evil monolith. Also for trying to replace the PC staple that is Steam. PC gaming would be tedious with out it.

Almost the exact thing happened to me. I already owned BF3 of Xbox. Built a new PC, bought Limited Edition again, and literally a week later Premium came out. I feel the over spending pain, its definitely deliberate. I also wish there was some kind of shared database. Or you should buy it for all platforms, but not everybody has a soul like Valve anymore.

Even though Chrome kicks ass(you can't deny it).I'm going to check that out, thanks for the link. Always interested in new and better browsers. I also though IE was the only 64-bit browser.
Just a tip if you still dont want to change ur default browser. If you have Origin running, and log into Battlelog from the 32-bit browser (of course you need the bad plunins still) BF3 will still properly launch.

Note; that they aren't playing an EA game. LOL

October 2, 2012 | 10:12 AM - Posted by madhatter256 (not verified)

Its just that this whole editorial read like a childish rant....

October 1, 2012 | 02:20 PM - Posted by wujj123456

Yes, EA's approach of exploiting Battlefield series and other established titles totally thrown me off. Frankly, Valve did that back in 2004 as well, but they were the first. They were not promoting it as a platform, but merely a new DRM. And they fixed problems and made Steam the best platform on PC later. EADM/Origin has been there for years without improving. I can't even hit my peak bandwidth when downloading my BF3... You are not supposed to be worse than a product 8 years ago if you want to enter the market late and compete...

Then the web crap. Reinvent the server browser, game launcher, etc. Valve had the perfect solution more than 10 years ago. Game browser is part of a game, and should be in game. EA can't even copy. I didn't buy BF3 until the $10 sale simply because of the interface and Origin. I tried Beta, it's just awful. Yes, I am the same one who own every game in BF series, and two copies BF1942/BF2 Collector Edition. I also pre-ordered BFBC2 on Steam. Now they ruined the best game I was expecting for years.

EA missed one thing huge. They kinda figured out it's friends keeping your platform alive. So they added friends on Origin. Yet none of their games integrate the friend system of Origin, BF3, NFS, etc. I am interested in playing games with friends, not requesting same list of friends all over the place...

I really have no idea how they handled so many obvious things wrong... I think many people buy games elsewhere whenever possible. All they get is bad publicity, and the save some revenue from Steam. However, I am pretty sure those revenue can be easily regenerated by selling more copies on Steam.

October 1, 2012 | 05:10 PM - Posted by Chris Barbere

Yeah, it's a shame.  I really loved the BF1942 series.  To the point where I'd always play the single player missions and play through the maps in the 'Campain' scenario.

October 1, 2012 | 03:34 PM - Posted by sotoa

Thanks for the informative article. I'm not crazy about EA anymore either, and this story affirms my caution about Origin.

October 1, 2012 | 04:39 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

This is what happens when you support EA. Looking at a list of their games the last EA game I bought was the original Dragon age in 2009, Mirrors edge in 2008, and crysis in 2007. The largest developer (or close to) in the world can no longer even produce one title a YEAR that interests me.

Their loss.

October 1, 2012 | 06:23 PM - Posted by billgatez (not verified)

Origin is one of the biggest pieces of crap i ever seen. And is the only thing stopping me from buying EA games. ID rather torrent them. So i dont have to deal with Origin.

October 1, 2012 | 07:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Origin, not battlelog allows payment for DLC via PayPal if you do not have a credit card. Even says so in their Billing FAQ. Guess what? When you try to pay via PayPal without a credit card linked to it, you're asked to link a credit card to your PayPal account. I really hope DICE jumps the Origin ship too.

I wonder if the new Medal of Honor will get it right...

October 2, 2012 | 12:29 AM - Posted by HyperMinimalism

I have a solution: resist the urge to buy their games. Go drink a beer first, and then browse through Steam and play some cool new indie game. Your wallet and headache will thank you.

This is not a boycott, it is just filling the time with better things to do than give EA money.

October 2, 2012 | 06:09 AM - Posted by Chris Barbere

Agreed, and that's going to be SoP going forward.  I just have a soft spot for Battlefield. :)

October 2, 2012 | 05:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That is frustrating as hell. But a few observations:

- EA games on the console are a nightmare as well. I remember I spent over an hour setting up BC2 on the 360 and BF3 on the PS3. Because you don't just pop in and play. You have to first download patches (in the case of PS3 this takes forever AND you have to copy it to the HD), then put in not 1, but 2 serial codes, then just like Origin you have to hope that you remember your EA login and then do that. The only steps that are different is downloading a plugin.

- I do agree with you on the plugin. I actually prefer the web interface. It seems these days that web interfaces are always quicker, have more features, and don't crash as much as their "app" or hard-coded brethren. BUT the whole benefit of using the web browser is defeated if you have to manually install and keep up to date a plugin

- What is the status of how many servers and how full are they at peak times? That's insane that so little people are playing BF3 in the evening. I guess you should just skip the next BF on the PC anyway. PS3 still has tons of people playing. What good is a MP game if no one is playing it? Though it is odd. People are still playing MP BC2 on the PC.

- People, stop using PayPal. You should have bought the game with a credit card. If they wouldn't refund you, then simple--you just dispute the charge and then EA gets in hot water. You pay nothing. Don't complain when you should know better.

October 2, 2012 | 06:08 AM - Posted by Chris Barbere

About PayPal, I actually do both.  I have my CC saved in PayPal and use that as my default payment option. This way I don't have to type in my CC in multiple sites and worry about them storing it, but still have the option to dispute the CC charge on top of PayPal's dispute process.

October 2, 2012 | 07:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ah didn't know PayPal had that feature. Last time I used PayPal was maybe 2004-5. Never used it again.

How is the server/player situation though on the PC? During peak (evening) times how many servers are full or are over 5 players? I wasn't knocking your PC choice by suggesting skipping it for PC and replacing it with a console. I prefer BF on PC as well. I was asking because I bought BF3 for the PS3, but want to return to PC for BF4. But if there are no players barely a year later (unlike MW series which still have a ton for PC*), I don't want to invest in it. I'd rather play something else, like say RO2 which still has a solid MP user-base for it's market (indie niche MP shooter).

* Regardless of your preference of BF or CoD, all CoD still have people playing it to this day. I can still find a decent number of matches for even World at War surprisingly enough.

October 2, 2012 | 09:36 AM - Posted by Chris Barbere

Personally, I'd much rather play any FPS on PC over Console.  I'm _awful_ using a controller to run around, aim and shoot and would much rather use keyboard/mouse.  That being said, it really matters what my friends are doing.  If they're all going to be playing on XBox, I go that route, if it's PC, I go that route.  More often than not, it's PC, because I only know a handful of folks that are console only players.

Not sure how the server situation is now just because I don't feel like dealing with it and haven't played since that night.  The big problem I had was when I first hopped on, I only had the base game, so I was limited to servers that only had the original maps.  Since there's been 5 expansion packs, there was only a handful of them available.

October 5, 2012 | 07:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I see. That might be the case. BF3 custom servers have a map rotation. So the browser might not list the maps that include the ones with expansion. The solution is to get BF3 premium, but I'd say don't give them any more money this time. Use that to buy BF4 for PC, since you said you are disgusted with the game right now.

But I'm with you on the PC. I've gotten as good as I can get with the controller. But with the PC I wreck, even in a game that most likely is filled with a lot of cheaters. I dont play constant run and gun like most people do, so my kills aren't that high, but I get 13k/5-8d on console, but 18-22k/1-3D on PC. But anyway, with the console, just a tip, play with wireless and within a room or two distance. BF3 netcode was designed in that if you connect via ethernet to reduce latency, it actually penalizes you. If you are laggy (but not too laggy) you can actually "see" the enemy or hit the enemy before the person with better latency so as to "even" out the match. In reality, however, it doesn't work. That may be why you are getting wrecked on the console, if you are connecting via ethernet. It will be insta-kill city.

As only BF players will know, no other game really can replace it. So people reccomending alternatives is just silly. But there is one game that is close. Red Orchestra 2. It doesn't use that BS lag control. It's the way it should be--connect for as little latency as possible via ethernet. After all the patches and the most up-to-date video drivers, its not broken anymore. It's the antithesis of CoD like BF is--it has the large maps, more tactical play like bf3, just no vehicles. But it's pretty damn fun. And you get a choice if u want classic or new (think BF's hardcore vs. normal). And there is no hip-fire, which I'm sure u are like me, can't stand that people do (think the shmucks in BF running around with the USAS shotgun).

AND the biggest thing you as a PC player will like is it has mods. Later this year it is going to have Steam Workshop. I wouldn't buy it now, but it will have a sale when it launches with workshop and u can probably get it for like $5-10.

October 2, 2012 | 06:02 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

@HyperMinimumalism

You are completely right. Drives me crazy that people don't do this. Stop having a bad memory and just buying what is shoved in front of you by so-called game journalists or advertisements.

1) Open up notepad, title it "games to get.txt"
2) when you see a game you like, write it down, but DONT buy the game
3) watch a gameplay video on youtube to make sure you like it
4) repeat

I have a list of 50 games like this. If I then really want it months later, not only do I get the benefit of not getting sucked into the hype and not taking the chance of buying crap, but I get a game with bugfixes most of the time for consoles it only costs $30 or PC it's down to below $20. And it won't be difficult to hold back when hype is made about a new game because you'll already be on backlog with a ton of great games.

I bought a ton of spectacular games this way. Borderlands 1 for $7 on PC, Bioshock for PC for $5, etc.

Remember, Pre-Orders and Day 1 purchases are for suckers.

October 2, 2012 | 06:11 AM - Posted by Chris Barbere

Yeah, the last 'pre-order' I got was Rage.  Needless to say, I won't be pre-ordering anything again.  On the plus side, ID nailed the perfect name for that game, it definitely made me feel Rage.

October 2, 2012 | 08:04 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No worries. We all make mistakes. I bought the unlock pack for BF3 for PS3 was I pissed that it didn't unlock the scopes and attachments. So I paid, what, $40 for gun unlocks only (and yes maybe vehicle upgrades)? I wrongly assumed that it would give me this, as BC2 unlocked all attachments and devices for the pack. I was so pissed that $40 went down the drain in an instant. Granted, we're adults and $40 is a drop in the bucket. But it's the principle. Just like I can no longer justify going out at dropping $150 for a night just for drinks (NYC--it's a nightmare to go out financially).

Though I don't blame you for rage. We all expected big things from Carmack, even though nothing has been good since Doom 2.

As a side note, I'm the same way with you. I played BC2 on the PC and then on the 360. I got BF3 for PS3. It drives me nuts using the controller. I find the whole time I spend managing my aim rather than worrying about tactics and positioning.

October 4, 2012 | 06:05 AM - Posted by mtrush (not verified)

I only know ea/dice is from battlefield series mostly.
. biggest problem for once pc games are they're now cross-platform.
. they wanted cod mw money so they made bf3 a cod/bf hybrid.
. there trailers for there games are misleading.
. no mod support
. you can't re-sell your game
. you need origin to play.(i don't want any distributor to play a game).
. they separated server browser from the game.
. removed creatives EAX 3d sound
. they release the game in beta form for months.
. leave broken parts in the game as features (lmg's don't overheat)

your issues,
- 64bit browser plugins would only work with 64bit game.
- the rest your issues 0_o

October 30, 2012 | 10:11 AM - Posted by Rex (not verified)

After watching all of your comment, I have second thought for not to build my First owned pc.Because my main objective ~~ PLAYING BATTLEFIELD 3.LASTLY THANKS GUYS FOR SHARING THIS EXPERIENCE OF ALL THIS ISSUES ^^

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