Dragon Age 2 DRM Is Different

By Jim Rossignol on February 1st, 2011 at 8:27 am.


This forum post on the Bioware forums has detailed how the Dragon Age 2 DRM will work. The Steam version will use Steam, and nothing else. For the retail version there is no limit to install, no disc check, and are online checks, which mean that only five PCs can be used to play a single version of the game within a 24-hour period. While this game can also be played offline, you will need to “check in” after a number of days to keep playing.

The way things are going will mean that the retail version will end up being cheaper, but the digital version will be more convenient…

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178 Comments »

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  1. Phoshi says:

    The digital versions are almost always more convenient, though. This DRM doesn’t seem too bad, as the scourge of the industry goes.

    • simonh says:

      And at least in Sweden, the retail version is almost always cheaper than Steam.

  2. mlaskus says:

    Seems reasonable.

    • MrMud says:

      I agree, this seems very reasonable.

    • WeFlySpitfires says:

      I concur. Nice to see some reasonable DRM for a change. Games companies need to realise that gamers aren’t against the concept of DRM, just DRM that is a huge pain in the butt or destroys your computer.

    • sneetch says:

      Yeah, seems ok to me.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I agree. Declaring that anyone without internet is no longer allowed to play computer games is indeed perfectly reasonable.

    • Hunam says:

      It wasn’t reasonable in 2008. What’s changed people?

    • simonh says:

      Of course it still won’t actually stop any piracy though…

    • Cooper says:

      What Hunam says.

      This only seems reasonable in the face of the farcical DRM situation that has developed in recent years.

    • Sarlix says:

      Yup, we’ve all become too complacent. C’mon people I want to see gnashing of teeth!

    • Bhazor says:

      Reply to Hunam Well for a start half the country is now a wi-fi hotspot.

    • Vorrin says:

      Bhazor: yeh, if you live in uk, and buy the whatever BT superpower to connect to it. But I can think of many different scenarios in which you don’t have a connection, or don’t want to have it (ie. you’re travelling somewhere, or have just decided the world is depressing in little doses as it is, and you’d rather do without the whole of it always there on the internet :D (but still decided videogames are fine)). I mean, really, imagine you’re on a trip, playing your nice little story-based rpg in bed, and it suddenly goes ‘oh well, I really need the internet right now, as … well, as you’re not using a crack, and paid me good money’…

      it seems to me that this is the same concept as the uglier ubi-uber-DRM, just sweetened a little bit. And we all know the game will be cracked, possibly as soon as the game is out… so to me it still looks a bit that who plays by the book, and pays for his game, gets a fractionally worst deal, though admittedly, not such a bad one as with other DRMs…

    • Danarchist says:

      Here’s a dumb yank question:
      Do you guys have free wi-fi in your major cities? I know a few European countries have started broadcasting free broadband but googling produces no results on who and where.

      We are discussing the possibility of gov’ment provided wifi in all cities over 100k pop but there are lots of complaints and whining from our broadband companies that it will bite deep into their profit margins. Curious how its done in other places.

    • pingualot says:

      @Danarchist Yes many companies provide free wifi in cities and also many towns. But ATM its not blanket coverage but some new schemes are set to change this.

    • Bhazor says:

      Really I have to wonder at people who have a computer capable of running high end games but have no connection to the Internet. Especially when you can get contract free “pay as you go mobile broadband” access almost anywhere in the country with mobile phone reception. Surely it can’t be long until it’s a non issue. Also I am pretty certain most of those services work abroad with no issues.

      Speed isn’t an issue either as it’s a simple date check where just reading this page takes more bandwidth.

    • Noterist says:

      “It wasn’t reasonable in 2008. What’s changed people?”

      Seconding this! Wasn’t there a huge uproar about the idea of “checking in” in the past?

      Something along the lines of: Gamer moves house/internet goes down/whatever, launches singleplayer games that were left by the wayside in favour of multiplayer games … hasn’t checked in for a while, and clearly can’t check in now.

  3. Avenger says:

    Well, Buy the retail and register on steam right? It should work…

  4. Ravenger says:

    It’s nice that Bioware are being up-front about it, the other divisions of EA should take note and learn from this example.

    What I like about this (and I’m normally very anti excessive DRM) is that there’s a choice. You can go with Steam DRM (which I’m ok with) or with a more restrictive system that requires a periodic login.

    If this system had been in place for Dead Space 2 I’d have bought the Steam version instead of boycotting the game because I hate limited activations.

    It does suck that there’s no way to play the retail version offline permanently. I do worry about being able to play modern internet connected games in the future when the companies that make them are either out of business or find it no longer worthwhile to keep the servers running.

    • Kid_A says:

      TO be fair, in the follow up posts they do state they have a sunset/EA going bust/game server being shut down plan in place.
      Does seem odd that the EA Store version has the retail DRM too, though. It’s as if they don’t want to compete with Steam.

    • Ravenger says:

      Oh that’s even better then. Bravo! Sounds like DRM done right for a change. Can EA do this with Dead Space 2 please, then I’ll buy it.

    • DSR says:

      What, Dead Space 2 got DRM?
      Haven’t noticed that one…
      I’ve just installed it and it was ready to play. Offline too.
      Bought from EA Store.

    • Premium User Badge

      Fede says:

      A more restrictive system? Compete with Steam?
      I mean, the choice is between two identical DRM systems, you just choose if you want Valve or EA to perform your periodic login check (Steam’s offline mode requires a “handshake” after some time).

      So both are the same and both are good, especially because of the “sunset/EA going bust/game server being shut down plan”.

    • Collic says:

      @Fede You are right, but I know who I trust given the choice and it isn’t EA. Just saying :)

    • Ravenger says:

      I’ve got a netbook with some netbook friendly Steam games on it. It’s almost permanently in offline mode, and I’ve not been forced to go back online at all. It can go months without Steam being booted, and offline mode has worked every time when I’ve wanted to play games on it. In my experience Steam doesn’t require periodic authentication when set to offline mode.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      “sunset/EA going bust/game server being shut down plan”

      How about a “mad fanboy goes on murder-death-kill-spree and kills all staff and machines involved in further patching of the game” plan?

    • RegisteredUser says:

      You should also have boycotted Dead Space 2 for them openly lying about fixing the controls to then doing nothing about that.

      I really wish people would stop rewarding the industry for f*cking them over publically.

      As much as I find Magicka utterly and extremely boring for singleplayer, those devs at least are churning out support every single day and trying to deliver a PC product. Anyone who likes their stuff should rightfully suppor this kind of behavior.

      Dead Space 2, DNF, Bulletstorm et all however all could not care less(not “could care less” yay etc) whether or not their games work on, are made for or are in any way enjoyable on the PC platform.

      I have firmly decided to no longer funnel funds in the direction of people who spit on me as a committed PC gamer and my platform as a whole.

      Far too many will complain, yet financially continue to support these people because they are addicted to their product, no matter how mauled / terribly supported / mutilated it is.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Why would you ever play Magicka singleplayer? It’s just not what it’s for.

    • Unrein says:

      I really wonder why people are saying the controls are sluggish in Dead Space 2. My sensitivity is on 60 out of 100 and it works brilliantly. I turned V-Sync off just in the game before playing it. Maybe only some computers have the control problems?

    • neems says:

      Same here, no problems with mouse control in Dead Space 2 – as long as I have v-synch disabled. The in-game vsynch locks the frame rate to half your refresh rate for some reason, and even using the driver override to force ‘proper’ v-synch I feel like the controls aren’t quite responsiveness enough – but to be fair, I feel like this in most games, especially shooters. I don’t know if it’s because my monitor is 60 Hz, unlike my old CRT.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Noto to go off topic or anything, but I thought the point of Dead Space’s slow controls was that you are a clumsy and panicked engineer, making the button-mashing terror even better. It wasn’t “just” a corridor shooter.

  5. killmachine says:

    hm. whats the guy from dead space doing in dragon age?

    • Premium User Badge

      Diziet Sma says:

      The Dead Space 2 armour is in Dragon Age 2 as a bit of exclusive content for players of the former I believe.

  6. Pardoz says:

    As DRM this could be much worse, and it’s very nice they avoided the double-DRMing on the Steam version, which will be nice when i pick up the goatse edition next Steam Yule Sale (I was going to pre-order the sucker until they decided Steam pre-orders would have to pay for the pre-order DLC retail pre-orders got free. Such is life – the torrent edition will be more convenient, cheaper, and more complete, and will tide me over nicely until the Ultimate Super-Duper Complete package comes out.)

    • Optimaximal says:

      Surely the Goatse Edition would be the one stuffed full of DRM that makes the game horribly unplayable and yet unreturnable?

    • Premium User Badge

      Stompywitch says:

      Yes. Torrenting it will certainly show EA that using negligible DRM was a good move.

    • Hallgrim says:

      @Stompywitch: There are non-negligible DRM schemes?

    • Pardoz says:

      My decision to torrent it has nothing to do with the DRM, which would get cracked regardless, and was made before the DRM scheme was announced; as I said in my original post, and as I told EA’s customer disservice department, I decided to torrent it the day EA said Steam pre-orders would have to pay 20 bucks for content pre-orders through other channels got for free. If they hadn’t pulled that little stunt, my pre-order would already be in; if they don’t want my business, they shouldn’t bitch if I don’t give it to them, hmm?

    • Premium User Badge

      Stompywitch says:

      So why torrent it, Pardoz? Why not just wait until the product you want is out, and BUY THAT?

      Games are luxuries. You don’t need to play them as soon as they come out.

  7. Kakrafoon says:

    I guess I will not play Dragon Age 2. DA Origins was little more than a bunch of cutscenes thinly held together by not much in the way of an actual game.

    • Bilbo says:

      Weird; I loved it. Still, if you go into an RPG expecting purely combat and hoping against dialogue, Bioware generally aren’t for you

    • Sam says:

      I’m interested in what you think a game is if you don’t think Dragon Age is one…

    • Kakrafoon says:

      What I meant was: Dragon Age is an interactive cutscene showcaser with different choices and endings; in between, players can fight the same enemies over and over again in narrow corridor levels.

    • neems says:

      If only the dialogue / story based games of the world came with decent dialogue / stories.

      I stopped playing Dragon Age after wossherface, the Queen, betrayed me (okay that’s fine), then declared that it was an accident (‘oops, I think I may have made a mistake’), and then everybody else in my party just shrugged and said ‘okay’.

    • Goomich says:

      But the ultimate decision who becomes the king or queen belongs to you, so after OKing with her, put Allitair on throne, yourself as queen (if you’re famale human noble) and sing “suck it lady!”.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      “the Queen, betrayed me”

      Having never played the game, but having played BG2 and NWN, heard about Kotor… I saw that coming a mile away.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      The Queen didn’t betray me so there :P

    • neems says:

      Again, it wasn’t the betrayal that bothered me, it was the responses that followed. The Queen said “Sorry, I didn’t mean to do that!” and everybody else said “Okay!”

      See also the situation where you get the chance to recruit the assassin into your party. Why the hell would I do that?

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      While I’ll agree on the Queen thing (it confused me too), no one is making you recruit the assassin. You could cut him down when you first met him. So basically, if people are naive or benevolent enough to allow him in their party, that’s their choice. A bad choice perhaps, but at least it’s a choice. And I’d never berate an RPG for having different choices.

    • neems says:

      True, but what is the consequence of recruiting the assassin into your party? If the next time you make camp he kills you in your sleep and the game ends, then kudos to Bioware.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Unless you really make an effort to befriend him (talk to him in camp, tell him what he wants to hear, etc) he will turn on you at one point.

    • jalf says:

      @Rinox: It’s not that the game has choices, but that they weren’t explored properly.

      A game could easily have millions of choices if the only effect of that choice is a message popping up saying “you chose option #16437. Well done”.

      That’s what @Kakrafoon is complaining about. You can, through your choices, be betrayed by a queen, *and nothing happens*. No one reacts to it, it’s just a little “oh, by the way” note that doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with the rest of the game.

      I’m not sure if that’s why I never really fell in love with the game, but it was probably part of it.

      It’s like punching fog, in a way. Sure, you have a lot of freedom, but nothing you do actually makes a difference. There seems to be no consequences to that freedom, which just makes it very uninteresting.

  8. Choca says:

    Call me when they put back friendly fire… I have no interest in playing a team game where you can just chuck fireballs around without a care in the world.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      As I understand it, ff is only missing from easy, and either missing or reduced in normal. I’m okay with that, as I never play a game below hard or nightmare if I can get away with it. As a mage from DA:O (and one who had two other mages in my party nearly all the time), I know how much maneuvering and forethought it took to not attack my allies. It was one of my favourite parts of DA:O tbh. Much more realistic. Same in D&D, but then the archmage prestige class could take a talent to be able to mold AoE and template attacks to not hit certain squares if she so wanted. Which was a handy work-around imho.

      Oh, also. This DRM seems pretty cool with me. I’ll be getting Steam edition anyway, but the compromise on retail is good. Although woe to anyone who doesn’t have a stable internet connection though!

    • Brumisator says:

      Play Magicka :3

    • Choca says:

      I played the game last month and friendly fire was only activated in nightmare mode. Normal and Hard were ff free. The guy from Bioware said that it was because they wanted “people to be able to finish normal mode without having to manage their team”.

      And yes this was on the PC.

      Since everyone on scene pretty much scoffed at him when he said that, I hope they’ll change it before release.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      @Brum – I really want to, but sadly, I’m broke for a few weeks. I’ve been looking forward to it FOREVER and ever though. Still, maybe my financial woes are all for the best, when I do get the money to buy it it might even be playable by then! ;)

      @Choca – Argh! How is making a game on hard-mode easy supposed to be a good idea? I bet on my life that that was NOT Bioware’s idea. Still though, one more reason for me to slog through the hell of nightmare mode! Also, I’m sure the DA mod community will have that little ‘bug’ fixed minutes after release.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Wait, no, I get it. Nevermind.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      lolwut?

    • Premium User Badge

      oceanclub says:

      On this wiki, there’s a very detailed description of how FF is implemented (to summarise on PC: 50% at normal, 100% at hardcore and nightmare, while on concole it was nerfed):

      http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Difficulty_Settings

      P.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      Ahm, that’s for Dragon Age: Origins.

      Sorry! ;)

      I checked it out on Bioware forums. FF is only on Nightmare alright, however, Bioware has stated that as playtesting etc. goes on that is subject to change. So hopefully.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Ocean: That’s what I posted at first, then edited it out, because I think he’s talking about DA2. DA1 had ff from normal upwards.

    • Flint says:

      I’m all for team management, but the removal/decrease of friendly fire is great news.

    • Duffin says:

      Choca if you are correct this is yet another example of – yes I’m going to say it – console retards who like to run around like rambo – ruining another game. This will basically turn into: let strong guy run into the middle, let small guys use fireball/blizzard/tempest repeatedly.

  9. Bilbo says:

    So we’re okay with DRM as long as it’s steam?

    Honestly I’m a little surprised, I didn’t realise the baying masses who persistently obsess over DRM would make that kind of distinction.

    • Spore says:

      Where have you been for the last three years? Steam has been at that point where the convenience and feature set of the service has vastly outweighed the cons of losses in consumer control over game purchases for a long time now. It’s DRM, but it’s DRM bundled with an excellent service.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      I’m ok with DRM as long as it isn’t Steam. This is the best way to solve it though, if you buy on Steam you’re obviously already ok with Steam, and DRM on top of that is just idiotic. I really wish all games did this multi-DRM though, way too many games forces Steam down your throat. If you buy a retail copy Steam should never ever be a requirement. Or you should be able to choose between Steam and something else. Steamworks is pretty much the worst thing there is, because every company who uses it uses it exclusively with no other option.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The problem is most people these days just take the fact that they can go online for granted.

      Cut their line for 4-8+ weeks and then see how they feel about this.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Steam is fine. What pisses me off is when publishers add even more DRM on top of the Steam client. I think that’s ridiculous.

  10. kororas says:

    As Choca so specifically put it ^^. Im not getting this, im refusing to buy games that turn their back on their PC heritage and become more simplistic for the sake of cross platform stereotypes.

    DA has and always should have its roots in Neverwinter Nights style play, not Mass Effect :(

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      I agree with you in so many ways, and I really hate this dumbing-down that gaming seems to be going through. However, I trust Bioware (at least for another while at least), and I’m not going to lambast a game that I haven’t played yet. It may end up being far less of a compromise than you might think. It might not either, but I’d hate to so flippantly reject a product as this.

    • Droniac says:

      Not to rain on your parade, but isn’t that a particularly poor comparison to make?

      Wouldn’t NWN make a far more appealing game to an action-RPG loving console gamer than DA2? A comparison with Baldur’s Gate might have been feasible, but in this particular case you’re comparing a party-based, tactical, cRPG (DA2) with a simplistic hack&slash game that’s ridiculously easy even in comparison to DA:O and has 0% friendly fire in Normal mode (NWN).

      So in a sense, DA2 is actually becoming more like NWN with this friendly fire nerf. The removal of friendly fire in Normal mode seems like a good idea, which resonates with the closer perspective and faster pace to make a more approachable game and indeed a combat system that might be more enjoyable both for fans of action games and fans of party-based tactical RPGs (i.e.: me). I agree that it’s a horrible idea to remove friendly fire in Hard mode and I’m not convinced that the move to making DA2 more approachable will result in a more enjoyable experience for me. But it’s certainly not looking to provide anywhere near as watered down a cRPG experience as NWN did.

    • Duffin says:

      I agree with your sentiments (though its Baldur’s Gate inspired not NWN) completely. However, we feared the same thing with DA:O, and Bioware managed to find a balance to keep pc and console players happy. Right now it looks like they are messing this up badly… but Bioware have made so many great games I am going to trust them and see what they come up with.

  11. Xercies says:

    Tch you can boycott or accept it al you want but internet connections to get into your game or risking all your games become void if you have a a problem on Steam is the norm now. I don’t like it but well there you go nothing we can do.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      This might sound crazy, but you CAN actually just buy 100% DRM free games from indies until they in turn become big enough to make AAA titles.
      If they then turn into the same idiots, just repeat the cycle. Somewhere in the middle DRM free decent games come from it.

      Or, you could just pretend there is nothing you can do and keep financially supporting the things you say you loathe.

    • Xercies says:

      Which means I’m limited to a certain kind of game, if I want a good production anything I have to go through this kind of DRM because all the major publishers are doing it. Yeah you could say boo hoo oh dear you can’t buy big production games, think of all the starving children. But sometimes i want to buy those kind of games and if I have to go through this kind of thing to get to all of them…well theres nothing really I can do about it.

      I don’t like basically being held by a shotgun by these companies.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      The problem with that idea is that you are completely missing out on every big name title. Some indie games are alright, but they are by no means a replacement for AAA titles. Or even games that aren’t AAA.

      Also, boycotts never work. So essentially, you’re missing out on everything based on a principle that’s never going to change the system. I don’t like it, but DRM is here to stay on the PC, so you either adapt or just quit PC gaming. Steam is probably one of the least offensive forms of DRM so I’m fine with it. Though if I can find a retail copy that doesn’t punish me with DRM then I’ll buy that instead of the Steam version. But those are becoming few and far between.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      There was a case of genetically modified corn being sold in supermarkets. People boycotted it, it got taken off the shelves and official promises were made.
      There were other tiny examples throughout history as well that brought around minor changes(turns out refusing to stand up in buses can be a big deal and Satyagraha is a word).

      Boycotts workif people actually DO THE BOYCOTTING instead of making excuses like both of you have.

      There was a time before now, and we got here by supporting small, cool game making folks.
      Some of the bungholes forcing DRM down our throats can only do this because formerly tiny and independent gamemakers eventually grew too big via success.

      So, two things:
      1. You can get actually good games that do not have million dollar budgets behind them(Has anyone ever read this weird RPS site? If so, I heard they report on some of those occassionally e.g.)

      2. Until you are prepared to actually help make a change, no change will come on it’s own. What you are doing is the same thing that many other folks are doing when confronted with anything that is bad for them, but uncomfortable to give up(overeating, overspending, driving everywhere, being wasteful, not voting / voting for internet haters because they may just have a point about them all being killerpiratepedophileterrorists etc).

      “I don’t like being held at gunpoint, but since the alternative would require something uncomfortable or remotely effort on my part, I would rather reward those hurting and exploiting me so that they can not only continue to do so, but also eventually become even better at it in the future”.

      A bit like that.

  12. Juiceman says:

    I’ll never understand all the hate for DRM and the companies who use it. In every thread I see the copy and paste response of “I WON’T BE PLAYING THAT GAME!” or “THEY’RE THE WORST COMPANY EVER!” It seems asinine too rail against someone just trying to protect their product from pirates. Pirates the community never seems to go after with the kind of righteous indignation that is directed towards publishers like EA.
    Secondly, is being online that hard these days? Everyone I know who plays PC games, myself included, is on 24/7 as it is. Plus, it’s not like it’s hard to find a crack for those times when your connection is down.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      That’s acceptable. I think company’s are absolutely entitled to making a profit off of their games (idiotic pricing aside). However, the problem people are having with DRM is less to do with piracy and more to do with games companies taking away the rights of people who actually bought the game. In effect, we don’t actually BUY those games at all, but rent them out indefinitely from the publishers, and the terms & conditions are getting stricter every year, and as it stands, a company could decide, for whatever reason, that nobody was allowed to play the game anymore, and shut it down, meaning we gave them 50-60 quid of our money for a product we do not get to use.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      The game companies are only protecting their games against me as a game buyer, not against me as a pirate.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      It seems asinine too rail against someone just trying to protect their PC from DRM and his/her games from not being able to start because internet is off.

      P.S. Nothing can “protect” you from piracy other than a product and service that in itself warrants being supported and makes this clear to the purchasing power having consumer.
      The “protection” surely will not, as any form of it has been circumvented for 20+ years now within days/weeks.

    • jalf says:

      It seems asinine too rail against someone just trying to protect their product from pirates. Pirates

      It’s not about what they’re *trying* to do, but what they *actually* do. And when the actual effect of DRM is to allow pirates, but make the game more inconvenient to play for legal users, then there is something wrong.

      Secondly, is being online that hard these days?

      You may have heard of a little something going on in Egypt right now. So yes, for some, it is very difficult.

      I was without internet for a month last year, because I moved to a new apartment, and my new ISP fucked up.

      Everyone I know who plays PC games, myself included, is on 24/7 as it is. Plus, it’s not like it’s hard to find a crack for those times when your connection is down.

      lol wat?

      So you’re seriously saying we should accept DRM because it is intended to “fight piracy”, and then you’re saying it’s ok because “we can just pirate the very game we bought if the DRM annoys us”

      What… The… Eff…

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Using Egypt as an example of no internet is grasping at straws. How often does political upheaval occur in most countries that are big markets for games? Furthermore, if your country is in that state, I think about the LAST thing you’d care about at that time are games and online DRM. I’d assume the majority of gaming makes up North America and Europe, who for the most part are fairly stable.

      That’s like pointing at North Korea and saying “but see, THEY don’t have internet!!”

    • Juiceman says:

      @Jalf
      Actually Assassin’s Creed 2 took considerably longer to crack because of the DRM so it isn’t completely ineffective. And inconvenience is subjective; personally I don’t find online registration to be that annoying but that’s just me.

      I laughed in your digital face when you brought up Egypt. If your country is in such turmoil the government turns the internet off in the face of a revolution, I’d say you have bigger problems than not being able to play Dead Space 2. And yes, your example of not having a stable ISP is tragic, but that is why I suggest downloading cracks.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but finding a crack to be able to play a game, which you have legal rights to, offline is different from downloading the full title and the anti DRM crack when you haven’t purchased the game in any capacity.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      @Juiceman

      No, you are 100% mistaken. The illegal part with cracks does not come in at the point of ownership or not(that’s actually a seperate issue of unauthorized copying), but that you are breaching the part of the license which forbids you to modify, reverse engineer, decompile or otherwise damage the initial form of the licensed software. By using a crack, you are doing something the EULA / license explicitly forbids, therefore being just as bad as the guy who did not buy it to begin with.

      You may try to ethically argue this, but legally you are just as screwed. So DRM is still shit, no matter how you turn and twist it.

  13. Shadram says:

    It’s a fair system. I mean, pretty much everyone has internet access at least some of the time (you’re reading this, aren’t you?), which is all that’s required here. I’ve never been a “No DRM in any form whatsoever!” angry internet man, and only really draw the line at Ubi broken-net-means-broken-game systems. But this system I like. If all games did this, I like to think we’d all be happy. But maybe that’s hoping too much. Yeah, it probably is.

    • Hallgrim says:

      So “pretty much everyone” who buys the game will be able to play it? And “pretty much all” the pirates will be entirely unaffected by the DRM? Sounds pretty much foolish to me.

    • jalf says:

      Having internet is only half of the equation. You also need the authentication server to be up, and to be responsive, and you need their database of authorized keys to stay valid.

      There’s a lot of room there for things going wrong. Either permanently (it’s easy enough to *say* “we’ve got a plan for setting the game free if we go bust”. Doesn’t mean it’s true, and doesn’t mean they’ll be able to carry it out if it happens), or temporarily.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      @jalf: I agree about banking on companies patching out DRM if they are going under is completely unrealistic. I’ve heard that argument with Steam, and despite their best intentions, that might simply not happen. If a company is in such shambles and financial disaster that they are going under, do you really think they are going to spend the man hours, and even more money they don’t even have to fix your games? Unless they already have something in place that’s essentially just flipping a switch and removing the DRM, that’s not going to happen. Even then, that requires the company to even care. Valve might be awesome, but if they ever went under, they might not even give a crap or bother at that point. As for other publishers, that’s a laughable scenario because they are even less likely to give a crap. I can’t see somebody like Ubisoft patching out the DRM at the last minute because of their “love for the gamers”.

      Also in regards to Steam, removing the DRM from Valve games would work fine probably, but for any other publishers games, especially ones using SecuROM, they are most likely going to be completely broken requiring a crack, or you just downloading the cracked version that was already available on torrents in the first place.

  14. Kefren says:

    i reley dont wan to say this, but i have to now.
    Any DRM that involvs periodicly askin for purmission to play is an irrit ation.
    The alternative is so esey. i mean, all you do is click the mouse on a torrunt. thats it!
    this DRM is crap! i mean look at it! explain to me! the athore coments al totol lies!
    Untill bort gaymes are as drm-free as the cracked 1s, and will work whether the publishr is arouwnd or not, drm just puts peeple off.
    pepole think this comment is worthles.
    go ahead! say it! i dont care! im just trying to make a point here!
    blam this piece of crap!!!!

    • Brumisator says:

      It takes great skill to misspell accurately, and you, sir, have sadly failed.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      Ah, Brum. Methinks it was intentional!

      http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/558516

    • Bilbo says:

      I enjoyed that :D

    • Sarlix says:

      Wow, he’s like Tei’s angry brother.

    • Brumisator says:

      I’m quite aware of that, hence why I said misspell accurately.
      Being bad at grammar/spelling and intentionally overdoing it is quite different.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      Ahm . . . did you click on the link in my post? I’m not sure that you did. I’m sorry if you did and I’ve just somehow misconstrued what you said. He was parodying a video on Newgrounds.

      I am all for the proper usage of the English language. I am a writer, so using grammar well is part of my job.

      Also, if we were to go down the slippery slippery slope of grammar-trolling (which this site explicitly frowns upon ;) ) then ‘poor grammar’ is far preferable to ‘bad grammar’ (we say ‘he used grammar well’, not, ‘he uses good grammar’, and poor is an antonym of well). While ‘bad grammar’ is not technically wrong, it is seen as rather clumsy, and, as it is a phrase most commonly used in pointing out the grammatical failings of others, not recommended, for fear of egg-facery.

      But I digress. Here is the link again, for convenience; http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/558516

  15. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Pleasingly reasonable.

  16. bhlaab says:

    Check in every 10 days or so? Isn’t this the exact same thing they were going to do with Mass Effect 1 that everybody was incredibly angry about at the time for being invasive?

    So this has since been upgraded to “reasonable”. They’ve broken us.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      After Ubisoft anything seems reasonable. I’m just glad when we actually get to buy the damn game these days.

  17. Tei says:

    Is probably another bad DRM, since It make a problem playing in remote areas. Also, the game will brick as soon the game devs shutdown the server. Realistically, this system will byte people traveling, or that install the game in some laptop that only has internet in one location, but is offline for the most part.

    I imagine people in Egypt is happy with all internet activated videogames…

    • zipdrive says:

      Yup, some people have been so blinded with the Ubisoft monster DRM debacle that anything less seems reasonable.

      As much as I like Steam sales, I’d rather be able to play the games I buy whenever I want and not be at the mercy of EA or my stupid cable company.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      I imagine people in Egypt are more concerned with things other than playing games at the moment. Like regime change, mass demonstrations and civil unrest perhaps?

  18. Coins says:

    I remember when CD-Keys were reasonable. *sigh*

    • deimos says:

      I remember when keyword finding on the manual were reasonable.

    • bwion says:

      I remember when copy protection (what we used to call DRM in the olden days) could actually damage your disc drive, or at least cause it to make distressing noises.

      It ain’t all downhill.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I remember when games came precracked with C64 group intros and trainers included and the intro was graphically more advanced than the entire game.

  19. Vandell says:

    About damn time. Nothing was more annoying than having the game break on you because you’re using legit DLC and it failed to check properly due to connection errors.

    That was way too fucking annoying..

  20. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    EA are behaving very erratically recently.

  21. Zanchito says:

    Again digital versions at the same price or even more expensive than retail? Bloody SCAMMERS!

  22. pupsikaso says:

    It’s sad that DRM these days is being judged against other, more severe forms of DRM rather than being judged against no DRM.
    (Simple CD key validation counts as no DRM).

    Farmer Bob: The king has decreed a new tax system! He will now rightfully own our cattle, our grain, and our own homes.

    Farmer Joe: Seems reasonable. At least I get to own my pants this time.

  23. DrugCrazed says:

    Anyone else remember when people would get pitchforks for this style of DRM?

    I sure as hell do. It was only 3 years ago people.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      But three years is SUCH a long time for gamers.

      Ha! Do you remember when Crysis was the height of graphics way back in 2007? Man have we come a loooong way since th . . . oh no wait.

    • Navagon says:

      Factors to consider:

      – Activations weren’t refunded.

      – SecuROM was a fuck up. An absolute disgrace of a DRM system comparable to Tages and Starforce. It ruined many games causing crashes, not working on certain hardware and directly targeting other software like the rootkit virus it was. So some games were unplayable before certain third party patches were released that alleviated the problems that it caused.

      – We expected better back then.

  24. The Dark One says:

    Wasn’t the check-in aspect of the DRM Spore was going to use what got gamers across the world so enraged that EA had to back down? Or was it Mass Effect 1? Either way, it’s a bit depressing that the goal posts have moved enough since then to make this version seem reasonable.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I think it was the unrevokable three install limit that had people spitting chips over Spore.

    • Ravenger says:

      That and when you ran out of activations the error message displayed told you to go and buy another copy of the game!

  25. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    I think the reaction is muted online in general & here specifically, is because a critical mass can’t form without people who plan on getting it on steam being up in arms too, i expect EA know this & that’s why they’ve chosen to do it this way, it’s not like steams drm isn’t easy to crack, but this way they know they aren’t going to get day 0 cracks.

    EDIT: it could also be an aggressive attempt to put that bullet in the head of retail that it so badly needs and that we all want.

  26. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    As DRM systems go, this is a DRM system.

    5 different PCs in a 24 hour period drew a raised eyebrow from me, though. How…generous.

    I might buy it for A$20, I guess.

    • arccos says:

      I found the 5 different PCs with 24 hours limit odd, too. Is there really a big group of people that still share CD keys or something? I thought the main (stated) purpose of DRM is to prevent large scale piracy, at least at release.

      Obviously, 5 PCs within 24 hours is better than 3 PCs ever, but why even have the limit at all?

  27. Navagon says:

    So, wait for a Steam sale on the complete* version? Okay, thanks EA. Message understood loud and clear.

    * complete as in GotY, Gold, Ultimate or whatever they wind up calling it.

  28. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    Hmm. I’m not keen on the need to periodically check in on a matter of principal, but the avoidance of a disc check as a result does make it nicer than your basic DRM in practice, assuming of course you don’t have your country’s president shut off the internet in a futile attempt to quell discontent among the population, or the server go down under a DOS attack. If they let you re-authenticate with the disc, as well as via the Internet then it would be a nice improvement. But as it stands, meh, I can’t even be bothered to switch my pre-order to Steam (mainly as it’ll cost more), and I’m not about to cancel, so working up too much righteous indignation would be misplaced. Still, tut.

  29. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    I like it that Steam has no additional DRM.

    But for the retail version… what’s the point? It’ll be cracked and the pirates will have the version where you don’t have to be online. Better product, better price.

  30. Hunam says:

    Another reason to add the many why I wont be buying this. I’ve never seen a series die a death between the first and second games but well done EA, you’ve managed it.

    • Nameless1 says:

      This.
      The idiotic transformation of the game\gameplay was already enough, anyway.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      How about turning Kotor into a bad MMO?

    • Navagon says:

      Or KOTOR 1 to KOTOR 2 for that matter. Thankfully Obsidian redeemed themselves with NWN2 which completely surpassed the original in every way I could have hoped (and one I didn’t: number of bugs).

      But personally I think that a lot of sequels have utterly bombed. We just tend to forget about them.

    • Inarborat says:

      Don’t you talk bad about KOTOR II. Bug ridden, yes but that’s LucasArt’s stupid release schedule and Obsidian’s ambition.

      The more I hear about DA2 (frankly, hasn’t been a whole lot), the less I want it. Kind of sad watching Bioware die a slow, corporate fueled death.

  31. Tom OBedlam says:

    Its amazing that as soon as I saw the letters “DRM” in the post title, I could predict instantly who the comment threads would be full of

    • Sarlix says:

      Amazing, I wish I had that kind of sixth sense. Any hints on this weeks lottery numbers?

  32. squirrel says:

    The more acceptable DRM is the one of Bad Company 2. We can choose to either disc check without going online or online check without need of disc check.

    And more interesting to notice that EA games with this flexible DRM are all online dependent. Yes there are singleplayer mode for those games, but with no replay value at all. I dont bother go back to single player of Bad Company 2. And let’s not play naive to claim that we “believe” that EA doesn’t realize this. EA maintains absolute control over players of those games even there is no disc check.

    In terms of installation process, both versions of the game are the same for me. DRM or no DRM installation process is all pre-defined and automatic. All I have to do is to click “Next”, “Cancel”, and “Finish”.

    But in terms of ownership, there is huge difference among versions with different DRM schemes. I am so amazed so many people are speaking on all other gamers’ behalf to relinquish our property right, how nice. Online check is denial of property right. This is not open to interpretation.

  33. dancingcrab says:

    This is the same system as EA use for most of their new digital releases. They’re similarly porting it to a retail release. If you registered your DA:O on the EA Download Manager, then installed it via the manager, the DRM worked exactly the same as this.

  34. suibhne says:

    This isn’t a complete account of the game’s DRM, really, because added content may still include the “always online” requirement of the original DA:O. Has this been confirmed as out? If not, then the DLC (including free stuff like Isaac’s armor or stuff you get from playing the Flash game) will basically impose an “always on” DRM just as it did in the first game.

  35. Kismet says:

    Another title for the “maybe when it will hit bargain bin price point” pile (and complete with all DLC released too this time, Dragon Age Ultimate Edition docet), along with pretty much every big-publisher game coming out these days.

    More money for companies with good customer practices!

  36. Delusibeta says:

    Bah. The return of Mass Effect 1’s original DRM. This cements my position that I’m only going to bother once it hits the bargain bins (or, better yet, when the Ultimate Edition hits £10 or less).

    Plus points for being up front about it, but still. Bah.

  37. Deano2099 says:

    I think people are failing to realise that people don’t mind this so much as there is some give and take with it: removing the disc check. It’s a token gesture, it’ll probably save me a few minutes of my life finding the game and switching discs, but it’s giving us something.

    It’s EA going, “hey, you need to authenticate online, but your internet connection is up 99% of the time isn’t it? So that won’t be a huge deal, I mean it’ll be annoying if you have bad luck and your connection goes down just as you’re installing but chances are that won’t happen. And to say thanks, we’ll remove the disc check, so if you lose or break the disc then it won’t matter.”

    It’s give and take. DRM in principle is still silly, but it’s a lot more acceptable when we’re giving benefits from it, however small.

    (And the “but what about when EA go bust?!” argument has always been disingenuous. There will always be cracks, and if you don’t want to risk hanging around potentially dodgy sites to find them, well when EA go bust I’m sure some legit site will throw them up – who is going to sue them?)

    • malkav11 says:

      Hey, here’s an exercise for you. Go find a crack for, oh, a game from 1991. Go on. See how easy it is.

      You mean it isn’t? Huh.

  38. Bhazor says:

    Any news whether you can run the game from the disk if you can’t go online or how many days it is before you need to check. I agree, for a triple A title this is very lenient and offers a good balance between protection and freedom but there are always going to be people who will have trouble connecting to the internet at times.

  39. Deano2099 says:

    This, on the other hand, from Eurogamer, really really annoys me:

    “The non-Steam PC version of Dragon Age II will also include Release Control: software that stops anyone playing the game before street-date release in their region. Release Control does not install anything to the PC; checks only whether the game’s territorial release date has passed; unlocks the game when that date hits and removes itself afterwards”

    Not just stopping people playing it before release, but before release in their region. Well done EA, now people won’t pirate it because of the DRM, they’ll pirate it to play it three days earlier.

    • Premium User Badge

      James G says:

      Aww. There goes the vague hope that the pre-order might arrive early. I suppose there is always mucking about with system clocks or proxy servers, depending how they go about it, but the need to do that is a little silly.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well if you have the game before release date then someone somewhere broke their contract and possibly the law. So yeah.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Not necessarily, if there’s a window between the US and UK release of a few days, then I could have picked up a copy in the US, flew back with it, and be unable to play it in the UK.

    • Bhazor says:

      I’m talking about sellers (online and high street) breaking release dates. Again, I’m not sure if it’s illegal but they must be breaking a contract somewhere.

      It’s like buying a stolen watch and complaining to trading standards, you may have paid for it but the person you bought it from had no right to sell it you so you have no consumer rights over it.

    • Premium User Badge

      James G says:

      Would you believe it, but my post originally said “more than a little bit silly” and then I had a think, and removed “more than” because I realised that release dates do exist for a reason. (Mainly to ensure retailers don’t get pissed off because their rivals get it before them.)

      Does make me wonder exactly how much leverage this kind of thing has with retailers though. I mean, does the marketing and sales consultant of EA eagerly explain it to the purchasing manager of GAME, only for them to add a couple of thousand units to their order? (Or in the case of PC games, a couple of units.)

    • Deano2099 says:

      There is no reason for release dates in games though is there? I mean in movies it’s understandable because of the stars doing press in different countries, and there being a limited number of prints and so on, but in games it’s just a matter of a few days (normally) which is down to some odd arbitrary system where games are released on Tuesdays in the US and Fridays over here or something like that.. I think it’s vaguely chart related.

    • bill says:

      it’s more of an issue if you are importing. it’s REALLY an issue if there is NO street date for your region as it’s not released there. So much for importing.

      But it’ll help them maintain their overpriced prices in Japan i guess. But lead to more piracy so I wouldn’t guarantee it’ll maintain profits.

  40. Hirmetrium says:

    I don’t understand why EA simply don’t jump into bed with valve. they already handle the retail publishing for their titles, WHICH THEN ACTIVATE ON STEAM.

    If EA just made all their titles steam based, lots of people would be happy. And then I can get my games at discounted online retailers like play.com or thehut.com and not have to pay ridiculous steam prices.

    Or, steam could just reduce the price of their games. You know, to something more sensible. Because I didn’t pay for packaging and media and all that time spent burning the media disk.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      It’s not Steam that makes the prices, you know. Look at the publishers own web stores, games cost the same there.

  41. bill says:

    I’d just be happy if there war any way to buy Dragon Age 1 in Japan.
    Or mass effect 1.
    Or mass effect 2.

    I’m so close to torrenting those, because there seems to be no other reasonable way to get them… but i’m resisting in the vain hope that steam or gamersgate or someone will suddenly remove the regional restrictions.

    • Bhazor says:

      I can’t read squiggly but hows this?
      http://www.eajapan.co.jp/dragonage/

    • bill says:

      Well. it’s the EA store, which means i wouldn’t trust it with a bargepole, i have no idea what the drm is (but it’s probably bad), and i have to pay extra for the right to redownload it.

      They have Mass Effect 1 – $45 – but no mass effect 2.
      They have dragon age 1 – $75

      I guess it puts a dent in my piracy justification – but it doesn’t make the games any more playable for me.
      Thanks anyway though…

    • Bhazor says:

      Well theres no hardware regional restrictions on PC and if they’re selling it in the online store then the DLC verification must be valid in Japan so have you tried importing a boxed copy?

    • alseT says:

      Another option is to have someone from the US or UK gift you the game on steam and you paypal them the money. We have the “Data Smuggling Ring” on the forum for this exact purpose.

    • bill says:

      Oh. It’s region free again on gamersgate? It was a long while back – then when i went to buy it it wasn’t anymore.

      Importing and data smuggling are both viable options. It’s just they are both inconvenient (and possibly expensive in the case of import postage). When you know that you should be able to just click and download, and that you could click and download for free and avoid all the hassle, it’s rather frustrating.

      In all honesty, i find regional restrictions (for games, tv, music, etc..) far more annoying than DRM. Though it is usually DRM enforced.

      Don’t mind me, i’m just whining…

  42. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    So, bottom line: “We paddled back when we wanted the same for Mass Effect and you guys complained, but now all your cries will not help you?”

  43. ScubaMonster says:

    Is it just me or does that armor in the pic totally remind you of Dead Space? Mainly the helmet.

  44. Versipellis says:

    That’s not so bad. Seriously, who isn’t able to get online these days??

    Having said that, I didn’t used to have internet in my house… xD

    • perestroika says:

      i’m one of those that, while the internet connection is decent, it goes out probably once a month, or during summers, the power black outs go for a week. all because of the weather. and i live in a small town too.

      saying that, i have no problems getting the steam version. i really wanted to go with the retail copy, but because it has the stupid “check in after a few days” thing, i cant trust my internet anymore for anything. but the good thing about steam is that i can have it be offline as much as i want :)

      i’m very sleepy, hopefully this makes sense, if not, then enjoy the mindless rambling?

  45. briktal says:

    Six years of Steam have made DRM schemes that are exactly the same as Steam’s DRM “reasonable” to many people.

  46. Coillscath says:

    Good thing I’m not going to buy it then.

  47. wonkavision says:

    How about the cracked version? What are the restrictions on that?

  48. RegisteredUser says:

    Turns out that Ubisoft was really an industry distraction designed to make all other forms of DRM seem utterly acceptable.

    Well played DRM-supporting industry.

    I still cannot believe that this thread reads like an inversion of the very same thing 1-2 years ago when having to be online to install/start an offline game still caused righteous fury.
    Now all I see is blind obedience to the “Let’s see how much we can ask of the modern day consumer / Let’s see if we can get them to be thankful for taking away resales, game longevity and net independence” Kraken.

    It’s like the mirror image of pirate entitlement to everything: blind gaming-crack addict-obedience to the almighty supplier-master.

    Would be fascinating if it weren’t so sad.

  49. wedge99 says:

    I don’t follow the DRM argument the most fastidiously as some but what I don’t understand is why there isn’t more talk about the merits of one authentication check when installing a game and then leaving the paying gamer be. I agree that in most cases a check every once in a while isn’t a concern for many gamers, however when the UBI uber DRM came out there were many arguments that came out against it because you had to check online with UBI’s servers. Not even the fact that you “always” had to check but just the fact that you had to at all.

    One of the examples I liked the most was that from a military persons point of view. They bought the game, activated it then go on deployment and now have games they can not play. I had games on and off Steam that did this to me while I was on deployment. The Steam games make sense because of the nature of there digital distribution and I was not upset about it. However, retail versions of games that crap out because they hunger to check in with a corporation and refuse to play don’t make sense to me. I actually had to bride one of our data guys for internet access for ten of us to keep some games going that we enjoyed playing on our limited down time to relieve stress.

    I know that most people have ready access to the internet and this DRM they are using for Dragon Age 2 won’t affect many but I still think the merits of one authentication at install out weigh whatever the gaming corporations are getting by this “check in” process.

  50. anduin1 says:

    I’m sure most of you are getting relatively comfortable with DRM nowadays but I’m still wary of it. I can’t stand bullshit like having to “check in” with their servers and 1. being in an area where my internet is ass backward on some days and 2. where their own servers are acting wonky (AC2 anyone?). Steam games are usually a no go for me because of bandwidth restrictions so physical copies is usually the best solution for me. Would love to just take a pic of myself holding the box + DVD and for them to screw off after that.