BioWhere? EA Working On Fixing Game Bans

By John Walker on March 15th, 2011 at 4:11 pm.

You'd think I'd take the time to improve this.

So what is the latest word on EA and BioWare banning users from games? You may remember that on Friday, the now-famous Arno found he was unable to access his copy of Dragon Age II because he made a rude-ish comment on the BioWare forums. This saw a 72 hour forum ban, which, it seemed, also froze his EA account, which meant he could not authenticate his copy of DA2, and nor could he play other EA games tied into the account. It was highlighted on a few sites, and we spoke to Arno himself to get his side of the story. Later that day Arno received a personal email from the Senior Director of Customer Services himself, Boyd Beasley, explaining that this had been an error, with accompanying profuse apologies. Since we wrote the story we’ve heard about the same happening to other gamers, as long ago as a year back, and indeed it happened again to someone else over the weekend. Asking EA about this, they’ve given us a statement explaining that this continues to be a fault, and they’re working on fixing it by the end of the week. But we’re left with some questions.

Clearly mistakes happen all the time, and if we went on a crusade for everyone who’d been on the receiving end of a glitch in a system, we’d be a busy and ridiculous site. But Arno’s plight represents something more significant: that if EA chose to, they could, without needing to say why, lock you out of all your EA account games. However, we’ve now been told that this is something they will never do to single player games.

Scenes at EA Customer Support, yesterday.

We wrote to Boyd Beasley to follow up on his apology to Arno, asking for more details about whether such bans were ever considered appropriate by EA, and if not, why EA staff were actively enforcing them. We received a reply from Andrew Wong (who did not make his position within EA known) saying,

“As noted last week, we have identified an error in our system which can suspend a user’s entire account when our terms of use policy has been violated. We are working to fix this and expect to have the issue resolved by the end of this week. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience – it is not our policy to prevent customers from playing a single-player game. Any registered player who feels they have been banned inappropriately is urged to contact EA Customer Service.”

Which leaves us with some questions.

This isn’t a recent phenomenon, nor a new mistake. Over the weekend we were contacted by James (cipher86) to whom the very same thing happened a year ago. He was reported for an inappropriate poll on the forums which he accepted had upset someone. But found, for a few hours, he was still able to post on the forums, but not access any of his games. An attempt to play Dragon Age saw a message pop up telling him he couldn’t log in because his account was suspended. And when he went to customer support he was send a cut and paste of the Terms Of Service, certainly giving the impression that his gaming ban was deliberate.

On Saturday, after the Arno Incident, user ‘Armatyr’ logged into his PS3 copy of Dragon Age II to see that same message: “Unable to log in. This account has been banned.” Reading through Amatyr’s comments, he doesn’t seem the most endearing of forum users. References to setting things on fire and raping sheep appear to have gotten him into trouble. But rather than a forum ban he was locked out of his games eight hours ahead of being told why, and indeed before being prevented from posting under that account. Then when he created a second account to attempt to discuss this, he was IP banned, and the thread was locked.

Both Arno and James were told by EA’s customer support, and by moderators, that their bans were valid. It seems, from our perspective, that EA staff were actively enforcing these rulings. So we’ve asked EA whether their staff have been incorrectly enforcing these bans, and whether they will be given the correct information from now on.

Secondly, one particular aspect of the statement from Wong is very interesting.

“it is not our policy to prevent customers from playing a single-player game”

According to EA’s Terms of Service, it very much is their policy to do this. Literally. It states,

“In response to a violation of these Terms of Service or any other agreement applicable to EA Services accessed by you, EA may issue you a warning, suspend your Account, selectively remove, revoke or garnish Entitlements associated with your Account or immediately terminate any and all Accounts that you have established. You acknowledge that EA is not required to provide you notice before suspending or terminating your Account or selectively removing, revoking or garnishing Entitlements associated with your Account.

“If your Account, or a particular subscription for an EA Service associated with your Account, is terminated, suspended and/or if any Entitlements are selectively removed, revoked or garnished from your Account, no refund will be granted, no Entitlements will be credited to you or converted to cash or other forms of reimbursement, and you will have no further access to your Account or Entitlements associated with your Account or the particular EA Service.”

This means that, with an increasing number of EA single player games bought with a specific account requiring online authentication, DLC tied to specific accounts, and in turn, save games tied into specific accounts, customers are absolutely restricted from playing their single player games. As has been demonstrated by both Arno and Armatyr, when their EA Account is banned, their access to single player games is restricted. And so while EA may be stating that forum violations should not be leading to in-game account bans, while their ToS makes it clear that they can ban accounts at their discretion, will this be changed such that single player games, including DLC, will no longer be affected? And if someone were to violate the ToS with regards to multiplayer gaming – say, abusing other players – would their ban be specifically for multiplayer, and not affect any online single player content?

EA certainly seem to be suggesting that their software’s error is causing account bans to be too overreaching, and that single player gamers shouldn’t be affected. Which would be fair enough. But when their ToS says that account bans can include the permanent deletion of accounts, with no reimbursement for the value of the games lost, where are the lines drawn?

When we hear back, we’ll let you know.

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185 Comments »

  1. psyk says:

    “EA certainly seem to be suggesting that their software’s error is causing account bans to be too overreaching, and that single player gamers shouldn’t be affected. Which would be fair enough. But when their ToS says that account bans can include the permanent deletion of accounts, with no reimbursement for the value of the games lost, where are the lines drawn?”

    You buy a ticket to a gig you arrive and act like a dick they kick you out, you don’t get your cash back.

    • KikiJiki says:

      You don’t go to a gig for 30 mins and then come back next week to see the rest.

      You wouldn’t download a car would you?

    • John Walker says:

      Yes, and when you butter toast the knife gets all buttery. What has this to do with anything?

    • Crimsoneer says:

      This has to do with the fact that gaming is a SERVICE. Yes, it comes on a disc, yes, it feels like a product, but it’s a SERVICE, and sells you a service. Just like any service, you act like a dick, you don’t get access to the service.
      Walk into a barbers, and tell him he does fucking shit haircuts, and yes, he’ll stop half way and tell you to jog on.

      Sorry, if these were perma-bans, where they took your game away and ran off, I’d have some sympathy – some sort of appeal process should be acceptable. But hey, at the end of the day, don’t be a dick, and EA won’t be a dick to you. Seems that worse come to worse, that comes down to a three day ban, or having to abandon your save game. And out of ALL THE RPS readers, you’ve found 3 that this has happened to.

    • psyk says:

      ““As noted last week, we have identified an error in our system which can suspend a user’s entire account when our terms of use policy has been violated.”

      “the now-famous Arno found he was unable to access his copy of Dragon Age II because he made a rude-ish comment on the BioWare forums.”

      Even if it was an error why is it the wrong thing to do? the guy probably acted like a dick and faced the consequences of that.

      KikiJiki depending on wear and why you got kicked out have fun going back the next week.

    • KikiJiki says:

      @psyk your example was patently ridiculous, hence my comment. You can’t compare a one-time event to a persistent product that you’ve paid for to OWN not experience.

      Crimsoneer I think the point being made here is that some of these were perma-bans until someone pointed out that EA said they wouldn’t do that, at which point they held their hands up and claimed innocence in the matter.

    • RQH says:

      More pertinently, when you buy an album and then go to a gig and act like a dick, they kick you out, but they don’t take the album away.
      Also, I think the very fact that there is a message for “Unable to login. This account as been banned” is telling. Surely if they had no intention of banning people from single-player games, they wouldn’t need that on their game authentication servers or indeed in the game?

      EDIT: Also if gaming is a service, where exactly is the service? Creating a product and then calling it a service so that you can restrict my use of it does not make it a service. Or rather, it makes it a very poor one.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Perma-bans on that EA acount – thus resulting simply in savegame loss. Make a new account, surely.

      Although, yes, if that isn’t possible, there should be some sort of appeal procedure.

    • John Walker says:

      I’m absolutely terrified by people’s willingness to allow their basic rights to be taken away.

      If you bought a CD, and then were rude about the band on a forum, would it be reasonable for the record label to prevent you from listening to that album? Or if you bought a film, then made a rude remark on a forum for the production company, would you be happy if you were prevented from watching that film? And so on and on.

    • Kadayi says:

      Given it wasn’t Bioware that banned him but someone at EA when are you going to quit running with the misleading graphic John? Given all your banging on about Fox News spreading disinformation.

    • ezekiel2517 says:

      Right. So it is safe to ignore this until a higher ratio, say 2 out of every 10 readers, or maybe until it happens to you, before this is brought up as a potentially serious problem for anyone and a very real for some.

    • KikiJiki says:

      John this all boils down to the ‘Gaming as a service’ line that Valve et al keep feeding us. While this angle is fine for a game such as an MMO where ongoing costs etc mean that it’s truly a service being provided to you, a single player game is most definitely NOT a service, it’s a product.

      Patching is a potential argument against this thinking but the patching itself is more the service.

      Until people start thinking in terms of gaming before the Internet asploded there are going to be no shortage of people willing to roll the dice with these services. As long as they never get banned they won’t see a problem.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      This isn’t an abuse of the habeas corpus or anything. You have to realise you don’t OWN a game – you own the right to use that game. For all intents and purposes, it’s a subscription.

      If you had a Netflix account, and decide to sit in front of the Netflix building shouting about how terrifyingly shit they were, I’d consider them more than in their rights to tell you that if you hate the service so much, we’ll have it back. Thank you.

      And yes, if this happened to me, I’d be pissed. Thankfully, I don’t go to the EA forums and bitch about EA, so I’d like to think I’m relatively safe.

      Again, this isn’t a perfect system, and EA really should institute some sort of appeal system – but it’s not illegal, and it’s not outrageous. Every time you play Dragon Age, you phone EA and ask them to send over hte little packet that lets you play Dragon Age. So don’t phone EA and tell them they suck donkey balls in front of all their customers.

    • Archonsod says:

      Question is what you’re paying to own. If you buy a CD you own the CD, but you only get licensed to actually use what’s on it. In theory, a band or music publisher could indeed demand you wipe an album, but since it would require court intervention to enforce they’ve never bothered.

      Only real difference is that now they have the means to enforce it via technology.

      So it’s a bit silly to blame us for handing over basic rights. I’m pretty sure few of us were alive a century or so ago when they were handed over.

    • Groove says:

      Oh man, I made a sandwich for lunch, and I used the butter knife to cut the cheese, then butter got on the cheese! That was the worst.

      And that’s why I’m always polite. Metaphor for life.

    • psyk says:

      John your agreeing to certain things when you sign up to these online accounts (EA/Steam etc) if you then go and break these agreements they hold the right to stop you using the service they provide, now blocking single player is kinda wrong and I agree a singleplayer only flag on the account would work better. Also there is a difference between saying you don’t like something and why and acting like a dick, being a dick is going to get you banned from something.

    • RQH says:

      You see, once upon a time, we used to own games. There was no “games as service” bullshit. Maybe we had to have a CD or a CD key, and that was sometimes a pain, but we owned the game. We could install it on as many machines as we liked, and we weren’t answerable to the developer or publisher in how we played it. We paid a one-time cost to own this game, which was pretty steep, but afterward we owned this game.

      Then one day publishers decided, for various reasons, that people weren’t interested in paying their prices for mere products. So they decided to pitch their games as services. Except that they didn’t add any new service to their product, and in fact, added a bunch of laborious hindrances to the use of the product. And they continued to charge us a fairly substantial one-time fee, and to, for all intents and purposes, market and sell their games as products.

      There is no service. There is a drastic shift in the publisher-consumer relationship, which places an inordinate amount of power in the publisher’s hands, while conceding nothing to the consumer. Nothing. We even need to pay for expansions and DLC to our single-player titles just as before. THERE IS NO SERVICE. Calling it a service does not make it so.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      @ezekiel2517

      An excellent point. It seems to be the case with most injustice that if it isn’t affecting a fair chunk of people right now then those people don’t care. Essentially I am a goodie and they are baddies so they got theirs.

      People blurting about “games as a service” if games being treated as a service is a bad thing for gamers then surely gamers are right to get angry about it. Just because an EULA or whatever states you only have access till the company says otherwise that isn’t the end of the argument. That is just the current state of affairs and if sensible people don’t like that state of affairs they have every right to keep complaining.

    • Archonsod says:

      “if games being treated as a service is a bad thing for gamers then surely gamers are right to get angry about it. ”

      Yes, but in that case a far more productive method of complaining is to exercise your right to refuse to buy and steer clear of games which are sold as services. Of course, since this would mean avoiding a lot of the more hyped AAA games most gamers are unlikely to do it. And that is a large part of the reason why publishers believe they can treat us like shit.

    • ezekiel2517 says:

      EA is also preventing video game commentators from posting videos about single player games that contain spoilers, and that could be many things in an all SP game.

      It may seem out of place here, but I don’t like this trend of us losing freedom and them gaining control.

    • Deano2099 says:

      @psyk

      You will not be chucked out a gig for ‘being a dick’. You will be chucked out of a gig for ‘impinging on other people’s enjoyment of the performance’. This is why it’s okay to stand at the back and quietly discuss with your mate how shit the band is, but it’s not okay to start loudly yelling that conversation during every quiet bit of a song.

      @Crimsoneer
      I don’t like this ‘gaming as a service’ thing, as I think they’re still being sold as products, so it’s misleading (ie. Steam tells me “you already own this game” not “you already have a license to use this game on our service”).

      But let’s run with it for the sake of argument as I think this is where the industry is going. At work we have various software as a service products. These products all come with service level agreements, stating the expected uptime before we’re entitled to compensation, the level of support we’re entitled to and so on. Games don’t. Well, they sort of do. The EULA says that the publisher makes no guarantee of any service, and it can be withdrawn at any time, with no warning or compensation, and the software is provided as is, bugs and all.

      So tell me, what am I buying when I get a copy of Dragon Age 2 from GAME? I’m not buying a product you say. Okay. But I’m also not buying a service am I? I’m buying access to a service that may or may not exist. Which is frankly worthless. There’s no guarantee of anything. EA could just never turn the servers on and I’d have zero legal recourse. Which is clearly and patently ridiculous.

    • psyk says:

      RQH how far back are you going?
      You are entitled to use this product for your own use, but may not sell or transfer reproductions of the software manual or book to other parties in any way, nor rent or lease the product to others. You may use one copy of the product on a single terminal connected to a single computer. you may not

      Deano2099 “but it’s not okay to start loudly yelling that conversation during every quiet bit of a song.” that’s being a dick, yes. As you used that example how can you compare making a thread to quietly talking to your mates?

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      @Archonsod

      So instead of John writing articles on a popular gaming news website we should just all be quiet and not buy games because boycotts are so effective. Heck the most effective boycotts occur when you don’t otherwise talk about it in any way.

      Blaming gamers for buying games they want that they can only get with shitty features bolt on to them is absurd. The companies are at fault for screwing over gamers, not gamers for being saddled with this shit.

      “Gaming as a service” is something that needs to be disputed anywhere and everywhere in addition to anything else one does about it.

    • Archonsod says:

      “There’s no guarantee of anything. EA could just never turn the servers on and I’d have zero legal recourse. Which is clearly and patently ridiculous.”
      In that situation you would, since the service is not provided as advertised at the point of sale. Talking about legal rights is moot though unless you’re willing to go to court to enforce them, and I can’t see many people going to the expense of a court case to get a thirty quid refund of a game.

      “So instead of John writing articles on a popular gaming news website we should just all be quiet and not buy games because boycotts are so effective”

      You want to complain you’re free too. But if you’re still buying the games what precisely are you expecting to happen? If I shout at the dog for crapping on the floor and give it a biscuit anyway, do you think the dog is ever going to learn not to crap on the floor?

      “Blaming gamers for buying games they want that they can only get with shitty features bolt on to them is absurd. The companies are at fault for screwing over gamers, not gamers for being saddled with this shit.”

      That’s ridiculously naive. Companies who can make more money by screwing us over should refrain from screwing us over out of the goodness of their hearts?
      And no, I think blaming gamers is perfectly acceptable. As the saying goes, money talks. You can rant and rave around the interwebs as much as you like, but if the companies see no change in their bottom line they can happily dismiss you as a fringe lunatic. After all, if people are still buying their games then obviously your complaints are not shared by the majority, else they wouldn’t be buying the games.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      @Archonsod

      “The legal system makes enforcing your rights on small purchases difficult if not untenable ergo you don’t deserve any rights.”

    • Kaira- says:

      A side-note here, but it is my understanding that in the US court has ruled that if you are told to “buy” a game, it is an actual product instead of service, and thus it can be sold forwards and, if I am to understand correctly, it is illegal to kill-switch your product. At least, this is what happened with Autodesk, though subscriber-based services might be a bit different.

      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2008/05/court-smacks-autodesk-affirms-right-to-sell-used-software.ars

    • psyk says:

      “Blaming gamers for buying games they want that they can only get with shitty features bolt on to them is absurd. The companies are at fault for screwing over gamers, not gamers for being saddled with this shit.”

      Er what?????? NO it is the gamers fault for continually buying the crap.

      Kaira halo 2 or was it halo on the 360 got shut down

    • Archonsod says:

      “The legal system makes enforcing your rights on small purchases difficult if not untenable ergo you don’t deserve any rights.”

      That would some up the current justice system, yes.

    • RQH says:

      Clearly the re-sale of games is legal, regardless of what publishers may try to claim, else Gamestop would be out of business.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      “it wasn’t Bioware that banned him but someone at EA”

      and EA owns Bioware… the distinction is meaningless as far as I’m aware (except EA staff don’t post with “be excellent to each other” at the same time as shutting you down). Why they apparently run two different support departments is another question entirely I guess.

      As to the “error”, I can only assume that the system was never designed to differentiate “forum ban”, “single player ban” and “full account ban”… it was simply “banned”. They really should have run some test cases before implementing a system like this though.

    • Deano2099 says:

      @psyk
      “As you used that example how can you compare making a thread to quietly talking to your mates?”

      Sorry, wasn’t clear enough. The difference lies in where you impinge on other people’s enjoyment of the performance/service/product. Posting on a forum to do with the game doesn’t affect anyone elses enjoyment of said game. If DA2 had a feature where all forum posts were flashed up on screen while you were playing, then there would be an argument. Likewise in MMOs, someone being a dick in chat there can affect other people.

      But you can do all sorts of dickish things at a music gig that don’t affect other people and not get chucked out. Make wanking signs at the band, boo them in between songs, get bored and find a dark quiet corner and shag someone, bootleg the show, whatever. Generally that won’t get you chucked out as the rest of the people are still free to enjoy the performance.

      Yes, if you get thrown out, you were being a dick. But you’re not being thrown out *because* you were being a dick, you’re being thrown out because you’re stopping other people enjoying the show. – Take it from someone who has been promoting stand-up comedy shows for the best part of a decade, there’s a thin line there you have navigate over when someone is being a dick but doing it in a funny way and somewhat sparingly, perhaps even improving the show, and when someone is being a dick to the point
      of disrupting and spoiling the show, at which point you have to go have a word and let them know to either shut up or they’re out.

    • Deano2099 says:

      @Archensod
      ““There’s no guarantee of anything. EA could just never turn the servers on and I’d have zero legal recourse. Which is clearly and patently ridiculous.”
      In that situation you would, since the service is not provided as advertised at the point of sale.”

      But surely for the guy who was banned before his copy even turned up, and so then it wouldn’t install, that’s the same thing? The argument appears to be that point of sale means nothing, as it’s trumped by the EULA you agree to when you open the box or install it or link it to your account.

    • Wulf says:

      Games as a service doesn’t bother me half as much as who’s going to be a dick about it, really. Well, that’s not entirely true, because it does bother me but what I’m saying there is that I admit defeat. We’re not going to change games as a service, so I’ve just learned to be okay with the more benign variations of it.

      But the thing is is that it all comes down to who’s likely to be a dick about it and abuse it. Now I’ll bet you that if I lost access to a game, 99.9% of independent developers would do all that they could to ensure that I got my game back. (In Wolfire’s case, they even ensured that people who were tricked into buying a pirated copy of their game that was being sold back – in legit form.) I have a lot of faith in independent developers. A lot of them are really nice. If you run into trouble and you wing them a mail asking for help, they’ll actually try and help you.

      With a large company however, you become just a wallet, one wallet of many. So you submit a report ticket, you get an automated answer… and you wait. And you wait. And you wait. Then someone requests information. And you wait. And you wait. They say they’re not sure what they can do and request more information. And you wait. And you wait. And then you may or may not get access to your game back. More than likely not.

      This is one of the reasons why I find myself leaning ever more to independent or small-scale developers of recent years. I find myself buying less and less mainstream games with every year that passes. And a number of games I’m looking forward to right now are indie games or those developed by small development houses, some of which many people may not even have heard of yet (Guardian Spirit!). The amount of mainstream games I’m looking forward to in relation is far, far less.

      Interestingly, I paid quite a bit for CreaVures when kickstarting it and I don’t regret that at all. I’ve replayed that game I don’t know how many times now, delighting in its strangeness. I find that I’m rewarded for my loyalty to indie stuffs with oddities. Because indie developers don’t have to develop for the masses, and the masses tend to be xenophobic. (But I won’t go over that, now.)

      There are many benefits to sticking with independent developers, though. And one of them is that you’re far, far less likely to get screwed by them. Even with games as a service, their reputation and what people think of them matters to them, so if you have trouble then they will do what they can to help. With a giant corp, they don’t really have to worry about their reputation so much. Or even at all.

    • Archonsod says:

      I dunno what country he was in, but if that were the case he should have been able to return the copy. Like I said though, unless you’re willing to take them to court for it having the right is irrelevant, the UK gives you a one week cooling off period with any purchase in which you can return it for a full refund with no questions asked, but retailers know you’re not likely to go to court for anything less than a hundred quid so for most small purchases it may as well not exist.

    • psyk says:

      Depending on the post you could be stopping other people enjoying the board, If I go and post a load of gore pics under a misleading title that would be stopping people enjoying the board.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Which is a fair point. But trust me, EA will be the first people that tell you that the message boards are an additional community service provided at their discretion, and in no way form part of the product/service that you have purchased.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      John Walker has been my hero lately.

      As for Crimsoneer and the service remarks, multiplayer games should be services and bans and such should be involved there (though not for forum comments if you ask me). Singleplayer offline games though? No sir. Not services, not something that a company should be able to take away.

      As John said it’s really a shame so many people are okay with it.

    • dysphemism says:

      Product vs. Service issue aside, why prevent somebody from playing a single-player game? It’s needlessly punitive. If you abuse the forums, yes, the hos is well within its rights to ban you from using the forum in order to protect the integrity of the service and their other customers. Same goes for a multiplayer game. But how is the service benefited by removing John Q. Instigator’s single-player content, even if he is acting like a jerk?

    • BAReFOOt says:

      @RQH: Don’t be ridiculous. You can not own something that is not a physical object. That’s like saying you own the curvature of your cup. Not the cup, but the curvature. And you also own the position of the molecules relative to each other in the coffee in that cup. LOL. Yeah, riiiight.

      What these things have in common, is that they are structural properties. Aka information. They are not matter but their structure. The whole word “own” doesn’t apply to the concept.
      Ownership comes from asserting control over that object. Yes, you can control information. But if you show it to anyone, that means he made a copy of it (brain, screen, ram, whatever). Otherwise he could not see (in physics term: measure / interact with) it, and you could not even prove its existence. Ever.
      Only by passing on a copy can you do that. But then you split control over it with that other person. Who itself may pass it on as much as he likes, impossible for you to control, even in a 1984 world.
      So you’ve lost the game, and everybody and nobody “owns” it.
      Those are the simple laws of physics.

      You can deny them. You can hate what’s not fitting your false social conditioning. But like with gravity, you can’t ever make it go away or change it.

      Which means you better accept reality, based on the laws of physics as observed. Or you’re going down the road of delusions, like religion, and end up being schizophrenic.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      IMO, these fools need to learn how to troll better. And they paid an expensive fee for that lesson. However, being that people are generally gigantically narcissistic crybabies that refuse to ever admit wrongdoing because it might sully their internal delusions of being a morally and intellectually superior super hero, they go and raise a hissy fit. They whine and cry about how they linked a game to a forum account that they then used to act like complete and utter twits, and then when something bad happened? Well, here comes the waterworks.

      I’m not saying that I think that denying the ability to play a game because of forum behavior is a good practice, I very clearly want to make it known that I do NOT approve of losing the privilege to play a game (single or multi) because of a forum ban, but I am saying that these fools were within error, and they payed a price. Albeit one much steeper than warranted, I believe.

      A major crux of this is that the whole origin was rooted in trolling. It’s not like this guy just posted, “I don’t like this game, EA is the devil” one time and got ban hammered by the Bioware forum secret police. This user went onto an EA run live chat session where users get to ask questions of BioWare. This is something intended for actual discussion and typically used to promote new products and provide insight into related materials (aka: games).

      In fact, there’s a thread at Bioware Social that mentions EA being the devil, that is still open and available. Why? Because it was on-topic. The RPS article even mentions that one of the other users that got banned had repeatedly posted rather questionable material.

      So, you know what? If you want to act like an out of control ass, maybe you should wear a mask/create an alternate handle. Sheesh. Kids these days…

    • fishy007 says:

      > But hey, at the end of the day, don’t be a dick, and EA won’t be a dick to you.

      The problem is that saying anything can be construed as ‘being a dick’. If you talk about a glitch in an EA game, that could be considered being a dick. If you talk about how a game is terrible, that can be considered being a dick. If you say that you rape nuns in your spare time, that can be considered being a dick.

      Yet, those three statements are not equivalent at all. Where is the line drawn? Who draws this line? And why do the line-drawers have the ability stop me from playing a game when all the needed code for it is on the disc I purchased?

    • RQH says:

      @Barefoot: Really? So you’re saying I can’t own a book I buy? Because its contents are information? No, I don’t “own” it in the sense of I can reproduce it and claim it as my own. But in the legal sense of the physical copy of an object I can own it and I can read it and I can lend it to people and I can re-sell it. No one tells me I have just purchased a license to read Midnight’s Children. But EA is saying I don’t even own that. Even that can be taken away from me at a moment’s notice.

    • Deano2099 says:

      @BAReFOOt

      Reasonable, but what exactly am I buying when I buy the game from GAME then? What is my money paying for? What am I getting in return? I’m clearly not paying for the service, as EA have a right to revoke that whenever they damn please. So what am I buying? What transaction is taking place?

    • sinister agent says:

      Things I have learned today:

      1) The orange stuff coming from under the car is probably power steering fluid.

      2) The best way to be right is to “be” RQH in this conversation.

    • halfthought says:

      @stupid_mcgee

      So the lesson you get from this is “Don’t criticize corporations or don’t complain when they come and repossess all your stuff”

      keep on drinking dat koolaid boi.

    • JFS says:

      And all of this because of, what, the second lamest & tamest forum insult to ever travel an internet connection. That’s what should get all ears up, not the fundamental discussion of product vs service and the future of the industry. That’s another, totally different topic.

    • Recidivist says:

      Crimsoneer, you sir, are a complete tool.

    • wengart says:

      @ Psyk “Depending on the post you could be stopping other people enjoying the board, If I go and post a load of gore pics under a misleading title that would be stopping people enjoying the board.”

      But you’re not impinging on peoples ability to enjoy the game. As you said you are impinging on their ability to enjoy the board and therefore you should get a forum ban not a game ban.

    • Veracity says:

      dysphemism hits on the reason I’m inclined to give EA the benefit of the doubt, up to a point, on their apparent claim this is an honest mistake. What on earth do they stand to gain by actively underlining that their customers are paying thirty quid or so for next to nothing? They’re not baby-eating evil like Bioware villains, they’re (ideally) pragmatic. People are apathetic about the fact Steam reserves the right to do this to every other game they’ve bought in six years because Valve is lovely and it’s entirely inconceivable it could be bought out by a bunch of cocks after gaben has a stroke.

      I also wouldn’t attach that much significance to community manager types (although I’m not sure what Mr Woo is – is he one of those?) going off-message. That just means you can add crap internal communications to crap banhammer design on the charge sheet. Those people have the most hideous job imaginable. They presumably wanted it, so I can’t muster immense sympathy, but considering what they spend their days doing I’m surprised they don’t flip out and embarrass their employers more often.

    • Nesetalis says:

      ive been saying for over a decade that the only way to fight piracy is to offer a service not a product.

      some of these gaming companies have figured that out, but the publishers havnt wrapped their head around it. A service is not tacking on a server to authenticate your copy, its to provide a gaming service.. steam is a service, wow is a service. EVE is a service, Battlenet is a service.. (however i hate how connected battle.net 2 is to the single player game.. that is an artificial service)

      I think its growing pains really, the gaming industry is changing, and the old dinosaur producers cant keep up with the changing environment. I do like singleplayer games, and i know they will continue to exist, and will continue to be pirated. Developers just need to accept that fact and move on with their lives. They wont sell to everyone, and some people /will/ steal, but produce for your fans and for the love of the game.
      Services, if you have a great idea for a service, an MMO, an online experience… great, but don’t shovel your crappy fake service on to my singleplayer.

  2. diebroken says:

    I know the devil exists, EA built its cage!

  3. pakoito says:

    Buy the game, then play the pirate version or get a crack. New industrial standard.

    • Avenger says:

      This has been my trend for some time now, and I tell you, It works perfectly! I get to play MY games, the devs get their money, and nobody is screwed over!
      I dare ANYONE to find a problem with it!

    • Dozer says:

      That didn’t work too well for me with the original Armed Assault a few years back. All I wanted was to leave the disk nice and safe in its box; I just wanted a no-cd exe. But the devs had been clever – if the DRM detected tampering, it wouldn’t simply refuse to run the game. No. You’d be able to play, but a bunch of weird stuff would happen within the game. The only one I can specifically remember is that all the guns became very inaccurate and the shots would go nowhere near where you were gaming – they’d practically fire sideways instead of forwards. In a hyperrealistic manshoot game, this is very significant. I restored the original .exe, put up with needing the disk in the drive, and then stopped playing it forever a few weeks later.

      The crackers could (and probably did) fix the ‘inaccurate sights’ tamper-trap. But there were a dozen other booby-traps and there’s no guarantee that the crackers would get them all!

    • Avenger says:

      They must have fixed it by now. I guarantee it.

    • Archonsod says:

      Probably not, given Bohemia removed the CD check in one of the patches (2.5 I think). Although they do have a tendency to do that for some reason.

  4. Lewie Procter says:

    Presumably if they never intended to ban people from single player games they wouldn’t have built that capability into their single player games.

    • KikiJiki says:

      Unfortunately with the increased trend to digital distribution of all types of games content this sort of thing becomes easier and easier to sneak in, and remains easy enough to dismiss.

      “Ban paying customers from playing their games? US GUVNAH?!”

    • Deano2099 says:

      I mentioned this on a previous thread and someone purporting to be from Bioware/EA basically said the kill-switch had been programmed in a long time ago before he worked on the project, and they’d decided they wouldn’t even use it. But then it bugged out. Can’t find the quote now.

    • Acristoff says:

      I find that to be a flimsy claim, auto banning someone because they said a specific line of words seems eerily specific for a program to do.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      The AI’s gone rogue…

    • bob_d says:

      From what little I know about EA’s software development practices, I can see this being an “accidental feature”: e.g. they build a system for multiplayer games that allows them to ban players, but that system ends up being the basis for the single-player game registration as well, with no one considering the fact that a multiplayer/forum ban would also have the result of locking players out from their single-player games.

    • Acristoff says:

      Seeing Stanley Woo’s response to the banned man it is implied they knew full well what they were doing.

    • catmorbid says:

      bob_d probably has it right. The account system has just been generalized into a single account system, regardless of game type, resulting in these “accidental” bans from single-player games. Why hasn’t it been noticed yet? Why hasn’t employees noticed the insanity of it yet? Well, they probably have, but the problem lies in the middle-management that do not care, or are fucking dumb, but unfortunately have some sort of (imaginary?) role and power within the company, enough to screw up communications alltogether. Or something like that.

      The lowest grade employees probably just did what they were told to. I’d prefer to have one of their comment on this, but the sad truth is, a gargantuan company like EA is so afraid of bad publicity, they’d probably fire the employee right there – and even if they didn’t, he/she wouldn’t know that and still be afraid to say anything, which makes up end up in a moot point, not worth shit, basically. :/ Figures. I might be wrong, but by saying it out loud, I remove all sense in you pointing this out, no matter how good your argument.

    • Masked Dave says:

      As a Software Developer for a company who deals with online account management as part of our platform, I’m almost certain this is what happened.

      Originally, years ago, EA accounts were for online games.

      In the Admin Console that the Customer Support guys have access to there is a “ban” button and this disables the account. This was done to punish cheating/misbehaving gamers. And when they complained the process is to copy & paste that chunk of text to show them that they’re allowed to do so. The T&Cs text quoted doesn’t make any distinction about the type of game and I bet its existed in that form for years.

      The fact that in more recent years these accounts can also access Single Player games was overlooked and they need to re-develop to allow the ban to differentiate between what types of things it locks out. This isn’t going to be a simple change and will take a while for them to develop and release. In the mean time you’ve obviously going to still have this happen.

      Hell even writing a new process and getting that approved by all the right people and then re-training your CSAs is going to take a while.
      People are attributing malice and viciousness to these people when it’s just basic human error coupled with a large, slow moving company.

  5. gritz says:

    I’m surprised RPS still hasn’t run a story on Bioware employees astroturfing the DA2 user reviews on Metacritic.

    • President Weasel says:

      Pah, I spit on the user reviews on metacritic.

    • John Walker says:

      Provide some robust evidence for your claims, and email them to us.

    • Kadayi says:

      Well given 4chan apparently posted about 400+ 0 score reviews I hardly think one or two developers bigging it up makes much of a difference. especially as only critic reviews count towards the site aggregate.

      http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/dragon-age-ii/user-reviews

      Pathetic.

    • KikiJiki says:

      Pathetic until you actually start reading the reviews and realise that they bring up valid points as to why the reviewer gives a low score instead of OMG LULZ DIS GAME IS FOREVER ALONE BIOWARE I AM DISAPPOINT.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Bioware say that it is 4chan’s fault that their game got low scores without any proof. Now it is not only being used as an excuse for dissatisfaction of its’ fans but also for its’ own employees altering supposedly user only scores in their favour. Something which happens to be illegal but hey, the 4chan bogey man did a thing so Bioware can falsify their own popularity guilt free right?

      http://gamrfeed.vgchartz.com/story/84747/bioware-employee-allegedly-caught-boosting-metacritic-scores/

    • Acristoff says:

      Provide some evidence for your claims that 4chan did anything. Because we would have left a trail if we did. They’re just blaming us since it’s an easy way out of their PR mess and we’re a largely disliked community so people like you will easily swallow whatever rumor they feel like putting out.

      Also John check your email.

    • Archonsod says:

      Who the hell pays attention to reader scores in the first place? It’s like taking life tips from YouTube comments, complete with the inability to spell and violent assault on grammar.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Honestly, it seems like the issue has already been resolved.
      “After making some noise on the internet, the [Bioware employee's] Metacritic review was taken down and the Dragon Age II Metacritic page stands at 4.1 from users after receiving numerous low scores from users angry at the disclosure of this alleged activity.”

      “There is no word whether Hoban in fact actually made the post, though evidence does point to the fact that he did. There is also no word that he received any kind of material compensation for the post, though because he is an employee of BioWare any kind of review made without his employment disclosure could run afoul of Federal Trade Commission guidelines.”

      Okay, so he might have run afoul of FTC guidelines. Problematic? Yes. An honest mistake? Possibly. If it were some kind of marketing conspiracy, I don’t think they would have been dumb enough to be easily tracked down, and instead would have hired out a 3rd party to boost reviews en masse.

      In fact, I think it just shows how completely worthless user reviews at MetaCritic are. Reading through them, the number one “most helpful” review is rated a 4, is a wall of text, contains vague statements with no actual references, and most likely the performance issues is because the idiot is trying to slam the graphics through the roof. This isn’t Elder Scrolls. This isn’t a FPS. This is (or, at least, the series was supposed to be) a “spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate.” As a caveat, I have not played DA2, so I cannot personally comment.

      @ KikiJiki: “Pathetic until you actually start reading the reviews and realise that they bring up valid points as to why the reviewer gives a low score…”

      O RLY?

      Angryanon
      Mar 8, 2011
      0
      >The best RPG combat ever. Not gaming’s best story, but maybe its best storytelling. Darker, sexier, better. What is best in life? Obviously bribed reviews.

      mcritic
      Mar 8, 2011
      1
      Boring, boring and boring … Can’t even compare it to DA:O not to mention BioWare’s older RPG games. Incredible disappointment. No much more to say.
      aboogabooga

      Mar 8, 2011
      0
      WNxWind has got to be the biggest idiot ever. First he claims the game isn’t a console port because Bioware released a high res texture pack. Wait a sec…if the game wasn’t a console port IT WOULDNT REQUIRE A HIGH RES TEXTURE PACK. And the combat? What? You would have to have an IQ of less than 10 to find the combat challenging. The graphics even on very high with the high-res texture pack aren’t amazing or even that good…the lighting is **** terrible. Not to mention if you have a Fermi card (or in SLI) you’ll notice massive lag spikes since nVidia’s drivers suck. The overall UI (apart from spell selection) look like it was designed in 5mins with no real thought. This game is a console port, that’s been dumbed even further down to satisfy the casual market

      note: I like how it’s somehow the game’s or Bioware’s fault that NVidia’s drivers suck and there’s lag

      So, yeah, there are some that are reasonable, but there’s a lot that really are trolled tripe.

      @Acristoff: “Provide some evidence for your claims that 4chan did anything. Because we would have left a trail if we did.”

      Strange. I always thought 4chan and Anonymous was a loose collective of random individuals who have no real affiliation or central connection other than a commonly shared website. Seriously, dude, ANYONE can be a part of Anonymous. That’s kind of the beauty of it. And Anonymous is synonymous with 4chan. That’s what their users are called. Do the world a favor: stop trying to codify chaos. Anon is not your personal army.

    • Blackseraph says:

      User scores are usually closer to truth than metascore. Say critics gave fallout 3 91 metascore, users 79 which one is in your opinion closer to the truth? I’d say user score.

      It is true though that DA2 isn’t nearly as bad as user score would like to tell you. But I wouldn’t gave it any more than 75 score myself. And critics have also liked it less than origins.

    • Acristoff says:

      @stupid-mcgee I see you know little about 4chan. We can’t raid anything without discussion and planning, no discussion took place about raiding them, besides us looking at the fact that their metacritic score was low and laughing at them. Everyone besides /b/ hates raiding and despises /b/ behaviour.
      We didn’t raid them.

    • Wulf says:

      Wow, that’s stupid, Bioware. That is really, really stupid.

      1. There are parts of the Internet that don’t like injustice or dishonesty.
      2. Those 4chan youngsters are not going to be pleased.

      …are they prepared for over 200,000~ negative reviews? I hope so!

      The thing is is that if this had really been 4chan, it would’ve been more noticeable than 400~ reviews that actually raise really good points. And the more people that propagate this rumour, the more angry the 4chan masses are going to get that Bioware framed them for their own gain.

      So please, rumour away! In fact, I invite you to post this rumour over on the relevant 4chan boards.

      This is going to get interesting.

    • Acristoff says:

      @Wulf The usual response to this type of thing on /v/ is laughter and dissapointment at Bioware, a lot of us are fans who are now taking blame for something we didn’t do. So we brought this media shitstorm upon them by posting it on Reddit and sending it to major gaming news sites such as RPS.

    • Stupoider says:

      @Stupid_Mcgee
      4chan and Anonymous aren’t particularly synonymous, no. Anonymous was a following that developed on 4chan but has been largely rejected by the 4chan community due to its sheer inanity. There are other websites now where raids and the like are planned, but overall the 4chan community doesn’t jump on the bandwagon.

      I’m a regular lurker on /v/, there is a certain stigma attached to DA2′s release. However, not once has there been a huge uprising of people parading towards the metacritic pages. I’ve laughed at the score, yes, because the laughter is twinged with pain that Bioware have lost touch with their community. If any provocation is taking place, it’s on the Bioware forums themselves where the moderators have become a laughing stock.

      Any -talk- of a raid on /v/ is instantly dismantled. Anyone mentioning a raid is seen as a stirrer whose task is to find evidence of this supposed raid. But there is no raid. Bioware are clutching at straws while their community festers, and it seems they’re so unaccustomed to criticism that they don’t recognise the kick to the balls that a <7 score delivers.

      Also, perhaps you should raise the issue of legitamate complaints that are frequent and quiet. It’s easy to pick the best of the worst, but I’m more concerned by the repeated issues that are raised in many of them. It doesn’t help that a lot of these concerns were raised during the game’s development, yet the Bioware forum moderators were quick to quell any voice out of line.

      @Wulf

      This sort of fuel-to-the-fire behaviour is exactly what /v/ is avoiding.

    • Archonsod says:

      “User scores are usually closer to truth than metascore. Say critics gave fallout 3 91 metascore, users 79 which one is in your opinion closer to the truth? I’d say user score.”

      Neither. I read critic reviews because they actually explain the important part of why a game is good or bad, which is rather essential in allowing me to form enough of an opinion to decide whether it’s worth getting the game or not.
      User reviews on the other hand are absolute tripe with a random number thrown at the end, seemingly apropos of nothing. The rare reader reviewer who actually takes time to explain why they felt the game deserving of the score is inevitably shouted down by the hordes of people who tend to confuse “vote for the most informative review” for “vote for whichever meaningless gabble you like to hear”.

      In fact I’d still like to see some proof that the reader reviews on metacritic (or IGN for that matter) are not actually generated as a side product of an attempt to prove the “1000 monkeys with typewriters will eventually write Shakespeare” proposition.

    • cmi says:

      @John Walker:

      “robust” as good as it gets:

      http://img193.imageshack.us/img193/6749/bezoe.png

      You can verifiy all suspicions from this image by doing some googling. Not a proof for sure, but quite believable that some over-zealous bioware employees (privately) wanted to counter the wave of negative reviews on metacritics by some 10/10 reviews – imho more then the “reverse way” (google bioware employee, find out their nickname on the net, create a new account at metacritic under this name and do 10/10 ratings and blame them for this)

    • karry says:

      “In fact I’d still like to see some proof that the reader reviews on metacritic (or IGN for that matter) are not actually generated as a side product”

      I’d like to see some proof that even ONE review for AAA-class game on IGN, Gamespot, etc, is not generated as a supplementary in an ad campaign.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      @ Aristicroff: I don’t ever recall mentioning raiding, which is an organized activity, such as the raids on Scientology. However, there does not need to be some formal announcement in order for links to be made to 4chan. Personally, I think having people post negative reviews under the names Angryanon, and morethan9000, etc. at least insinuates a link, and a call for a personal army, which is moronic tripe. Kind of like a review by Dickwolves shows a link to Penny Arcade. However, the PA forums have no links to condoning, approving, nor ever ordering any such activity. 4chan does, most specifically, /b/.

      While no one may mention raids on /v/, they don’t have to. If you get enough 4chaners all pissed off and riled up, they’re going to go and do it themselves. And if you think people on /v/ don’t also frequent /b/, then you’re deluding yourself. Besides, mentioning raids anywhere outside of /b/ is frowned upon. You should know this, since you seem to so very well speak for all of 4chan. Also, where is /b/ hosted? Oh, right. Not on 4chan.

      Think of 4chan as a bowl of water. That water may seem like one single entity, one single thing, if you will. However, once you heat that water, it begins to form a vapor. Those droplets evaporate into the air and become their own entities of water while the entity of water in the bowl is lessened. When collected, those water vapor droplets will be returned to make the original form of water whole again. In other words: the individual pieces of that collective will decide for themselves what they want to do, and typically reach consensus via mutual agreement, not explicit orders.

      Also, unless you’re Mook, no one cares what you have to say regarding 4chan, and you DO NOT speak for 4chan, it’s users, nor for anyone else there. So stop pretending you do. It’s not a club, it’s not a religion, it’s not a philosophy. It’s an anon message board. Which is something we had back in the days of AOL and Prodigy, where your connection was measure by the baud of your modem, not by the speed of your service.

      @ Stupoider: Actually, yes, Anonymous is synonymous with 4chan. For better or worse, rightfully or wrongly, Anonymous will always be tied to 4chan.

      “Anonymous (used as a mass noun) is an Internet meme originating 2003 on the imageboard 4chan…” – [source]

      BTW, I hate to use Wikipedia, as it isn’t really a citable source, but in this kind of instance, I would think it the most reliable source for this kind of material. Anyways, while we could squabble over how Anon also includes other chans and various fractions that have split apart from various chans, and I also realize than Anon is more of as /b/ thing, hence why you DO NOT discuss raids on /v/ and other specific sections.

      As for the game, I have to say that I have not played DA2, and that, yes, it is easy to pick the best and worst amongst reviews. It’s not like all bad reviews are crap, but to deny that they all are or most are legit is kinda misleading. (reviewer, AngryGamer: “Dragon Fail 2=Epic fail Lol” )

      As for problems, one of the major ones I see popping up in most user reviews is graphics. People said the same thing with NWN2 (dev’d by Obsidian, but forums were on Bioware’s site), but I thought that looked great. They said the same thing about DA:O, but I though that looked better than NWN2 and ran even smoother. People complained on the forums about both NWN2 and DA:O as “not even looking as good as Oblivion.” Well, duh! It’s apples and oranges. Oblivion is meant to be experienced up close, the others were meant to be more zoomed out. I presume one of the reasons would be the removed isometric camera, which is one of the reasons why I didn’t preorder. If they put it in, I’ll buy DA2 when I can. Otherwise, I’ll wait until it’s dirt cheap on a Steam sale.

      Another problem I see in the reviews is combat and difficulty. I found the Combat of DA:O, honestly, to be rather boring as well. It played well, yes, and combining spells was awesome, but I felt that the small party size tended to limit any real strategy (6 would be optimal, IMO). I think my bigger problem was that DA:O had horribly sharp difficulty curves. Some of those shades encounters are EXTREMELY difficult if you try to tackle them too early on. The main game is not really linear, although it might as well be because if try to deviate too far from the optimal and recommend path, you’ll be overwhelmed. I had this problem when I marched straight into Redcliffe before conquering the Circle Tower.

      I feel that a lot of the reviews, even the ones being really honest and constructive about the problems encountered, are knee-jerking when giving it a 1 or 0 score. I thought Just Cause 2 (played the demo) was a horrendous abomination on the PC (Gears and Pro Evo are the only console games I play), but I’d still give it a 5 or 6. It had some positives and, I mean, it wasn’t like it was on par with Legendary. *shudders*

      I’m seeing people freak out over a game that seems to still have many of the same issues as before. Some people have said the dialogue sucks and the story is weak, etc. But, as I said, people said that of the DA:O, and I still enjoyed that very much. So, to each their own. I find the removal of the isometric camera mode to be puzzling and disappointing, but I began becoming more and more disappointed in Dragon Age once I found out it had ceased to be a PC exclusive release, and I knew that meant design sacrifices to also be console friendly. For example: a small party size of 4, when 6 would be the most ideal.

      Yes, I enjoyed DA:O, but as far as a successor to Baldur’s Gate… Well, I think the engine is great and toolset is pretty accessible while being immensely powerful, and I hope some ambitious mod team makes something that truly is the successor to Baldur’s Gate. While DA:O tried and got sorta close, it missed by a wide margin, IMO, and I don’t think the sequels are going to get any closer. Sadly, I consider the Dragon Age series a missed opportunity. I like the campaign setting and lot of the elements, but I just don’t see Bioware delivering on that old-school RPG experience anymore. They seem to want to keep trying to shoehorn things into that Mass Effect style, which I completely abhor.

    • Dozer says:

      I am very much amused by the amount of effort behind the ’4chan is a bowl of water’ analogy.

    • Tokamak says:

      As likely as it may be (I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not uncommon practice for many developers to pad metacritic with shills – just most had the sense to be a bit more discreet), I don’t think such can really be used as solid evidence. Some of these “plant” review reveals, like this one:
      http://img819.imageshack.us/i/lupo.png/
      can easily be set up as a troll than as a disingenuous review.
      What’s more disappointing to me is how some of the scoring professional reviews read more like marketing spreads than actual reviews (*cough*PC Gamer*cough*Escapist*cough*). The way they described the game made me wonder if they played an entirely different game at times. Others seemingly fear to score the game too low, despite listing what seems like quite a number of significant problems they had with it. It’s times like these I’m so very glad I found RPS when I did – seemingly one of the very last bastions of gaming journalism integrity.

    • Archonsod says:

      “I’d like to see some proof that even ONE review for AAA-class game on IGN, Gamespot, etc, is not generated as a supplementary in an ad campaign.”

      Marketing budgets would hire better writers. Although when it comes to Gamespot, so do high school newspapers.

    • drewski says:

      I fail to see why anyone would care about this.

    • Acristoff says:

      Because movie producers shouldn’t be able to nominate their own movies for awards.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Acristoff

      What part of the user scores don’t count towards the meta-critic score don’t you quite understand? All those 0 scores and the moronic comments (as opposed to actual valid criticisms) don’t mean jack. No one ever takes a 0 score seriously, because unless a game is DOA people aren’t going to buy a score that low. Generally at best the most variation you get between users average and reviewer average is about 2 points. As soon as you’ve a disparity beyond that it means people are fucking with the numbers some how on masse.

    • Acristoff says:

      Or it means that the “proffesional” reviewers gave an inaccurate review? I bet you’re going to say we raided gamespot, amazon and other such sites as well right?

  6. Sheve says:

    If I buy a book, then act up on that author’s personal blog comment space, s/he doesn’t come to my house and take my book away. That would be theft. And so is this.

    • Ricc says:

      It’s not, because we all agreed to EA’s terms. It’s a shitty state of affairs, though.

    • RevStu says:

      Illegal terms and conditions are not enforceable even if you accept them. For all most people know the small print at the bottom of a EULA could say “And if you trade this game in at Gamestation we are entitled to murder your mum” and most people would click “Agree” without reading it, but it wouldn’t stand up in court.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Mother wouldn’t buy me the collector’s edition of “Thats what I call Manshoots 98″ now shes going to pay!

      Agree

    • Stupoider says:

      Aaaah, but you don’t -own- the book.

      It’s still stupid, if not more so when you take that into consideration.

    • karry says:

      Author will not take the book away. He will, however, come to your house and sprinkle bleach on the pages until they are blank.

  7. telpscorei says:

    Please Bioware/EA, sort this out. The saying one thing and slapping people in the face with the other is getting old. A year old, apparently. I’m already not buying DA2 over this, don’t make me not buy ME3. I want to give you money for your products, but your ToS need to change.

    • Avenger says:

      Really EA,
      Either fix this and update your ToS (as well as your moderators),

      …or perma-ban these mischiefs and receive the wrath of thousands of players (which, compared to EA, is as effective as the wrath thousands of ants made of jelly)

      You can’t have it both ways.

    • Dozer says:

      Hey. Think about that for a moment. What would happen if a thousand jelly ants invaded your kitchen and died? There’d be little bits of jelly everywhere, in really hard-to-reach places. And then real normal ants would come into the kitchen to eat the jelly. The entire house would smell of mouldy jelly. It would be a nightmare.

  8. faelnor says:

    What happens to your single player games when you get your steam account disabled for violating “Steam’s Subscriber Agreement” or “Rules of Online Conduct”?

    • Crimsoneer says:

      But Valve is a NICE company!!!

    • Dominic White says:

      Valve reserve the right to do the same things as EA – the difference being that they don’t. Corporations have a LOT of power, but how much they use is for them to decide. Nintendo could have crushed ten thousand fans with legal attacks over fan-made content, but they don’t. Square-Enix, on the other hand, went after a guy planning on making a Carmageddon fan-game. Why? Because they could.

    • Pinkables says:

      I don’t like any company reserving the right to do whatever they feel like doing, even if they’re probably not going to. It makes me want to rant about anti-terror legislation, but this isn’t really the time or the place.

    • Wulf says:

      So Valve did a temp ban for someone actively trying to sell their account? Hm. I suppose the reason that they have to dole out punishments for that is because of the incredibly super paranoid and head-up-arse nature of big publishers, this is probably something that’s forced on Valve so that they can sell their games.

      The problem here is, as ever, publishers. It’s like how you don’t get gift versions from other publishers when you buy a pack, only Valve gives you that. Most publishers are such greedy basts that they wouldn’t even dream of allowing you that. So I can honestly see this as being a stipulation forced on Valve.

    • sinister agent says:

      Well, quite. It’s all well and good saying that Valve only uses their fleet of tanks to go down to the shops and get some milk, but sooner or later someone else is going to be running Valve, and they’ll inherit those tanks.

      The fact that they don’t do crappy things with their power doesn’t mean that their having that power in the first place is right.

    • Dominic White says:

      Oh, I’m not arguing that it’s a good thing that they have that power in the first place. Just saying that pretty much every major corporate entity on the planet that has issued an EULA has ridiculously broad legal power until it’s actually challenged and overthrown in court.

      Until the law changes, you can really tell what the good/bad companies are by how freely they abuse their power. Aside for aformentioned overreaction over a guy planning to sell his Steam account, Valve have been significantly better than many of their peers.

    • sinister agent says:

      Fair points. I agree that Valve are surely the least evil corporation in the business, though. Possibly this makes them secretly the most evil, but tradition dictates that we won’t find out until end of the second act, so steam games will probably be safe for a few years yet.

  9. Archonsod says:

    As I understand it you can play Dragon Age without logging in, you just can’t utilise any DLC or similar account associated goodies. So in that respect, they’re not preventing you playing single player but they do prevent you utilising content.

    So the main issue seems to be that they’ve moved DLC and similar content into account entitlements.

    • endaround says:

      If you’ve logged in once already to verify it. If you haven’t, you’re locked out.

    • Archonsod says:

      That’s just a serial check though, and I’m pretty sure that’s only DA2. I know you can run DA 1 without logging in because I’ve been playing it on my laptop at work, and it doesn’t have a net connection.

  10. Daniel Klein says:

    Yet another thing that pirates don’t need to worry about. I mean, I am the dude banning people from forums in my day job, but we have very, very careful policies about when such a ban also includes an in-game ban, and if that is the case we enact the in-game ban separately.

    I hope that more clueful people running similar services (Valve, for instance) are paying close attention to this.

    • Archonsod says:

      I suspect EA’s troubles stem from using a single account for their social site rather than separating the game/content and the forum/community accounts. AFAIK most other services require you create a separate account for community features.

      Though now I come to think of it I think Ubi also tie the two in the same way.

  11. shoptroll says:

    EA’s single sign-on system is in a bad state right now. Spore users (like myself) are having trouble lately with authenticating some of the add-on packs which has only been a problem in the last 3-4 months and there’s still no fix. This has the nasty side effect of not allowing you to upload creations using parts from the add-ons, despite owning a legitimate copy of the game. Hearing about people getting temporary banned on the BioWare forums and losing access to the actual game doesn’t exactly surprise me a ton.

  12. bwion says:

    Why, exactly, is a forum account tied inexorably to the account used to validate your game/DLC purchases in the first place? It seems like that’s just inviting this sort of trouble.

    • Archonsod says:

      Same reason for 90% of IT cockups. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Which in plain English translates to “it’s cheaper than implementing it properly”.

    • bwion says:

      True dat.

      My vague recollection (I don’t, as a rule, visit the Bioware forums though I’m sure I have once or twice in my time) is that they like to be able to know if a given poster actually owns the game they’re talking about, (particularly for their tech support forums) which makes sense, I suppose.

    • Archonsod says:

      Paradox do the same thing, but they still had separate accounts for GG. It just meant you needed to register your serial twice – once in the game and once on the forum. I think the initial idea was to block people with pirated copies from posting in tech support.

    • Dozer says:

      And with Paradox, if you buy their game from Steam or another source, you can still enter the serial number on the Paradox forums to get access to tech support etc and get a pretty little icon under your username to show that you own that game.

      Doesn’t help the fact that Cities In Motion is unbalanced to the point of not being meaningful to play, and EUIII feels a bit like a very pretty frontend for Microsoft Excel. (I don’t have any other of their games.)

    • catmorbid says:

      It’s not a bad idea in itself to tie all forum and game access to single accounts. From the user’s viewpoint it makes things a lot more simple (unless things go wrong of course!) From the viewpoint of managing databases it potentially makes things easier, but the problem is, if something’s broken, you it might be broken really bad, because of the multitude of connections between different tables in databases. However, if you keep it simple, the effects might not be that big. I’m not sure what kind of “glitch” might’ve caused EA’s problem, but a badly designed/tested database probably isn’t that far from the truth. Especially if they’ve been trying to combine the pieces of several existing databases into a one, massive, logical thingie. I wouldn’t want to be there trying to do that, though I understand the principles, how it should be done. The margin of error would still be a lot.

    • Archonsod says:

      I’d bet the issue is that there’s a single allow/deny on the account rather than having separate entitlements.

  13. gganate says:

    Clearly EA is being deceitful; the evidence suggests they banned Arno for his comments. All the same, he agreed to their terms of service. It’s draconian but no one’s forcing you to buy an EA game. EA’s about making money – bad reviews and ugly comments about their products on their forums do not help. Capitalism isn’t about democracy. But were Arno’s rights violated? I don’t think so. Was a paying customer treated poorly? Definitely and he should never purchase an EA game again. The moral of this story is that we should pay attention to what we are agreeing to when we buy a game, although I wonder how you go about getting a refund if upon installing a game, you read the TOS and decide not to agree to it. In the US, you can’t return opened software. But what about digital software?

    • bob_d says:

      “Capitalism isn’t about democracy.”
      This is why we have consumer protection laws that prevent sellers from arbitrarily dictating the terms of sale (or, in the case of most EULAs, to reserve the right to arbitrarily change their terms, after the fact). Also, in this case, I don’t think one would reasonably conclude from the Terms of Service that EA would lock you out of an already purchased single player game based on comments in a forum. If EA was being deceitful then yes, Arno’s consumer rights were being violated.
      It’s prudent to consult a lawyer before signing a legal contract, but it’s absurd to suggest that it’s reasonable to do so every time we buy a game.
      When it comes to returning software – given that the EULA only appears upon attempting to install the software, it’s already too late. As for downloads, a friend of mine bought Half-Life 2 off of Steam when it first started up (and was having problems) – he paid for the game but couldn’t get it to download or register. When he called customer support, they accused him of trying to pirate the game and refused to help him. He never got his money back, nor got the game working. It also took seven years for him to trust Steam enough to buy any game that required registration on the service, much less purchase anything from them.

  14. Pointless Puppies says:

    Later that day Arno received a personal email from the Senior Director of Customer Services himself, Boyd Beasley, explaining that this had been an error, with accompanying profuse apologies.

    Oh yes, I’m sure Arno didn’t get any kind of special treatment in this, and I’m sure the senior director of customer services deals with every single error himself and e-mails affected customers with profuse apologies.

    This is what disgusts me, to see companies not give a shit about their customers unless it gets out to the news outlets and a bunch of people start talking about it. Then hoo boy, you’ll see the damn CEO go himself to your house and shower you with gifts and apologies. Bunch of hypocrites.

  15. Acristoff says:

    Also might I add that EA did nothing on their part to unban the guy, the ban ran out on it’s own.

    They’re just doing PR damage control.

  16. Kaira- says:

    “that if EA chose to, they could, without needing to say why, lock you out of all your EA account games”
    Sounds just like Steam.

    Either you or Valve has the right to terminate or cancel your Account or a particular Subscription at any time. You understand and agree that the cancellation of your Account or a particular Subscription is your sole right and remedy with respect to any dispute with Valve.
    1. In the case of a recurring payment Subscription (e.g., a monthly subscription), in the event that Valve terminates or cancels your Account or a particular Subscription for convenience, Valve may, but is not obligated to, provide a prorated refund of any prepaid Subscription fees paid to Valve.
    2. In the case of a one-time purchase of a product license (e.g., purchase of a single game) from Valve, Valve may choose to terminate or cancel your Subscription in its entirety or may terminate or cancel only a portion of the Subscription (e.g., access to the software via Steam) and Valve may, but is not obligated to, provide access (for a limited period of time) to the download of a stand-alone version of the software and content associated with such one-time purchase.
    3. In the case of a free Subscription, Valve may choose to terminate or amend the terms of the Subscription as provided in the “Amendments to this Agreement” section above.

  17. Martin says:

    So downlaoding this game would be a more secure way of owning it than “renting” it from EA, huh?

  18. bluebomberman says:

    It’s pretty fitting that so many people are viciously taking sides in this dispute between a soulless corp and nasty gamers over a game in which you’re repeatedly asked to take sides between a despotic ruler and demon-powered blood mages.

    I suppose at some point lawyers will get involved and people will sue for their right to slur the makers of the $60 product/service on the official forums. Which is probably how Dragon Age 2 really should have ended – with litigation, not with countless waves of boss battles.

  19. Deano2099 says:

    Seriously… I can’t wrap my head around the people that actually defend EA/Bioware in this. I just, I don’t get it.

    Even if you’re right and they have every legal right to do this, it’s still wrong, isn’t it? I mean I hate dicks on forums just as much as anyone else but the idea of EA just playing judge, jury and executioner is silly.

    I’ve said it before but it just shouldn’t be their job, they shouldn’t be able to hold something over you just because they can. I mean, say someone posted a link to child porn on the Bioware forums. What should they do? Well ban him from the forums, clearly, so he doesn’t do it again. Then report him to the police. But then, ban him from his games? It doesn’t make sense does it? Sure, he deserves it, but I think everyone would agree that that would be a matter for the police and the law to decide what he deserves, not Bioware.

  20. Ginger Yellow says:

    I’m a bit more interested in the question of why it is EA’s policy to ban people from multiplayer games simply for daring to criticise them using non-abusive wording in their forums.

    • Archonsod says:

      I’d assume it’s more the policy to ban them for trying to sell gold or similar rather than dissing the company. I think Blizzard do the same thing with WoW too.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      @Archonsod: I hope you’re not saying that that makes it better. It’s still full-blown fraud: “Selling” people imaginary property, and employing sneaky techniques to drag it away under your feet whenever you stop obeying.
      But honestly: If one buys into such an obvious fraud, one completely deserves the consequences.

    • Archonsod says:

      How precisely is it fraud? The terms of the agreement state quite specifically what will get you banned from the game. You can’t defraud someone by telling them exactly what you’re doing.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      My point being the “offence” that got Arno banned was some mild criticism of the game on the forums. EA apologises and says it’s not their policy to ban people from single-player games. Which means it is their policy to ban them from multiplayer games. Seems rather harsh to me.

    • Archonsod says:

      Most companies ban people from multiplayer games in some form. See Valve Anti-Cheat System, Punkbuster et al.

    • Joshua says:

      Because what V_Ware said that he said was not the thing that got him banned. He also has been posting stuff like http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/P/12#6429619. And probably more.
      This is why some people are defending EA. It’s not Isreal style anti-terrorist tactics that are being used here (if it might be potentionally hostile, you kill it). They actually had a good reason to do so, but found out there’s a flaw in the system.

      (They wanted orange, they got lemon lime)

  21. mkultra says:

    If EA doesn’t vow to change their business policies and principles then I’m going to threaten not to buy their games that go gold months before ship and pretend it makes a difference.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      I’m sorry? How does it not make a difference. It’s not called “voting with your wallet’ for nothing. And other than political voting, there is no corrupt middle man. It’s instant punishment.
      Remember: For there to be a wave, somebody has to start it, stand by it (requires: spine, balls), and not drag it down by attacking his own cause. You are that somebody. You and I. And everybody else here.

    • Acristoff says:

      Spine and balls sold seperately

    • mkultra says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t parallel my privilege to write stuff on a forum or play a video game to my rights to food, shelter and general well-being.

      I understand where you’re coming from, and agree a certain amount, but as a two-time veteran of the war in Iraq, to view this situation as a total injustice proves how completely spoiled the first world has become.

    • sinister agent says:

      Injustice is injustice, man. Your experiences of war are, with the greatest respect, irrelevent. Sure, it’s less of a big deal that someone’s banned from playing a game than that (say) someone’s life is taken, but that doesn’t mean that the lesser evil isn’t important or that doing something about it isn’t right.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Sorry but this won’t get fixed by “voting with your wallet” – if nothing else, 95% of people buying the game won’t have a clue about these issues unless they’re affected by them. Most people don’t read sites like this.

      This will get fixed by consumer protection legislation that will get passed within the next decade. The current situation is untenable from a consumer point of view and there will be laws passed to stop it. The problem is that games are still fairly niche, and within them digital downloads even more niche still, so this isn’t even on the radars of consumer advocacy groups.

      New technology, niche product, means it can be taken advantage of until the new laws happen. Alas any progress there is also going to be slowed by gamers who insist on defending this sort of practice for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “Alas any progress there is also going to be slowed by gamers who insist on defending this sort of practice for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom.”

      Genuinely? But nobody knows who these people are or cares what they have to say, least of all legislators. Legislation will happen regardless of what internet mans have to say about it. So it goes.

  22. BAReFOOt says:

    Sorry guys, but you deserve it, for believing in the IP lie. Every single one of you deserves the risk and the losses.
    Idiocy and ignorance shall be punished, by the laws of nature’s selection.

    • JFS says:

      I somehow agree with your last sentence. It’s sad and surprising and sometimes downright funny how a whole lot of oh-so-complex problems and happenings of our modern world boil down to century-old, simple insights.

    • Tokamak says:

      “Idiocy and ignorance shall be punished, by the laws of nature’s selection.”
      Coming from you, I could not imagine a more ironic statement.

  23. westyfield says:

    It reminds me a lot of this scene.

  24. MiniMatt says:

    Whether it should happen in such a scenario is rather irrelevant; as is pointed out, they have explicitly provided for the option within their terms and conditions. These terms and conditions would have been delicately crafted at considerable expense by teams of lawyers to ensure they say *exactly* what they want them to say – the crafting of these terms and conditions can in no way be considered a mistake or a glitch.

    Saying “oh but we’d never do that and if we do it’s a mistake” when the bad publicity hits is irrelevant if they set out from the outset to give themselves that exact option. It’s akin to selling one’s soul to the (EA?) devil, the devil then pointing out he also has rights over your first born in the small print whilst saying “don’t worry, I’d never actually make use of those rights I had my legal team draw up”. A rather crowbarred and inadequate analagy I confess.

  25. Staggy says:

    As much as I hate this culture of “you pay for a license to play, not a product” that’s being peddled by publishers, we ourselves are willingly letting them do this every time we merrily click through the EULA and agree to it to install a game, ignoring the fact that all of a sudden we’ve given up any ownership rights.

    Look at DVDs. I can get a digital or a physical copy of it. I might buy one, and although I don’t technically own the film on it, I can still play it on any device I like, how many times I want, whenever I want, without signing into an account to verify who I am and that I own said DVD.

    Why can’t I replace the DVD references in the above with games?

    One thing’s for sure, if this could be taken to court – the result would definitively tell us from a legal standpoint where we stand and what our rights are, especially in regard to consumer and local law.

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s been to court several times. All it’s done so far is prove that the courts are masters at dodging a question.

  26. Deano2099 says:

    /tin foil hat

    So between the account bannings, the metacritic controversy and the pre-order DLC, is there now enough FUD about the whole release to explain to shareholders why sales on DA2 are down on DAO? Rather than it just not being as good?

    /tin foil hat

    Probably bollocks but someone had to say it…

  27. Gaff says:

    Without the whole media blowup over this guy getting accuont to his legitimately-bought single-player games, you can bet your ass he wouldn’t have gotten the apology that he did or access to his games back before the 72-hour ban expired.

    EA caved because of the large amount of negative publicity they were getting over it, nothing more and nothing less.

  28. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    There’s been enough said on this subject, here and elsewhere, so let it suffice to say that you rock, John.

  29. Curvespace says:

    I call bullshit on their ‘bug’ claims.

    Purely from a technical point of view, you either engineer the forum ban to hook-up to the game validation system or you don’t. This would have been part of the design specification when EA built it. Clearly the fact that the current operation does bind to the stupiulations of their terms of service would more than suggest that this game-locking ability was encouraged from day one. Software developers aren’t idiots (for the most part) and neither are the project managers or product owners, they would have known what functions get called when you ban a user and been well aware that this would result in a lock-out of the game. As a former QA manager I can imagine that there might have been a couple of tests that got run to check that all was well (i.e. that it did exactly what they wanted it to). This kind of ‘bug’ doesn’t slip though.

    ACH! Even if this WAS a bug (which it’s not), it’d surely be a priority to fix and could have pushed-out within a few weeks i.e. after that first user reported an issue.

    Tossers.

    • Tei says:

      Theres a more broad definition of “bug”. Then this can be a “Analisys Bug”, a error made on the analisys phase. No one trought of this effect, or the people that trought of this effect never made the connection “this=problem”.

    • Curvespace says:

      I don’t see it. I’ve seen some clangers in my time but there’s no way that something like this slips through. Especially not when you correlate it with the evidence that the terms of service stipulate that this is within their scope.

      Also, as I said, even if gross negligence is at play (there’s no light term for it) then why was the bug not flagged and fixed within weeks of the first report?

    • Archonsod says:

      ” Software developers aren’t idiots (for the most part) and neither are the project managers or product owners,”
      No. Idiots can at least tell their arse from their elbows, a feat I have yet to witness a project manager accomplish unassisted.

    • Curvespace says:

      Heheh. When I was writing that I was considering moving those brackets to later in the sentence :)

  30. BunnyPuncher says:

    I’m not entirely sure why the whole “its a service” line keeps being trotted out.

    Sure, when you buy software you are purchasing a license. However, you are probably doing so under the reasonable assumption that the license wont be revoked without good reason….. and so far no one has provided a good reason to revoke single player priviledges. You cant hurt other people in single player mode so why take it away?

    • Kaira- says:

      And then there’s the whole thing if it is actually license or is it a product per se. The Autodesk-case a few years back is quite interesting, I believe.

      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2008/05/court-smacks-autodesk-affirms-right-to-sell-used-software.ars

    • Ravenger says:

      In the case of boxed software sales there’s a case to be made that it’s actually a purchase rather than a service because the whole process is exactly like buying a physical item.
      You walk into a store, you pick up a box, you take it to the counter. Money changes hands and you walk out with the box with a shiny disc in it.
      At no point are you asked by the shop assistant to read or sign a license agreement. You don’t even need to even look at the box to buy it so you have no requirement to read the small print on the box telling you to go online to read the EULA.
      In the case of children buying a game they’d be ineligible to sign a license agreement anyway.
      If it were tested in court it’d likely to follow the old adage ‘If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.’ i.e. if it looks like a purchase and feels like a purchase, is described as a purchase then it is a purchase and not a service.

  31. MajorManiac says:

    Why not simply leave the banning to the consummers. Just to be clear, why can’t we add people we find personally offensive to a black-list. So their comments are no longer visiable to us.

    I’ve always wanted the option to black-list some players in online multiplayer games such as Company Of Heroes.

    • tstapp1026 says:

      The best reason I can conjure is people that simply go on a trolling BanSpam rampage.

      “Hi! This Game Rocks!”
      “Hi! You Suck!” – ban!

  32. tstapp1026 says:

    Wouldn’t you think this could be resolved, specifically, with a voluntary, in-game rating mechanic?
    “You have played XX hours. Would you like to submit a review for DA 2 to the blah blah forums?”

    Think of this in the same fashion you can choose search providers in IE (if you use IE).

    As for EA and the BanHammer. F’ em… their games are coasters as far as I am concerned. I’ve never been a fan of the “You pay 60 dollars for a game and we can take it from you whenever we want.” Eat my ass… just try getting another $60 from me.

  33. Lobotomist says:

    Well , solution is pretty simple. Its called Torrent.

    Until they learn to respect their customers.

  34. Xiyng says:

    Niiiice. Encourages piracy, especially in a case like mine where I might just have the money for a game with a reasonable EULA/DRM but not for something like this. Really encourages piracy.

    Sometimes I really wonder whether publishers are after honest customers or dirty pirates with moves like this. Wait, obviously it’s not pirates since they don’t care about the EULA anyway.

  35. oatish says:

    Hi John,

    You’re a Pimp.

    Thanks!

  36. Buttless Boy says:

    What’s extra crazy about this is that the most reasonable solution from a customer’s standpoint is to simply pirate the game if they’re banned.

    Hell, that’s the only reason I feel comfortable using Steam: if they close the service or ban me or something I can just re-download the games I bought from somewhere else. No harm done to the devs, who got their money the first time I bought the game, and I get to keep playing the game I purchased. I might even buy the game again from a less creepy distributor if I have the money to spare; I’ve done it before after losing old CDs, this doesn’t seem any different.

  37. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Large corporations once again proving that the only way that you can reasonably play and own your game is via piracy. News at 11.

  38. MCM says:

    No RPS post on Bioware faking their own game reviews?

    • drewski says:

      No, because it’s not a story. Nobody with a brain even checks the Metacritic User reviews, because they’re filled with moronic dirge, and one sneaky developer review in amongst the hundreds of utterly nonsense crap “reviews” Metacritic is full of in the user review section is utterly unremarkable, except in that it might actually be spelled correctly.

      If there’s evidence they’re gaming the Critic Review section, or maybe if they were spamming the user review section, people might care. But one review? Who gives a rats?

    • Acristoff says:

      It doesn’t bother you that they are deleting negative reviews?

    • Kadayi says:

      @Acristoff

      Who are ‘they’ exactly? The Bavarian Illumanti? The Templars? The Lizard People? Also where exactly are ‘they’ deleting them? Surely not metacritic? Because let’s have a look at the stats: -

      Metacritic for DA2 (PC) at the moment: -

      4.2 average based on 1659 ratings

      User reviews: -

      210 positive
      56 mixed
      503 negative

      Yeah, clearly ‘they’ are doing a bang up job of deleting those 0 scores as you claim.

      In fact there’s more negatives reviews for DA2 than there were total reviews for at all for DAO.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      @Kadayi

      I don’t know. I’d give DA2 a 5 of 10, so 4.2 doesn’t seem that silly to me.

      Before today I’d say 6 or perhaps 7 if I was in a good mood, but seeing as I have a bug that spoiled half the ending for me I’ll settle at 5. And considering the reuse of assets all the damn time and the first terrible 10 or so hours, I feel that’s a decent score.

      It’s a shame, really. I was actually starting to warm up to the game and then they slap my face with a bug like that.

  39. drewski says:

    I don’t think that the point is EA are violating their terms of service – the point is that their terms of service are utterly unreasonable.

    Is banning you from your own single player games consistent with EA’s ToS? Probably, sure. Is it in any way a reasonable course of action? Of course not.

  40. Wozzle says:

    Unfortunatly, I’m going to have to buy ME3. I’m too tied to the series to give it up for anything.

    However, with this crap and the bomb that is DA2, I think I can safely say that I’m done with EA games. Anything that thinks it needs to go above and beyond Steam’s authentication is bullshit.

  41. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    So, I am just saying would any of this have any legal sort of weight, I mean if my account got banned from steam, because I used naughty words in a heated debate with ANGRYINTERNETMAN would I be able to get anything. I know we go through the EULA bullshit, but AFAIK you can’t just sign away your basic rights, it’s extremely illegal.. <From a proper lawyer that, not some ne'er do well like me.

    And I mean, if they did, I'm sure you could get most games pirated, I mean, we do like playing videogames so, I'm going to play mah videogames.

    **Also part of a dying breed, but I never buy games from Digital Download service, my Internets isn't good enough -and I get 800kb/s dl rate on steam updates…

    I have hundreds of boxes of games, and I even have ordered them from UK etc just so I don't get tied to this sort of shit, but alas, I still 'tick' the eula, and have to use steam and drm etc grmble grmble…

  42. Angryinternetman says:

    slogan: get fair service, support groups that use excessively the letter Z

  43. thecrius says:

    All these discussion and it’s so simple:
    About EA policy: just stop buy EA games. For a while at least. Hit where hurts. Money.

    It’s not so hard and it’s not so impossible.
    Step 1. Create a web page announcing this declaration of intent and explaining the relation with the fact in the article over here.
    Step 2. Create a “Support the initiative” like the classic Avaaz! pool. email, name, sign it!
    Step 3. The harder part(?). Do not buy any EA games for the amount of time declared.
    Internet offer a GREAT opportunity to makes the poeple voice really important and coordinates actions that comes from the “people”. It’s enough that someone start it.
    About the comment on metacritic (suspicious raid of 4chan) it’s not so important due the actual user rating is around 4 (considering consoles too). And in my mind this is the real value of that piece of garbage.

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