All Uplay-Enabled Ubisoft Games Blocked On BT Infinity

By Alec Meer on January 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Update: this was resolved a day later, after four days of the block. Ubisoft told me Monday that ““We looked into this with BT Infinity and were able to solve the problem. BT Infinity customers should now be able to connect to Ubisoft’s games and services as usual.”

If you were wondering why there’s been no Wot I Thinkery of the recently-released Might & Magic X: Legacy on this here website, it’s because Games For Windows Live’s heir apparent Uplay, Ubisoft’s proprietary download store, DRM and online infrastructure, has been preventing me from logging in and playing the game. I am not alone in this – it appears anyone using major UK ISP BT Infinity to provide their broadband is blocked from accessing Uplay, and even many Ubisoft websites. This means any game which requires Uplay (including a raft of recent Assassin’s Creeds, Far Cries, Tom Clancies and more) can’t be played. Some of those affected have enjoyed the makeshift mercy of Uplay’s offline mode; I and many others have not.

Trawling through grumble-filled support forums reveals that Ubisoft have blamed BT (though subsequently deleted the tweet in which they did so), BT have blamed Ubisoft, no-one really knows what’s going on and a fix could be any amount of time in arriving.

This may be something amiss/paranoid in Uplay, it may be a wider routing issue, or it may be BT’s notorious and over-reaching porn filter turning up yet another false positive. A definitive answer will arrive at some point, but it’s hard to believe it’ll be a strong enough reason for a problem first reported on Wednesday to still be continuing now – especially as it’s been an issue in the past too. It’s stopping people from playing the games they’ve paid for, and resolving it should be an utmost priority with the relevant people at both firms. It also highlights how unnecessary and disruptive Uplay as a whole is in its present form.

While the worst of Ubisoft’s horror-DRM is thankfully in the past, the vast majority of their PC games – even if bought and installed from a third-party service such as Steam – require the subsequent installation and initial online registration via their Uplay service. To play Might & Magic X, or another recent Ubi game such as Assassin’s Creed IV, I have to login to Steam, then into Uplay, which invariably needs to very… slowly… update itself first. This is presuming my ISP isn’t blocking it, or vice-versa. There’s also the issue of Uplay’s oft-unreliable savegame management. I’ve lost hours of progress in AC4 and M&MX thanks to its wobbly cloud saving.

This isn’t an angry post, though it might have some of the hallmarks. It’s more sad resignation about how often the mainstream videogames’ industry shoots itself in the foot from fear or greed. There’s too much of this sort of thing, and there doesn’t need to be. Uplay exists because its owner wants to control information and maximise revenues from DLC, as well as seeking to challenge Steam’s download monopoly. It doesn’t exist to improve the lives of any of its users, at least not yet.

Like GFWL before it, this is a utility that, in my extensive experience of it, in its current form provides precisely zero concrete benefit to game-players and seems to exist only for the financial and data-harvesting benefit of the publisher. It is simply a hoop to jump through in order play a videogame that one has purchased. For the last three days, it’s been a complete impasse to doing that. Even when it works as intended, it’s a pointless piece of time-wasting for consumers, which should be retired and excised from all games that require it, though clearly that isn’t going to happen any time soon. I can only hope that its owners eventually take something from the fact that it has only ever generated negative headlines, not positive ones.

I’ve now been able to use a VPN service to trick Uplay into thinking I’m on a different ISP and finally have access to Might & Magic X, but this is not something everyone with BT Infinity, the UK’s most pervasive fibreoptic broadband, and who buys a Ubisoft game should have to do – especially as it also risks violating T&Cs. If you feel comfortable taking that risk, I can recommend the free version of Hotspot Shield VPN as a relatively simple way of getting past the BT/Uplay impasse. Without using that, this is what I experience – notice that the message simply blames my web connection rather than telling me anything about what’s actually going on. Also, please excuse the giant image of the lower half of my daughter’s face in the background.

(Please note also that offline mode wouldn’t work either, claiming I needed to have logged in at least once previously. I had logged in at least two dozen times previously).

I have requested a statement from Ubisoft on this matter and will update this post if and when it arrives. In the meantime, the major comments on the matter from Uplay support are this, in response to users questioning why the tweet blaming BT was deleted:

“Finger pointing was never our intention. We’re working to resolve this issue for all our customers who are affected, and the person or people who caused the issue is less important than identifying the root cause and getting everyone back playing the games they want to. If we receive more information that is relevant to helping you all gain access to your games, we will let you know.”

And this, in response to why there’d still been no fix some three days on (and counting):

“Identifying the root cause of the issue and resolving it is the key short term goal. Once that is done, the cause of the issue (be it something on BT Infinity’s side or Ubisoft’s side) can be addressed and hopefully safeguards can be put in place to stop it happening again in the future. If the issue is on Ubisoft’s side, then we will of course do all we can to stop it from happening again in the future. If the root of the issue lies with BT Infinity, then there are limits on what we can do to stop future occurrences of the issue, but we will work to identify the options available to us.

We fully understand that losing access to your games, especially through no fault of your own, is no fun, and our support team is working to get you access to your games again.”

Work faster? Yeah, I know it’s never that simple, especially with BT in the picture – I’ve had some hellish experiences with them in the past, to the point that I can’t receive incoming calls on my landline even after three three-hour support calls, having lost the will to attempt a fourth. But even so, this sort of thing (together with my recent experiences of it randomly rolling back or deleting cloud saves in Assassin’s Creed IV, together with assorted server fails for other games, together with security breaches) is exactly why Uplay needs to be rethought from the ground up, or better yet killed off entirely, if it is to escape being thought of as another Games For Windows Live.

I take no issue with Ubisoft or anyone else having their own download store – a free market might be confusing and not much fun for our PC’s overloaded taskbars, but it’s certainly preferable to an unchallenged monopoly. The problem arises when it demands to be unsympathetic gatekeeper of existing purchases in addition to the checks of Steam et al. Doubly so when it’s as unreliable a gatekeeper as it long has been. Triply so when it undermines the experience of playing some really great Ubisoft games.

As for Might & Magic X – well, I’ll try to find the time, but the days I’d put aside to play it were lost to what was then an undiagnosed problem, and other things are now knocking at my door. Additionally, when I was finally able to get back into the game, I discovered that my savegames had been characteristically eradicated by Uplay.

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167 Comments »

  1. wodin says:

    I’m with Virgin..good service,,quick..wouldn’t change.

    • Runty McTall says:

      I second this – I really can’t fault it at all for, well, five years at least? When it was NTL it was just woeful but since then it has been rock solid, reasonably priced and there have been several very substantial speed increases too.

      Incidentally – “the UK’s most popular fibreoptic broadband” struck me as surprising, as I’d expect Virgin to have a strong advantage in the fibre optic market (tangental to the point of the article, admittedly).

      • Awesumo says:

        My only complaint with Virgin is that you have to call them up every couple of years and give them a poke, or they’ll keep you on the old/slower/more expensive tariff for longer – but every other company seems to do that so meh.

      • Premium User Badge jezcentral says:

        I third this. My 60Mb FTTC connection means I often have the lowest ping in TF2.

        I’m still too shite for this to be any help, however.

        Plus, I have downloaded 100s of Gigs worth of Steam games in the last couple of months (seriously, I must be getting on for half a terabyte by now), having moved to a new computer, and I haven’t had a peep from Virgin about perhaps not downloading so much, please.

        • Premium User Badge melnificent says:

          I fourth this, Virgin 50 upgraded to 100 then 120mb. Netflix and youtube are streamed throughout the day in HD quality, download things from steam/origin/uplay and usual net stuff at the same time without no problems. We find the limiting factor is the servers on the other end, funnily enough consoles seem to suffer from this the most.

          The superhub has improved over the years, but I would still suggest replacing it every year as something inside it doesn’t like prolonged heavy use.

          • Runty McTall says:

            Oh, right, the “Super” Hub. For full disclosure I should say that this is awful – the wifi was just atrocious. I mean, mind-blowingly bad (items placed directly next to the router couldn’t sustain a wireless connection long enough to obtain a DHCP lease).

            I use a separate wifi router, which took a little fiddling to get set up (largely due to selective blindness on my part – overlooked “bridge mode” for about 3 hours) but then I forgot about the issue completely.

        • Amun says:

          At 60mb/s you can download 500GB in 18 hours. ISP’s should be able to deal with a healthy percentage of their customers fully utilizing their connections 24/7 (which would be ~20TB/mo in your case). Usage caps are just lousy overcharging schemes.

    • Kefren says:

      I use GreenISP. Ethical, plus they don’t block anything (including Pirate Bay), whereas all the big providers do.

    • Lemming says:

      I’m using Zen, no complaints. Probably not good if you’re looking for a TV package as well, though.

    • fish99 says:

      I could do without the throttling TBH.

    • Koozer says:

      I’m with Virgin and curse their name at regular intervals – from dodgy Superhubs, to horrendous speed drops, random outages, throttling, and most recently horrible packet loss that has suddenly appeared.

      • Premium User Badge wyrm4701 says:

        My experience with Virgin has been terrible, as well. Frequent loss of service was the beginning, then they cut their support hours, resulting in a brief outage becoming weekend-long. The last straw was some sort of traffic-shaping policy that made online gaming impossible during ‘peak hours’ (6pm – 12 am weeknights, pretty much all weekend), and abysmal, duplicitous customer service. I’d highly recommend switching providers – even BT has been leaps and bounds better in both support and speed for the same price, at least in my experience.

      • Premium User Badge Vandelay says:

        Yep, these positive Virgin comments are surprising to me. Virgin cornered the student market, offering a TV, Internet and (pointless) landline bundle that was impossible to turn down. However, their speed throttling was atrocious, particularly in shared accommodation. Perhaps they have improved since 5 or so years, but I don’t think I could I back to them.

        BT, on the other hand, have always given me very reliable and nippy speeds (do bear in mind though that my Dad gets it discounted due to using it for work, so we are on a very expensive package. Cheaper ones might be crap.)

    • Premium User Badge Amatyr says:

      +1 here for Virgin as well. I’ve been with them for 12.5 years now at 5 different properties and they’re great. At least they are as long as you take their fastest internet package (and why wouldn’t you?), I can’t say anything about their cheaper offerings which do include more package shaping.

    • Max.I.Candy says:

      Personally Virgin have been the best ISP I have ever used.
      Been with them for over 6 years now as they were the FIRST UK provider of Fibre Optic cables. In fact, BT didnt manage to provide fibroptic for its customers until at least 5 years after Virgin.(I may have these dates wrong btw)
      Their new throttling rules really are not that bad. 11pm-4pm you can go crazy without any throttling whatsoever, and depending on your package you have regulations from 4pm-11pm that will never throttle you below 16% (was 40% before) of your bandwidth depending on how much you downloaded,but personally it has not affected me at all, with a 50mb line and the 16% reduction I get when i go over the limit it is not noticeable enough to make it a problem, even the 40% was not an issue.

      • UKAzzer says:

        Well technically not Virgin, but yes same thing. I’ve had fibre-optic broadband since 1998 – then provided by “CableTel” – Huddersfield being one of the UK’s early bird test-towns for a fully-fibre-optic system. CableTel were later bought out by NTLWorld. Who were then later bought out by Virgin. It’s been the same core physical infrastructure for end-users by and large (the physical line coming into my home from the “green box” hasn’t changed in 16 years) – and funnily, BT Infinity still don’t provide their fibre-optic service here (Huddersfield) – the exchange in Huddersfield is apparently so complicated it’s a mammoth task to upgrade to fibre-optic and they are hoping for end of 2014. Still, despite how terrible BT as a company are, I’m tempted to switch when it finally arrives, just to get away from Virgin’s god awful invisible forced-proxy system they use for any type of streaming (YouTube, iPlayer etc. all stream from Virgin’s own servers not the actual internet if they have it cached, and often has problems).

  2. Geebs says:

    So, to the “how can you hate UPlay but not steam, you hater” crowd: this is why.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Does anyone seriously say this who has used both? They’re a world apart in usefulness and design. I recently played through the newer Driver and I don’t think there was a single time I booted it up without Uplay having to update itself. A terrible piece of shit, is my review.

      • Bull0 says:

        They do, but it’s usually the mental steam-hating crowd trying to dredge up support

    • Premium User Badge basilisk says:

      Yes, this is certainly wrong and unprofessional, no question about that. But I do not really agree with “this is a utility that provides precisely zero benefit to game-players and exists only for the financial and data-harvesting benefit of the publisher”. Ubi is actively trying to develop it into its own answer to the Steamworks platform, but it’s currently in the “growing pains” stage. You’re basically comparing mature Steam to something that’s still learning to walk. And everyone remembers how enormously popular Steam was in its early stages.

      This does not excuse the current situation, of course. Uplay needs to have a lot more resources poured into it to work properly, and they really should sort out their woeful Steam integration while they’re at it. But it’s not quite the same cancerous growth that GfWL was, pretty much abandoned before it was even out.

      • Gibly says:

        How long does Ubisoft need? It has been around for several years and it is still a pain to use. Growing pains my arse. I don’t know a company that still has them several years later.

        • Premium User Badge basilisk says:

          It’s been around for years, yeah, but for a good proportion of that time it was only used for the infamously evil, idiotic and inexcusable DRM with zero concern for anything else. This has changed; looking at recent developments, you can tell that they’re now placing the emphasis on building up the social aspect of it all instead, clearly emulating Steam’s success in this area.

          I do wish they focused on basic functionality instead, though. Problems like this one aren’t helping their cause at all.

          • Tobisas says:

            I know this is pretty subjective, but adding social features only makes the platform more annoying to an antisocial singleplayer gamer like me.

            Admittedly, I haven’t bothered with any Ubisoft games for a few months (mostly because I got really pissed off with UPlay), but my last experience with it in Far Cry 3 was that it constantly popped up annoying and unnecessary achiement trophy points which I could share with my non-existing UPlay friends..

            I honestly don’t know what WOULD make me like UPlay now, but forcing social features upon me in a singleplayer that break the immersion surely make me dislike it.

      • Drake Sigar says:

        Steam had growing pains because Valve basically designed the major digital distribution platform from the ground up. I’m not giving the same patience to every company who wants to have a go now that the basic model is already there.

        • aiusepsi says:

          Exactly. Valve were making it up as they went along with Steam, and to this day they’re still stuck with the consequences of a few iffy design decisions that were made in the beginning. Everyone else just had one job: copy Steam, but a bit better. That they all managed to fail at that is just a bit embarrassing.

        • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

          Did you even give Valve that patience? I sure didn’t. I read about Steam, and based on what I had learned, avoided it for quite some time. It was only by around 2010 when the general consensus had moved from “we hates it!” to “yes it has drm components but it’s okay to use” that I bothered to install it at all, ironically because they released OS X support.

          Some newcomer who is replicating that initial awful and customer-abusing experience of badly implemented DRM is not going to get any money from me.

      • Geebs says:

        Uplay has been around at least since the time of PoP: the Forgotten Sands, which came out in 2010, at which point the only “feature” it offered apart from always-on DRM was the option to get “points” to unlock such essential delights as wallpapers. Since that time UBI has released (at least) four whole AssCreed games and Uplay is still at best an irritation. I don’t think they deserve the benefit of the doubt here.

      • XhomeB says:

        Agree, UPlay is not a perfect piece of software, but comparing it to GFWL is simply laughable. Sorry Alec, but it really is. UPlay is actually functional and I’d risk saying it doesn’t feel like bloated software created 10 years ago (Steam).
        You should blame your ISP first and foremost. I agree that UPlay might feel like an unnecessary additional layer of DRM if you already have Steam, but that GFWL comparison is… unprofessional to say the least.

        • Geebs says:

          What’s the actual functionality though? I mean the least user-hostile and most “functional” part that it ever had beyond the fluff was their attempted equivalent to Project Ten Dollar, which they gave up on in 2013.

          In terms of “turn on, graphics appear” it’s functional, but that definition would make goatse “functional”

        • PopeRatzo says:

          UPlay is actually functional

          Not today, it ain’t.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        I used Steam in its “growing pains” stage and it was never as bad or as useless as uplay.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      You know service is bad when I try to get Asscreed: Black Flag working then end up saying ‘you know what? This isn’t worth it’ and bugger off back to Steam and GoG. The moment I’m not getting that convenience I’ll go to elsewhere to those who provide it.

      • Bull0 says:

        That’s a shame, because ass: black flag is really rather worth playing. But I totally agree, Uplay puts one right off. I’m blaming Uplay for me not enjoying Far Cry 3 more.

    • Moraven says:

      So what if Steam was blocked by the ISP? Then you could not even download the game to begin with. Steam only games require a one time authentication.

      What if Steam was blocked and UPlay was not? In that you could download and play if bought entirely on Uplay, but Steam could not even download the game to begin with?

      • LionsPhil says:

        If you have the files or not is irrelevant if you cannot play it.

        If you plan to crack your way past the latter, the argument becomes irrelevant because you could also have downloaded a naughty copy.

    • Emeraude says:

      Dialogues for deaf.

      Your argument is that you don’t have a problem with Steam because you haven’t suffered those issues – yet – and do with uPlay. It’s a view focusing on incidents*.

      The people who equate Steam and uPlay do so because in principle, they’re the same thing: if the problem is ISP based, then you could have suffered just the same with any such service. Steam included. If anything, this uPlay incident is as much an argument against Steam (or Origins, or any such infrastructure) from that point of view.

      *: as always “if it’s not an issue to me, then it’s not an issue” seems to sum things up perfectly.

      • Geebs says:

        Nope. You can make the argument irrespective of which service is which:

        1) Assume all online stores/services have problems:
        – they impose their own DRM
        – they have their own autoupdating launcher which requires an internet connection
        – they have a nonzero chance of being hacked and releasing your personal information/bank details
        – they request/collect data from your computer, often without knowledge
        – they gate off parts of the game you already paid for unless you can prove that you still have the right to use it by remembering yet another password
        – they sell off your information to third parties by default
        2) Assume some online stores/services have some benefit:
        – they let you download the game in the first place
        – they process fees in a vaguely secure manner
        – they keep backup copies of the game so that you can redownload
        3) Assume that there is a non-zero hassle factor which increases with number of separate launchers for each store, and the number of launchers required to play a single game

        Therefore, any time that more than one service is involved with playing a game, you are faced with more hassle and a greater likelihood that online requirements are going to screw you up, whichever two services they might be. If the only positives are redundant (if both services keep a backup copy, it doesn’t matter which one of them you use) then any time you need to log in to more than one service, you lose out.

        If you make the perfectly valid observations that Uplay does not actually do anything and that Uplay has already been hacked twice then yes, Uplay is empirically bad without having to invoke “works for me”

        • Emeraude says:

          Oh, ok, so it’s the redundancy that is your issue (a good argument if ever of why no such platform should ever be made mandatory).

          If you make the perfectly valid observation that Uplay does not actually do anything then yes, Uplay is empirically bad without having to invoke “works for me”

          True for any such DRM. Steam included.

          • Geebs says:

            The point to which you replied deliberately didn’t mention Steam.

            (I accept that I mentioned it elsewhere, but I don’t think it’s relevant to my point that Uplay is bad according to the usual metrics of a download service and extra-double-bad whenever it coexists with something else)

          • Emeraude says:

            My bad, thought you were presenting an answer following the original argument (So, to the “how can you hate UPlay but not steam, you hater” crowd: this is why.) and in continuation of what I had addressed from it.

            I don’t really see how your post relates to mine anymore though.

          • Geebs says:

            Your point seems to boil down to “computers which are not connected to the internet cannot access internet services”, which seemed accurate but dull. You then asserted that nothing is better than any other thing, because something which has the potential to happen is the same thing as something which has happened; an argument I’d suggest you try taking up with a man who hasn’t just been hit on the head by a falling piano. I therefore answered the more interesting question of whether a digital storefront/social network could be empirically bad. Uplay is, and would be even if the only other digital storefront was, say, Origin.

          • Emeraude says:

            If anything, my main point boils down to “programs which have no reason whatsoever that would make their accessing the network mandatory shouldn’t make access to the network mandatory. Ever”.

            But my point in the current exchange was that the conversation between those who are against Steam and uPlay – considering both the same – and those who like the former but not the later generally goes nowhere because they’re not arguing from the same positions: one is ethical, based on principles and long term possible consequences, and the other is pragmatic and based on immediate effective consequences.

            (Edit: weird misfire)

          • Geebs says:

            All of the physical disks that my ancient collection of Atari ST games came on have demagnetized, and their bits are as tears in rain. WHERE IS YOUR ETHICS NOW?

          • Emeraude says:

            The laws of my country take that case into account – which is why I am legally entitled to the making of archiving copies of copyrighted products I buy. Why publishers are also entitled to preventing me making that perfectly legal copy is something I’ll nerve understand though.
            At least it’s funny when you call them to demand that they provide with an archiving copy – as they are supposed to when they take the option of preventing copying.

            My ethics are perfectly fine, thank you for inquiring – though I tend to follow the basic rule not to ask whatever it is they do in Vegas when they leave more for their yearly vacation time. Makes cohabitation easier.

      • dorn says:

        No his argument is that there are no issues with Steam. If it gets cut off you can play offline.

        • Emeraude says:

          But not install and play your retail bought game.

          • Premium User Badge Bugamn says:

            Neither can you download from GoG if it is blocked, and I don’t think you can go more DRM-free.

          • Emeraude says:

            My understanding was that the current situation was a prevention of access to a copy already paid for/obtained (“Ubisoft’s proprietary download store, DRM and online infrastructure, has been preventing me from logging in and playing the game“, emphasis mine), not prevention of access to any copy altogether, which is another case.

            A quite different one.

        • The Random One says:

          You can play offline with Steam the same way you can play offline with Uplay: by design you should, but in practice many can’t.

      • Emeraude says:

        (Edit: weird misfire)

  3. Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

    This may be something amiss/paranoid in Uplay, or it may be BT’s notorious and over-reaching porn filter turning up yet another false positive

    Neither – it’s almost certainly a routing issue, and the service that happens to be affected in this case is basically irrelevant (though that doesn’t preclude it being a problem caused by errors by Ubisoft, or more likely their internet provider).

  4. ran93r says:

    I don’t know if it’s a different kind of access but I have been connected to Uplay via Infinity for Black Flag social sharing on the PS4, it dropped out once but it’s been known to do that anyway. Logged me back in ok.

  5. bazbarrett says:

    Uplay stopped me from playing HOMMVI, and I love me some HOMM. That and the fact there was (and potentially is) a gamebreaking bug with nVidia cards inroduced in a patch that they seemed disinterested in fixing.

    I loved the Might and Magic games as a kid, but I’m not going to buy any game with uPlay. I have have a surfeit of excellent games I haven’t even opened yet, so annoying little things make it very easy for me to skip a purchase.

    • Nick says:

      Dude no, don’t punish the M&M guys for Ubisofts shite, they actually managed to persuade Ubi to let them make a game in the style of World of Xeen, in this day and age, it needs to sell =/

      The latest HoMMs are all terrible, but I’m having a blast with the new M&M.

      • slerbal says:

        I can’t do it. I would love to play the M&M X but I hate uPlay as nuch as I hated GfWL, I’ve never had it work right for me and even if this means the death knell of the M&M series I won’t pick it up on Steam while it is hobbled with uPlay. There are just too many other games that demand my attention to justify jumping through anyone’s artificial hoops.

        If I buy a game direct from Ubi then sure uPlay is fine, but to add a whole additional layer to a game bought through Steam? No.

        I’ve posted on the Steam thread about uPlay = no sale. For now that is all I’m willing to do.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        It’s just such a shame the rebooted Might and Magic setting is so incredibly boring and generic. Old M&M was an awesome sci-fi-in-disguise setting full of transporters, artifical planetoids, spaceships, dragons and wizards.

      • Keyrock says:

        Agreed. It sucks that UPlay is preventing some people from playing this game. I’m having a blast with M&MX. It really truly is an old-school M&M game. It’s crazy that Ubi ever funded this in the first place.

      • pullthewires says:

        I sympathise with the devs, as I get the feeling anyone from Ubisoft reading this thread would take away “People who play this type of game are difficult, let’s not bother catering to this market again.”

      • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

        If UPlay is removed from M&M X, I’ll buy enough copies to have spent 100$.

        If Uplay is kept, I will buy enough copies to have spent 000$.

    • frightlever says:

      My introduction to M&M was M&M9 so that did not go well…

      M&MX is actually worth playing then? Huh. Surprised.

      • Nick says:

        Its worth playing IF you like the old style M&M 3-5 games and the Wizardry series or, indeed, the more recent Etrian Odyssey series. If turn based, tile based movement, party based RPGs aren’t your thing then it wasn’t made for you, which is fine.

    • Keyrock says:

      That may have been a blessing in disguise as HOMMVI is quite disappointing.

  6. sendmark says:

    I regret sigining up for BT infinity, as much as I enjoy fast speeds. This is just one among several issues I’ve had with the service and trying to get them resolved is a massive pain every time. My contract is up around August, going to think hard about where to switch to.

  7. Gibly says:

    Uplay was horrible in the past and still is. Steam isn’t intrusive and, although several flaws, is in general fairly user friendly. Uplay on the other hand is a nightmare. So I simply don’t buy any Ubisoft games. Luckily most aren’t appealing to me, but I am interesting in the upcoming Thief and Watch Dogs. Which I probably won’t get to play due to Uplay.

    • slerbal says:

      Thief is Square Enix, not Ubisoft. It is going to be shit through, so at the very least wait for some reviews first :)

      • Geebs says:

        I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Uplay managed to break badly enough to prevent you from playing another publisher’s games ;-)

    • Premium User Badge melnificent says:

      Thief is Squeenix. Better to wait until they release the patch version for a fee rather than paying twice.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      My lasting impression of Uplay was from Asscreed 2. The game kept stopping, and each time a banner appeared onscreen saying my connection to the server was lost. Ubi went straight on my never buy from ever again list after that debacle.

  8. pullthewires says:

    Until I heard about uplay, M&M X was going to a full-price on release purchase for me. Now feeling smugness mixed with confused rage over the fucking needlessness of this shit.

    • slerbal says:

      I feel the same way. I would have happily handed over £20 if it was not hobbled with uPlay :(

  9. Taerdin says:

    Maybe ubisoft should just not use backwards DRM practices that serve only to punish their paying customers?

    Nah, that’s a silly idea.

  10. Themadcow says:

    So then… 8/10?

  11. serioussgtstu says:

    Positive headlines I can think to write about Uplay:

    “Uplay hasn’t forgotten your login information since you last used it.”

    “Uplay told you how long you played a game for (but so did Steam, great).”

    “Uplay now actively less awful due to loss of online requirement.”

    “Uplay: still hasn’t been abandoned.”

    And finally:

    “Uplay inadvertently extols benefits of software piracy, prompting journalists to reflect on the paradox created by copyright protection measures.”

    • Bull0 says:

      On the telling you how long you’ve played the game front, and I find this pretty funny, when I launch Splinter Cell through Steam, play for a couple of hours then quit, I usually forget to quit Uplay too, and then go to bed. In the morning Steam’s like, mate, you went big on Splinter Cell last night, 15 hrs!?

  12. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I very carefully avoid Uplay, and broke that rule specifically for this game. It’s not been terrible so far, and I’m speaking as someone who has to play almost exclusively offline. We shall see how it goes.

    Here’s what Ubisoft doesn’t get: if you want to compete with Steam, you have to compete with Steam. Bolting a Steam clone–quality be damned–to a game even if it is purchased on Steam is a bad idea. I like GOG, which has no intrusive features, and GamersGate, which knows damn well that its customers don’t want to deal with Steam-like problems if possible and so focuses more on the digital equivalent of a punchcard, offering points over time that can be used to buy games, encouraging long-term use. Both of those do things that are different! If they weren’t different from Steam, why would I even consider them?

  13. Premium User Badge Cinek says:

    Two things that you should avoid:
    - Uplay
    - (notsoanymore) Great Britain Internet Censorship
    mixed together and… there we go: nothing works.

    • Horg says:

      The Great Firewall of Cameron, so zealous in its drive to stamp out evil that it blocked the personal website of MP Claire Perry, the primary campaigner for the filter to be instated. Any sane Briton should disable it without a second thought.

      • pepperfez says:

        To be fair, isn’t it supposed to block subversive material? I’d say that’s working as advertised.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      I do hope the default censorship wall runs up against some big opponents at some point. Slightly scary that the government can convince ISPs to voluntarily block content on political grounds.

  14. Colej_uk says:

    I think I’ve ‘Identified the root cause of the issue’ Ubisoft. It’s your pointless always online DRM system. Support it properly or get rid of it, because all you’re doing currently is giving it and your games a terrible image.

    • Aradalf says:

      WTF are you talking about? Ubisoft got rid of always online DRM a long time ago, this is just a problem of Alec’s ISP blocking access to Uplay for God knows what reason.

  15. Simbosan says:

    UPlay’s biggest contribution is as another opportunity for your details to be hacked. No benefit. One interesting thing is that if you delete your Uplay account ALL your Ubisoft games are taken away from you, not just Uplay ones. Just in case you ever had the illusion that you ‘bought’ a Ubif*ck game instead of renting it

  16. Moraven says:

    I do get the benefit of Uplay with Rayman legend in the daily and weekly challenges. This is all on the Wii U version.

    Anno Uplay new challenges are great to have and keep the game interesting over time.

    Have not played enough Heroes 6 to know what I get out of it if anything, but I have not been prevented from playing.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Please do not conflate these things.

      Nothing about a trickle of new content requires a DRM platform.

      Epic were pumping out new things for the Unreal Tournaments for years, back when “DRM” meant “CD check”. (They patched those out pretty sharpish after release, too.)

  17. araczynski says:

    don’t worry, you’re not missing much, Legend of Grimrock is leagues ahead of this game in terms of quality, sadly. Graphics are weak, and the game doesn’t feel polished at all.

    other than that, just download a crack and tell Ubi to shove it.

    • XhomeB says:

      Comparing LoG to MMX is not a good idea, it’s like comparing Dungeon Master to Wizardry. And MMX is really polished considering its size and the amount of content it has.

      • Themadcow says:

        I started to reply to the comparison then assumed that the OP must be trolling… right?

    • Keyrock says:

      This clearly has to be a troll post.

    • Wizardry says:

      Haha.

  18. Text_Fish says:

    I’ve been piracy-free for three or four years by choice, but every time I see that damnable UPlay update screen I get a step closer to downloading cracked versions of their games.

    • Bahoxu says:

      Same here. Once i got a job and started making money i stopped pirating completely.

      Sure is tempting sometimes though.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Luckily the selection of pc games available now is fantastic. Avoiding Uplay and Origin isn’t exactly a hardship.

  19. kikito says:

    I was this close to not buying rocksmith because of uplay.

    Then I realized that I could run it without logging it to it (on mac is a bit easier to do than on windows). So, better.

  20. Bahoxu says:

    Funny thing is that, of course, software pirates are playing might&magic without any issues. DRM is worthless, at least for the purpose of preventing software piracy.

    I suppose that forcing people to use uplay does help with datamining and makes it easier to showcase DLC for the game. Maybe thats enough to justify it?

    I cant imagine that anyone ever chooses uplay as their prefered online vendor of choice. Do they?

    • Premium User Badge Cinek says:

      It’s always the same story with Ubisoft – they do what they think is right, and in the end: pirates always win.

    • Emeraude says:

      It seems the purpose of modern DRM isn’t so much to prevent piracy as to shepherd paying customers

  21. Zaxwerks says:

    I have Virgin 100Mb broadband. I get full speed downloads from Steam, I get full speed downloads from Origin… Uplay gives me 35kb – 150kb download speeds. These muppets couldn’t manage a server farm and network bandwidth connectivity if their lives depended on it. I click to play Anno 2070 and my game will start 20 minutes later as there is always some random update that needs downloading… every… single… time!

    The sooner they shoot Uplay in the head and put us all out of its misery the better.

    • Premium User Badge melnificent says:

      Thats odd, same ISP and speed yet I was getting 6mb minimum downloading assflag from uplay

    • Koozer says:

      I’m on Virgin and I too get stupidly low download speeds for Uplay.

    • Max.I.Candy says:

      I have around 4 or 5 games on Uplay that I’m currently playing regularly (SC:Blacklist, Blackflag,Farcry3, Rayman legends and the motorbike one) with my Virgin line, and I have zero problems with speed OR functionality.

  22. Premium User Badge Makariel says:

    U Play is the sole reason I haven’t bought any recent Ubisoft game. Which is a shame, since I used to enjoy those Splinter Creeds and Assassin’s Cells and those Tom Clancy’s Far Cry’s and Ghost Recons. Sadly that means I won’t be able to play Watch Dogs either, except on my old consolebox perhaps. But why would I want to buy and play a previous gen version if I could play the supercharged version on pc, if not for uplay?

  23. Retro says:

    It would be great if you wouldn’t use URL-shortening services in your articles.. I like to know what I’m clicking on. Thanks.

  24. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    I don’t have any issue with BT Infinity – it’s reliable and fast and at only £18 I’m fine. This issue with Uplay is a pain but really I think people are throwing their toys out of the pram. You only see posts when there is a problem and never when it’s running fine. I think a bit of perspective is needed here and nerd ranting about about something which is clearly being looked at (well by one side at least) seems a bit much. Calm down and play something else.

    • Kadayi says:

      What madness is this? You’re actually suggesting people should have some patience? That this service connectivity conundrum will likely soon be solved? But you don’t understand it’s an important opportunity for people stand around and feel all righteous and talk about how outrageous it is that they can’t connect to a service they personally have no intention of connecting to because Uplay killed their cat and ran off with their wife 4 years ago to Belize, and that they’re never ever ever playing another Ubisoft game as a result, even though they’d apparently like to.

      • Emeraude says:

        Why should people show patience when the issue they are confronted with has been forced on them in the first place ?

        People don’t want to use those DRM solutions. For obvious reasons (such as this one). If one intends to force people to use such DRM software, then one should well make sure that things run flawlessly, because people are not going to have a modicum of compassion for the woes of those that are forcing their hands. Nor patience when confronted with the the fact that something that shouldn’t exist in the first place isn’t working.

        • Mr Wonderstuff says:

          We don’t know if its Ubi or BT – I wouldn’t get on my anti-DRM high horse if I were you.

          • Emeraude says:

            Either way the issue wouldn’t exist if not for the DRM.

          • shaydeeadi says:

            And how can you be so sure it’s all the nasty DRM’s fault? Are you a man of science?

            Computer Science?

          • Emeraude says:

            @shaydeeadi:

            If there was no imposed DRM, then whether uPlay’s servers or the ISP or the UK porn filter filter is the source of the problem would be irrelevant because access to the game would and could not be denied.

            Surely you don’t need to have studied computer science to understand that ?

          • Kadayi says:

            @Emeraude

            Of course if it was Valve with Steam, you’d be screaming about it being solely BTs fault.

          • Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

            Unlikely, Emeraude is as fervently anti-Steam as you are.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Llewyn:

            I’m fervently anti-DRM. Steam only happens to be a salient point as it is currently one if not the foremost actor on this particular sub-market right now in term of influence.

            If anything, I have a grudging respect for Valve in spite of whatever ill I think they brought to the PC platform.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        You’re paying for something you’re not getting. Counseling that one have “patience with Ubisoft” is absurd.

        One should have patience generally, but it is absolutely appropriate to be impatient with a company who charges premium prices for a defective product.

        A corporation will get away with whatever it’s able to get away with. It’s their nature. And when the problems are due to a willful hostility to their own paying customers by forcing them to use an unnecessary, defective product, a sackcloth and ashes are called for.

        • Kadayi says:

          The people playing BT aren’t getting the service they’re demanding you’re right. You’d of thought they’d have checked their filtering system before implementing it to establish whether it was throwing up some obvious false positives.

    • Kadayi says:

      Careful there fella, that sounds dangerously like the entire problem might be at BTs end with their over sensitive filtering software and that’s just not whats important Versus blaming Uplay.

      • shaydeeadi says:

        I’m not suggesting anybody put their pitchforks away.

      • Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

        Or rather that there are two completely unrelated issues – one is an issue of censorship, the other is a networking problem.

        By the way, BT haven’t enabled filtering for their pre-existing customers yet, only for their new ones. This Ubi issue affects all BT Infinity users, as far as I’m aware.

  25. Keyrock says:

    “As for Might & Magic X – well, I’ll try to find the time, but the days I’d put aside to play it were lost to what was then an undiagnosed problem, and other things are now knocking at my door. Additionally, when I was finally able to get back into the game, I discovered that my savegames had been characteristically eradicated by Uplay.”

    If your savegames were from the Early Access version of the game they wouldn’t have been compatible anyway as they’ve changes a good number of things since then and it apparently broke the old savegames in some way.

    • harcalion says:

      I was about to say the same. Savegame incompatibility really hurts (I had my pains with Mass Effect (X360) -> Mass Effect 2 (PC) losing all the decisions). Hopefully the programmers could put player progress as top priority but as John said in his editorial, that’s open development/kickstarter-backing/early access for you, paying, complaining beta testers, nothing more.

  26. Seafort says:

    I’ve had 2 occasions where I hated Uplay.

    The first was when I couldn’t play Splinter Cell Conviction after a year away from it. It wanted to redirect me to steam for some reason even though I had bought the game through Uplay.

    The second time was last year when I had all my progress deleted for Assassin Creed 4 from their cloud save service as they were doing maintenence on it and never told anyone to turn it off so we could backup manually.

    I haven’t gone back to either game since. I was 60% through AC4 and now can’t be arsed to start over and finish it as I don’t trust Ubisoft to have a stable cloud service.

  27. Premium User Badge Bitter says:

    As another has mentioned, early access savegames won’t work with the release version, so if it’s an older cloud save you’d be doing without it anyway.

    The way MMX has Uplay implemented, it’s only required for the initial activation. The cloud saves may be a different matter, but DRM-wise they only check on the first launch. After that you can play MMX offline, from what the dev has said (they had to implement Uplay per Ubisoft corporate policy, but didn’t have to require always-on or regular DRM checks, I guess).

    So not to defend Uplay, but: If you managed to get the game launched once with a VPN, you should be able to run MMX in offline mode from then out. You’d just be missing out on cloud saves, auto-updates and achievements.

  28. Krull says:

    I promised myself after that catastrophe called Might & Magic Heroes VI that I will never put my hands on anything related to uplay. And hell how I am satisfied :)

  29. DanMan says:

    Steam is an OpenID provider. Which means that Ubisoft could let you log into Uplay by using your Steam (or Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, …) credentials, so you don’t have to remember yet another password (using the same doesn’t count). That would also prevent hackers from stealing them, because they’re not stored at Ubisoft…

    But it would be even better, if Valve and Ubisoft cooperated even more and let one Software launch the other and do all the logging in and whatnot (using OAuth for example) in the background, resulting in less reasons to complain. Like it is, Uplay only gets in the way.

    • Moraven says:

      And if Steam was blocked in this same fashion from authentication the first time there would be no pitchforks.

      But I agree on uPlay should be detached from authentication of Ubi games bought on Steam. Ubisoft is probably better off allowing Steam to authenticate their Steam bought games and give uPlay as an option for achievements, social, DLC, etc. uPlay works great as an add on for Anno and Rayman Legends (Wii U). But I could play and live without it if I wanted to.

  30. RProxyOnly says:

    C’mon people, get over it already. There’s no reason ANYONE shoud be with out a vpn proxy in this day and age.

    £40 a year for the ability to tell the gov what they can do with their restriction.. priceless.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      Why should you pay £40 on top of what you pay your ISP just to access information in a democracy? If your ISP is set on blocking content on political grounds, sounds like it’s time to dump that ISP. If the government is intent on doing it, then for a democracy like the UK this is seriously dangerous.

  31. SkittleDiddler says:

    Is this also affecting Steam users who have Uplay-enabled games on their Steam accounts? Inquiring minds want to know.

  32. Tom Servo says:

    I am done with Ubisoft, I tried starting Far Cry: Blood Dragon three different times and each time it had lost my save progress from the last time I had played it and I had to start all over. I have had way more problems with Uplay than I ever had with GFWL.

    Then I played AC: Liberation on my Vita, I heard it had issues so I made sure to patch it before starting. The game crashed and now goes into an infinite loading screen so I have apparently lost all my progress in that too. Ubisoft makes good games but the last time I had an error free experience with an Ubi game was Far Cry 2, which didn’t have Uplay. Not a coincidence, methinks!

  33. RProxyOnly says:

    I really REALLY want to play the Assasin’s Creed franchise and M&M:X, none of their other’s appeal to me… but I won’t because of Uplay.. However that is a price I am willing to pay to uphold my standards.

  34. SuicideKing says:

    True. Can’t really see the purpose Uplay serves, except being another annoying DRM layer. At least Origin is an exclusive store, so it has some purpose.

  35. Tei says:

    Porn filters are know for stooping pretty much anything randomly but porn. If you want to watch porn, a filter is not going to stop you. But that don’t stop bad politicians playing the demagoge card.

  36. Cosmo Dium says:

    Really? You’re gonna pass on M&M X because of some unrelated DRM issues? This coming from the guy who championed King’s Bounty: The Legend back in the day. Don’t be lazy just because this is some smaller game hamstrung by issues beyond its control.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Really? You’re gonna pass on M&M X because of some unrelated DRM issues?

      Unrelated to what? It’s absolutely related because it’s something that Ubi slathered all over the top of M&MX and now because of that greasy mess the game is unplayable.

      How is that “unrelated”?

    • Premium User Badge jrodman says:

      Will be happy to buy M&M X when the DRM issues become unrelated. As in .. not related to this game. As in.. the DRM is specifically designed to (badly) control this specific game. Which is.. the whole purpose of the DRM, and thus in this context its only real relation.

    • Dominic White says:

      King’s Bounty had a slightly overzealous CD check. It was annoying, but it would still run on just about any PC you threw it at.

      In this case, the game is straight-up inaccessible from one of the UKs major ISPs. I use Infinity too, and while I can access the service now, I was locked out of all things Ubisoft (including their website) for at least two whole days, maybe three here.

  37. Morte66 says:

    Whilst I enjoyed FarCry3, which was my first experience of Uplay, the next game requiring it will have to be very tempting indeed.

    I was about ready to buy Anno 2070 in the Steam sale, but held off when I saw in needs UPlay. It’s just too much of a pain in the arse. This is not an ideological thing, UPlay just doesn’t work well enough to put up with.

  38. Slinkusss says:

    Just another reason why I BUY the game from the producers when it launches so they get their damned money, and then USE the other versions that appear on the internet that are somehow free of this nonsense. Skidloaded FTW!

  39. Moraven says:

    The UK’s porn filter is blocking the latest League of Legends update

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/209261/The_UKs_porn_filter_is_blocking_the_latest_League_of_Legends_update.php

  40. Premium User Badge Chaz says:

    I’m on Virgin and I’ve long had problems connecting to Uplay’s service. It seems to be pot luck if it works or not. I used to fire up in offline mode but then that wouldn’t work one day, and I only managed to get it going again by going back online and updating it.

    Speaking of updating, Uplay seems to update every single bloody time I fire it up to play a game. I was playing AC Brotherhood the other week and every time I fired up the service to play the game it wanted to do an update. Even if I can fire up and connect to Uplay and launch AC Brotherhood, sometimes even then, once in game it will not connect to the Uplay servers.

    Oh, and I buy the game in Steam but I’m then forced to use the Uplay service to play it. WANK!

    Uplay is just shite.

  41. KillahMate says:

    I’ve stopped buying Ubisoft games since they started using Uplay. Simple as that. Am I sorry that I won’t be playing Far Cry 3 and Rayman Legends any time soon? Yes, I am – especially Rayman. But fortunately, just like EA with Origin, companies always somehow introduce these DRM schemes right around the time their games generally stop being interesting.

  42. captain nemo says:

    Piracy will get the blame

  43. racccoon says:

    I bought yesterday might n magic x legacy, I had same problem.
    I just kept cc cleaning also using bleachbit, n’ hyjacking, lastly I opened some blocks made by my peer guardian in the 2.2 billion ip blocks, noting ubisoft… after that it was fine.
    good game, good see old school ideas coming back.

  44. Premium User Badge heretic says:

    UPlay was a right pain to download games as well, am on a 500kbps connection so had to leave AC4 running over night but after about 30 mins download speed drops to 0 and doesn’t restart.

    I had a feeling it was using up all the bandwidth and then the connection was failing or something so I downloaded a bandwidth limiter (NetBalancer, free version with limitations available) and then limit UPlay to only download 520kbps and 25kbps upload, then at least it kept going through the night…

    Never had this problem with steam

  45. Uboa Noticed You says:

    Well thank god I live in America! As racist and sexist and homophobic and transphobic and xenophobic and closed minded of a country it is, at least we can access Uplay!
    … *silent sobbing*

    (not to imply England and the rest of the U.K. are perfect)

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      When I went back for Christmas the top story was fear about letting in Romanians. The UK is no less racist or xenophobic or whatever, it just manifests itself in different ways. Plus America would probably be less accepting of censorship than the British public (not implying that this individual case is 100% down to ISP censorship).

      • Uboa Noticed You says:

        Oh I know the UK has its own shit problems, which is what the addendum was for. And Americans are very much opposed to censorship, but at the same time a lot of that is tied with political views. I once had a couple of classmates that were heavily against SOPA, and a lot of them thought Obama propelled it. Once I told them that a majority of the voters to pass it were conservative, they all changed their minds immediately.

        My comment was a bit shortsighted, I apologize. Living as a queer person of color in the Bible belt for about 10 years has jaded me a bit. That Romanians bit though… that’s Daily Mail level paranoia, jesus.

      • Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

        Or, in fact, related to it in any way at all.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        If internet media is anything to go by, I’d say the UK is even more overtly xenophobic than the US. I’ve lost count of the number of shockingly racist cell phone videos — shot on one of your lovely transit systems — that shows some rambling Brit loudly going on about dirty Somalis, scary Pakis, or job-stealing Indians. Anyone exhibiting that kind of behavior in public in the United States tends to get their ass kicked, or at the very least a strong talking-down from others.

        Like I said though, media, so I’m no doubt getting an exaggerated view of those kinds of incidents in your country.

  46. Retne says:

    In the mean time, cute pic in the background.

    (I have gone from not caring at all about any babies, and looking terrified when my friends passed me theirs, to noticing, and, apparently, commenting, on other people’s. This is what parenthood does to you (well, me, anyway). Be warned).

  47. Shadrach says:

    Uplay is such a POS system I refuse to buy any Ubisoft games that require it. I was actually really looking forward to AC:Liberation but it’s out of the question at the moment.

    The worst thing is definitely the fact that Ubi won’t allocate more bandwidth to the update system, and hence it takes 30 (!) minutes to update a 30MB application, and if you don’t have time for games that often, this is a HUGE time to wait. To give 150-200 Kbps bandwidth to clients these days is evidence of complete arrogance, or stupidity.

    And don’t say “get better internets” – in comparison, Steam gives me over 10 Megabytes/sec for game downloads, and updates almost instantly.

  48. floweringmind says:

    I love how I have to be logged into steam and then logged into u-play. I miss the days of just playing a game and no one cared to track anything about what you were doing in the game. I mean Might and Magic X is single player.

  49. tommy says:

    Lol Ubisoft and internet connectivity have never been good , i have some tom clancy games that are over 5 yrs old their POS severs in Montreal Canada have always crashed randomly so access has been patchy regardless of ISP i was with, the actual peering links used and the way gaming traffic gets routed from the UK and Europe sucks big time , if you do a tracert or better still use ping plotter to ping the IP address you game uses to connect to their server farm,.(they only have the 1)and sell games on a global scale )

    You will see what i mean, NewYork via Chicago to Montreal , when it did some time ago route directly from NewYork talk about ways to add latency This blocking of those who are on BT ‘s Infinity isn’t down to their CGN is it ?
    ubi may have blocked their ip range as a result of seeing it as a threat

    I personally will never buy another game that ubi publish until they drop the backwards outdated methods used for online play, in other words not use their servers for online play
    no doubt they will be using their servers for The Division once/if it’s gets released