EA – aka “Electronic Arts”, or, Perhaps, “Extremely Annoying”

The main reason to design and commission “The Tazmanian Devil” (Taz to his friends) was to enjoy PC gaming at it’s finest – to experience some of the better PC game titles configured with maximum detail and resolution, to make the game as immersive as possible. Then along came Electronic Arts. EA. Or “Extremely Annoying” as they are to henceforth be known.

I bought the “Mass Effect Trilog” via play.com, and on my old Core i7/870 System, running Windows 7, 64-Bit, everything seemed fine. I had played through all of ME1 and made a start on ME2 when Taz finally burst out of RapidPCs, snarling, looking for action. So: bring it on.

Or not.

Mass Effect 1 installed flawlessly from the 2 DVDs, but any attempt to run it produced a weird error message. Eventually, after much searching, I found a post suggesting that the solution was to shut down the Origin client [Origin being EA’s despised DRM Technology], then launch the program in “Run As Administrator” mode. Sure enough, it works. Question is: why? Why can’t EA release a game that works as expected when installed via their own software?

Mass Effect 2 went one better. It installed ok, but produced no error message. A stack more web searches revealed this page,  in which *an end user* suggested a fix which consisted of renaming 2 of the game’s main binaries. As the contributor noted, [s]he was unable to explain why this worked, just noted that it did. Shortly thereafter, the EA “Community Manager”, no less, recommends this end user’s fix as a solution to the problem. Wait, what? The vendor’s own representative on the forum, having consistently failed to help customers provide a solution, lamely offers something from another user…?

All credit to the contributor for finding the fix, but how utterly shameless of “Extremely Annoying” for their pathetic customer service. The “Mass Effect Trilogy” was not my first EA title, since I’d previously bought and have played both Crysis and Crysis 2. The Mass Effect Trilogy came in the post with Crysis 3, but after my experiences of getting ME1 and ME2 to work, I think that will have to be the last of EA. The fragility of their own DRM solution really is shocking.

And pathetic.

Mostly pathetic.