Why Does Bioware Make It So F'ing Hard to Buy Downloads?

FWIW, there are quite a few non-premium NWN mods that are just as good as the premium ones. You might want to look into them next time you get the RPG itch. I’d recommend just about anything from the NWN Vault’s Hall of Fame or from their top-rated modules list.[/quote]
Exactly. One needn’t support bullshit customer service to find a CRPG.

Not only do I not care what their “excuse” is, I don’t really care what a public company promises in general, but rather only what they do – in the same way they don’t care what I say, only whether I pay.

Nonsense! Internet delivery is coming and in many ways already here – I don’t believe the market in general will give up on it just because a few attempts along the way fail.

Take Steam for example. Many of it’s detractors love the idea of internet delivery, and do indeed “blame the DRM” rather than the “whole model”.

Sure. I’m just pointing out they have acknowledged the flaws, explained why they went that way in the first place and said they are working on a better system.

That is what I heard too. WoTC specifically, I think Bio was cool with it.

Hexacoda is good. Better than nearly all SP cRPGs. I’m just do not understand why people are not totally into DMed NWNs instead of MMORPGs

Sure. I’m just pointing out they have acknowledged the flaws, explained why they went that way in the first place and said they are working on a better system.[/quote]
Public Corporations always say this, regardless of whether it’s true. They’re effectively required to do so by law, as to do other wise might risk “shareholder value”.

OK. BioWare is a privately held company but if you think they are just outright lying…shrug

Oops! I had assumed they were public just because of their size. But yes, I do think that public companies frequently tell lies. Private companies too, although there is much less pressure for them to do so.

Besides, it’s not that I think they’re lying, I’m just not convinced that their saying so means they will actually follow through on “better DRM” in the end. There are all sorts of reasons this could happen that don’t involve lying – changing their mind, the information source not having any authority, lack of money, wishful thinking, exaggeration, a differing view of what “improved DRM” would be, etc.

I’ll believe it when I see it, not when I hear about it in a press release or internet forum.

Because you can’t just pick up and play in a campaign, for one. NWN has fewer DMs than it has in a while, many of the ongoing campaigns have been going for some time, and you really need to find a good group to make it worthwhile. Finding that right mix of players and DMs on the internet is kind of like alchemy.

I’ve seen some excellent campaign play. I’ve also seen campaign games ruined by the wrong player or a DM style that does’t match what the players expect. You get this stuff in PnP, too, but people seem more willing or able to negotiate those things in real life than they are in an online environment.

Not to mention the practical issues of time zones, scheduling, different computer setups leading to lag, needing a stable server, etc.

I’ll never speak against the DM client - it’s a great innovation that has led to some of my household’s greatest game experiences ever. But you shouldn’t minimize the issues involved.


<getting slightly off-topic to the original discussion>

I wasn’t meaning to minimize the issues, but to be honest its been easy to me getting involved in DMed campaigns. I know I’m perhaps lucky, as I know of others who have had to work much harder at it than me.
I know its not that easy for everyone, especially those only wanting to play and not DM, but the experience when it all works it is so far beyond the SP cRPG or MMORPG experience. That is what I want people to know (I know you know :) ).

I want people to try it because its not grinding, and kill-stealing, and griefing and all that other nonsense. Nor is it having to choose preprogramed dialog choices that do not fit my PC, or limited plot choices of a SP cRPG. It is having a live person control the flow of the story and all the dialog, so you can play your character how you want to and your character and group can make a real difference in the plot.

Sure. I’m just pointing out they have acknowledged the flaws, explained why they went that way in the first place and said they are working on a better system.[/quote]
And yet, any time I read something like that, I think: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” It’s all well and good that Bioware says they’re coming up with a better system; but until it gets here, we’re stuck with the one they have now. While I don’t find Bioware’s approach exceptionally odious, but it could definitely use some improvement. Not requiring you to manually enter your CD key when you buy a premium mod (since it’s stored in your NWN directory) and not validating your game every time you load a save-game (maybe just when you first start NWN) would be two good starts.

Sharpe, I guarantee that if you’d sent a friendly (or even unfriendly) letter to BioWare support, they would have worked out a solution with you. It may take them a couple days, but they’ll do it. Horrible customer service is certainly not something BW has. The CD Key thing was a necessity. You have to authorize your CD Key when you play the modules–that’s DRM for ya.

They did in fact respond to my email in 24 hours, with the solution that I had already figured out on my own by reading the website info (the cdkey.ini file). That solution did work so they did respond successfully. Nonetheless my point stands: I was ready, willing and able to pay Bioware for a product and Bioware threw up a roadblock. 99% of the customers would have bailed out at that step and never made the purchase. I did so only b/c I have a weakness for RPGs, am both anal and obsessive and know just enough computer info to find an .ini file. It may be a necessity but the DRM and CD key systems are clumsy, intrusive and poorly implemented IMO. There’s got to be a better way.

Why is it a necessity? Why isn’t the CD key from when you installed NWN in the first place enough? Forcing a customer through an extra headache to ensure they paid for some other product in the past is lame.

I would hazard a guess that they were trying to save people from having a bad experience later on. If they’ve made a decision that the CD key is required to play the module, and you purchase that module and then can’t find the CD key anywhere (including the .ini file), then you are out your cash. At least this way, you know before making your purchase that you may not have everything you need to enjoy the module. And, assuming this was a web interface, I don’t think we want our browser scanning the hard drive to find this .ini file, and finding the stored CD key - that leads to all sorts of other issues.

It would be enough to say "Requires NWN’.

The fact remains that if the necessary key is stored in an ini file, and you’re accessing the online store through something Bioware created (rather than just a website), there is no reason they can’t check the ini file automatically.