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Default Mass Effect - Copy Protection Details

May 6th, 2008, 15:06
With the PC version only a few weeks away, BioWare's Derek French has revealed the copy protection scheme for Mass Effect on the official forums, including the fact that a periodic internet connection is mandatory:
Mass Effect uses SecuROM and requires an online activation for the first time that you play it. Each copy of Mass Effect comes with a CD Key which is used for this activation and for registration here at the BioWare Community. Mass Effect does not require the DVD to be in the drive in order to play, it is only for installation.

After the first activation, SecuROM requires that it re-check with the server within ten days (in case the CD Key has become public/warez'd and gets banned). Just so that the 10 day thing doesn't become abrupt, SecuROM tries its first re-check with 5 days remaining in the 10 day window. If it can't contact the server before the 10 days are up, nothing bad happens and the game still runs. After 10 days a re-check is required before the game can run.
…and you can find further clarification in this post. Some players are going to welcome this and others aren't.
Thanks, Stanza!
More information.
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May 6th, 2008, 15:06
Ah well, you can put me in the saved some money group for MEPC.

Really tired of these harsh copy protection routines for PC now.
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May 6th, 2008, 15:10
Well, although I can understand *their* need for this, it's just getting a little insane the number of hoops legit users have to jump through.
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May 6th, 2008, 15:16
Ok, some points.
First one: kudos for not needing the DVD to play the game.
Second: I rather have that copy protection than the Two Worlds one (yeah, it might be cool for someone who doesn't change much in their hardware system, but for passionate hardware freaks like myself it's just stupid and annoying).
Third: I really don't understand the need to reconnect. Something like steam should work fine.

At last, I have to say that I take an online copy protection (like steam) any day over some stupid fucked up CD/DVD copy protection. I look at you World in Conflict or The Witcher. Both those games require me to shut down my process explorer because both of them use the same f***ed up protection (it's SecuRom, if I'm not mistaken and I do hope that this problem has been taken care of in the mean time).
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May 6th, 2008, 15:17
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Mass Effect does not require the DVD to be in the drive in order to play, it is only for installation.
I like! Hate swapping those dvds just because som other persons like to pirate the game.
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
After the first activation, SecuROM requires that it re-check with the server within ten days (in case the CD Key has become public/warez'd and gets banned). Just so that the 10 day thing doesn't become abrupt, SecuROM tries its first re-check with 5 days remaining in the 10 day window. If it can't contact the server before the 10 days are up, nothing bad happens and the game still runs. After 10 days a re-check is required before the game can run.
I do hope it works but didnt assasins creed have somthing like this allready? It tries to connect to som ubi server all the time during the game. It didnt work at all though, the game was pirated almost immediatly after release.

These checks wont last forever though naturally. Sooner or later they will release a patch that removes it (once most of the sales have been done).
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May 6th, 2008, 15:52
There's also questions going around about revocation, to which Bioware has not responded. This is raising FUD by online tongue-waggers about whether you regain one of the 3 licenses when uninstalling — a separate revocation tool may be required, as with Bioshock.

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May 6th, 2008, 16:12
As usual, the pirates will probably find a way to completely disable this in a few days and the legitimate users will get all of the inconvenience.
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May 6th, 2008, 16:29
Yeah, pirates will bypass the protection in no time, while those who bought the game will have to suffer the inconviniencies of the protection. Why do they even bother?

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May 6th, 2008, 16:43
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Some players are going to welcome this and others aren't.
Thanks, Stanza!
I don't think any players are really going to welcome it? Some will understand why they've done it, maybe, but as others have said already, anyone who wants to pirate this game will do so regardless (it'll be hacked in days if not hours), and it's only the legitimate owners of the game that have to live with the inconvenience of its "copy protection" scheme.
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May 6th, 2008, 16:50
As long as it gets rid of dvd swapping I do welcome it.
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May 6th, 2008, 17:12
Originally Posted by 15th View Post
Well, although I can understand *their* need for this, it's just getting a little insane the number of hoops legit users have to jump through.
Maybe you could fill me in on their need. Is it the need to delay pirates from distributing their game for the first 6 hours after its release, while inconveniencing everyone who pays for the game? Forever?

I haven't had an internet connection at home for over a week now, and I'm so sick of talking to AT&T I'm thinking of just canceling it. That said, kudos to Bioware for restricting your game to players with a home internet connection! I'm sure all your fans in Eastern Europe and Russia will be thrilled as well.

One more thing: If I actually had any desire to play this game, I would basically be forced into supporting piracy myself, to the extent I would need a hack to use their product. Luckily, I've given up on AAA titles altogether. Long live Armageddon Empires!

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May 6th, 2008, 17:32
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
As long as it gets rid of dvd swapping I do welcome it.
Yeah, that's a pain. I feel no guilt about downloading a NoCD patch for such games. I legitimately paid for the game, I'm not giving the CD/DVD to anyone else. I don't have a problem with it.

In the same way I could imagine people who've legitimately purchased a game to use illegitimate solutions to e.g., not having a home internet connection. It's ridiculous that software companies force users into these solutions, but there you go.

Again, this "copy-protection" does not protect the game from being copied - it simply annoys people who've legitimately paid for the game!
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May 6th, 2008, 17:35
What "hoops?"

I'm cool with this. I'd much rather have on-line CP than drive-based CP — that just breaks with operating system updates, mucks up the hardware, *and* requires the annoyance of swapping DVD's.

And yeah, I'd love it if they came up with a business model that didn't need copy protection, yadda yadda yadda, but as long as they don't, and as long as piracy is as rampant as it is, it's something I can live with — *if* it doesn't inconvenience me, open security holes in my computer, or compromise my privacy. This appears to be less inconvenient than most schemes and doesn't appear to have any of the real problems either.

And no, I cannot believe that there are a significant number of potential Mass Effect players who can't open up an Internet connection once a week after installing the game, even if they're on dialup. You need moderately serious hardware to play it in the first place, which means you can afford it. I could've done it from Kyiv in 1999, and I don't believe for a moment you can't do it from Moscow in 2008.
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May 6th, 2008, 17:38
Originally Posted by Stanza View Post
There's also questions going around about revocation, to which Bioware has not responded. This is raising FUD by online tongue-waggers about whether you regain one of the 3 licenses when uninstalling — a separate revocation tool may be required, as with Bioshock.
And just like Bioshock, I won't be purchasing Mass Effect for this very reason.

Sucks that (potential) legitimate customers get shafted, isn't it? But I simply will not buy something that limits how/where I install and play the game like this.

Now this online system as an alternative to playing with the DVD in the drive I would have no issues with whatsoever - that way everyone wins.
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May 6th, 2008, 17:41
They should divide each game into a server and client and put small critical parts of the game into the serverside code. It would work like mmog and be completely uncrackable (unless somone manages to steal it).

After a year or two they could release a patch that adds the server code into the client so that you dont need internet connection anymore.

The only limitation is that they cant put just any part into the server side code. It should be somthing that does not lag the game no matter how poor the connection and ping is. And it should also be somthing that cant be easily reconstructed (dont remember what the right word was).

Oh, I have had a connection to the bbs/net on every pc I owned since the early 90s or somthing. My first modem was 2400bds.
Last edited by zakhal; May 6th, 2008 at 17:57.
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May 6th, 2008, 17:47
If I'm understanding it right, your legitimately purchased copy could stop working if your CD key, somehow, became public knowledge. It would be forever banned.

Once I hired a kid to work for me who turned out to be quite an adept and active hacker. After about a week, I noticed that my Windows installation disk was missing, and I asked him about it. He said he had "borrowed" it.

I got the CD back but always wondered if he'd uploaded a copy of it somewhere and how many "pirates" were running my copy of Windows on their machines. If Microsoft were using this kind of copy protection then, I probably would have been forced to go out and purchase another copy.

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May 6th, 2008, 17:48
All this hazy justification of strict copy protection measures by saying they're a means to fight piracy is utter bollocks. If people like a game, it'll sell regardless of protection. C.f. Oblivion, which had no protection at all and still sold shitloads (no arguements on whether it's a good game or not, please). Not to mention the fact that the protection will be pawned eventually — usually sooner than later.

In general, game developers should focus on bringing out quality titles that actually deliver some value instead of wasting time/money/resources on useless copy protection and also alienating their fan and customer base along the way. It was just recently that Crytek also moaned about how piracy was killing their sales of Crysis. I say if they had put some depth and variety into the gameplay instead of essentially releasing a tech demo that only a select few can run at high-fidelity visuals, they might have made more bucks.

I have said this before, now I'm repeating it: BioWare have become a bunch of bitches.

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May 6th, 2008, 18:21
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
If I'm understanding it right, your legitimately purchased copy could stop working if your CD key, somehow, became public knowledge. It would be forever banned.

Once I hired a kid to work for me who turned out to be quite an adept and active hacker. After about a week, I noticed that my Windows installation disk was missing, and I asked him about it. He said he had "borrowed" it.

I got the CD back but always wondered if he'd uploaded a copy of it somewhere and how many "pirates" were running my copy of Windows on their machines. If Microsoft were using this kind of copy protection then, I probably would have been forced to go out and purchase another copy.
There's no identifying information on your Windows install disk, so unless he "borrowed" your product key as well, there's no problem. And, FWIW, Microsoft are using this type of copy protection — if your product key leaks, it'll get blacklisted, which means your "WGA" (Windows Genuine Advantage) feature will emasculate your OS the next time it installs a critical update.
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May 6th, 2008, 18:36
the only reason oblivion sold shitloads without copy protection is
A) no f'ing demo
B)consoles
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May 6th, 2008, 18:37
Originally Posted by curiously undead View Post
the only reason oblivion sold shitloads without copy protection is
A) no f'ing demo
B)consoles

Ain't it the very same thing with Mass Effect, then? Conclusion: BW are morons indeed.

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