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Default NWN2: MoW - DRM Commentary @ Alazander's Blog

May 12th, 2009, 11:11
Luke 'Alazander' Scull, Lead Designer on Mysteries of Westgate, has penned a request on his blog for players to weigh the pros of supporting MoW versus maintaining an anti-DRM line:
I don't like DRM much. I like limited activation DRM even less. When it comes to limited activation DRM used on a game I designed and am counting on to sell enough so that I and a lot of other talented folk actually get a chance to make another, I am positively frosty. I know the arguments for and against it; I know which way my allegiances lie. That, though, is not what I'm going to expatiate about. Instead, I'm going to talk about why MoW needs to be supported. Not on the BioWare forums, because that way lies madness and a swift thread-locking and probably some mild discomfort that the Lead Designer on the project caused such a furore. No, here will have to do.

I've been following the reaction to the details of MoW's DRM on the net, you see. A worryingly large number of users have posted claiming they won't be purchasing the game based upon its DRM. Truly, I don't blame them. They're taking a principled stand and, you know, it seems to be working. Publishers are beginning to back down. Point proved. The problem is, and you knew this was coming but it's worth saying anyway, the only ones that will be harmed in MoW's casewill be Ossian Studios and the community.
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May 12th, 2009, 11:11
i can't agree with that. Atari is the worst developer/publisher on earth hands down, and they WILL go belly up seeing as that all their recent games sold like crap. what will happen then to the poor folks who bought their limited activation drm infested games?

no one, i repeat, no one should ever, under no circumstance, buy a limited activation game. no matter the publisher or developer.
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May 12th, 2009, 14:36
Here's a different perspective, which I appreciate you won't agree with. I've played the game (well, actually, I haven't finished but let's keep it simple) and enjoyed the experience of ~15-20 hours gameplay, for pretty close to the same price as a movie ticket. I'm comfortable with that value proposition, even if I don't/can't play it again.

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May 12th, 2009, 15:19
Originally Posted by gargar View Post
no one, i repeat, no one should ever, under no circumstance, buy a limited activation game. no matter the publisher or developer.
Aw man. Looks like I have violated your glorious laws of holier than thouness. What's gonna happen to me now? Am I gonna get the spanky spanky?
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May 12th, 2009, 17:23
Originally Posted by gargar View Post
i can't agree with that. Atari is the worst developer/publisher on earth hands down, and they WILL go belly up seeing as that all their recent games sold like crap. what will happen then to the poor folks who bought their limited activation drm infested games?

no one, i repeat, no one should ever, under no circumstance, buy a limited activation game. no matter the publisher or developer.
Or, you could just get over yourself and stop being such a drama queen.

This isn't a brutal war against the MAN for our very survival, this is a potentially moderately irritating business decision.
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May 12th, 2009, 17:42
This game costs less than a ticket to see a movie, which ticket would allow you exactly one viewing. And which movie would probably suck anyway. Why do we demand so much more for our $10 than the viewing public? Yes, 5 years from now maybe you might not be able to play some games you bought. But I took a date to see frigging Coraline in 3D and that cost $30 for a one-time viewing. Is there really a principled stand to make here, when EVEN IF the game allowed you EXACTLY ONE playthrough, we're already way ahead of the value curve versus every other visual entertainment? Compare how restrictive DRM actually is relative to going to see a movie, play, or concert, and compare how much more entertainment time we get from a game relative to buying a DVD, CD, or book.

Thanks to being huge nerds, and at the mere cost of the potential for leading healthy, normal lives, we've been getting far and away the best value for our entertainment dollar than any of the normals. So now DRM MIGHT cut that value down by like 15%or 20% in SOME cases which are mostly exercises in imagination and not likely to affect the vast majority of us.

And for this we are urged to revolt against an industry which just happens to be fading away faster than we'd like already. Take that, PC gaming!

Now, if publishers really tried to enforce that exactly one playthrough approach, I could see joining the revolution. Until then, let's relaaaaaaax.
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May 12th, 2009, 18:29
If someone likes what Obsidian and Ossian are doing with NWN2, and wants them to do more, he should do his best to make Atari think it'd be profitable to fund new NWN2-related projects. In most cases, "doing his best" means "buying MoW despite any DRM-related reservations".

By not buying MoW, perhaps you intend to send the "don't use DRM" message to Atari; but I'd bet Atari will understand it as "putting more money into NWN2 is not worth it".
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May 12th, 2009, 19:23
I hate this DRM stuff. But, I bought the game today in order to support Ossian Studios for their great efforts.
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May 12th, 2009, 20:00
From some of the reviews the mod simply doesn't sound that great - $10 or not. Perhaps that's what's showing up? Nothing I've read has convinced me that it would be worth the time to play - sorry. I'd rather play some of the *free* excellent community mods out there, number of which have similar scope, with interesting/novel plot, lots of new content/music etc.
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May 12th, 2009, 20:51
I have nothing against DRM.

The only grudge I hold is that I must ALWAYS put the CD in the drive - which becomes quite dull with several games installed.

Currently, I'd need to have about CD-ROM/DVD 10 drives in my PC because of that. Which publisher gives me some ?

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 12th, 2009, 20:57
You have to remove one cd and put in another? Outrageous! I mean next thing you know, they'll expect us to pull down our pants first before taking a crap! Where will it end? Wiping might become mandatory! Oh no!!!

Ok, sorry Alrik. I'm not feeling like a martyr for having to remove cds from the drive. How lazy can we get?

I bought it because I wanted to support Ossian Studios. I haven't played it, but that's really beside the point. I want to see NWN3 and I wouldn't mind more upgrades and patches to NWN2. The NWN games' have given the most bang for the buck of any game I own.

I'm not anti-Atari either. They did release The Witcher over on this side of the pond. Even though I owned the UK version, I went ahead and bought an American version too, because I want Atari to publish European titles. I'm doing it all out of my selfish greed for games.

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May 12th, 2009, 21:22
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Ok, sorry Alrik. I'm not feeling like a martyr for having to remove cds from the drive. How lazy can we get?
Well, having a stack of CDs which might get scratchy … who gives me a replacement CD waaay after the decline of the product's lifetime ?

And even worse: Why don't they just remove CD copy checks after several years ? When no-one buys the game anymore ? When the game actually DOESN'T RUN on "modern" systems anymore ?

What I really, really cannot understand why the copy protections are just kept there, even 10 years after release. Because no-one took care.

Recently, I bought an re-issue of the original Sid Meyer's "Pirates!" game. You know when it came out. And even this re-issue STILL has a copy protection !
Those pirate bastards !!!! Still want to copy ancient games !!!

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May 12th, 2009, 21:29
Originally Posted by Yeesh View Post
This game costs less than a ticket to see a movie, which ticket would allow you exactly one viewing. And which movie would probably suck anyway. Why do we demand so much more for our $10 than the viewing public?
It's a difference of perception based on the concept of paying for a physical item (although in this case, it is a digital item) vs paying for a live experience. Very few, if any, people have ever had any expectation of being about to enjoy a live experience a second time without additional cost.

I think the biggest difference is that for me is that to get into a movie, it costs me a total of the ticket price. No more, no less (ignoring transportation costs). The same can't be said of a computer game. Sure, MoW may only cost $10, but it's completely worthless if you haven't spend several hundred on a PC. Sure, you can use that PC for other things than MoW, but I think by providing the platform for which the game runs, as opposed to the content provider providing the platform like in the theater, I'm entitled to more than that what I get at the theater.

That said, I'll still be buying the thing. I'll just be hunting down a cracked version as well.

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May 12th, 2009, 21:56
Movies must be really expensive in the US. For the price I bought mow for I could have seen 3 movies here in SA. I bought the adventure pack because I like obsiddian even if I despise this drm.
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May 12th, 2009, 22:02
I'm taking a stand against this DRM and limited activations. I don't care if the game is the price of a movie ticket.
I can't say I feel sorry for Ossian either. First rule of being a developer is don't get involved with Atari.
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May 12th, 2009, 22:25
Originally Posted by stefan9 View Post
Movies must be really expensive in the US. For the price I bought mow for I could have seen 3 movies here in SA. I bought the adventure pack because I like obsiddian even if I despise this drm.
Movies are anywhere from $7.50 to $12.75, depending on what part of the country you are in (or if you by the cheap 7.50 tickets at Costco like I do!)

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May 12th, 2009, 23:00
Movies are anywhere from $7.50 to $12.75, depending on what part of the country you are in (or if you by the cheap 7.50 tickets at Costco like I do!)
Yeah we're paying $12.50 a pop here in NYC, and for 3D movies like Coraline it's $15, which hurts my brain. It's like some kind of nightmare for cheapscates (me!) who like girls (because god knows I'd just wait the 6 months it takes for a movie to get to Netflix).
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May 12th, 2009, 23:09
Limited activation can -in theory- be a deal breaker, I agree. But, based on your own personal experience, how many games have you installed on more than 3 different systems?

I've been buying video games since the early 90's. Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 are the only games I've ever installed on more than 3 different systems. Now I'm not claiming my gaming/hardware habits are representative of anything. I'm curious though how often you guys need more than 3 activations.

I'll buy MoW, and if I like it enough to finish it twice (at a 6 month to 1 year interval), that's well worth $10. On the contrary, if I'm disappointed with the game at first playthrough, even if it offered unlimited activations, I'd still feel ripped off.

And if limited activations are a major issue for you, and assuming you use them all, I see nothing wrong in downloading a free copy of a game you already own.

I'm certain Atari/Ossian themselves would agree with me and prefer that you buy MoW now and then download it when activations run out, rather than not buying it at all because of the DRM.

Buy MoW to support Ossian and the NWN2 franchise, then pirate it to protest against their DRM scheme! That's the smart way. Refusing to buy it altogether is just stupid and hurts little passionate studios more than anyone else!
Last edited by Hedek; May 12th, 2009 at 23:27.
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May 13th, 2009, 11:17
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Currently, I'd need to have about CD-ROM/DVD 10 drives in my PC because of that. Which publisher gives me some ?
You can play 10 games at the same time?!
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May 13th, 2009, 15:17
Originally Posted by Hedek View Post
Limited activation can -in theory- be a deal breaker, I agree. But, based on your own personal experience, how many games have you installed on more than 3 different systems?
The problem is the DRMs definition of 'system'.
change your hard drive? New system!
upgrade to Vista? New system!
upgrade to Windows 7? New system!

Not all DRMs detect those as a new installation, it depends on how it's implemented. But a game like NWN and NWN2 that you can theoretically play for years playing user-created content, you're very likely to run into a problem.
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