Let Off Some Steam, Bennett

I happen to harboring some angst this weekend and decided to get this one out of the way while I am still feeling edgy.  So I’ve been dealing with the BMW issue (see last post), yesterday an estimator for a concrete company failed to show up as promised for some work I am looking to get done and then I have the topic of today’s post.  To set the background, keep in mind I have a satellite based Internet service due to a decision to live out in the country.  Trust me, I’d make that decision again in a heartbeat.  The downside of this is a) I can no longer game with my friends across the net, b) the best performance I can get is 1.5M on nice sunny days and lastly c) my usage cap is 300M every 24 hrs with unlimited between the hours of 1 and 5AM.  This is Hughes Net in case you were wondering, which far exceeds what we were getting with Wild Blue.  With all this, I can still enjoy local gaming and tend to gravitate to the war or fantasy based games.  These are all played in solo mode of course which means the cost of any multiplayer game far exceeds my usage.

At some point I acquired Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (either Xmas or Bday gift, can’t remember).  Finding some extra time one night in my schedule, I decided to install it and play a little to relax and let of some stress.  I Made it through the packaging and dropped the disk into the drive.  Next thing I see is it needs to install Steam.  For those not familiar with this product, it is an Internet service that provides patches, friend status and in some cases copyright control.  You could have heard my groan half way into town.  This was a pain when I had cable service and now my connectivity was severely limited.  A quick check of the back packaging did reveal a small warning (at the bottom of the package) that it required Internet access TO ACTIVATE the product.  Well, activation can’t be that bad can it?  Wrong!  So first I have to install Steam which immediately goes out and DOWNLOADS the latest version of the product which takes over 35 minutes to complete with no indication of how big it is in order to keep tabs on my download limit.

I lucked out and remembered an old account when I was still on a better network.  The program eventually loads and the actual game program loads from the local disk – for emphasis, loaded from the manufacturer’s disk which was legally purchased by someone’s hard earned money.  With eager anticipation, the solo campaign icon was hit and the game…. wait.. the Steam window comes up and logs into my account.  Fine, it is probably just a quick validation and on to the ga…. wait… apparently in order to configure Steam to play offline, I have to make sure the latest version of the game is installed.  Anger has now replaced all anticipation to play.  It is 10PM and now the game needs to download patches.  Just how long might this take on the satellite connection?

That’s right folks, 1 hour and 5 minutes and again, absolutely no indication of the amount of data it is downloading so I do not even know if I can get it all in under the cap.  How cute, a little toggle to automatically start the game as soon as it is ready.  I hope the bats enjoy the game because I’ve given up waiting on it.  The dogs decided they needed to go out later that night.  Since it was after 1AM, I dropped by the computer and kicked off the download.

The next night I decide to see if the game was worth the wait.  Immediately, those plans were ripped to shreds.

The iTouch alerts and mail checks were all successful so the problem is likely on Steam’s side.  Let’s summarize, the game was legally purchased, I have no plans to play the game on the Internet, assumed the game was thoroughly tested before packing it in the first place and have zero use for Steam beyond the copy protection capabilities it is providing to the game.  With all that, I still have not been able to play the game for two days.  Needless to say, my wish list and actual purchases will no longer contain any product that requires Steam to run.  If this is the future of copy protection, then I’m calling it quits.  This is doubly insulting based on the fact this particular game was selling out all over the place when it came out.  In case you are wondering, I did finish the game.  As a review, if you like console games you should feel right at home… if you are instead installing it on a PC then recall how you felt once Unreal Tournament 3 came out and ruined the experience.

In my best Arnold imitation, “Let off some Steam, Bennett”  and go and uninstall that crap.

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