Game clients – a rant

This was a tough time for me, dealing with massive software/hardware failure is never funny. First – memory of my pc crashed. It’s all good, I managed to sort it within two days with the help of my SO and a lot of swearing. Everything seemed to be working again, until I realized that more and more software is crashing. Yep, biggest fears confirmed, broken hard drive. Luckily it was just the one with Windows and I managed to get all my data back. I’m sorry, did I say “just”? I meant to say “it was an apocalypse, my Windows crashed and didn’t want to repair.”

I’ll spare you the full story, full of swearing, tears, googling and cursing the people who created the software. Let’s just say that after 4 days, it was fixed – Windows were up. Let’s go back to gaming since I have few spare minutes, shall we?

Hello, my name is Tootthie and I am adicted to gaming.

First issue that stopped me was the fact, that games you buy don’t install games in one folder only – you have a folder with the game and some bits in Program Files, User folder – generally all over the PC. so if your Windows crash, you have to reinstall all games, else they won’t work. Fine, I can do it, after all, I have all those games on my hard drive already, there is no download element required. Reinstall should fix it and it shouldn’t take long, it should only patch up, right? RIGHT?!?! Well…It’s complicated.

Let’s start with Blizzard Entertainment. I have all their games and I play them quite often. Let’s launch client. “Sorry, we don’t see any games. Do you have them on your drive but in a different location than default? Can we scan?” Well damn, but sure you can. Custom localizations can be fun. Guess I will have to wait until it scans, but like literally 30 seconds later I get a pop up – “hey, look, we found your games.” Mini patching, like 300MB total across all games of downloading, and voila – 5 minutes later all my Blizzard games are running perfectly <3

Faith in humanity restored, right?

Let’s check my Steam. Client does not exist, let’s download it again. How the client vanished from my PC when only Windows crashed is beyond me. But ok, minor setback. Setup works! Only… To install steam I have to close steam. How can I have steam opened if I am only just downloading and installing it? 

Cancel, restart, let’s try again. Works this time! But nope, not a single game is there. Ok, this will be a long session of reinstalling as my library is pretty big. Let’s start with the games I play all the time. CivV – restored by a simple copy and paste, no saved games but whatever.Hey, that is not hard after all, there’s hope!

Let’s check Dragon Age, since I have hours and hours on this one. Yaaaay, works! Yaaaay, it kept my saved games!

Let’s go for the ones I really want to play – all Assassin’s Creeds. Nope, nope and nope. To play AC via Steam, you need your Uplay client. Fine. After all, they have a cloud there so all my games are saved. Right, Ubisoft? Erm, nope, cloud that saves your games does not save your games because potato. GG. Well, that’s ok, I have a steam back up on my hdd. I thought about it in advance, I wouldn’t want to lose 70+ hours of progress on AC2, d’oh! So screw your cloud, Ubi, I’ll use my Steam! I got this! Erm, nope. Uplay client blocks Steam client and Steam client blocks Uplay client. Because, you know, reasons. One requires the other to work, but when they are on, they block each other.  You’re screwed. You can download the games AGAIN from any client but who knows if the other client will see them. You can’t play them via Uplay if they are not recognized by Steam and you can’t play them on Steam if Uplay doesn’t recognize it as a legit game. As for your saved games – say bye bye to 51 hours of /played in ACIII as well and start from the scratch. Oh and those cinematics that last few minutes? You can’t cancel them, even tho you saw them 10 million times, because banana. Happy gaming! This is trolling of epic proportions. Let’s watch Desmond’s story for 50th time because we’re unable to add “skip” option because we never thought someone will want to play the game again and we never thought we could screw up something so simple as cloud saves. Facepalm. You were at last boss? Shame, shame, enjoy first sequence! Seriously, I love Desmond but this is too much. “Well you should have thought about it earlier and not buy via Steam!” Well, here’s another issue – a) I have 3 different copies of ACII – one on DVD, one on Steam and one on Uplay. So one of them should be able to launch even if other platforms were unavailable. Also, DLCs on Steam cost like 2EUR per pack. On Uplay I had to pay 9,99 for a DLC I supposedly got for free with Season Pass. So yeah. I’ll stick to buying DLCs at Steam. I already struggle with finding reasons to pay Ubisoft.

How about you get a grip, Ubi, and stop screwing up people’s games?

Oh and my Anno 2070? “Please insert product key.” How about you stop being a moron? If I have 80+ hours played on this game, I clearly have a key. And do you really think I keep the key of a game I got in 2011? I got it on a DVD years ago. I don’t know where it is anymore, this was supposed to be solved by your client, this is why I got the client after all! Well, let’s think like Ubi instead of rationally. Refresh the client, oh now you don’t need my key anymore but you don’t see the game on the drive anyway. Gee, that’s awesome. So not helpful.

Fine, let’s leave Uplay for a minute to calm down and let’s see my Origin client, I’m looking at you, Electronic Arts. No games! Really? Well, I’m stubborn. Refresh, refresh, mini patch, lots of swearing and it works. Yay. 2GB DL instead of 12, but I can live with that. At least I have my games back.

Let’s go back to Uplay now that my hope is restored. Buy new AC game, Syndicate so good, we have a discount, -40%! Dear Ubisoft. Why would I buy a new game from you if I can’t be sure if you will be able to save my games properly? After all, AC is not a franchise you finish in 5 minutes and somehow I can’t imagine myself play 100+ hours without a break just to be sure I don’t lose the saved games. Why would I get them even on Steam, where they are HALF the price of what you have on your website, if I will have to start the game from the scratch each time a crash happens? Let’s check your website for any help. BUY BUY BUY DISCOUNT! How about no? Fix your shit first. Oh and my client? My chosen language is English but since I logged in few different countries (I travel a lot), it is also Dutch and Polish. At the same time. And even though I chose the language, my store is available only in language of the country I am currently at. It would be a minor inconvenience if different language versions were properly linked. But nooooo. So on the main page you have an offer – in English – of a DLC/game/Mod/whatever. You click it and you are redirected to an appropriate page in the store. Only this time it is the version in a different language and the subpage may not exist. Not just that – my client is in 3 different languages – at the same time. Congrats, this is just… 

But other AC and technical side of playing AC:S? It deserves its own post. I still can’t play Black Flag. ACIII lost the saved games halfway through the gameplay. I paid A LOT for all my games – I own all AC games and most of DLCs – and what Ubisoft is doing is basically telling me I am better off buying a pirate version. I am heavily against pirated programs, but this Uplay nightmare has to end.


So each company wants to have their own game client? That’s fine. But let me explain it to you, since you clearly missed the point: gamers wants a client that WORKS, not MAKES US WANT TO SMASH OUR PCs. Do you see the difference? Working – not working. Being helpful – screwing up my games. Got it? Now everything comes with an app that tries to optimize something and truth to be told, I’m getting tired of it., Uplay, GoG, Origin, Steam. Radeon has 2 apps that come with their gear, Razer has two. That’s at least 4 apps to play one game. 3 too many if you ask me. So looks to me like all those companies can learn from Blizzard not only how to deal with Customer Support, but also how to make game clients. Call them, maybe they will give you a tour or something.


But let’s face it, it is not JUST the game client, it’s also Windows itself. I swear I will make a blog where I will gather all those things and name&shame all companies responsible for this. Ladies and Gentlemen – Windows. “To check for updates, you must first install an update for Windows Update.” Orly? Will you update my updates when I update my updates? Because guess what – your not updated Windows Update blocks updates for the stuff it shouldn’t even touch, like HTC’s Sync Manager that – you got it! – doesn’t sync. So I have an Update that doesn’t update and Sync Manager that doesn’t sync. My HTC is ready to use but my phone is not. And my Windows Update keeps changing my keyboard language. Go figure. This is just insane.

With all due respect to all software devs, producers and companies in general: the client is not always right but if you don’t understand how marketing works, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t be working in it? So I posted this story on my Personal Facebook account and I tagged all the companies mentioned in it. I made that status public and it gathered quite a few comments from people also disappointed with the service. So it is not just me. Customer is not always right but if you pretty much tell people you don’t give a damn, people will show their anger and distrust. Not by posts on FB or blogs but with their wallets.

So I swore to myself I will never ever buy anything from Ubisoft again. And then they released Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and added Jack Ripper to it, like having Darwin in it was not enough of a lure for me. And then I checked the soundtrack and fell in love even more… and this is when I became a part of the problem – even though I really didn’t want to deal with Uplay again, I eventually got Syndicate. So on one hand bad Ubi, on the other – take my money. Downside of being a huge AC fanI bought a box version, installed it from DVD, tied it to my client. Peachy. No regrets there, game is awesome, I want more. Heyyyy, there’s an expac, you want it? Sure! To get an expac for AC Syndicate, I had to actually get customer support onboard. Really. It’s your current game, what were you thinking? At first the game didn’t see the new content. After it did see it finally, it decided there is no base game anymore. I literally logged off from the main game, purchased the expansion, got back to the game, what do you mean it is not there?? File a ticket. You know, maybe I am spoiled by Blizzard and their insta Customer Service, but waiting 10 days for an answer is unacceptable. And do I really have to spam you on Twitter to get a response?? But ok, got my representative and I had a moment of “are you sure you’re from Ubi?” – he was knowledgeable, patient, he knew what he is doing, he didn’t treat me like I’m a blondie (seriously, try to contact customer support as a woman, I dare ya), he told me how my issue will be addressed. He spent like two days fixing my stuff, trying various ways of doing it. In the end he admitted that he has never seen such issue and he even contacted the devs about it. What can I say, I’m a pro at finding bugs. So that’s Syndicate saved for me eventually.  And don’t get me wrong, I am quite happy because it is a great game but I really shouldn’t have to fight with the system to be able to play it. And yes, I know, I am weak for falling into an Ubi trap but just look at this beauty. Eh…

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