Battlefield 4 Launch Fiasco

I guess you all knew this was coming. There is just no win in this situation for gamers. I blame myself for wasting my money. I should have been smarter. If you are a potential buyer of BF4, I must warn you, there are many problems. I should hope they will be fixed, but at the moment, its not worth spending the money. Read on for the details.

I will be posting this on other forums as well. Hopefully this will get enough attention to warrant a change.

Or maybe not, and I just wasted 1 hour writing this.

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The launch of Battlefield 4 was very disappointing. It felt as if those who pre ordered the game were paying to beta test it. It was such a broken mess at times, that I find it hard to believe they released it in such a state. Problems in the beta are present in the release version. Makes me wonder what the beta accomplished.

To an extent I understand the server side problems which were taken care of as quickly as they possibly could, but some issues with the base game are hard to justify.

After their PC patch, things seemed to have gotten worse. Apart from the usual problems with the game (crashing to the desktop at random), they managed to introduce a new bug in the patch which could cause the screen to blur every time the commander deployed an EMP. So not only does EA/DICE make customer feel stupid for pre ordering the game, they made it physically hurt them.

The battlefield twitter and Facebook feed is full of advertisements ranging from merchandise to review scores. Apart from a few employees at DICE who have taken the time to respond to messages (my sincere thanks to them). One wonders why they didn't publicly acknowledge the problems and apologize, instead of carrying on with the shameless promotion and self congratulatory posts.

After the terrible launch, instead of reaching out to the customers, EA took the classy route and advertised hoodies.

Understandably, customers were not pleased.

This launch has validated the cynicism towards the gaming industry in general. If they were in tune with the community, they would know that the community doesn't care about when the game launched or if it beat Call of Duty at sales figures. They care about having a playable game.

I am sure this is hard for an executive to comprehend, because for them, its all about sales figures. They throw around buzz words like "seamless reality", "immersion", and best of all, "levelolution" without knowing the first thing about gaming. Publishers do not care about the what they are selling, as long as they are selling many of it, and will say anything to reach their goal - even lie to the public. Case in point, Patrick Bach's interview with Jack Frags about how the game features "improved netcode" and how people will notice the difference because its better. In reality, it was far worse than Battlefield 3.

So here is the bottomline, I will not pre order the next Battlefield game (rest assured that there will be another BF game. The series has gotten too big to not have many sequels), or an EA product. I blame myself for not waiting to see how the game turns out. They have given me no incentive to support their product (No, battlepacks aren't incentives - a working game is.)

I hope someone at EA who is in a position to change things will read this, and hopefully put out better games. They have a tough job ahead of convincing fans that they can be trusted.

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Battlefield 3 - Unexpected Fun

Click here for pictures

I purchased Battlefield 3 back in November from Amazon. It was one of the few times I bought a game so close to the launch. I played the Alpha and I was very impressed with it.

Having bought the game however, I encountered several problems with it. I am quite sure that the problems were at my end, because my friends were able to log in play just fine. For whatever reason, this was encountered way too often:

Battlefield 3 - Something went wrong with the game error

I returned the game, and Amazon were kind enough to refund the entire money.

For the Memorial Day, there was a sale going on EA, and my fiance suggested that we buy Battlefield 3 and play it together. I was skeptical about it, having purchased it before, but she said she was going to pay for it, and I was very comfortable with the arrangement.

Well, what can I say? Since that day, I have clocked a total of 18 hours, and I ranked up 14 levels. It has been one hell of an experience.

The game seemed vastly improved, and I did not encounter the long load times; I am sure this has more to do with my SSD than the game itself, but my fiance plays on a laptop, and on wireless, and she didn't have any problems either.

Well, I am glad I gave Battlefield 3 another chance. It can be chaotic in the beginning, but once I got the hang of it, its truly awesome.

Here is the link to my profile to those we might be interested in seeing my stats:

http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bf3/user/PatchRowcester/

I am also considering buying the expansion.

I will make a blog about tips that might help novice players like myself based on my experience.

Here is a screenshot of me getting better of my fiance! We usually play together, but she ended up in the opposite team, and that gave me a chance to frag her. She wasn't very happy about it!

The day my fiance got pwned in Battlefield 3 :)

The point of this blog is, I truly recommend Battlefield 3 to anyone looking to play an amazing FPS online.

I had my problems with Battlelog, and found the idea of starting the game from within the browser a ridiculous idea, but it has grown on me a lot. I like the features it offers, and if it is given a chance, I am sure the merits are there to be seen.

I also have to say, so far, Origin has been very unobtrusive. I barely ever see it, its just in the background, and its not that memory intensive either, which is what I like from a client. It should be transparent, and so far that is how Origin has been.

So overall, its been a good experience, and I felt I needed to share this with my fellow PC Gamers.

In closing, there is a portrait wallpaper of Battlefield 3 that my fiance just made, so be sure to check the link.

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My open letter to Crytek

I figured I'll do my bit for the PC gaming community by telling Crytek what we expect in general. Check this link to read the letter:

LINK

So what do you guys think?

Is Crysis 3 going to be better than Crysis 2? Is there anything in the letter you agree or disagree with?

PS - This should have been in the PC Gaming forum. I added it to the Off Topic forum by mistake. Someone kindly move it to the right place. Thanks!

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How to make STALKER: Call of Pripyat (Steam) work

Click here to check out the full post.

I recently upgraded my machine with a GeForce GTX 680 and I couldn't wait to start playing DX11 games. I download STALKER: Call of Pripyat from Steam, all eager to play, and much to my dismay, I've encountered several problems with the game.

I searched around the internet, and I've had some help with the fine folks from the Steam forums, and I was able to figure it out.

I got the game to a point where it is now working flawlessly. Check out my blog for a full list of little tweaks I did. Hopefully it will help someone here.

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My Windows 8 Preview Impressions

Check out my full review with a ton of screenshots

I have started messing around with Windows 8 Consumer Preview recently. I installed it on a VM using Virtual Box. Its quite straight forward, and it worked quite well in a VM. It can be unstable to start with, needing a few restarts to boot, but once booted, its quite stable, and it works well.

The question to me is, is it worth upgrading? As it stands, I don’t think so. I am not going to upgrade because to me it seems more like a stripped down version of Windows. There are severe limitations when using the desktop version, and all the apps don’t really add any value. It just seems to limit the functionality. I can’t imagine any business upgrading to Windows 8, considering that Windows 7 is so stable, reliable, and easy to use.

Overall, Windows 8 has not been the change I was expecting to see. I am hoping the final release version would be better in terms of offering users the choice between using the Metro Start Screen and the Windows 7 start menu. Of course, there is also the possibility that the metro interface is going to be a huge hit among consumers, and one day will be look back at the time when we complained about it. Only time will tell.

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Trip to San Antonio, February 22–24, 2012

I've recently been to San Antonio on a business trip, and I had chance to get some amazing pictures. Those of you interested can check this:

LINK

Photography enthusiasts, I am particularly interested in your opinion. I am not very good at photography, I am still learning, so any tips would be much appreciated. If I am doing something right or wrong, please let me know.

Here is the text from the blog:

I had a chance to revisit San Antonio again last month. I had a fantastic time the last time I was there. The Riverwalk, is absolutely amazing at night. The good thing about south Texas is that they don’t seem to have a real winter. Its almost always in the 50s-60s during the evening, which is great for talking a walk along the river.
This time however, I was on a business trip. The down side of this is that I am in a conference for close to 8 hours a day.
The up side is, I get to stay in a fancy hotel, and my meals are paid for, and I get to go out on the Riverwalk at night.
I got to stay at the Hyatt Regency on the Riverwalk, and I was put up in room 666! Being a fan of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, I couldn’t have gotten a better room! I also have to say, the view from the room is fantastic. I slept with the curtains completely open and lights turned off. I wouldn’t mind going back there again.
I also had a chance to walk around the Riverwalk at night. Last time I was there, I did not have a good camera, or a tripod. This time I was prepared. Check my post on how to carry a tripod on the plane without having to check it in.
Serious advice for anyone wanting to take pictures of Riverwalk at night, make sure you have a tripod. The kind of camera you have is almost irrelevant. It’s the tripod that matters. I am not saying that a good camera won’t make a difference. It certainly will. But in order to make the most out of an ordinary camera, especially for night time pictures, a tripod is necessary. There is no way of getting a good shit with slow shutter speed without using one.
During my last trip, I inadvertently, snapped a picture, which turned out to be great. I had no idea I was going to get the kind of reflections I did, and I wasn’t even using a tripod!
I was using a Canon PowerShot SX20 IS, which is a great point and shoot camera, but it cannot be compared to a DSLR. This time, I was carrying a Nikon D3100 with a tripod, and god knows I tried to get a similar picture, but I couldn’t. The water was just never still enough! So I ventured out in the cold at 4AM in the morning to get a good picture, hoping that there won’t be anymore boats, but the lights were turned off. I returned disappointed.
Hopefully, I will have better luck next time.
I did however get some amazing pictures of San Antonio at night. Some of the pictures I took were almost exactly the same as the ones on the printed post cards, which made me pretty happy. I also had the chance to see a Lamborghini on the streets that night.
Here are some of the night pictures I took during my trip. Click on the thumbnails to see them on Panoramio.
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What happened to quick save?

Click here for the awesome blog link :)

Below is the text. So what do you guys think?

I am not sure how and when this started, but it is getting really annoying. I understand that for some people this is not a problem, but some of us care about this. It feels like my experience is more watered down without options that were available to games from 8 years ago. There is no reason why the developers are not giving players the option to quick save in 2012!

I’ve talked about this issue in the past on the forums and the responses ranged from people who absolutely wanted it, and those who said quick save removed the challenge from the game.

I understand that, however, for those who want a challenge, they can always just not save. Gamers like me would like to have the option but just can’t seem to convince people that this is an important part of their experience!

I can’t remember the number of times I played a certain section in Crysis or in Max Payne, all because I could save where I wanted to.

I remember when Crysis 2 and Max Payne 3 were first announced. I had a bad feeling that they will be a console ports.

With Crysis 2, my suspicion was well founded. At launch, the game had no DX11 support, had hardly any graphics settings except pre-set options, and it featured the irritating checkpoint feature. If that wasn’t bad enough, you had to quit the current game to be able load a checkpoint. The game itself isn’t bad at all, but the gameplay is built around the console, and without the lack of any customization, its just a big disappointment compared to the 5 year old Crysis.

Now, the release date for Max Payne 3 has been announced and PC Gamer did a preview very recently.

This is disappointing to me. The first two games let you save wherever you wanted to save, and also had a ton of graphics settings options. It seems as if Max Payne 3 is heading down the Crysis 2 path.

I am not sure what I intend to accomplish with this post. Perhaps someone in the games industry will read this and understand that not everyone will like the kind of restrictions that seem acceptable on consoles.

For example, the developers of Deus Ex Human Revolution believed that highlighting is a core part of the experience, yet they gave us the option to turn it off. I think that is commendable.

Allowing players to choose their experience is the best part of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

If the fine folks at PC Gamer can convince developers in the future that curbing their enthusiasm to provide an experience is a good thing, everyone is going to be happy for it.

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Top Customer Service From Amazon & Bad Experience With BF3

By the end of it all, folks are probably going to call me troll, retard, noob and other colorful adjectives.

Let me assure you, I am not. I am describing my experience with BF3 and with Amazon, so this may help someone out there like me.

So I purchased BF3 on Amazon yesterday (I know, I missed the Cyber Monday deal on EA. I was sick). I couldn’t wait to start playing. I configured Origin to download the game to my D drive, and I started the download. This is where things started going wrong.

1. Origin decided to install the game on C drive. This pissed me off because I was running out of space. So now, I moved the directory, uninstalled the game, and reinstalled it.

2. I started a multiplayer game – I configured the server filter and I was confronted with this:

That didn’t make any sense to me. The game was telling me something went wrong?? Wtf. I don’t know if it’s a problem at my end, or if it’s the server.

Fine, I moved to another server, and then started played. I got owned, and then I got a few kills. I was pretty happy. I played a few rounds with my friends, and then I decided to change the server, and try a different game mode.

Again the same problem. I tried 4 different servers with the same problem. At this point, I was tired. My computer may be slow by recent standards (I have a Q9400 with 8GB DDR2 RAM), but loading levels took its time, and I was tired of staring at the screen. The problem was, the game wouldn’t quit right away. After loading for a minute or two, it would then say, there was something wrong, and quit.

After numerous such attempts, I was sick of it.

I called Amazon customer support, and I explained my problem. The representative was very helpful and agreed to let me return the game. This is the email they sent me.

I'm really sorry that you're not able to play "Battlefield 3" because of all of the glitches that are happening.

Amazon will never ask you to pay for software that you're just not able to use, so I'm more than happy to issue you a full refund of the $49.51 that was paid for the order.

This refund should go through within the next 2 to 3 business days and will appear as a credit on your next credit card billing statement.

In the end, I was sad that BF3 didn’t work out for me. I really loved the game when it was working, but I am not going to spend my time trying to make the game work. I wanted to play it.

Perhaps there is something wrong at my end, perhaps not. Bottom-line was that was dissatisfied, and Amazon let me return the product, and gave me back my money.

You have earned my loyalty, Amazon!

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