Thankful to Origin Support?

By Shamus Posted Thursday Nov 28, 2019

Filed under: Rants 137 comments

To all of my readers in the US and Canada: Happy Thanksgiving. Today I’m celebrating the onset of Stockholm Syndrome as a user of EA’s Origin gaming platform. I ought to be irritated at EA for causing a problem, but instead I’m feeling grateful for how they fixed it. To understand this goofy tale, we need to go back to…

Last Saturday

I figure it’s time I should look into the new Star Wars game everyone is making a fuss about. The reviews are good across the board and I’m very curious if the game is actually good, or just good compared to EA’s disastrous Star Wars efforts over the past couple of years.

So I buy the game on Steam. Then to my horror, I realized that EA has Trojan Horse’d the Origin Launcher into the damn thing. I launch the game on Steam, and it turns around and launches Origin, which should then (theoretically) launch Star Wars… Fallen… uh… what is it again?

Arg. Can I just do a little aside on how much I hate the title for this game?

Going by the title / splash screens…

It's very tiny, but that little dot above EA is the trademark symbol.
It's very tiny, but that little dot above EA is the trademark symbol.

…the full name of the title is Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order EA™. It’s long. It breaks from the familiar STAR WARS COLON SUBTITLE format that we’re used to. Even the acronym SWJFO is awkward and unpronounceable. I can only imagine how bad this name will get when they start making sequels. We don’t use numbers for sequels anymore, and instead we append phrases. I get that Star Wars Jedi is the franchise / series and Fallen Order is the title of this particular entry, but Fallen Order is the short phrase people are using to describe this particular game. As in, “I hope they make more Fallen Order games”. Logic dictates that the next game should be Star Wars Jedi: Another Game EA™, but marketing will want the more memorable Fallen Order in the name. Marketing and logic are natural enemies, and I can only imagine the colon-infused mess we’ll get in the next one.

My suggestion? The main character should have been named Pendar Kul. Then this game could be called Star Wars: Order of Pendar. There’s a memorable name! And it shortens to SWOOP!

Anyway. Back to Origin.

The thing is, I already have Origin on my machine, so this setup should be painless. Stupid, obnoxious, and irritating, yes. But painless. But the Origin that Steam launches isn’t quite the Origin I have on my machine. Or rather, it doesn’t have access to my login credentials. So when I launch SWJFO, an Origin login pops up. So now I need the login info and permission of two different monolithic corporations to run my game.

More importantly, it doesn’t work. Once I logged in, Orgin vanishes without launching the game. It’s still running in the background, but no game appears. I try to launch it again, but Steam claims the game is already running. So I have to use task manager to kill the zombie Origin process and try again. When I do, Origin reappears and says it needs to update itself. Then it vanishes into the background again without launching my game.

I realize this is going to be a nightmare, so I refund the game. Life is too short for this bullshit and I am not being paid to troubleshoot EA’s broken technology chain.

Then the moment the refund goes through, the game launches. I’m not exaggerating. I’m reading the last page of the refund process when SWOFJEA appears, and I’m suddenly playing a game I no longer own. My guess is that Origin was doing some self-update nonsense in the background and didn’t see fit to notify the user, which led me to assume it was crashed.

Yes. This is EXACTLY what a Star Wars game should look like. Only Star Wars can make a trash planet look this cool.
Yes. This is EXACTLY what a Star Wars game should look like. Only Star Wars can make a trash planet look this cool.

Whatever. Free demo, then?

I play for a couple of hours before I remember that I don’t own the game. It’s a pity, but I really do seem to be enjoying myself. I enjoy adding fresh evidence to the the “EA ruins everything” narrative. I hate to admit it, and I really resent that these clowns have been entrusted with the exclusive rights to make Star Wars video games, but I have to review the game I got and not the game I anticipated. Whatever problems I have with Wilson et al, I can’t claim this game is bad.

(Don’t be disappointed. I’m still going to spend thousands of words complaining about this game someday. I have my gripes, but this game isn’t a cringy, obnoxious, microtransaction-filled mess with tacked-on multiplayer. I may not appreciate all of the creative choices this team made, but they were still creative choices and not corporate sabotage. I mean, aside from the whole Origin Trojan Horse thing.)

This is sort of a funny position to be in. I’m playing the game just fine now. But once I exit, I’ll never be able to launch it again.

So now I need to review this game, which means I need to buy this game. It doesn’t make any sense to buy it again on Steam. Moreover, Steam won’t normally let you buy a game you’ve returned. So I guess I need to buy it on Origin. I hate to reward EA for their Trojan Horse bullshit by adopting Origin directly, but it’s either this or nothing.

There is a bright side to this. I need to make sure I use Origin now and again to keep an eye on the platform. I spend a lot of time coveringComplaining about. the PC Storefront Wars, and part of that gig is using the platforms in questionExcept for Uplay, because Uplay isn’t even a real platform yet. I don’t know what it’s supposed to be, but right now it feels like a version of Games for Windows LIVE that doesn’t crash all the time. It has all the cost / convenience concerns of a platform without any of the benefits.. So I’ll just treat this as one of my twice-yearly Origin purchases for the purposes of staying informed on the platform.

It really is pretty.
It really is pretty.

I launch the actual Origin program and try to buy SWJFOEA™©®, only to discover that the platform thinks I already own the game through Steam.

Sweet mercy. They’ve created a system the requires competing platforms to co-operate. This is the stuff of nightmares.

The upside is that the game is $7 cheaper on Origin. Good job, EA! It only took you seven years to figure out what I was shouting at you way back in 2012: Since you’re saving money by selling on your own platform, you should pass some of that savings onto the user to give them SOME reason to switch to your smaller, less popular platform.

Assuming EA doesn’t get some sort of sweetheart deal from Valve, then the Steam Tax on a $60 game would be $18USD. In an ideal world, I think EA ought to split that with Origin users, but whatever. $7 is close to $9. It’s certainly better than the $3 discount GameStop offers for used games. Seven bucks is stills a non-trivial savings. I’ll take it.

So now I just need to figure out how to get these chuckleheads to sell me the dang thing.

I poke around the EA™ Origin™ Help Center of Extreme Unhelpfulness™ and discover that the help center has many, many suggestions on how to solve problems that have nothing whatsoever to do with my problem. I have to dig for a long time to get past the protective layers of keyword-driven “help”, but I eventually discover real, actual support. Annoyingly, it’s chat-based and not email. Also, the system warns that there’s a 40 minute wait queue. That sucks, but I’ll take what I can get.

My fear is that it’s going to be very hard to get them to understand my problem. If 10,000 people call tech support because their coffee maker won’t turn on because they didn’t plug it in, then when that 10,001st person calls in regarding a coffeemaker that won’t turn on for some other reason, it’s usually very hard to get the support staff to break out of their canned script and give proper support.

I put the support window on my second screen and start scrolling Reddit to pass the time.

SWJROFL has the best spatial continuity since Mass Effect 1. The Mantis feels like an actual starship and not a chain of loading screens that teleport you around the gameworld.
SWJROFL has the best spatial continuity since Mass Effect 1. The Mantis feels like an actual starship and not a chain of loading screens that teleport you around the gameworld.

Thirty seconds later, the support rep jumps in…

Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:24:07 AM): Thank you for contacting EA HELP, my name is Sumit, may I start with your first name please?
(11/23/2019, 4:24:13 AM): Shamus
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:24:22 AM): Nice to meet you Shamus. I hope you are doing good.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:24:34 AM): I can see you have created case for purchasing Jedi Fallen Order. Could you please explain more on it?
(11/23/2019, 4:25:30 AM): I purchased the game on Steam, then due to technical problems, I decided I wanted it on origin. So I refunded the Steam version. Now I want to buy the game on Origin, but it won't let me.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:26:29 AM): I can imagine how inconvenient it can be when you aren't able to purchase the game from origin. I will surely check it out for you and give you the best possible solution.

This is… not what I expected from EA support. I assumed the help would be brusque, bad at listening, and possibly trying to communicate in broken English. Instead this person is eloquent By the standards of realtime chat. and practically obsequious. Also, check out how verbose these messages are. This person is speaking in complete sentences with punctuation and capitalization.

The only thing that hints at this being a non-native speaker is perhaps the use of “you are” rather than “you’re”. And really, you can’t criticize someone for that. What, I’m going to complain that this person is speaking English BETTER than the situation calls for? (And, it should be noted, better than I am. You can see in this chat record that I made lots of typos and Sumit didn’t make ANY!)

I know that support people often have lots of canned stuff ready for copy-paste, but this is still pretty impressive.

Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:26:41 AM): May I ask you a few questions to locate your account and guide you some steps to purchase the game from origin?
(11/23/2019, 4:26:48 AM): Ok.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:26:55 AM): May I know your email address linked to the account?
(11/23/2019, 4:27:06 AM): [Personal email redacted from this exchange for privacy reasons.]
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:27:54 AM): Thanks.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:28:06 AM): Which payment method are you using? Credit, debit or paypal
(11/23/2019, 4:28:13 AM): paypal
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:28:52 AM): Okay
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:29:01 AM): What error message are you getting when try to purchase the game?
(11/23/2019, 4:30:47 AM): No error message. It just acts like I own the game through Steam. When I try to buy it, it say "In your game library".

Here we go. This is exactly the kind of problem that help systems have trouble parsing. I’ll bet I’m going to need to log out and back inAnd just to be clear, I did try that already., and do a bunch of other silly stuff, before they’ll actually listen to my problem. I am very nervous about how long it’s going to take me to get to the heart of this.

Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:31:16 AM): Oh I see, Let me go ahead and review your account, will need a few minutes. Is that okay?
(11/23/2019, 4:31:25 AM): Ok.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:34:13 AM): Thanks for waiting.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:34:31 AM): To make any changes I need to verify account ownership. I have sent a 6 digit verification code. Could you please check the email and provide that code to me?
(11/23/2019, 4:34:54 AM): [Code redacted for paranoia reasons.]
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:35:06 AM): Thank you
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:35:10 AM): Just allow me few moments.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:35:33 AM): I think you used to play it with the origin access. Right?
(11/23/2019, 4:36:00 AM): I don't understand the question?

Sumit has noticed that I’ve played the game for an hour or two, even though I don’t own it. They’re confused by this, and are assuming I was using the Origin “game pass” style service to access the game.

Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:36:46 AM): I meant have you ever played the trial with the origin access?
(11/23/2019, 4:37:24 AM): No. I played the Steam version a bit before the refund.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:37:43 AM): No worries.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:38:12 AM): Alright, I've made some changes.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:38:18 AM): Please logout then login back
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:38:35 AM): And check if it's available for the purchase or not.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:38:42 AM): I am standing by here to get your issue fixed.
(11/23/2019, 4:39:37 AM): Great! Looks like it worked. I just purchased it and am now installing!
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:39:49 AM): Excellent. I am glad I was able to help you. It couldn't be possible without your co-operation and support.
(11/23/2019, 4:39:57 AM): Thanks
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:39:59 AM): I would like to hear from you as you have been very excellent throughout this chat session. Is there anything else I can assist you with?
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:40:03 AM): Pleasure is all mine to help you out
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:40:39 AM): Is there anything else I can assist you with?
(11/23/2019, 4:40:47 AM): Nope. I'm good, thanks.
Sumit (11/23/2019, 4:40:56 AM): Thanks for contacting EA help. You can also get help by reading our articles on help.ea.com, browsing our forums at answers.ea.com, and following us on Twitter.

Nine minutes. No confusion. No wasted time. They handled an unusual problem, and did so quickly and gracefully. I really wasn’t expecting EA support to be good. In fact, when I headed for the Origin Support pages I was sure I was about to embark on a journey that would get turned into a long rant for the blog. I’m sort of baffled that the whole thing is over so quickly and painlessly.

Dear devs: In the sequel, please give me a button to holster my saber. Here Cal won't put it away because there are some alerted troopers around this corner and the game won't let me out of combat mode. Also, did I mention this game is gorgeous?
Dear devs: In the sequel, please give me a button to holster my saber. Here Cal won't put it away because there are some alerted troopers around this corner and the game won't let me out of combat mode. Also, did I mention this game is gorgeous?

To be fair, this problem wouldn’t have happened in the first place is EA didn’t try to package their launcher within a Steam game and link the two accounts. But I have to begrudgingly give them credit for providing top-notch support.

Support personnel are often malignedOften for good reasons. The staff is quite often under-staffed, under-paid, and under-trained, and that makes for a frustrating user experience., so I thought I’d give credit where it’s due.

While my personal preference is that all games would come out on GoG, I do like that EA seems to be getting the hang of this.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Complaining about.

[2] Except for Uplay, because Uplay isn’t even a real platform yet. I don’t know what it’s supposed to be, but right now it feels like a version of Games for Windows LIVE that doesn’t crash all the time. It has all the cost / convenience concerns of a platform without any of the benefits.

[3] By the standards of realtime chat.

[4] And just to be clear, I did try that already.

[5] Often for good reasons. The staff is quite often under-staffed, under-paid, and under-trained, and that makes for a frustrating user experience.



From The Archives:
 

137 thoughts on “Thankful to Origin Support?

  1. Darker says:

    Confusing Star Wars game titles are actually a long standing tradition. Here are titles of games from the Jedi Knight series:

    Star Wars: Dark Forces
    Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
    Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
    Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

    BTW in Fallen Order the button to switch the lightsaber to single handed will sheathe the saber if it’s already single handed, however it only works this way out of combat.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I can imagine the title for this game’s sequel – Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order 2: [subtitle]: EA ™.

      1. Michael says:

        I don’t get the mockery over the trademark symbol on the EA logo. The splash screen everyone’s making fun of clearly includes three different trademark symbols:

        Star Wars™: Jedi: Fallen Order™
        — EA™ —

        Why single out the EA trademark marking?

        1. methermeneus says:

          At a guess, either because it’s the last part and therefore the straw that broke the camel’s back, or because EA is the only part EA actually owns and can legally choose not to mention the trademark in the already-busy logo. The latter is the first reason I thought of, but most people who’ve noticed and complained (I only found out the game even existed when I read this article where Shamus complained about the title) probably do so for the former reason.

    2. Duoae says:

      As you point out, if anything – the new title is more streamlined than the last one! ;)

      BTW in Fallen Order the button to switch the lightsaber to single handed will sheathe the saber if it’s already single handed, however it only works this way out of combat.

      It doesn’t appear to work that way for me…

    3. Xyllar says:

      My brother and I used to jokingly refer to Jedi Academy as Star Wars: Dark Forces IV: Jedi Knight III: Jedi Outcast II: Jedi Academy.

      1. CrushU says:

        Holy shit, I did that too.
        Did you happen to be part of ODH?

      2. Jordan says:

        A truly majestic title.

      3. Rameses Niblick the Third, Kerplunk Kerplunk, Whoops, Where's My Thribble? says:

        Dark Forces IV: Jedi Knight III: Jedi Outcast II: Jedi Academy

        And a partridge in a pear tree!

  2. Mephane says:

    This has also been my experience with EA support. They are friendly, listen to your problem, genuinely try to help, and most importantly: they are trained and authorized to actually do stuff.

    Regarding the initial problem, I experience the exact same thing, but kind of expected it was updating the game in the background, so I closed that instance of Origin, opened the dedicated Origin launcher which I already had installed, lo and behold it had not only an update to run, but also what I can only assume to be some kind of unlocking or decryption process, because it spent way more time working on the already downloaded files than actually downloading anything. After that, the game worked flawlessly for me. I am not sure how far I am into the game, I have access to 4 planets (2 of which I have at 100% exploration, chests, secrets etc), and not even once did the game crash, nor did I experience any noticable bugs. To be fair, though, I started playing about a week after launch, when one or two patches had already been applied, so I cannot vouch for the state of the game on launch day.

    The game itself, I love it. It sits neatly at an intersection between games like the modern Tomb Raider series and Dark Souls/Sekiro/etc. The former, I was always bored by the setting and the combat felt more like something I had to get through, the latter is just too punishing for my taste. Meanwhile in Fallen Order, I don’t mind fighting through some Imperial base for the third time in search for that last hidden chest, because the combat is really fun to play and look at, the platforming and climbing also works really well. Seriously, nothing gets me angry faster in a single-player game than terrible platforming where you have to jump the exact split second at the exact invisible pixel at the edge of the hitbox of a platform that clearly doesn’t fit the visual model. Even where you have to complete a serious of jumps, slides, wall-runs etc without falling down, it never feels unfair, I always know immediately what I did wrong.

    For the record, I play on easy where you do not lose any hitpoints for falling off a platform, you just respawn without penalty in the last spot where you stood on solid ground, or at the start of a slide section. Also for the record, I wish we could at least set enemy aggression independently of the difficulty setting. I’d love to have the incoming damage, parry timing, (absence of) penalty for falling off platforms etc from easy, but the enemy aggression from normal, because as it stands on easy the Stormtroopers often stare at you for like 5 seconds, fire two shots, repeat, if you want to deal with the by reflecting their shows, you have to stand around and wait for them to do anything.

  3. Decius says:

    That’s a really good customer support system, even though it’s heavily scripted and involved a handoff to the next tier of customer service (during the minutes of downtime. The line “I can imagine how inconvenient it can be when you aren’t able to purchase the game from origin. I will surely check it out for you and give you the best possible solution.” Is heavily scripted but looks like it was finalized by someone who is fluent in English and being careful to make the script make sense while also adding the relevant information to the database (Problem: Aren’t able to purchase the game from origin; Details: Purchased through Steam then refunded through Steam. Customer now wants to buy through Origin- Escalate to somebody who knows more)

    The second tier agent was able to quickly identify what you were asking for and probably figured out that you would be happy with having your ownership revoked.

    If you accidentally found a problem with the Origin/Steam interface that allowed anybody to get free games on Origin via Steam refund, and they fix that problem, I’d be even more impressed. Just not enough to overcome my loathing for what they did to C&C3

    1. miroz says:

      C&C3? You are really determined to hold that grudge :)

      1. galacticplumber says:

        It’s a completely understandable grudge. Everything EA ruins is something we could still plausibly otherwise be something we could be getting more of today. Imagine a hypothetical timeline where EA never bought Bioware. Mass Effect would’ve stayed an RPG without the writing dip from the second game onward. We could’ve had more Jade Empire.

        We could’ve seen the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series continue as a main household name.

        Or Visceral. The hypothetical universe where EA didn’t ruin THEM, Dead Space didn’t crash, and kept being good to this day to be an ongoing horror series? I want it.

        This complaint? I’m sure the dramatically under-served RTS market would like more than Starcraft 2, and a remake of Warcraft 3.

        1. Decius says:

          Starcraft 2? No, I’ll take a real-time STRATEGY game, not a tactical micro game.

          AlphaStar proved that godlike micro can turn silver league strategy into diamond tier play.

          1. galacticplumber says:

            Your point? Unless you’d like to point out another high profile release in the RTS genre, those two games are about the size of recent mainstream releases. I said it was starved, and it is.

            1. Decius says:

              Planetary Annihilation.

              Nothing quite like killing off two enemy commanders by hitting one with the planetoid the other is on.

              1. galacticplumber says:

                Three is still underserved. Like…. Can we all just agree preemptively that if you can count recent titles on one hand the genre is starved?

                1. Decius says:

                  Is there anything that a more popular genre would call recent? SC2 is 2010, PA was 2014

                  1. galacticplumber says:

                    It’s not so much about how recent they are, so much as the incredibly small number. Like… I’m pretty sure most people would have trouble naming ten mainstream RTS within the last decade.

          2. Abnaxis says:

            FWIW AlphaStar had some pretty shitty micro at times, when compared to humans…

            1. Decius says:

              And it had some godlike micro at times, comparable to humans with frame-advance.

        2. shoeboxjeddy says:

          So you’re imagining a future where Bioware made completely different choices, yet still had access to top tier facilities and tech. That’s pretty laughable. It’s not like EA dropped by the writers’ room and starting making changes to their MS Word planning documents.

          1. galacticplumber says:

            It’s a simple thing that not many people seem to acknowledge. Tone at the top. Being made a part of corporate structure ladder means that the values of the higher ups inevitably trickle down. It’s why everything EA touches eventually turns to shit. You didn’t think the pattern of studio buyout to shifting focus to homogenization to trash to close was a coincidence did you? Not when it repeats itself this readily.

        3. Ninety-Three says:

          Mass Effect would’ve stayed an RPG without the writing dip from the second game onward…

          We could’ve seen the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series continue as a main household name.

          How exactly do you think EA ruined the writing in Mass Effect? There’s no Destiny-like story of executives vetoing already-written plotlines, or Tomb Raider “We animated all the cutscenes then hired a writer” (and the studio has had so many leaks and Jason Schreier pieces that such a story would have gotten out if it existed). Bioware’s narrative issues were their own. Similarly, Bioware has talked about the development of ME2 enough: they overhauled the combat system from 1 at the very beginning of the design, stuck with the old ammoless system until someone started secretly testing the game with ammo and convinced them all it was better, simplified inventory because the old interface was clunky and the weapons were kind of samey… all those design decisions the grognards hate were Bioware’s.

          There was never going to be a KOTOR 3. Bioware was deeply invested into making SWTOR before EA, and in fact “we need money to finish our MMO that’s over-budget” was the driving factor behind them selling to EA.

          No matter how much you hate EA, they’re not responsible for everything you hate.

          1. Shamus says:

            It’s a strange thing. I don’t think we can blame EA for this one, although they inadvertently contributed to it.

            BioWare’s ambitions expanded beyond their resources, trying to make a massively expensive and ill-advised MMO. In a world where NOBODY was willing to buy BioWare, then the company would have run out of money one way or another.

            In that timeline, Drew Karpyshyn might stay on the Mass Effect series. Dragon Age doesn’t get made. SWTOR gets cancelled because it’s costing too much.

            The world is much too chaotic to know how that would turn out, but my guess is that if Mass Effect 2 ever got finished, it would have been the company’s last game. The main plot might have been more to my liking, but then the series would go to the graveyard of games that never got their Part 3, right beside Half-Life 2.

            EA basically gave BioWare the money they needed to buy all the rope they needed to hang themselves.

            It’s a shame. I’ve seen this happen to a lot of companies over the years. They assume “We’re doing great with this small group of loyal customers. Let’s scale up to ten times as large, and then ten times as many people will magically show up to buy our stuff. We’re going to be rich!”

            Annoyingly, this works just often enough to entice more people to do it.

            1. Ninety-Three says:

              The original vision Bioware had for SWTOR was much more “story-heavy Bioware game, online” and less “WoW clone”. They didn’t start with the plan to go ten times as big for ten times as many customers, but as the project’s budget grew it became increasingly clear that the only way to recoup that investment was to compete in the WoW arena for WoW’s millions of subscribers. Besides the standard reasons you shouldn’t try to kill WoW, this meant moving the game away from Bioware’s strengths.

              “Bioware makes an MMO” was a catch-22 from the very beginning, and the only thing I can fault EA for is not realizing that and cancelling the project immediately.

            2. Syal says:

              games that never got their Part 3, right beside Half-Life 2.

              But not beside Shenmue anymore!

              1. shoeboxjeddy says:

                The tricky thing is, it turns out Shenmue was playing for a part 4 and maybe even a part 5 as well. So the fans of that one are pretty much guaranteed to be screwed no matter what.

            3. galacticplumber says:

              I mean…. I’d gladly take that mulligan. That’s one more good game than existed, and a more dignified, less pitiful sendoff.

              EA doesn’t just kill your studio. It drags all your work through the mud so people don’t even remember you fondly anymore. Not entirely at least.

              Also for further up in the chain, I know full well EA isn’t responsible for everything I hate. Just a good 3/4 to 4/5 in the sphere of video games single handed. Lots of other games companies have been shitty. No one else has the raw record of murdering things I care about.

      2. Decius says:

        I’d been looking forward to it since Tiberian Sun.

        1. Sartharina says:

          What’s everyone’s problem with 3? I found it to be damn awesome, that one mission where you’re trying to defend your base until the MCV arrives (Then gets pinned down) aside.

          It’s 4 that was the disaster, because it was intended to be a multiplayer spin-off, not a main numbered title until something happened.

          1. Decius says:

            Too many fast hard counters. Click timing mattered way too much when buildings were targeted by their instant death things, for example.

            The only horrible spot in the campaign is the GDI final attack on the Nod base, which took way, way too long to finish after it had been won.

            1. Stylesrj says:

              I liked C&C3… back when it came out and shortly after Kane’s Wrath came out…
              Well almost liked it. I could do practically every mission on Normal (and some on Hard) all the way until Operation Stiletto (capture 4 bases without losing one? Almost lost that on Easy… don’t tell me about the trick with waypoints.) and the last NOD level.

              That was years ago. I played it “recently” (like two years ago) and things had changed dramatically. Suddenly levels I found tolerable (set up base defences, build army, then steamroll) were well… who the hell thought it was a good idea to have NOD rocket soldiers outrange GDI anti-infantry turrets!?
              Yeah, that to me made everything frustrating beyond belief. Because the AI would exploit the hell out of that even on Easy.

              You then realise that EA patched the game for multiplayer balance while forgetting to keep the original values for the Campaign, which can’t support Skirmish AI or damage tables.

  4. Scampi says:

    When I do, Origin reappears and says it needs to update itself. Then it vanishes into the background again without launching my game.

    My guess is that Origin was doing some self-update nonsense in the background and didn’t see fit to notify the user, which led me to assume it was crashed.

    Just asking: Isn’t part of that issue exactly there in plain sight?
    If Origin told you it needed to update itself, you can’t exactly claim it updated itself without notifying you, can you?
    Glad you managed to get it figured out, though. I’m happy to hear you had a pleasant experience.

    1. Karma The Alligator says:

      That’s on the retry, though. First time around it didn’t say anything about updates.

      1. Scampi says:

        Yes, but does that matter? Origins seems to have clearly and recognizably communicated its will to update itself, hasn’t it?

        1. MelTorefas says:

          Generally speaking, programs I’ve used tend to stay on the screen while updating, at least with some tiny modal window, to track their progress. They generally do not simply disappear into the list of background processes, especially after doing so the first time with no warning. That is usually the behavior of a program that is malfunctioning and has crashed/hung. I would say Shamus was entirely justified in thinking that is exactly what happened.

        2. Shamus says:

          Normal interface conventions are that programs that are updating should show some sort of information and progress bar to the user. Programs should not vanish into the system tray during an update. The most reasonable (based on prior experience) user assumption is that the program has crashed.

          It’s common for programs to close themselves and fire up another process to do the update. When Origin went silent I assumed this handoff had failed somehow. I’ve seen it happen before.

          EDIT: Ninja’d by MelTorefas.

          1. Joshua says:

            Oddly enough, I sometimes have this issue with opening Firefox. I double-click on the desktop icon, it flashes in a highlight, and then the highlight disappears. It might then actually open up 30 seconds later. In the meantime, I doubt myself about whether I actually double-clicked, and double-click again. By the time finally opens, I get TWO instances. Why not just hold the selection highlight while loading?

        3. Scampi says:

          @ both of you.
          Then I seem to be a strange outlier once more who never gets notified by his updating software and always gets blindsided by this stuff. I often find out software updated itself when it notifies me it’s done and my system is in need of a reboot. In some lucky cases, it tells me via some barely visible icon in my system tray or similar that there’s any activity at all.
          I also probably haven’t seen a functioning progress bar communicating progress in months.
          Nvm. I just thought your chronology there seemed as if you had realized it was updating, only to have forgotten about it only a short time later. It’s even in your text.

          1. Joe Informatico says:

            I’ve noticed this trend, maybe since the iPhone first gained traction, where UI systems hide things from the user or don’t ask permissions, and I assume it’s to accommodate all these (mostly older) people who first embraced information technology after the iPhone or Kindle blew up.

            And sometimes that’s fine–I would prefer the PC I bought my parents to just automatically install security updates without any input on their part, because I can’t get over there all the time and walking my parents through even the simplest computer task on the phone is not the greatest way to spend an hour. But for those of us who’ve been using computers for decades, I’d really prefer the option to tell the UI “Stop trying to help me and get out of my way!”

            I don’t know if this is part of that trend, but it did remind me of it.

        4. Agammamon says:

          When something is updating, I would expect it to show a progress bar – some sort of indication that the update is in progress and how much longer.

          Not a 2 second ‘I will update’ and then nothing for an indefinite period of time.

  5. Karma The Alligator says:

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order EA™.

    If you’re going to go that way, it’s not even that. It’s STAR WARS™ Jedi Fallen Order™ EA™.

    Then to my horror, I realized that EA has Trojan Horse’d the Origin Launcher into the damn thing.

    So, does it install Origin if you don’t already have it (I imagine using it is in the T&C)? I probably won’t be getting it because what I saw didn’t seem that interesting (especially since the lightsaber seemed like a glow stick in effectiveness at cutting things), but having to use Steam and Origin reminds me of the bad old day of GTA4, forcing you to use the triple treat of Steam, GFWL and the Rockstar club (or whatever it was called).

  6. Danganabit says:

    Sorry Shamus but I don’t think we’re going to get a Fallen Order sequel, at least for a while, there was a new SW game announced that’s set for release on 2022 but its probably referring to Battlefront 3.

  7. krellen says:

    Canadian Thanksgiving was a month ago.

    1. Blake says:

      So, I figured Shamus knew that, but couldn’t tell whether he was trolling us or wishing us a happy day because it’ll be so quiet with all the Americans gone… ?

      1. Joe Informatico says:

        US Thanksgiving in Canada: All of the Black Friday sales; none of the family drama.

      2. Shamus says:

        I remembered that Canadians are the only other country to observe Thanksgiving, but I forgot they fall on different days.

        Now that I’m thinking about it: Doesn’t this mean Canadian Thanksgiving falls kind of close to Halloween?

        1. Warclam says:

          Not very. It’s the second Monday of October, which is at latest the 14th.

        2. Joe Informatico says:

          About 3 weeks before (Thanksgiving is a moveable feast, always the 2nd Monday of October). You’ll start seeing Halloween stuff in stores the weekend before Canadian Thanksgiving, if not earlier.

        3. Chad says:

          Thanksgiving in Canada is observed on the same day as Columbus Day in the U.S. Handy for (for example) college students from up north, since it usually gives them a holiday in both countries.

        4. Steve C says:

          Fun fact: It’s colder in Canada. Therefore the last harvest comes sooner than in more southern climates. Therefore Thanksgiving is sooner. It’s also not a huge event holiday like in the USA. It is just a holiday with a food theme. Halloween is bigger.

          1. Michael says:

            It’s also not a huge event holiday like in the USA. It is just a holiday with a food theme.

            Speaking as an American, I’m confused at what you think Thanksgiving is in the US. I would have called it a holiday with a food theme. I’ve always hated it because:

            1. There are no celebrations except preparing and eating a list of traditional Thanksgiving food.

            2. I hate all of the Thanksgiving food.

            So to me, it’s a fake holiday where the “celebration” is that you don’t get to eat dinner.

            1. Steve C says:

              In the USA I imagine it is rare to forget or fail to notice Thanksgiving. In Canada is it easy to do so. That’s what I meant. A federal/bank holiday that isn’t a big deal. Kind of like Martin Luther King Jr. Day vs Christmas in the USA. The difference between a public holiday vs an event.

              1. Michael says:

                OK, that’s fair. American Thanksgiving’s positioning on Thursday makes it much more noticeable.

            2. shoeboxjeddy says:

              Eh, there are non-food celebrations, you just might dislike them.
              -The NFL famously plays several games on Thursday. Because the same teams end up playing these games every year, these are considered rivalry games with more pagentry than just an everyday game might have.
              -Black Friday sales get started. While many stores are jumping the gun and just doing sales the whole week prior to Black Friday, the “day of doorbusters” generally start on Thanksgiving night at the earliest.
              -Most US churches have a special Thanksgiving service to attend pre-dinner. The church I went to (back when I went to church) had a candlelight singing service, which was honestly one of the most pleasant services of the entire year.

              But otherwise, it’s the food yeah.

  8. Mortuss says:

    An advice for anyone wanting to try this game, you can get it as part of origin prime access for 15$/month. And if you play is much as I do, you can withing that month try some other games, Plague tale, Frostpunk, Little misfortune etc.

    1. PPX14 says:

      Definitely! I’ve got it on EA Access Premier so that I can play it when my friend comes round for Episode IX. He wanted the game on release and I recommended EA Access to him but he didn’t want to play on PC.

  9. Joshua says:

    “I know that support people often have lots of canned stuff ready for copy-paste”

    15 years ago or so when I was doing Consumer Service*, we had all kinds of auto-fill paragraphs (I can’t remember what the exact term was) because you might be answering 100-150 emails a day, and many of them were the same question/complaint over and over again, sometimes with minor variations. The key for me was to use the canned paragraphs, but tweak them to the specific consumer’s issue. I get the benefit of not having to recreate everything from scratch each time, and they get the benefit of not having a bunch of useless junk irrelevant to their issue in a reply. It always bothered me when others there didn’t make the same effort, and I was still answering the most emails each day on our team.

    *Working at Scotts-Miracle Gro to answer questions about fertilizer, pesticides, or general lawn/gardening questions. Still, as much as it’s annoying to hear canned answers, so much of that information was on the product packaging in the general directions, so I have to imagine that a number of people saw information they didn’t like and were hoping to get a different answer, i.e. “Do I really have to wait four months before planting grass seed after I just used a pre-emergent to stop weeds from growing?”……Officially, yes.

    1. Kand says:

      To any CS professional, the canned phrases used by the agent are pretty obvious. And they really were doing mostly a medicore job in the conversation. The sad thing is, that even medicore service, that gets a problem solved is so much better than what a lot of videogame companies have offered in the past.
      Based on the conversation, the problem that Origin thinks that you have a license you don’t actually have, seems fairly common, though it seems to be caused more often by Origin Access rather then Steam refunds.
      In addition the agent didn’t really read Shamus’ messages too well, as he clearly missed the explanation that the Steam refund caused the issue and Shamus had to repeat that. He also wasn’t really explaining what he was doing during the conversation, and did a bad job of repeating back what Shamus said.
      As the agent was likely talking to at least another person at the same time, most of the mistakes are easily explained, but to be frank, if I had to review this conversation, I’d give it a 3/5 tops and flag the agent for a bunch of “learning opportunities”.

      1. Zeta Kai says:

        As a fellow IT manager, I can agree with these sentiments. The analyst that Shamus was dealing with did alright, but not great, & he should have been more communicative & less robotic (“You just earned yourself a coaching session; anyone else wanna get coached? Hmmm?”). The person who drafted those canned messages is partially to blame, as they are a bit stiff, but I would suspect that the messages were tweaked & edited by management until every drop of humanity was wrung out of them. Editing a canned message on the fly is usually possible, but it’s rare that an analyst will bother to do so, especially when they are chatting with multiple end users.

        BTW, one of the reasons that chat support is pushed by Service Desks as a process improvement is because a single analyst is able to field multiple chats at the same time, so more end users can be processed simultaneously, therefore reducing the inbound call volume, which in turn helps improve other contractually-mandated metrics, such as Average Speed to Answer (ASA), Average Handling Time (AHT), etc.

        1. Moridin says:

          I don’t know how universal this is, but as a customer I don’t care about whether the support sounds robotic, I only care that they solve my problem quickly.

          1. Zeta Kai says:

            A lot of end users would agree with you, but in an enterprise environment, where the end users are the employees of the client company, the upper management of the client makes those kinds of decisions. The client managers dictate that Customer Support (the part where our analysts solve your problem quickly) must include Customer Service (the part where our analysts interact with the end user like a human would, with politeness & personable-ness (personability?)).

            In the CS world, it’s common to encounter the ethos that every end user is reaching out for help to address two issues: the stated & the unstated. The stated issue is the technical problem that is preventing them from doing their job; if that didn’t exist, then they would never call for help. The unstated issue is that they feel bad about their technical problem. Analysts are often trained to address both issues, so as to result in positive Customer Satisfaction surveys (CSATs, for those in the industry).

            When training an analyst, & when reviewing their quality afterward, it is typical to divide these skill sets into different categories, such as Soft Skills versus Hard Skills. The best analysts are those that can perform both well. You can have a technically-savvy analyst, who is a wizard on a computer, but has no interpersonal aptitude. Conversely, you can have a socially-savvy analyst, who is inept with a computer, but is friendly & likeable. The former would fix your issue, but would be rude, brusque, bored, dismissive, etc. The latter would be unable to fix your issue, but would make you feel good about it, leaving you with a ticket number & a sense that everything is going to be alright. In a perfect world, you would want to get both in the same person, but finding that sweet spot is easier said than done.

      2. Syal says:

        he clearly missed the explanation that the Steam refund caused the issue and Shamus had to repeat that.

        I don’t see any question that was already answered by the Steam purchase.

  10. Echo Tango says:

    The only thing that hints at this being a non-native speaker

    They also ended the phrase “I hope you are doing good” instead of doing “well”, in addition to the “you are” instead of “you’re”.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      “I hope you are doing good”

      Like Superman?

      1. PowerGrout says:

        Damn straight

    2. Lame Duck says:

      “I will surely check it out for you and give you the best possible solution.” and “It couldn’t be possible without your co-operation and support.” are also extremely weird and unnaturally phrased, although that might well be the result of being a corporate representative rather than a non-native speaker.

      Edit: Also, “you have been very excellent throughout this chat session” could either be an indication of a non-native speaker or a fan of Bill and Ted.

      1. Daimbert says:

        I was going to comment on this but decided not to, but since everyone else is commenting on it …

        I deal with a group in India a fair bit, and from the first sentence I noted phrasings that are very common there but not so much in North America, many of which were highlighted here. So it was clear to me from the beginning that this was probably someone from that area.

        It might also be a script, though. I’ve seen web pages with instructions that were clearly written by someone who spoke English as a second language, so much so that the pages often both made hilarious grammatical errors and also were incomprehensible to actual English speakers.

        1. PPX14 says:

          Aha! I too guessed Indian. First guess for slightly foreign phrasing / word order and increase in platitudes.

          1. Michael says:

            I mean, he’s also named Sumit. Nobody’s hiding the fact that he’s Indian.

            The language throughout the session is obviously not native, but it doesn’t really present any problems other than its feeling of slightly off foreignness. There’s no obstacle to communication.

            1. methermeneus says:

              It’s worth noting that the difference between language and dialect is subtle. (Or not, if you’re Max Weinreich.) English is one of the official languages of India, and a soft majority there speak it. The Indian (and Pakistani and Bangladeshi) dialect(s) of English is(are) just so different from the American one(s) that it often sounds to us like a second language learned in adulthood. I personally thought not that it sounded like a non-native speaker, but like a South-Asian speaker.

              (Incidentally, the same is true of some African dialects, such as Kenyan, Nigerian, or Ugandan English, in strong contrast to South African English, which sounds to an American like slightly-off Australian English with the occasional Dutch word thrown in for some reason.)

    3. Nick-B says:

      Ohhh, there are all kinds of flags to me that this is not a native English speaker. I was staring in disbelief when Shamus said there were hardly any tells, because almost every single sentence sent up red flags to me. The first flag is the third reply (Yes, I said almost all, but I guess it took 3 replies):

      “I can see you have created case for purchasing Jedi Fallen Order. Could you please explain more on it?”

      Both sentences have errors, from the “you have created case” to the “explain more on it?” part. The first sentence is just plain strange. Would likely need to use entirely different words. If he insists on using “case” then it needs to be “created A case”, and even then I’d suggest making it “A case FILE”. But even that is very stuffy, when you could have used the more common “ticket” or “support ticket” for the same phrase. Even then, it’s strange since you didn’t submit a “ticket”, which implies email and waiting some time. Instead, it is live chat. Even if you use case file numbers or tickets, you don’t need to inform the customer of this, and should just refer to this as an “issue” that the agent can help resolve.

      The second sentence has the odd “explain more on it” part. Either drop the “ON IT” part, or use “more on THAT” instead.

      And this was just the first bad reply. I am not at all a grammar nazi, nor a teacher of grammar. I don’t correct people who don’t speak/type well. But Shamus’ defense of this as good English just kind of bugged me. I have a good nose for scam emails, and even privately applaud when one scam can pass the grammar test (not very often).

      1. Syal says:

        Also “it say” and “I just purchased it and am now installing!” seem incomplete.

        Of course the important thing is that all the information is correctly understood by all involved, which seems to have happened.

        1. Philadelphus says:

          I though that second line came from Shamus?

          1. Syal says:

            They both did. Compare and contrast, and such.

      2. PPX14 says:

        I thought much the same. Funnily, the “you are” was one that wasn’t a flag for me. I often omit contractions when typing or in speech even.

        Saying that, if the person is Indian or similar, (s)he is probably likely to be a “native speaker”, just speaking Indian English. In as much as “y’all” or “what do you got” are crazy to a Brit’s eyes.

        1. Michael says:

          In as much as “y’all” or “what do you got” are crazy to a Brit’s eyes.

          I would understand “whaddya got” as “what have you got”, but with the /h/ and /v/ of “have” both elided away. Elision of syllable-final /v/ is very common for “of” also.

          1. PPX14 says:

            I always assumed the same. But now I think it is the use of “do” in place of “have” in some American English – having heard people also say “you done messed it up”. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/whaddya

            “Do you” instead of “have you” seems to be a manner of phrase in American stuff, for example What Do You Got is a song by Bon Jovi.

            I couldn’t believe it. But then the equivalent “what have you got” should probably be more elegantly “what do you have”, which should probably be “what have you” haha.

      3. Joshua says:

        Some of it’s the odd phrasing, indicating that it’s not a native American. Some of it is just the exceptionally polite corporate speak.

      4. shoeboxjeddy says:

        Agreed. Online tech support like this is almost always handled “offshore.” That doesn’t mean incompetent service, not at all. Just knowing that you’ll be communicating with non-native speakers and needing to be very deliberate, patient, and precise to receive the best service usually.

  11. Mischa says:

    Regarding possible future naming conflicts: remember the first three ‘Rambo’ movies?

    – First Blood (1982)
    – Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
    – Rambo III (1988)

    That third one should have been called ‘Rambo II: First Blood Part III’.

    1. Joe Informatico says:

      Followed by:

      –Rambo (2008)
      –Rambo: Last Blood (2019)

      I swear film naming conventions are becoming more like video game conventions all the time. I’m shocked they actually called the FROZEN sequel “FROZEN 2”.

      1. Lame Duck says:

        I don’t think anything can compete with the Halloween franchise for stupid title progression:

        Halloween (1978)
        Halloween II (1981)
        Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
        Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
        Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
        Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
        Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
        Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
        Halloween (2007)
        Halloween II (2009)
        Halloween (2018)

        1. DeadlyDark says:

          I think, this is the only franchise that has two reboots that discard sequels, but not original movie(s) and one reboot that goes completely anew. I find this very fascinating

          Am I only one that didn’t like the latest movie?

          1. Mortuorum says:

            I think the Terminator films have gone that route as well, but no longer care enough to actually watch them.

            1. DeadlyDark says:

              Yeah, true. Not to the same extent, but true

      2. BlueHorus says:

        I’m shocked they actually called the FROZEN sequel “FROZEN 2”.

        Well, there was a shortlist…

        FROZEN: Getting Colder
        FROZEN: Chilling Out
        FROZEN: Snow Big Deal
        FROZEN: Ice To Meet You
        ELSA: A Frozen(tm) Story
        FROZEN: It’s too profitable, we can’t Let It Go

        1. Syal says:

          Frozen: What Killed The Dinosaurs

          …although maybe a murder mystery is too dark for kids, I dunno.

          1. tmtvl says:

            I would’ve gone to see the Frozen movies had Arnie played the princess. Alas, some dreams are not meant to be.

      3. Ninety-Three says:

        Movies for kids seem to be most resistant to the anti-numbering trend, which makes sense. It’s driven by a fear that people who haven’t seen Avengers 1 and 2 will be less likely to watch “Avengers 3” than “Avengers: Civil War”, but with a kid movie, the adults know they won’t be missing out on any complicated worldbuilding setup, and among kids, the target demographic is people who already saw Frozen 1.

        1. The Puzzler says:

          Although Avengers 3: Civil War was called Captain America: Civil War for some reason.

          1. PPX14 says:

            And yet despite their best efforts, I assumed it was Avengers 3, and was disappointed when it thought I would care about this Bucky fellow, and know what Wakanda was, and think their infighting was anything but silliness.

            What happened to the Avengers stuff?! Who the hell is Bucky? Oh wait, it’s actually a Captain America sequel.

        2. djw says:

          Maybe one of the Terminator films will manage to put Arnold in a tutu.

  12. BlueHorus says:

    I’ve had similar experiences with customer support. They can be really helpful, really concise…once you get through to a person.

    Someone hacked my Ebay account about a month ago and got it locked up – so naturally I called the recommended helpline and ended up trapped in in Endless Menu Purgatory*. After about ten minutes of this, I got annoyed enough to shout ‘PUT ME THROUGH TO A FUCKING HUMAN’ down the phone…
    …and it did! 30 seconds later I was talking to a person, and 2 minutes later I was done.
    It was great. Nothing beats having an actual person to explain the problem to.

    *Automated voice ‘If you need X, press 1. If you need Y, press 2. If your problems is Z, press 3…’ etc.

    1. djw says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever lasted more than 2 minutes before I start yelling and swearing for a human.

      1. djw says:

        That said, we’ll know the end is nigh when the AI does a better job of support than humans.

  13. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I’m somewhat lukewarm about the game largely because it is “Star Wars tropes 101” in terms of storytelling (no spoilers below) and I personally kind of wish they went more spectacle fighter in their inspiration for the combat engine. Outside the game itself what does annoy me is the psychotic frenzy with which some people urge, even demand, that you need to buy this game basically arguing that this is our one and only magical chance to demonstrate to and convince EA that games can be made without all those monetization strategies. If this isn’t the best selling game of all time that window has passed and we will never ever get a “real single player” game again. I’m at a point where I don’t trust big publishers enough to suspect someone in EA’s marketing is spinning this narrative on purpose.

    1. PPX14 says:

      I just can’t imagine JFO having the charm of many of the older Star Wars games. Phantom Menace, Jedi Knight series, KotOR. It looks like the usual video game “this is a proper acted emotional cutscene” of the post-Uncharted era, that all looks a bit lifeless and bland. A bit like Episode VII.

  14. King Marth says:

    This has been my standard experience with chat-based support, I’m not sure why you dislike the medium. I get all the benefit of human assistance without needing to verbally communicate (or deal with menus that advance at the speed of speech rather than the speed of reading), and the immediacy means that the issue is resolved then and there rather than with an email chain; email would be preferable for a fire-and-forget issue that isn’t really bothering me, but if I’m asking support it’s because I want something now.

    I also suspect that chat-based support is a massive filter, with the more aggravating cases for support coming in through phone; there’s a certain minimum tech savvy bar to operate a keyboard. Might be less so now if chat is graduating to a primary means of support rather than a neat alternative, as then you’re forcing already-frustrated people to use an unfamiliar communication medium to describe a problem that is difficult to understand.

    1. Kand says:

      Chat based support for video games is actually rapidly replacing phone based support. And trust me, you still get a lot of people that are really bad with computers in your chat based support, as LivePerson has made the barrier to entry even without skills practically non existent. If they can find your support site, they can and will open up a chat.

    2. Chad Miller says:

      I also suspect that chat-based support is a massive filter, with the more aggravating cases for support coming in through phone; there’s a certain minimum tech savvy bar to operate a keyboard

      This barrier to entry is nonexistent these days, or at the very least it’s cancelled out by the fact that your least literate customers communicate worse in writing than they would when speaking. I’ve seen chat sessions where my best guess is that a three-year old initiated it with mommy’s smart phone.

  15. The Big Brzezinski says:

    I’m gonna pronounce it “swidge-foe”.

    I’ve had only one interaction with EA support, but it went well. Though I hadn’t played Spore since Origin was still EA Downloader, both it and Sims 3 both showed up when I used those credentials to login to Origin. My expansions were missing though, so it took about fifteen minutes on the phone to get that sorted. My nephew was very grateful. He made a lot of horrible claw monsters.

    As nice as it is to see EA make a video game, I don’t like Dark Souls combat and gameplay aesthetics. It feels slow, stodgy, unskilled. (ranting tangent: Nobody knows how to handle a sword in games. Powerful strikes don’t have windup times IRL because you hold the weapon in a guard position to deliver that strike right away. It should be like holding a power attack ready until you decided to swing it.) The last Star Wars game I really enjoyed was Jedi Academy. Combat was more of a grand aerial ballet the later you got into the game. From that game I went to Warframe, where I now hew through seven guys in a few swings while dodging scanner beams and shrapnel mines and oh crap I gotta get to get that capture target and now I’m low on health so I hit Valkyr’s #4 to heal up and bullet jump off to find the next bloodbath. Going from that to playing a padawan who struggles to take on a couple storm troopers is probably a recipe for frustration.

    1. tmtvl says:

      Nobody knows how to handle a sword in games

      Kingdom Come Deliverance? Bushido Blade? Way of the Samurai? I haven’t played it myself, but I have heard Mordhau is also pretty good at it.

      1. Mephane says:

        I can second both Kingdom Come Deliverance and Mordhau for decent realistic-ish swordfighting.

        That said, as someone who also plays Warframe actively and Jedi Fallen Order, I do not mind at all the stark difference between the combat in these two games. If anything, the contrast enhances both games for me.

        In Warframe, to feel just how much the titular Warframes are sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from magic, they are machines constructed and bio-engineered for one purpose only, each of them is a weapon of mass destruction.

        On the other hand, Jedi are still people, yes they have lifelong martial arts and other combat training, they have some amount of supernatural sensing and reflexes, telekinetic abilities etc, but they are ultimately still very vulnerable people, as evidenced by the fact that Order 66 worked. For contrast, if anything like the Order 66 would have been attempted by Orokin Empire which created and employed them, the Warframes could have easily annihilated their entire armed forces. In fact, it was the Warframes which eventually turned on and destroyed the Orokin Empire.

        Add to that that in Jedi Fallen Order, we play a Padawan who never could complete his training, facing alone an enemy hell-bent on eradication them specifically. I think it would ruin the setting if he could just waltz in and decimate storm troopers the way fully trained Jedi Masters with lifelong experience dispatched Separatist droids, and even then they didn’t have a chance without being backed by the clone army – they were essentially defeated when Yoda arrived with the clones at the end of AotC.

    2. PPX14 says:

      I just can’t imagine it having the charm of many of the Lucasarts games. Sure the mechanics might be good, and we can marvel at that fact and seemingly forget that SW games were once regularly considered very good,

      Aha that’s achieved by the Strong form in Jedi Outcast/Academy isn’t it. Yeah, as good as it might be in a Dark Souls way, it just looks like a souped-up Force Unleashed to me. And even the best Force Unleashed is a poor man’s Jedi Outcast.

      1. PPX14 says:

        Oops I managed to quote my own message I thought I’d lost, instead of the excerpt from your message!

    3. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Strong attacks have a wind up time because of basic game design. If your stronger swings came out just as fast as weaker ones, why would you EVER use a weaker attack? I also think it’s incorrect to say that the strongest hits in real life are just as fast as weak jabs or pokes. They… definitely aren’t. That’s not how muscles work.

      1. Duoae says:

        Well, this is where we can get into a debate about design. Specifically, the decision to tie strong lightsaber attacks to the force points resource. (That’s not a spoiler)

        This means that, coupled with one of the first upgrades you can get, the player is punished for even thinking of using (multiple) strong attacks because it costs both time and scarce resources. Yes, you regenerate force points by parrying (and I think blocking?) and hitting enemies but at a relatively slow rate. The force points don’t regenerate to full between combat sections (which I think is a huge mistake), even though the force powers can be utilised unlimited times outside of combat, so if you use all your force points on a small-medium level combat encounter, you don’t have them for when it really matters.

        That links back to the discrete health vs regenerating health discussions that were had a while back on this website. Personally, I think having all special abilities use force points but only having a very small maximum number of points for the player to use and with no recharge between encounters is too stingy and is not fun.

        why would you EVER use a weaker attack?

        This then becomes – “Why would you ever use a stronger attack?”… so I think the game failed on both sides of that debate.

        I’m going to spoil the post I’ll have on my blog about this game – I think strong lightsaber attacks should have cost “poise/blocking resource” points and not force points. That way, there’s a useful cost to using the mechanic (because even on Jedi Master difficulty level, you don’t get your block broken often enough to make that resource really matter). In real life, a strong attack can be fast, but it almost always has a cost in recovery time…

  16. DeadlyDark says:

    I used Origin support around BF3 release a couple of time. The experience was very pleasant, and I’m glad to see that this didn’t change during the years

  17. kdansky says:

    I actually had the same experience with Microsoft on their windows app store front (which is also awful). I got a refund within five minutes. Surprising how these companies have FINALLY understood that how they treat these problems makes a big difference. I wager they looked at Apple and realized that this kind of customer service is one of the reasons that Apple gets away with overcharging people by a massive margin.

  18. PhoenixUltima says:

    I’m surprised you’re liking the game. I haven’t played it myself, but from what I hear it’s basically Dark Souls: Star Wars Edition, and you ran away from Dark Souls screaming and cursing.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      Shamus did talk about this aspect in his latest podcast.

  19. Dreadjaws says:

    I haven’t used Origin in a while, but now I am again due to having a free month of Origin Access Basic due to a promotion they had a month ago or so that gave you a free month if you activated two-step verification for your account’s security. I had entirely forgotten about it, but I got the e-mail telling me it was activated, so I checked it out. There’s quite a nice selection of games, both AAA and indie, so I’m assuming the Premier version has many more.

    This is how I got to try Into The Breach (thank God I didn’t pay for it), and I’m currently playing through Mad Max and Mr. Shifty. Quite enjoying both of them, I must say. Obviously I can’t try Fallen Order due to it being part of Premier. They wouldn’t be giving the game for free for a month right when it launched, that would be insane (though Microsoft did have a couple of new releases available for $1 with their promotion, but that one’s not available worldwide).

    I have heard of Origin’s support being quite user friendly ever since pretty much the beginning, and it’s nice to see it hasn’t changed. Steam’s has been pretty much terrible ever since I first tried and from what I’ve seen it has only gotten worse. Yes, they had a much larger userbase and thousands more games to worry about, but they should really cool it with their completely useless automated responses. I’d rather have a response take days and come from a human that can actually comprehend what I say than a computer telling me to try something that I already told them I tried that and didn’t work).

  20. EOW says:

    This game legit feels like it comes from a parallel universe where EA is not a rotten piece of shit and so far Respawn hasn’t been EA-ified.
    But for as much as i enjoyed this game, i know full well EA will fuck it up somehow in the future.
    Thing is, i’m pretty sure this game is a fluke and not a new standard.

  21. Volvagia says:

    The acronym: The closest thing I can get to a phonetic pronunciation is Swudjfo. Swudjfoea, though, could be called catchy, if still complicated, though, if only because that makes it sound a bit like a flower.

  22. evileeyore says:

    “This is… not what I expected from EA support.”

    Shamus, they are clearly on to you and have hired a small staff to monitor your account and have a CSA ready to deploy into the hotzone and immediately solve all your problems and convince you that they aren’t the Evil™ megacorp we all know and hate. And thus the conspiracy slows resolves to get Shamus to say nice things about EA.

  23. Simplex says:

    “Moreover, Steam won’t normally let you buy a game you’ve returned”

    Are you sure this is true? I remember it to be a common practice during sales that if you bought the game before sale and then it was on sale you could refund it to get back the “pre-sale” price and immediately buy it cheaper.
    I gues this is one of the reason that steam sale no longer has the “flash deals” which would last 1 day and would be better than the regular sale. People were probably jumping on the sale before the flash deal (as not every game got it) and then got salty when the game got an even deeper discount after they bought it (which is sort of understandable). Then they would bog down steam support with refund requests, which also upset the devs.

    Anyways, I am pretty sure you can re-buy a game after refunding. It would be really weird if by refunding the game you’d be cut off forever from playing it. What if you refunded for a specific reason (e.g. a bug) and the dev fixed it?

    1. Shamus says:

      That’s a good point. WAY back when Steam refunds were first introduced, I did a refund and noticed the “Buy” button was disabled / missing on the store page. Sort of assumed that was the norm. But that might have been a fluke, or a bug, or the policy changed.

      Do you get 2 hours of playtime every time you purchase? Could you continually buy, play, and refund the game in 2 hour chunks?

      I wonder what would happen if you tried.

      1. Mephane says:

        My hunch is your account would eventually be banned from refunds entirely for abuse of the system.

      2. Dreadjaws says:

        From their refund policy page:

        ABUSE
        Refunds are designed to remove the risk from purchasing titles on Steam—not as a way to get free games. If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you. We do not consider it abuse to request a refund on a title that was purchased just before a sale and then immediately rebuying that title for the sale price.

        So yeah, you can re-purchase a game you just refunded, but if you try to abuse the system the way you describe it, they’ll stop letting you use it.

  24. Wow, I did not expect this from EA. I’ve battled with Microsoft for hours over simple license issues (IE: Issues that are literally impossible for me or anyone else to fix other than them), and even had to FIX THEIR COMMAND PROMPT COMMANDS FOR THEM when they continued to enter them into powershell incorrectly.

    Hearing tech support like this warms my heart. Fuck Microsoft though.

  25. Liam O'Hagan says:

    I had a similar-but-different chat scenario with my local telco.

    Backstory is (Singtel) Optus had a sub brand of Virgin Mobile, which I had a phone plan with, as did my wife. Optus then decided to shut down Virgin Mobile and transfer all accounts back to Optus.

    The benefit to us was that Optus offers family plans where data credits are shared amongst all the phones on the plan, so I contacted Optus after we were transferred back (which was a process in itself as they buggered up the provisioning of my plan and they sent me to a physical store to get it sorted. The physical store just handed over a new blank sim card, without taking my name or any account details. Funnily enough it didn’t work) and we then tried to combine our two accounts on one plan.

    Somehow it all went awry, my wife and I had ended up on different accounting systems at Optus, where our account numbers were in a different format, and the two accounts couldn’t be linked until the accounting systems were merged (a back-end process that Optus were performing at some stage over the coming months)

    So eventually, both accounts ended up on the same accounting system, and we tried to merge them. To do that, we needed to change ownership of my wife’s plan to my name. That’s when we discovered that, during the Virgin Mobile -> Optus transfer, they’d swapped my middle and first names. So that needed to be resolved first (which could only be done in a physical store), and then the change ownership of my wife’s plan could happen (which could only be done online) and then they could merge our plans onto the one account (which could only be done through the chat mechanism)

    Finally, after around 7 months and dozens of chats with various staff members, we ended up with two phone plans on the one account and everything works fine, although for some reason we pay 2 different amounts for the same plan, but I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole to get that fixed.

    The chat mechanism worked well each time, the staff were very courteous and knowledgeable, and also helpful, but their efforts were undone by system and process failures elsewhere in their business.

    1. Decius says:

      Before you try to get the issue with paying 2 different amounts corrected, confirm which one of them is the correct price.

      1. Liam says:

        The more expensive one (mine) is the correct price. For some reason my wife’s is $10pm less

  26. Ed Weatherup says:

    Obligatory XKCD
    https://xkcd.com/806/

    :)

  27. PPX14 says:

    The only thing that hints at this being a non-native speaker is perhaps the use of “you are” rather than “you’re”.

    Ah come on, it’s rife with oddities, and the overly verbose and respectful language smacks of Indian/other help centre. The English is great of course, it just sounds completely non-native in the sense of “you are” vs “you’re” (and funnily, that is not actually one that strikes me as out of place!)

    “may I start with your first name please?”

    [Very slightly odd. Usually “May I start by taking your first name please.”]

    “I hope you are doing good.”

    [Potentially just an Americanism foreign to my UK ears haha (to be “doing good” meaning what I’d call “doing well”, rather than “doing good things for society”]

    “I can see you have created case for purchasing Jedi Fallen Order. Could you please explain more on it?”

    [Missing an “a”, and “Explain more on it” is odd phrasing]

    I can imagine how inconvenient it can be when you aren’t able to purchase the game from origin. I will surely check it out for you and give you the best possible solution.

    [“Surely”?! First sentence has odd tense/structure, and refers to “the” game instead of “a” game. (Ah excellent, we’ll be getting the best possible solution!)]

    To be honest, this sort of language use (the apparent politeness) annoys me a lot because it sounds like meaningless and disingenuous customer service platitudes. It makes it sound like they have no idea what I’m saying, and will not respond to specifics. It’s like talking to an automated service.

    1. Kathryn says:

      It’s how they speak in India, I am pretty sure. My BFF is a fashion designer, and she works with China a lot, and the English they speak there is its own distinctive dialect with phrasing that, similarly to this example, sounds stilted and falsely polite to American ears (and probably Brit/Aussie ears as well, but I can’t say for sure). She had to learn that dialect to be able to communicate with the Chinese employees.

      1. PPX14 says:

        Yeah you’re right :) if I ever seen anything posted on Facebook by my Indian relatives it looks so overly dramatically phrased haha

  28. Michael Anderson says:

    I totally get what you are saying – I had gone into Origin and Steam and made sure both were up to date, knowing it required Origin … and also that I was already logged in – and as you say it pops a new instance of Origin from Jedi Fallen Order that has its own login, etc.

    For me, I just assumed it would be slow, and made myself some tea and was patient and it all eventually got there. Fortunately after that first slow start everything was good.

  29. Groo says:

    I can’t believe that name made it through Marketing

    SWJFO

    Star
    Wars
    Just
    F***
    Off

    It’s bad levels of bad there, especially if it flopped. Thankfully what I have been hearing is that they finally made an actual Star Wars game worthy of the name, and maybe I’ll buy this one, but if it had been the standard EA tripe … well that Acronym was right there, ripe for the abuse.

    1. Duoae says:

      I predict that the opposite happened…. and it was a marketing team that made it worse!

      Sometime, in late 2018
      Developer: “Hey, we need to start thinking about marketing our game.”

      Marketing 1: “What’s it called and what’s its genre?”

      Developer: “Jedi: Fallen Order… it’s a Soulsborne-a-like.”

      Marketing 1: “Excellent! Souls games are en vogue right now. We can attach this to the groundswell around that series.”

      Marketing 2: “Hey, waitaminute… isn’t a Jedi the name for a character in the Star Wars franchise owned by Disney?”

      Developer: “Yeah, its the franchised Star Wars game we made based on the license we bought from LucasArts before they were absorbed into Disney.”

      Marketing 2: “Okay, well first off – we need to increase the marketing spend by a factor of 10.”

      Developer: “You weren’t doing that alr-?”

      Marketing 2: “That new Star Wars movie is coming out the end of 2019, when’s the release date of the game?”

      Developer: “We plan for around Christmas 2019. So about the sa-”

      Marketing 1: “No, no, no…. We need to release before the movie ships. Bring it forward.”

      Developer: “How? We have an agreed upon development plan.”

      Marketing 1: “I don’t care how you do it but we can’t release after the next film – we need to address fans’ pent-up demand for a good, controversy-free, story set in the universe of their childhoods (for both the orignal trilogy and the first trilogy) and which doesn’t mess with the lore and technology of the either trilogy…. you don’t have a controversial story, do you?”

      Developer: “Er… I don’t thi-”

      Marketing 2: “I’m messaging Chris Avellone as we speak…”

      Marketing 1: “Excellent! Now, how much do you estimate you can bring the release forward?”

      Developer: “I don’t know, I’d have to do a review of everything that’s pending.”

      Marketing 1: “Get on it.” *To the second marketing person* “We’ll need six months, minimum, to build the hype. That means…”

      Marketing 2: “Some time around May 2019 – E3 is the second week of June.”

      Marketing 1: “Excellent! But we need to be ahead of that to really get eyeballs on the reveal trailers.”

      Developer: “Hey! We have an agreement that the vertical slice will be shown at E3 as part of the Microsoft keynote.”

      Marketing 1: “I have altered the agreement… pray I do not alter it further….”

      Marketing 2: “Oh! And we need to put “Star Wars” in the title, otherwise no one will buy it! We need the brand recognition.”

  30. Xapi says:

    Shamus, I believe this article has been misfiled, as it is in the Rants sections. It should probably fall under… let’s see here…

    No, not this dumb industry… Not long retrospectives either…

    Ok, I guess you don’t have a category of articles to say nice things about companies. Go figure.

    1. Syal says:

      This Dumbstruck Individual.

    2. Duoae says:

      I mean, technically, you can rant about things you liked… right?

      ¬_¬*

  31. Smejki says:

    “Assuming EA doesn’t get some sort of sweetheart deal from Valve, then the Steam Tax on a $60 game would be $18USD”

    Steam introduced a new split system. If you sell a lot of copies the split goes from 70/30 to 75/25 to 80/20.
    I’m sure SW©JFO™EA™ will manage rise to the last level.
    And BTW the game is officially called Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order™ in the storefornt description. The colon is there in the right place.
    Just fyi.

  32. PPX14 says:

    I just can’t imagine it having the charm of many of the Lucasarts games. Sure the mechanics might be good, and we can marvel at that fact and seemingly forget that SW games were once regularly considered very good.

    I started playing it though and do want to play more.

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