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Bitterly Disappointed by Steam/G4WL/DRM for Dawn of War II

February 22, 2009

I own every DOW1 expansion and am an avid COH player. That said, I have been anticipating DOWII since it was announced. I even attended the panel at PAX in August 2008 to learn more about the development process and the plans for the game.

I have been bitterly disappointed with my experience as a customer so far. Upon purchasing the game through Direct2Drive, downloading, and installing – I was balked by Steam’s launch client. For two days straight I grappled with a glitch that would cause Steam to prevent me from playing entirely – claiming that something was wrong with my game files and that it would “reacquire” the game through Steam. Instead of doing this, it simply said “Download starting…” for two days. I tried every trick I could find on the Steam forums to no avail, wasting hours of frustration just trying to play a game I spent $49.99. I was even willing to just play the offline single player (even though I truly wanted to play multiplayer) – but Steam would not allow me to play an unpatched version of the game and prevented me from launching it.

I am appalled by the utter disrespect that has been shown me by THQ/Relic through this ordeal. I feel like I have been treated like a villain by a mountain of obstacles preventing me from enjoying a game I legally purchased. I contrast my experience with this game to my experience with my other favorite RTS game – Warcraft III by Blizzard – an experience I have for years been impressed by the smoothness and ease by which I can install, play, and find multiplayer games.

Installation
Blizzard’s Warcraft III: 1) Install game.
Relic’s Dawn of War II: 1) Install game, 2,3) then Install two third-party software programs – Steam and Games for Windows Live

Validation
Blizzard’s Warcraft III: 1) Enter key code during installation.
Relic’s Dawn of War II: 1) Launch Third-party Steam application, 2) register for a Steam account, 3) Log in to Steam, 4) Enter key code to Steam. 5) Wait for Steam to validate game files. This may or may not actually work. 6) Wait for Steam to patch your game This never worked for me and wasted two days of my time. 7) Register a Games For Windows Live Account 8 ) Enter multiplayer key from Steam into Games For Windows Live account.

So the question is – is all this DRM worth it? (I’m assuming DRM is the explanation for these two third-party software programs, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t do what Blizzard has proven to be a successful model with Battle.net) Does this DRM effectively halt or deter piracy of DOWII? Anyone that wishes to do a little bit of first-hand research will find that the DRM has utterly failed and that the ONLY ting they have achieved is alienating once-loyal customers.

I was eventually forced to download a pirated version from China…which worked like a charm…

It’s a nice game though…COH is better, but you can’t beat the WH40K IP.

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