Monday, May 28, 2012

Why Mass Effect 3 Sucks

It doesn't.

Well, okay, I can't say that for sure. I've never played it. But everything I've seen of it looks totally awesome. The only thing that pisses me off about the game is what they did to Tali. Tali deserves so much better than a random stock photo. Yeah, that's right, not even the horrid ending pissed me off. I don't care. How else is it supposed to end? Shepard and Tali riding off into the sunset? . . . Come to think of it, I'd be down with that ending, actually. Though, in my heart of hearts, I ship Fem Shep/Garrus. . . . I'm not gay, I promise.

Anyway, getting off the point. The point is, I really don't have a lot against the game itself. Certainly not as much as a lot of people seem to. However, I am still not likely to ever actually buy the game, even after playing, and absolutely loving, the first two games in the series. Why is that? One word. Origin.

Now, I've heard a lot of bad things about Origin, how it's not coded well, how it pokes around where it shouldn't, how it has undue control over access to your games. I don't really care. Well, actually I do, but it was a pill I swallowed when I bought Portal. And make no mistake; I bought Portal. Not Half-Life 2. Not Team Fortress 2. I bought Portal. Fifty bucks well spent. It just happened to come with the other two games.

Now, to be fair, Steam is far superior to EA's Origin, and really shouldn't be compared to it, but I still take issue with the fact that it's required to play games that I've bought and have the physical disc for. DRM, in any form, is bad. But, once you find a game that's worth accepting it, like I did with Portal, then the damage is already done, so you might as well enjoy the other goodies it has to offer.

So, yeah, it's not really what Origin does that makes me shy away from it. I hate EA. With a raging passion. But, you know what? I own all three Sims games. And, I own the first two Mass Effects, the second of which was made after EA bought Bioware. So, as much as I hate them, EA's name being attached to a product isn't really enough to keep me away from it. Especially not one as good as Mass Effect 3 promises to be.

So what is it, then? Why do I refuse to use Origin? Why would I deny myself the concluding chapter of one of the greatest series in gaming history? It may sound silly, but it's because of the name. Yes, really, the name. It opens old wounds and pours a bag of salt on them. Wounds for which I have never forgiven EA, and will never forgive them for reopening. Sit down, kiddies. It's story time.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Lord British. To his Earthling friends, he was known as Richard Garriott. He created Akalabeth, a sort of prequel to Ultima. At first, he was selling it out of a small computer store, but eventually it lead to the formation of one of the greatest game development companies in history: Origin Systems, Inc. Are we beginning to get the picture?

Origin Systems, under the leadership of Richard Garriott, became like what Blizzard or Bethesda is now. Or Bioware. Yeah, actually, that's a really good analogy, there. Origin Systems was the Bioware of its day. It made games that were innovative and deep, much as Bioware does today. It was responsible not only for the Ultima series, but for Wing Commander and System Shock (Yup, that's what inspired BioShock) as well. With Wing Commander: Privateer, they created a sandbox space flight simulator, back when sandbox games were unheard of. Without it, we wouldn't have had Freelancer. With Ultima Underworld, they introduced gamers to a first-person experience that featured full three dimensional movement, the ability to look up and down, and even the ability to jump, before DOOM ever hit shelves. It was the game that paved the way for things like The Elder Scrolls.

Origin Systems was also responsible for Ultima Online, one of the first graphical Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, or MMORPGs, and proved that the genre could be successful and profitable. That's right. Without Origin, there might not have been World of WarCraft. . . . Which might have been better, come to think of it. I hate MMOs, too, but that's an entire post topic to itself.

EA, being EA, wanted a slice of that yummy, yummy MMORPG pie. So, they bought out Origin Systems. Okay. No big. Richard Garriott and his merry band of misfits carried on as they always had, and Origin and EA both benefited from subscription fees for UO. Capitalism at its finest, yeah? Cool. So, Richard Garriott and his band of magical pirates and privateers sailed forward, and began production of the ninth installment of their flagship series, Ultima.

Now comes the part of the story that gets a little bit sad.

Ultima 9 was coming along, but not fast enough for the ever money hungry EA. They wanted the sales from that game NAO!!!! So, they told Richard Garriott to release it. He told them they couldn't release it yet. It wasn't finished. If they released it now, it would be an unfinished piece of crap. EA didn't listen. It had money wadded up in its ears. So, they forced Origin to release Ultima 9 early. Surprise surprise, it was an unfinished piece of crap. It flopped. What was EA's response? Did they say, "Oops! Our bad! We should of listened!" or "Oh. Well, huh, that didn't work. We'll do better next time, eh, Richard?" LMAO!!!! Fuck no. they said, "Oh, we fucked this game over. To make up for it, we're going to dissolve your company, and kick you out on the street. Have a nice day, Richard."

And Origin Systems, Inc. was no more.

But you better fucking believe they kept Ultima Online going. Even better, there was no Origin Systems to share the loot with anymore!!!

Fast forward to now, and EA has the fucking gall to insult this once great game development company by using its name on that piece of shit, thinly-veiled DRM, bullshit of a "service". EA is taking a massive dump on the memory of the company *THEY* destroyed. The way they treated Origin Systems is the origin point of my hatred of them (pun not intended . . . initially). Their business practices did little to make up for it. And now, just when it seems like they might be learning and getting better, letting Bioware do its own thing unhindered, they pull this shit.

So, no, I will never be buying Mass Effect 3 for as long as it requires Origin to play.


  1. "Well, actually I do, but it was a pill I swallowed when I bought Portal. And make no mistake; I bought Portal. Not Half-Life 2. Not Team Fortress 2. I bought Portal. Fifty bucks well spent. It just happened to come with the other two games."

    Ambiguous pronoun FTL? I think you meant to mention Steam in that paragraph...

    Other than that, good job, though I think I've heard this story before. 3/5 <3

    1. I didn't mean to mention Steam, as I mentioned it in the next paragraph in a way that suggested it was what I was talking about. Though, you are right to point that out. Just because it wasn't an accident, doesn't mean it wasn't poor writing. In that paragraph, I should have mentioned that Steam was/is required to play Portal, much as Origin is required to play Mass Effect 3.

      Thanks for the catch, Brohan. I'd be lost without you. ;)

  2. The good news is that Lord British is working on a Ultima 10 that will have all of the old familiar Ultima stuff but renamed to avoid infringement.