Dec 10, 2011

Posted by in Lethal Injection | 114 Comments

Lethal Injection: No Grace Under Pressure, Despite Distant Early Warning

Lethal Injection is a regular opinion column here at Ask A Jedi. If you know Lethality, whom you may be familiar with from over on the official Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ forums, you know that he’s not afraid to share an opinion or two. Even more than that, he enjoys backing it up in the discussion that invariably follows. You can look for the same approach here in each installment of Lethal Injection, and we can’t wait to hear YOUR opinion of his opinions!

There’s usually no lack of unrest in any MMO community about one topic or another, and Star Wars: The Old Republic is no different. Whether it’s solo vs. group, PvE vs. PvP or nerf vs. buff, there’s always some type of revolution brewing.

This week’s firestorm in the TOR galaxy is all about the grace period. What is this grace period I speak of, you ask? Let me catch you up.

Saved By Grace

Typically when you buy a piece of entertainment software for your PC, it will come with a “CD Key” or “Game Code” which you need to enter while installing so you can be authenticated as having a legal copy of the game and the right to play it. With a traditional offline single player game, there is normally never a case where you have the game to install before you have the game code required to play it.

With a modern MMO it’s a little different. Since it’s an online game service, it’s more natural to expect to be able to download it ahead of time, install it and have it ready to connect and play the minute the servers “go live.” As most MMO vets will tell you, there’s nothing like that new MMO smell… logging into the game just as the servers come up when everything is new, fresh and unsullied by noobs.

The problem is that MMO publishers still like to sell you boxes. With physical media. And game codes. You still need to enter a game code/key in order to be able to play it. Fair enough, right? Well, yes and no.

It has been the trend for triple-A MMO games to offer players who pre-ordered the game some period of a “head start”, known to Star Wars: The Old Republic players as Early Game Access. This allows players who entered a pre-order code to download the game client well ahead of time and get a period of time to play before the official launch, giving them – as a thank you for their loyalty – a head start before other players who wait for the retail launch to buy the game.

No Soup For You!

But what happens when the official release date hits (for TOR, that’s December 20th) and you don’t yet have your game code to enter? Well, in the case of Star Wars: The Old Republic, you won’t be able to log back in and play until you do:

The Game officially launches on December 20th, 2011 at 12:01AM EST (Pacific: December 19th, 9:01PM PST; European: December 20th, 05:01AM GMT, 06:01AM CET). There will be no ‘grace period’ post launch in which those who are in Early Game Access will be able to continue to play the Game without completing the following required steps for launch…

That still sounds pretty fair, except for one minor detail. Awhile back, BioWare made the statement that there would indeed be a grace period to allow players time to receive their shipments:

There will be a period after launch day in which those who have pre-ordered will be able to continue playing before entering their Game Code. More information on this will be made available closer to launch.

I will say that Early Game Access for each territory will end on launch day for each territory, and the grace period will then start.

So you can see the problem. And for some folks, this isn’t a big deal. It will be delayed a few days, and it might be a good idea to take a break anyway. But for others that live in remote areas where simply getting delivery of a packages is a lengthy challenge of it’s own, it could mean several weeks of down time for them until they finally get their physical package and enter their game code.

Why Do It This Way?

If you’re still with me, you may be wondering why publishers don’t simply release and distribute their physical software early to avoid this issue. Since players can’t log in and play until the servers are live, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in this. It’s perplexing to me in this day and age that the “release date”  for an MMO means anything more than the day the servers are opened up.

So to answer the question – why do they do it this way? I don’t know. It would seem to save an absolute metric ton of administration and logistical headaches (not to mention dollars) to simply make sure everyone had everything they needed to play well ahead of time.

The Code

Complicating the issue is how all of the various retailers are willing or able to handle distribution of the game code itself. Origin, EA’s online store, will begin emailing game codes to purchasers of the digital editions on December 16th. We’ve heard reports of Amazon doing the same thing, though haven’t been able to confirm it.

If you purchased a physical edition from any online source (as did I, from Origin) we’re pretty much at the mercy of the vendor and the carrier. I would have thought any version you ordered from Origin would have scored you an email game code, but apparently not. As mentioned, BioWare/EA is working with other major retailers to make sure these things get out for release day delivery. I’d say your chances are great if you ordered from one of the major online retailers like Amazon or GameStop. Less so from a lesser source.

Oh, there is one final scenario – it’s old school.  If you ordered from a local retailer like GameStop, you’ll be able to march right down there (or drive – your pick) pick up your box, come home and enter the game code without missing a beat. And if you live in one of the cities where BioWare is holding launch events, it would be worth it.

This Isn’t The Evil You’re Looking For

One thing I’d like to point out: it’s important to remember that this kind of decision is made at the highest levels of Electronic Arts/BioWare. Senior Community Manager Stephen Reid has been in the direct line of fire  over this the past few days  (and standing up to it quite well I might add), but he’s just the messenger.  In fact, Stephen has commiunicated that they are working with retailers to get the games out as early as possible, thereby mitigating the downtime some players might encounter otherwise. Even though it was Stephen who posted about the grace period being available initially, it wasn’t his idea nor was it his idea to retract that decision.

Do this instead: channel your energy toward Electronic Arts or BioWare customer service. As their name implies, they are there to serve customers and you (we) are those people. Even though it might be too late to get the situation changed, it will hopefully help influence better decisions in the future.

Solution Revolution

As mentioned, the forums have been on fire about this topic, full of all sorts of ideas on how to solve it. Some of them are plausible, and some of them are laughable. The reality is at this late stage, there is probably nothing that can move the machine that is in motion.

Still, I have to wonder if it would be possible to simply let players who in fact pre-ordered just keep playing. I mean, everyone that purchased the game gets 30 days of free access anyway, right? Simply start their 30 day clock ticking on December 20th. If you don’t have your game (and game code) right away, no big deal. It could take 2, 3 or 4 weeks to get to you and you’d be all set. In a way, using the 30 days of free game time as the grace period.

Now, there could very well be downsides to this. Perhaps allowing a grace period of any length has the potential for scams. Folks who sold someone a pre-order code, telling them it was a game code, which then later stops working would cause a customer service nightmare for BioWare. However since both of them are attached to your account, I don’t see this as being a huge risk.

The Bottom Line

There isn’t a single reason in the world that I can come up with for EA/BioWare to cut everyone off on the 20th who hasn’t yet entered their game code. And I think that might be at the crux of the discussion. It’s human nature to want to know _why_ something is or isn’t happening, and they’ve got an awful lot of humans (and I suspect a couple of Bothans) really cheesed off because they won’t provide the why of it all. It’s coming across as a “EA-of-the-past” move, one we thought they were past.

With that in mind, remember it’s just a game. None of this changes your early access which, of course, has been bumped from 5 to 7 days for the earliest adopters. Just enjoy the 7 days and when the 20th rolls around, hopefully your box and code will be in-hand and you can just keep on truckin’. If not? Just think about how excited you’ll be once your package finally arrives! :)

Please let us know your thoughts on the matter, or if you’ve had any experience with retailers that you’d like to share below.

(Oh, and for those of you who connected the dots with the play on words in the title, here’s your reward!)

  1. I agree with you Lethality, Bioware should have just used the 30 days included game time as the grace period.I have no doubt that Bioware ‘had” the capability to use the 30 days and simply dropped the ball on making it work.

    Like you said, too late now, but I don’t see any reason why this could not have worked had they wanted it too.

    • SilverSage says:

      lol… was a good youtube…i would think the majority of customers will be just fine.

      It is just enterainment… and will enjoy it… however it plays… is all in fun.

    • Nepenthesy says:

      The problem with subtracting the code-application period from the 30-day playable period is in the lack of 2-way communication between retailers that issued preorder EGA codes and Bioware. There’s a ton of people that preordered, got the EGA code and cancelled. These individuals still have the code entered in the code redemption system and hasn’t been removed even if their actual preorders no longer exist (because of cancellations). I do understand the concerns stemming from this problem.

      But at the same time I do believe granting a short grace (let’s say 5 days) would’ve kept the community at bay and made a lot of angry customers content. Another solution would’ve been offering the option to immediatelly subscribe to the game (entering payment information) to preorder accounts and setting a grace limit as to when they need to enter the actual game key.

      It would’ve meant a tad of database account coding and a system that could carry this functionality, but nothing major in terms of investments. Would’ve made shìtloads of devoted customers (some preordering blindly in July already) happy and would’ve avoided this PR fail we’re witnessing right now.

      • this is what I mean by Bioware could have made this work if they wanted to. It is too late now, but they could have set up a system to prevent people from being able to get the early access code and then canceling the order. This is the part that Bioware didn’t plan for. But easily could have been done.

        Why couldn’t they just charge people with preorders right before they enter early access. That way you would actually have to buy the game in order to participate in early access? Charge people for their orders on the 12th, start early access that week.

        Seems to me the 30 days should be the grace period and they simply did not think to use it or prepare to use it.

        • The only way a grace period to work is if you can only buy the game from Origin because that’s the only place where EA has full control. A grace period would never work because retailers would never want the extra work that would be required for it to work. Try to remember how bad it got with just early access codes and gamestop and other retailers.

          • Why couldn’t Bioware just charge the full retail price when you preorder, the preorder code would have been the actual game code and the grace period would be the 30 days. How does this cause extra work for retailers?

            I would say the fiasco that it has become has cuased plenty of extra work for retailers already.

          • Because it’s not Bioware that you are paying its the RETAILER you only pay Bioware the subscription fee.

          • So what, when u preorder you actulally buy the game, when u do that you have to set up the subscription. Preorder code is just game code.

            It works EXACTLY the same as if you bought the game on the 20th except you do it starting july 21st..NO DIFFERENCE.

          • Huh you do not set up your subscription fee plan until after your free 30 days are up. The pre order code is only for early access it is not the game code you can cancel your pre order from a retailer and still get early access. So there is a HUGE difference.

          • NOw it is. Like has been said many times before its too late.

            What I have said was they should have charged full price for the game when you preordered. Instead of giving you a preorder code you would get a game code. Once you pay for the game you can’t return it…as is normal.

            Doing it this way they could have used the 30 days included as the grace period and problem solved.

            Your telling me you dont/cant set up your subscription until the 30 days are up? I don’t believe that is true, I believe we will be able to set it up starting the 20th.

            Bioware, planned poorly, simply as that. The way lethality is suggesting makes perfect sense had they planned accordingly.

          • Couple things:

            1. You have to set up your subscription on the 20th. From what they’ve said, you have to enter your CD key and a payment method for your account to be active.

            2. They should have just used this as a way to establish an opt-in grace period. Let people, on the 20th, set up their payment method and lock themselves into one renewal period of 30 days at $15 bucks. Once this is done, Bioware knows you plan on playing the game, and could give you a 5-10 grace period. This would end as soon as you enter your CD key.

            Seems like a win-win solution to me. Yes, not everyone would necessarily use it, but it would be there as a meaningful option.

          • Are you insane that would be far worse then the whinging that’s going on now and possibly illegal. They HAVE to let people be able to cancel the game and get full refunds.

            No I am saying you can but you won’t NEED to until the 30 days are over. I will be paying though game cards or paypal (from time to time).

            Lethality’s could work but then screws the people who can’t play the game after the 20th for whatever reason. No matter what someone is going to screwed one way or another but all Bioware has to do is ignore all the complaining until after the 20th and all the whinging will just fade away.

          • What? When you buy a computer game and open it, enter the code you CANNOT RETURN it.If you pay for the game and DO NOT enter the game code or open it you can return it.

            My way makes perfect sense, there is no problem with it at all that anyone has mentioned.

            You buy the game when you preorder it, if you enter the game coed(preorder code) the game is your and you cannot return it, the 30 days becomes your grace period and problem is solved. It really is as simple as that.

          • What’s illegal about it?

            On the 20th, i would be able to commit to play for one 30 day period. I would be charged $15 if i chose to do this, and it would grant me 5 days of grace period. I can still play for those 5 days, and for 30 days for free after i use the CD key.

            Then i get 30 more days based on that initial opt-in i made for the grace period. AFTER that time, then it goes recurring and I can choose to cancel. I can’t cancel earlier, because i already bought 30 days game time when i did the grace period opt-in.


          • What? If you buy a game, open it, and enter the game code you CANNOT return it.

            If they would have charged you for the game when you preordered, had you entered they game code(eraly access code) then you would NOT be able to return it. They 30 days included would have become the grace period, problem solved. It really is as simple as that.

          • Raz, the solution is not really that hard. Your way makes sense. Ultimately, people have to actually buy the game in order to play beofer the 20th.

          • The issue with Lethal’s idea is that retailers are involved in selling the boxed product. Setting up a payment method is just between the customer and EA/Bioware. That’s why that seems like the best way (to me) to create a payment option that grants some grace period.

            Or combine the two. Let us set up a payment method on the before the 20th, regardless of whether we have a CD key or not. If you don’t, then you can keep playing if you purchase 30 days of game time for $15. The free 30 days would then be added to that when you input your CD key.

            Of course, people could play for 30 days, and then cancel, only paying $15 to play and not buying an actual retail copy. So i don’t know…

          • At this point yes.
            But, wouldn’t the problem have been solved altogether had you actually been charged for the game when you preordered? Then instead of a preorder code persay, it would have been the game code. Once you put in the “game” code to reserve your early access you have “opened” the game and therefore cannot return it. 30 days included game time becomes grace period. Problem solved.

          • Oh raz I was talking to Hero’s reply just before yours your reply said nothing that was illegal.

            But your suggestion doesn’t work because it does not ensure that everyone paid for the full retail game.

          • LOL. What was illegal in my post?

          • It’s bad business to not allow people to cancel pre orders. If they do that they would lose customer forever and the lost profit would be worse than the disappointment of not being able to play because of shipping delays.

          • possibly illegal I don’t know retail law well but preventing cancellations of pre orders certainly is bad business.

          • Thats why there should never have been a preorder fee, it should simply have been purchasing your game in advance.

            And please, what you consider bad service doesn’t make it ilegal.

            The only people that are really returning preorders are freeloaders trying to play the game for free.

          • Bad business is charging people for preordering, preorder should have been just that ordering the game in advance, not paying 5 dollars for early access.

          • Charging for preorders is up to the retailer. Amazon does not charge any money until the product leaves their warehouse. Gamestop does and I think refunds or gives you store credit for canceling.

            What you’re asking for is charging $60-$150 and waiting 6 months for the product and not being able to cancel and get your money back. Like I said before that’s bad business practice and only works if you can ONLY buy the game from Origin.

          • I think we’re all making this far too complicated. All they had to do was offer a true, full grace period. Six days would have been perfect.

            People who pre-ordered should have been given EGA, plus a grace period from the 20th through the end of the 25th. Beyond that, it’s CD key or bust. Sure, some people would have still been left out of the game for awhile, but no solution would be perfect (we’ve all demonstrated that here).

            They would have lost 6 days worth of money, but would have gained a great deal in good spirit and word of mouth from happy customers. Btw, 6 days is a number i chose because ending grace period on xmas eve would just be mean. :)

          • Raz you’re asking them to give away a month and a half of game time. Why not just ask for them to remove the subscription fee entirely. They don’t have to give away any free game time so be grateful for the up to 7 days you are already getting.

          • What I said was you should buy the game when you preorder. Preordering a game is a commitment to buy it. Yes, some people would have had to wait 6 months, so what? I did not say they cant return the game, what I said was if they entr the CODE, to game early game access and play the game they should not be able to return it. EXACTLY the same as if you buy the game in the store.

            Bioware screwed up and allowed people to pay $5 to play early access, they never should have allowed this. You should get early access for Preordering(buying) the game in advance and getting early access for buying the game early…preordering.

            Bad business is what Bioware has gotten themselves into with no grace period.

            You cannot buy PC games and open them and then return them because of the does inside.

          • I meant to say you cannot buy a PC game at a store and open it and then return the game for a refund. You cannot do this because of the code inside the package.

            So this idea of not being able to return a game or preorder is bad busines is already been in effect for years.

          • What i’m asking for is for them to do only what they said they would do when we all pre-ordered the game. They were the ones who said there would be a grace period. They were the ones who said there would be EGA. We didn’t force that upon them. If you offer a service, you deliver on it. It’s that simple.

            15 days of game time is NOTHING compared to what is possible. Hundreds of thousands or millions of people playing this game for years will wipe that away in no time. WoW thrived due to early, positive word of mouth.

            TOR is going to be huge. But positive word of mouth is still important. If letting people play an extra 6 days for free earns you several months of additional subscriptions from them, and their friends who they drag into the game, it’s worth it. MMOs like TOR are a long-term investment. Thinking long-term, 6 days is nothing.

          • ok hero I’m though your complete lack of intelligence has gotten to me I’m going to ignore anything else you say.

            Raz wtf are you talking about 15 days is huge when you take into account there are over 1 million pre orders.

            You also seem to be forgetting that they also removed any mention of a grace period from their site and when people asked about it they said that they are discussing the possibility of having a grace period. There only mistake was mentioning it in the first place because the community never forget something positive like that.

          • My complete lack of intelligence? You have presented NOTHING to counter what I said they could have done. You simply are making comments that make no sense.

            Saying bad customer service(your opinion) is ilegal.

            My soultion makes perfect sense. When you preorder the game( committment to buy it) you get a game code, you enter the game code to reserve your early access and use the 30 days included as a grace period problem solved SIMPLE as that.

            Once you enter the game code, you have “opened” the game and cannot return it.

            Everything you have said has been silly and made no sense.

          • And by preorder the game, I mean pay the retail price. NO freeloaders, no paying $5 for early game access with no intention to actually buy the game….preorder.

          • Everyone cool it – do not use personal attacks on the poster. Bans are still possible even though these are comments you know :)

          • Lethality, you made the post. Step in and support your stance.

          • Well, my post IS the support for my stance :)

            There simply isn’t a reason to not have allowed a true, reasonable grace period. Even at this point, there isn’t anything stopping them from setting their pre-order stop date 7 days into the future.

            My suggestion to use the 30 day free as the grace period has its issues, but it could be as simple as checkbox in your account – “Yes, start my free 3 days now” or “No, I’ll wait for my game to get here.” Because either way, the “subscription” starts on the 20th.

          • Chronium, no need for attacks. If you disagree with Hero, that’s fine, but keep it civil if you want people to care about your opinion, y’know?

            I was fine with a 5 day EGA. I thought that was awesome. If they had never mentioned that it was happening, then i would not have cared if there had been NO EGA. I’ve waited 3+ years for this game, 1 more week wouldn’t kill me.

            The problem is they said, flat out, there would be a grace period. No amount of radio silence afterward changes that. It wasn’t a suggestion or a “we might do this.” It was an affirmation.

            Bioware/EA made this situation when they reversed course. Some people may take the complaining too far, but it’s reasonable for folks to be upset.

            I still hold that an extra 5-6 days is NOTHING. It’s a lesson EA needs to learn NOW. If the servers aren’t as stable as they want them to be at launch; if there are crashes and queues beyond a reasonable length; then free game time is a great way to demonstrate they care.

            WoW succeeded despite a VERY rocky start because of it. I probably had 2 weeks+ free game time in WoW in the first few months of their launch. That was a big deal for me sticking around through the hiccups. If EA doesn’t understand that a minor loss now is worth it for massive gains in the long run, then they could have a problem.

          • As far as Hero’s idea, the reason charging full price for pre-order wouldn’t work isn’t really that its illegal (that I know of), but it’s more of a book keeping issue. Basically retailers aren’t going to accept money for products they don’t have in inventory and possibly haven’t even been invoiced for. And you can’t really expect retailers to change the way they do business based on nerds raging about missing a week of potential gameplay.

            Easiest and most logical fix is to offer 7 day grace period to pre-game access code. So what if some freeloaders want to get 7 free days of game play, it would probably worth it than have to deal with the negativity this will create. Especially for a launch they have taken great effort to make the smoothest in MMO history.

          • First logical point I have seen to my idea. Thank you for taking the time to read it and respond. Doesn’t this happen in all kinds of areas though? Movie tickets, airplane tickets, layaway programs,… I don’t think now adays it is near the problem it was 20 years ago.

            However, thank you for responding.

    • You are being ridiculous. If there was no early access, you wouldn’t be asking for a grace period. You would conceptually know that you can’t play until you get your code. This is not different than how anything else in the world works. Bioware (who is the developer and not distributor) is not responsible for your choices. Everyone knows that the 20th is 5 days before christmas. Everyone knows things don’t magically show up on their door step at midnight at 12:01am. We all know that if fedex/UPS or any other shipper is delivering something, that we don’t get it first thing in the morning because it is out for delivery all day sitting on a truck. You want bioware to fix your “problem” but it is a problem that you created not them. You get to play the game when you have a code. You only get the early access because you have a code. That code lasts til the 20th, period. You need an actual game code on the 20th to play. Is anyone surprised by this? It doesn’t matter what someone said months ago, you don’t get things for free. IF you want to play on the 20th, cancel your pre-order and order a digital copy from Origin. You will get your code on the 16th. problem solved. If you still want your CE keep it and when it comes apply the code to the same account. done. You made the choice in who to order it from, and if you want to play on the 20th you have the power to make that happen in a few seconds right now. If you want the CE stuff (and ordered the CE) you can still get them. You won’t lose your Early access. You can control your fate — do so. “Do, or do not — there is no whine!” ;-)

  2. I’m cheesed off and I even preordered digital so this doesn’t even effect me! Why?! No, really, why are they doing this? Anyone who spent $60-150 on a game even before open BETA deserves to know why they are going back on their word. They promised a grace period, and now they’re retracting that promise. They lied. plain and simple. Who “they” is exactly, maybe we’ll never actually know. I guess they know that nothing really big is going to come of this. If Hitler isn’t canceling his preorder, few others are likely to.

    • People have forgotten that they abandoned their grace period comments a long time ago.

      • I don’t think anyone’s forgetting that. Radio silence is not the same as “Oh btw, we’re not doing that anymore.” And it really wouldn’t make any difference. They told us one thing, then went back on it a week before early access. That’s poor customer service, i don’t care what business you’re in.

    • “You mad brah?”
      Seriously, bioware didn’t “lie” … a company is not a person… if a person said something that was not true, or was believed to be true months ago then I am sure they are sorry. But it is not an unconscious organization’s fault. At the end of the day people can cancel their order all together and never play. You vote with your dollars, you have power with your dollars. If you are so hurt and offended then don’t play… don’t give the evil lying organization your money for the video game. Actually I think you are right they are horrible horrible people… “OCCUPY BIOWARE!!!!!” seriously? The game starts on the 20th, if you don’t have a code you can’t play… period. Why is that hard to understand? If someone MUST play because the universe will implode if they don’t…then they can cancel their order and order a digital copy right this second and in less than like 3 minutes they will be guaranteed a code on the 16th. (if they want the CE they ordered, then order another copy so they have a code… if they don’t want to spend more money then they should cancel their pre-order and buy the deluxe ed… they will still get most of the ingame items and save like $90) I mean seriously why are people “mad” they have the power to fix this in a matter of minutes. “Do or do not, there is no whine!”

      • 1. “You mad brah?” is just about the most useless response anyone could give to any statement.

        2. Technically, in the US companies are treated as people in many respects. And EA/Bioware Austin is a US company. Furthermore, it is not unusual for companies to be personified with respect to the public statements made by its employees. So let go of the trivial semantics.

        3. The customers were lied to. A representative of the company, acting on behalf of it, told us something. We were allowed to believe that it was true for about six months now. One week prior to it potentially going into effect, we were then told the opposite. They did not fulfill the original statement. That is a lie. Malicious or not, it was a deception perpetrated over the course of several months.

        4. Much of the arguments on Bioware’s behalf seem to come down to the “it doesn’t affect/matter to me, so it doesn’t matter.” You are not the only customer Bioware needs to consider. There are literally millions of people waiting to pay for and play this game. If a decent percentage of them are upset, then it is something that should be addressed and resolved in a mutually satisfactory way.

        Pretty reasonable.

        • 1. The person said he was mad, but it did not effect him because he had a digital copy. My stupid response was to his stupid statement. He is mad for the sake of being mad. Bioware did nothing to him.

          2. “Technically” ? No not technically.. legally, figuratively, but not literally or technically. A company is NOT a person. There is not one person that is directly responsible for this “issue.” More importantly, there is not a person, individually or collectively who is intentionally trying to hurt all of the people affected/effected by this issue. Hence, in the context of this conversation the legal ramification of a company being viewed by the law as an “entity” is not relevant. A company can’t “lie” and is not something that is good or evil. It does not have a human character, soul, volition, or any other human qualities. The legal aspect for which you are referring are relevant only in the context of legal issues.

          3. The customer’s were NOT lied to. A lie would mean that Bioware (or if I am being generous: a person or people at Bioware) were and are intentionally trying to mislead people for some personal gain, or for the sick enjoyment of hurting people. If you believe that to be the case, or if anyone else does, then they should cancel their order immediately! and never deal with such horrible people again! No one believes that that is the case. An Employee at the company said something that may or may not have been believed to be the case at the time. As it turns out an “ERROR” or “MISTAKE” was made. Regardless, if they gave a grace period it contradict the normal business practices of the industry. It is safe to assume that is WHY people asked in the first place. Again, that means this is not a surprise to anyone. You are anthropomorphizing a company and trying to make it seem like they are some how responsible for the customer’s choices and actions. This is NOT bioware’s responsibility. IF they “fix” it is will be out of kindness, and I hope they do fix it so people can play. But they are not required to because someone made a mistake or misspoke, or misunderstood how the hosts of the game were going to handle it (Bioware is the developer not the producer or distributor or game host) like I said this is not Bioware’s fault or problem to fix.

          4. I am not arguing on Bioware’s behalf… This really is not bioware’s issue to fix. The customer CAN fix it themselves and should. If they are made they should communicate that to bioware by cancelling their order and not playing. At the end of the day it is a video game; not medicine that someone needs or they will die. The customer still has the ability to buy a digital download and get a code. Their early access will not change. They will be out no more money than if they keep their order (perhaps $5, but I think Origin discounted the cost by $5 so you don’t have a pre-order fee when you get it with them) but the $5 is made up for by having early access still and the in game items.

          My comments are not about Bioware, it is about the customer taking control and action to solve their own problem because they can, and should. If they are so upset by this they should 1000% never play the game or buy another product from Bioware or EA. period. There is no reason for anyone to be upset, or hurt, or feel like a victim. There is no reason why they can’t get what they want… themselves OR choose to not do business with Bioware/EA ever again. If they are going to make comments like “This has ruined the game for me” or “This is ruining the launch for me” or that they are mad and the issue doesn’t even effect them??? give me a break… this guy who is mad for no reason can cancel his digital order to communicate his anger to Bioware/EA… is he going too? nope … why? because it is a “Are you mad brah” situation where someone is mad for no reason, just to be mad. The people who are effected can fix the issue themselves. Seriously, what is so wrong with that? Why can’t they just order the digital edition and remove the stress or anxiety or drama from their life?

          You know what this is like, the weather man telling you the night before that it is going to be sunny, so you walk outside the next day and it is raining… the conditions changed, the weather man isn’t a liar! He was wrong, and made a mistake. But the customer is standing in the ran complaining and expecting the weather man to make it stop raining, rather than going inside to get out of the rain. They can fix the “getting wet” issue but instead why are standing in the rain expecting the weather man to solve their problem. Go inside and order the digital copy. :-)

          • A lie is not intrinsically malicious. Your definition of what a lie is is incorrect. A lie is a statement that is untrue. We were told we would get a grace period. We are not getting one. That makes the statement a lie.

            I don’t think there was anything malicious about it. I don’t think EA/Bioware plotted this out as some nefarious scheme. But that does not change the fact that people, on a massive scale, were deceived. The folks at Bioware (since you seem to really want to differentiate between the people and the company for some reason) became tight-lipped on the issue a few months ago.

            If they had any indication that the grace period was not going to happen after all, they should have said something sooner. Their Customer Service Manager told their customers that the grace period would happen. They’ve had months to begin going back on it and indicating that it was not necessarily set in stone. They waited one week before EGA to do so. That’s poor customer service.

            Your “weather man” metaphor is intrinsically flawed. The weather man has no control over the weather, he’s just doing his best based on the information he has available. I would say that is an accurate analogy for SR, but not Bioware/EA in general. Because they DO have control over this.

            This isn’t a weather man. It’s the manager of your local supermarket telling you “Hey, we’ll have free eggnog next Wednesday for our customers who buy some on Wednesday.” And then on Tuesday you’re told “Oh, nevermind. No free eggnog, but you can still buy it.” It’s just a lousy practice and not a great way to engender your business to the people who may be supporting you for the next few years.

          • 1. I think the person who said there would be a grace period is being mis-quoted (I never saw that, I saw them say they were looking into it) OR they made a mistake.

            2. definition of lie: “An intentionally false statement.” I do not believe it was intentional.

            3. No one has purchased anything yet. They reserved a copy of the game with a 3rd party (not Bioware/EA). We are not charged for the game until it ships or they email us the code. Bioware does not have control over the 3rd party retail outlets. If people reserved the game from the a 3rd party Bioware has nothing to do with your transaction with that 3rd party (hence when they ship or how long the shipping company takes) It is like the weather man. The developer can only do so much.

            4. The game is NOT free. It is not Free-2-play. It requires a code to play. All games work this way.

            5. They most likely did not tell us sooner, because they did not know sooner. A separate company/department/organization most certainly will manage the live game. Bioware is the developer, EA is the producer.

            6. I have not seen anyone consider the technical or legal ramifications of providing a grace period.

            6a. The 30 day included subscription time starts the day you enter your code. If I don’t enter my code until Feb 1st, even though I have the digital edition, then my free 30 days starts then. If you give a grace period, some people will enter their code later and get more free time than someone who enters their code on the 20th.

            6b. Technology manages all of this, so the game will need to be changed to accommodate any change they make at this point and beta testing is done. So untested changes to the launcher or game at this point is not a good idea and could negatively effect everyone.

            6c. The software is not capable of doing what you are asking right now… which resources should they use to make this solution of adding a grace period work? Push back early access for everyone? I already have the game client downloaded as do many other people… and I am certain they are burning DVDs as we type. stop the presses?

            6d. What is stopping anyone from just cancelling their pre-order and playing for free? If they give a two week grace period and someone starts on the 13th, they can cancel and buy the game later… they will have played for free for almost a month? There will be people who do that. The game cost and the subscription are DIFFERENT, you must buy the game to play. period. Paying subscription in advance, or whatever is a bad idea, because then people think the game is free. The game purchase is separate from the subscription. (game purchase is for development costs up to launch, and subscription is continued development)

            6e. how long should the grace period be? If they have a grace period it is legal precedence that bioware/EA owes the customer something until they get their game. Some people won’t get it for 3weeks they are saying. If they give a one week grace period is Bioware legally at risk for not providing the same solution to someone who needs a 3 week grace period? How long is too long? How long is long enough? Let everyone play for free for a year? A month? Someone is still going to get screwed. Most effected will have to wait a couple of days. Christmas is a saturday, so delivery will most likely be before friday for the majority of people. If not it will be Monday. The reason people are buying the digital copy (for the most part) is because they want the CE and don’t want to wait a couple of days. I am confident that your answer as to how long will ultimate still screw over the people who genuinely will have to wait a significant amount of time for the game to be delivered.

            (*) ultimately the game is not free, and bioware/ea is not required to provide people access to the game for free. Early access is a perk that is separate from the game launch. You don’t get early access without a code and that code lasts until launch (when the access can no longer be early because the game is launched) The EGA is up to 5 days prior to launch. That was always made clear.

            (**) since there is not a system set up to accommodate a grace period, I do think it is asking to much to get them to change a normal industry practice for gaining access to a game. At best they would need to give out grace period codes. How do they go about distributing those, no one has purchased the game yet? You just reserved a copy. That is not the same thing. The grace period should ONLY be given to someone who has paid for the game. That information does not become real until the day the game ships. At that point that information is only int he hands of the 3rd party retailers — NOT Bioware/EA.

            (***) the above comment being said, it is unreasonable to expect Bioware/EA to create a situation where they can not control the access to the game. You are asking them to give away their 5+ years of hard work for free. You should agree that that is NOT acceptable.

            It is also not reasonable for you to dictate to them that some users get more than 30days of free access. Some people will buy the game for their kids and they will not get it until Christmas, and even then might not be able to play until they get home (say they are visiting family) if you start the 30 free time on the 20th you screw over all those users.

            (X) Honestly, if you consider thinking about all of the problems that can be creates by providing a grace period, it is obvious that it is better to state that there will be no grace period and since users can get the digital download and switch without it impacting their EGA, they should do that if they choose.

            (xx) They CAN fix the problem. The only argument that remains are people that can’t buy the digital because they are not in a supported region. But that is a case in point. They aren’t in a supported region, and so it is unreasonable to expect to be supported in a known unsupported region and get special treatment in an unsupported region. If that is upsetting they still have not paid for the game and can cancel their order. They will still be able to play early access, and don’t have to give bioware their money. When the game is available their character will still be there.

            (—) Your FREE eggnog example is revealing, you want FREE FREE FREE. The game is NOT free. No one has purchased the game yet, you are charged when it ships, or they email you the code. You only reserved eggnog. If there are 10 people who want eggnog and they only make 6 bottles, the 6 people who reserved eggnog will receive it when it is made. That is all the reservation does. The 4 people who did not reserve eggnog won’t get any, until they make more. The people who pre-ordered didn’t buy the game, they reserved their place in the queue to be in the first batch that ships. The people who make the eggnog are not responsible for the reservations that the grocery store makes. You want the people that make the eggnog to make sure that the grocery store delivers you the eggnog the day they make it, the second it’s made??? Maybe your example makes my point more than your point. The eggnog is never free, the people who make the eggnog aren’t responsible for what the grocery store does, your issue is with the grocery store, and the grocery store has to get that product to you from when they get it, and when you pay for it.

            You want to reserve your eggnog at the grocery store, have the people making it send it to you directly, and allow you to pay for it whenever you feel like it (or rather, you want them to send you the eggnog in the hopes you don’t cancel your order with the grocery store… there is no way for the maker to know if you did THAT or not).

            The only way Bioware knows you didn’t cancel your pre-order is when you type in your code. The day you have to type in your code is Dec 20th. If there was no early access, everyone would know via common sense that they can not play until they type in their code.

          • No offense intended: your response is so full of strawman arguments and specious reasoning that i’m not going to bother really responding. Let’s just agree to disagree on this one. It’s not going anywhere productive and nothing we say about it will matter anyways.

  3. While a great idea for those of us honest folk, what’s to prevent someone from playing for 37 days for free, and then canceling their preorder, or just never going to the store to pick it up? Now imagine thousands+ of people doing it, and the revenue lost. I would have liked to see some form of grace period myself, but honestly anything remotely long term would be abused, and anything short term would be considered an insult to many..probably fuel the fire. Leaving it more of an all or nothing situation.
    It could have been handled better, yes. Especially when you take into consideration that they suddenly clammed up about the grace period months ago, so to many it was obvious what was happening. All the same, it is an understandable position to take with all things considered. I’m sure a way could have been found to make it work with enough time, but it is what it is. We can only hope they will do better planning and implementing of things as time goes on.

  4. I dont understand what you say about the digi version, them sending codes on dec 16, I already have my code it is located under the titel under game info, in the origin window, well atleast it says game code, i havent redeem it yet, onl the EA code send by mail.
    Anyhow, yes if you have to wait a few days that would be annoying but heck its not the end of the world that the community makes it to be

    In other words, relax guys, you’ll be playing this games for months or perhaps years, whats a few days (we’ve waited years already)

    • That code is your pre-order code.

    • Yes, that is your pre-order code. It will last until the 20th. See, you need a code to play the game… *gasp* that’s unheard of?! why would bioware implement this new method of verifying that someone owns the game by requiring a code to play… everywhere else int he world you can just get stuff for free then pay them for the service months or weeks later. lucky for most of us we have the magic delivery service from UPS and FEDex that magically makes things arrive on the second the day changes to the release date of a game. I never even heard of people having to wait for delivery before all of this nonsense started. It’s crazy talk!

      Seriously, people? just cancel your order and get the digital copy of the game and get your code on the 16th… problem solved. (If you want the CE, keep it… buy the extra copy if YOU can’t WAIT) If you don’t want to spend the money or change your order,etc… then don’t, we welcome you to wait for your code. It really isn’t the end of the world… and you have the power to change your horrible fate that is apparently worse than death.

  5. Not to mention the boneheaded decision to have the launch date 5 days before christmas and not to have thought that there may be a postage issue.

    • I agree, whomever came up with the idea of Dec. 20th is a moron. Due to the xmas mail rush. And with the US Postal Service being the way it is… What a Pain!!

      What is missing here is the fact that Bioware/EA pushed up the street release date for Europe from Dec. 22th to Dec. 15th with the launch Dec 20th. If they did the same-thing in NA, then the grace period wouldn’t be a issue either. Keeping the NA retail street release date for the same day as launch, they basically shafted all of NA customer.

      Many people look at this as a none issue, but the fact is… Retailers are held to strict street release date per their license agreement from the publisher or manufacturers. that is in this case …Electronic Arts.

      Amazon and other retailers if given official written authority to send out these games, books, music, movies, or whatever.. then its good, but the license agreement is a contract and legally binding, and there is penalties for releasing anything that has this type of agreement. Amazon and other retailers could be fined, sued, and lose any form of future release products. I have seen this happen, and I have seen people fired for this as well….

      Bottom line, I believe that Bioware/EA just may have shoot themselves in the foot, and pissed off people enough not to trust them ever again. I was lucky enough to beta test the game, and want to play it, but… if it wasn’t for the fact that I pre-ordered the CE version, I would cancel my order, and walk away from play the game.

      As a side note… There is a growing trend with computer software companies to only offer digital releases of their programs. From the comment that I got from EA CS the other day, they assumed that everyone should have done this… It saves them money in printing, manufacturing, and shipment …. Digital makes them money, otherwise, they lose money for every hard copy they sale. Darn Bean Counters.

    • What I don’t understand if why everyone who ordered physical copies, didn’t realize that it was 5 days before Christmas and that there would be delivery issues? Doesn’t seem like it should surprise anyone. If they were worried about playing the second the game truly goes live on the 20th, then they should not have ordered a physical copy of the game. Even if it wasn’t the holiday season, you still have to wait for shipping to occur… is it really a surprise that stuff you order doesn’t show up magically on your doorstep? Everyone knows you can’t play without a code… seems silly for people to whine about something they already know. If they are so upset, they should cancel their order and make the point with their dollars. That is the way to make the point.

      • Except people were specifically told that there would be a grace period to make up for this. People did think of it, but their fears were alleviated through promise of a grace period. That offer being rescinded is what has caused this issue.

        • It was not a “promise” and it was not an “offer” Again the customer still has plenty of time to cancel their order and order the digital edition if they are not willing to wait. If it was the 20th or later that they informed us, then I would probably be more compassionate, but early access has not even started… they can fix this themselves. (Or cancel altogether if they are truly that upset). No one is forcing them to do anything here, and it is THEIR (the customer’s) responsibility to take the action to fix their problem, while they still can… rather than waiting around for something to happen that they know is going to happen. Seriously, they should go order the digital edition already… there is no down side and they get what they want. What is so hard about that?

  6. I can think of a couple reasons why they might be doing it.

    1) They *really* don’t want the people who have no intention of ever buying a subscription playing the game. I’m aware of general gaming forums where it was strongly advocated that anyone interested in “trying out the game before buying” should make a preorder to register an early access code, then cancel that order. As far as I know, EA has no means to differentiate those freeloaders from people fully intending to activate a paying subscription. In fact, EA hates the freeloaders so much that in order to spite them they’re apparently willing to anger and alienate some of their most devoted customers—Collector’s Edition buyers with a demonstrated desire to spend far MORE money than the average fan.

    2) Rather than EA as villain, this idea might stem from someone at Bioware who decided that it would be a clever way to limit the load on servers during the official launch. This actually makes a kind of sense if you look at how they’re handling early game access. People won’t know when they’re getting in until they actually receive the “GO” email. Thus, a significant number of players who have commitments (such as jobs) that don’t involve their MMO of choice will be unable to get into the game when their opportunity knocks.

    • Theres an easy fix to this problem, allow us on say the 17-20th, set up our actual game accounts and subscribe for a month or more of play time then when we get the game code and input it another 30 days of time is added.

      • Sorry it does NOT work that way. You have to buy the game itself, and not just the service. period. The easy fix is to cancel the physical copy of the game and order the digital copy. (if someone is mad, they shouldn’t give Bioware 150 for the CE… if they still want it, they can still keep it…) these are all the individual’s choices and not bioware’s responsibility. Bioware can not control amazon, or UPS/FEDex, etc. If someone is ordering the game from a region the game is not released in… well guess what the game is not release there yet.) Everyone wants instant gratification. You can’t play the game without a code. period. This isn’t new. If you want a code early, buy a digital copy. Whether you cancel your CE or not is up to you. If you got a different version then get the digital equivalent. Your early access is already in the system and won’t change. YOU have the power to fix the problem yourself. do it.

  7. I feel bad for all the people who are stuck in this situation, BUT if Bioware did not provide the “bonus” early access, the game would start on the 20th and no one would complain because you can’t play without a code. It is NOT biowares fault that someone ordered a physical copy for x 3rd party vendor who is shipping it from the day they get it. I honestly feel bad, but the writer of this article saying it would take 3 week to get their copy? seriously? give me a break. IF that was true or even possible, that person KNEW that when they bought it! They SHOULD HAVE purchased the digital download! duh! SOLUTION: “how much is it worth to you to play on the 20th?” you have two choices, (a) order an extra copy of the game digital download ($60 std ed) and get your CE as well, OR (b) cancel your current order and get the digital download of the std or deluxe ed. If you got the CE you just saved $90… even if you spent $5 on the pre-order that you lose, you will STILL be in the same spot in the queue for EA. so THAT should be worth $5, you just saved $90. If you MUST have the CE, well spend the extra $60 and get another copy and give it to a friend, it is the holiday season after all (or keep. What you shouldn’t do is act like you are helpless and that Bioware or the rest of the world should give you something for nothing. The game is released on the 20th and you need a code to play period! you aren’t a baby bird, if you want to play do option (a) or (b) above. I honestly feel bad for the people in this position, but the world works this way, you pay for things first then get them… you don’t go to a restaurant and tell them you are going to pay them 2-3 weeks later. I mean seriously. How do you not know what shipping is like from the vendor you purchased it from? If you get it from origin you will have the code and the ability to play, and it won’t impact your early access. This is seriously too easy to fix. Oh, and if you ordered CE and you want CE and you will die without CE, AND you don’t want to buy an extra copy “because you shouldn’t have too” um… you DON’T HAVE TOO… You can wait! geez.

    • People who ordered the game in, say, Australia are facing this issue. The game isn’t launching there, so they have to get delivery from the US or EU. I don’t think they can go with the DDE, because it is blocked to regions outside of the launch window.

      I could be wrong about this, but i don’t think it’s as easy as you are presenting. There are people who had no reasonable option other than something that left them with a possible 2 week gap between release and delivery. This problem was made all the worse by the fact they chose to ship 5 days before Xmas. But that’s another conversation entirely.

      • They are NOT doing IP or regional blocking. They will have considerable lag, but that will happen because they don’t have servers in their region. Sorry, but the game is NOT being released there yet, so they have no complaint (Bioware is not releasing the game there yet, so the choice was theirs to make and wait)

        Second, it IS that easy. They can get the digital copy if they want to play whether it’s 1 day or 3 weeks. They CAN get access. They can cancel their order and “lose” only the $5 pre-order fee, BUT they still get the early access time for that $5 which was why they pre-ordered. They will still get in game items if they keep their original order for the CE or the Deluxe items if they get that digital copy. There REALLY is no reason this should be a problem for anyone.

        At the end of the day, they can either wait and play, or “fix” the issue them-self now. Not sure why everyone is playing the victim here; meaning, this is NOT Bioware’s responsibility!!! It simply is NOT.

        They really should save themselves the stress and just go buy the digital copy and be done with it.

        • They’re not doing regional blocking for server access in game. I believe they have regionally blocked areas for ORDERING the digital edition. There is a difference.

          • If the game is NOT available or being released in a region then it is NOT Bioware’s responsibility to accommodate the customer’s in that region. That may sound harsh, but at the end of the day, the customer in that region already knows that it is not supported in their region. When they decided to buy it outside of the region they understood that. The game is going to be very laggy for them anyway, so they will have a very tough time playing with the lag in the unsupported region anyway, not to mention the load on the servers to add to that. They will end up waiting anyway most likely for the server activity to die down. Regardless, they knew what they were signing up for in the first place. They certainly did NOT expect to get the game in an unsupported region on the 20th?! At the end of the day they are going to have to wait… :-/ which sucks, but I’m sure isn’t a surprise to them.

  8. In all of this, i feel the worst for SR. That man is NEVER going to make a statement about anything other than what is officially finalized and confirmed. I’m sure he was told by those higher up that there would be a grace period, and he just got completely thrown under the bus. I would love to work for Bioware, but I would not want his job right now!

    Ultimately, this fiasco will be forgotten. But the launch of an MMO is a big thing, and this move is just going to leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths. And word of mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. All these angry fans of the game may be a bit slower to recommend it to others now.

    • unfortunatly i dont believe this is actually Bioware’s fault its all on EA as they’re the publishing arm.

      • That’s my take as well. All in all, a bad move not to allow a minimal grace period of 3, 7, or 14 days.

        • I don’t think 14 days was ever on the table. Even 5 days would have been a nice move on their part. It wouldn’t have been perfect for everyone, but it would have been something.

          One problem is that if they did something like 5 days, people would complain and want more. Because people always want more.

          The biggest mistake in this whole thing is that they told us there would be a grace period months ago. If that hadn’t happened, this reaction would have been much smaller. I hope EA doesn’t think this game is in the bag, because there’s still plenty that can fail — like customer service, for example.

  9. What a whole lot of bitching about something that hasn’t actually happened yet. If there are big shipping issues, BW could well change their minds, or offer some resolution on a case-by-case basis. Or not; I’d say it’s probably a smart move, but they’re under no obligation to let you play _at all_ until you’ve gotten hold of a paid copy of the game.

    In the meantime, denying there will be a grace period should help ensure that when boxes appear on store shelves, someone actually gives a shit.

  10. I’ve been all over this, taking screen shots of the now wiped forums. It was mentioned in a previous comment that “they” stopped talking about the grace period ages ago. True enough, SR hadn’t said anything in awhile but an interesting exchange between forum members and three different CS “droids” took place between 01 December and the morning of 06 December.

    01 Dec: A4-I4 claims “you will not be able to play again until you use the Product Code.” Forum members begin to freak out.

    05 Dec: J1-D1 reassured panicked forum members, “We understand that this is a delicate subject and I just wanted to let you all know that as of yet we have still not announced and details of the Grace period we intend to offer.”

    06 Dec: P5-R4 further reassures forum members, “Maybe this statement (of mine) can give you some reassurance: “…We have not yet announced any details of the Grace period… we intend to offer…”

    Screenies of these posts can be seen here:

    • Yup. They were playing it coy, putting off the angry reaction as long as possible. No coincidence that they announced “no grace period” at the same time as “2 more days of EGA.” I think they wanted to offset the orneriness as much as possible.

      It doesn’t change the fact that this was handled poorly.

  11. I really wish people would stop thinking of early access as some sort of “Thank You” from BioWare or that they’re doing us some sort of favour. The ONLY reason we’re getting early access is so logins are staggered and the servers don’t melt down when a million people try to log on simultaneously. This is purely so they can have as close as possible to a flawless launch, they don’t care about their customers enough to perceive this as a Thank You.

    The only Thank You from BioWare your’re getting for pre-ordering is the colour stone, whoopee…

    It amazes me that a grace period isn’t being given, there’s no reason for it not to exist. For many of us who wanted to pre-order the moment it was announced we had little choice of retailers. In Canada there wasn’t one online store that had the game listed when it was announced, I had to order my CE from Amazon in the US. Living outside a major metropolitan area I’m now not expecting delivery until early January.

    Poor form BioWare.

    • go order the digital copy from origin NOW… you won’t lose your early access and you will have the code on the 16th. You can either keep your CE or cancel it. If you “can’t” wait then don’t… if you can… then do.

    • What you get for preordering should be your reserved copy on the game. Then as a reward you get early game access. The problem is the way Bioware did it. What they essentially did was allow you to buy early game access…not preorder, that is why we have such a problem now.

      • No, the pre-order has to do with the 3rd party retail, NOT bioware. Bioware gave perks to people who pre-ordered, yes, but pre-ordering reserves your copy when it comes in at the retailer! If the game is first-come-first-serve then you might not even get a game in the first batch of games that ship. If you pre-order an iPhone, you don’t get early access to phone service… and you don’t whine that there are no phones at the apple store. If you do pre-order the iPhone and have it shipped… you still have to wait for the shipping to happen! This is no different than how everything else works. All of these people ARE getting the pre-order perks that Bioware provided to the people that pre-order. ALSO, bioware said that you MAY get up to 5 days of EARLY ACCESS, no promise was made in the pre-order that you would get FREE post-release access.

        • The preorder has everything to do with Bioware. Bioware uses it for several reasons, launch and production numbers being 2 of them.

          The problem here is simple, Bioware never should have allowed people to return the preorder and keep the early access code. In my opinion you are wrong about Bioiwares responsibility. They are responsible for the dates the y choose to release the game and the manner they go about doing so, the fact that there are 3rd party retailers and shipping involved does not change that. If Bioware knows that they are going to have problems getting the game to the customer on time for launch…they should deal with it and should ahve made it work better….period.

  12. I think the biggest issue here beyond the fact they will be shutting people (many paid for the most expensive product they offered I might add) off from the game on the 20th. Is the flip flopping, and waiting until the last possible moment to state their change of policy. There have been a number of these incidents. There is also a obvious communication problem between EA customer service, origins CS, and Bioware CS. After deciding to take the plunge and get the Collectors edition and canceling my Digital Deluxe, I got no less then 3 answers all different from all of them. It was a mess.

    These things if they were isolated incidents would be easy to dismiss. It’s the fact they keep happening, it compounds and you end up loosing confidants in their ability to handle customer service in a proper and mutually equitable manner.

    I for one know I will only be out at most 12 hours, of game time if my local Best Buy doesn’t do a mid-night release event. It will suck, because I won’t be there with my friends who planning a all night party in game to mark the first official few hours. I can live with it though, but I really feel for the folks that could be waiting weeks because of holiday slowed mail.

    Over all this problem just sets the wrong tone. Release should be exciting and full of fun for all. NOT being disappointed over not getting your code in on time. In the long run this mess will be forgotten MOSTLY it will always be a shadow that could stain a other wise stellar release.

    I am still hoping they will get this worked out for their own sake and more importantly for the potential customers they hope to keep romanced for ten years+.

    • See, you are making this a bigger issue than it is… they didn’t make you buy the CE… you can still cancel it and get the digital copy. Why don’t you. You will save $90 if you get the std ed digital download. problem solved and you can play with your friends on release. If you want to wait then wait. These are all your choices, don’t blame Bioware/EA for them.

      • I wonder, would you still be saying this if you were the one being locked out of the game on launch?

        • I would just cancel my order and order the digital copy… there is no reason not to. PLUS no one is being locked out… you need a code to play the game. why is that so hard to understand? I originally ordered the game from gamestop … they never sent me the pre-order code and told me that no one had them and that is was impossible to get them anymore (months ago). Well I cancelled my order and got a digital copy from origin. It took to seconds for me to fix my problem. Gamestop was stupid and lied. They lost the sale and I will never shop there again (burned to many times) the only reason I went to gamestop was because they were guaranteeing that the game would be in the store to pick up on the 20th. I KNEW that 5 days before christmas was going to be a shipping nightmare, and that I would need a code to play the game. The next best way to have a code to play (well actually the best way) is to get the digital copy. I wanted a physical copy because I thought the download would take a long time with everyone doing it on the 20th. BUT I already have the game installed. As do all of the people with this issue. They can fix it… and they should! If they are truly upset they should cancel their order altogether and not play. If they want to play they can… I’m not really sure why they don’t. There really is no situation that they can’t accommodate if they are willing to pay extra, or cancel their pre-order. Heck, cancelling the CE and getting standard ed alone would send a message if all the pre-ordered CE did that. [they all face this issue after all] but most I am sure are not looking for instant gratification, and are willing to wait.

          So even though my situation was not identical, I did face a problem with the 3rd party retailer, and FIXED it myself. Everyone CAN fix their problem… and they should. They should not wait for someone else (bioware) to have pity on them, then cry when they don’t. “Do or do not, there is no whine.”

          • Who’s whining as matter fact I just clearly stated my opinion, as you just did up there. The fact still remains Bioware/EA has dropped the ball on number of occasions and it has cast a bad light on what should be a awesome time for all.

            I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect to be able to play on launch day when you bought your copy of the game up to six months ahead of time. This is a fairly basic desire, that people as customers expect to be full filled. No matter what flavor of the product you bought.

            Beyond that considering the loss of faith I and others are having, are you sure your going to get your game code emailed to you on time? Food for thought, I like bbg wonder how you will feel if the shoe is suddenly on the other foot?

            This is EA’s, Bioware’s bad planning. Why should their customers scramble to fix it? How they solve this problem will set the tone for how people feel about dealing with Bioware/EA when comes to matters of customer service for long while.

          • You did not buy the game months ago, you reserved a copy of the game with a 3rd party retail provider. You are not billed for the game until it ships. So, you literally do NOT own the game yet. This is why they can cancel their pre-order… it is just a reservation. They can get the digital download still… and should do that. They will have the code and be able to play. (I am saying that people are “whining” because they are upset, when they can just fix the issue for themselves in two minutes) No one has been burned yet. Their is plenty of time for them to fix the problem. Bioware/EA does not have their money yet, so they can cancel their reservation and never deal with the company again if they choose too. See, no one is forcing anyone to do anything, no one has to be hurt or upset. There is a simple and obvious solution. If someone chooses to complain and not fix it themselves then that is up to them. But they have the power to get the digital version, or cancel altogether. They are not powerless.

            It is unreasonable to expect to play the game without entering a code proving that you purchased and paid for the game. All they have done is reserve a copy with a ***3RD*** party retailer who is NOT bioware/EA. How does bioware know if they cancelled that pre-order or not? They don’t. There are two things that someone has to pay for (1) the game itself (2) the subscription. The pre-order code is meaningless with respect to both of those. Everyone on the planet is aware that if they purchased the physical copy that it would not be in their hands on Dec 20th at 12:01am. Shipping takes literally actual time. Everyone knows it is 5 days before Christmas. Whether someone said they would have a grace period or not does NOT matter NOW. That is not the case, and there is plenty of time to FIX the issue if someone feels they MUST play on the 20th. My whole this is not about defending Bioware, right or wrong, my issue is that the customer CAN and SHOULD fix the issue themselves!

  13. I’m still confused as to what “grace period” means. I preordered the Digital Deluxe version from Origin on the 21st of July and entered my redemption code to get Early Access and to verify my purchase, which I have now under my account. I have the product code on Origin so does that mean I am fine and wont have to wait around in between the 19th and 20th? I guess I don’t completely understand what it means by

    “The Game officially launches on December 20th, 2011 at 12:01AM EST (Pacific: December 19th, 9:01PM PST; European: December 20th, 05:01AM GMT, 06:01AM CET). There will be no ‘grace period’ post launch in which those who are in Early Game Access will be able to continue to play the Game without completing the following required steps for launch…”

    • You have the pre-order code, but not yet the game code. Since you ordered digitally thru Origin (the only place to do that) they will begin emailing game codes on December 16th. So as long as you enter that code before the 20th, you’re all set! You are actually in the best possible position – digital order from Origin.

  14. I’m just gonna rock it out for my 7 early days, drink a few beers, then play again when my game arrives, I’m going to be playing this game for years i’m sure. Pretty sure i wouldnt be thinking about the 48 hrs i missed out on looking back a year from now.

  15. TwinDestiny says:

    I simply don’t have the option of not ordering a physical copy, if I could I would have been overjoyed 6 months ago.

    The only reason I pre-ordered was because I was told there would be a grace period. That’s right, I waited (foolishly as it turns out) for the Community Manager to confirm no IP blocking, CC payments and GRACE PERIOD before I ordered.

    All of the issues of launch territories, grace period and information blackout asisde, this has been a huge dampaner on my exictment levels. Is that what Bioware are hoping to achieve here?

    • I don’t understand why you can not purchase a digital copy? That doesn’t make any sense.

      You have the option of not playing at all. Cancel your order and let go of your hate.

      • TwinDestiny says:

        Red zoner here so digital is a no go for us.

        There is no hate, just dissapointment. At the moment i kinda feel like early access is just another beta, i’ll be kicked off on the 20th and won’t be able to play during during the actual launch.

        Bad customer service is still bad no matter how you look at it.

        • Thank you. I am not in the red zone, so i couldn’t confirm this. HmmmmGuy doesn’t seem to understand that digital distribution IS regionally locked out to many people. Hopefully now he can get the issue a little better.

          • If he is in the red zone then I feel bad for him. I really do.

            But they are set up like that BECAUSE they want it to be clear that they can not support the customer’s in that region. If someone expects them to support people in the region that they specifically say they can not reasonably be excepted to support, then I don’t know what to tell you… They warned you. :-(

            They should not be deemed as having bad customer service because you are in an unsupported area (which is setup that way so you realize that you can not reasonably expect them to support you).

            Literally, when they answered the question about the grace period it was specifically to the future customers in supported regions. When they made the decision to change the policy (if it ever was an actual decision that was made, and the person didn’t just make a mistake) then that decision was made in the context of the supported regions.

            If you are outside of the supported regions you can play the game at your own risk, but they are making you no promises.

            If the game is not available in your region yet, then it’s not available? If you can get it and play, awesome! But I don’t think you are surprised that it is going to take some time to get it to you.

            I am sorry that you will not be able to play on the 20th. I’m sure you are as excited as I am about playing. I hope it doesn’t take very long to get your physical copy and you are able to play asap.

          • It has nothing to do with red zone/green zone. All customers were told there would be a grace period. It certainly impacts those in the red zone worse, but these were universal statements made without qualifiers.

            People acted on the information presented to them. Folks like TwinDestiny didn’t just leap into it and then find out later they were SOL. The information we were given said “no IP blocking and grace period.” This meant people in AUS or other areas could at least order the game and wouldn’t miss as much time due to the grace period.

            People who will have to wait 2 weeks were probably always expecting some downtime. The fact that it was increased is what stings. Folks in the US who ordered a physical copy because they were told there would be a grace period likely went from NO downtime, to 3+ days.

            This is such a big issue for people because folks made informed decisions, and despite that they still feel like they got screwed. That’s the problem.

          • but that is my point they aren’t screwed yet. They can still change it and get game access on the 20th and not have to wait 3+ days.

            and not to be a jerk about it, but gramaticaly: “no IP blocking and grace period.” means “no” to both things. That statement in US-English, means no IP blocking and no grace period. You are reading it as saying, “No IP blocking, and there will be a grace period.” That is NOT what it says. And since you are quoting, that quote means there is no grace period. :-/

          • The quotes are mine, as i’m paraphrasing what we were told. I simplified it because i didn’t think something so basic would be deconstructed, but apparently that was a foolish assumption on my part.

            We were told there would be no IP blocking for playing the game; we were also told there would be a grace period. Is that better?

            Your solution, which you seem to be obstinately proclaiming in almost every response you make, is absurd. We, as customers, should not have to change the product we are buying to be able to have access to it on the day we were lead to believe we would previously be able to do so.

            We were told there would be a grace period from launch to allow for things like deliveries. It was brought up numerous times in the first month or so after the pre-order announcement, and affirmed each time. It wasn’t until later that representatives of Bioware/EA went quiet on it.

            People placed pre-orders in good faith based on the information we were provided by the developer of the game. That information was that they were compensating us a little extra play time to make up for issues like shipping through 3rd party retailers. Bioware reps (SR in particular) volunteered this information. It wasn’t misconstrued, it was told to us by their customer service manager.

            People acted on that information, and it has since proved to be untrue. Expecting customers to then adjust to this change, rather than making it right in the first place, is ludicrous. And at this point, we are customers. Not paying customers yet, but we’re less than two weeks from launch and we really are customers now.

  16. IMO set up a subscription system or ‘Paid Trial Period’ that charges players credit cards during early access or on Dec 20th for a 1 or even 2 month subscription. Provide a 14 day ‘Grace Period’, then if the player has not bought the game and activated their account with a product key the account gets locked and they can no longer play.

  17. They *could* have given a grace period, even *should* have because they did say they would. However, it is extremely unlikely it was ever planned to be more than a few days (3-5 at most). Those who will be waiting for weeks, would still be waiting for weeks even with a grace period.

    Understand that people are upset about this, but some sure do take it way too far. I feel bad for those outside the launch zones most as they will be the ones likely waiting the longest and *cannot* order digitally, but, as they are outside of the official launch zones they had to take into consideration that delayed delivery could/would happen and that as they are not officially supported they had to make a conscious decision to order the game knowing all of this.

    No realistic grace period would have ever lasted for weeks, anyone who believes otherwise is living in a fantasy world.

  18. Dirtyshadow says:

    The issue I have with No Grace Period, so close to Christmas is going to be a disaster. If it was July, I wouldnt care as much as I do now.

    The problem is shipping takes a few days, which makes it the 23rd Dec, the busiest time of the year for mail and delivery services, if its a day or two late… its Christmas Day and the Post Office is closed.

    The next time the Post Office opens… 2nd of January. Thats right, public holidays and union holidays mean the postal service in my area is shut down for a whole week.

  19. First of all, forget this ridiculous hitler video… every time it is pulled out. =(
    Second of all, amazon (ok, maybe just .de) is sending out the retail versions on 15th of december. so, where is the fucking problem on EU-Side?

  20. The simple solution would have been to just add the two extra days to the END of early access instead of the beginning. Release the game on the 20th, early access ends on the 22nd. No code, no more playtime.

    Same amount of early access time, less controversy.

  21. The biggest problem with a grace period is that Bioware could be seriously screwed by players pre-ordering, then cancelling once they get their code. If they’re given even a week’s grace period, they’re essentially being allowed to play for two weeks for free, with no legal obligation to actually buy the game.

    What amuses me the most about this is that, had they not given us the bonus Early Access, the whining would have been much less. People are used to receiving their games after release, so they would have shrugged and moved on. But because they’ve been given the extra time to whet their appetite, they’re all up in arms.

    Though I will admit, not having prearranged with their retailers for a Dec 20th delivery date was a major marketting foul.

    • Not too mention that early access is a bonus for preordering the game(committment to buy), you should NEVER have been able to return the preorder AND keep the early access code.

  22. evilmanevil says:

    Just start pirating anything EA releases in the future. They feed us BS, do the same thing right back. Fire with fire baby. There is no room for jedi bull crap here.

    We have been deceived.

    • That response is neither productive nor effective. Stealing from a company just because you don’t like something they’ve done is both illegal and immoral. Two wrongs don’t make a right?

      Voting with your wallet is much more effective. EA was guilty of some truly shoddy practices in the 90s and early 00s. Gamers knew it and they lost a lot of loyalty because of it. Over the last 5-6 years, however, they seem to have reversed course and really pushed to rebuild their reputation.

      This move is just a misstep by them or Bioware. If people cancel subs or pre-orders, they will realize that. But pirating EA games will only hurt individual studios that likely worked on those titles. EA, as a massive corporation, won’t feel it as they will write it off as a loss, close the studio that developed the game, and just make a bajillion bucks on the next Madden or Battlefield title.

      “I don’t like what you’ve done so i’m stealing your work” is not a productive solution. As a gaming community, we have to be better than that. If my local grocery store does something to tick me off, i don’t pocket a loaf of bread and go storming out. I go to a different store, tell everyone i know to do the same, and let our money do the talking.

  23. Game in the UK just sent me an e-mail telling me my CE had shipped. 3-5 days for delivery. Looks like they are taking Christmas into account :)

    • That’s because they announced the game would be available on the 15th in EU and UK. Those of us in the US are still lookin’ at the 20th. That’s kinda the issue here. But that’s awesome that yours has shipped! I is jealous. :)

  24. Look, Bioware says it all the time, The game hasnt been realeased everything you see or hear is subject to change.

    The End.

    You’ll get the game, grace period or not, brake in play time or not, postage or not, R E L A X
    bunch of cry babies, you whine about everything, I’m surprised Bioware still have not cancelled the entire game, simply stating, YOU PEOPLE WHINE TO MUCH, PROJECT CANCELLED


  1. SWTOR Shipping Update: ‘Tis the Season for Origin Gamers to Rejoice | TORWars - [...] that’s with overnight shipping, this hopefully will change in the near future. Lethality posted on Ask A Jedi today…

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