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EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

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EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: PlasmaJohn » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:55 pm

Since Bioware didn't bother to announce it until after some very angry posts by people, it's probably best to spread the word. If you've bought premium modules from their store back them up now. You will not be able to get them from Bioware again. Yes, they were ordered to do so by Atari, but their handling of the mess has EA written all over it.

Bioware has been shedding support for NWN recently mostly due to the Hasbro v. Atari lawsuit. First they stopped selling premium mods late last year, then just recently they removed them entirely from their store so those who bought them couldn't redownload them. Frankly Bioware handled both events particularly badly. At the very least they should have informed people that these things happened. Everybody already hates Infogrames (dba Atari SA), giving the straight story couldn't have damaged their reputation much more if at all. By not saying anything though, people's faith in EA/Bioware has been sorely abused or their suspicions of the EA acquisition confirmed.
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: JollyOrc » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:01 pm

somehow this makes me suspect that we should start to think seriously about master server alternatives...
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: PlasmaJohn » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:11 pm

JollyOrc wrote:somehow this makes me suspect that we should start to think seriously about master server alternatives...

How about since Oct. 2008?
http://www.nwnx.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1218

Now that it's legally Atari's fault that the Premium modules are unavailble and unless there's still some contractual requirements, there's little legal disincentive to prevent EA/Bioware from shutting down the Master Server.

There are options with and without NWNX being discussed.
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: Gairus » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:13 pm

*must not rant about bioware in way that makes themi cranky, must not.... barely restrains self from asploding*

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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: Belasco » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:23 pm

This is troubling news.

How would the Avlis community feel about FOIG, Inc. attempting to gain control of the Master Server? I expect it would require a great deal of financial support from the community.
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: JollyOrc » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:42 pm

Belasco wrote:This is troubling news.

How would the Avlis community feel about FOIG, Inc. attempting to gain control of the Master Server? I expect it would require a great deal of financial support from the community.


I fear that this is outside of the possible scope.

The Master Server logins are also used by the nwn.bioware.com website, so Bioware is bound to have some infrastructure set up there around these accounts - who knows how easily or not the master server can be extracted from that? At the very least, there will be some mechanism to validate the CD-keys, link them to accounts, link those to the website accounts, the buddy-lists...

It might actually be easier to reverse-engineer things and set up an own MS with limited functionality.
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: llhht » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:16 pm

What exactly are our benefits for keeping an Master Server of some form going, other than keeping track of CD keys?

With how old NWN is, I just can't see anywhere near the threat from people trying to deliberately break stuff/use stolen CDkeys that we would have had a few years ago.
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: Ringwraith » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:20 pm

However EA have been shutting down a LOT of servers for games recently, even games that aren't even two years old, let alone one that is coming up to the age of 8.
Just better hope that NWN is getting enough traffic to warrant it staying open. :?
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: Pip Garthyk » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:51 pm

If they shut down the master server, then doesn't that mean that even if you download and back up your premium modules, they still won't work because they need verification from the master server?

Is there any way around that?
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: Zandel » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:52 pm

I would prefer to see Avlis move to master server authentication not required and use database based security, it looks like, if I read the thread PJ posted correctly (I am not a programmer, so i could be reading that wrong), that is possible to implement. It doesn't seem to me like the master server provides a lot of value to Avlis.

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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: JollyOrc » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:09 pm

What does that master server do?

Two basic things: It gives any NWN server operator the option to verify that you are you, otherwise anyone could log on to Avlis claiming to be "JollyOrc" and take my characters for a spin...

The other thing is the CD Key verification, ensuring that you've got a legal copy - while it's probably more or less irrelevant if you've really paid for the game, it's a nice thing that one can use when banning any bastards who misbehave: Each ban makes them need to get a new CD-Key, so they basically need to buy it - even the most die-hard bastard eventually gives up pestering when it costs him real money.


Now, the really important thing is the authentication, making sure that you are you. There are ways to substitute that with NWNscripting, but it's (by nature) kludgy compared to the master server authentication. You'd log in to the server, claiming you're you, jump into the module, then get dominated in-game until you've somehow entered your password. Anyone else could still log in as you, see your characters, look at their stats & inventory... Doable, but Not Neat.

The neater alternative is what I referred to earlier, basically building one's own master server and then somehow making NWN refer to that one, instead the Bioware one. That's not quite-as-doable, but shouldn't be impossible either I think.
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: PlasmaJohn » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:25 pm

JollyOrc wrote:The neater alternative is what I referred to earlier, basically building one's own master server and then somehow making NWN refer to that one, instead the Bioware one. That's not quite-as-doable, but shouldn't be impossible either I think.

There are notes on the protocol, no clue how accurate they are. An alternative master server possibly would require players to register their whole keys and maybe a player password with whoever runs it.
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Re: EA/Bioware terminates Premium module downloads

PostAuthor: PlasmaJohn » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:32 pm

Pip Garthyk wrote:If they shut down the master server, then doesn't that mean that even if you download and back up your premium modules, they still won't work because they need verification from the master server?

I'm guessing you're pretty much screwed at that point. I've not looked into the protocol bits that they use. Two possibilities, the MS is sending back a yea/nay or it's returning a decryption key. If it's the latter, then you're screwed.

And this is exactly why remotely authenticated single player content is a Bad Idea(tm).
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