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Old 10-06-2005, 02:41 AM   #1
Mega Man X
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Question Valve and Steam. Is this right?


I know this is not the place to discuss such a thing, but since we all use software, be it free or not and we frequently question Microsoft policies, I thought it was ok to question another companies methods, Valve and the horrible Steam.

As you know, new games from Valve, as the nothing less then great HL2, needs an Internet connection to authenticate the game. I've nothing against that, really. In fact, I agree with that. Other companies does the same, no problem for me.

BUT, I just want it to happen once. Once the game is authenticated, there's no need to connect to Valve servers again. But the problem is, Steam will connect and will download the latest update without asking me to do so. It also opens a window every time I start it (it can be turned off) announcing the coming of "Day of Defeat source". I really don't care about those cheap little mods full of cheaters, I just wanna play HL2 offline.

When a program that I've paid 50 dollars for does something I don't want it too, you damn right I've a problem with it.

On the top of it, yesterday I got an e-mail from Valve saying that they are trying to "help me" to reset my "forgotten" password of my Steam account:

Quote:
Dear Steam user (account name: xxxxxxxxx),

This is an automated message generated by Steam account administration to help you reset your Steam password.

Please enter the following code into the 'Verification Code' field of the 'Forgotten Password' dialog. (Enter the code exactly as written. You can use copy/paste operations to enter the code):
...
Sorry Valve, but I remember my password very well and I did not ask you to "help me". The truth is, somehow, because of your lack of competence, somebody is trying to hack my serial number in order to play online my HL2 GOTY which is 4 days old.

I've contacted Steampowered.com. No answer yet, as usual. Same thing happened with HL1/CS.

Now, keep in mind that I've tried to play CS: S online _once_. Tried, because one server wanted me to download a bunch of crap sounds like "Head shot", "Rampage", "Monster kill", which are basically sounds stolen from another game and that the "admin" of those servers thing it's cool. Also, I've played CS:1 a lot and today, the only Anti-cheat program to Steam games is VAC, and I tell you, it does not work. So I quit, and continued to play the great HL2 offline instead of wasting my time with those crappy mods.

Now to the question: I still have my original Prince of Persia floppy and I can play it still today. I can still play my Commander Keen too and Megaman 1. I can still play my Quake 1 and Doom without a problem. I've paid for those and I can play them. Fair enough. Now, what guaranties do I have that, 5 years from now Valve will still exist and that I can still play HL2? None. I will need to hack the hell of it (not me, but you get the idea), if at all possible.

So, is this right what Valve and Steam are doing? Isn't there anything an unhappy costumer can do besides returning the game which, most likely, I will do as soon as I finish HL2? (If fact, I think I will return it today, since I will still be able to play without the CD-inserted. Nice move Valve). If you think MS is evil and brakes into your privacy, god, you gonna hate what Steam and Valve are doing.

There has to be a law that either agrees or disagrees with Valve and Steam current way of doing things and if anybody is a lawyer here, I'd love to hear it. If this is 100% legal to distribute a software like this, I will just shut up and play the game. If it's not, then I wanna know what rights I have: Money back? Right to a patch to play offline? Anything will do...

I am totally pro anti-piracy, I am. But when a company starts using methods to annoy peoples who actually pay for the game in order to protect their software, at the price of my privacy, then I have a problem with it. And clearly, Steam is not safe enough to trust my serial number, as per above.

Suggestions and thoughts of any kind welcome. If you like Steam or not, tell me. I wanna share experiences of love-hate kind of thing and what rights I have as a legit customer.

Thanks for your time!
 
Old 10-06-2005, 03:00 AM   #2
AwesomeMachine
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I never understood using a computer for absolutely no productive work.
 
Old 10-06-2005, 03:04 AM   #3
Mega Man X
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Quote:
Originally posted by AwesomeMachine
I never understood using a computer for absolutely no productive work.
If you are not going to post things relevant to the topic, then don't post at all. I never understood peoples posting off-topic replies either. If you are trying to increase your number of posts (some like to think about the number of posts like a score board), so you've just wasted your time (and mine) because General does not count. And what I do with my computer is my problem, so stay the hell out of it...

Last edited by Mega Man X; 10-06-2005 at 03:18 AM.
 
Old 10-06-2005, 03:49 AM   #4
cs-cam
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Another off-topic post! Heh, just kidding Megaman

Yeah, I'm not a fan of Valve at all. Steam is a great idea in theory but I think their execution of it was pretty average. I believe you can turn auto-updating off though. At least you used to be able to, but I haven't played HL2 since I ran Windows, I stopped about a week after HL2 was released.
 
Old 10-06-2005, 04:18 AM   #5
Hammett
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Personally, I only bought a HL copy ot my store at 14 for playing CS under cvscedega (after being conviced by a friend). I must admit Stema idea is good, cause you don't have to look for the mod, download it and run, but you need only one app to put all the mods together.
Auto-update can be disabled for a single game by right-clicking on it and choosing Properties and de-selectign auto-update.

I guess (and I really do) that Valve has some *secure* way to protect and safe the cd-key you entered as well as your password in a 128bit encryption or similar (other way, everyone should just get the hell out of steam), and it's supposed that Valve is strong enought to be on the market for several several years. As I don't have HL2 I can't tell if Steam is mandatory to play offline, but if it's mandatory I think, like MegamanX, that this is a BIG mistake by compeling people to log into an account (with all the risks that this action have) totally unnecessary and the potenctial loss if this company (Valve) ne day disappears, something, on the other hand, that quite probably won't happen, at least in a short term.
 
Old 10-06-2005, 04:47 AM   #6
Mega Man X
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Hey, thanks guys! I really appreciate your replies . And feel free to put it off-topic too, I've humor, really . But when peoples tries to step on me and telling me what to do with the stuff I've worked hard for... well, anyways...

I also think Steam is, somewhat, a good thing. Most of the other games lack an auto-update feature. This can be annoying because peoples running different versions of the same game can't get online. You've to then go to the manufactures homepage and grab the latest patch, install and etc. But, when a game is supposed to be single player, off-line, as HL2, then it's a problem.

Funny though, I went to piratesbay and searched for HL2. There're plenty of pirate releases of HL2 and CS:S which does not require Steam to connect. While I'm not recommending peoples to grab the fake copy, this simply proves that Valve's method to secure their software, well, does not work. God knows when that pirate copy was release. Maybe even before the official release of HL2.

Why am I so concerned about "if someday Valve's go down and I can't play HL2 anymore" is because I don't think companies own anything. They can create something, yes. Own it, not. As an example: saying that Fox owns Die Hard is not true. I mean, Die hard is a great film. I was there with John McClane kicking terrors asses as much as he was, enjoying every single minute of the movie. Same with game, I was there with Gordon Freeman, helping him, helping others, living in the game. That's why I like to play old games from time to time. Some "feelings" are only found in some games. Same goes to the movies. No matter how great the effects of the new movies are (in games, graphics ), I don't know any movie that beats Die Hard or Terminator, for example.

Think if Fox tomorrow shuts down and we no longer can watch Die Hard! Or if Valve tomorrow closes the doors and we no longer can enjoy great games as HL2. Peoples should be able to play a game or watch a movie whenever they want. They've paid for it, it's the less they deserve.

I must say this again, while I don't agree with piracy (I can't stress this enough), I'm somehow, glad it exists actually. That let us play a game as long as we want. By passing some security methods sometimes is good too... like having the CD on the drive to play is just ridiculous. No-cd crack fits very well. And now, thanks to piracy, I know that I will be able to play HL2 as long as I want too...
 
Old 10-06-2005, 08:53 AM   #7
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You don't need to be online to play Half Life 2. However you don't own the game just the license as such they are allowed to update the software code whenever they want and like megaman said its pretty much a godsend for an auto-update system in games otherwise you spend all this time trying to find the most recent patch just to let you play online. And just cause you get phished its not the companies fault. People get phished for everything. I have gotten emails telling me my Citibank account needs to be authenticated and I needed to enter all my info in. Well I don't have a citibank account so I think people just pretty much blast at 1000 targets to get one hit. And stealing serial codes from games is not all that recent of an occurence it has been an issue for a long time.
 
Old 10-06-2005, 12:09 PM   #8
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Perhaps you guys are putting too much blame on Valve, and not enough on HL2's publisher, Vivendi Universal.

But for Valve and Vivendi, there was a choice to be made: create Steam, piss off users, aggravate them and get bad press,

OR

Don't create Steam, make a normal game and lose money, possibly MILLIONS of dollars, to pirates.

They chose to use Steam, which has caused many to say that they will NOT purchase the game. Keep in mind, that these people are probably the ones who would have pirated the game. So Valve lost their business.

But some of those people would have bought the game legally if not for Steam, so Valve lost this business also.

I don't know how many would-be pirates bought the game legally, but I'm betting that the pirates' busuiness really helped. However, it's too late now to find out what *could* have happened if Steam had not been created.
 
Old 10-06-2005, 02:07 PM   #9
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Actually Steam was Valve's idea not Vivendi if it were up to Vivendi they would have axed steam since it cuts into their sales
 
Old 10-06-2005, 02:12 PM   #10
Mega Man X
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That's where I think that Open Source rocks the big one. It really gives you freedom. Do whatever you please with the program you download. No fancy licenses, no registration required.

Now, those cheap companies as Valve and it's publisher, makes things a bit rough. Here is what stands on the back of the game HL2 - GOTY.

Quote:
Notice: Product offered subject to your acceptance of the Steam subscriber agreement ("SSA"). You must activate this product via the Internet by registering a Steam account and accepting SSA. Please see www.steampowered.com/agreement to view the SSA prior to purchase. If you do not agree with the provisions of the SSA, you should return this game unopened to your retailer in accordance with their return police.
Basically, their game, their rules. That totally puts me off from any releases of games Steam powered. That does not mean I won't play a HL3. I'm trying not to turn to the dark side of piracy... but ... ... ...
 
Old 10-06-2005, 03:13 PM   #11
Hammett
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mega Man X

Why am I so concerned about "if someday Valve's go down and I can't play HL2 anymore" is because I don't think companies own anything. They can create something, yes. Own it, not. As an example: saying that Fox owns Die Hard is not true. I mean, Die hard is a great film. I was there with John McClane kicking terrors asses as much as he was, enjoying every single minute of the movie. Same with game, I was there with Gordon Freeman, helping him, helping others, living in the game. That's why I like to play old games from time to time. Some "feelings" are only found in some games. Same goes to the movies. No matter how great the effects of the new movies are (in games, graphics ), I don't know any movie that beats Die Hard or Terminator, for example.
This is not completely true. While you're right saying no one can private you to see a movie you paid for it, the movie (understood as a whole, not just a copy) belongs to the producer. They can decide whether they make more DVDs or not, or change anything on the movie. BUT, as long as you have paid for a COPY, no-one can tell you you can't watch it anymore.
Same happens to games. They own the game and the code and anything involved to it (some firms are also saying characters sold on eBay -WoW, Guild Wars, Star Wars Galaxies, etc- are their property -which I found stupid, btw-...), but the copy of that game is yours, and you have to be able to play on it whenever you want.
So...what happens if Valve closes?? I guess (hope, maybe) that they will release some patch to let people play offline whenever they want, if not, they have a huge problem with all the copies they have sold out that they're unplayable. I really don't think this is gonna happen...Same as saying Blizzard is going to close...There's no way such huge firms close. There are just too many little enterprises involved in them to let this happen.
 
Old 10-06-2005, 04:19 PM   #12
Mega Man X
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Good points Hammett. I really hope that Valve would release a patch to play off-line, or else the community will (as there are hacked .isos flying as torrents everywhere. Cracking the original game could be different though). Half-Life, although very over-rated IMHO, is still a great game and a mark on the history of FPS. It's a too valuable jewel to just let it die.

However, game industry is a very dangerous place to play. One or two mistakes in a row can put you down for good. Off the top of my head, think about Sega. Sega was one of the strongest game and console makers in the history. They were everywhere: Consoles, portables, Arcade machines. Heck, even McDonald's had some mini games with Sonic for the ones buying a happy meal. It had as a rival, noone but Nintendo and guess what? Today Sega actually makes Sonic (what great game btw) games to Nintendo, Sony and even Microsoft (love my Sonic heroes on the Xbox ). Things can happen and I think they are forgetting a key thing here: the paying costumers.

Sometimes, I'm not able to login at Steam (I can still play Offline mode though). However, it's annoying. And what enrages me the most is that peoples who actually did not pay for the game and downloaded it, can play anytime they want, even on cracked CSS servers. The ones who paid, however, needs an authorization of Valve to get in Online mode. Oh my, I can nearly hear the pirates laughing at me now...

Last edited by Mega Man X; 10-06-2005 at 04:27 PM.
 
Old 10-06-2005, 04:45 PM   #13
Mega Man X
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Quote:
Originally posted by stabile007
And stealing serial codes from games is not all that recent of an occurence it has been an issue for a long time.
That's one thing I've been wondering actually: If passwords sent to Steam are actually encrypted. Some games have a laughable way of protecting serial numbers. As example, the awesome Neverwinter Nights. It actually makes a copy of your serial number into .txt file found on the same dir where the game was installed.

How on earth somebody found my login name and tried to make me reset my password is beyond me, really. As I said, I still could not play CS:S online, thanks to the lame servers with annoying sounds. So it's either somewhere where users logins are of public access, maybe at steampowered.com homepage or the Steam security really is bad... my guess is a combination of both
 
Old 10-07-2005, 05:04 AM   #14
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There's no way to protect 100% logins and passwords. You can only make it more difficult to hackers/crackers/whatever-we-call-them to get your login and password. NWN security in this way is very dangerous and insecure, specially with a non patched Windows. Steam and the vast majority of onlyne games they use a different way to protect CD-keys. As an example, if you get a game and you install it by providing a 25 character long CD-key with a key generator (specially built for that game), you will NOT be able to play online....why?? I really don't know. I find this way of protection to be almost perfect.

In that way, getting an illegal copy of WoW is totally useless, cause you won't be able to play online, even if you try 1000 times with you awesome key generator. But this is a 2 edge weapon, cause if you ONLY let people play online that means you must have at least one server for the rest of you life to provide gameplay to those who bought the game. Once again this is the theory (or my theory if you want) and reallity can be erally away from that. It depends (as always) on economic issues wether to keep a server alive for, let's say, 15 years old game. As I said before, game companies should provide a way to be able to play the game whenever you want, cause you paid for it.
In that way, Blizzards protects itself by making pay you for the server you're using. IMHO this is a theft...you pay for the game, which is not cheap at all, and then you must pay more to be able to play. This is bad. Wether you pay the game or the server, but paying both is a robery.

Just my 2 cents...
 
Old 10-07-2005, 06:03 AM   #15
Mega Man X
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Great post Hammett. The part where you said " Wether you pay the game or the server, but paying both is a robery", just described 200% the way I feel about every massive RPG out there and that's what is keeping me away from them.

Oh, and just for record, Valve steals a lot too. You can, for example, order the game via Steam. The only ones who actually get something good out of it is Valve, because they save the packing and the middle man to distribute the game. Now you ask, is the game cheaper that way? Not a dime.

Now what I'm mad about HL2 is that it does not feel like it's my game. It feels like I'm "renting" a game from Valve and will be able to play... well, as long as Valve wants me to login... and it's not a massive RPG or anything. Just a plain single player game. Heck, out of the box, HL2 does not even have a multiplayer (GOTY has and Deathmatch can be downloaded free of charge through Steam).

I'm serious, this is my last Steampowered game. Oh, and no answer from Steam yet either. Nice service

Last edited by Mega Man X; 10-07-2005 at 06:05 AM.
 
  


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