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"Waiting for Godot"

Who’s afraid of the EADM?

I’m honored to write my first article for Torocast. Finding your voice as a writer can be difficult. The best piece of advice that I’ve ever heard is to write about what you know and love. If you are visting Torocast you are probably at least mildly obsessed with Star Wars: The Old Republic, so much so that my obsession doesn’t distinguish me from anyone else here. Hum… So what good am I?

In the search for a title for this piece I thought about what makes me unique. The thing that I love best, outside of video gaming and MMOing, is Theatre and everything about it. (OK, that‘s a big lie. I hate every musical known to man, but everything else I love, OK?). So in each article I write I’m going to try to touch ever so briefly on a play or an author to help you understand a few principles of Theatre, but mostly gaming. Think 90% gaming, 10% Theatre.

Now a little more about me as this is article numero uno, and the only time where it’s mildly appropriate to talk about oneself. I’m a married gamer living in Southern California. I’m especially excited for SWTOR because my wife plans to play it too. She’s a big KOTOR fan, so she might do more than just click “follow” on my avatar as she has done most of the time in every other MMO we‘ve played together. I am currently working on a fan-fiction full SWTOR novel about a trio of Sith, that kill people by the boatload. I am going to try to give you one week of a MMO article, then one week of some work from my book. Today, however, is about gaming and theatre!

The first play I wanted to talk about isn’t “Waiting for Godot”, which is the title of my overall article – “Waiting for SWTOR/Godot”. I just find it too freaking boring to talk about that play. Possibly, when SWTOR launches, I’ll change the title of my piece to something else, and then cover “Waiting for Godot.” Today we are going to cover “Three Sisters” by a famous Russian playwright, Anton Chekhov. This is a play very dear to my heart as I’ve been to Chekhov’s house in Taganrog, Russia, and I’ve been involved in two productions of it. This play isn’t about waiting at all, but is about trying to obtain the unobtainable. The three sisters are Olga, Irena, and Masha. They live in some crappy town south of Moscow and want to get to Moscow. But it’s just a dream that never happens for the three sisters. Similarly, EADM tries to obtain an impossible goal. It wants to be Steam. **Uses Old Style Batman Narrator Voice** “But how does it end for EA and for the three sisters? Find out at the end of the article! Bum bum bum!” **End Batman Narrator Voice**

Be afraid, be very afraid of the big, bad EADM. It eats your games in the night, and steals all of your cookies (replace “cookies” with “pie” or “cake” if it helps scare you more!) OHH NOES!! **ends sarcasm** Worst of all, 87% of all SWTOR forum trolls don’t want the EADM to have anything to do with SWTOR!

First off, the basics people, EADM is short for the Electronic Arts Download Manager. What is the EADM? That’s hard to explain without talking about a little history here folks, about a little company called Valve. They created the juggernaut of download services due to many issues they were having with their popular game Counter Strike. Steam came out in 2004 and was currently estimated to have a 70% market share hold of all downloadable games, according to one of their major competitors, Impulse. Steam is required for one to play any of Valve’s successful PC games, and quite a few other video games as well. Steam sells over 3,000 different games, and the general consensus is that Steam is wicked awesome when buying PC games. The total market value of downloadable games is currently over four billion dollars, so, needless to say, Electronic Arts wants a piece of that pie. At least they want a bigger piece of their own games. The EADM has been around since 2005, but why care about it when you have the far superior Steam? The fact is, sometimes EADM is the only place to preorder certain games and get certain free downloadable content for those games. This was the case for a while with Dragon Age II, and is the case now with Battlefield 3, to a certain extent.

One thing to know about EA is that the majority of gamers, generally speaking, hate EA, myself included. I am a very bitter person and hate myself as well, so EA shouldn‘t be offended, and if they are, I can be bought with a SWTOR release date. Why should you even care about this EADM? Well, you might need to use it for SWTOR; even if not, EADM might have a better deal for you when buying SWTOR, or better in game items. As we know nothing about SWTOR preorders, let’s focus on what we do know, and might have to deal with. Now off into Speculation Land!

The major reason I broke away from my pretty library of 70+ Steam games was that I got free downloadable in-game content for Dragon Age II, and I wanted to experience this downloader as it might be involved in TOR somehow. Needless to say, I’m an obsessed RPG nerd. Need proof? I bought a 15 dollar letter opener in order to receive some belt in Dragon Age II. I also bought Dead Space 2 just for some more Dragon Age II loot. I also played a lot of Dragon Age: Legends (level 26 warrior FTW here), again for more Dragon Age II loot; basically I was super obsessed with the game before it came out. Now while I was slightly disappointed with the game, I still really enjoy it., upon buying Dragon Age II from the EADM, I religiously looked at my games window and saw nothing. I called into EA and talked to a live person about this, who assured me that they had my pre-order intact. This was a huge relief. (I might have called a few more times, but again, obsessed, OK?) Dragon Age II finally showed up on the manager the Thursday before it released on March 8, 2011. And I got to preload it on Friday the 5th!

Now let me express that while I did get my game on time, I did not get my pre-ordered Black Emporium on time. In fact, I had already beat the game twice before I got the pre-ordered stuff. I actually called EA support to get that issue resolved. Right about then, my rage was pretty high with EADM. Not only this, but they double charged my credit card. (One of the charges was taken away in a week, but it was still rather annoying to not have access to that money at the time). I even tried to attach my copy of Dead Space 2 to the EADM, with no luck. This system is terrible! I was very frustrated to say the least.

For “some” reason I decided to order Darkspore from the EADM. (OK, I say this sheepishly, but I bought it for Dragon Age: Legends bonuses.) While I wasn’t that excited about Darkspore, it didn’t release on time, and was almost three days late. If this were a Bioware game, I’d have made many phone calls. But it wasn’t that big of a deal, as I was on a trip, and not on my desktop computer. This is when my opinion of the EADM started to change… for the better. I got an apology in the form of something that speaks to my soul! Can you say 50% off any game of my choice? Yes, they felt bad for the late release of Darkspore, and were nice enough to give me a free half off coupon without me having to lift a finger. (The coupon was valid as I used it on a Mass Effects 3 preorder.)

Around the same time, everybody got a free copy of Mass Effects 2 as well, just for having bought Dragon Age II. I noticed that the EADM was having constant sales, just like Steam. Slowly they were doing massive updates to the program. Soon I was able to link my Dead Space 2 game to my EADM account, and now I don’t even need a play disc to play the game! I was also able to link Battlefield 2, and Mass Effects 2 to my EADM account using the codes I bought from Steam. All of a sudden, my EADM had a lot more games on it. Say what you will, more games is more awesome.

Another major improvement they made to the EADM is that if you pre-order a game from them you get the unreleased game on your games folder almost immediately. This wasn’t the case with Dragon Age II. So, right now I have Battlefield 3 with an unreleased tag on it!.

great new feature on the EADM is that it now allows Facebook, PS3, and Xbox live integration of your friend’s lists. It also allows chat features as well, although this is only in for about 15 games, it is still a great new feature. (It includes, Battlefield 2 and expansion packs, Crysis 2, Darkspore, Dragon Age games, FIFA Soccer, Mass Effect games, Medal of Honor, Mirror’s Edge, and some Need for Speed games.) The fact that they are constantly improving this download manager is a good sign for SWTOR, Bioware, and EA in general. It will allow you to find your guild mates and friends at raid or PvP time in SWTOR, if they are playing another EA game!

It is not exactly Valve’s Steam, or Blizzard’s Battle.net, but it has some amazing fun features that won’t disappoint. Its offline mode is really nice, and even lets you install the game to 5 different computers. While not a fan of the EADM at first, I really do appreciate the improvements that I’ve seen to the system in the few months that I’ve been using it. They have had 14 major updates in the past 8 months. They’ve added the ability to “favorite” games, added filters for games, removed limitations for downloading games, and removed the six month limit to download a game after purchase. I‘d recommend it to others due to their customer service, and the fact that they are trying desperately to improve their product. They don’t charge your credit card the moment you pre-purchase a game, instead they wait until then game releases.

The play “Three Sisters” has a boring-style ending in which the sexy single, Irina, gets engaged to this looser guy, named Tussenbach, and they never do go to Moscow. Then she loses her fiancé, Tussenbach, in a duel because she can’t tell him with certainty that she loves him. It’s a very sad dramatic scene where if she had just given him a reason not to go to the duel, he never would have gone. Then Tussenbach is killed in the duel by the best character ever written by Anton Chekhov in any play, Solyony. Some would say this ending is similar to EADM, and that EA is just spinning their wheels trying to be Steam, just like the three sisters are trying to get to Moscow. But EA and their download manager has a better ending, at least in my book, as EA is actually doing something about their problem. And let’s be honest here people, the three sisters are pretty pathetic in their attempts to go to Moscow.

To me, constant improvement, and a bunch of sales speak volumes. A perfect, out-of-the-gate system will often lack the ability and desire to adapt and change. The EADM has fully proven to me the ability to change for the better. You can actually talk to a live person at EA if you have a problem with in a few minutes; good luck attempting that with Steam as their forums are their only source of customer service assistance. In fact, EA is currently doing free shipping for all boxed games over $39.99, and has a sale of 25% off most of their newer games. Well played, EA. Well played, sir. Well played. ::golf clap::

Discuss my first article here and follow me on Twitter @Carl_Schmeil

 

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