GAMING BLEND

Miner Wars 2081 Employs Always-On DRM Just Like Diablo 3

By William Usher 2012-12-05 12:53:31 discussion comments
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Us gamers must really love abusive relationships, eh? Where we get the short end of the stick and watch our money fly down holes while rich douche bags run off to the hills happy to have screwed us over, taken our money and shutdown servers for a game you can no longer play. We must really enjoy that kind of stuff. Why? Because Diablo III is happening all over again with a little indie game called Miner Wars 2081. No it's not an MMO, it's a single-player game with co-op and multiplayer options, just like every other game out there, but the devs thought always-on DRM was a great way to one-up and piss on their community.

For those who didn't know, Miner Wars 2081 has been in development for over two years and managed to get greenlit via Steam's Greenlight process. It's a small title with huge gameplay ambitions from Keen Software House.

Basically, the always-on DRM came to a head when users began asking about it when either they weren't online or they weren't able to access the game due to a spotty connection. When asked about the always-on DRM, here's what CEO and creative director Marek Rosa had to say about the decision to make the game always-on, replying to a user named “ActiveCancer” on the forums...
Hi ActiveCancer,

you will need to be connected to internet (our server) during whole gameplay. Miner War's client on your computer will not only check if it's connected, but it will let server do some calculations and logic. And here is the real copy protection. Because if the client just checks "Am I connected to MW server", then it will be easy for crackers to disable this validation. But if we have some code that isn't on the client, no one can crack it. Only if he know exactly what that server-side code does.

I think this is the only real copy protection. Of course, we lost some players who don't have internet or who want to play in a forest, but according to some stats, that's only 1-2% of possible players.

Bye, Marek

The Steam page for Miner Wars has also recently been updated with an “Additional requirement”, noting that...
”Active internet connection required during installation and during game play!”

I love the exclamation mark at the end, like it's supposed to make us excited that if the dev ever folds or if you're out of a net connection you can't access the single-player portion of the game. Real classy.

We've seen this thing before, though. We've heard that always-on DRM prevents hackers, crackers and cheaters in online games. It makes sense for MMOs....it's always made sense for MMOs. But the thing that always twists my Jimmies and squeezes my squimmies is when games with single-player campaigns have always-on DRM. Why?!

White Knight fanboys don't mind. They're having fun for now. But what happens if the devs decide to pull a Terreria and upchuck on the project? You do know that no more servers means no more game....for good, right? Diablo III is in the same boat. It's not a matter of “If” but “When”. And “When” those servers go down, games with always-on DRM will no longer be playable...at all!

I'll never support always-on DRM because it's counter-culture to gaming. It's anti-gaming culture. It's about control, not about fun. I understand that the standalone of DayZ will have similar measures but it's being designed as an MMO, so it makes sense. But this uprising of always-on DRM in games we used to be able to play at our own convenience is frightening for the future of gaming. We already know Tim Willits from id Software is eying always-on for their upcoming titles and we already know that SimCity [2013] from EA and Maxis will have always-on. What I didn't expect is to see this kind of corporate cancer invade the indie space.

Anyway, how do you feel about always-on? We hear it's supposed to help against pirates and hackers, even though PC gaming is seeing record revenue thanks to digital distribution, but would you be willing erase a game's historical value just to stop a few pirates in the short term?
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