Stop The Presses!

Sharpen your pencils and get your stamps ready. It is time to contact your Congress-person, Member of Parliament, or Town Shaman. The greatest video gaming injustice of all time has been committed! We, as gamers with precious little time, cannot stand back and accept this atrocity. Who cares if there are other important things going on in the world, if we don’t stop this now life as we know it is about to end! FIGHT THE POWER!

Puhleeeease. I get a lot of redicule from family, friends, mild acquaintances and even complete strangers for being a gamer. This is the first time I have actually been embarrassed on behalf of the adult gaming community. It is definitely worthwhile to point out the EULA pops up everytime as a typical direction we will be seeing in online gaming, for sure – but the comments from people who have issue with 5 seconds of delay with their 3 hour mountain dew nourished play sessions illustrating this is an outrage of some sort is downright laughable. A straw poll shows ~40% of people who are unhappy with this decision may not buy the game or limit their play time because of this. Good riddance!

MMO companies are getting sued like crazy. Sometimes they are losing. It is going to get a lot worse before it gets better and an obvious argument in court is “I didn’t understand/read it”. Honestly, who really does? The EULA/CoC should require you to hire legal representation to fully understand your rights. I am not kidding. The document is written for courts by lawyers and doesn’t contain much in terms for the layman. In documents such as that, a simple misuse of the word “the” can crumble the legitimacy of it. End users are not supposed to understand it – they are only supposed to sign off on it. Be thankful that you don’t have to check a box at the end of each line. Be thankful that you do not have to hire legal counsel to review it before agreeing to it – because eventually one of these big companies are going to lose a big law suit and then you will have to – or some other drastic, stupid measure. Take the 5 seconds, powerscroll down, click a check box, click accept, and go play.

My favorite complaint amongst the comments is the person who said it was sooo annoying to have to click it again after every crash to desktop, and they may not play anymore because of the annoyance. That is right. They weren’t complaining that the game was crashing to desktop – hey, thats no big deal, its just a game afterall – but they are considering quitting because it takes them an extra 5 seconds to log back in. Think about that for a moment. With all the real issues with our MMO games, the industry, and gaming in general it is really sad that 5 seconds is the big word of the day. Maybe even the week. I think we, as gamers, need more important issues to complain about. Someone bring back Jack Thompson, please?

I was having a picnic with my mom and dad when I was 10. The three of us sat on a blanket in a nice park eating a nice meal and ma and pa popped a bottle of wine. A police officer came by and told them to put it away. Suposedly there is some sort of law that there is no drinking in public. My dad (who is a cop) explained to me then that laws are made for the lowest common denominator of the population. My parents were not hurting anyone by sipping a nice glass of wine, but the three winos at the other end of the park who would drink themselves into oblivion, puke all over the kids playground and crap in their own pants were. That is just an example of why a stupid law has to pass to make it fair for everyone. The EULA is very similar. For most of us, who are not going to hack accounts, farm gold, exploit the game, or sell our accounts the EULA and CoC will never apply to us. However, there is a lowest common denominator in the gaming population. Taking our 5 seconds to agree to that will help curb their impact.

*UPDATE* : A reasonable voice sounds off here along with some moderate, human-like insight. Seems like the CoC checkbox is being removed.

*UPDATE #2* : Remember that lowest common denominator we talked about? In case you were wondering “What Would Matt Do” I have it for you: Miss the point.

I am not mad at Lum the Mad Scott Jennings. I am a fan of his blog and find it is a good place for critical, constructive thought and discussion on gaming and other general issues. My rant above wasn’t aimed at Scott, it was aimed at the 30+ pages of Matt-types freaking out on forums how this is a make break issue and they may not buy it because of it. Because the 5 seconds is so crucial. Yes, as stated below in my comment replies the Mythic EULA definitely needs work – but 5 seconds isn’t a big deal. Anyway, a few key counterpoints to Matt’s miscomprehension

“You have know idea what you are clicking, so shut the fuck…” – Obviously the sarcasm was lost on Matt. Albeit, find me one single person who reads the EULA everytime they have to (whether it be upon install, patch, or every time you launch) and congratulations – you have found a liar. The only reason a person would read the EULA every time is if a) they want to break it, b) general interest for a class/hobbyist, or c) are a lawyer and are looking to write one for their company, or for case law. The point is they purposely design the EULA so the average gamer doesn’t want to read it. They could make it much simpler to read, in layman’s terms so the typical gamer could understand it. They don’t want you to waste your time reading it and THEY just want you to sign off on it.

“No other MMO has to do it for legal reasons…” – This is a new ball game. Surely Mythic learned from their previous game? Perhaps EA has a lawyer or two with a little bit of experience in EULA’s? Really, Matt is suggesting that they aren’t required at all. Hurry up and let them know that so they can save millions in legal costs – and then lose it all when some idiot sues. Bold prediction: Blizzard will change the way their EULA works, as will future companies. The more suits they get against them – and the more they have to sue people, the more the kinks in the EULA become apparent when applied in a court of law. I am sure Mythic is onto something – why would they inconvenience their users for no reason? (hint: they don’t hate you. You buy their games.) Electronic EULA’s are going to evolve with each iteration. They will get worse, and less convenient, with each iteration.

“Be thankful that you do not have to hire legal counsel to review it..” – I even said that was stupid, if you read the next line. That too, dripping in sarcasm, was missed. It was an example of how bad it can get. Clicking each line (will probably happen soon) to the extreme of having to hire a lawyer. It was an extreme illustration. Sigh.

“Remember, friends, it’s all right to call a spade a spade. Even if you’re fanboi. As a matter of fact, it’s perfectly all right to call out dumb features AND to still like the game. Crazy.” – Here I actually agree with him. I didn’t say you couldn’t, anywhere. My point was that when 5 seconds becomes a make or break it point over a game purchase MORESO than the actual game itself then we have lost focus on what is important in gaming. If we are drastically annoyed by 5 seconds out of our lives, then we need to re-evaluate. I agreed with Scott that discussing “why” is important as it is pointing to future, even less friendly, trends we are going to see – but if the 5 second inconvenience is ruining your day so much it is making you angry, then you definitely need a new hobby. NOTE: I did not say mildly annoyed. I said angry. Scott was mildly annoyed. A lot of commenters/board posters were downright furious.

Matt even takes a shot at the name of the site (akin to a ‘yo momma joke) and the irony is definitely not lost – “I has pc” is a spoof name on the board trolling, tinfoil hat wearing, bottom feeding, nerd raging segment his post so aptly represents (see what I did thar? AMIRITE?). Perhaps I should drop a few f-bombs for emphasis. What Matt SHOULD do is approach the issue the way he says he WOULD do at the end of his article.

15 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thanks for the comment. I definitely see your point and linked your site into my post, even if I don’t totally agree with you. The EULA/COC checkoff in Warhammer is a very minor gripe in what looks like a great game. I just think it could be done in a way that would give Mythic and EA the same legal protections *and* make things a tiny bit more convenient for players. Same thing with crashing to the desktop — that’s a real issue. Having to recheck the EULA/COC when logging back from a crash is just a tiny annoyance. But why build in that kind of annoyance. A simple solution would be to only prompt for the EULA the first time you play and then again whenever a patch is downloaded. That’s what Blizzard does, and they’ve been very successful using their EULA against gold sellers and botting programs (like WoWGlider). Take it easy 🙂

  2. Now that I’ve finished my Contracts courses, I could tell you all about “click-wrap” licenses, which is what those EULAs are. It’s all terribly fascinating, and I’m sure that I could have you guys put to sleep in less than five minutes!

    In wholly unrelated news, I preordered WotLK yesterday. You should too. I beta’ed the DK starting zone, and it was by far my favorite starting zone and questline. Fantastic stuff.

  3. @Pidge : I do agree it is relevant to report – my main rant was the extremes gamers were taking it to. I have easily clicked through the EULA/CoC 100’s of times while beta testing and now head start without a thought to any inconvenience it may be – because it isn’t even a minor inconvenience. It is akin to someone complaining they have to turn the key to start their car before they can drive. I do agree they can streamline it a bit better (it’s a bit laggy when it pops up/non responsive at first) and would probably fit best at the account login screen instead of the character login screen. I am sure they will make small changes but either way it has zero impact on the game, or the experience itself, for the typical gamer.

    @Whinybutt : See above to Pidge. You aren’t a whinybutt (maybe a whinytush?) but a lot of people are downright being whinyasses with it.

    @Pope : I’d actually be very interested to hear it – with Blizzard having to return an account in Korea I am curious if they are going to (or need to) tighten it up a bit here in North America (or if they are writing off the experience as an international court that holds no bearing on what goes on here in North America) Please shed your thoughts on it!

    @Larry : It was a fun self deprecating poke at the adult gamer who consumes their time around games. Unless you either have a gamer-partner, an import bride, or are unmarried – you obviously don’t understand how other non-gamers view us passing time in “children’s hobbies”. Either way, thanks for adding to the relevant discussion.

  4. I personally like starting my car from a 100 yards away.

    I’m for having “luxury accounts” where you get “perks” for paying a higher monthly rate. But I dont want some stupid npc pet. I want to move to the front of the damn queue and not have to click on annoying EULA agreements.

    lets here it for privelege!

  5. Chris,

    I don’t think you read how your original article flowed. Here’s what you did. You pointed to a few sites that didn’t like the annoying EULA then went off on a rant about how retarded it is for people to complain about “five seconds” and not buy the game because of that. Even though BT, for instance, wasn’t ever suggesting that (nor did I).

    I laughed much after reading your link from lum’s and responded with reasons why it isn’t necessary. As a matter of fact, they released an update that say it isn’t absolutely necessary, but they can’t fix it yet, no? At least the CoC.

    I then pointed and laughed at your silly language.

    I did NOT say you, or anyone, shouldn’t buy the game because of it. Heck, I even said, yes, you can not like parts and still like the whole game.

    If you go back and read your post, you might see that it kind of suggests anyone that thinks it’s annoying is being stupid. “might” and “suggest” being the nice way of putting things.

    The rest of my post is just good natured fun. And yeah, the name of your site is dumb.

    Be good,

  6. Honestly, aside from this silly squabbling, what I’d really like to see is links on the desktop to each of my characters. I could click the link and go directly all the way into my character. No other type of game requires me to go through so much bullshit before I can get down to the playing of the game. 🙂

  7. Hey Matt –

    I was actually forming my conciliatory post in my head (I’m on a job site on my iPhone) when I saw you had replied. Basically I was willing to admit that much how I felt you missed the point of my rambling I could have just as easily missed yours. Blogging is mostly a one way conversation and as such a lot can get lost in translation from writing to reading – which wouldn’t happen if we were sitting down face to face chatting. I can see where things were misconstrued in my writing and I thought I did a better job in the follow ups trying to emphasize I wasn’t insomuch calling out BT as the forum folk who were making it out to be the end of the world – I admit I did a poor job in that part. My “beef” with your post was that you took my sarcastic rant paragraph and focused on that for your retort instead of the article as a whole which better explains my position. At first I fanned the flames by assuming you were a pre-BT type Lum poster so fought back. Afterward I actually read several of your blog posts and there is some good stuff there. That’s when I realized how easy it is to make poor wild assumptions in this medium. Either way, no harm done.

    As for the name most people have told me they thought it was funny and much better than some generic title. Not everyone needs to get it or like it 🙂

    And pfft you labelled me as a Republican – I am a Canadian Liberal which is far more Democrat than anything!


  8. Yeah, I can’t wait to see the court transcripts where Jonny Hacker gets away with exploiting the system because he claims that because the company didn’t make him scroll through a EULA that he should be free to go.

    EULAs are about as legal as the stuff on rolls next to my john. They look perfect sitting there, but once you use them they start to sink up the place.

    I don’t mind reading it the first time, but after that I’d rather flush the whole thing down the crapper.

    Spore DRM, MMO EULA’s, I’m sorry they may be minor to you, but to me it distracts from the experience. (What a contradiction in terms)

  9. @Andy:

    The EULA doesn’t specify ‘who’ is doing the clicking, only that it is getting clicked. Could easily be my 3 year old. Far reaching arguments like that actually make their way through many court systems (as weak as it sounds). Admittedly I am not a lawyer but judging by what lawyers use to get around common sense arguments, it isn’t too much of a stretch nowadays. (unfortunately). Treat the EULA like the speed limit. If there wasn’t a speed limit, how fast would you drive? It is, at bare minimum, a deterrent. Sure, I might be 5 minutes late for a movie because I am following the speed limit, but I should have left 5 minutes earlier to counteract that.

    You may equate the EULA to toilet paper, but what would you do after a nice morning after Tacofest 2000 if the TP wasn’t there? Just like toilet paper EULA’s are here to stay. Might as well get used to them and recognize them as a minor inconvenience (at best). If they bother anyone that much, just don’t buy games that have them.

    As for the DRM, I just haven’t had a bad experience with it. It is hard to hate something that hasn’t caused you any problems. I am sorry to hear your experiences are quite the opposite. I have heard some horror stories, just haven’t been in the front row (or the theatre, for that matter).

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