It's one of these coming, a rant. Oh boy.
So, at the end of July in 2008, I bought a wonderful game called 911: First Responders. Certainly a niche title as far as sales go, but for me it works great. It's an RTS dealing with european emergency services (Medical, Police, Technical Engineers, Fire) fighting various problems around various maps and scenarios. Of course, it's mod friendly too, so you can even add in American Units. (IE: Police Officers that are armed, FBI, Fire Department supported ambulances, etc.)
However, mid-November of that year, I ended up with this little annoying message:
"Activation Failed: Too many activations with different"
I kid you not, the message isn't even finished. Obviously it is trying to tell me that I activated too many times at work and at home. So, hoping it was just a rate issue, I waited about two or three months to see if it would allow me access to my game again. During that time I got my new XPS machine with a Quad-Core CPU, and dual 9800s. I was psyched to play on it, since I could turn everything up to its highest.
Right after New Years, I send a support request to Atari, asking them to ease up my restriction a bit. I just wanted to play it on my new machine. Seven days later, I get a response saying to contact Digital River. So, I call them, on a non 1-800 number, so I'm paying long distance charges on top of having to deal with this guy. I waited on hold for about five minutes, which isn't as bad as some wait times I've had.
I end up talking to this gentleman who asks me for my order ID number, granted it's my fault for not having it still, I have no idea where the e-mail with it went. So, after a bit of trading information such as name, credit card number used, and date we were able to find it. Afterwards he gave me the most priceless, yet aggrivating line:
"You have activated too many times. You will need to buy a new license."
... What the $%*&?! I paid for the game to play it on my machines! Granted, it was a budget title for twenty dollars, and the stupid extended download service was four bucks on top of that. I mean, for this person to tell me that I had to buy a new license just nearly had me throw my phone across the room. Don't get me wrong, I don't understand wholly why it made me so aggrivated (the difference is my not liking it, and getting phsysically aggressive here), but I managed to tell him as nicely as I could that it was just plain unacceptable.
In the end, the tech decided to "issue a new key" and I calmed down by taking care of daily hygene requirements. Afterwards I tried to use the new key, but lo and behold.. there's three portions missing. That aggressive nature I felt before? Yeah, it's coming back.
So I call Digital River again, and ended up having to do a manual activation. A rather lengthy process (despite this customer service rep being decent) where I had to read this 20-character string wait five minutes, be told it was wrong, read the string agian, wait five minutes, get an e-mail with the challenge code to unlock.
I'll be writing Atari, Steam, and the FTC about this little exchange. Granted, I can play now, but the threat of having to buy another twenty-dollar license just doesn't sit well with me. It's not like they are providingsupport for twenty bucks.