As a gamer from the Philippines, I have a different perspective than most people when it comes to gaming. I come from a country where people who love video games and do their best to purchase their games legitimately have to contend with a lack of official support from various sources and slow connection speeds.
Despite these setbacks, I try to do my very best to go through the hoops needed to get a game I want in the state that I want it in. Sometimes, to get to that particular state that I want a game to be in, I have to live with downloadable content and the troubles that come with trying to get it, from region specificity and support to plain old connection slowness.
Broken Hearted for Broken Steel
When the Broken Steel expansion for Fallout 3 came out on the PC, I was thoroughly excited for it. Here's an expansion I was willing to pay good money for, as it extended the life of a game I liked to play. First things first though: I needed a gamertag and the Games for Windows Live client.
I tried to create a gamertag for myself, only to realize that the Philippines wasn't a selectable country for the gamertag. I thought it was a minor thing at the time, and tried using the nearest country I could think of to my country to suffice for the creation of a gamertag.
After downloading the GFW Live client, I thought it would be easy, except a thought occurred to me: would the patch even work with the international version of the game that I picked up? Slowly, more questions popped into my head about Microsoft Points and if they were region-specific, and if I could use the ones sold here (which appear to be for the Asian region) to purchase a digital copy of Broken Steel from what I assumed to be America.
I made some inquiries on the net and did a bit of digging myself, and found disappointment via the Games for Windows Live forums. According to one of the forum posts there, “If you are from a country that is not on this list, you will not be able to connect to the LIVE services, and we will not be able to provide you with assistance or a workaround.” True enough, that little hint from the gamertag country selection came back to bite me.
It's a good thing Bethesda decided to come out with a boxed version of the expansion, or I'd be thoroughly miffed.
Patches are Sacred: Pray you get them
Regardless of the platform, content patches are nice additions to gameplay that bring extra value to existing games while removing bugs and other things left behind by tired coders at two in the morning.
If you can get them, that is.
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, for example is a great game with extra content served up for the PC version in the form of content patches. I recently got back into the game and wanted to try my hand at updating my game and found that, while finding the right patch can be tough at times (multiple versions of release, and different patch versions), what's tougher is making sure the full patch actually gets downloaded.
In Sacred 2's case, the issue here isn't that the patch won't download. Instead, it's making sure that your connection doesn't force the download to time out or prematurely cut off. With a 1 Gigabyte file being downloaded at 340kb/sec, usually less, this also means that you have to watch the computer constantly making a token click to a new page every couple of minutes just to make sure the connection keeps going.
This would be nice if there was a torrent, but sadly, such isn't the case. And download managers? I tried those to no effect, as they botch the file after downloading, making it unusable.
What does it boil down to then? LUCK. Lots of luck.
Apparently, one afternoon I was extremely lucky, as I managed to grab the patch after my 14th failed attempt, with a couple of botched complete downloads. Total time wasted for the bugfixes and extra characters: approximately 10 hours. Still, the game was worth it, and my Temple Guardian is doing fine.
Of course, there are no tried and tested universal solutions for these two problems, other than a one-world region for media and the use of torrents or resumable downloads for patches. Which would be nice, but hard to come by in this day and age.
Till then, I suppose I should either move to a different country and get a faster connection, or just grin and bear it.
My take: a whole lot of grinning, and some bearing as well.