A Developing Story… updated 6/3/09
Just when you thought it was safe to go back outside, another Sims 3 leak is released. This time another group claims their leak is now the final retail version that is expected to ship on June 2nd. News of this leak was sent on May 25th, after several days of performance and testing issues discovered by members of various forums and blogs we can now project that there are no noticeable changes between the two leaks.
We still can not say whether or not this leak is the final version until June 2nd. There will be a new post after I purchase of the game where we will compare reports made over the past two weeks on issues that have been fixed or not. Unless there is any other major news story released, the next Sims 3 blog post will be the last discussion over the authenticity of the two leaks.
Story Progression Fixed in Retail ?
On June 3rd: There are complaints at the official board about story progression. It appears it does not deactivate if you uncheck the feature. I guess for those who thought the second leak was the final version, you can officially say “I told you so!”
The First Leak’s Demise
Will EA step up their game plan with this new leak?
As reported by SimPrograms, a SnootySims member found a link to the first patch to be released officially by EA. According to the story, the first leak’s version number is 1.0.615.00107. The patch to be delivered by EA will upgrade the retail version, 1.0.631.00002 to 1.0.632.00002. This was to put an end of all forum debates on whether or not the first leak was final.
Still as addressed in the previous article, there are doubts over whether EA is telling the truth. The version numbers aren’t so incredibly far from each other either making it sound as if there were only minor bug fixes between each build.
The Second Leak Steps Up
Sunset in Sunset Valley: Screenshots via [SimGalaxy]
According to the info file contained within the second leak, this version is slated to be 1.0.631.00002. This leak also appears to be a DVD copy of the game and does not include SecuRom.
The second group is boasting how their leak is the “real deal”. They’ve made sure to post evidence of this by comparing the version numbers and dates of files in both leaks. They have included a link to EA’s patch update file to explain how the first leak cannot be patched since EA will only update version 1.0.631.x to 1.0.632.x. So it seems there’s a little competition going on here.
Differences between 1.0.615.x and 1.0.631.x ?
This week, several players from various forums and blogs described their experience between the two games. Players reported no gameplay differences between both versions. They found no additional items, hairstyles, or objects. Some gamers experienced minor bug fixes between each leak, but there were conflicting reports and we can not confirm them at this time.
The inability to deactivate Story Progression was a major bug in the first leak. Players reported this bug was still not fixed in the second leak.
The only major difference players noted between each leak were the version numbers and dates of files. The second leak had files 7 days in advance from the previous leak.
EA encourages pirates to purchase the full game
Pirated “615″ Posted by a forum member on Gamespot,
the thread was later deleted.
Thursday May 27th: EA sent a message through the game launcher:
You are playing a non-final, unauthorized copy of The Sims 3.
Purchasing and registering an official copy of The Sims 3 will entitle you to benefits including access to an entirely new game town called Riverview, 1000 SimPoints which can redeemed for game objects in The Sims 3 store, and access to The Sims 3 Exchange.
It was very interesting to see EA’s response to the piracy matter. There is something very significant with this message. Note that the version number says 1.0.615.x. Put your thinking caps on!
Real Retail Version “631″ Posted by SnootySims Forum Member
The version number for the retail version with no patches installed is version 1.0.631.x. The last four digits refer to the region it came from and if it is a digital download. There is something interesting here though. Compare the three screenshots.
Pirated “631″ posted on SnootySims Forum
Unlike the first screenshot of version 1.0.615.00107. The second leak does not show the “non-final, unauthorized” message.
The Sims 3 Store Money Pinch!
EA officially released The Sims 3 store prices and it has left several consumers upset, concerned, or refusing to buy anything due to the cost of items. An estimate to purchase all store items cost over $250, thats way over the retail price of $49.95.
In an interview with the Associated Press, EA claims The Sims 3 leak is only a “buggy, pre-final” version. This is pretty good news on behalf of the whole Sims gaming community as the leaked copy featured some glaring bugs that should have been caught during testing.
The Second Leak (May 25th, 2009)
The Sims 3 has been leaked again, this time by another group. This group claims their leak is the final retail version and has been posted on many different websites and torrents.
After several observations found from forums and blogs we can conclude the retail version does not present the same bugs as the second leak. Click here to read more information about the second leak. The article below consists only of the issues and bugs concerning the first leak.
The Major Concerns with The Sims 3
The police station, so far EA hasn’t sued file sharers.
Screenshot via [SimGalaxy]
In the leaked copy, players found numerous bugs and oddities that would potentially disrupt the fanbase. It was very interesting to see SecuRom packaged within the leak. This lead to doubts over the authenticity over EA’s statements. They claimed the physical copy of the game would be shipped without it, however, the digital copy would still include SecuRom.
Fortunately, it was later found within the EULA that the leaked copy was derived from the digital release. Even though SecuRom is used to protect unauthorized copies of the game from running, it was already bypassed by the time the leak was released.
The lack of objects, clothing, and hairstyles became a hot button issue among fans. EA has not revealed if the base game will include more items when it hits retail. EA does plan to sell more objects through The Sims 3 store, and will allow 1000 points free for all players who legally purchase the game.
As the hours went by, the mystery surrounding the leaked copy took on a huge forum debate whether the game was the final build. Players brought up major points to support each side of the argument. One issue that supported both sides were game freezes and crashes. In each case, players reported crashing incidents starting within 3 minutes to 6 hours of gameplay. However, some players did not receive any crashes whatsoever.
A general theory over the cause of the crashes were related to old graphic and audio drivers. It’s recommended that players should update their NVIDIA or ATI graphic card drivers before installing the retail copy of the game.
Bugs, Bugs and more Bugs!
Screenshot via [SimsDomination]
We do expect the Sims 3 will ship with bugs, and many of these bugs will most likely get patched. Alas, players were complaining about various glitches and screwups within the leaked copy.
A bug some players found early on during gameplay was the inability to kill a Sim in a fire. This bug was quite interesting in that one would think EA would allow this ability in the first place as it’s one of the most popular deaths in the whole series. On May 20th, we finally saw the first leaked video that included the fire death animation, so we’re not sure as to why some players couldn’t do it and others could. Rumours and speculations arose as players felt that maybe EA was trying to soften the game’s image by removing the death. However, the leak was programmed to include other methods of killing a Sim. We concluded that this form of death will return in the retail version.
Another bug found by players was the inability to deactivate story progression. This feature controls any drastic changes your neighborhood Sims would do, for example, this feature controlled if your neighbors would move in or out, become pregnant, advance in jobs, and die. This became problematic towards players who wanted a similar play style of The Sims 2. They did not want to worry about other Sim families they created to suddenly die or move out of the neighborhood for good.
There were also some minor issues with the music not playing, fast forward speed button malfunctions, and guitars stuck on a Sim’s body.
Players are still skeptical
Protesting at City Hall
It’s quite hilarious to see the debate move right back to where we all started, as now there is still a lot of discussion on whether or not EA is telling the truth. Discussion among forums and blogs seem to theorize that EA is now speaking out to avoid bad press. It’s still likely that EA will release a patch to fix all major bugs related to the gold copy on release day.
We’re also concerned with EA’s choice of wording with the term, “pre-final”. This implies the leaked copy is probably just a few small builds away from the gold copy. If this were the case then it means the leak pretty much sums up everything that’s going to be in the game. Fans will not be happy!
The Spore Patch described below has been released. Download’s Spore’s Patch here!
After the massive amount of complaints about Spore’s “draconian” DRM, EA sheds some light on its future plans. Here are some details Mariam Sughayer shared with MTV Multiplayer Blog.
Up to 5 Computers Authorized
This new patch expected to release sometime in the near future, will allow 5 computers authorized to play concurrently. When one computer uninstalls the game, you will be able to deauthorize access to that computer, freeing up one installation attempt. With this new method, users will no longer be forced to hit the activation cap that was set in place since the beginning.
EA shows off its compassionate side by saying they might release a patch down the road that will completely make DRM “null and void.” Don’t expect this patch anytime soon, its more likely to occur many many years from now when everyone else is awaiting Spore 3.
As we wait until the final details of this patch to come forth, users are still not pleased deeming this is “not enough.” Concerns stem from SecuRom’s ability to cripple DVD hardware and burning software. Another concern includes the pirated version as the most ideal to play since it has been wiped clean from SecuRom and can be installed on an unlimited amount of computers.
Feedback from various online forums and websites have brought up several questions that need to be answered by EA.
What would happen if a user uninstalls the game but the deauthorization attempt has failed?
In order to keep this as fool-proof as possible, EA would have to create a new program that can detect whether Spore is installed or uninstalled on the system. Since really, if a user uninstalls the game while they are currently offline for whatever reason, they will have no way of contacting EA’s servers about this change.
Though this previous situation is hypothetical, a more common occurrence is where users will reinstall their operating system because of unforeseen circumstances. EA has to be able to deauthorize a computer that has no traces of this game within the registry.
Will this patch apply to hardware changes?
If the patch authorizes 5 computers to play the game, hardware changes should not use up an activation attempt. We do hope this new patch will deauthorize a computer once they detect hardware changes and reauthorize after it notifies EA.
The Amazon Controversy
Something strangely interesting occurred over the release of Spore. Spore, the critically acclaimed creature creation game, has a strong list of supporters and gained high reviews on major gaming sites. Yet still, the biggest issue it has is its SecuROM DRM. This has resulted in the game amassing a low review score among its players and critics. This appears to be a protest campaign against SecuRom DRM, from players who have played the game and majority of others who haven’t.
The majority of complaints on Amazon’s site deals with the limited amount of activations your allowed to use in order to play the game. An activation attempt can be used if you completely reinstall your operating system or upgrade a certain amount of hardware inside your computer.
Once you have used up your 3 activations, you will need to call or email EA’s tech support and prove to them that you have purchased the game. Otherwise your only other choice is to purchase another copy.
Three is the loneliest number…
Some users have also installed Spore on multiple PCs, effectively using up 1 activation attempt for each PC. Amazingly within days of the game’s release, one consumer has already used up all 3 activation attempts. There are other complaints as users also seem to be concerned over the longevity that these activation servers will be up. What would happen 10 years later when those servers go down? Will players be locked out of playing the game?
Its unknown how EA will react to this. Its likely they will not do anything at all and will continue to use SecuRom in the future.
Even amidst this whole fiasco, one reviewer claims Gamespot deleted his review of Spore because it made mention of DRM.
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