Origin is the hot topic of the day, as is Battlefield 3.  The consumer whore I am, I decided I couldn’t wait to nab a copy of BF3 to play on launch day, but I’m wary of Origin (for obvious reasons).  I’ve read statements from EA claiming that Origin would not be required for any of their games to run, which apparently have all been deleted from the internet–either that, or my hat isn’t working anymore, because apparently Origin is and will be required for (virtually) every game to run, including Battlefield 3.  Oh well, I figured.  I purchased it on Impulse in an attempt to get around this issue.

Not only did it not work, it backfired like a CIA operation.  After a four-hour, 13GB download (yeah, my internet‘s not great), I attempted to run BF3 through Impulse and got…a game key.  That was it.  A small window in the top center of my screen showing my game’s key, which when clicked on caused Origin to launch.  Origin then prompted me for said key, after which point it began downloading the game.  Even after installing via Origin, I could not launch the game from Impulse.

What is the point of selling the game through a third-party vendor when it can’t be used by that vendor’s software?  I understand EA’s want to have Origin on the market, and have its own social network.  But it’s one thing to have Origin running in the background while the game runs, and entirely another to force someone to re-download the game even though it’s already been legitmately purchased through another storefront.  Another four hours later, I was finally able to play the game.

Thirteen gigabytes of wasted bandwidth.

At this point I was confronted with the Battlelog, perhaps one of the most confusing elements in the game so far.  Rather than having a server browser built into the game, which has been done for many years now, EA and/or DICE seem to think it was a good idea to make players manage their avatars and find servers from their internet browser, which then launches the game itself and loads everything up.  This means that switching servers requires quitting the game and re-launching it, with no shortcuts in the middle.  Meanwhile, the consoles have a fully functional server browser within the game, with almost all the options available to the PC players.

One argument I’ve heard is that this system allows for closer support for changes and patches.  Isn’t this what Origin is for?  Steam pushes updates to games automatically, so if Origin doesn’t do that, what’s the point?  EA didn’t want to play Valve’s game of providing easy-to-get DLC and updates, so if they’re not going to use Origin for that, is this just their digital iron maiden to put players in?  Seems like they’ve decided ActiBlizzard‘s douchebaggery made them look too good, and they had to start a pissing contest.

Another defense is that this allows for simplification and a more unified interface for the players.  Again…isn’t this what Origin is for?  Origin allows direct access to the EA store via what is basically…a browser window.  Couldn’t this be rolled into Origin, even in the exact state it’s in now?  Apparently not.  As the rule goes, it can’t be too easy or logical…somewhere it has to get convoluted, just to screw with people.

And what happens when this website is shut down?  Certainly they won’t keep it running indefinitely.  Someday the userbase will decline to a point at which EA decides it’s not worth running the Battlelog anymore, and then…no more play.  If all servers were centrally hosted by EA, this argument might be baseless, but they’re not.  They’re hosted by whoever feels like hosting one, to avoid the issues Activision ran into with peer hosting in Modern Warfare 2.  But this is pointless if one can’t find the servers to login to, and unless EA/DICE decides to patch the game to include a server browser that isn’t going to happen.  I’m beginning to become convinced the developers and publishers out there want to destroy the PC platform for no reason other than sadism, or perhaps boredom.