Quotable: Alec Meer on Official No-CD Patches

Rock, Paper, Shotgun‘s Alec Meer points out the inherent rub of official no-CD patches to games that are released after the games are long in the tooth, as Blizzard recently offered for Warcraft 3:

I’ve always found it fascinating when games do this after release. It’s an admission that copy protection is just an irritation to legitimate players, and that disc checks are a particularly buffoonish and archaic anti-piracy measure at that. … And is there really anyone still playing W3 after all these years who didn’t apply an unofficial no-CD crack long ago?

Warcracked III [RockPaperShotgun.com]

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5 Responses to Quotable: Alec Meer on Official No-CD Patches

  1. Bugs says:

    It’s not an admission of anything like that. If anything it’s the reverse: releasing the patch is a statement like “We’re not going to make any more money from sales, so we’re removing the anti-piracy stuff. Now you can distribute and play it freely”.

    If the companies believed that the disc-checks were pointless and did nothing to prevent piracy, they’d see no reason to release the patch.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You know, I’ve only had problems with copy-protection on Windows games. I’ve never had trouble making and using disk images for OS X games, including Warcraft 3 (yes, I bought it).

    I’m not sure if this is because OS X’s architecture somehow doesn’t allow an application to see if a mounted volume is a physical CD or not, or if it’s just that publishers don’t really care about potential losses of OS X version sales due to piracy because OS X is a small portion of the market.

  3. nex says:

    And is there really anyone still playing W3 after all these years who didn’t apply an unofficial no-CD crack long ago?

    Yup, here. But not because I’m using CDs, but because I’m on a Mac and have always used images, like #2 has explained. I’ve bought WC3: RoC and TfT here in Austria and it turned out that the German voice-acting is a bit meh, so I copied images of the English version from a friend. Blizzard is really nice about this, the keys (technically serial numbers) you get with the game aren’t region locked, so you can do this without a problem. Now I can enjoy better actors and am used to the original names for units and buildings, so I don’t have to constantly mentally translate when playing online and chatting with my team about what’s going on.

    If the companies believed that the disc-checks were pointless and did nothing to prevent piracy, they’d see no reason to release the patch.

    WTF? This doesn’t make sense. The purpose of the patch is not to encourage piracy, right? So why can the patch only be released if unpatched installs are easier to ‘pirate’?

    The patch was released because unpatched installs are more of a pain in the ass. There are some reasons for releasing it later, and some reasons for releasing it earlier, and at some point in time they balance out and the patch is released — whether it ever helped against piracy or not.

  4. nex says:

    Err, sorry, I meant whether the CD check ever helped against piracy or not.

  5. MichaelJ says:

    Starcraft has been out for TEN years and it also just received a similar patch. Although a nice gesture on Blizzard’s part, I’ve been working with disc images of Blizzard games for a while now (on a XP setup no less)

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