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  • Moved Unsolved why single player DLCs are no longer playable once network services for a legacy title have been shut down ?

    7 Likes/22 Replies/1331 Views
    mindfaq13
    Original poster 13 posts

    ok, it's time to cool down a bit since I've been quite emotional about my vanishing single player AC2 DLCs as of late (I somehow missed it before and only recent announcements about imminent death of subsequent titles triggered the alarm).

    What I'm really trying to wrap my head around is the reason why Ubisoft keeps ending support of their legacy (but still dear to many - despite dipping active player count) titles the way it does: by throwing single player downloadable content down the drain, while other developers do exactly the opposite.

    When Techland decided to end support of their zombie-slaying FPS Dying Light, they offered anyone who owned a standard or deluxe copy of the game a free upgrade to platinum bundle, containing dozens of dlcs they had released over the years. They even released endgame weapons, previously available as rewards for completing random in-game events, as free dlcs for everyone to enjoy. Sure - you can no longer play coop, there's no leaderboards or daily/weekly/season challenges, but all the extra single-player content is still there.
    This way players new to the franchise (a sequel came out back in April) can start their journey at the beginning.
    Now compare this with Ubisoft locking away their precious single player story dlcs behind some 'veil of impossibility' and offering new/returning players a poor substitute of what those that came before them got to experience.

    As an IT-guy (I work as a programmer for a small software house) I'm curious what obstacles made Ubi choose this path ? Was it too difficult to cook up a proper 'farewell patch' modifying the game code and throwing in all the extra content without requiring a connection to some external service ?
    How about deploying some 'dummy' service providing the same response to all connecting clients : 'all Ubisoft Club rewards unlocked and all dlcs good to go' ? Ubisoft had already pulled it off once Ubisoft Connect replaced Uplay : they gave free ULCs to everyone, so it should be doable. I imagine this dummy network service wouldn't need much resources to operate - no in-game progress tracking for each player, no Ubisoft Points distribution based on completed challenges - just a simple 'echo' providing free unlockables to all.

    Ubisoft claims that the resources consumed by these legacy titles were needed elsewhere - thus the decision to pull the plug. But if the active player count was as low as they say it was, I wouldn't expect much resources to be reclaimed this way - why even bother ? Little to gain, much to lose (in terms of player sentiment..).
    Next question that comes to mind - why is it not possible to launch single player dlcs that I own a physical copy of without some external service ? I own a physical copy of AC2 Deluxe bundled with both Battle of Forli and Bonfires of the Vanities, yet with servers down I can no longer access this bonus content.
    Sick.

    Is there really no way for a 14000-strong gaming company earning billions annually to re-wire the game's source code to save those dlcs and re-pack ULCs as a DLC so players could enjoy them in 'offline mode' ?

    I hope someone from Ubi tech-team would satisfy my curiosity.

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  • mindfaq13
    Original poster 13 posts

    I'm getting conflicting reports regarding ending support for some older titles and would very much appreciate if someone at Ubisoft cleared things out for me.

    1. paid single-player dlc packages like AC2-s Battle of Forli or Bonfires of the Vanities (Deluxe edition content) : do you simply scrap these making them unplayable and ripping people off by locking out additional content they paid for, or do you patch these into the base game so all players could enjoy extra content without network-specific bells and wistles like dlc-related achievements? I imagine 'dlcs being no longer available' could easily mean they've been included into the base package as opposed to simply removing them from player entitlements list. Releasing extra content into public domain is not unheard of : Techland did just that with their Dying Light - they've upgraded all player entitlements to platinum tier meaning everyone has access to all additional content. I read somewhere that the reason for your dlc-s being discontinued is that the dlc verification process (checking if it's legit and has not been tampered with) requires a dedicated network service - is that correct ? If this was the case, patching dlcs into the base game would be a win-win for both Ubisoft and the players : you can shut down the verification service freeing resources for newer titles and you preserve your legacy for casual / future players to enjoy - gaining positive player sentiment in the process. And I assure you : player sentiment easily translates into money as I (like many others) am willing to show my appreciation and support for developers I love and respect by bying new titles on day one at a premium / grabbing 'supporter packs' etc. Ever heard of Undead Labs, the guys behind the State of Decay IP ? Their post-launch support is legendary: 4 years after release and they keep not only patching SoD2 (at the same time working on a sequel), but bringing more content in as well, and this display of love and care for their creation makes people buy extra copies of their game as giveaways for friends to help keep the developer afloat (their parent company Xbox Games Studios seems to be quite satisfied with their performance..)
    2. ULC (I believe that's what you're calling the Ubisoft Connect-related unlockable content) : are these scrapped and no longer available or become part of public domain ? I imagine these unlockables require a stateful network service to keep track of in-game progress on a per-player basis and distribute Ubisoft Points - why not deploy a single stateless 'dummy' service providing the same response to all connecting clients and unlocking all Ubisoft Club rewards for given title ? You've pulled it off before : back when Ubisoft Connect replaced Uplay, you unlocked all UC rewards for older titles - why not keep it that way ? Sure, it may entail keeping a simple service online so you wouldn't need to tamper with the game code itself, but such simple stateless service shouldn't require much processing power nor disk space, so you save resources for newer titles without limiting player experience for older ones.
    3. multiplayer component - by all means, scrap it. There's no point trying to resuscitate the dead since after a while there are simply no players to match-make with. All game developers shut down multiplayer servers but they usually keep single player intact.


    To recap : I have no trouble letting multiplayer and some network-related extras go - every developer does that when an older title ceases to turn enough profit to pay for its upkeep. It's the execution I'm worried about since as I've mentioned above - you can perform such transition in multiple ways, but I'd expect paid single-player content to be playable indefinitely, especially for beloved franchises like Assassin's Creed or Far Cry that brought Ubisoft to where it is today. I get that as any privately-owned company, Ubisoft needs to keep their shareholders happy, but there are ways of maximizing profit without destroying your legacy and making gamers angry in the process. It might be tempting to get rid of 'dead weight' like older and less profitable titles but keeping them alive as a sign of good will could ramp up sales figures for newer ones that could easily outweigh potential losses. Turn from a game developer into live-service provider and game enthusiasts hoarding games 'for later use' (such as myself) may choose to skip your titles, no matter how great they are, since they expire and contradict the notion of ownership.

  • Ubi-Gizmo
    Ubisoft Support Staff 2297 posts

    Hey there @mindfaq13, thank you for taking the time to get in touch and for creating this in-depth thread. I'm afraid a lot of what you have asked here simply cannot be answered by myself or other support members. These are all decisions that have been made by our development teams quite some time ago. As you have mentioned, we have explained that shutting these services down, allows our teams to focus our resources on delivering great experiences for players who are playing newer or more popular titles. The decision to close the online services for a title is always taken with the consideration of our player base, including the level of interest they still have in the game.

    I understand that these are not the answers that you were hoping for, and I want to apologize for any disappointment that this may have caused. I welcome you to continue sharing any thoughts or feedback you may have regarding the shutting down of services and games within this thread, and I will be sure to pass this along to the dedicated teams for further consideration.

    Official Response
  • Bzduras
    27 posts

    Enough said.

    undefined

  • CalKestis103
    6 posts

    @ubi-gizmo, I'm sorry. But this has to be the greatest lie I have ever read in my entire time playing your games.

    Let's make one thing crystal clear, "Gizmo," it is not difficult to keep single-player titles, DLC, and ULC active. It is not. Every single company that has done a single-player game knows this. Yet, somehow, you and your superiors have loathed your single-player base, who enjoyed your games back in what was a golden age for Assassin's Creed and many other games. So spare me the honeyed words about how you are sorry about what you are doing to your PC players. Your superiors have made it abundantly clear you view every single one of your PC players as pirates, even those who don't pirate your games. Why? I do not know and do not care. What I do care about is that you and your superiors want to steal back content that your fans have enjoyed for a long time.

    I don't care if you are the messenger. The fact you are justifying any of this makes you just as worse as your superiors for wanting to erase content from when Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and many other games helped give Ubisoft some form of a good image.

    Oh, and that image? You have destroyed that. You have made it clear you hate these "legacy" games. You want them, and the content ripped from the fans who have enjoyed them for years.

    The worst part about all of this? You are going around preaching that this is the Assassin's Creed anniversary! That is the biggest insult, you claim to want to celebrate Assassin's Creed, but in reality, you want to kill the history of this series. Ironic. Games about Historical Fiction are going to be gutted. Like every single antagonist in Assassin's Creed, you want to gut your own history and ignore it.

    You always use that "I will take it to my superiors" line whenever you don't want to talk about anything. But, considering everything that's happened, nobody can trust you, not after this.

    As for your "newer" games? Skull and Bones is not new. It is Assassin's Creed Black Flag, Rogue, and Odyssey trimmed down to...whatever that is.

    If this is your example of the future, you are better off canceling every single one of these games since they are likely reskinned versions of the legacy titles you want to decommission.

  • Harbinger1984
    1 posts

    Actually which DLCs we're gonna disappear? Shut down all AC titles from 1 to 3/Liberation HD, right? That means even the Washington DLC-s will be gone? At least these titles have a Remastered version which includes all content default. Also they remove access to unlocked content which was unlockable via Uplay? Like upgrades, wallpaper sor the Disappearance of Da Vincie? Or ACII 2 later aded sequences?
    Ubisoft should release a complete list which DLC and content disappear after September 1st. For all titles!

  • zandalord
    14 posts

    @Ubi-Gizmo What do we care about your apologies. We are dealing here with theft, because what else can you call the fact that you want to take from us something for which we paid you.
    Also you have no arguments because, for example, pirate version of AC3 includes all the DLCs and the online mode does not require it. So what's the problem to update to older games that remove the dlc authorization requirement in games.

    You care only customers with new titles? I have all AC series with all the DLCs, except Valhalla. But since you spit on us and steal from us, you probably don't think I'll buy the latest Assassin. This will not happen, I will not buy any more games from ubisoft, I will play pirated versions.

  • zandalord
    14 posts

    @Harbinger1984 Yes even whole big Washington Trilogy from AC3 and Disappearance of Da Vincie from ACB will be stolen from you.

  • suchy2808
    15 posts

    @Ubi-Gizmo The best decision right now would be to add DLC and uplay rewards to the base game permanently. It would be good for players and it would be a great PR move for ubi.
    Currently, their PR is losing a lot - they had to back off removing purchased games from players' libraries, but they still intend to remove access to DLC in September for which people have been paying a lot of money.
    But from what I can see the PR people, instead of trying to get people to their products, I think they are bragging about the UBI board.

  • mindfaq13
    Original poster 13 posts

    @zandalord I don't believe AC3 is on the list of titles to be gutted come September the 1st - only AC Brotherhood and Revelations. AC2 has already been downgraded a year ago, so it looks like AC3 Remaster will remain playable 'in all its glory' for some time, the same goes for AC1 (no Uplay and no DLCs) and subsequent AC installments (AC4+)

  • PatteDeFruit
    2 posts

    This is one of the biggest mistakes from Ubisoft to remove the availability of some of the best multiplayer experiences of the decade: Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (the MVP) and Assassin's Creed III.

    Also, blocking access to DLC from the people who have purchased it, all of that in the name of "improving the quality of the newer games" seems like b****hit to me.

    They should find a way to allow online and DLC services for those titles after September 1st, or at least patch it for P2P multiplayer and offline access to DLCs.

    I don't understand what is going on on Ubisoft minds atm, but shutting down one of the best games of the studio at the 15 anniversary date is certainly a bad move.

    I hope that they will find a way to appeal everyone.

  • Ten2Three
    1 posts

    Sounds like theft. I wouldn't be surprise that people are speaking with their lawyers at the moment.

  • Crazybone992
    102 posts

    @CalKestis103 Well said. In my opinion Ubisoft is actually starting to resemble Abstergo now. It's so ironic.

  • Sdamdlavuruf
    1 posts

    Had a chat with my layer, since it's not stated when you buy the DLC it's plain theft. There is no time limit stated in the EULA at the time you bought them. Looking forward to the lawsuit against them.

  • Crazybone992
    102 posts

    @Sdamdlavuruf
    Ubisoft seemingly changed their mind about this. It's now been stated that you won't lose access to DLC if you have activated it before october 1st.

    But on the other hand, some people have reported that the servers are already unavailable for them. Quite confusing.

  • bansama.JP
    1 posts

    @Crazybone992 Yep. Popping in to say that as of about 40 mins ago, I cannot download most of the games on the original list for decommissioning titles. All come back with a "connection error". This also includes Revelations, which shouldn't have been decommissioned on PC. The only title on the original list that I own that can still be downloaded is Far Cry 3.

    So from that list, these are the titles I can no longer download.

    Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
    Assassin's Creed Revelations
    Driver San Francisco
    Splinter Cell: Blacklist

    There may be more, but I'm not uninstalling to find out!

  • alienpoet17
    2 posts

    You guys want us to move to the remastered titles, fine. I understand that. But UbisoftConnect doesn't have the Ezio collection as remasters, and aside from deluxe edition ACII, standard Brotherhood and Revelations don't have their DLC! I would love to buy them, but I literally can't. What am legally I supposed to do?

  • homerclon1
    1 posts

    @bansama-JP i can add:
    Assassin's Creed II
    Assassin's Creed Liberation HD
    Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon
    Rayman Legends

    All of them show Error Code 17006, but other games i can download and install.

  • Crazybone992
    102 posts

    @homerclon1 That doesn't sound normal. Ubisoft never said anything about entire games being decommissioned. They said only the multiplayer servers and dlc authentication servers would be taken offline but single player will still be accessible. Could be that there is a some kind of problem with their servers currently?

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