Hacker for Hire

EA Sports: The most fun you’ll never play

Wyatt • • Rants

I am so mad at EA. FIFA 06 is the most horrible online game I have ever played in my life. I’m so mad I can’t even think straight. First of, being unable to connect because my clock isn’t set to 01/01/01 and then being disconnect from the servers every time I try playing a game. Tim and I didn’t even make it through the first half of a game before it died.

But wait, since I can’t play 06, I’ll play 2005 … NOPE!!! No longer any support for 2005 as of Aug 1. Check it out here. Here’s the letter I sent to customer support expressing my rage:

I am EXTREMELY annoyed at this games online performance. Not only can I not play online for more than a minute without being connected, I can barely even get connected to the EA servers that are “overloaded” with the whole 35 players online. And the best part is that I know that this is EA’s problem. Microsoft can have 50,000 players online at once in Halo 2, but EA can’t even handle 35 … that is horrible.

Now the part that really angers me is that I have to “hack” my Xbox time to play online, which only has to happen every time I power up my Xbox. As a computer/game programmer, I can’t even begin to imagine what horrible hack you have done to your servers to break a game in such a fashion that is only works online when you set the time to a specific date. That is insane.

I guess that I will have to be happy returning my brand new FIFA 06 and play the old FIFA 2005 … oh wait, that’s right, I can’t do that because you are dropping support for every game you ever could play from EA online. The best part is you never even included any local system connection play so my friends and I can never play online with each other again. That makes it really hard when you live on the opposite side of the country.

I also want to let you know that not only will I be returning my game, my other 10 friends will be returning theirs. I am also writing a seething review of how horrible FIFA 06 support and online play way and will inform any other person I know of how horrible my experience with EA was.

Thank you for a horrible online experience. I think I’m going to stick with shops that can actually write something functional and not something broken.

Well, 24 hours went by and they didn’t respond like they said they would so I added the following:

Well, I am glad to see that my complaint was addressed within the 24 hour period that was specified by your able support personnel. Maybe if I phrase it in more of a question you might take the opportunity to respond.

Why have you not released a patch to fix the problems with your game? Xbox live support patching via remote servers and as far as I can tell, FIFA 06 has been out long enough and has had enough widespread issues to warrant patching. Could you please explain the apparent total disregard for the consumer’s purchase?

Finally I got a response, not a very good one because he really didn’t even read the first entry into the ticket:

Hi,

Thanks for writing us at Electronic Arts Technical Support. I’m sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. I understand that you encounter connection issues with FIFA 06 for the Xbox.

Before we continue, please respond to the following questions:

  • Have you been able to connect before?
  • What specific error message do you encounter?
  • What type of connection do you have?
  • Would you remember if you have properly linked your gamertag to your EA online account?

First, try connecting your console directly to your modem. By doing this, we can determine if the issue is caused by the router. Now if your DSL or Cable modem connects directly to your Xbox, try power cycling the modem. This means unplugging the modem from the wall, waiting one or more minute then plugging it back in. Restart your console and try again.

Also, please try to contact your ISP and make sure to have the following ports open.

  • UDP Ports: 88 & 3074
  • TCP Port: 3074

If it still does not work, try setting the system clock on your XBOX to 11/15/2001 before attempting to login. This often works with players who experience a sudden inability to connect to XBOX Live.

Start your XBOX without a disk in the drive.
Go to ‘Settings’.
Choose ‘Clock’.
Set the date to ’11/15/2001′.
Start the game and try to connect (If 2001 does not work, try to use 2002, 2003, up to 2004).

If the issue persists, please provide the information below so we can have your account checked and further investigate the cause of this:

  1. Your Xbox Live gamer tag name.
  2. Mark down the next time you log in (day and time) to play (Game), including the time zone you currently access from. This is used to view your access in the server logs and the more exact times you provide, the faster we will be able to locate, correct, and follow-up on the issue.

Should you require further assistance with this game or other Electronic Arts games in the future, please visit our website and review our extensive Self Help knowledgebase at (http://support.ea.com/).

Thank you,

Leo V
EA Technical Support

So Leo V gets back all the obvious answer in a simple and easy to read fashion:

  • Have you been able to connect before?
    Yes, I have been able to connect after resetting my clock to 01/01/01; however, being as the Xbox automatically updates it clock every time that it connects to the Internet, I have to reset the clock EVERYTIME I want to play FIFA 06.

  • What specific error message do you encounter?
    “Unable to load gametags” is received after successfully entering my Xbox Live passcode

  • What type of connection do you have?
    A high speed cable modem connection, xbox directly connected to the Internet. 5mbps down : 1mbps up

  • Would you remember if you have properly linked your gamertag to your EA online account?
    My EA account is linked to my Xbox Live account of “Skippy McNeal”

  1. Your Xbox Live gamer tag name.
    “Skippy McNeal”

  2. Mark down the next time you log in (day and time) to play (Game), including the time zone you currently access from. This is used to view your access in the server logs and the more exact times you provide, the faster we will be able to locate, correct, and follow-up on the issue.
    There should be several access attempts from 2006-08-24 between 21:30 EST and 23:00 EST

Well, apparently Leo is a low-level moron and his brain exploded by reading such simple response which lead to an escalation to Paul, and what a help he is:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting EA technical support. I am sorry that you are having difficulty.

If you reset your clock on your Xbox are you still able to connect online?

Please respond back to me if you have anymore technical issues concerning the game.
Thank you for contacting Electronic Arts.

Yes, I can … dumbass. That’s not the point. The point is that an acceptable method for “connecting” online should not be, reboot my Xbox, reset my clock to a certain date and time, and hope to hell that it magically work. Naturally, I reply to the moron with the answer:

If I reset my clock, I can play 1 game. One.

Every time I want to play I have to reset my clock. EVERYTIME. That means I have to power down the Xbox, reset my clock with network unplugged, start the game, plug in my network and then I can play online for about 2 minutes before I have to repeat the whole process.

This happens EVERYTIME and this is a completely unacceptable online experience.

Sensing that I was apparently not as stupid as he really thought I might be, I get escalated to Robert:

Hi!

Thank you for contacting EASPORTS Technical Support regarding the online connection issues you’ve been experiencing with FIFA Soccer 06 for the Xbox game console. At this time, our engineering department is still researching this issue and have enlisted the expertise of the Microsoft Xbox Live engineering team to determine why you’ve been unable to connect consistently to our game servers. Something that both groups have asked for regarding your issue is the following information:

  1. The make and model of your DSL / Cable modem.
  2. The make and model of your router.
  3. The firmware version your router is running (if you can locate it).

I apologize that this issue is taking so long to be resolved but I do believe that progress is being made. It is my hope that we can get this issue resolved quickly so that you may once again enjoy your online experience.

Thanks again for your understanding and patience,

Rob M.
EASPORTS Technical Support

Oooo … someone finally asking some specific technical questions and blaming the whole problem on my router and cable modem. That’s really strange. I thought that the Internet-thingy used what we call “standards.” In fact, I know it does. Head on over to IEEE to see what some of them are Rob. Since it just wasn’t good enough to assume that it was really E.A.’s problem, I responded with the following:

The Xbox is directly connected to the Internet, there is no router in place. The cable modem is a Toshiba DAZ881F. I would again like to reiterate that I can connect to your server AFTER and ONLY AFTER I reset my Xbox system date to 01/01/01. Of course, once the Xbox comes online, it automatically receives a new time and I can NOT play FIFA online until I set my date to 01/01/01. I know I am not the only other person with this issue. If you google FIFA 06 and Gamertags, it comes up with several people that have the same issue. There is apparently an issue with your online servers dealing with the system time that is on the Xbox.

And Robert … dear old stupid Robert decides that my issue is now a latency issue (clearly it’s an EA sucks issue) and writes back the following:

Hello,

Thank you for updating me on the latency issues you are experiencing with FIFA Soccer 06 for the Xbox. I’ve forwarded your hardware information on to the development team and am hoping to hear something from them regarding their findings on the latency issue or what fixes / corrections they are working on to get this issue resolved. I am currently waiting to meet with the product manager for the game in order to pass my concerns on to the development team and also to see if there is anything further he can tell me that I can then pass along to you.

I am sorry for the delay in getting a solution to you but please rest assured that we have not swept this issue under the rug or tried to not follow-up with it. I will try to update you as quickly as I can as to what is going on.

Thanks again for your continued patience,

Rob M.
EASPORTS Technical Support
09/06/2006 05:46 PM

I put the time in because my “ticket” was permanently closed so I could no longer update it at 09/06/2006 06:08 PM. My ass about being swept under the rug. I know I’m not the only one who’s had this issue. Do a search on EA sucks and you find tons of crap. You can got to hell Rob M. Screw you and the horse your road in on right up the ass with a thermonuclear pitchfork you arrogant prick. I hope your company goes under you and all your little boot licking turds sink with it.

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