I told myself for a very long time that I didn’t mind Uplay. I liked unlocking new content through play, because that was neat. It was another account to log in to, sure, but the Uplay rewards system was alright, and it was never as horrifically bad as the much (and deservedly) maligned Games for Windows Live.
Things have changed.
I’m done, Ubisoft. I’m a pretty forgiving, chill dude. I accept that mistakes happen, and I realize I’m just one of your customers among millions. I realize that, in all likelihood, this letter will have no impact whatsoever. So hey. I’m going to vent, and maybe someone, somewhere, will get something out of it. Here’s my single-drafted breakup letter.
I didn’t spend much time with Ubisoft games, period, so I didn’t run into that many Uplay problems. But last year, I was on my way to my grandmother’s funeral. I wanted to get my mind off things for the three hour drive, so I booted up my laptop and jumped into The Settlers VII. Well, I would have jumped into it if Uplay hadn’t gotten in the way. For whatever reason, it demanded an internet connection for a single-player game. There I was, staring out at the grassy plains of Midwestern America, and the only thing I want to do is get my mind off things for a while, and I can’t.
Ubisoft, you have my money. I gave it to you in exchange for this product. And I want to use it, but can I? No. Because for some reason, you want me to be online when I play an offline game, something saved locally to my computer. Something that, with any other game, I would not have to do.
In fact, when The Settlers VII rebuffed my efforts to play it, I closed it down, opened up another game from my Steam collection, Age of Empires II, and played it instead. Unlike Ubisoft games, you see, I can play Age of Empires II without a hitch. I start it up, I click on a campaign—or, heck, even load a saved game, and it just works. This is one of the reasons why, when Microsoft followed up Age of Empires with releases of Age of Mythology and Rise of Nations, I purchased both games in short order. It’s also why I’m settling—ha ha—on a life without The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria.
Ah, but you’ve fixed that, haven’t you? The online requirement isn’t so much of a requirement any more. If that was all, you’d have been forgiven, albeit somewhat begrudgingly.
It gets worse.
There was some key confusion with my purchase of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. I bought the gold edition, but ended up with a normal key. This was taken care of by the folks at Ubisoft support, but I had to delete my save and start over. Twelve hours or so, gone, like that.
Oh well. I booted it up. Uplay sat there and spun in circles and never actually made it to the main menu. Apparently your support staff have run into a similar problem before: Uplay doesn’t like changing keys for users, so it effectively corrupts the game, even when Uplay has a perfectly valid key in the account. Where Steam can easily remove a game and let me repurchase it, Uplay spazzes out entirely. It refuses to work.
Ubisoft support’s solution? Create a second account.
These days, I have to be cautious when signing into Uplay, registering all of my games with the primary account, but remembering to sign in to Assassin’s Creed on another. It’ll be a bad day if I ever accidentally register a game meant for my primary on my secondary. It’s another email and password I have to remember, a tremendous inconvenience that bars me from various unlocks and content that are tied to my main account.
Your support staff told me that if it were fixed, they’d let me know, but I doubt I’ll ever hear anything. Besides, what would it matter? It’s not as if I can transfer saves from the secondary account back to the primary account, because you, in your infinite wisdom, have locked saves to specific accounts.
A friend of mine wanted to play The Witcher, but had a game breaking bug. Do you know what I did? I copied a save of mine and gave it to him. This is one of the cool things about PC games, a fact which, it would appear, you’ve chosen to ignore. Furthermore, you tend to keep just one or two saves around, which is a terrible idea.
I was having a great deal of fun with the game. Oh, sure, it’s got the flat affect so common with your Montreal games, with their homogenous gameplay mechanics and the like, but I was still having some fun with it, and today, I had plans to spend some more time with the game. At roughly fifty-nine hours of game time, you’d guaranteed yourself another sale of Assassin’s Creed Rogue when it comes to PC, as well as one of Unity.
The game crashed.
And it crashed again.
In fact, no matter what I’ve done, Assassin’s Creed IV utterly refuses to be played. My save has been corrupted. As I understand this, it’s a known bug. A friend of mine lost ninety-five hours of play to Uplay earlier.
I should have been done with a long time ago, but no, like an idiot, I kept giving you my money, hoping things would get better, and they haven’t. Now you’ve taken sixty hours of my life I’ll never get back, and for what? Why are you doing this? What could possibly compel you, a producer of goods you wish people to buy, to sabotage yourself in this way? You’re not just hurting me, you’re wounding you.
I’d be happy to buy your games, but they don’t work. In fact, they sabotage themselves, and why? What good has Uplay done for you? I could have pirated Assassin’s Creed IV and played it without ever worrying that Ubisoft would corrupt my saves. I’ve been made aware that the pirated, Uplay-free versions of your games tend to run better than the legitimate copies. There is no advantage to purchasing a Ubisoft game, not when I could download it and get a version that runs better and won’t corrupt my saves.
Ubisoft, as a company, has the obligation to release a working product. Releasing things people want to purchase is why companies work. You should be wanting people to like you. Forget mind-numbing ads with pop music that generate tepid hype, you should be releasing quality products so good that the mere mention of them excites people.
Instead, what you’ve got is a mill that churns out pretty okay, interesting products that I like spending money on occasionally, but with poor ports from Ubisoft Kiev, Uplay’s constant intrusion into my ability to play games when and where I want, and stupid stuff like locking your saves to a service that corrupts saves… I mean, what the heck, guys?
You think I want this? You think I enjoy having sixty hours gone? I’m mad, okay? Mad I spent eighty bucks on a game I’m never gonna play again because a service it doesn’t need ruined my saves. It’s the most expensive game I bought this year. I trusted you to give me a good experience.
What I got was something that split up my Uplay account, something that’s made multiplayer a laggy hassle, something that’s just deleted a sixty hour save, something that, at every single turn, has gotten in the way of allowing me to enjoy the products I gave you money for. All I want is to play the games we exchanged money for without hassle—without Uplay.
But I doubt you’ll be doing that for little ol’ me, so here’s something I’m sure a multi-billion dollar corporation can do: I want my eighty bucks back, Ubisoft.
After all that endless frustration, surely it isn’t that much to ask.