Fixing a broken Settlement - my saga of talking to UbiSoft's tech support

Date: 2008-11-02 11:52:02 Created: null

This is my little story of how I've tried to get in touch with, and some support out of, UbiSoft's technical support when The Settlers for Nintendo DS started crashing on the sixth chapter. As you might be able to tell, I am not really after getting my money back. I want to see how much help and information you can actually get out of them if you keep on coming. I don't know if a patched version of the game is even remotely realistic, but that would be the ideal goal for me. And really, if a company delivers a product as faulty as this they really should be fixing it.

Here comes the Crashy!

As foretold in the prophecies: I reached the sixth mission of the Roman campaign and everything promptly jumped off a cliff.

The game crashes completely whenever I try to save.

I just "contacted" (I.E. went through a registration procedure and filled out a question form including requried fields for picking my game which didn't even list The Settlers DS as an option. Telling ...) UbiSoft support and demanded a working copy of the game. We'll see what, if anything, happens.

Second support saga ... chapter

It's been more than a week since I submitted my support request to UbiSoft through their website. Not a breath back. So today I worked up the energy to actually call their support number. Quite against my expectations, I quickly got through and explained my problem to a gentleman who displayed great concern about it. He said that my submission was the first he'd heard about the problem, but that it sounded like it really required action and that he would send it up to the second floor and get back to me with a response as soon as possible.

I do not know what goes on on this "second floor". Presumably all-powerful game-patching deities (perhaps even dietists?) languish there, only releasing their powers on a lucky game when prodded by enough frontline support people at once. We shall see. At least I'm happy about the lack of waiting and enthusiastic first response.

Also, Gamespot finally put up their review, and it was justly harsh on all the bugs. Imagine if they'd actually fix and re-release the game. That could be something ...

And off into the night

It is now October 25th, 2007, and I'm beginning to thing this story is coming to an end. After a whole lot of quietness with me dropping in every now and then asking if anything was going on there was finally a reply. The support guy asked me to

"Try with this one... If you after the game saves, immediately load the save you just made. Once your game loads it should play just fine, but be sure to load your save immediately after making the save to avoid the crashing problem. Again, you must LOAD your most current save AFTER saving before going back into the game.

We had to re create an similar issue... So when you ask a question of strange character... have patience, please..."

Well, unfortunately, guys, I mentioned that trying to save froze my game, required a restart and produced a corrupt save, so I could never try to reload. As some kind of weird bonus, when I fired the game up again for the first time in a month or more, the last crash seemed to have erased all my progress. I now had only the first two chapters to choose from.

I told them so, and asked if there were any cheats that would let be get back and try the saving tip on chapter six. Sorry no, was their reply, adding in the tip of trying to play with sound effects and music turned off. Not exactly promising, nor encouraging enough for me to play through the first five chapters again.

My latest post to the discussion is this:

"Okay, so there isn't much more I can do on my side (I can't get to chapter six without replaying, and I'm afraid I don't have time to set aside for re-playing poorly tested games). Are there going to be any fixes? There really should be, because the game is great when it works and it's a damn shame (not to mention false marketing) it doesn't keep working all the way through."

We will see what, if anything, comes back in reply. At least they seem to have become somewhat quicker in their replies ...

End of the line

It's January 23rd 2008 and today I returned the Settlers to the store and got another game instead. Ubi support closed my long-running support question, marking it as solved, somewhere around Christmas. I opened another one stating that the last one sure wasn't solved and that I'd still like them to do something about it. Finally, they said almost outright that they won't do anything about it and told me to take the game back to the store.

So I did, and the store was good about it. But I keep wondering. For one thing, could someone with enough energy to spend have got a different result? And for another, how come the game could be released in such a sorry state? I can imagine there being a rather frustrating story for a development team behind this. A third question is of course if many games go out with crippling bugs like these, and how many people run into them without making a fuss about it.

If anyone out there happens to have more information I would love to know.