Saturday, January 30, 2021

Open Letter to Ubisoft

The Letter

To: [email protected]; [email protected]

Subject: Support nightmare

Gentlemen,

I know this is the kind of email you'd likely ignore but I am at my wits end with your support team. I have been jostled from tech to tech since 15 November 2020 over an issue launching both Assassin's Creed Origins and Odyssey on a computer which previously ran both perfectly well, including playing Origins to story completion. All other titles I own from Ubisoft, and all titles I have access to on Xbox Game Pass, including the extremely taxing Flight Simulator, run perfectly well. Yet, your support team continue to give me a handful of troubleshooting tips directly from your support website, ignoring any prior interactions which would alert them to knowing those steps have already been tried. Recently, they took a different tack stating that there is likely something wrong with my memory and, after running the recommended Memtest86+ fo4 24+ hours and passing 10 times with 0 errors, suggested it was low quality RAM or that 16GB wasn't enough.

Is there no escalation path from them to figure out this problem? It is a problem that has echoes reaching back to 2018 on Steam with people seeing issues with Uplay/Ubisoft Connect. I am at a point of never purchasing another Ubisoft title or signing up for a subscription due to this abysmal support experience. 

Respectfully,

Jack Pines

Blog: http://www.jackpines.info
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JackPinesInfo
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jackpines

Background

I have been a long time fan of Assassin's Creed having played several on console and repurchased several on PC recently. I recently played through AC:Origins and was enjoying AC:Odyssey on my PC. The astute gamer will recognize that those aren't current titles. I have a serious game backlog to work through as I typically get a long weekend here or there to play games. Then COVID-19 happened and I have more shut-in time to put towards video games. 

So, having played through AC:Origins, I turned my sights on Odyssey. I'd begun the game forever ago when Google was beta testing Stadia. It was fun, Stadia worked well on an ethernet network, and I scored a free copy of AC:Odyssey. And then I got too busy to play it. Now I had no where to go and time to spare. So, I got to playing, had finished the area which culminated in killing my father (SPOILERS!), cleared the next area, and was tooling around the seas when I got busy again. A month later, I come back to the game, Ubisoft+ had been introduced to the public, and I was excited because it seemed a good value to subscribe and play the newest titles on launch. 

However, along with the new product came a rebranding of Uplay to Ubisoft Connect and at that moment AC:Odyssey stopped launching. It would show the static title image, not even the full screen title screen, and crash. Stymied, I then tried launching other titles in my library. Turned out that AC:Origins exhibited the exact same behavior. I'd scored a great deal on the original Assassin's Creed Directors Cut Edition so I fired it up. That worked great. So did Asssassin's Creed III Remastered, which I have been pleasantly suprised about given the reviews; no eye-popping moments so far. Even Watchdogs 2 runs perfectly. I'd love to try out newer titles to see if they have issues but I'm unwilling to spend any more money to only risk failure.

The Nightmare

I immediately searched Ubisoft's support documents for hints to what could cause this. Nothing did. So, I created a support ticket, as noted above on 15 November 2020. It has been 2.5 months of mostly frustration as I was bounced around no less than 24 support techs, listed for your entertainment.

Ubi-Fenrir
Ubi-Bubblecup
Ubi-UwU
Ubi-Space
Ubi-Poison
Ubi-Dino
Ubi-Egg
Ubi-Saurus
Ubi-Stromboli
Ubi-Deacon
Ubi-Ice Cream Cake
Ubi-Satori
Ubi-Mappz
Ubi-SpaceCats
Ubi-Martian
Ubi-Chiral
Ubi-Killroy
Ubi-Quiet
Ubi-Koji
Ubi-Plush
Ubi-Ant
Ubi-Frosty
Ubi-Doughnut
Ubi-Wyvithex

My favorite fake name was Ubi-UwU. There was no continuity of support so the same logs and steps were repeated many, many, MANY times. They even told me they escalated me twice. The first time, I believed them. The second time, I didn't because the first time didn't feel like an escalation after all and because they basically ghosted me for 3 weeks and then came back with their finding that I might have faulty memory. Mind you, no other game from any other source has issues but I was game. 

I downloaded the recommended Memtest86+ and ran it for over 24 hours. It passed 10 times and was on its way to an 11th, all with no errors. I reported this back to Ubisoft support and they suggested I buy new, higher quality memory to swap out and test with. My gaming rig is, admittedly, an aging Alienware Area-51 R2 but I don't think they'd sell me inferior memory when they support overclocking out the door, something I don't bother doing since it's never seemed worth the effort when everything ran fine as is. When I said as much back, they told me that it wasn't the quality they meant to challenge; it was the amount. Since when is 16GB, with 8GB free, not sufficient for gaming -- especially games which ran fine with that much RAM previously?!

Conclusion

Assassin's Creed has been a lot of fun to play through the years. I will enjoy playing through Watchdogs 2. However, unless some miracle happens and either support pulls their collective heads out their arses or I actually get one of the C-level dudes addressed on the email I sent and pasted above, I believe Watchdogs 2 will be the end of the line for my time playing Ubisoft games. It's a damned shame as the subscription really looked like it was going to be worth it for me.