Saturday, January 30, 2021

Open Letter to Ubisoft

The Long Overdue Update

I did nothing. Yet, suddenly, it resolved itself. My Ubisoft content spontaneously started working about a week, or less, after I posted this and emailed those listed below. I have no illusions that my actions got any attention at all as I got no reply to the email. However, something changed and it wasn't my system. I know because I was monitoring my OS, after the many reinstalls mentioned below, to see if updates came along that would impact the launching of the affected titles in Ubisoft Connect. One day, they just started working again. It took several months total to resolve the issue, which is a damned shame, and no word from Ubisoft as to why or what they did to resolve the issue. I still maintain that their support, last I interacted with them, could stand to improve. However, I am again happily playing Assassin's Creed on my PC and I think, for the time, I'll limit my purchases of future titles to console to reduce the risk of losing access to them again.

For those who care, here's the original...

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.

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