Mass Effect


Contrary to popular believe, I'm Still Alive.

I do have a few things I want to talk about and I might get around to writing them down during the next week or so, yay! None of them are the "look at this cool thing I found" type of post I initially wanted to have this for instead of annoying my friends, but such is life!

Anyways, Mass Effect. I've been wanting to play the series for a long time, it always sounded like something right up my alley, but I never actually played it. So, with the Legendary Edition coming up I wanted to take this chance. I bought it on Steam a couple days after release. and oh boy.

ACT 1: Installing

Just kidding, not gonna turn this into a video essay! So I started downloading the trilogy (a bit over 100GB according to Steam), and after a couple hours (we have a 50 MBit connection and in reality we usually get somewhere around half of that) I had reached 99%-ish. I wasn't staring at the progress bar, so the next time I took a look at it it was back to around 2-3%-ish. This time, the total was 93GB.

Did that fucker just start downloading an enormous patch, days after the release? Oh well, wait for a few more hours! Off to a bad start, but large patches for new games is fairly common, so oh well.

So, I finally was able to launch ME:LE. Of course, it insisted to install Origin, despite me having EA Desktop. Apparently, that won't cut it though. Installation is done, I'm finally clicking Play. The button transforms to show the game's status as running, but a second later it switches back to Play. Nothing happened. Seriously‽ I mash the button again, same thing. Staring at my monitor dumbfoundedly for a few seconds didn't help much. I realize that I could just open Task Manager and check what's up a tad too late, suddenly Origin pops open. Steam just didn't include Origin launching for the first time in its state. Fair enough.

Logging into Origin, finally launching the actual game. Even without needing to login to Origin, this process is pretty ridiculous. Steam launches Origin, which launches the ME:LE launcher. That one launches in fullscreen. Now, because of how my monitor and Windows HDR work the following happens: First, my monitor turns black for a second or two while switching to HDR, because the launcher provides HDR output. Then the ME:LE launcher starts with an unskippable (seriously‽) intro. From there I can launch ME:1. Now ME:1 displays a tiny splashscreen window, which is not HDR, so my monitor turns black again. Now ME:1 starts up in fullscreen, providing HDR output again, so another black monitor. Now, I'm actually in ME:1s main menu.

Having my monitor turn black while switching modes always happens and while annoying (especially because my monitor takes a lot longer to switch between anything than I'd like) is no big issue. However switching back and forth between HDR and regular SDR content during launch is specific to ME:LE.

I'm not going to say much about the game itself - I'm here to yell about launching it, not playing it!

Well, a day later I intend to play again. Turns out to be a bad idea. I'm starting with another 11GB patch. I'm not seriously complaining about that, but it did feel like a "of course I can't just jump in" type of issue again. A short while later, Steam is done and I hit Play. Origin isn't in the mood and tells me "[…]Origin and EA Desktop can't operate at the same time[…]". Begrudgingly I turn to my taskbar and, well, EA Desktop is not there. Task Manager provides the solution: A background process for EA Desktop is running. I kill it and try again. Same error. Huh. Restarting Steam, EA Desktop (and then killing it again) and my computer did not help either. I try to manually start Origin, so I fire up the Windows Start Menu, and I obviously can't find it there. Great. I wish the obvious had occurred to me then (that is, looking in the Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders), instead I launch the game using Steam, grab Task Manager and let that show me the location of the executable. Not an easy task mind you, the pesky origin.exe vanished after about a second or two. I manage to get a hold of it though and manually start Origin. It prompts me with an login window.

Now I'm getting mad. I'm fairly certain I ticked that "stay logged in" checkbox during the first start, but who knows. However, it's throwing me a completely unrelated error message at my face, confusing me about what's going and providing me with (in this case) unhelpful steps to take. Oh well, I login, make sure I tell it that I do indeed want to stay logged in. I manage to boot up the game again!

Another day passes, I try to launch ME from Steam. Guess What? More issues! This time though it's only Origin asking me to login again. Not terribly surprising, considering that EA Desktop also logs me out every few days despite my explicitly stated desire for it to not do that.

Now I have to be fair: After that last one I have stayed logged in for a week now and have not encountered any more launching issues!

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