I'm still holding my breath and waiting for official word (despite how long that word has been in coming already) and I keep eying my ME3 CE pre-order with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety. I have been looking forward to this game for a long time, and considering where I'm writing this I feel it's safe to say I'm not the only one ;) I'm nearly 6 shepherds deep in ME1 and pushing towards 4 within ME2 and I still have things I'd like to try with both games. So ME3 has been high on my list of games to pick up and I pre-ordered it essentially as soon as I found out the collectors edition had been announced.


Now Origin, the way that the new EA client behaves is, bluntly, unethical. I'm not even interested in supposed "whys" or rationalizations from EA regarding it the simple fact of the matter is no gaming company has right or legitimate reason to rifle through the HDD of it's users without any kind of notice (beyond a changed EULA) or limitation and with the explicit allowance of being able to "share" (read trade, sell, etc) that information with unnamed 3rd parties. Even then I love the Mass Effect story and world enough that if EA had simply allowed the slim margin of choice involved in making installation/use of Origin optional to all players who were not buying digital downloads, well then I'd still be buying the game no question. But I've already stopped buying any and all games that require Steam to play (frankly it's unreasonable to create so many online requirements for someone to use a boxed retail copy of software they purchased, I don't care what type of software it is if a persistent internet connection isn't required for it's function then one shouldn't be required for it's use.) the choice to avoid Steam came after having to spend more than 24 hours downloading a game (via broad band) which I had a physical copy of in hand. But even with all the attended drawbacks I'd support (even on rare occasions use) digital distribution portals/platforms if they were optional but no option equals no deal. I don't care about the 'platform wars', I have in the room with me right now 2 PCs, 2 laptops, 2 PS3s, and an xBox 360. I could easily sidestep Origin (for the moment at least) by buying a copy for another platform, in fact I usually end up buying copies of my bioware games for more than one platform anyway but I just can't bring myself to give my hard earned money to a company that takes such wild and intrusive liberties with it's customers personal information. The old "if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide" adage is wearing thin, at least among people (like me) who have experience in the computer security field. Identity Theft is a real threat to your financial (and in some countries/cases even legal) well being, it's not a joke, it's not trivial, and it's more likely to happen with every new profile you create and maintain online (assuming you use your real information). The bigger those profiles the more risk as well. EA/Bioware has already had security breaches within the last twelve months, as has Sony. Even if they had not there would be no reasonable way for them to actually guarantee that your information was completely secure. So a company trying to force the allowance of such sweeping information gathering powers is problematic to say the least. And considering how obscured the pitfalls of this often are from many consumers it is also abusive. Replacing your download client with a program that does the same thing plus gathers your personal information is shady to begin with, but then making it a requirement to use retail copies of your games? It's excessive and there's no other way to put it. Especially when you consider that it will also scan peripheral devices (ever plug your phone or your mp3 player into your computer?) that moves it to a security risk potentially comparable to RFIDs or blackberries (both of which could be paralleled to making a flak jacket molded after swiss cheese :p ).

Alright well this is gone on long enough and is threatening to get even more obtuse / technical in nature so I'm drawing it to a close. The summation however is that I wait with baited breath to see my ME3 CE arrive... I'm just now also waiting with baited breath to see if EA will make me choose to cancel it before release :( I really, really hope not. But somethings in the real world matter more to me even than my shepherds.

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