My week with Windows Live and Fallout 3 DLC

April 12, 2009 // 11:09 a.m.

Tags: #dlc #fallout-3 #games #gfwl #the-pitt #windows-live

So I reluctantly take on the second pack of Fallout 3 DLC: The Pitt, and after Joe's last attempt at getting Operation Anchorage working, not to mention the fun with GTA IV, I wasn't particularly wanting to install it on my system. However, I am playing Fallout 3 and I do like free software, so weakness to potential stupidity prevailed.

The Games For Windows Live install was relatively painless, except for the "there's an error" "there's an error" "there's an error" on first login that doesn't tell you it's not because of your password - it's because you have to load a (IE only) webpage to tick another EULA.

At this point, I'm so hesitant I'm treating it like a newborn child. Check the pulse "CPU and memory usage" (it's only using 85MB of memory, respectfully that's less than Firefox with two tabs open) check I don't click too much, be patient, be patient..

Why couldn't have Bethesda just used Steam!?[break]

It works, I'm in and downloading the latest DLC for Fallout 3. It's pretty fast too, so the several hundred meg update is down in a couple of minutes.

Now, the thing I didn't realise is that the process needs to log into Live within Fallout 3 as well, so there I am waiting for it to work in game and nothing happens. The "LIVE" on the main menu doesn't directly allude to being "Games For Windows Live", and Steam doesn't require this, so I hadn't expected it. I naively assumed it would check the other GFWL program.

Anyway, so I login, again, and I'm asked to associate my game CD key with the patch. Since the purchase was non-refundable using fake money Microsoft Points, it seems they are happy to take my money before verifying whether it will work. I'm not talking about the obvious anti-piracy implications, but what about if you've bought the game second hand or the CD key has been stolen and used already?

Another irritation is that every time I want to play the game with the patch, I have to be logged in, despite the fact it has nothing to do with online and I've already downloaded and verified the purchase.

Anyway, I start playing again.

Nothing happens.

I end the mission I'm in and go outside for a wander..

Nothing happens.

I exit the game, restart the machine, login from Fallout 3 only (and not the desktop G4WL client) and yes! finally I get a call over the radio to come to The Pitt. The walk is so far north though, and I spend a good 30 minutes trekking it up past Paradise Falls (I'll pop back later with my sniper rifle to get my game on... I hate slavers out of principle, and I'm already in the super negative karma so it won't hurt).

Anyway, as usual I get sidetracked and end up in the Satellite dishes and it takes me a few days just to get to the door of The Pitt. In the meantime literally two out of every three times I attempt to load the game for a short session the extra content doesn't kick in and I'm sent back to a save well before I "introduced" the content to my game.

It's taken over a week to get enough working sessions and I've just made it into The Pitt. There will be coverage of Fallout 3 DLC, but it will be this time next week, but as far as the content delivery system goes - don't bother because it's a nightmare. I thought Joe was being overzealous in his first Windows Live experience downloading Operation Anchorage, but I realise now his experience is not unique.

The current Games For Windows Live is like Steam was 4 years ago, and in my opinion, it's not good for Bethesda to be associated with it.

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