Watch Dogs problems remain a problem

Watch-Dogs

A week on from its 27 May 2014 launch, and Ubisoft has yet to solve a number of bugs in Watch Dogs.

From Ubisoft, gamers have had a few tweets, generic apologies, and promises of solutions in the pipeline, but nothing in the vein of a comprehensive communique acknowledging the problems or giving estimated time frames on fixes and patches. Meanwhile, Ubisoft has been pleased by the launch sales numbers (to retailers mind) – more than 4 million copies by their reckoning.

Since I last checked into the Ubisoft technical support forum it seems the list of acknowledged issues has grown a little bit. The various problems are affecting users across all launch platforms, but PC gamers seem particularly beset by technical woes. The situation is echoed over on the Steam support forum.

Ubisoft has previously promised a patch to address poor performance issues on the not particularly well-optimised PC version of the game – a frustrating outcome for PC gamers who were pleased by the news that PC was the lead development platform.

Reading through a plethora of complaints from players, one of the particularly annoying problems yet to make it onto Ubisoft’s list of issues being investigated is the complete loss of hours of game progress.

As Eurogamer reports, Ubisoft has also acknowledged a problem with the game not working after players redeem some of Watch Dog’s Uplay rewards.

A summary of the problems as acknowledged by Ubisoft’s technical support forum:

  • “Vista SP1 or higher required” error message when launching the game, even though the OS is Vista SP1 or higher.
    • [Status] In order to fix this, set the game to run in compatibility mode for Vista SP1, SP2 or Windows 7.
  • Graphics driver crash on AMD video cards:
    • [Status] You should make sure to install the Catalyst 14.4 drivers that fix this crash. Check AMD has released 14.4 on Vista, this may be an issue.
  • Not being able to download the game or being locked out of the loading screen.
  • Multiple Formats – continue game – loading stuck at 90%.
  • PS4 – game does not load past 90%.
  • PC – crash to desktop.
  • PC – Unsupported Text Language.
  • PC – Disrupt _b64.dll crash / error.
  • PC – Uplay verify files loop.
  • PC – Frame rate stutter on high end GPU.
  • PC – Crash to desktop when hacking signs.
  • PC – Crash when loading on SLI/Crossfire multi GPU systems.
  • PC – Dolby Digital 5.1 not working.
  • Multiple formats – missing weapons after dying in an online match.

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  • Did the support just say, “check if the drivers are available for Vista, they might not be”?

    i really hope I misunderstood that.

  • Lycanthrope

    Nobody is experiencing these issues. It’s all a grand conspiracy to make Ubisoft look bad. Incoming fanbois suffering from post-purchase rationalization in 3… 2… 1…

  • Satarial

    I really wish i didnt preorder this game. Ive played a whole 30min to date with all the bugs on PC. And support replied today,ticket was logged on launch day…

  • TehBrad

    The only issue I had on PC was uPlay not connecting on launch day. I had to try a few times to get in on the first 3 days.

    I have not experienced any errors, crashes, lag or any issues listed above. I am running an ATI card and only updated my drivers a few days ago. No issues on the older or newer ones.

    14 hours game time and not a single game issue.

  • Wyzak

    Thanks for the article, most objective one yet from James.

  • Wyzak

    It’s risky business pre-ordering. Are you using the latest Nvidia drivers if you are using a Nvidia GPU?

  • Satarial

    Latest Drivers installed,even did all windows updates. i7 4770k with a N780 and 8gb 2400 ram the game stops for like 4 – 12 seconds at a time,sound keeps playing. does it once every 3-5min.

  • Wyzak

    Really? You have a GTX 780? If so you should have no issues, not with a card like that. I’m running it on a GTX 570 with an i7 950 and all of my stutter goes away when I drop the resolution to 1650×1050

  • VirtualForce

    yeah, so much for objectivity, my respect for this site took a nock with that.

    I wonder what the issue is with the big AAA problems with launch. Its blindly obvious that a company in their right mind would not want to release a buggy game. I wonder if perhaps PCs have become so broadranged hardware wise. 10 years back, you had say 4-5 diffirent variations of a GPU, now its this OC, that SLI one, etc.

    Software wise too, MS trying to bulk up the Windows platform against attack. One other thing, Some people install a hell of a lot of crap on their PCs and expect the PC to run without issues. Again, not everyone, but I’ve helped a lot of ppl with this and that crap installed. Either through an add on the net or that they wanted to make Windows purdy.

    Not making excuses for the devs, I’d be seriously pissed too if I couldnt play a game on release. but just not directly going for the pitch fork and lamp oil.

  • Wyzak

    Yep, the scope of games have increased tremendously in the last 5-10 years. It simply is no longer possible to release a project of this magnitude without it having some issues. If you aren’t willing to accept a few issues on launch you really shouldn’t be buying games at launch. I’m talking about bugs not design-decisions like always-online etc. If those fail then the developer deserves all the flak that comes his way.

  • Wyzak

    She’s just trolling, let her be.

  • Pineapple Pete
  • CarterD

    If you accept that as the status quo and don’t challenge it, it will never change. If you’re okay with that, then that’s fine – I definitely am not.

    When I buy something I expect it to work. End of story.

    The amount of flak James got (and continues to get) for his views on this is quite ridiculous – Ubisoft is a *repeat offender*. I’m actually shocked at how many gamers are excusing and defending them in this. (And yes, you *are* defending them, even if you feel you aren’t).

    You’re trivialising the problems based on your own perception that everything is fine – because it is for you. I’m sure you’ve clicked the links. Everything is not fine.

    The only point I do agree with is, as a repeat offender, I have no idea why anyone bothered/bothers pre-ordering anything Ubisoft has to sell.

    But, that said, we shouldn’t *have to* be scared of pre-ordering a game we’re excited about out of fear that it won’t work. What kind of consumer landscape is that?

    By the by, I haven’t played Watch Dogs, I never even had any intention of getting it (it was never my kind of game) – and, still, this entire situation infuriates me.

  • Wyzak

    It will never change, no project of this magnitude can be bug free. If you aren’t okay with that, don’t buy games on launch and wait the 6 months or 12 months for them to fix the biggest issues.

    A realistic landscape that’s what. Games these days have a budget of 100s of millions of dollars, and have huge teams working on them.

    There haven’t been any launches in recent years that have been perfect from day one – do you think that’s because nobody cares about their consumers, or because it’s physically not possible?

  • rooislangwtf

    Mine is running fine on a 660 after biting the bullet and letting nVidia optimize the game (since it put most of the settings on medium). I just had too many random stutters when playing on high / ultra (with textures on medium) that seemed geared to f*ck me up every time I had to a driving chase sequence.

  • Wyzak

    Yeah, there are obviously still some issues that they need to fix, but if you are willing to play with a lower resolution than your card should be able to run then it looks like you’ll be fine.

  • CarterD

    Again, you’re trivialising the issues *in this case* because *you* haven’t had any problems.

    The problems are there. It’s obvious and clear as day. And it’s simply not okay – no matter what spin you put on it.

    I’ve played lots of buggy games – Skyrim and Fallout were particularly bad. Glitches happen. Bugs happen. But every single one of my friends who has played Watch Dogs has told me their games are broken. And they’re not hardcore gamers, they’re just average Joe consumers who don’t have all the technical know-how to deal with it.

    But stuff them, right?

    I remain shocked at your constant defence of Ubisoft (again, in this case, for this game, your voice has led on MyGaming in their defence).

    If you’re making excuses for the all the bugs in the entire gaming industry, that’s fine, I get that, but you certainly chose the wrong game to serve as your flagship title to lead that fight.

    GTA was bigger, and also had bugs – but nothing that *stopped the game from launching*. Fallout New Vegas had game-breaking buys at launch – Bethesda acknowledged it and fixed it relatively quickly. It’s also not right, but it’s far more defensible than this.

    Ubisoft released a broken game, failed to even admit it, and haven’t released any fixes. How is this is any way acceptable?

  • Wyzak

    Funny how you say that, yet not one of my friends have experienced any game-breaking issues. There is also a gameplay thread with close to 10 MyGaming members playing the game with little to no issue.

    The simple fact is that those who are experiencing issues are rightfully much more vocal than those who aren’t. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any issues – I’m not claiming that there aren’t issues. But there are a lot of people out there who are able to play the game with little or no issues. FACT.

    You made the right decision in not pre-ordering a buggy game. But I don’t for a second regret that I bought the game for R225. I don’t have much time to play right now, but even if I had time to play every night and the game was really broken for me I would just shelf it for a few months and then come back to it. Like I’ve done with BF4.

    If you want to effect change, let your wallet do the talking.

    If you can’t handle a few bugs, don’t pre-order or buy early access.

  • Wow, really?

  • Don’t worry, James is a big boy, he can take it 😉

  • CarterD

    Oh, you’re one of those gamers.

  • Stan Smith

    She?

  • Lance McIntosh

    I have gtx 670 sli, and the game is nigh unplayable. Frame rate dropped to 1fps during a mission. I disabled sli and dropped my texture quality to high and used the “borderless” setting, and the game is then just about fine with only a few frame rate drops here and there. The funny thing is I got a second gtx 670 just for this game so “ensure” I could play on ultra. Basically a complete fail.

  • Wyzak

    So you have nothing left to say then?

  • CarterD

    Nope. You’re apathetic to the issue as long as it doesn’t affect you, so I’m not sure why you’re here except maybe to troll the people who are affected.

  • VirtualForce

    ag ok simpleton, should have been knock. You never make a mistake?

  • VirtualForce

    I wish I could be as perfect as some ppl think they are..or in the perfect world they seem to inhabit. Where no software ever has a bug. Man that would be awesome.

  • Wyzak

    Yep, wouldn’t that be nice. I would love to know what they do for a living.

  • Wyzak

    I’m a realist and I am here to be the voice of reason.

  • CarterD

    Cool.

  • CarterD

    Again trivializing the issue. These aren’t quirky bugs and glitches. These are issues preventing people from playing. Good luck driving a car that won’t start, or whose indicators aren’t working. Nothing is perfect eh?

    And before you say “then don’t buy that car” – which I accept as a valid point – I fail to see why one should expect something to work – at the very least – upon purchase.

    Your car working while mine isn’t – after we paid the same price from the same dealer – is simply not good enough. I remain astounded that anyone thinks this fine.

    But anyway, as you were. This discussion, while it has been enlightening, is tired.

  • Stan Smith

    I too am running 2 770s in sli and the game still stutters like crazy. The new driver was supposed to fix it but f**kall so far.

  • It seems we’re actually in agreement then. At least from my side, one of the purposes of covering the bugginess of games like Watch_Dogs and BF4 is precisely to empower people to vote with their wallets.

    Secondary to that is to let publishers know that there are at least some of us for whom releasing a buggy game and then not acknowledging the bugs is not acceptable.

    Where the disagreement seems to stem from is around data we don’t have: we don’t know whether Watch_Dogs is relatively more or less buggy than other AAA releases, because no-one collects stats like that that I know of.

    What we do know is that there are developers out there (DICE, BF4) who do acknowledge game-breaking bugs and offer a public mea culpa instead of just seeming to ignore them: http://mygaming.co.za/news/news/60504-dice-not-proud-of-buggy-battlefield-4-launch.html

    This is what people are angry about (at least me). Not that Watch Dogs is buggy, but the way Ubisoft had treated people who showed faith in them and pre-ordered their brand new IP (another difference to be mindful of: BF4 was not a new IP).

    Yes, voting with your wallet in future is one way for people to make their grievances known, but that doesn’t solve the current issue.

    Remaining silent is also a disservice to people who haven’t bought the game yet and are deciding whether or not to. Now, armed with (albeit incomplete) information about the potential issues they can decide whether to risk it.

    (The fact that we are now in June 2014 and BF4 is still getting netcode patches is something we can discuss another time: http://mygaming.co.za/news/news/65531-battlefield-4-gets-netcode-improvement-patch.html)

  • Wyzak

    I never said that MyGaming should remain silent, but I expect you to be objective and to say that yes there are issues, but there are also some users who are unaffected. Just hammering on the negatives all the time does not portray the true image.

    I understand the anger, I really do. But games won’t be perfect at launch, and expecting them to be is an unrealistic expectation that a ton of people have these days. The point I am trying to make is that Watch Dogs is buggy, just like every other game of it’s size that has been released.

    Hopefully it won’t take them a year or more to fix the issues – looking at you BF4 and D3.

  • TehBrad

    She?

    My Troll-dar must be broken as well.

  • Wyzak

    Sorry for some reason I always though Lycanthrope was a she 😛

  • As stated, we don’t expect perfection. We expect honesty. We expect to be treated like fans. Heck, just being treated like _customers_ would be great.

    Gamers: “Hey, Ubisoft, your game is broken for a proportion of players and poorly optimised for PC when you said it was the lead development platform. What are you doing about it?”

    Ubi: “Look at our ENORMOUS sales figures!”

  • Wyzak

    They have acknowledged the issues and are busy working on them.

    You do realize that these companies have multiple divisions right? Do you seriously expect the marketing division to just sit back and say, oh wait even though we’ve done a great job advertising the game and we’ve shattered a lot of records we should not say anything about it until all the issues have been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction?

    It’s marketing, they live for the hype. Obviously they will enjoy the limelight while they’re in the spotlight.

  • rooislangwtf

    I’ll try 1650×1050 on high tonight and compare frame rates to 1080 on medium.

  • I’m willing to bet that this has less to do with marketing and more to do with investor relations.

    A public acknowledgement of the issues (not hidden in a tech support forum) before talking up the success of the game would be nice (http://blog.ubi.com/category/watch-dogs/)

    The choice of words (“would be nice”) is important here. Obviously they can do whatever they want, but gamers don’t have to be happy about it. Neither do they have to care how the internal divisions of Ubisoft operate.

    Talking about the success of the game before saying anything official about the issues that are still plaguing it is just in bad taste.

    Developers and publishers should also be held accountable for the rhetoric and marketing material they push out. When you claim that PC is the lead platform for your game and your product fails to deliver in such a spectacular fashion, someone should call them out.

    This time MyGaming decided to add its voice (while amplifying the voices of the many gamers experiencing the issues) to those who were calling them out. I actually hope to see more of this until there is sufficient awareness among consumers about this kind of behaviour in the gaming industry.

    “The launch of [insert AAA title here] was plagued with issues, but that’s just the way things are, so c’est la vie!” is the wrong attitude for gamers (and game publications) to have, IMO.

    Which leads me to a question: assuming MyGaming were to adopt a more hard-line stance on the quality of all AAA launches, not just Ubisoft’s/Watch_Dogs, would you consider that fair and objective?

  • CarterD

    jan pls

  • Wurnman

    Guess nobody tested it on various machines before release

  • Wyzak

    I still can’t help but think that the articles would have had a considerably different tone to them had James and my situations been reversed.

    Sure MyGaming could take a more hard-line stance, but they’d just be adding another voice to the hundreds of thousands of angry voices with every game that launches. Why not try and go the other route and try to explain to the gamers the scope of this project and how it’s not possible for something to be entirely bug free.

    When everybody is shouting A from the roof tops, don’t you think somebody needs to say B? Do we really need more As?

    The communities expectation is unrealistic and if they continue to go berserk with every launch they will look like a rabid dog that needs to be put down. That doesn’t look very appealing from the outside does it? “Hey! I want to be part of that community!”

  • Murdoch
  • I think you give us too little credit. Had he not been directly affected he may not have been able to write from a first-person perspective, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have chosen similarly strong words to describe the issue.

    I see your dismissive of James’ column on Sim City’s failure to launch, but I think you should read that article again. The language used is just as strong.

    From what I’ve read your beef is that we didn’t explicitly state that some people can actually play Watch Dogs, but does that still really need to be said? That’s not unusual. What would be unusual is if *no-one* were able to play the game, which James never said (or even implied) in his Watch Dogs article.

    Your second conclusion is also based on a false premise, I think.

    There are some people saying “A”, and some people saying “B”. I’m hoping that MyGaming and MyBroadband will be the kind of places saying “A” when needed, “B” when needed “A & B” when needed, and perhaps even “Don’t forget secret option C!” when needed.

    Mostly though, you’ll hopefully see us just reporting the news.

    Our job as the media is not to apologise on behalf of a company for a faulty product or service.

    If they want to explain why there are people who paid for the game based on the promises they made that can’t play it, then that’s up to them.

    We’ll obviously try to uncover as many of the facts in lieu of official comment as we can, but I disagree that “game development is complex and we should keep that in mind before criticising Ubisoft” is a valid defence in this case.

    Before I proceed, though, some questions to consider as we discuss this issue:

    Running a telecommunications network is complex, but how much patience do people have with Telkom, Vodacom, and MTN, or large ISPs such as Telkom Internet, Mweb, and Afrihost when they hit a speed wobble or two? Should we apologise for them when it warrants it, or should they be left to apologise for themselves?

    Running a broadcast media platform is complex, but consumers don’t seem to have much sympathy for MultiChoice. Should we apologise for them when it warrants it, or should they be left to apologise for themselves?

    RETURN;

    It’s one thing for a game to not be bug free, but it is quite another for it to face the issues Watch Dogs is and have launched at the scale Watch Dogs has.

    For similar reasons games like Battlefield 4 and Sim City were widely criticised at launch (and in some cases still are: http://mygaming.co.za/news/news/63026-battlefield-4-has-yet-another-ridiculous-bug.html), so it’s not just Watch Dogs.

    Obviously we try to bring balance to the arguments where there is balance to be brought, but based on the facts on hand as communicated by Ubisoft the challenges faced by Watch_Dogs are not unlike those faced by titles that didn’t fall down (or didn’t fall down as hard) at launch.

    Consider the difference between the following statements:

    A> “Remember guys, this is a complex project (new consoles and all that) and a new IP so please cut us some slack the first few weeks after launch.” — Hypothetical honest game company

    B.1> “We expect fewer problems with porting games to the PS4 than the PS3, which had a completely different infrastructure. Previously, we developed games first on the Xbox 360 and then translated them onto the PS3. It took a lot of time and money to port. Now we are developing from the PC and translate versions to a console like the PlayStation 4.” — Yves Guillemot

    B.2> “…why not focus on increasing the resolution during the game’s recent delay? Because, Morin says, that was never the goal. Instead, that extra time was spent ensuring the team could fully realize their vision for Watch Dogs, polishing all aspects of the gameplay and making sure hacking is fully integrated into every system.” — Ubisoft Blog

    If you want to say something in public, you should expect to be held accountable for your statements, even if they flow from marketing hyperbole like “What makes Watch Dogs a true next-gen game”.

  • CarterD

    ohsnap

  • Zewp

    Bitch please. You’re telling me if they hired 20 gametesters and gave each a unique PC they wouldn’t have picked up on issues like the stutter?

    Go shill somewhere else, please.

  • Wyzak

    Geez Jan, summarize it next time pls 😛

    Not explicitly stating that people are able to play the game with little or no issues while throwing out badmouthing article after article is withholding vital information. I can’t help but think that James decided to withhold it.

    When a telecommuniciations company launches a new project that they’ve spent $200million, you won’t expect it to be perfect on launch day. And if you get disconnects, or some signal issues you won’t call it the worst product ever and vow never to support the company again.

    You can’t compare the issues of an ongoing network with that of an entirely new network – if we take your telecommunications example.

  • Wyzak

    How many different PC combinations exist in the world that at least reach the minimum specs required for this game? Now add the combinations of the different software that people install on to their machines. Some of their hardware might have issues, some of their PCs are infected with malware. Some of their drivers are outdated.

    Can you see what a complex task that is for PC? If you can’t please provide me with one example of a game with this type of scope that launched without any issues.

  • Zewp

    And pretty much everyone on PC is experiencing the microstutter.

    Please tell me again how proper playtesting would not have picked up this issue.

  • Wyzak

    So you weren’t able to list any games then?

    My micro-stutter goes away when I drop my resolution to 1650×1050. It’s not ideal, but it’s playable and it’s damn fun. I actually game for fun, not for bragging rights (ie have to run the game at highest resolution and get 100fps constant).

  • Zewp

    I don’t have to list any games, because other games being poorly playtested is no excuse for this game being poorly playtested.

    But thanks for showing your true colors. I wasn’t aware that expecting to be able to play a game in HD in 2014 is just for ‘bragging rights.’ You’re outright shilling for this game at this point, Wyzak. You’re making up excuses for basic features not working. You should be ashamed.

  • Wyzak

    So you can’t list any games.

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