Recently I have been playing the Battlefield 2142 demo. While it’s a thoroughly enjoyable game I don’t think I’ll be buying the full version. The over-complexity of the weapon, vehicle and ability unlocks actually detract from the gameplay. No, I’ll be sticking to the demo, where success depends more on your skill and less on the assault rifle + 1 you spent the last two months trying to unlock.
One of the most annoying things about Battlefield is that you need to login to EA’s central server in order to play it. You need to log in before you can even get to the options screen. More frustratingly, if your connection to their central server is lost then you are booted from the game – even if your connection to the machine actually hosting the game is chugging along fine. This has happened to me several times. In one incident everyone was booted from the server I was playing on. Needless to say I despise this kind of phone home functionality. It only exists to benefit the game’s publishers, with little thought of the detriment and grief it causes their customers.
Neverwinter Nights 2 also came out recently. Wanting to give it a run through with my brother, who lives overseas in Nihon (Japan), I gave it a go… only to find that I needed to log in to their central server in order to do so. I also discovered that you don’t need to log in in order to play it over a local network. Armed with that knowledge and a small bag of tricks I was able to host a game over the net without needing to log in.
Here’s how you do it.
1) Open “c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts” in a text editor and add the following lines:
#stop nwn2 phone home
2) Using a firewall
such as Sygate block all traffic to/from these ip addresses:
3) Start the game, click multiplayer. Make up some bogus account and ignore the error message.
Once you have done that you will be able to play it without having to wait for the damned thing to log in everytime. Shortly thereafter you will begin asking yourself why everyone needs to wait when one of you talks to a NPC, but that’s a story for another time.