I picked up StarCraft 2 tonight @ 8:00pm. It’s 1:00 am and I still haven’t been able to play it. It’s going back to the store tomorrow. I spend my weekdays troubleshooting software and have no desire to do so on the weekends. I needed to vent, here’s how it goes down:

I first read the manual to catch up on the story, as I forgot what StarCraft 1 was even about. Oh man, the story is sweet! I’m pumped! I make sure I have my machine updated (hello Graphics Update!). I pop in the DVD and am greeted with a nice disk image background and installer:

Hot! Let’s install…

I run the installer, and it tells me that it needs to install some insane amount (12 gigs!). Good thing I opted for the 2TB drive! It wants to install it into a StarCraft II folder, which is slightly annoying…why could the game not fit in one app bundle like every other mac app? Oh well, I want to play this thing!

I then see this weirdness:

It strikes me as odd that they would put up a sheet instead of making it part of the custom UI. It just looks…awkward. The sheet animates seemingly from nowhere. This isn’t the polish I expect from Blizzard. Whatever, it’s just a sheet…onward!

As the install starts, I realize it is going to take forever (my i7 iMac is IO bound of course). Ok, at least there is a story I can click through. Errr, the text is exactly the same as what I read in the manual! I guess that’s to be expected…that’s what I get for reading the manual. Not a big deal, I’ll just surf around on the web. I start the install and get another oddly floating sheet asking me to register:

I click on it, it opens a browser (even though the installer app is open, why couldn’t it open there?) and…..nothing. Blank page. Ok, I’m running a pre-release version of Firefox 4, so likely my issue.

15 minutes later (yikes) loud music starts blaring and my dock icon starts jumping, informing me the game is ready to play. Sweet! The game informs me where it successfully installed to, even though I had chosen it at the previous screen. Also, it oddly replaced all the backslashes with forwardslashes when telling me the path.

So I run the game expecting Blizzard cinematic goodness and instead immediately get the patcher/updater. What a horrible first run experience. I understand the need for updates as I manage security and stability updates, but it feels wrong to make me sit through yet more installing before I have even tried the thing. I mean, at least trick me and tack it onto the end of the normal install’s progress bar…is that too much to ask?

So, 0%…15%….25%….50%…woah, downloading quick! Then, I see this:

The text reads “The tracker is not responding“. And then I realize there is no way in hell I will be playing this game tonight. The window then spontaneously disappears, dock icons shuffle, and I am left with a StarCraft 2 dock icon for a program called “Launcher” that is doing absolutely nothing:

Ok, I kill the launcher and restart StarCraft 2. Same issue. I know a thing or two about troubleshooting Mac apps, so I immediately check the Console:

8/20/10 11:03:47 PM	Blizzard Downloader[158]	hidden
8/20/10 11:03:48 PM	[0x0-0x1a01a].com.blizzard.downloader[158]	download session : 0x2828e00 has created.
8/20/10 11:03:48 PM	Blizzard Downloader[158]	autolaunch = 1 :
8/20/10 11:03:48 PM	Blizzard Downloader[158]	0 :  will be launched.
8/20/10 11:03:48 PM	[0x0-0x1a01a].com.blizzard.downloader[158]	{length = 6, capacity = 6, bytes =
8/20/10 11:03:48 PM	[0x0-0x1a01a].com.blizzard.downloader[158]	0x58b035f347d7}
8/20/10 11:03:49 PM	Blizzard Downloader[158]	attempting to launchTarget :
8/20/10 11:03:50 PM	[0x0-0x1a01a].com.blizzard.downloader[158]	{length = 6, capacity = 6, bytes = 0x58b035f347d7}
8/20/10 11:03:51 PM	[0x0-0x1a01a].com.blizzard.downloader[158]	download session : 0x2828e00 is about to be deleted.
8/20/10 11:03:53 PM	StarCraft II[160]	Exception raised during posting of notification.  Ignored.  exception: 'connection went invalid while waiting for a reply'  invoked observer method: '*** -[LauncherController applicationDidFinishLaunching:]'  observer: 0x826000  notification name: 'NSApplicationDidFinishLaunchingNotification'

Uh oh, that doesn’t look good..that message is from DO. I don’t see any obvious quick fixes or hacks I can do to get this working.

Well, I still really want to play the game…let’s see what support has to say. The support page doesn’t load all the way in my Firefox 4 nightly. Arg, I decide to write the bug later. In Safari I load it up and get this info:

Awesome, Blizzard is basically blaming me. I load up a torrent (downloading erlang because that’s how I roll) and see that my ISP isn’t blocking me and I am able to torrent fine. So, I locate the patch torrent file in my StarCraft 2 directory and open it with Transmission:


I realize the update is already 100% downloaded and I am in fact now seeding to people. So why did it say 50% and then barf? Who knows. I relaunch Starcraft 2 and the same thing happens. Let’s root around in the StarCraft 2 folder! I figure that I have the patch downloaded, so it’s just a matter of getting it applied. Let’s try running the patcher! Bzzzt, nope. Dropping the update on the patcher? Nope. Does the Blizzard Downloader help?

Nope.

Can I run the file directly? Nope, it’s a mar. Ok, let’s try to download the manual update and stop this patcher/downloader/bitorrent foolishness. I go to the support site:

Great, they only list manual patches for their old games. I find the patch release notes on the main StarCraft 2 site but there is no link for a manual download.

At this point I a) realize I haven’t played one second of the game b) am extremely frustrated and c) decide I have a corrupted install. Hey, it looks like Blizzard includes a repair tool! How thoughtful. I run it:

Woah, it creates some sort of transparent window containing only text. There are no items in the menu. I open console and see a ton of errors:

8/20/10 11:29:05 PM    RepairSC2[300]    FAILED TO LOAD:NSImage imageNamed:repairsc2_btn_window_close_down.png fromMPQ:1
8/20/10 11:29:05 PM    RepairSC2[300]    FAILED TO LOAD:NSImage imageNamed:repairsc2_btn_window_close_over.png fromMPQ:1
8/20/10 11:29:05 PM    RepairSC2[300]    FAILED TO LOAD:NSImage imageNamed:repairsc2_btn_window_close_off.png fromMPQ:1

Ok, something with my install is messed up. So I start fresh, waiting for the long 12GB install again. The same stuff happens. I try a third time. Again, same problems.

I decide to try to post on the forums and see if anyone has the same issue. To register for the forums I have to register with Battle.net. Ok, I fill out my info and get this error:

Blizzard, you are pissing me off. I generate secure passwords a certain way, don’t impose arbitrary rules! Fine, I decide to break with my normal password generating algorithm and go with one I have used in the past as a throw-away. I then see:

I have symbols in that password but apparently not the “good” symbols Blizzard approves of.

At this point I am done. I’ve decided the game is not worth the hassle and plan to return it tomorrow. If the high school kid at GameStop gives me grief when returning it I will stab him in the face.

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