Adventures of Origin: A Story of Buyer’s Remorse

When Black Friday sales hit I’m a huge fan of the Steam sales.  I’ll jump on there and buy my games in a heart beat.  However Origin has a deal in which you can buy all of their Command and Conquer games for $20…. and at sale price you could get them all for $10. That’s just a steal to me.

So I did it.

I happily went to Command and Conquer: Tiberian Twilight, installed it… and it wouldn’t work.

I would get to the part where you put in a CD key, or registration code and it would clearly read “Key code already in use.”

So I went through EA’s terrible help situation and dropped a comment on their forums.  Their forum administrator indicated that we would have to go through their Help Situation.

The end of their help guide is to contact support directly if there is no answer.

So I get to support.  The first three agents I get simply say “Hi” and then are AFK and do not respond for minutes at a time.

Then I get this guy:

originsupport

I got that far before he randomly AFKed for no reason and never came back.

Finally I got this guy:

originsupport2

This one is absolutely bizarre. I mean, he’s at least polite to tell me he’s going AFK for an extended period of time… but put me on hold?

After getting through a few of these guys I had one guy tell me to completely uninstall the game, re-install it, restart Origin, re-install Origin, and finally he got rid of me but re-starting my computer… of course none of this worked.

So I did eventually figure out what the problem was and once I knew what it was and could tell the tech support chat guys, they could help me.

The problem is….. emails and accounts.

Origin and Electronic Arts have separate DRM for some of their games.  Command and Conquer 4 requires you to use Electronic Arts DRM.  Now I played one of their online games (C&C Tiberium Alliances) in the past which required me to sign up for an EA account.

I did so using a different e-mail than my Origin account.

So now when I get to this Electronic Arts launcher I have to use my EA login (which is once again different from my Origin one) and if I try to setup an account with EA DRM using my Origin name… it just tells me that it is already in use with EA.

So once I told the administrator this I just completely skipped this unusual part where I had to fill in any key code as he made the code associated with my Origin account now associated with my EA account.

This only took me about an hour and a half to do.

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Red Alert 3 – Imperial Walkthrough

Through a fluke of time travel the Empire of the Rising Sun was created.  The Empire’s rulers unaware of this, believe they have a divine destiny to rid the world of both the allies and the soviets.  Fighting a war on two fronts these juggernauts have been preparing a long time for this very day.  Lead by George Tchai they are a force of absolute domination.

Mission 1 – Vorkuta – The Death of Father Frost

This first mission introduces you to the infantry of the Imperial forces.

the first are the Imperial Warriors.  These can switch to their sword and one-shot any infantry unit if you hit the F key.

You will start off with a “Sudden Transport” full of these imperial warriors.  Upon right clicking on a vehicle you can transform the Sudden Transport into a disguised version of one of theirs.  As you can tell it has very limited capacity compared to enemy transports.

Once you make land evacuate the sudden transport and kill all of the infantry.  Your ally will destroy the building.

Next up attack the power plant on the other side with your new power.  This ability will call upon a legion of planes to suicide the area.  You will need to use two of these (Alt + Q).

Next you will gain a squad of tank busters.  For now just mix them in with your infantry.  The tank busters do high damage to tanks and buildings.  You can use this army to move along the south and north taking out all of the buildings.  There are no defensive positions.  Simply make sure to focus fire down enemies as the tesla troopers can give you some problems.

When your engineers arrive you can order your commander to take over the hospital by left clicking on the hospital and Executing an order.

You can use your engineers to take over the enemy barracks and then sell it.  This will give you another infantry unit.

When you get to the bridge you will gain a group of Shinobi… they will mostly be useless to you.  They can be used to slice down any remaining infantry very quickly.  They also have a smoke bomb which makes them invisible for a very short time.

Once all buildings are destroyed you will gain access to the next area.

Smoke bomb with your shinobis and rush across the bridge.  You will have six general abilities available.  Use them all on the power plants.  This will shut down all of the tesla coils and now you will gain access to Yari Mini-Subs.

The Yari-Mini sub main ability is a suicide attack.  There is no resistance here, simply attack all of their ships and it will end.

Mission 2 – Stalingrad – To Conquer the Shattered Spirits

This is another relatively easy mission to accomplish, even on hard difficulty.

You are first introduced to the Mecha/Jet Tengu.  These are hybrid anti-air/anti-infantry units.  Have them go into ground mode by pressing F and have them deal with the infantry.  Air units will show up.  Hit F again to switch into air mode to take care of them.

Now place your base at one of the two points.  Doesn’t matter where you place it.

You can send your Mecha/Jet Tengu to the west to take out a statue.  This will also give you some early and easy extra income that you won’t have to share with your team mate.

Pump out tones of infantry.  You will also need to lay down mechanized factory to get some more Mecha/Jet Tengu.  You also have access to Tsunami Tanks when you get an upgrade.  You will want these for later.

When you have a decent ball of infantry move along the eastern part of the map to destroy all of those statues.  Once again this will give you access to more extra cash.  You can take these infantry and move them into the middle occupying buildings.

You should “prepare” for the next phase by placing turrets all along the river in the middle of the map.  You will want a large fleet of Jet Tengus, a lot of tank busters  and a few tanks.

When you march forward with your army make sure to destroy all buildings up north before taking out the statues.  If you don’t you will have a lot more to deal with later.

With all of them destroyed finish off the statues and move your forces towards the middle.  The more turrets you have deployed the easier this part will be.  Use your tank busters and tanks against apocalypse tanks.  Use your jet tengu against any air forces.  Make sure to clean up any of the vehicles and this will be a breeze.

Mission 3 – Odessa – Behold the Mighty Saint of Swords

This is easily one of the hardest missions in the game…. and then simultaneously becomes one of the hardest ones.

In order to beat this your ships cannot stop for a second.  This means that all of the stingrays have to die.  Clean up the first six from east to west and then destroy a few subs AS they spawn.  Skip the third one.  Have your team mate’s forces staged in that area and go ahead and kill off the remaining stingrays to the west.  Now simply work on killing the last few subs that you can.

You will now have to land your Strikes on the ground by hitting the F key.  The enemy will send in twinblades of which this ground mode will be able to deal with.

This will bring you into the next game mode which has you become a giant invincible machine monster.  The machine gains health from electrical charges from tesla coils and stingrays.  So if you’re ever low on health attack into some tesla coils for some free heals.

Otherwise just attack all of the targets freely using your general powers to protect yourself and eliminate any V4 rockets.

Mission 4 – Pearl Harbor – Graveyard of a Foolish Fleet

Two hard missions in a row!

Unlike the last one that is hard for a little bit… this one is mostly just really hard.

The Americans have done a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.  And now you’re set defending it.  You have five defender cores.

It is almost certainly pointless to put these on the ocean.  The enemy’s navy will demolish them in seconds.  Their best feature is near the middle of the map and to the west on land as anti air-turrets.  These turrets can be switched between air and ground as you need it, but they will mostly be used for air.

You will need a small (8 or so) group of tank busters and warriors to send northwest to hold the furthest north building.  This will assure control of the area.

You will need to create a force of tsunami tanks and yari subs early on.  Add in some Jet Tengu as you will be insanely low on anti-air solutions.  The Jet Tengu can also double over as an anti-infantry tool.

With your navy patrol the seas and sea vehicles that come into your hemisphere of the map.  Your ally will take care of the east.  You can lend him a hand from time to time but he mostly can hold it himself.

At 10 minutes you will gain some very powerful ships, as well as the ability to make them.  Add them to your fleet and head to the enemy’s base and wipe out shipyards.  Don’t worry about the construction yard because honestly…. he will not use it.  You can try and bring an engineer along to take it.  Engineers ride jet skis to get to their location… but once again mostly just not worth worrying about.

Once your fleet shows up the enemy will start building aircraft carriers non-stop.  with less shipyards he will be able to build less.

Move your fleet up slowly allowing your long range weapons to hit.  But engage directly with other forces however, they are entirely for defending you.  Make sure to attack with your ally as well.  As he attacks from the front you will come in from the tear.

Try and focus on unit producing structures as your enemy will not rebuild them.  This also lowers the amount of resistance you will feel.

An odd thing the computer does is brings two MCVs near your base.  One is at the northeast corner and one is at the southeast corner.  he will try and build in your base.  Destroy yours first and worry about your ally’s after.

If you decide to build the nanoswarm hive use it on the enemy to isolate them so that you can destroy their structures easily.  If you’re like me you’ll get caught with tones of gyro copters shrinking and freezing everything.  If you focus on destroying the naval yards the enemy can deal no damage to you and you can just wittle him away with battleships.

Mission 5 – Pacific Ocean – Assault on the Black Tortoise

This mission on hardest difficulty is rather easy.

You start off with three units.  The Shogun Battleship, The Naginata Cruiser, and The Rocket Angel.  Bind each two a different key and get used to interacting them with each other.

The Battleship is a long range sea artillery piece.  It has battering ram… but I recommend never using it.

The Cruiser has a seven direction missile attack.  It deals high damage but also deals friendly fire damage.  So use it on forward ships only.

Finally the rocket angels will stop units completely. They can be toggled to deal damage.

For the first section have your rocket angels each targeting a different unit and have your units work on the enemies.  On the final wave remember to use your Cruiser multi rocket to wipe out large collections of dolphins and hydro foils.

Next you will be introduced to the Sea/Sky Wings.  Keep them in the air for this part.  They will act as an anti-infantry unit in the air.  Use your rocket angels to snare multi-gunners and the few javelin infantry in place.

You will also be given some engineers.  Have them repair the two generators.  This is relatively micro heavy as you will have to have the angels targeting different units while having sky wings kill off the units.

After you defend two waves of this you will gain back your old units, as well as the ability to lay down structures.

Get your refinery producing as soon as possible.  Lay down your MCV, a power generator et all.

Truthfully these structures will not be needed.  Focus on building up battleships in your shipyard, the more you have the better.

Have your fleet move to the west of the southern base and start attacking with your battleships on buildings.  Have your angels, sea wings (now in sea form), and your cruisers defending them as they do this.  Focus on unit producing buildings and make sure to get the construction yard down before destroying any defenses.

The enemy will otherwise be able to re-build defenses before you can destroy them.

Without the resources from this base the enemy will not be able to produce a lot of units.  Head to the next base and destroy it very quickly.  He will put up very little resistance.

The final base will give you no resistance.

Speed is important, the faster you can wipe out that first base, the less units they will have.

Mission 6 – Santa Monica – Rage of the Black Tortoise

This mission is one of the easiest ones.  The first part only requires you to fire things with the turrets… but they do this automatically…. so nothing.

The first thing you can/should do is destroy the buildings around you.  Some of these contain free money which will give you a much needed boost.  You can also place tank busters inside of the buildings to the north and use them to destroy turrets and some free buildings (including one ship yard).

Your next step is to destroy the base directly to the south.  It’s an air base and if left alone it can become very volatile very quickly.  Build an army of tsunami tanks and tank buster infantry and get to it.  There is little resistance to this push.  Clean out all of the airports and make sure it doesn’t exist.  You can take over the airport tower for an extra objective.  There is also an oil derrick to take as well as a new base you can settle (eventually)

Next destroy the base to the north of you.  Make sure to get at least one Wave Force Artillery to help you with this.  There is a second shipyard that will give you a little bit of trouble… but it can mostly be ignored until this push.  Clean up everything with these set of units.  The enemy will not have any/many bombers left without those airports to the south so just slow push along the southern flank and take out the remainder of the base.

There is a giant artillery cannon directly to the north. Taking this out is another bonus objective.  There is also a secret circus directly north of your base you can take out.

Mission 7 – Yokohoma – Barbarians at the Bay

The Allies and Soviets join forces for one attack against Japanese land.  Yokohoma Harbor is under siege and they are setting up a relay network that will wipe out all Japanese communications.  And what’s an army without the ability to communicate?

The first phase of this mission has you control Eureko.  Eureko is a super psionic soldier.  When she targets a unit they will float in the air, taking damage while in the air.  Her special ability gives a psionic scream that shuts down vehicles and instantly kills all infantry.

For the first part of the mission simply juggle the vehicles and allow your team mate to kill them.  When dealing with infantry just move close and special attack them.  Your team mate will help too.

You will gain access to King Onis which have a charge ability that will run over infantry and destroy things very quickly.  You will also gain ninjas to deal with infantry.  You should always keep your ninjas in buildings when you can, they will wipe out other infantry insanely fast.  Use Oni’s ability to crush through infantry and use his main attack on all vehicles.  Eureko can simply support whenever she can.

The battlefield will expand and you now have very little time to wipe out four relays.

Make sure to build a big army first.  Having a large mothball army will benefit you far better than just running in.

Your army should be composed of angels (for anti-air, crowd control and some anti-ground), shogun battleships (your main building damager), seawings (purely for anti-air), and cruisers for anti-sea support.

Keep this ball together and focus on destroying the construction yards, the naval yards, and the airports.  You can easily hit these all along the coasts.  Once these are wiped out

Mission 8 – Moscow – Crumble Kremlin, Crumble

The giant death machine is on its way and you have to wait for it to show up.

Build some tank busters and warriors to deal with everything that comes in.  you can also build a few Mech Tengus to deal with bears.  You can upgrade to get some XYs and use them to attack a few defensive positions.

Once the death machine shows up all you have to do is run it towards the objectives and use the F key.  Don’t attack things directly for the most part that is a bad idea.

You can use infantry to support.

The most important thing is to build up a fleet of Jet Tengus and eliminate as much of the anti air turrets on the map with your infantry.

As you move more of the map will reveal.  Eventually the Kremlin will be the target (it’s a castle).  As you head towards it the time machine will be put on a helicopter.  Use your giant army of Jet Tengus to take care of it with relative ease.

Mission 9 – Amsterdam – The Last Red Blossom Trembled

An attack on Amsterdam… who would think this is the headquarters of all Allied activity.

You will have to clear out the buildings, circle your units and focus fire everything.

Make sure to spread out your bases.  Have them spread as far apart as humanly possible.  The enemy will use a proton collider very often (has two of them).  So if you spread them apart they will be far less effective.  You should have some anti-air turrets available to deal with air bombers as they can ransack your buildings very easily.

You will be able to use air units once you destroy the base to the north.

It can be destroyed entirely with persistence.  The bulk of your army should be tank busters with some tanks involved.  These will take down buildings very quickly. You will start off with two King Onis as well which you can use massively in the assault.  You can use your hero entirely for crowd control.

After you wipe out this base (keep in mind, persistence) you can add two more refineries here for mega cash.

Your army will be composed of Wave King Oni and Tank Busters.

King Oni on tanks and step on infantry and Tank Busters to pad your army (makes for nice targets for their artillery).

You should use your commander powers wiping out the proton colliders.  There are two of them.  The one that is further away should be the focus of your powers.  The closer one can be wiped out by wave force artillery and/or king oni.

Your ally will support you with a navy.  You can push completely from east to west with your King Onis.  Remember your King Oni charge will stun an enemy, deal a tonne of damage… and usually one shot.

When you get to the Soviet base you will have to deal with air units.  You should bring some XYs to deal with them and support your Oni army.  Under estimating these units won’t lose you the game… but they certainly will prolong it.

You should also save as many of your general powers for the final battle as possible.  This will allow you to “cheat” the final battle.  Simply use your general powers on them and it will by easy.

Red Alert 3 – Allied Walkthrough

Welcome to the less evil side of things.  In this walk through you will find out how to complete every single mission in Red Alert 3’s Allied Campaign on the hardest difficulty (which is Hard).

The campaign starts at a point in which the Soviets have conquered most of Europe and have pushed the Allied forces to the brink of collapse.  Only England and small parts of Europe have stay around and kicking.  The good ole US of A has joined the fight and with you in command seek to push back into Europe.

Mission 1: Ride of the Red Menace – Brighton Beach

It’s the very first mission, which makes it the easiest.  You will have access to a few units on here, signaling that this campaign will already be more difficult than the Soviet one.

You will start off with Two attacks dogs and some Peacekeepers to clean up the island.  Most things here won’t fight back so it won’t be too tough.  The attack dogs F key can stun targets.  However most of them will die so fast it really won’t matter. Now you will have to defend the beaches.  The first few waves will be infantry.  Use your peacekeepers to kill them.

There is a bonus objective to take buildings.  This is a long term bad idea because the molotov cocktails of the Soviet Conscript will deal insanely high amounts of damage to clumped units in there.  It’s something weird about the map and not a real concern in other missions.

You will also gain access to javelin rocket soldiers which you can use to fire at enemies while they are parachuting and full on kill enemy vehicles and air units. Note, you will need mostly javelin rocket soldiers. They also give you access to a vehicle which you don’t have to use.  It adds a little more health and mobility to whatever unit you decide to house in them.

However javelins are far easier to micro. The guns you seek are along the coastline and can be acquired via an engineer.  It might also be helpful to acquire the hospital with an engineer.

With the final rush coming all of the ships will be destroyed by bombers.  Your only concern is dealing with the zeppelins that are flying overhead.  Once you have destroyed so many of them the mission will end.

Mission 2: The Shark and the Lure – Cannes

After successfully defending England from invasion you are sent to Cannes.  This is your first Tanya mission.

So you should train a few extra spies.  The first three you are given are just enough for the first island.  Move Tanya and your spies forward.

Select your spies and right click on one of the enemy conscripts.  This will “cloak” your spy and make the enemy believe they are conscripts.

Select one of the spies and have them enter a power plant south of the western entrance of that base.  This will shut down the defenses temporarily.  Don’t worry about destroying any of this stuff because it will also self-destruct later anyway.

From here use Tanya to kill as many of the infantry and bears as you can.  Bears can see your spies true form and will instantly kill them.  You need to get your remaining two spies into the two marked buildings.  It’s a simple matter of killing a bunch of people and then getting out. You will need three more spies for the next part so hopefully you’ve been training them.  Use Tanya to kill the bears that are patrolling around the water.  Use one of the spies to knock out the power grid on the second island and then move in with Tanya.  Once again have Tanya run around and kill people.  Now have Tanya clean up the bears and send the spies in the marked buildings again.

Finally you will need to place Tanya in the newly marked building and everything that you didn’t destroy and a few ships will suddenly become destroyed.

Next you will gain access to new units and will be able to wage a ground war. Tanya can be used immediately to take out all of the dreadnaughts.  Literally not one at all will even look at Tanya.  Just right click on each with Tanya and she will destroy each of them.

Next up an appropriate army to win the day.  Stay heavy on guardian tanks but mix in some javelin infantry and some peacekeepers.  Interesting fact, the guardian tanks F key will allow them to cause whatever they target to give increased damage.  So having one of your guardian tanks set to this will give your entire army a massive boost.

Attack in when you have a hand full of tanks and use Tanya to aid in destroying buildings.  Once all of the unit producing structures are defeated the mission will end.

Mission 3: The Famous Liberation  – Heidelberg

The first part of this is rather simple.  You will have access to four anti-air ships.  The F key will make it so they can shut off someone’s ability to fire in exchange for losing their own.  Having one set to this while engaging the first few anti-air units will help. The second one you need everyone set to this ability and have every single one targeting a different enemy.  Being able to micro like this will come in handy later in the campaign.

You will say good bye to your sea units and will have access to brand new Vindicator bombers. You should setup a defensive position north of your base.  Have some peacekeepers and javelin ready to deal with what will come, peacekeepers especially.  With the double barracks next to your base you will see tones of infantry.

A secondary objective will become available to save Tanya by destroying large groups of enemy units.  Note you only need to use the interceptor bombers on this as they have very little anti-air units and absolutely no structures.  After a few bombing runs all of the buildings and tanks will be capoot.

For your attack north you should wipe out the two barracks first.  Use javelins for this.  You should be able to destroy each within one volley if you have enough javelins. After this destroy the two giant reactors.  Once both are destroyed enemy defenses will shut down.  You will be able to storm in this first base very fast and easily.  The third base however is a bit trickier. This is the one wedged in the middle that has the iron curtain.  Without destroying the iron curtain all buildings and tanks to the north will be permanently immune.

You will simply need to do a joint strike to get through, focus on the coils.  The AA will get sold by the computer player eventually.  Your computer player at this point will have also helped in breaking through part of this.  It may take a second attack to destroy this.

Focus on building tanks and javelins as they will be your best money answer to anything the enemy has after this. Once the middle base is destroyed focus all of your forces on the western front and attack WITH your ally to quickly take out the enemy apocalypse tanks.  Simply take your time and focus down each apocalypse tank and the war factory that builds them. The mission ends when you destroy the residential buildings at the top of the hill.

Mission 4: Enemy of Our Enemy  – Gibraltar

This is one hell of a mission and it is quite a large difficulty scale.

There is a beginning mini-game with just Tanya and Natasha.  Basically use Natasha’s insane range to deal with most threats.  When there are tones of enemies run in with Tanya and kill 3-4 enemies and then use your F (Chrono watch) to get your health back and back off.  Anyway…

To start build some static defenses north of your base.  The enemy will have a massive infantry surprise attack that can be defeated by 2-3 static positions with peacekeepers in them.

If you feel too overburdened in this sneak attack you can use one of your resource trucks to run over their troops.  But for the most part 3 static positions will wipe them all out.

Next on your list is to free a fleet of ships.

You can use Tanya and your cryo copters silmultaneously with building northern defenses to take out their harbor just south of those ships.  Use the cryo copters on any resisting ships and you will be able to use Tanya to clean out these units.  Cryocopters wil freeze opponents and make this easy.  They are however not going to be effective in dealing with buildings.

Next up with a shipyard of your own build four hydrofoils.  Have them set to their alternative setting which will de-activate weapons on the defenses.  Have all four of them targeting a different one.  You can use some dolphins or Tanya to destroy these.  You will find no resistance.

With this you will gain access to four assault destroyers and your ally will gain four Akula Subs.  Your ally will use all of his resources to destroy the naval base to the north.

You will place your fleet directly to the southeast and they will destroy everything as they come in. With your cryocopters and hydrofoils with some dolphins and your assault destroyers you should be able to destroy all of this before it can setup shop and deal any damage.

Next up you’ll want to create an army of tanks and infantry to deal with the base to the north.  You can use your remaining assault destroyers, cryocopters and Tanya to deal with the base to the southwest easily.  If you want to get the secondary objective simply place a base here.

Overwhelmingly the biggest challenge of this mission is all of the random events which are almost impossible to predict.

Mission 5: The Unfathomable Fortress – North Sea

This is a multi-section mission.

In the first section you will be given four dolphins and four and four hydrofoils.  The dolphins do not do a lot of damage.  However, the utility of the hydrofoils is insanely high.

This first part will interchange between air units and a single cruiser.  You can disable the cruiser’s weapons by using the F key on one of your hydrofoils while your dolphins and your ally kill it.  When the air units come switch to your anti-air weapons on the hydrofoil to deal with them.  You should be able to clear this part relatively easy as long as you micro a few units effectively.

The next part has you team up Natasha with 4 spies. Right click the spy on a unit to cloak him.  Now move your spies near each power source.  None of their units here can target you.  Natasha will destroy each reactor as you put a spy in it.  So put a spy in the first one, wait for her to destroy it, then do the next.

The next part of this is Tanya and the four engineers.  Simply have Tanya clean out the infantry in the area and click on the reactor to have the engineers take it over.  As you de-activate a reactor so many guns will turn off.  Just do them in order.  Make sure to pick up the $ boxes on the ground, they will give you extra resources for later.

Now finally you will get to play the map.

The strategy here is to build a small fleet.  Start with four hydrofoils, get 2-3 assault destroyers, and at least 2 aircraft carriers.  Have them move along the eastern front (as a fleet) and take out all of the buildings along its path.  Then have it move north taking out naval ports, barracks, turrets, war factories, generators, and resource facilities.  This will put a massive damper on how many units the computer can make.

Getting air recon as a general power will help you a tone as you slowly move with this fleet.  Note the four hydrofoils can be toggled on and off to disable weapons of enemy ships and to deal with air units.

While moving up with this fleet establish a base on the island to the east.  Make sure to take over the enemy’s power generators right as well as take over as many of the oil derricks as you can.

You will want to create another fleet of roughly the same kinds of ships, heavy on assault destroyers and hydro foils with a huge aircraft carriers.  On the island establish a barracks and start pumping out some javelins to defend the island against air units.  There is a lighthouse that can be manned to help deal with most air and water invasions.

On this island make sure to place a MCV (Mobile Command Vehicle) and upgrade that vehicle to maximum clearance.  Place an airport here and get some Century Bombers.  Century Bombers can be equipped with infantry to be deployed on the ground.

Next on your list is to move forward with your jumbo fleet and start taking out anti-air turrets.  It also makes sense to destroy the two naval bases to the west as this will stop any resistance to sea other than anti-air units.  It means that you will not have to babysit your hydrofoils as usual.

With your aircraft carriers you can fire at most of the harbor turrets and some infrastructure.

With your bombers you can also bomb down some infantry to support in the effort.  They can hit some structures deeper in land.  With Tanya you can mass wipe out tones of structures.  The bombers will also offer you a way to dump your engineers for the win.

Knock out all of the turrets at the two generators and have one bomber each drop engineers at these locations, then have the engineers simultaneously grab these points.  If you don’t do it closely enough to in unison they will simply reset to enemy control.

Once you have both generators the island will blow up… and you win.

Mission 6:  A Monument to Madness – Mt Rushmore

So this weird mission starts off with Tanya.  Go northwest and take out the power plant.  Kill all of the dogs and then command your ally to use the spies to take it down.  Kill the guards, kill the turret and destroy the power plant. A new secondary mission will become available to take over this barracks.  Do so and it will be yours at the beginning of the next part.

Now go to the other place on the map, bomb the tank, kill the infantry, and destroy the array.  Your ally will make javelins that can destroy the turret.

So now you will get the full map, your ally will take the eastern flank.  With your barracks produce one engineer to take over the oil derrick near your base and pump out only javelins.

You should build a generator and as soon as you get it make 4x turrets.  Spread them out well.  You can place 5 javelins in the one building near your base for extra defense.

Next up throw down your three resource gatherers.

Next on your list, an air base.  Build three Vindicator bombers.  Use these to eliminate the one infantry standing to the west of your base and the two turrets east of your base.  You can use these bombers to destroy select turrets at the enemy’s base.

You should make sure to upgrade your clearance twice so you can get the century bombers.  You will need at least one.

Once you get a century bomber load two engineers and dump the engineers to the east.  One can take over the building immediately and the second can move north to where Akerman’s limo ought to be.  This will shut down two of the harder “heads” to deal with.

After the enemy has attacked your base you can rush forward with your army of javelins.  You will be able to supplement it with Tanya and some brand new Mirage Tanks.  With javelins you will lose far less units to head attacks.

Attack northeast towards his cluster of power generators.  Once you knock off all of these power generators all of his defenses will be down.  If you want the other bonus objective you can load an engineer into another bomber and dump them at the third launch center to the northwest.

But after you have all the generators down you just need to pave your way to main target in the middle.

Akerman will use the chronosphere to teleport from the edge of the hill to the middle south of the map.  This is of course after you try and bomb him.  If you rally some javelins and peacekeepers to this location while you are attacking the main objective Akerman will die instantly.

If you don’t you can also use an Apollo Fighter jet to hit his helicopter… or some more javelins.

Mission 7:  Forever Sets the Sun – Tokyo Harbor

This is one hell of a mission.  You face off against all of the leadership of the Imperial army other than George Tchai.  A lot of the challenge behind this mission is dealing with random events while still tackling all four Imperial lords.

The first step of this mission is to survive long enough for the Soviets to arrive.  You are promised if you clear the blockades the Soviets will immediately arrive… but they don’t.  The Soviets declare that they just can’t make it.

So what you will be doing is preparing for the next phase of the race.  All of your buildings will be destroyed so all that is important is what units you can keep alive.  Any unit near one of your buildings or your ally’s buildings will be destroyed.

So you will want to have 8 bombers out.  You will want to get as many javelins as possible (you have two barracks) and a couple of Hammer Tanks (they’re not that important, honestly).  You should also try to get out as many dolphins and hydrofoils as possible.

Once you get your two hammer tanks, sell your two factories for an extra $1000 credits each.  Slowly start selling all of your barracks, all of your generators, your shipyard, and once you’re really close to the end get your bombers (Vindicators are the best for this mission) out of there and sell off your airports too.  Make sure all of your units are far away from your structures and make sure to sell off as many structures as humanly possible.  It’s even worth while trying to save your resource truck as you can use that as a base expander.

Once the time runs out whatever you were unable to salvage will die.

You will gain access to a chronosphere and some extra money to re-build.  Click on your ally’s construction yard and this will send your ally to “flank” the enemy.  This is your best bet.  Even if your ally dies she will deal enough damage to make it worth your while.  How much damage she deals will be inconsistent.  She will in the least remove the shielding power of the Japanese.

Your only real two units will be Vindicators and javelins.  Javelins will defend your island and provide anti-air.  The vindicators will take out targets strategically.

Your first target are the ports to the east.  They are completely undefended and have no anti-air, this will also slow down the naval power of your enemy.  It is worthwhile to get a third airport for 12 bombers.  This will help with the eventual sneak naval attack.

Almost all of your general powers should be used to support your ally up north.  Use them to help with her advances.  Frost can be used to make her deal more damage faster, bombers can help deal damage to units and structures, and time bomb can deal excessive damage to almost anything.

If your ally doesn’t destroy the top middle base in time they will be wiped out, but don’t worry you can beat this without her.

Until the enemy fleet shows up focus your bombers towards decimating the middle island.  Knock out turrets first and then go after unit producing facilities.  If you can hit the construction yard, that helps a tonne.

Once the fleet randomly shows up focus all of your attention on it.  As long as you have no navy there are only three units that can actually hit you.  Wipe them out with your bombers fast and effectively.  With 12 bombers you should be able to wipe them out in 3 fast waves.  Hit the F key to get your bombers running back quickly after a successful run.

After the fleet is destroyed keep up bombing that middle island.  Get rid of all the anti-air turrets as well as all infrastructure.

Next up attack remains of the north middle base.  If this base is still around that is.  You need to get rid of his general power as quickly as possible.

After this start picking away at the northwest base.  It only has one building you have to destroy so you can opt to “all in” it as well.

The middle base has three targets.  There is absolutely no anti-air defending them.  So you can quickly pick this off and end the mission successfully.

If your ally is randomly useful the mission will take about 30 minutes, add another 10 minutes if your ally is however not useful.

Mission 8:  The Great Bear Trap – Havana

The first part of this has you with a couple of dogs and two engineers running through the base.  Try and spend all of your money recruiting troops.  If you can keep enough AT troops alive you can do some serious damage to the stadium that first appears.

The second part is less about tactics and more about reaction times.  If you send your ally to attack something keep in mind of what he will have to run through.  Every single blimp that is heading to the west or north should be dealt with by Gilles.  All others you should take care of yourself.

Getting the zeppelins is highest priority.  Because of this your army will be very heavy on javelins and should later include Apollo Fighters.

You should build some hammer tanks to soak some hits while you have peacekeepers to eliminate their infantry.

The target order for the stadiums ought to be the one to the west, the one in the center, the one to the northwest and the one to the northeast.  The one completely to the south can be destroyed entirely with time bombs and orbital strike general abilities.

For the arena to the northeast creep along the eastern coast to avoid most turrets.  You will be able to get to the stadium without having to deal with any units.

For the northeastern one you should bring a nice collection of tanks and bust through the front.  For whatever reason the enemy doesn’t build a lot of land units and keeps mostly expensive air vehicles and ships.

You shouldn’t rush to just “all in” him as control and consistency will be your key to victory.

Mission 9:  The Moon Shall Never Have Him – Stalingrad

This mission requires a lot more aggression than one might be used to in order to achieve it on hard difficulty.

It’s important to note that the Soviets will start off with very few units.  With your first group of Mirage tanks you can move east and destroy the entire first base.  At your own base build a power plant, two resource collection facilities and create a couple of turrets.

Your first collection truck should come with you to build an expansion base to the east.  Build a barracks here and use engineers to take over the large power plant, their resource gathering facility, the iron curtain, and the defense HQ.

The defense HQ of course can be sold to give you extra money.

You will want to build 3-4 turrets here, have a couple setup just north of the refinery.  Load those two with peacekeepers and the rest with javelins.  Now use your iron curtain on your four mirage tanks and have them destroy the second one to the east.  This will immediately cause all of the forces in the buildings to rush your base, but your two turrets will deal with them.

You should be using all of your general powers to help push the western front.  Your ally will use bombers to push and as long as you can deal extra damage to structures (which will never repair) he will push faster.

You will want to build a war factory for two athene tanks and a lot of javelins.  You should also get an air base down for some apollo fighters.  Get a defense HQ and immediately work to get the particle cannon.

You will use the two athene cannons to deal most of the damage, they can also deal with the long range naval units.  The remainder of your tanks will use iron curtain and push in.  The apollo fighters will deal with the ridiculous number of air units as will your javelins.  The third iron curtain is surrounded by air bases… which will eliminate the majority of his anti-air units.

The base to the north will spawn a very dangerous weapon, but at your pace you will destroy most of this base before he shows up.  He plants down a tonne of structures, recommend destroying all of them as they’re being built.

Next on this ring the 3rd base from the western front is completely surrounded by a wall.  Using the Athene Cannons to destroy it.  Sell off your iron curtain and if there is still one more left, use the athene cannons to destroy it.

While doing this march you should be preparing for ‘the final battle.’  The faster you do the march the more time you will have.  Your ideal unit for the end is the Century Bomber.  The more century bombers you have, the better.  There is no point in paradropping anyone here, just burn it with bombs.  Also make sure to target it for your ally to attack, otherwise he will waste his bombers on units.

After you destroy this facility congratulations, you’ve beaten the whole campaign.

Red Alert 3 – Soviet Walkthrough

This guide will take you through the Soviet campaign of Command and Conquer Red Alert 3.  In this campaign you play as a commander under direct command of Premier Tim Curry who is fighting a two front war against Japan and the European Allies.  This walkthrough is balanced for completing hard difficulty with videos of hard wins.

Mission 1: Stalingrad The Shrike and the Thorn

You will have control of four units in this simple mission.

Natasha can one-shot an enemy and any unit in line with that unit also dies (a line shot).

The flak troopers will be able to deal with tanks and also take care of air units.

The conscript is an anti-infantry unit, it is also one of the weakest anti-infantry units in the game.  The cost balances off for the low value.

The bullfrog is an anti-air unit that is also a troop carrier.  The F allows deploying units via parachute a long distance away.

First part is to take the base. Simply take Natasha and right click on every single unit, they will not repel.

Next up, make five flak troopers.  After you do this an invasion will begin of machines, which flak troopers can kill easily.  To make Natasha really useful hit the F key and target a vehicle, this will be a one shot on a vehicle.  Alternatively you can have her target a vehicle with an air strike that is not being targeted by any unit.

After this first invasion start making a large number of conscripts to deal with an Imperial infantry rush.

After this part is done you can just keep making flak units.  You will be tasked with saving a Museum.  You will get two bullfrogs (one on each side).  Send your units across the way to with Natasha to kill off the units.  Then send them back.  You won’t need many so send a few conscripts with Natasha and leave the rest at home.

After this is the final push.  Use your flak panzers and infantry to try and clear a path for Natasha.  Natasha will kill large ships and as each is destroyed reinforcements will stop happening from that direction… which in turn means you can use them on different directions.

The mission ends after Natasha kills all ships.

Mission 2: Krashna-45 Circus of Treachery

In this mission you will be introduced to the shock trooper and the war bear… yes…. WAR BEAR…. FREAKING BEARS.  For future missions shock troopers are very tanky and can deal with vehicles.  War bears have vision of invisible things and on top of that are anti-infantry units.

This mission is not time sensitive… and is very simple.  The computer AI will control Natasha but affirms that you can “command him to do whatever you need.”

Instead of commanding him you just move your army up slowly.  He will always command Natasha to take sniper shots and call down strikes on buildings.

As you get new units you will simply hold them back, there is literally no need to lose a single unit, Natasha will kill every single unit on this map.  Your score isn’t going to look too hot…. but hopefully that won’t matter.

Mission 3: Vladivostock Taking Back Ice-Harbor

You will be given three bullfrogs of units in the first invasion.  If they die you will be given control of X so don’t worry about being too valued in your efforts as the ships are worth more than the infantry.

You need to capture an island, easy enough.  After this you will settle it with an MCV (Mobile Command Vehicle).  You can gain space by building the Command in the ocean.  You can build a number of structures out there including power generators.

Zhana will take two nodes and you will take two nodes, income is shared so no worries.  Where Zhana places her MCV is completely random and will effect your income moderately.  The further she is away from resource nodes the further her trucks will have to travel.

Stingrays are your generic all round ship units.  They don’t do particularly well against ships, but they also don’t do particularly poorly against anything.  You will use these to attack the port at the east.  Note none of the big ships (Dreadnaughts) are active so ignore them.  Instead focus your energies on destroying the defenses and the shipyard.  You can call Zhana in to help you by clicking for her to attack that area.

Once this is cleared out you will gain access to two Dreadnaughts.  Dreadnaughts are long distance artillery.  Unlike Stingrays they cannot leave the water, but unlike Stingrays they really have no reason to.  They do really high damage and will be a greater part of the strategy for the remainder of the mission.

You can immediately use them to destroy 3 power plants to the northeast.  This will clean out one bonus objective.. and short them of power.

Next up you want to use an infantry invasion force in two different areas.  The first is along a wharf to the northwest.  With vision support you can knock out all enemy buildings while keeping a distance.  You also gain access to one engineer which you can use to take over the enemy’s barracks and gain access to strong imperial infantry (which you should just constantly make).

The second flank is the middle flank in which you should move your infantry up slowly into the various houses and use dreadnaughts to clear out other buildings and destroy other structures.  If you’re feeling particularly motivated taking the clinic will give you a bonus objective and it will heal all of your infantry anywhere on the map.

There is one more ship building facility to the northwest.  This can be entirely handled by dreadnaughts.  All you need to be able to do is spot it with something and the dreadnaughts can destroy it very quickly.  There is also another ship building facility along the wharf which can be spotted with infantry and is just in range of flak troopers.

Once you close in on the Empire’s new palace a giant robot will show up.  Large numbers of flakpanzers and some dreadnaught support will be able to clean this up easily.  Make sure to target your conscripts at their infantry specifically, otherwise their infantry will destroy your army quickly.

Once the giant robot is destroyed, the mission is over.

Mission 4: Geneva March of the Red Army

It’s time to wipe out their banks.

This mission is rather simplistic.  You will be introduced to two units.  The first is the V4 rocket which will be used much later.  The other is the Akula Submarine.

Make sure to amass a large number of Akula Submarines.  With these you can wipe out their naval power quickly and effectively (their shipyards will not rebuild).  They will use the Chronosphere to call in large carriers which you can wipe out very quickly with Akula subs.  Akula subs “F” key is a double torpedo which does shockingly high damage.  They also do friendly fire.  So make sure to fire them individually so as to make sure you’re not hitting your own vehicles.

Use these on the ship yard and kill it off quickly.  This will stop the enemy’s ship creation and give you see dominance.  You will need to maintain about five subs total after this, but that’s not too bad.  Once you have their sea power knocked out you can make stingrays and use them to “back door” the eastern objective.

The next big objective is to the south.  It is heavily fortified and has a single electro tower guarding a bank.  Avoid it directly south of the electro tower and use infantry in buildings.  Bring tanks in to support.  Natasha is mostly useless because the enemy will always target her down first.  If you can get her into a building she can actually be useful.  Order your ally to engage with you.

To protect your base have a few infantry and flak troopers in the buildings directly to the east very early game.

Once the southern base is cleaned up the general will arrive and take over this location.

Note there is a secondary objective to take over all of the banks.  This can be done after the general shows up.  However the general will send engineers to take over banks… so you need to be fast.  As many that you can take over before the general shows up the better.  The general uniquely is a partner who doesn’t share resources, he takes them away.

The battlefield will expand and you will find a new larger base to clean out.  But now you have V4 launchers.

For a slower approach have your subs take out their new naval base and slowly creep up with your V4 launchers using them exclusively on electro towers.

You will be berated by the general to hurry up at some point but honestly…. it is no concern…. there is no time limit.

Mission 5: Mykonos The Science of War

You will start off on a small island with access to a Hanger.  Build Twinblades nonstop for the entire mission.  They are… very good.

With your Twin Blades immediately attack the northern of the three islands.  It has no AA and is very weak.  Your team mate will patrol the seas.

Second take out the Southern Island.  It also happens to have a Tech Inhibitor which slows down your tech use.  This one will have AA so kill AA quick.  After that kill their war factory and their barracks so that they can’t build new AA units.  As everything is destroyed on this island pack up your command (there’s a button with arrows moving in for it) and bring it to the southern island.  Build a refinery and pack it up again.

The middle island should be handled the same, destroy AA units and then destroys barracks and war factory.  Once everything here is destroyed move your command from the bottom island to this middle island and set up shop.  Build two refineries here.  If you are truly motivated build an extra hanger.

Now you have to deal with the base to the north… using only twinblades.

Attack harbors first, this will give your ally sea superiority and allow him to support you with ground troops.  Next up attack the completely isolated northern part of his base by back dooring.  You will knock out his resources and power very easily.  He also doesn’t have many AA vehicles to worry about so you can go in and kill  most of his structures very easily.  Defensive structures aren’t entirely powerful so you can do the entire base with relative ease.

Pack up your MCV and move it to this base you cleared out.  Build refineries in the three spots they have opened up.  Build a barracks.  Build a war factory.  Begin to pump out a lot of units.

Now take your giant flock of twin blades, hopefully you have had a constant queue of these guys and wipe out all of the turrets around the science facility to the east.  Order your ally to send an engineer.

As soon as your ally sends an engineer to that location it will cause an event in which the European Allies will form up north of you and call you to defend the location.

But we’re not going to defend that location.  Instead we’re going to attack their base before they can build the bulk of their forces.  Take your tanks and infantry along with your twinblades and destroy all of their infrastructure.  Aim for buildings that make units as they will not be able to re-build these.

You should also build the new air superiority unit and rally them to the science building.  This will prevent the enemy from having any air dominance for any amount of time.

The mission will end as soon as you destroy the enemy’s new HQ.  Ironically he will tell you that he won’t stop fighting you and immediately tell you “well you’re very good.”

Mission 6: Von Esling Airbase No Traitors Tomorrow

This is a very odd mission.  It gets out of control very very quickly if not handled properly.

At a set time the General will turn against you and it will be a three way dance.  To prepare for this make sure the bulk of your forces are land forces and that you have them stationed near his VIP bunker and his construction center.  Once these two compounds are destroyed he surrenders his entire army and infrastructure to you for nothing.  Since you don’t actually need most of it you can just sell it all off.

One idea is to place some engineering bunkers around those locations and load them with flak troopers.

The enemy air bases to the east and north can both be taken out by a dreadnaught or two.  You can use twinblades or or MIGs as spotters for this.

There will be a tech building to the north east.  You can wipe this out easily with Natasha and some flak troopers.  Alternatively you can just use flak troopers or some engineers to take it over.  The only defense in the area cannot actually strike unless you run into it.  Simply have a couple of twin blades with troops come down to deal with it.  Since the computer has nothing in the area he won’t be able to deal with it.

The final base can be chipped away rather easily with large collections of infantry full of twin blades and twin blades themselves.  Some of the buildings can be hit with the dreadnaught, but don’t rely on it.

The mission will end after the construction yard and a few production buildings are destroyed.

Mission 7: Mt. Fuji To Tame a Living God

It’s almost entirely counter-intuitive as to how you beat this mission on hard difficulty.  It is well balanced on medium difficulty, but at hard it is really odd.

You need to beat one of the Japanese lords before he is even able to land.  To do this, you will be knocking out the second lord.  It is also possible to knock out the third lord… but he’s not as easy and it is riskier.

By knocking out the second lord first you will dominate the seas and your ally will be at less risk.

Before doing anything get a strong defense.  Use engineers to build bunkers which you can load full of conscripts and flak troopers (or even tesla troopers).  You should build testa towers and flak towers.  This will allow you to deal with anything that comes your way.

Build up a naval port and pump out 4-5 Akula Subs, 2-3 Bullfrog Transports, and 2-3 Dreadnaughts.

The Akula Subs will prevent any shipyards or refineries from being constructed.  The bullfrogs will deal with any anti-air units your Akula subs cannot take care of.  The dreadnaughts will destroy the construction yard and all unit producing structures.  Once the VIP Bunker is destroyed (as is the rest of this base) the Japanese female lord will surrender.

The second base will be pushed by your ally. While this is happening build up a large fleet of twin blades.  You can use these twin blades to back door his base and destroy the construction yard and take out some of the unit producing structures.

Final group of units to build will be the new Apocalypse Tanks.  These bad boys self-heal deal tones of damage and have an almost entirely useless F ability which you’ll never use.

You can storm into the final base with the remainder of your twin blades, a large cluster of Apocalypse Tanks, some clusters of infantry including flak troopers.  This base will fall over very quickly.

After this you will extend the map.  On the northeast there is a cluster of power generators you can knock out with your sea fleet.  This will short the emperor’s defenses.

To the northwest there is your single conscript and war bear who you can choose to rescue.  You just have to fly a unit in the cage.  They’re not worth much but in the area is a lot of generators that can also be destroyed to shut down the defenses of the emperor.

Move to the Emperor’s palace and once its destroyed The Emperor will show up in a mechanical suit of armor.  If you use Iron Curtain on your army he will run away and not return until it wears off.  He’s very easy to kill so no need for it.

Mission 8: Easter Island The Stone-Faced Witness

The only instructions you are given is to ambush the Allied forces… well that’s certainly mysterious.

So setup your standard units, submarines.  Akula subs F key (the double torpedo) does insanely high amounts of damage and will destroy most of their fleet.

Some well aimed magnetic fields and orbital drops will work insanely well.

Upon finishing off the fleet (of which none will be air units) the battlefield will expand to reveal a really really small British base to the west of you.  It is very easy to kill.  Use subs to take out the majority of their naval bases.  They have planted ridiculously high numbers of their structures in the water…. so go to town.

Note the double torpedo doesn’t require you to surface to use… abuse at will.

You can also consider landing a ground force of infantry on the island with twinblades.

Once this is knocked out you have a new threat…. glorious leader Tim Curry has turned on you and created an evil island volcano fortress to control the empire with.

All of the Easter Island heads will shoot out infantry and act like tesla coils.  They can be countered with Twin Blades.

The anti-air turrets however are very powerful against twin blades and should be taken out with a ground force.  You can move all along the western flank with a small force and wipe out a lot of the infrastructure.

The big units you will want to get are Zeppelins.  These guys will soak tones of AA damage while still being able to knock out most objectives with relative ease.  Your main ground force will be able to take out most of the stuff on the ground.  Despite it being a large land mass he doesn’t actually have many structures that build units… it’s all mostly just shock towers and AA towers.

Destroying the ultimate weapon in time is relatively easy.  It is located the furthest away at the northeast corner.  It only has a few defensive structures in the way.

If you want to make use of your war factory you can build artillery to strike the volcano.  But honestly the zeppelins are going to be your best bet.

Once you’ve destroyed the three Volcano Fortresses it will be over and Tim Curry will be no more.

Mission 9: New York City Blight in the Big Apple

It is time to conquer President JK Simmons.  JK Simmons is a zealotous dog who must be put down.

The mission will begin with a final new piece of Soviet tech for you to use.  The terror drone has two toggles.  The first one will infest a tank and kill it from the inside.  If the tank can reach a repair drone in time it will destroy the terror drone.  The second toggle is electricity, however while there is a terror drone inside of the vehicle it can still fire.

In order to get past this part of the mission you will need to shut down resource production and use these on the resource trucks.  Once resource production is completely shut down you will move on to phase 2.

You now will gain access to 4 tesla tanks, 3 zeppelins, and 4 twinblades.

Assault the front with the tesla tanks and the twin blades.  Make sure to get athena cannons immediately because they deal insanely high damage and splash damage.  Use your zeppelins to wipe out the buildings.

Once you’ve destroyed all of the buildings you will move on to the final phase of the mission in which you will gain access to a completely different island and will not be able to access this resource heavy island with buildings.

There will be a secondary objective here to take over Wall Street.  You should do this.  It is protected by a number of vehicles and planes.  You can bullfrog in some flak troopers and an engineer and use the surviving group of tesla tanks to try and wipe out this force.  Once you capture it they’ll land infantry there which will do nothing.. so ignore them.

There will also be a secondary objective to kill Tanya… it just happens so don’t worry about it.  She will start swimming out in the water at some point and your network of subs will pick her off easily.

Your main tactic will involve gaining control of the sea.  Akula subs will be a huge advantage in this fight because they cannot be hit by air forces and can only be spotted by one sea vehicle which you can destroy easily.

Use the double torpedo F ability to sink structures from a very long distance.  Make sure to also sink the other facilities to the north of the assaulting island to get rid of all their sea power.

You should setup an early defense of tesla towers, anti-infantry positions and anti-air defenses.  Allied will use Chronosphere to randomly move vehicles into the reverse of your base.  The very last one will be athena cannons which if ignored will be destroy your entire base and cannot be defeated with just static defenses.  They also happen to have a minimum range so anything you can creep close enough to them will destroy them.  Alternatively you can use an orbital drop on them or magnetic pull.

Once you have control of the sea make sure to build dreadnaughts and bullfrogs.  The bullfrogs are anti-air and can be used later to paratroop units into the enemy base.  Use the dreadnauts to slowly crush the infrastructure of the enemy, without a shipyard there is nothing they can do to stop this.  The mission ends when the Statue of Liberty is destroyed…. as does the campaign.

Congrats!

EA is Not the Worst Company in America

For the second year in a row The Consumerist has rated Electronic Arts (via public voting) the worst company in America.

This of course was done via popular vote and Electronic Arts is the most popular worst company in America.

I think that if anything is what they actually are, the most popular bad company in America.  Not the worst by any means.  There are obviously some voting problems here.  If polls were setup outside of  Walmarts showing all of the various propaganda about the bad stuff Walmart does, Walmart might be the worst.

This article acts as a defense of Electronic Arts, not because they are great guys, but because there are far worse villains in the world than the guys who make video games for a living.

Why Electronic Arts?

If you ask the President of Electronic Arts why he feels EA got this award he would say it’s because they’re the top, or more oddly… that people targeted them because of their pr-LGBT stance.

This last point was very odd.  Bioware (the RPG branch of EA) make games that feature characters who you can make into lesbians and homosexuals.  Mass Effect 3 most notoriously features a gay black love affair that you can craft if you want it.  SWTOR came under heavy fire when they said they would add in LGBT relationships and even more when they actually did it.

So I decided to go to the White Supremicist web site that has been around for a little over 20 years.  I first found Stormfront when I became intellectually interested (as a child) on whether or not racists actually still exist… they most certainly do.  Stormfront like any other white supremicist league has a fervent and powerful gaming community.  So some quotes from their forum on Mass Effect 3:

“Im disappointed in the open faggotry in this game, in one scene a male negro talks about losing his husband back on earth… 

So pointless and disgusting to have stuff like that in a game, shame on you Bioware.”

“The first 31 hours of gameplay… I really liked. Tense action, good sense, atmosphere, music, story (slightly less dialogue options than in ME2 though) but… What really, really bugged me was the ending/s. The Stargazer cut-scene was a nice reflection though, but the initial choices are a bit too similar in a depressing way, imo.”

“ME3 was a great game until the ending. I here most fans hated the ending so much that they’ve either subscribed to “Indoctrination theory”; in which Shepard is hallucinating the end scene, or are complaining to Bioware to write a new one in DLC form.”

“I agree. It’s pointless and annyoing to have political correct and multicultural marxist agenda in games. It’s everywhere.

I couldn’t believe it when that pilot Cortez started crying to my Shepard about the loss of his husband. And it gets worse, you can overhear conversation on the Citadel in which a woman is searching for her wife.  Then there is the black guy Anderson romantically involved with Kahlee Sanders, one of the few remaining blond haired, blue eyed humans (apparently in Mass effect universe genuine blond hair and blue eyes are almost nonexistent ). And of course, except the Reapers, we have the other bad guys, Cerberus , “human supremacist” group. Etc. Yuck! I’m sorry now that I bought ME3. I finished it but it left a sour taste in my mouth.

It’s sad that gaming industry joined in pushing a certain agenda.”

Yes as it seems even the white supremicists are split on homosexuality in Mass Effect 3.  From a simple sampling of 100 responses I found a little under 50% did not care about the gay relationships while another 50% were actively boycotting Electronic Arts.

Although it is possible that there were church groups and hate groups working against EA to try and make them the top, it might only represent a smaller portion of society.

So what is the real reason EA was voted the worst company in America?

There are two distinct reasons that are both true and when combined make for a surefire winner.

The first is that gamers are the most connected players in the world.  They watch more Youtube videos than any other crowd, they spend more hours on Reddit than any other sub-reddit, and take in more news than the average person.  Gamers in their heightened intellectual state are also prone to protest.

The mass protest of gamers in 2011 was enough to cause legislatures to consider the Stop Online Piracy Act.

A year later the protest of gamers was enough to stop any real legislation in regards to violent video games.

Video gamers are a giant and powerful untapped voting electorate that no politician has ever sought to capture.  On top of this they are also one of the most international crowds.  Electronic Arts ships its games off to over 300 countries world wide.  There is no other company on the list that even matches this.

When I voted (as a Canadian) in this poll it never once asked me what country I was from.  It just allowed me to vote.  To this extent this massive international block could swing in and send a note to the gaming industry, hey, you guys suck!

But with that in mind had it been ANY games publishing company on that list, they would have been worst as well.  Activision could have easily won this award simply for being the only games publishing company on the list.

If there were two on the list, neither might have won.  One of the problems with this is you have four major retailers, four major banks, four cable networks, two postal delivery services, seven Internet providers, three airlines, four credit services, and a cruise line… that’s a lot of split voting.

In a political situation it would be like if half of the Democrats left the Democratic Party and created The New Liberal Party of America. This would split the Liberal vote in half and cause the Republicans to win every election.  This is basically what is happening in this poll.

So that’s a long winded way of saying #1.

The second reason has to do with their business practices, although as I will show later, their’s are not nearly as bad as others.  Electronic Arts releases SimCity and on the first day you can purchase three DLC packs.  Each of these cost $10 and add a lot to the game in terms of functionality.  That makes the actual price of the game to be $90 when games like Cities in Motion 2 are running around selling their game for $20.

This kind of business practice of splitting up games and nickle and diming consumers is enough to anger people.  It gets worse with SWTOR’s free to play model making you purchase toolbars and character slots (and expansions).

When you have a company that sells 50 million games a year and in each one of those they try and nickle and dime people a little bit…. it’s going to have a lot more breadth than some of these other guys.

Actual Worst: The Banks – Bank of America, Chase, Capital One, and Wells Fargo

It’s funny that America’s economy can be entirely blamed on a collection of banks conspiring to cheat consumers and in term cheat the country… and yet people are so willing to jump on a video game publisher.

It’s like if Satan was marching his army across the world conquering as he went and a gypsy was stealing quarters at a market, people would be more willing to tell off the gypsy woman than Satan.

But that’s exactly how it is.

10 years ago the banks of America were caught using poor business practices, that they still use today.

The worst of these is giving people mortgages, that they know people would be unable to pay back.  They allow people to take bets through differential investment insurance on whether these people will fail at paying their mortgage and when they can’t pay their mortgages these guys take their homes and in turn profits go to the guys betting against them.

This happened all across America and still happens.  Bank of America is clearly the worst of the worst.  With a four way split vote on banks it’s amazing that Bank of America was even able to get into the finals

But I ask this.

What is worse from a company.

A company that will liquidate the total assets and home of 1000 families functionally making them homeless and destitute.  Or a guy who charges you an extra $5 for a character slot?

Because the effects of Bank of America are not as every day visual as EA’s it might be hard to see how bad this collection of banks are exactly.

Interesting fact about… interest.  Interest was first established by Jewish bankers in the 11th century.  The idea was Jews would store your money in a bank, they would take your money and invest it in something and you would collect interest.  The interest rate would be competitive with other bankers and so bankers would be forced to give larger and larger cuts of their international profit.

Every day nickle and dime include the transaction fee which was first introduced by Bank of America.  This practice became so big that banks started offering people to trade their interest gains for transaction fee removal.  Yes the banks convinced us that they were doing us a favour… as opposed to us having done them a favour by letting them hold our money.

Unfortunately the victims of this bank are so destitute and broke they don’t have a voice to speak out against these guys.

#2 Worst: Walmart

I can understand there might be a little resentment towards Sears, JCPenny, and BestBuy.  But honestly, none of that resentment is even remotely close to that of Walmart.

Walmart is such a clear second worst company in America.  However instead of being rated second it gets to be tied with AT&T for third because of how the voting brackets worked out.

Walmart is everywhere.  It is the largest distributor of goods in the world.  They purchase and sell more stuff than anyone would have ever thought possible.

However simply being large is not a problem.

Walmart has two major problems that make them second worst.

The first, and most critical is they do not treat their employees well.  Here in Canada Walmart has most recently been caught in a foreign workers fraud.  Basically in Canada if you cannot hire from the local population you can hire foreign workers to temporarily work in the country and reduced rates.  Walmart fired a large portion of their staff and replaced them with foreign workers.  Other countries have this and I have no doubt Walmart does this world wide.

Another major labour problem involves unions.

Walmart hates unions.

In Quebec a Walmart staff voted to become unionized.  They signed on with he Canadian Autoworkers Union (the CAW creates and supports small unions for such places similar to how the Teamsters work in America).  Less than a week later the Walmart announced it was closing down.  All staff was laid off and everyone lost their job.  Walmart did not want the idea of a unionized Walmart to spread to other Walmarts.

A second major problem with Walmart involves their foreign workers.  All those cheap goods we buy come at a cost.  Walmart operates thousands of sweat shops in China using mostly prison labour but also some child labour.  Under these conditions people make all of the goods we find at Walmart.

The goods are sent to your local Walmart where Walmart sells them so cheaply that local made non-sweat shop goods cannot survive.  Other retailers are fighting to survive against the Walmart Juggernaut.

Third Worst: Carnival Cruise Lines

I’m sure there are tones of reasons to hate AT&T, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft… I really do.  But I don’t think Google changing the layout of Youtube or Facebook adding Timeline really cut it against real hard hitting problems of some of these companies.

Most recently the US Senate indicated the Carnival Cruise Lines costs the US Navy $4.2M in rescues with over 90 serious incidents.

As a response Carnival Cruise Lines indicated that it is maritime tradition to help anyone who is in need and referenced that they sent one of their cruises to aid Florida.

And this is where it gets kind of weird.  First it means that the people on that cruise were sent off to Florida instead of their normal regular destination.  And second it means that Carnival Cruises have way more problems than you will often hear about.  With over 90 serious incidents there is more going on in Carnival Cruise Lines than you might think.

I don’t even know why it is called an American company.  Carnival Cruise Lines is based out of some small island in the Bahamas and simply using American services for their cruise.  Yes, they don’t pay taxes.

Most cruise lines will cancel their cruise if the weather is too bad.  As compensation they will often offer various packages around the same time on ships that are sailing that won’t encourage weather problems.

Not Carnival Cruise, this discount carrier will go no matter what.  More often than not passengers will get dropped off on random countries that are not on the list.  Some of these areas do not have access to an international airport meaning once you get on this cruise, you cannot get off no matter what.

And you really get the idea that it is discount.

People often report unclean conditions, shortages of food, bad smells everywhere, understaffing, theft, and nickle and diming.

I can’t see how Electronic Arts who charge you $10 for DLC can even be compared to these charltons who are seemingly so incompetent.

EA Isn’t the Worst

EA gets a lot of flak because they are the kings of an industry that is full of despicable business practices and games being pushed forward before they are done.  Electronic Arts is a symbol of all of the problems almost every single gaming company out there has, not the exception.

I didn’t mention it until now, but it is worth mentioning.  Recently Electronic Arts laid off a large portion of it’s staff at a Montreal based studio that worked on mobile apps.

This is not a shitty EA specific decision, this is something every single gaming company out there does all the time.  The problem is that because Electronic Arts is so freaking huge

When I worked for Bioware (pre-EA) and Ubisoft prior I was hired on for a contract in which my contract expired on the release date.  If they pushed back development I would get a contract extension.  The work I did was not needed beyond the development of those games.

This is the uncertain world that video game developers live in.  Everything they do is very specialized and because of this once a game is done, they’re not needed anymore.  Looking at Bioware’s hiring I found this:

bioware

It’s very obvious from this job posting that one of these two positions is a temporary one.

This is how it is for people who make games everywhere.  They want to get that position on the left, but they have to start off with a bunch of those positions on the right.

In a game development cycle it starts off with artists who are working out the conceptual stuff.  Artists include both graphical and authors who are working out the story.  After six months they might hire on some people to work very specifically with character models and another to work on just backgrounds.  Staff shifts from one job to another and on launch day there is a giant set of lay offs.  The only people kept on are usually those who have the skills to work on effective DLC who generally get contract extensions.

These people who are held on might get transferred to another project as the DLC runs out.  They then hire on another wave of people to work on another project.

Every single company does this.  The fact that EA might hire on a thousand people to make a game means that they’ll probably lay off a thousand people once the game is made.

If this still disgusts you remember every single game developer does it and the only way to stop it would be to boycott all games… which you will never do.

Are We Over Paying?

I ran into an article today from a former reviewer who was angry. It’s worth reading.

The premise of the article was that we are over paying for our games and the people in the industry are assholes for saying otherwise.

So I felt a need to reflect on this.

First I agree.

When I started this blog I was purchasing every single new PC release that came out. This meant every single PC game at full price, all $60 with another $60 in DLC.

About a year ago I decided to stop buying every day on release.  Instead I began to find some satisfaction in the one to two month old releases.  Eventually I began to start dipping into the retro libraries of Steam and founded the “Steam sales” series.

Steam did not offer a boom to PC sales.  Actually what it did was band aided a dying format.  PC sales are no higher now at the peak of Steam’s popularity than it was 10 years ago.  PC sales still represent roughly the same percentage of sales present a decade ago.

Actually all Steam has done for the gaming market is made it so that people can purchase multiple older games for the same price as a newer one.

This practice of course already exists in the console world, it’s called a “used game.”

So no, even with Steam’s mega sales and being much cheaper than console, the price of games is really not going down.  PC gamers pay the “there’s less people playing multiplayer tax” every time they buy a game.  They also pay the “one month to a year late DLC tax” as well.

$60 is a lot for a game.  It’s a lot for a game that is 2-3 hours in length.

Generally speaking reviewers seem to give games insanely high scores despite getting only 2-3 hours in content for $60.  Even getting a 60 or a 70 is rather high for how little you get out of these games.

But the reviewing community at large seems okay to tell people that “yes this game is worth paying $60 for.”  It seems odd that a game like LIMBO which was made by one guy for under $40,000 is more popular than Homefront which cost millions to make.  It’s as if the price point for an equal amount of gameplay was different?

These days when I pay full price for a game and pre-order I often find myself duped into it.  With Omerta: City of Gangsters for example I was offered a special gangster type as a pre-order exclusive benefit.  No less than a week later the gangster was offered up to everyone for free.  Worst yet the game wasn’t exactly what was described.  It appears from many demo videos that you would be able to build anywhere.  In reality you could only build on designated construction sites… which made the world as a whole smaller than that of Tropico 3 (a game made 5-6 years ago).

I also felt “screwed” when SEGA released Aliens: Colonial Marines.  The community outrage over this game was so large that people were giving this game far lower reviews than it actually deserved.  The game wracked up about 10-15 hours of gameplay, almost 4x the industry standard, and offered a functional multiplayer.

The outrage was over SEGA, or more importantly Gearbox releasing a non-playable demo of the game which had visuals and gameplay elements that were never going to be in the game.  When the game was released, the game received looked nothing like the demo or promotional material.

There was a good reason for this.  According to Kotaku the visuals and gameplay were from a totally different game.  As the story goes Gearbox contracted out the work to Obsidian Entertainment because they were too busy making Borderlands and Borderlands 2.  Obsidian Entertainment created a visually beautiful COD style game but because of constant story changes and oversight from both SEGA and Gearbox they just couldn’t make room.

So the demo shown to everyone was one from Obsidian Entertainment’s work on the game.  Gearbox took the game and had to crap down the graphics so that the average PC could actually play it.

The end result was me pre-ordering a game for $60 and immediately feeling ripped off when everything looks and plays really crappy.

Aliens: Colonial Marines to me was a game worth about $20 and if the DLC was good enough it might add up to $60.

But that’s not the business model that they’re working with.  They’re making a game to sell for $60 and then sell each piece of DLC for $5-$15.

AlphaOmegaSin is also upset with this in light of EA announcing they would have microtransactions in every single future title.  This would not be a problem with Electronic Arts announced they were reducing the price of Sim City 4 to $20 and planned to sell DLCs and expansions.  It wouldn’t be so bad if Battlefield franchise was going to be free and have microtransactions.

But what they’re saying is that they are going to sell games at $60 a pop and on top of that every single game on launch will come with microtransactions that will also add up even more dollars.

To put this simpler the game now costs on launch $60+.  For the basic game you pay $60 and eventually you will have to do some sort of leveling up system in which if you pay extra ($60) you get all the guns, but if you grind for a year you can get all the guns for free.

Hrm…

This sounds familiar.

It’s as if I’ve heard of this profit model before.

Oh I remember now.

It’s League of Legends.

Yeah free to play, except if you want to play well and get all of the heroes it will cost you over $300!

Around a decade ago I argued that MMOs were the best way to play because you could have self-created content and the price capped at the monthly subscription fee.  The way the market is going is really making me feel like I have to get back into MMORPGs.

Command and Conquer To Be Free to Play

Well it’s official, EA has lost their minds.  Or they’re just realizing that free to play models are insanely profitable.

Command and Conquer will be free to play.

This is not to be confused with Command and Conquer Tiberian Alliances which of course is already free to play.

This is a game that was originally called Command and Conquer Generals 2.  Bioware was set to make the next Command and Conquer as the first in their series of RTS games.

It was questioned whether or not Bioware could even do it.  Bioware is basically EA’s RPG division and they do nothing but RPGs.

So after a few months of development the name changed from Command and Conquer Generals 2 to simply Command and Conquer.  It was announced also that they would be releasing Generals 2 at a future date.

Well now they’ve decided that Generals 2 will be the main body of work for Command and Conquer.  As well it will now be a free to play game.  They will be working on new factions that are more Tiberium Sun and Red Alert themed later.

Yes, Red Alert themed.  That one should be strikingly odd since the Red Alert factions were basically just modern day armies with crazy technology.

Their free to play model will involve purchasing a general and gaining abilities as you level up your general from playing.  Each faction will have several generals that can be purchased.

This model resembles League of Legends in which you can purchase heroes to level them up.  It can also be seen as similar to Age of Empires Online in which you had premium factions which could accomplish post level cap grinding.

What this means is that if this game fails it will be the final Command and Conquer ever.Age of Empires Online went through a similar process.  Age of Empires was steadily pumping out RTS games and their final Age of Empires was oriental themed.

Age of Empires Online came out.  The studio stated they would make whatever faction people wanted, and so they did.  But as they started making factions the number of users just did not increase.  They dropped the game and stopped making content.

The failure of this title was so massive the Age of Empires series was completely cancelled.

Command and Conquer will go through a similar process in which if the holy name of Command and Conquer is not strong enough to attract millions of users…. it will go belly up and fall.