Even the tech savviest among us occasionally have to rely on systems that are either unfamiliar or out of our control. It is at these times when we reluctantly and begrudgingly reach out to support teams at the companies holding our entertainment or productivity hostage. When these experiences go well, we learn something new and get on with our business. On the other hand, when they stick solely to the canned responses — which in some cases only apply to a more general problem and don't approach or address our specific issues — and are unwilling to investigate further, we end up in situations like the two I've had with Ubisoft's support group. Even when confronted with evidence that the problems I was facing were widespread, I was given a classic "It's just you" brush off.
What Happens In Vegas...
In the first situation, myself and a couple friends were trying to play Rainbow Six Vegas on PCs over the Internet. About seven out of ten tries, we'd get an error reading "Unable to connect to game." Sometimes it would work flawlessly for an hour or so, then boot us all off in the middle of a match, refusing to reconnect for an hour or more. If it never worked at all, I might think it was a network or system security issue interrupting an otherwise stable connection. However, each of the three of us took turns trying to host, each facing the same outcome — more downtime than up.
The game forces you to connect to Ubi.com's servers to play. I yearned for the days of yore when we could just directly connect to a host's IP and cut out the middleman. We tried some of these older titles to test connectivity and they worked fine. Ergo, the problem had to lie with this third party hosting system forced upon us by Ubisoft.
At wit's end, I contacted Ubi support about the problem. Having seen dozens and dozens of posts on their very own forums from other users having the same troubles, I figured they'd have dealt with it plenty of times before and would know the solution immediately. The support agent (Jason, the only name I've ever seen respond from Ubi support) replied that it was probably my firewall. I explained that this system didn't even have a firewall, not to mention that two others I know were having the same issue, also without firewalls. Next he told me to forward specific ports on my router. I did it, though I explained that about 30% of the time it worked without forwarding anything, so this seemed futile. As expected, the port forwarding affected nothing.