One-Click Update

Auto-update is a wonderful feature for content management systems. Steam will update my games while I am not paying attention. Several other producers have similar updaters. These are great. If I need to plan ahead or budget time, I am less likely to play. PC games will benefit to the extent that they resemble console games: push the button and it works.

An absolutely necessary feature is that the game can update itself without my babysitting it. Give me an “Update now?” button and otherwise leave me alone. If I need to manually re-start the program several times, I am going to get bored and wander off half-way through; that other company over there has games that work when I click them, and I only have so much time to wait today.

The worst version of this comes from games that update patches successively, instead of automatically bringing you to the latest edition. As they say on the internet, FAIL. Update, apply, update, apply, update, apply… This can be acceptable if it is one-click, so I can let it run when I go to bed. This will not be acceptable if it goes through a lengthy version of that when I want to play.

The worst offender I have seen is a game still in beta. I appreciate that they have frequent updates, but it updates one patch at a time, and each needs me to click, “Yes, download”; “Yes, install”; “Yes, finish.” It might also ask me to manually re-start the game after each “finish,” but I don’t remember because I stopped thinking about those clicks one day when I tried to get through about 10 patches. I have spent far more time downloading and updating that game than playing, and if just getting the game on my computer is that tedious, my hopes for the game itself are low. I understand that different guys program different things, so one system does not reflect another, but if your game is already not fun before I even play, that is a bad sign in the same way that a lousy, non-skippable tutorial is.

: Zubon

10 thoughts on “One-Click Update”

  1. Steam has spoiled us all with its silent behind the scenes updating. I run Xfire and it claims to have an option to automatically download game patches but even though I have this option enabled it has never as far as I can tell downloaded anything.

    A recent awful example of updating: Earlier this year I bought the Opposing Fronts add on to Company of Heroes. I was not surprised when the game told me I must update my older Company of Heroes install but I was shocked to realise that this meant several painful hours of incremental downloads as patch xxx.001 was replaced by xxx.002 and so on all the way to the latest version.

        1. Sounds like my third paragraph: the kind of thing you can let update overnight, but not something you can play NOW.

          I have not had problems with it, but I have not had a lengthy update because I have not had multiple months without logging in since I bought the expansion pack.

          1. Yeah, that’s probably it Z.

            In my case I went from plain old Angmar to having to update all the way to whatever incremental update Moria already had.

            It was quite painful.

  2. Auto update is evil for those on capped broadband plans. Large uncompressed games updating themselves even if you don’t play them anymore, soon leads to no bandwidth left…

  3. I bet there couldn’t be better timing to read this post than while installing WoW from scratch. I already lost count to how many patches it has already installed. It’s downloading another one right now…

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