Steam and Red Alert 3 Multiplayer Issues

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So last week I purchased Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 from Steam the game service by Valve so that I could play with my son.  I wasn’t thrilled that I had to buy 2 copies of the game, 1 for his computer and one for my own just so we can play together but what happened next frustrated me even further.

The purchase and installation itself were flawless and Valve definitely makes it easy for you to instantly buy/download/install and play games from their library.  I don’t think the faults I encountered are specifically a result of the Steam service, but it is possible it is related to their installer somehow.

After installing Red Alert 3 it works fine in single player campaign, but the moment I try and set it to work with Multiplayer I start running into trouble.  I registered and created a new EA Profile for my game just as I had done with my son’s game.  Of course I used a different email/username….etc for my own profile since you can’t have 2 separate profiles under the same email account. 

No matter what happened next I was never able to connect to the game server with my new account.  The error "Disconnect Notification" followed by The EA account name or Online ID you entered is invalid would plague me forever from that point on.

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I tried re-registering with 2 separate EA profiles and neither one worked, I Googled the issue and some said that passwords with special characters have issues so I changed passwords but that didn’t resolve it.   I finally opened a case with EA Support who told me it was wrong password at first, which I showed them my password change confirmation and that I could login to EA profile just fine online.

They then told me to uninstall my game from scratch and not only uninstall it, but send me instructions on how to manually wipe out all registry entries and folders/files for the game.  This is a very manual and ugly set of instructions to give to an average user, but I am no average computer user and so I followed the instructions (though I had to tailor them a little because I installed the game through STEAM and not from CD’s or DVD’s which the instructions must have assumed).

After game was wiped out I rebooted my computer and reinstalled my game, literally another hour spent waiting for another install.

I loaded it up only to encounter the exact same problem again, so here I paid $20 for a game for the sole purpose to play multiplayer with my son online and I have no ability to get it to connect online.

Generic error messages like The EA account name or Online ID you entered is invalid suck and companies should put error codes that they can use to identify more correctly what issues are whenever users encounter issues.

In the meantime, maybe there is something about the Windows 7 64bit system I am running, and when I get a new computer in August and try re-installing it the game will work then.

Again, the same Steam install of Red Alert 3 worked fine on my son’s computer two months ago and was able to get his account connected just fine via multiplayer.  When I used my son’s EA Profile, it signed in just fine but just gave an error about the license key not matching the one on the account, so I don’t know what went wrong with the new EA Profiles that were created.

-Justin Germino

Updated: June 7, 2011 — 8:00 am