Right now I am seriously pissed off about EA, DICE and Battlefield 2. I installed the game under Windows Vista a few months back, but when trying to join a server, I was informed that “Your CD key is not valid”.
Update 24/05/07: Guess what? I installed Windows XP, went through the exact same troubleshooting as described below, and now the game works. It could be that the cause is something else, but it looks like a real possibility to me that there is a problem with Vista compatability and BF2. EAs techie did not mention Vista as a possible problem factor, so apparently, if Vista is the problem they are not aware of it. It would be great if you can post your experience below if you too have this problem.
Update 27/04/09: Guess what?! A friend of mine had this exact same problem – then managed to get around it by right-clicking Battlefield 2.exe and choosing “Run as administrator”. Haha!
Today I took the time to go and have a look at EA’s support site. It has two search functions on the front page, one of which does not work at all. The other one lead me to a page of frequent BF2 issues, and I found a few pages relevant to my problem.
The page told me to reinstall BF2 – so I uninstalled the game, and started the installation. At the end, Vista had a blue screen – I don’t know why. I thought it might be related to the DirectX 9.0c update program, but when I tried the installation again, it went fine.
I was instructed to install first BF2, then Special Forces, and then the patch. The not-so-helpful EA installer told me I did not have enough space for Special Forces on the first go, although I had 2,5 gb free. It did not specify how much I needed, but freed up more space, and the installation got going.
Having completed it, I started installing the patch. Of course, EAs patch installer requires you to have 2400 mb free on the drive (I figure that means the C drive – I was installing on the D drive, but that doesn’t make a difference). Although I had 2,7 gb free, the installer refused to do its work – so I had to free up more space.
All this took quite some time, as you can imagine. So I became angry when I completed the procedure, logged in to my BF2 account, tried to join a server, and… “Your CD key is not valid”.
EA / DICE: I am staying away from your games from now on. Bugs and these patching problems is a big part of the reason why I didn’t get BF 2142 or the “booster packs” for BF2, and you’ll have quite a challenge getting me back as a customer ever again. As a start, I hope you’ll do whatever it takes to “validate” my CD key, so I can play BF2.
And, finally, as a software developer, I have to say you should be ashamed of the amateurish installers/patchers you force upon your customers. When it would be a lot easier if you just released every patch as a zip file and let users fix things themselves… that’s when you know you have problems.