AA – Antivirus Annoyance

I decided to give ArcheAge another try – a friend at work said he rolled up a char on Salphira, and I thought it would be fun to join in. So I reinstalled AA and was able to log into the game, without a queue, and locate Salphira, a “high” population server. That’s fine.

I fiddled around and created a Nuian and Harani. I just couldn’t get into the looks of the other two races, the Elves and the Firrans. I decided to make my first character an Archer, then train ShadowPlay, then train Defense… basically the “Stone Archer” class.

After questing for an hour or two, I reached a point where I trained up a mount:

First Mount
First Mount

which was nice because that will help cut back on travel time. Not that at level 8 I was having trouble getting from one outpost to the next.

Island
Island

So far so good, you might wonder what the problem is. Well, I can’t seem to launch the game again. At least, not consistently.

When I start the game via Glyph, click “Play”, their anti-hacker process starts in the background (I can tell because it flashes an “Anti-Hack Shield” popup briefly in the corner of the screen), my disk usage pegs out at 100%, and it just sits there. This is kind of annoying, obviously.

Taunt Screen
Taunt Screen, which takes 10-15 mins to advance

I could rant against Antivirus software in general, how in my personal experience the !#$@& software causes more problems than it solves (keeping in mind that even the “best” stuff only catches 2/3rds of the known malware out there). But this takes 1st prize in annoyance because I haven’t seen any game ever hit this issue.

I realize botting and hacking is a major problem in ArcheAge, so this software might be doing something useful (?), like Blizzard’s Warden, but at least with Blizzard’s Warden, I could actually start the game and play it.

I cranked up SysInternal’s ProcMon to help figure out what the heck was going on, and after capturing some data, I see that starting ArcheAge kicks the Windows’ Antimalware Service Executable into high gear, scanning the ArcheAge data file: Live\game_pak.

game_pak scanning
game_pak scanning

I suppose I could wait until all ~24 GB of this file is scanned and then see what happens, but I’m definitely not waiting 15+ minutes every time I launch the game.

I thought about cranking up the debugger to look, but poking around with no symbols (very likely) isn’t a lot of fun… way too much work to solve this problem.

Stupid antimalware service
Stupid antimalware service

I thought about disabling the malware service – since that’s the symptom of the problem. Yes, that stupid service shouldn’t hog 100% of the CPU, yes, that’s Microsoft and not XL Games or Trion…

but I decided this annoyed me sufficiently that I uninstalled ArcheAge instead. Basically, at a higher level than this specific problem, I’d just rather play a game that doesn’t have a fricking anti-hack service running the background that somehow pushes the Microsoft Antimalware service into behaving stupid in the first place.

EDIT: The game finally launched, but stutters, undoubtedly because of the disk load that still is going on in the background. Geez this Windows Defender Service is poorly behaved. It might find itself disabled/stopped soon.

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