Our tale begins last Sunday ...
1) Hey, The Escapist is linking to a sale where I can get Age of Empires 3 for a dime! Clicky! Oh, it's for Games for Windows LIVE. Hm. Last time I had a run-in with GFWL it was less than optimal. But fine. It's a dime, right?
2) Click to the offer. Add the item to my cart. Great. New continue to checkout. Now the page crashes and I get the Google Chrome Aw Snap! page. Hm. This might be a problem with Chrome and not the website. Maybe. I'll switch to Firefox.
3) Click on the offer. Add item to cart. And suddenly everything is in French. The link I clicked explicitly contained EN-US, but for whatever reason, adding an item to my cart transported me to Frenchworld. I try to navigate back but it's now all French, all the time.
4) I start over with a fresh browser window. Same link. This time it doesn't change languages on me. Add item to cart. Proceed to checkout. Now it asks me for my GFWL login. Okay, enter that and...
5) REJECTED. There are new Terms of Service, and I must agree to them before I can continue to use the service. So it threw away my login and gave me a link to www.xbox.com where I can agree to the new TOS. I don't want to seem pedantic here, but I'm not using an Xbox. This is Games for Windows, isn't it?
6) Jump over to the Xbox site. Log in again. Agree to the TOS. Now back to the GFWL site. Now I try again to log in. Login accepted. But it keeps putting the notice in my face that I need to agree to the new TOS, even though I already did that. It won't actually let me use the site.
7) Once again, I start over with a fresh browser window. Login. Add to cart. Pay. Download GFWL. Install. Download begins. Wow. It seems to be working?
8) Ten minutes later, my computer goes CPU-bound and freezes up. Now, I can't prove that this lockup was the fault of GFWL. But Firefox was the only other thing running, and I can't remember the last time I had a lockup like this. Just saying.
9) Rebooted. Start up GFWL. Hm. I was several megabytes into the download, but those were lost in the crash. It's sitting at 0 bytes downloaded. It claims to be downloading, but after a few minutes nothing is happening. I pause the download. Then I resume the download, but the "resume" button doesn't do anything. It's like it's not taking mouse clicks.
10) I hit cancel on the download. Then restart the download anew. Two minutes later GFWL locks up entirely. Thankfully, the rest of my computer is spared. I re-start GFWL and try again. This time it downloads for a whole fifteen seconds before it pukes and dies again.
11) A few tries later, and I learn that once the program crashes, you can't ever resume an existing download. I've actually managed to download a little over 1% of the game. But the next time I start GFWL, it's stuck. It won't resume. It just sits there. You always have to kill the download and start over.