Don’t waste any time once you have the game in hand. You’ll need to have EA’s Download Manager, Origin, installed and up to date. It’s a free 46 MB download and installs the Steam-like software.
Personally, I would prefer not having to install a “download manager” for each publisher out there and if I could keep all my games in one place, like Steam, that would definitely be preferred. Unfortunately, they hold all the cards and if you want to play the game you paid for, you’ll have to install Origin. You can download the latest Origin from http://www.origin.com/download
You’ll also have to create an account and setup a profile. Pay attention to opting out of sharing your information with partners, receiving e-mails, and your privacy options of who can see your profile.
You’ll also need Origin to get any pre-order expansion bonuses. Once in Origin, you can click the ‘Gear’ and go down to Redeem Product Code and enter the code you were given at purchase or by e-mail.