It's easy to miss amongst all of the GDC 2010
coverage and news, but Final Fantasy XIV
and All Points Bulletin
went into beta this week. Of course, not much new information has surfaced about either, both due to the relatively short time they've been out there and to the three letters that are the bane of any tester's existence: the NDA. Those documents are the barrier between whatever fun gameplay (or buggy, glitchy nightmares) the testers are experiencing and the eager public, and Mark Jacobs
has gone so far as to say on record that the earlier the NDA drops, the more confident a company is in its game.
That doesn't mean that the NDA is an ironclad protection, of course. There are always one or two testers that find something so surprising, in either direction, that they consider it worth breaking the rules and being thrown out of testing for the chance to break a story. So put yourself in their shoes. What sort of things could you uncover within a game you were testing that would inspire you to break an NDA? Would you be more likely to break it for good news, or to warn other people off from a mess of a game?