| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (83)

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 3:16PM silver001 said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
i think NDA exist sorely to prevent people from saying whether a game is good or bad. This is especially valid for SwTOR, where nothing is new but the whole narrative thing, which I don't find very interesting 99% of the time. But overrall, I find agree to some degree with what you are saying.

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 7:34PM (Unverified) said

  • 1 heart
  • Report
@silver001 Amazing how you make a valid point but are down ranked immediately because it didn't follow a TOR is AMAZING route.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 11:54PM ImperialPanda said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)

Actually it's not a valid point because an NDA does not prevent anyone from saying anything.

If next-door Billy played the beta and wanted to say he thought the game sucks. He's gonna say the game sucks regardless of whether there's an NDA or not.

It doesn't matter what the NDA is suppose to or not suppose to do, because it CAN'T BE ENFORCED. It's utterly meaningless.

Anyways, everyone already understands that in 2011, beta = free trial.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 3:22PM winterborn said

  • Half a heart
  • Report
The amount of known and on going NDA leaks that was is in SWTOR were ignored anyway.

Most everyone knew that this was going to be nothing more than a KOTOR skinned Mass Effect with the bare minimum of multiplayer thrown in for EA/Lucas to charge a monthly sub for.

NDA's are for the things you DONT want your potential customers to know.

Wait till the cash shop hits the rails : (

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 9:46PM Jwheeler said

  • 1 heart
  • Report
Lets get something straight. Swtor is not all ME and KOTOR Role playing. Once you hit 50 you're doing the same thing as you would do on any other MMO when you hit end level/end game. You are either running heroic/expert dungeons/flashpoints, doing PvP battlegrounds, Crafting, Raiding current end content and yes even trolling chat.

So don't f*cking say it based on single player game play when what they did was give you more entertainment while leveling up instead of mindless grinding and text based quests to get to end level 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 etc. After listing that, I don't know how I would even manage getting from 1-85 in WoW besides listening to music and getting lost in the game with no real entertainment. Doing it only once was enough for me in that game (though I started back in '06) and for any other game that doesn't offer more while leveling up.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 3:25PM Celestian said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
The reason for an NDA is things change. People go around saying "This game is to easy" and guess what, next thing ya know that's what everyone thinks when infact 2 patches after that they tuned things. Same goes for abilities, power levels and class skills.

Better to wait until things have been mostly locked down instead of giving people false impressions about how the game is.

Transparency is not what we need during alpha/beta. Just read any forum and when there is the slightest hint of some feature or nerf and watch the flames when it doesn't happen.

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 5:25PM mysecretid said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
@Celestian

This. This. This.

I'm contantly amazed by the number of gamers who mistakenly think that beta means "free preview of the finished game", and not "free preview of an unfinished game we need your help in finishing".

Even the SWTOR beta I played this past weekend had some known bugs which were being worked on ...
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 5:55PM kgptzac said

  • Half a heart
  • Report
@Celestian


This is not a real issue. As an informed reader I'd rather learn about a game's development knowing that it is in beta, than nothing at all until the publisher deems fit. Openness shows confidence ; we may infer the reason when there its a lack of it.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 5:59PM Celestian said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
@Celestian = me yes I know.

I'm curious why my comment was edited. It was not offensive and suggested a means of seeing the real reasons behind the points I mentioned.

"Jef needs to play some mmos a bit longer before getting on a soap box."

Most of what you ranted about in your "story" was things someone might say if they had very little experience in the MMO genre.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 6:12PM DancingCow said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
@Celestian

Yeah I've never read anything from Jef before which made me think, "This guy's an idiot." But this soapbox did.

Games in beta aren't the final product. An NDA allows a developer to test all of the elements of a game before presenting them to the public. Stuff changes - is added / removed / improved.

A big part of what drives sales is expectation and NDAs are an integral part of managing that.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 6:16PM Jef Reahard said

  • 1 heart
  • Report
@Celestian

I don't edit comments, so I can't tell you unfortunately. Usually when things get nuked it's because of foul language or personal attacks.

I can tell you that I'd put my "MMO experience" (if there is such a thing) up against anyone. I started playing in '98 and really haven't stopped since. It's not uncommon for me to play four or five MMOs in a week (and I'm not talking logging in and making a character, but playing). My various game-specific columns and other long-form editorials on Massively reflect that.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 7:40PM Saker said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
@mysecretid These days so called "beta's" are unfortunately not what they used to be. Even the launches are incomplete, and so often what a beta should have been. There's far too much push-it-out-the-door mentality with these companies these days. Of course as long as people pre-order games, and buy things on holy "launch day" that haven't even been reviewed (by the all too rare truly independent reviews) this isn't going to go away. More of the same laisez-faire whatever the holy-market can get away with.
Reply

Posted: Nov 30th 2011 5:53AM DancingCow said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Saker

I think it is going away though.

Where once I used to buy nearly every MMO just to check it out, after so many games in crap condition at launch, I now just sit back and wait for the inevitable free trial / freemium conversion. I suspect many others do the same.

MMO developers have made out like bandits, plundering our pockets selling us unfinished products under false pretenses. The long-term cost has been loss of trust and consequently future box sales. I think they're starting to realise this, and this is why MMO PR tends to place a heavy emphasis on "we'll only launch when ready" and we're seeing these big, open betas that let everyone see exactly what state the game is in before buying it.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 3:27PM Shadanwolf said

  • 1 heart
  • Report
My understanding as ridiculous as it seems...the NDA was dropped for the last two weekend testing sessions only....N O T for the long term testers. :-0

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 3:29PM Zenethian said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
From a beta-testing point of view, it was probably to keep the community from obsessing over glaring bugs, incomplete features, speculation, and all sorts of weirdness involved with community hype. A NDA gives them a legal "out" to shut things down like that.

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 3:29PM Irem said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
"What about heading off bad word of mouth due to buggy beta systems? That's very possible, but ultimately even the most ignorant forum warrior has to realize that alpha and beta builds are, by definition, buggy, and the lengths companies go to in order to ensure NDA secrecy far outstrip the potential damage that could result from a few grammatically challenged opinions."

That's not necessarily true. I end up stumbling across a lot of pre-NDA-lift beta leaks on various gaming forums, and buggy systems do get negative attention. In fact, "It's just a beta!" is thrown back mockingly in the faces of some fans who try to point out that bugs and broken/incomplete systems are common in beta builds (in fairness, this is at least partially because of games like FFXIV, where the beta build turned out to be pretty much "what you see is what you get"). It's kind of a chicken-or-egg thing, but both players and developers are increasingly treating betas as advance previews for games; as companies play up the "You're a winner!" aspect of getting in and use what is primarily stress testing to hype their game even more, players sign in to beta for their exclusive sneak preview and are unsurprisingly disappointed and disillusioned if it doesn't knock their socks off.

I have seen pre-NDA beta leaks turn people off TOR specifically. Note that I'm not saying this means it's a bad game by any means (although I'm pretty sure from what I've read in reviews and hands-on impressions that it's not right for me), but MMO players tend to be très jaded and are often more than willing to throw up their hands and play Eeyore at the first sign of things not being all rainbows and puppies. Screenshots of less-than-polished graphics that got leaked early in beta testing are still floating around in places and haunting the game, and for people who aren't as informed about what a beta is and isn't as some of us here (a surprisingly large number of players), sometimes that's all it takes to make them go, "Ew, it looks like -that-? I was thinking of preordering, glad I dodged that bullet." They may change their minds later, but then again, they may not.

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 3:52PM Jef Reahard said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
@Irem

Those are good points, and to my way of thinking, all the more reason for firms to knock off with the beta-as-free-preview shenanigans and return to the days of beta testing that was actually testing (and also unpaid work).
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 4:03PM Irem said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
@Jef Reahard
Thing is, I don't think they can at this point, at least not and still have the wider community involved. That's why a lot of teams have in-house testers now that do all the "work" involved in beta, while fans get the "preview" part.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 6:04PM kgptzac said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Jef Reahard

Part of it is caused by developers don't treat their beta testers 's suggestions and launch the game in a buggy state. Not something serious. There always will be good and bad developers and gamers, And I have no problem with open beta being demo/preview of a game.
Reply

Posted: Nov 29th 2011 6:20PM Stellar25 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@kgptzac I just want to add that I have seen several suggestions (from testers) put into SWTOR. BioWare is listening to the testers but they aren't going to do just everything. This is one of the first times I have seen my feedback actually affect a game.
Reply

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW