Oct 30, 2011

Posted by in Blue Milk & Cereal | 15 Comments

Blue Milk & Cereal: Should The Player NDA Be Dropped Before Launch?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

Recently, we all got to enjoy  the massive influx of articles, reviews, sneak peeks and other material coming as a direct result from the recent partial lift of the press non-disclosure agreement . However, while the articles are great, the large majority of current and previous beta testers are still under the full NDA and cannot share any information about TOR without violating the it.

While we all may want to know more about the game, lifting the NDA with TOR is a bit different. TOR is driven by its story, and that in fact is one of the primary reasons people play it. But more importantly, to some, story is also the primary reward for playing it as well! Loot might be nice, but there’s more to it this time. As such, lifting the player NDA may cause large story spoilers (even if unintentional) all over the forums and in fact around the Internet.  So we have a feeling we understand why BioWare is keeping the beta testers tight-lipped.

But suppose we’re only a week or two away from launch, would you like to see the NDA lift then? Or should BioWare enforce the player NDA all the way until December 20th to maximize discovery and surprise? Sure, everything will be everywhere within days if not hours after the game launches, but still. Let us know what you think and don’t forget to leave a comment below!

Should the NDA drop at any point before the launch of the game?

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  1. I would approve a partial lift. Let us talk about everything BUT the class stories.

  2. The player NDA should drop when early access for people who preordered starts.

    • I agree with this and no earlier lifting. As a player, I want to discover things AS they happen. So in a future expansion, I want to be told only that…just as a for instance…”There are reports of a new race inhabiting Yavin 4 and disrupting the balance there. Go find out what is going on and report back.” There could be 2 new operations and a bunch of flashpoints that open up as a result, but I would enjoy it a lot more if I was able to discover them and not be shown every detail of what they look like, before they exist in game.

      The way that other games do it, actually forces the real game to be on a Public Test Realm and some over-analyzed, overly-nerfed form to be on the game servers themselves. I would hope that Bioware would learn from others mistakes and not give in to the “itch”. A better experience will be had for us not knowing everything, regardless of how much we beg and pine for details.

  3. Ajay (R2D2) says:

    Well, you have to remember there’s early access at least a few days before. I don’t foresee a NDA still being up at that time. As for lifting it a few weeks before, I think it should be done. There are so many leaks on the Internet already that it makes me cringe (even some previously legitimate SWTOR websites). The main reason Bioware has kept the NDA up until now still is that some things within the game are in-flux. They don’t want future players to be reading up on old builds that were meant to help decide which way to go on a few major game systems. Not to mention, other bugs will be present which of course will not be present at launch and some very new additions were mentioned that probably have not been polished. Once Bioware finalizes these issues and cleans up the remaining bugs, I expect the beta build will be so close to a build launch that we may see a lift.

  4. I think it’s safe to say that some games – maybe not TOR, but SOME games – go through many notable stages of evolution as they progress through beta testing. It’s not simply a matter of polish and bugs, but overhauling critical game factors such as class abilities, talents, itemization, economy, etc, etc, etc… The changes can be so drastic that some elements of the game are rendered unrecognizable as their former/original digital incarnations.

    That may or may not still be happening in TOR. Yes – even this late in the pre-game. But there’s only 50 some-odd days to go, you say? 50 is enough time to thoroughly test whatever it is they may or may not have changed, I say, and I also say that if you’re a developer that is still making such sweeping changes, it’s not the time to go public with anything that’s still in the “we might change this before launch” category. It’s one thing to have a 100 disgruntled beta testers going, “hey, why you nerf my OP class!?” and a whole ‘nother kettle of fish to have those 100 testers ranting about how badly Sarlaac Enforcers were nerfed in the last build, encouraging 10,000 non-testers to gripe about a change they haven’t themselves seen in action to decide whether it was in fact warranted.

    When the only changes being made are bug fixes and other minor tweaks, it’s time to open up and let the public prepare themselves to play your game – to let them get really, really, excited about it. If that time is not now, however, it’s not time to lift the NDA.

  5. gamerladyp says:

    I don’t want people complaining about features that are still in flux, but as soon as there is no longer tweaking going on at all, I think the NDA could lift. It will still mean a bunch of people complaining about things completely out of context without ever having seen the game for themselves, but that tends to happen with all the leaks going on anyway. At least with NDA lifted, responses to some of the more outrageous complaints could be answered by the devs within full context.

  6. I believe that the NDA is there to protect the developers interests from those of the competition. However the competition has probably already gotten either into Beta and seen it first hand or is scouring the leak sites.

    Either or safe to say what the NDA is protecting is now a moot point and has been for a bit.

    I would like to see the NDA drop a couple of weeks at least before early access, around Dec 1 seems about right.

  7. Spootybeaver says:

    I just want to see Skill Point Trees!

  8. I would like to see the NDA stay until Dec 20th. However I would like to see a separate embargo for sites such as AAJ and SWTOR Crew Skills so that they can populate data bases of skills and talent trees in advance of launch that could go live with advanced play. This would allow for people to start planning character builds and crafting choices. This would protect the story arcs and as well will deal with the very high probability of confusion from dropping the NDA. People being people they will rush to share their “knowledge” even if they were in beta 20 builds ago. By waiting to lift the NDA until Dec 20th you avoid that issue, and by having an embargo, lifted for advance play, for fan sites you can achieve the desire to have info for character and crew skills planning.

  9. Wannabe Jedi says:

    I think the nda should be lifted as soon as they are done making drastic changes to the game.
    I personally wont be reading about any class stories because I want to experience them all myself. Now.. talent trees and crew skills on the other hand lol I want to know every tidbit there is to know about them.

  10. I think it should be dropped when Early Game Access starts.

  11. I would prefer an open beta rather than a NDA lift.

  12. Don’t see why the NDA shouldn’t be lifted now. Those of you who don’t want their story to be spoiled should not go looking for TOR information on the internet. I haven’t played KOTOR 1 or 2 and I don’t know how either of their stories ends, not because there is an NDA on them, but because I haven’t looked. I want Bioware’s decisions to be more transparent and not veiled in mystery… especially when the game is less than 2 months away.

  13. I do not wan’t to see the NDA lifted on details. But I wouldn’t mind if they allowed the testers to give their impressions and maybe give a general break down of how some stuff works. I just don’t want any spoilers. Heck I would be fine if the had a permanent ban on posting any sort of how to info on the internet.

  14. It should be lifted.
    I will inform myself with fansites and their articles.
    Those are clever enough to keep the story underlined as SPOILER, so I can avoid this.
    But there are many other information I want to know.

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