Champions: Beta, What Beta?

bandaidwhisperI forgot how much this sort of thing got under my skin until it happened again this morning.  When you’re a blogger and in a MMO beta that you really want to talk about, there’s a lot of temptation and pressure to break that pesky NDA and do so.  But, by and large, we don’t, because we (a) don’t want to be kicked out of beta, and (b) honor the intent of the NDA for testing and polishing purposes until the game is ready for public viewing.

Yet when some media outlets — including other bloggers — are invited to chat about the beta without any NDA restrictions, it’s so frustratingly unfair that I want to stalk around for a bit, looking for something to hock a loogie at.

Yeah, they’re limited in what areas they can talk about, so it’s not even a full NDA lift for them, but still.  What makes them more deserving of getting a head start on covering the beta publically than others?  It’s that question that makes my committment to keeping the NDA more and more tenuous (as it was last summer with WAR’s beta, as a ton of media outlets and bloggers were granted permission to start chatting about the beta before any of the rest of the testers).  Small MMO blogs, like this one and many others don’t often — if ever — have the chance to break any new news, or to be on the cutting edge of special developments.  All we can hope for is to play on a level field with the big boys, but I guess that’s not to be.

Bah humbug.


15 thoughts on “Champions: Beta, What Beta?

  1. Tipa May 4, 2009 / 9:45 am

    I know how you feel.

  2. Jennifer May 4, 2009 / 10:28 am

    That really stinks. I guess maybe their reasoning is that they have more control over what a press outlet can say than an independent blogger? I’m not sure, but it’s annoying either way. I’d rather get the Syp version of things than Massively’s (because, unlike Kyle Horner, Syp is actually a writer and not just a reporter!).

  3. Squirrt May 4, 2009 / 10:30 am


  4. Zubon May 4, 2009 / 11:19 am

    Since I cannot talk about the game, I have stopped thinking about the game, and mostly stopped trying to play/test it.

  5. Tipa May 4, 2009 / 11:57 am

    Have you, though, asked if you can get an exemption? Hudson seems to be able to talk about it and is just an ordinary blogger like us…

  6. Hiryu02 May 4, 2009 / 12:53 pm

    It’s okay Syp, I’ll still be waiting on your impressions. I did read the massively piece, but I’m still looking forward to your personal touch on this game. I’m getting pretty hyped about it, which is a first since WAR.

  7. Snafzg May 4, 2009 / 2:08 pm

    Two words folks…


    Hehe, I couldn’t resist.

  8. spinks May 4, 2009 / 2:33 pm

    The NDA has been lifted though? (I mean, according to Sanya).

    So come on, spill! 😉

    (And yes I know exactly what you mean, I even had a post written for BoG last year explaining why NDAs weren’t really binding, but Arb persuaded me not to post it 😉 )

  9. Shawn May 5, 2009 / 7:59 am

    Hey, I didn’t get in either, and I’m the managing editor for Massively. So you got into the beta, Syp? That’s not fair!1!1

    Contrary to an earlier comment, Cryptic’s reasoning for their beta rules are their own. The truth is, major game studios have more influence over what small blogs say than bigger outlets like Massively, because we have integrity rules set in place. The only reason they distribute press access to certain sites over others is traffic numbers. That’s it. No secret society with handshakes and membership cards. They want more people to see their stuff. The end.

  10. Syp May 5, 2009 / 8:52 am

    I know Shawn, and it makes sense. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t grate though 😀

  11. Shawn May 5, 2009 / 10:30 am

    Oh no, I know. And it’s hard to swallow, I understand that.

    I started out doing a fansite for Guild Wars, and I’d bust my butt every week doing a podcast that went largely ignored by ArenaNet for a long time. It pissed me off, but it was also my motivation to always one-up myself (and others). I used to have this theory that the major gaming sites who got these exclusives didn’t even play the games they wrote about. Now I realize that’s not always the case (although it is in some cases), but it really bothered me because I dedicated so much to that game and the community. I always felt like a guy who is willing to start something from scratch and build it up so successfully should be rewarded over those getting paid to do it.

    I think this whole topic is extremely interesting, personally. I just wanted to introduce a brief perspective from ‘the other side’, but I know where you’re coming from.

  12. Syp May 5, 2009 / 8:32 pm

    Definitely — there’s a sense of entitlement that perhaps shouldn’t be there. It’s just the natural reaction of someone who ranks passion above readership numbers, authentic fandom above comprehensive coverage. It irks me when these things happen, but it’s not like I expect any company to be on the edge of their seat worried about offending me in any way.

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