One word from three: NDA
Non Disclosure Agreement
I’m a blogger, and a sometimes cohost on Relics of Orr. On the show we’ve speculated about the possibilities of a Guild Wars 2 beta. We’ve talked about how Alpha is the new Beta and the once revered term, spoken breathlessly in dark hallways “Baaaaay-taaaaa…” is now just another cheap marketing tool.
The “new beta” leaves me feeling sad and hollow. I participated in the Guild Wars beta events, not knowing that they were probably mostly for marketing. I didn’t make it very far out of pre-searing because I spent almost all my time poking around for problems.
Once I fell through the world, reported it, and then spent the rest of that night (We didn’t sleep during those beta events yo!) scraping pre-searing. I also found out that Gwen could get you trapped on the steps of those houses. Along with reporting a slew of graphical errors, I only did a little actual playing of the game. (The houses in pre-searing used to be floating 10-15 feet above the ground, did you know that? I like to think it was my report that got their foundations back on the ground.)
That heady time is over, however. Betas being delivered to fans are now simply previews, polished and largely bug-free. We only have ourselves to blame. It’s become more about the prestige of getting that first look than about the bug-finding. Precious few people are willing to scrape the walls of a world looking for places they could fall through. (I even did this in Ocarina of Time, want to know what the inside of Hyrule castle looks like?) Nope, when people talk about their beta experience it’s with a little bit of smugness, that ever-so-slight “I’m more special than you because I got in early.” Or it’s even a superior feeling because the beta-goer helped make the game better. That second one I’m most definitely guilty of.
But the betas the betas. Alpha is the new beta, and I want in, and I won’t be getting in, and neither will my compatriots. This isn’t meant to be a whine about the state of the industry, and I don’t want you to think I’m some kind of puling child throwing a tantrum because the boys won’t let me into their treehouse because I’m a girl and have cooties.
In a sense though, community voices like myself and others do have cooties. We have our arms plunged so deep into the dough that we can’t help but get flour on everything. Let us into a selective event and we’d become a liability. Slap an NDA on us and we’d be forced to either shut down or run every other word we want to utter through marketing first.
We are simultaneously the most valuable and most dangerous connections in the community. If a company wants to make something known we are gold that can be traded in for hype. Let us inside, however, and we could easily become an infection. It’s a risk any shrewd company isn’t willing to take.
It’s not a bad thing. It just means that we need to be patient and understanding.
Personally I’m going to grab some /popcorn and enjoy the show that ArenaNet is treating us to this week in regards to the human race. It’s almost like a party!