Last time on Tierless rants...(blurry flash-back sequence) Tierless was ranting, as usual, when he came upon an idear, what could it be! (We fade into a small utilitarian wood lodge. The only modern luxuries in the room are a Commodore 64 with wi-fi at which, sitting on an old wood stump surrounded by all manner of taxidermised animals sits a man that can only be described as the real life version of Dark Obi-Wan, it’s Tierless. He gives us a nod then begins to type)
The NDA is it’s own worst enemy. The NDA creates and fuels the industry of valuable secret information. Without it, that industry ceases to exist. Lets be honest, like the honey bee, round door knobs, breathable air, ozone, and Lady Miley Perry, NDAs are on borrowed time. A few years from now people will look back and wonder, WTF we were thinking!
Why do companies have NDAs? To keep all the overly dramatic gamers from ruining their good name and spoiling their surprises before they can get their game to market right? Well in the day of the interweb 2.0 spoilers are like hope, everyone has some and most of them are misguided or bias. “I HOPE I WIN THE LOTTERY (BELCH) OR GET DISCOVERED ON MURICAN IDOL” quote the kind of people that vote, but shouldn’t be allowed to. Hope is a convenience I can’t afford. Doing, now that is something I’d buy stock in. Hope without action is just, hopeless.
After all these years MMO players SHOULD be better educated than ever before on what those words entail. Unfortunately I can say from first hand experience many of us do not grasp the concepts. Partly due to companies changing things up and offering “paid betas” where you give money, log in, and play. Back in my day betas were small rooms that you logged into and jumped 5,000 times until the game crashed...during an e-snowtorm, up an e-hill, both ways! Sigh, even that reference is too old for many younglings to understand.
“Stop incoherently babbling and get to the point”
Ok, ok! Calm down! With the web being easier and easier to use for spoilage, and more and more companies offering paid betas the days of the NDA are numbered. Getting rid of them will be difficult at first but the trick is to educate the player base on what degree of finish they are playing. If I was a dev I’d log onto a forum cry cry thread type a fat ;) and say, “what did you expect newb, it’s beta 1!”. Brushing off nebwbery like that, combined with educating players when they log into a beta phase on exactly what they are getting into are the keys to Peach's castle.
What are the negatives? You already have full on spoilers and leaks all over the net, why fight an unwinnable war? As I often say, embrace the problem, and work to educate and control it from within rather than putting up big black wall and pretending it isn’t happening. The first few months might be a little rough with players all ranting and raving but soon the logical and snarky will destroy the newbish complainers, all things will balance out, and before you know it it won’t be a big deal anymore.
NDA’s are a lot like prohibition. The only thing prohibition did was increase the value of alcohol and make it even more sought after. Secret MMO info is the same way. Once everyone has access it loses it’s value and is no longer a “special exclusive top secret make me feel important” kind of information that so many people salivate over. MMO industry, you can’t beat them, and at this time you're creating the monster, rather than taming it. I say, tame it to the point where you open up the cage door and it’s so institutionalized it doesn’t even have the ambition to attempt walking out. Frankly you don’t really have a choice...
If you haven’t noticed the Kickstarted MMO generation is already doing it for you by showing the genre levels of openness and transparency we haven’t seen since we slept in a glass house. Don’t be the glass house MMO industry, be the stone that shatters even that barrier and set your games free! (the room goes dark, the only light is the faint glow of the screen of the Commodore 64. We can just barely make out the face of Dark Obi...er Tierless. He begins to laugh maniacally as we fade out)