Friday, November 11, 2011

The Old Republic NDA

Why do you think Star Wars: the Old Republic still has an Non-Disclosure Agreement up? There's about a month and a bit until its release, and information from the beta testers is still (officially) locked down tight.

Some theories:
  1. It's a dog of a game. EA/Bioware is hoping to maximize the initial box sales and hype by preventing people from talking before the game is released. Same theory as the movies which don't give advance showings to critics.

  2. The NDA will be dropped one week before launch, to saturate the media battle-space. This gives the Star Wars hype no time to drop before the game is launched.

  3. The NDA will be dropped when Patch 4.3 for World of Warcraft comes out, in order to drown out any publicity WoW gets before the game is launched. EA/Bioware tried this with Blizzcon, but it seemed like a miserable failure to me.


  1. #2.

    I'm a permanent beta tester. I preordered the game in the first six hours of availability. I have not seen anything to make me cancel my preorder; far from it. My preorder is justified by my experience in the beta test.

    Call me a fanboy or whatever you like, but TOR is solid and fun. Two MMOs can exist in the same space, even have the same customers. There doesn't have to be a winner or a loser.

  2. Yep definitely not #1.

    Probably somewhere between #2 and #3.

    First big stress test is tonight, might be interesting.

  3. I think the last couple of years have shown that too much hype doesn't do a new MMO much good. It just causes lots of people to buy the box and then drop the game the instant it doesn't turn out to be everything they've ever imagined. I think they are doing the smart thing by keeping a bit of a lid on it. Funnily enough I've found myself more and more interested in the game with every article that declares that it doesn't look all that exciting and new (where massive praise would've just made me go "eh, I'll believe it when I see it").

  4. I want this to start becoming a trend, really. Stop advertising things months or years in advance, and just spring it on folks all of a sudden. I've seen a few games do that recently and it's been so refreshing compared to the normal advertising cycles.

  5. I'd say #4, which is to try to prevent Blizzard from overwhelming any TOR buzz by trying to substitute their own buzz.

    EA is no dummy, and you try to step lightly around the 1000 lb. gorilla if you can.

  6. I can't wait for it to launch so I can see my former WoW raiders beg for a spot on my raid team a month after this game comes — out just like what happened when Rift came out.

  7. Also, thinking on it some, I'd actually like to present another alternate reason:

    Bioware has already actually made it clear that they are limiting the total number of copies being sold at launch in order to try and eliminate the server problems these kinds of games have on the first few days. By not pushing TOR information so heavily, they're reducing the number of people who will try to get a copy of TOR and be disappointed when they find out that there's actually no more copies available.

  8. I think that it takes a good bit of effort to overcome the inertia of bureaucrats who want to do the safe and lawyer friendly path.

    Well the NDA is moot on 12/15 when Early Access starts. So a Monday after (US) Thanksgiving/black Friday might seem to be the way to give people some info, not get too overlooked and be right after 4.3.

  9. From my experience of the game, it's clear to me that the NDA hasn't been lifted yet because there's still a lot of polish needed. So many graphical errors, buggyness etc...and it's only got about a month to go for release.

    Me thinks some whips need cracking back at the ranch.

    Saying that though, I do think it's going to be a really good game and one that's going to cause some damage to WoW and Rift subscription numbers.