EQN Landmark NDA Dropped!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Alpha and Beta Testing

Just a few years ago, EQ and EQ2 expansion betas were conducted almost entirely under strict Non-Disclosure Agreements disallowing discussion of the beta outside the focus group, and preventing the sharing of pre-release screenshots or videos even AFTER the NDA lifted due to a survivorship clause. Since then, these NDAs for EQ2 expansions seem to have been dropped. So far, the experiment has paid big dividends with more open communication and a much larger testing pool, bolstering the belief that NDAs really aren’t as effective (or necessary) as they once were.

Still, an NDA for a feature incomplete product like EQNL is product, right? EQNL has a UI that even Georgeson admitted is still “klunky” and a FAQ posted on the Alpha forums lists major missing features such as Grouping, forming Guilds, Friends Lists, not to mention the fact that there is but one race (Human) and limited character customization. And yet… just 18 hours after Alpha servers sputtered to life late last night and bore the brunt of thousands of players wanting to see what they’ve invested in, Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson and SOE President John Smedley took to twitter just an hour ago to drop the news that the EQNL Alpha NDA is, in a word, dropped!

What does this mean? It means that players can talk about Alpha, share screenshots, post videos, livestream on Twitch.

I have to take a moment to recognize this as a significant step for SOE. Transparency has been growing within the company over the last 2 years or so, with Smedley’s incredible direct engagement with players on the Planetside 2 forums, more candidness at SOE Live, his revelatory Reddit Ask-Me-Anything last week, and now here we are, a new game running on new servers (and experiencing some understandable instability under the load of a substantial percentage of 20,000 alpha players) has been opened up for public discussion under the harsh critical eye of players.

It makes me proud to create websites about SOE games, and I am rooting for them to succeed more than ever. Now let’s hope that Smedley’s openness becomes infectious and spreads to the rest of SOE. Smed is communicating like I think we wish all game company CEOs did. But he can’t be everywhere. He can’t do the Marketing, the developer responses, the AMA-style dev chats AND run the company.

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Comments (1)

  • Striinger


    Smokejumper gave us VERY candid updates all through the night and into the morning on the weekend. His dedication to be in there with his team and keep us informed on the vital thread really caused me to look at him with fresh eyes. I never thought he was a bad guy, but felt he was becoming more business manager than customer and team focused. His actions say that’s not the case (at least during launch weekend).

    My hat’s of to the guy. Color me impressed.


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