NDA Drop

Hey, Ravious! Scrolling through the archives, I noticed this gem from 2009. Since the link in there died, let me quote Mark Jacobs:

As to NDAs, the rule I’ve always gone by is my “time before release rule” in order to judge the confidence the publishers have in their new game (doesn’t apply to ports or games that are already out in other places). I add a +1 for every week prior to release that the game’s NDA has been lifted and come up with a score. If <4, there’s a lack of confidence in the product, if you are >8, they really believe in the game. WoW had a great score (the highest I believe) and some of the MMOs that failed, had, as expected, low scores. A score of 4 is just about the minimum you should expect from a MMO publisher.

So where does that put GW2?

: Zubon

17 thoughts on “NDA Drop”

  1. It would put us at TBD.

    As far as the score is concerned it would be at 6 now if you count the public NDA. For Press were at >12.

    At minimum i estimate it will be a month or two after the game ‘goes gold’ before launch due to production and distribution of the game. Well they could do it in as little as two weeks, but a month seems a safe estimate. Putting us at 10 if gw2 goes gold after bwe2, which i consider unlikely. I would estimate it to go gold after bwe4-5 putting us at 18-24.

  2. I believe that ArenaNet is very confident in their game, and they are responding very well to criticisms.

    The big ickies are going to be PvP balance, WvW balance, and “end game” fun. Much of that requires long-term play and are moving targets anyway. On the Jacob’s scale though, I’d say GW2 is a sure thing. ;)

    1. Keep in mind the “end game” in GW2 is not like that of your typical themepark MMO. Yes there are higher level areas but the nature of the game mechanics means you can experience the same intensity of content at level 1 as you would level 80. Additionally there is no “end game” instanced big raid cotent like that of other MMO’s, eg. WoW.

  3. I’ll honestly say I don’t trust Jacobs’ scale because at the time he was using rhetoric about NDAs to claim grand success for his game and failure for the competition.

    It didn’t quite work out that way, so I’d count the theory as unproven.

    From what I’ve seen at various studios, there hasn’t been a lot of formula applied to NDAs other than dictated by marketing and legal departments: Who have no more than a layman’s impression on the state of the game’s development. Faith in the game also has so many different definitions from those departments.

  4. I was trying to find that quote a few weeks ago as I am also a big believer in this theory. Say what you will about Jacobs, but he does come up with some great truisms, among them the one about server merges reflecting the health of a game.

    We can’t really apply this to GW2 as we don’t have a release date as yet. We do have a release date for TSW though, which was why I wanted to get the exact formula. Closed Beta NDA still in effect and release date in about 4 weeks.

    1. We don’t have the release date, but we do have an NDA drop date, so we can compute a minimum score and keep increasing it weekly. Unless the game turns out to be vapor, which would be surprising but not physically impossible.

  5. While I hadn’t developed a formal rule, that was one of the big red flags for me regarding TOR.

  6. Though in TSW’s defense – there is an open “weekend” beta that has no NDA and is from a reasonably complete build.

  7. The TSW open weekend beta event is of one beginning zone (Tortage anyone?). I’d say more but NDA prevents me from doing so, which is my point.

    The point in that article still stands, although Aion benefited from already being released in Korea. Interestingly enough, Trion dropped the NDA for Rift about 14 weeks before release as well.

  8. The weekend beta has no nda – yes its the opening zone only but, you get to see what the game looks like, how it plays, how the skills work, and how questing and world interaction is.

    Only the closed beta has an NDA.

    Though I do agree that the more confidence the creator has in the polish of the final product the further out the NDA is lifted.

  9. First of all, gw2 NDA is still in place, the testers not under NDA just don’t ever get to see the parts under NDA. Second of all, why the hell should a game drop NDA before release and let testers spoil the entire game? Revealing mechanics is always nice, but content? As soon as a game has a story, you shouldn’t drop the NDA on that until after release.

  10. From what I’ve heard the original GW NDA is still in effect and has never been lifted. If that’s the case for GW2 too, does that mean the GW games and GW2 have not and will never be released? :P

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