No NDA lift.. just yet!

Ok, so Mark Jacobs has been stopping by a couple of forums to let us know the NDA lift isn’t happening just yet. You can read his words over at Warhammer Alliance and the Vault. At the Vault boards he further clarifies himself that:

Waiting sucks, I agree but after all the work we’ve put into the game, I’d rather wait just a little bit longer till we get some things taken care of before I lift the NDA. We’ve got an important improvement going into the game next week we hope and if it works out the way we hope, I want to make sure that it’s talked about by the current beta testers. We hoped it could go in this week but it couldn’t so I’m continuing to hold up the NDA lift till its in and a couple of other things are done as well. The lift of the NDA is a rather important point in the development/marketing of the game and especially in the light of some other developers either not ever lifting the beta NDA or not lifting the NDA till launch, I want to make sure that we did it at the right time.

That makes sense to me, actually. Looks like they would have liked to lift it as soon as possible, but they want to get in one last thing first.

And hey, he said lots of news this week, possibly starting tomorrow.

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Moderation issues at Warhammer Alliance

WHA is a great site and probably the most popular community site for Warhammer Online, but it’s had some real issues lately, just at a time when all the communities are looking forward and thinking about the influx of people they expect when the game goes live. In the aftermath of several long and very flamey threads (not to mention bannings, thread nukings, arguments with various devs, and opinion pieces that read more like personal blog rants than community representation) at Warhammer Alliance, Garthilk lays it out in a state of the nation address at WHA.

Previously it had been announced that the forum rules on this site were going to loosen in some areas and tighten in others. I want to make the expectation perfectly clear however, that after closer review, the largest majority of change has to do with the tightening of the forum rules. The volunteers and moderators of Warhammer Alliance are going to be more closely examining the content of posts and their value in the community. This invariably means that a few people will soon find themselves unable to post at Warhammer Alliance.

I’m sure we’ll all be interested to see what he and his team come up with as rules for their moderators and forums.

It’s an interesting balance to try to keep. On the one hand, you want to encourage posters to share their thoughts. On the other, you want to stop people from causing pointless fights and making the atmosphere in your community uncomfortable for other posters. Plus you want to keep a lid on wild and unsubstantiated rumours. And also you want to try to stay on good terms with the official representatives of the game/s you discuss.

The only answer to this is clear rules, and sensible mature mods who understand the community they are moderating. It may be true that:

The forum rules at this site are rather unique in that they are based on a foundation of principles.

Perhaps rules based on principles are not what you need to run a service for this many people, from so many different cultures. I can’t really comment on whether they are unique since I’ve never read the forum rules for any forum I have ever posted on. But the point is not that the posters have to read the rules, it’s that the moderators do…

confused.war

There’s some confusion currently about the Collector’s Edition (CE) vs Standard Edition (SE) benefits with respect to access to open beta and headstart. Fans are getting hot under the collar, especially in long incendiary threads at WHA, at the idea that pre-orders of the standard edition will have access to open beta and headstart because many had expected those would be CE exclusives.

Being centered around European Warhammer Online (which sounds as though it isn’t planning to give SE pre-orders access to open beta), I’ve looked through the thread trying to clear any confusion for us. Mark Jacobs lays it out pretty clearly (PO = pre-order).

7) In Europe, the plan is for the OB to invite the CE POs customers but the SE POs will not get a special invitation.

Then in answer to further questions about the EU situation (his answer is in non-italics):

Hold on? Eu players who Pre-order the Standard Edition WONT get into the OB and Headstart?

They will get into the HS but not a guaranteed slot in the OB as far as I know.

Well, we need to hear from the GOA guys for a definitive answer. And there’s time for people to cancel their pre-orders or switch from a CE to a SE if this new information changes their minds. I did assume that only the CE would get the open beta and headstart and that was an incentive for me to want it (um, though I’m actually getting it as a delayed birthday present, so maybe I’m not feeling it as keenly as others). I think it was confusing but am glad Mark Jacobs has stepped in, taken the flak and let people know what the deal is.

Do I mind a short open beta? Not immensely, I think it might protect people from getting too invested in beta chars or from seeing too much. LotRO’s open beta was pretty short too, but enough to get me hooked to buy it! So if WAR’s is short, that’s actually cool with me (I bet they’re relieved to hear that!).

The headstart thing? I’ll live if all pre-orders get it, whether collector’s or not. Might make some of our earlier posts a bit out of date, but still means those initial servers will be full of people who’ve been waiting to play this particular game enough to pre-order it at all. And it does mean at least one good thing, not everyone in on the headstart will be wearing the same collector’s edition head!

Interview with.. err.. us (and quick update on FAQ)

Warhammer Alliance have us featured under their community spotlight at the moment and you can go read the interview here.

And in other quick news, the Warhammer Herald has now posted the FAQ on capital cities in the light of recent announcements.