a request to Wizards from a playtester: please consider dropping the NDAs

I played D&D N at D&D Experience. Monte and the other guys shared quite a lot of mechanics at the seminars.

I respectively highly recommend that Wizards drop the NDAs on the playtesters. Nothing I know goes much beyond what was shared at the seminars. People are dying to know what we know and I would like to share. Heck, I would be even more thrilled if Wizards would post the character sheets. I want everyone to enjoy the new game!

Right now, I can say I had a blast playing D&D N but I can't back up my statement with much. Maybe Wizards knows of some harm I might do if I talked more in depth about D&D N, but from my point of view I'll be nothing but a cheerleader and I'll likely come across as a raging fanboy. I had that much fun even though I went in really skeptical.

Essentials didn't lure me back in (I played 4E up through Dark Sun but couldn't justify buying Essentials and didn't feel comfortable running a game without the full rules). D&D N interested me and now the playtest has brought me back. I'd pre-order if Wizards did such things.

I really want to share my enthusiasm with my fellow players.

Thanks,
Charlie
I played D&D N at D&D Experience. Monte and the other guys shared quite a lot of mechanics at the seminars.

I respectively highly recommend that Wizards drop the NDAs on the playtesters. Nothing I know goes much beyond what was shared at the seminars. People are dying to know what we know and I would like to share. Heck, I would be even more thrilled if Wizards would post the character sheets. I want everyone to enjoy the new game!

Right now, I can say I had a blast playing D&D N but I can't back up my statement with much. Maybe Wizards knows of some harm I might do if I talked more in depth about D&D N, but from my point of view I'll be nothing but a cheerleader and I'll likely come across as a raging fanboy. I had that much fun even though I went in really skeptical.

Essentials didn't lure me back in (I played 4E up through Dark Sun but couldn't justify buying Essentials and didn't feel comfortable running a game without the full rules). D&D N interested me and now the playtest has brought me back. I'd pre-order if Wizards did such things.

I really want to share my enthusiasm with my fellow players.

Thanks,
Charlie

I could reasonably think that overwhelmingly positive playtest = dropping NDA. If the feedback is great, let the players share it. If it is negative, perhaps the game isn't ready to be viewed by the public. Of course, I find the very concept of NDAs in an anonymous internet laughable. Just one player breaking NDA anonymously and only vaguely telling of what happened at the entire table lets the cat out of the bag, and letting only a limited view get out there can only be worse than showing the whole picture.
I find the NDA for D&D XP to be completely annoying. 

So you have DDXP, you had your seminars, people got to play test.  People tweeted "How solid the game was" or "I'm loving 5e" and they can't even answer questions like "what makes 5e more solid than 3e or 4e", but they can keep tweeting how AWESOME it is.

Then you have all the pictures floating around ... oh look this table was using an adventure that looks like the old school stuff from 1e/2e look at that big dungeon with the blue squares!

But NOPE - can't give any more information.

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Agreed.  I think WotC just likes seeing the forums blow up with speculation, as people argue and rage about things they have very little knowledge of. 
I agree whole heartedly. At the very least loosen them up. Let the people talk about it, but not show any photos and such. 
I'm suprised that there hasn't been a leak yet. But then again they might have been pretty good at keeping it hush. The only picture I've seen is of guys sitting around at tables from a camera on the table, you can only see the player's faces, and maybe a few people in the background.

I know the reasons why they don't want to weaken the NDA. Playtesting can change things.
Ant Farm
What is an NDA?
What is an NDA?


Non-Disclosure Agreement: a contract that says the people involved in the playtest would not talk about it (in specific ways)

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Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

The game is very early, and very rough.  It needs quite a bit of work before it's ready to stand up to the fires of forum-debate and review.  Having said that, it is challenging not having a place to go debate/share the feedback with others who are under NDA.
Ah! I thought he was talking about an aspect of the game.

NDA kind of makes sense at this point in development. I do hope that they open it up in a sort of prerelease fashion to get feedback from a very broad category of players. I know some people complained about the 4e feeling like an "unfinished beta" at times, but personally I am just interested in game design and I wouldn't mind being involved in such a thing. I would even be willing to pay for it in exchange for a small discount on the final product. I would consider it a cool opportunity actually. Maybe I am naive but I think even with a ton of free or nearly free beta material floating around, people would still drop money on the finished set.
Could somebody please explain to me why NDAs are at all a good idea when they have specifically been talking about open playtesting and have specifically been talking about how important our feedback is to them? If we don't know what they're doing, then we can't give them feedback.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
eh, they likely dont have a lot of the 'tactical' modules done and dont want to just release a copy of b/x to be ripped to shreds. thats my guess
The game is very early, and very rough.  It needs quite a bit of work before it's ready to stand up to the fires of forum-debate and review.  Having said that, it is challenging not having a place to go debate/share the feedback with others who are under NDA.



Screw that. We know it's going on. They told us we would get more information from DDXP and a look under the hood, but we aren't.

Show us the characters, show us the monsters, give us information. You said you wanted us involved, don't play this game WoTC.
The alternative from their perspective was to not show you anything yet at all.  Would any of you really have preferred that?

NDAs exist for a reason.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Could somebody please explain to me why NDAs are at all a good idea when they have specifically been talking about open playtesting and have specifically been talking about how important our feedback is to them? If we don't know what they're doing, then we can't give them feedback.


Right now they're in Alpha.  Even though the playtests have come back positive, there are probably going to be decently heavy changes under the hood from now until they're ready to show the start of something they can be proud of to the public and get feedback to polish it into a real release.

They're also probably wary about spin.  Even with everything coming out of D&DXP being positive-ish right now, if exacts (exacts that may go no further in the design process) were released, you could bet the doomsayers would be all over it, creating a major atmosphere of negativity.  More than enough of that is happening from the comments of the devs themselves, which have been so far rather noncommital and certainly about topics they feel stronger on: imagine the storm of fecal matter if the stuff the devs themselves weren't sure of was all over the internet right now, in far more absolute "this is what is" terms.

In short, it would be neither wise nor prudent to release full details to the overall public right now.  They want to do it on their own terms, when they feel that they can control the inevitable net negativity and get meaningful feedback rather than second hand reactions to an alpha product.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."

 

Follow me to No Goblins Allowed

A M:tG/D&D message board with a good community and usable software

 


THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

The alternative from their perspective was to not show you anything yet at all.  Would any of you really have preferred that?

NDAs exist for a reason.



Actually Yes

If WotC wasn't ready for people to discuss how the game felt then they shouldn't have had a large # of high profile bloggers playtest during the past week and Tweet endlessly about it.  "Oh I am getting used to my spellbook again", "5e is very solid", "5e is a great compromise between the 4e rules and the feel of D&D" - bah. 

 
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The alternative from their perspective was to not show you anything yet at all.  Would any of you really have preferred that?

NDAs exist for a reason.



Actually Yes

If WotC wasn't ready for people to discuss how the game felt then they shouldn't have had a large # of high profile bloggers playtest during the past week and Tweet endlessly about it.  "Oh I am getting used to my spellbook again", "5e is very solid", "5e is a great compromise between the 4e rules and the feel of D&D" - bah. 

 




my fave so far is 'it feels like dnd'. as opposed to what? eating your dice? or is that just a passive aggressive dig at 4e? either way, i throw up a little in my mouth
I'd imagine as opposed to other systems.  Not exactly an unreasonable statement to make.  I could probably come up with a system that doesn't feel like dnd, and I'd call it tic tac toe.  It doesn't even indicate the 4e dig, as last I checked 4e was included in "dnd."
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The NDA will be lifted. Just in the meantime folks are going nuts.Yell I just hope it's sooner than later.
There is such a thing as saying too much too early.

And you let high profile bloggers have access because then they feel all special and they say nice things so that you will continue to grant them access so that they can continue to feel special. See: White House press corps. 
Could somebody please explain to me why NDAs are at all a good idea when they have specifically been talking about open playtesting and have specifically been talking about how important our feedback is to them? If we don't know what they're doing, then we can't give them feedback.



Let me share my perspective as someone who does this for a living, copy-pasted from my explanation on Enworld:

"Broken NDAs can have very negative effects on how a game is received. PR control is important - that's why they DO it. One major thing is that many major games, while being designed, had a bunch of experimental features that were discarded or changed. The anticipation for or dread of these features will drive consumer expectations, and people will either be disappointed that a feature is not included or is changed, or will treat the beta as the release and not purchase the game because of a feature that never actually showed up."
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Regardless, those that have signed up for the playtest have at least a month to wait before we get our grubby badger-like mitts on the details. Unless of course WotC gives more information between now and then (DOUBTFUL), or someone that was at DDXP makes a drunken confession blog.
I'd imagine as opposed to other systems.  Not exactly an unreasonable statement to make.  I could probably come up with a system that doesn't feel like dnd, and I'd call it tic tac toe.  It doesn't even indicate the 4e dig, as last I checked 4e was included in "dnd."



It was things like: 
#dndnext is going to be a compromise, it will capture the feel of #dnd, and then apply lessons from #dnd4e. 4e fans we are not forgotten.


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Could somebody please explain to me why NDAs are at all a good idea when they have specifically been talking about open playtesting and have specifically been talking about how important our feedback is to them? If we don't know what they're doing, then we can't give them feedback.



Let me share my perspective as someone who does this for a living, copy-pasted from my explanation on Enworld:

"Broken NDAs can have very negative effects on how a game is received. PR control is important - that's why they DO it. One major thing is that many major games, while being designed, had a bunch of experimental features that were discarded or changed. The anticipation for or dread of these features will drive consumer expectations, and people will either be disappointed that a feature is not included or is changed, or will treat the beta as the release and not purchase the game because of a feature that never actually showed up."



I don't have a problem with NDAs as a whole - I work in projects and understand their need.

What I find silly is to have an event like D&D XP, allow people to attend, have seminars, and then have people who practically blog for a living playtest the system and allow them to tweet about their experience at all.  

An NDA should be an NDA, not a "Don't disclose details but please tease people with quips for the next 30 days so they can bicker on our forums about what your stament means"

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If they showed us the Character Sheet right now, there could be problems later on. Maybe they add Touch AC again or take away hit points all together. What if its just a rough draft and the Graphic Designer hasn't finished yet? All this can affect consumer behavior if it doesn't look polished. Now having people under NDA say its awesome, potential customers are now curious. And now you have a group of people who are willing to travel to conventions to test play it or even put money down on preorders. I say though, since your hearing a lot of people say its good, instead of just silence that it is probably not going to fail when it comes out.
Ant Farm
If they showed us the Character Sheet right now, there could be problems later on. Maybe they add Touch AC again or take away hit points all together. What if its just a rough draft and the Graphic Designer hasn't finished yet? All this can affect consumer behavior if it doesn't look polished. Now having people under NDA say its awesome, potential customers are now curious. And now you have a group of people who are willing to travel to conventions to test play it or even put money down on preorders. I say though, since your hearing a lot of people say its good, instead of just silence that it is probably not going to fail when it comes out.



This wasn't some scrappy, mock up session where they are trying out a few new concepts with designers.  

This was a convention held specifically for them to start showcasing their product to their customers, even if it's still in early development.  Video game companies do this with their shows where you can see early demos that let you try out just a sample of the game.  Authors do this with sample chapters.  

You shouldn't walk into a customer facing presentation like that unless you are ready for customers to see it.
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They clearly were ready for customers to see it, or they wouldn't have done it.

What they probably want to avoid is "WOTC PROMISED ME A PONY!!!!!" going all over the internet and fracturing things even further based on preliminary, and likely incomplete, information about what 5e is going to end up being.

If you want examples of how this can go poorly, I invite you to look up various postings of preliminary, subject-to-extreme-change information made by Blizzard.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
They clearly were ready for customers to see it, or they wouldn't have done it.

What they want to avoid is "WOTC PROMISED ME A PONY!!!!!" going all over the internet and fracturing things even further based on preliminary, and likely incomplete, information about what 5e is going to end up being.



In that case all information should have been locked up tighter than a drum.  What it sounds to me like is that Wotc is deliberately teasing us while giving as little information as they can.  That will work for a while to keep interest up, but I don't see how they can sustain it for even 6 months let alone the 18 that some speculate.


-Polaris
Meh.  I tried.

If all you folks want is cynicism and paranoia, then suit yourself.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Meh.  I tried.

If all you folks want is cynicism and paranoia, then suit yourself.


No cynicism from me. I just wish I could have been one of the ones to have playtested this weekend, because D&DN has got me giddy with anticipation.
Meh.  I tried.

If all you folks want is cynicism and paranoia, then suit yourself.



After the last several years of seeing how DND has been handled, I call it realism myself.


-Polaris
They clearly were ready for customers to see it, or they wouldn't have done it.

What they probably want to avoid is "WOTC PROMISED ME A PONY!!!!!" going all over the internet and fracturing things even further based on preliminary, and likely incomplete, information about what 5e is going to end up being.

If you want examples of how this can go poorly, I invite you to look up various postings of preliminary, subject-to-extreme-change information made by Blizzard.



But they have established they are giving us mount - example "Vancian spell casting is back".   So you have the pro-4e folks worried that we are going back to an unbalanced game where Wizards Rule and Fighters Drool, mean while the old school folks are looking forward to the day when their wizards have answers to many of lifes problems.

People are going to start setting themselves up thinking they are getting a pony.  We are already being set up for the disappointment because they are feeding us just a bit of information to get us excited (or depressed) but not enough for us to provide any actual feedback on. 

Look how the forums have changed over the past week or so - we went from people having idea on how things could be done in 5e to now everyone fighting over what such and such from DDXP means.  
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Meh.  I tried.

If all you folks want is cynicism and paranoia, then suit yourself.



After the last several years of seeing how DND has been handled, I call it realism myself.


-Polaris



Yeah, I'm in this boat.  More and more this "open playtest" just feels like they are blowing smoke.  I coming to the conclusion that we the players are really only going to be helping them reduce some of the initial errata, and that we really had no input from the start into any of the high level requirements for the game.  


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The NDA's could be there for legal reasons. If the rough draft of the rules is not quite ready to submit for official copywrite or trademark protection they might be using the NDA as a way of laying claim to the material so that another company doesn't try to rip off their ideas before they are complete. I know of many cases of NDA's being used in such ways to protect research findings before they are ready for publication. WotC is famous for trying to protect their IP rights (and rightly so, they spend a lot of money on creating their IP) and my money is on something along these lines.

It should be said, however, that WotC doesn't have to enforce their NDA. If they wanted the info to get out into the public they could give the playtesters a wink-wink-nudge-nudge and let them spill the beans without taking them to court. A simple letter/email of warning would be enough for them to retain their IP claim to the material.
It's also worth keeping in mind that NDAs and leaks are often used strategically by marketing to promote the product. They WANT people champing at the bit. It's a little creepy if you think too much about it, but ultimately they're trying to use what strategies they can to ensure the product is as successful as it can be, which ultimately makes it easier for 5E adopters to find people to play with and will give them more years of products before 6E shows up. So, for those who choose 5E, marketing is effectively trying to help you. Let'em. But keep champing. Sealed=Money Mouth
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I'd be really happy if you did drop the NDA, WotC.
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The game is very early, and very rough.  It needs quite a bit of work before it's ready to stand up to the fires of forum-debate and review.  Having said that, it is challenging not having a place to go debate/share the feedback with others who are under NDA.

That the game is still rough is all the better reason to make it public. If they wait till the last step, the same thing will happen that happened with 4e. WotC got lots of good information from the playtesters that various stuff was broken, far too late to do anything about it. Now is when we need to see the fundamental choices mechanics, because by the time the rules are final it will be too late to change them.

How does somone even get selected to be a playtester?
I know it is too late now. I am just curious.

On topic:I think the game info should stay secret for now. I do hope they grabbed people with a variety of gaming style for the test though.
I too, would like to see the NDA dropped.  Right now, all we have is rumors and rumors of rumors.  The little I've seen makes me think 5e is not going to get my money.  But I could be completely off base.  Until I see some kind of groundwork, I'm left to assume 5e is not going to be for me.  And my enthusiasm will slowly wane until I forget all about it.  If WOTC wants me as a customer, I need something besides assurances that it's going to be a great game.  Football may be a great game, but I prefer baseball.  I don't want to show up with my bat and glove to kick field goals.
I would like to see the NDA dropped too, yes please
I too, would like to see the NDA dropped.  Right now, all we have is rumors and rumors of rumors.  The little I've seen makes me think 5e is not going to get my money.  But I could be completely off base.  Until I see some kind of groundwork, I'm left to assume 5e is not going to be for me.  And my enthusiasm will slowly wane until I forget all about it.


That's where I am right now, too. I see a lot of forcibly-insubstantial praise from people saying "4e hasn't been forgotten!" but all the seminars with any info said "these are the 4e things we're getting rid of." Granted, some of that is good news to me, but it generally feels like they're saying "we aren't concerned about getting our current fanbase on board."
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