Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tabula Rasa at MMOGNation

Michael Zenke over at MMOGNation has a first impressions piece on Tabula Rasa. Read it, it is interesting and accurate. *I* have a first impressions piece on Tabula Rasa too, but it is safely hidden on my hard drive. Michael (a.k.a Zonk from Slashdot, and thus being more famous than me) got an e-mail with a special dispension from the NDA. Me, I'm still under the NDA, because I never got such a dispension.

But of course on that occasion I read everything I could find about the Tabula Rasa NDA on their beta forums. Apparently I'm allowed to say that I'm in the Tabula Rasa beta, and thus don't need to call it "the secret beta" any more. But on the beta forums of another game I read an explanation saying that I wasn't even allowed to say "I'm in a beta and can't tell you which one", which sounds improbable. How do they know I'm not-naming their beta and not not-naming the beta of somebody else? Am I allowed to say that I am *not* in the Warhammer Online beta? (I knew I shouldn't have disagreed with Mark Jacobs' opinion on RMT, now I'm on a black list at EA Mythic and will never get beta invites from them again. Just kidding.)

The source problem of all that is the language in which the NDAs are written. I do have university education and a fairly good grasp of the English language. But the legalese language the NDAs are written in is impossible for me to understand. You can read it three times over, find a lot about not being allowed to disclose confidential information, and still not know whether you are allowed to say that you are in the beta. Every day we click "accept" on some window to get to the next step of some registration or installation process, and most of us don't understand half of what we just agreed to. One day we are going to click accept during the installation of some WoW expansion and later find out we just agreed to never again buy a game of any other company than Blizzard, and only write nice things about them on the internet.

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