Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Moves into Closed Beta - Leaks

It's early and the morning and you sit down with your cup of joe and open up the internets for your morning browse. You hear a whispering from the corner of the internet about some secret from your favorite upcoming game and curious, you go to the corner to hear the latest gossip. You check out the latest leaked information and immediately you rush to present it to your friends. In part, because you're excited, but also in part because you wanted to be one of the first to show something no one else had seen.

Ladies and Gentlemen: resist.

Guild Wars 2 is currently in a "closed beta" where testers are selected from a large number of volunteers. To me, Closed Beta means the game is mostly laid out but still needs testing to hammer out kinks or changes before being finalized. It's in it's final phases of chiseling before the carving can start to be smoothed. Things that those testers may see one day, may not be there the next depending on feedback.

When one of those testers goes and breaks their NDA for the five seconds of fame they may get for leaking images or video, what you see is simply a work in progress that may never even be seen when the game is live.

When I went to Pax Prime in 2011, I had the opportunity to speak with Matthew Medina thanks to Sarah Witter. I had had the chance to explore the Black Citadel during a demo and we discussed some of the things I had seen in my 40 minutes of exploration. And concerning the Black Citadel, Mr Medina told me: "The city is the Iron Legion's. And like ArenaNet, they are constantly building bigger and better, and scrapping stuff that doesn't work like they want. So in the city you you'll see tons of scraps of stuff around."

In much the same way, ArenaNet is taking ideas and constantly building upon them. Seeing what does and doesn't work and what their testers do and don't like. ArenaNet has always assured us that they're gamers like us and they're listening to us. And so far they've not gone back on any of their promises to us.

So now, as their Closed Beta slowly begins to gain more people and we see more leaks I challenge you all to work with me on a few things.

1. Stay Calm, Don't Panic
One of the most important things. Don't get riled up and angry. Don't make assumptions. Have faith in ArenaNet and pray the testers give feedback.
2. When you see a leaked image, report it to ArenaNet, but do not spread the leak publicly. Be responsible.
It's a very high temptation to be one of the first to have information. But when you spread information that already isn't meant to be shared, you are helping to create what could end up being an angry environment that may turn possible players away from the game. Bad PR based off assumptions that may lead to less people playing the game because one of the last things they heard about was misinformation based off a leak. And when less people buy a free-to-play game, there is less money going towards further development and the success of that game. Nevermind that it may aid in fostering strife within the community and fuel trolls.
3. ArenaNet is not responsible for the actions of a Leaker.
ArenaNet is not a god. They do not know the minds of all the people who signed up for their testing. They do not know you personally. Everyone is just a much a potential leaker as you. Do not point your anger at them when the Leaker breaks NDA. Instead, focus your anger on the Leaker.
4. Never assume leaked information is set in stone.
What you see may not make it live.

What are your thoughts?

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