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TL;DR - Yes, Intrepid has made some mistakes along the way, but the truth is somewhere between 1% and 3% of what the OP is making it out to be. If you want the real truth, all the ugly shades of it, just ask and I’ll let you know.
On the topic of the NDAs that have gone on in this thread.
I 100% agree that NDAs in the gaming industry have gone down a path that they were never intended. NDAs were originally there to protect the initial Intellectual Property, ideas, concepts, etc. When we used to play games, we played games that were like Project: Dallas. We had no idea what the final name was going to be, instead we got a Project Name, some initial game play, some story, just so they could get our thoughts. Couple of years later the final game would come out and be like 10 generations later of what you initially saw.
Now NDAs are used to ensure people don’t talk about the negative in public. I agree with what was said in that this is wrong, however, I disagree that while the game is in development you should have a right to run around and talk about whatever. If the game is an active state of development, and you agreed to the NDA then the NDA is valid.
What Wizardry said is factually incorrect, but morally spot on. When you take money from someone, yes they become a customer, however, they also agreed to the NDA. When you agree to something, you lose your right to complain about it.
You have every right to say:
“Its bullshit that I will have to sign an NDA to do this alpha testing because they are charging me.”
But you do not have the right to say
“This NDA is bullshit...even though I agreed to it”
As far as the follow up that NDAs are gag orders, no that is not what they are. A gag order come from a judge or magistrate and is the government telling you to shut the fuck up. An NDA (non-disclosure AGREEMENT) is you saying you won’t talk about something in exchange for access to it. Now again, I 100% agree with Wizardry in that the moment I'm paying for something, I should have the right to speak of it freely, but you freely choose to sign that NDA.
Now, all these other bullshit NDAs where they just tell you its under NDA, well yeah you can violate those, just remember, an electronic signature is just as legally binding as an ink one.
To shift gears and talk about Intrepid Studios and their NDA.
The facts do speak for themselves here. Intrepid has made a few missteps. Back in February 2018 during Alpha Zero which showcased the MMORPG world and mechanics of the game in development Steven did say “With the NDA on our Alpha Zero being lifted this month, you will be able to see the current state of our Pre-Alpha development.”
Now, the misstep here is that they didn’t lift the NDA. They should have and that was a mistake. Once you say you are going to do something, do it.
They did lift it for MMORPG and a few other media outlets, however, with their own in-house content creator program (which I was not a member of at that time for the historical record) they should have let those people at a minimum jump on, and stream and collect video footage. So, this was a mistake and a black mark on their “transparency” record.
As far as the facts of what the OP is stating that the mode wasn’t disclosed until it was dropped on the players, this is only partially correct, and only in so much as the word “Battle Royale” was not used. On day 2 of PAX East 2018 it was stated that Alpha 1 was being divided up into two parts. They specifically stated:
“The first phase is going to be a way for us to get a lot of players into different Arena modes and test out our Castle sieges, test out our city sieges, test out our large player battles, raid vs. raid, Guild fights.”
Now, did they say they were going to use Battle Royale testing? No. Does it say “different Arena Modes”? Yes.
It was specially stated before it was dropped on the players as it was announced at PAX West 2018 a week before the first stress testing.
Again, I’m the the middle of the road critic, and when something is a nail I will drop the hammer on it, but I don’t run around seeing everything as a problem, and I don’t view screws as nails. Yes, the Battle Royale can be taken as a big SCREW YOU to the community, but then again EVERYTHING can be taken as a big screw you if you have fragile sensibilities.
Do I think the Battle Royale was a good thing? Of course not. Am I still waiting now five months later for someone to give me a better mode that could have been used that would have provided not only all the data that Intrepid planned to gather, but also which would have provided all the additional data they got from the BR? Yes I am.
I asked for a refund. Didn't reply in a month so I challenged it on Paypal. They pushed back and opened a dialogue. I wrote them multiple times and they never responded. My guess is they just didn't want me to get my money back. With two days to go and a dozen messages sent I escalated the case. That just happend yesterday so don't know if Paypal will give me my money back for sure but I have a good case considering they ignored me for two weeks or so. If you have a pay pal you can always open up a case against them. The further back it is the harder it is to get a refund but they do have protection if you don't feel like your getting what is promisied and I fell under that camp. If that helps at all @Gigabear