With February 25th fast approaching, it occurs to me that now might be a good time for a quick reminder to make sure we are all have a good understanding about the coming Beta Test for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Keep Realistic Expectations:
In our excitement, it can be easy to forget that Beta is simply a testing phase. Whether you end up being a Beta tester, or you simply follow the game through sneak peeks released by Square Enix you should try to be realistic and consider the following:
- Beta is a bit closer to the final version than what we’ve previously seen, but it still is not the final version. There is a lot of room for tweaks and changes between now and actual release. As such it is not a good time to create any lasting personal judgement on the overall game itself.
- Beta tests are generally purposely limited in areas, in order to have players test out specific parts of the game that developers are looking for feedback on.
- If you are a tester, note that you aren’t really entitled to anything. The Beta test may be subject to time periods of interruption and unavailability. Note that the company is under no obligation to remedy, or explain the reasons for those time periods
- If you are a tester, also remember that the company reserves the right to suspend a Beta tester’s participation at any time for any/no reason and without notice.
If you are a Beta Tester:
Your sole purpose in joining in, is to actually test and report back to the developers any oddities. You are invited in order to assist them in improving the flow and feel of the game. In a way, it will be up to those testers to provide the developers with the information they need in order to insure a successful release. If you find a bug, don’t just ignore it, note it and report it to the developers using the method they provide to accept that information! Feedback is crucial! Please do your part!
Respect your NDA!!!
You can view a copy of the NDA here. (this is taken from the page where you sign up to be a possible beta tester)
The Non-Disclosure Agreement is not Square Enix’s way of being mean, or showing favoritism. The NDA is there for the protection of our game’s future. Pure and a simple a second impression rarely impacts people more than a first impression, and that is IF you are given a chance for a second impression in the first place.
A Realm Reborn already is Square Enix’s “second” chance at a favorable reaction. The new team has worked extremely hard on this project to deliver a quality product could earn that favorable reaction.
Impressions are powerful, and admittedly even I’m guilty of occasionally not really giving a game a fair chance because of some piece of information I was told about it. It is just a part of human nature. Public audiences are notorious for taking a small incomplete piece of information out of context. If you have any doubt of this take a look at the Lodestone forums some time. 😛 Literally there are pages upon pages of people having “in depth” discussions on things not a soul, aside from developers have even tried out first hand yet. Sometimes its a simple sound bite or line of text taken out of context, or even mistranslated that spurs on mis-information. With anticipation at this level, imaginations run on overtime, and that is something that is hard to corral after its been let loose.
As a Beta Tester you still will only have information regarding an “In the works” product, not a complete one. This is why Square Enix requires the NDA during this phase. It is a pro-active attempt to minimize misconception. Do your part to prevent misunderstandings by remaining quiet until the NDA is lifted.
Limitations imposed by the NDA
Here I’ll do my best to point out the pieces of the NDA that I think people will have the most questions about.
- Can I let people know I’m involved in Beta?
- Actually the answer is No. Under the Beta tester’s Confidentiality Obligations section of the NDA it clearly states: “THE IDENTITY OF BETA TESTER AND THE FACT THAT BETA TESTER IS PARTICIPATING IN THE BETA TEST” as falling under “Confidential Information” That said, it has been previously announced by Square Enix that Legacy members will get access to Beta during phase I, so the most you can reveal is your Legacy status.
- Can I let my friend login as me using my account Login and password?
- Can my friend just watch me while I play beta?
- No that would be considered indirectly making confidential information available to others, which is specifically mentioned in the NDA.
- If I have positive opinions of the game, can I share that?
- No Testers are prohibited from sharing directly or indirectly anything including, without limitation, information relating to the performance, conditions, capabilities, and contents of the Products and Software, methods of reporting and conducting, modification schedule, modification process and its progress in the Beta Testing, and recipient’s feedback, opinions, suggestions and comments (positive and/or negative) regarding the product and the software.
- Will I ever be able to share my Beta thoughts with friends?
- Yes and No… Yes in that there has been confirmation in the roadmap of the NDA being lifted at some point during the final stages of the Beta Test. and an answer of No because testers should note that there is a clause in the agreement stating that even after the commercial version of the product has been released to the public, that the Beta Tester’s confidentiality obligations will continue.
All of that aside, your best bet is to only discuss points that have already been officially released by Square Enix in any public format. When you really think about it, there isn’t much value to anything else because if it hasn’t been publically announced, that probably means it is not confirmed to stay the same way you experienced it in Beta anyway… Food for thought. 🙂