Tobold's Blog
Monday, January 11, 2010
Star Trek Online NDA

I have a half-written beta review for Star Trek Online on my hard disk, but have trouble finding out whether I'm already allowed to post it, or if not, when I will be. Don't Fear the Mutant has his impressions already published, and says Cryptic "were kind enough to not have a NDA for the press", but I can't find a confirmation for that statement. There were certainly exemptions made from the NDA for sites like IGN, but I assumed they were given only to specific sites in written form. Because if everyone who considers himself press goes on to write about a beta under NDA, what would be the point of an NDA in the first place?

I do have a "contact", that is to say an employee of a marketing company working for Atari / Cryptic sending me stuff like press releases and screenshots for Star Trek Online. I don't publish those, this is not what this blog is about, and as the same press releases and screenshots are sent to Massively, you can find them there anyway. So I wrote that contact to ask about the NDA, and got no reply at all. Well, I'm guessing bloggers like me aren't very high on the list of priorities of these companies, and there is only some junior employee charged with sending out standard stuff to us. So I decided not to assume anything, and wait for either written confirmation that the NDA doesn't apply to me, or the NDA being dropped for everybody. Don't know when that will be, but given that the "closed" beta is already open to Fileplanet subscribers, and the release date is next month, it can't be long now.
So are you going to play it when it's released, or is that an answer which you want to wait with until your review? :)

Personally I will try it although I don't know how long it will last, as with many releases nowadays.

Without saying too much it seems like the starship combat is nice.
Open Beta starts Tuesday. I would assume at that point, based on other MMO practice, that the NDA becomes moot.
Your contact is probably trying to find someone to answer your question!
Hey Tobold, Petter here.

I've worked as a games journalist for the last five years, I'm attached to Sweden's largest gaming magazine. If you're not under a press-NDA, you will know it since it's clear from the e-mail you have recieved if it is a press invite or not.

The invite was not specific about which sites you were, or were not, allowed to post to. I am a member of the press, not only a blogger, and after signing up for the beta I was not under any NDA. I don't just go around "considering" myself a part of the press.
Petter, calm down, I wasn't accusing you of anything, I just made a comment on your "no NDA for the press" statement, which is phrased very general. The "considering himself as press" part was about whether *I* consider myself as press, and in no way meant to disrespect your press credentials.
I am calm, don't worry. But it's easy to interpret your post in that way, it must be said.

With that cleared up, the issue is normally if the people that decide on the NDAs considering you a part of the press or not. Exactly how they decide that differs from company to company, sometimes high-profile bloggers (like you) are considered press, sometimes they are not. At times, it can all get a bit odd - after all, the line between "blogger" and "press" is getting more and more blurry.
As stated, Open Beta goes live tomorrow, whilst one shouldnt assume NDA will drop, industry practice and the sheer amount of people about to be involved tends to make maintaining an NDA not worth the time or effort.

So, as far as I know, most independent people will be spilling the beans tomorrow, such as it were.
Companies never say "we will drop the NDA in X days" - they just announce that they drop it when it is time. So just check for news updates.

DFtM did not play particularly long in the game, given that he/she only picked up 2 bridge officers - sounds like one session only.
Ineterested to hear your view on STO Tobold. I would love to try the game but I think it may be one of those that I wait 3 months before picking up... let the dust settle and all.
Cryptic just announced that the NDA drops on the 12th of January at 10:00 AM PST, which is also the time that the open beta starts. You'll get my review post then.
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