Tobold's Blog
Sunday, January 14, 2007
The Lord of the Rings Online NDA

I actually took the time to read the important passages of the NDA for the LotRO beta. The relevant paragraph 5 on confidentiality says: "Protection of Confidential Information. During the course of the Preview Program, you will have access to non-public information concerning the Game, including, but not limited to, the game design, look and feel, computer software, game concepts, storylines, features, screen shots, characters, graphics, audio, visual images, any information, discussions or postings of Codemasters or other participants in Preview, Feedback, business methods or other technical or business information which is not generally known and which is proprietary to Codemasters and/or Turbine (and/or their respective affiliates, publishing partners, licensors or licensees) (“Confidential Information”). All of the foregoing is confidential and proprietary to Codemasters and/or Turbine (or their respective affiliates, publishing partners, licensors or licensees). You agree to treat as confidential all Confidential Information (including your password) of which you become or are made aware in connection with your participation in Preview, regardless of whether it is specifically designated as confidential and regardless of whether it is in written, oral, electronic, or other form. The Confidential Information may include, without limitation, trade secrets, know-how, inventions, game interfaces, technical data or specifications, testing methods, business or financial information, research and development activities, product and marketing plans, and customer and supplier information. You agree that you shall maintain all Confidential Information in strict confidence; you will not disclose or permit access to Confidential Information to anyone other than Codemasters or Turbine (or its respective affiliates, publishing partners, licensors and/or licensees), or discuss Confidential Information with anyone except within the Game itself or on the Preview boards accessible by logging in with a username and password on."

In plain English, I'm not allowed to give you a preview of Lord of the Rings Online, or blog a "first impressions" post telling you anything about this game works. But this confidentiality covers only game information. My opinion per se is not covered, as long as I don't explain the in-game details of what I like or dislike. So here is a very short statement of my opinion on LotRO, with more to follow when the NDA is lifted:

I am *so* going to buy this game! It is absolutely wonderful. And given the right conditions the Lord of the Rings Online could even make a dent in World of Warcraft's armor of total market domination. Way to go, Turbine! Practice makes perfect. :)
Really!? I signed up for the beta but have yet to be sent anything...which is a shame. Maybe I'll still get my chance as it's due Q2 2007...fingers crossed.
Personally, I think it completely sucks. Something about hobbits running around pwning just doesn't seem to fit with Tolkien's middle earth.
While I am not too keen on yet another fantasy MMOG with elves and orcs etc, the PvMP feature is something I am interested in trying out and will probably get the game after release just for that.
If the rest if reasonably good then that is a bonus ;)

I do not think one can expect the gameplay experience to be in line with one has experienced by reading the books and seen the movies. While they certainly are trying to keep elements true to the original, an MMORPG experience will still end up being a quite different experience. I would at most expect the actual experience to be loosely similar to the books, with some familiar elements, but not more.

LOTR is a troublesome IP in that regard, because most people have either read the ring trilogy books or seen the movies or both. Some might have read other Tolkien material like The Hobbitt and Silmarillion. But there is not a huge amount of different stories around this Middle Earth that people are familiar with and not much deviation might be needed to people to feel that is not the "right" Middle Earth.

If I play the game I will likely try to get in with the mindset that there might be some similar elements that I have read in Tolkien books, but not expecting any more than that.

Some people will try to play their characters as true as they cnsa to their view of LOTR, others will to their own idea of what they think would be fun/cool/whatever. And both paths are fine, I think. Just avoid to expect the rest of the world to play the story/world as I imagine it.
Lol...I 100% agree with you Tobold. This is one to watch for 2007. This game brought back the explorer in me. Nuff said.

I got all sorts of screenshots and am itching to pull the trigger on my Beta experiences.
Hate to break it to you, bud, but the NDA clause you've posted actually prohibits you from posting the clause ;)

Glad to see that you're happy about a game that's not WoW, though! :D
NDAs bug me for some reason. Maybe they just make me think the developers are trying to hide how horrible their game is.
Tobold, Turbine are very clear both in the NDA and in the explanatory sections that you are not allowed even to say that you are in the Beta at this stage. While I, if I were in the Beta, might well agree with you, and while Turbine might well be delighted at your comments, they are still breaking the NDA.
I got a soft spot for Turbine being Asherons Call was my first MMOG (bar an impossible attempt to play UO on a terrible phone line). So after the disappointment of AC2 (which to my mind was killed off before it even got started by publisher interference), I'm intrigued by your comments.

I'm also rather fond of middle earth.

I may have to have a gander then :)
NDA lifts Monday btw ;)
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