Why I don’t give a !&*# about advance NDA drops

If you’re following Warhammer Online, you know that some websites have permission from Mythic to break the closed beta non-disclosure agreement. I know this has pissed off some dedicated WAR bloggers, like Syp. And I don’t blame Syp. It’s really a shame that his dedication to WAR goes unrewarded here, but I suppose EA/Mythic feels like they have to kiss the ass of “major gaming sites” and give them something exclusive.

I’m in the beta, so I have the luxury of already knowing (and sometimes disagreeing) with what’s being posted by said gaming sites. Maybe if I was dying for news, I’d be hanging on every word they’re posting, but I kind of doubt it.

I’ve noticed, after a couple years of reading RSS feeds, that I’m likely to ignore the dozens of posts churned out daily by the huge gaming sites. I’ll skim through those folders in Google Reader once I’ve read through all the blogs produced by individual bloggers, but I don’t read them the same way, or in the same detail, that I read The Ancient Gaming Noob, or Syp’s blog, or Hardcore Casual. Maybe I’m just an old MMO dog, but individual gamers write about what interests them specifically. They can talk a little more narrowly, perhaps, than the broader appeal of bigger gaming sites.

Maybe I like the individual blogs because they’re talking about what interests them, not what they think will interest me. If they happen to find like-minded souls out in the gaming ether, that’s awesome, but they don’t write thinking about page views and click throughs and a certain number of posts a day. Sure, we all like an audience, and we enjoy the conversations that arise, but I think the primary motivation for an individual blog is saying “Hey, here’s something I thought was interesting”. It doesn’t have to be news, or journalism, or a breakdown of game mechanics on a broad level, or developer interviews…I don’t care as much about those things. I want to read about what other gamers found interesting while they were playing games last night.

I don’t think I’ve read much of anything about WAR from any of the gaming sites that can bypass the NDA. If I did, it was just a skim of a headline in my RSS feed. Yeah, I’m in the beta, so I know I’m not the standard audience, and I’m sure some people are enjoying what’s being written, but you can bet that when the NDA drops for the rest of us, and CoW bloggers start writing stories about their experiences, I’ll be reading their stories with great interest.

Ya know, I don’t think I care so much for stories about how the game works. I want stories about what people are doing in the game. Syp, I know it sucks, and you definitely deserve a nod and a thanks from Mythic for your work promoting their game, but dude, I’m anxiously awaiting your WAR stories, and I could care less what the big dog sites are writing. It’s not the same as acknowledgement from Mythic, but I want you (and other WAR bloggers who might feel slighted by this) to know that you guys provide a personal perspective that I appreciate and gravitate toward. Keen and Graev, Snafzg and crew at The Greenskin, Syp, CoW bloggers; those are the sites I want to hear talking about WAR. The big sites are sort of the CNN of gaming. It serves a purpose, and they do it well, but it’s definitely my second choice for reading.

And yeah, I know, I’m dangerously close to high school-type arguments about why arena rock bands are sellouts and the real shows are in the clubs by unsigned bands, bla bla bla. Maybe it’s a little stereotypical, but there’s some truth in stereotypes too. Like Dwarves and drinking. Or Goblins and stinking.


11 Responses

  1. Agreed! I’d much rather read stuff on the blogs!

  2. I think I’ve read all of one of Massively’s write ups… it was informatively uninformative anyways. There was plenty of feeling of excitement from the author, but not the “taking a step back and writing out whats been going through my mind” kind of excitement.

    I much prefer the posts that you can tell are more the blogger trying to get something out of their head and into the tubes.

    BTW, it’s Æther. (alt + 0198 – Æ) ~.^

  3. I agree, i dont even read massively anyway.there are also a slew of beta breakers now that have played for say 2 days talking garbage about the game after they reach level 2. The whole process of NDA is becoming a joke

  4. Who is this “Syp” and how is he deserving of so much of your time, hugs and tender affection?

    Yeah, I know it’ll be pretty much a non-issue next week, so really I was just griping for nothing. But it filled up time!

  5. “but they don’t write thinking about page views and click throughs and a certain number of posts a day.”

    I do still read (well, “skim” would be more accurate) Massively, but it mostly just leads to frustration because of exactly what you mention here. AOL Weblog bloggers (including Massively, WarInsider, Joystiq etc) get paid per post and then # of comments and page views factors into their income in some way.

    So essentially for them to post flame-bait or invite trolls enhances their bottom line, and often enough it shows.

    Look at the stuff they’ve been posting about War’s Elves. 99% fluff and often the same stuff you can get off the official Warhammer Online site.

    The only reason I care about the advance NDA drops is that it is causing frustration in some bloggers, and that frustration is started to take a toll, it seems. I sense a dampening of enthusiasm for the game (hopefully only temporarily), and that’s a shame.

  6. 100% agree. This is why I got into blogging, so I could give my opinion on things. My posts are made from the way I see the gaming world, and I think that’s where independent bloggers bring real value. The large gaming sites seem so sterile and generic in the information the present that it has little value to me.

  7. @ Sara – Hey, Merriam Webster says it can be either ether or aether or….shoot, I can’t figure out the insert code, lol. But thank you for the tip! I’m going to go practice now 🙂

  8. Nail on head man, nail on head. This is the whole reason I started reading blogs – even the ones where I don’t necessarily agree with the opinions. I’d rather have that perspective than someone who copied and pasted a block of PR from somewhere.

  9. /agree

    You would think Massively would take advantage of the NDA break and actually put out something new and great, but most of the stuff that I have seen is almost rehashed preview stuff.

    Man I can’t wait to put up my posts about beta…

  10. Wow. They dropped the NDA early only for certain people?

    That’s some serious whoring. That officially means all reviews from major sources are totally invalid. That’s a blatant and obvious access for review score swap. 😦

    Blogging about Online Gaming and Virtual Worlds:

  11. Agree. Like you, I’m much more interested in personal gaming perspectives and opinions. I get my gaming news from the game developer’s site. I skim Massively and Ten Ton Hammer but predominantly read blogs.

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