Why The Morrowind NDA Was A Terrible Idea | TES: Unplugged Ep02

    On today's episode, I discuss all of the reasons why I believe the Non-Disclosure Agreement for the Morrowind PTS was such a colossal mistake.


    What’s up, gang? Welcome to The Elder Scrolls: Unplugged, Episode 02! On today’s show, I take a slightly different approach, and talk solely about one thing: all of the reasons why I think the Morrowind Non-Disclosure Agreement was a terrible idea.

    The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind Collector’s Edition Giveaways

    Don’t forget, to celebrate the launch of TES: Unplugged, we’re giving away three copies of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind to a few lucky viewers!

    Digital Collector’s Editions

    We have two Digital Collector’s Editions, courtesy of /r/elderscrollsonline and Zenimax Online Studios, that I’ll be giving away on a future show. Here’s how you enter:

    1. Make sure you’re subscribed to /r/elderscrollsonline!
    2. Fill out this fancy-shmancy form: https://goo.gl/M0T4mk

    That’s it! Super simple, it’ll take you less than 30 seconds – I promise! I’ll announce both of the winners on a future episode of the show on May 21, 2017 – so don’t miss your chance!

    Physical Collector’s Edition

    In addition to the two Digital Collector’s Editions, I’m also personally giving away an additional Physical Collector’s Edition of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind. Here’s how you enter:

    1. Subscribe to the Ixtyr’s Gaming YouTube Channel.
    2. “Like” the video for this episode.
    3. Leave a Comment on the video in YouTube.

    It’s really that simple! What’s more – to make it a little more interesting, I’m offering you one entry per episode – so as long as you’re subscribed, you can “Like” and “Comment” on each episode that airs between now and Sunday, May 21, 2017 – and you’ll get an extra submission for each episode!

    Like the Digital Collector’s Editions, I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner of the Physical Collector’s Edition in a future episode airing on Sunday, May 21 – so be sure to get your entries in before then!

    The Morrowind NDA

    For those who may not be aware, every update for The Elder Scrolls Online is usually released on a Public Test Server environment roughly 4-6 weeks prior to the official launch date of the new Patch. This has been the case for every update since the game was launched back in 2014 – but with the announcement of Morrowind, Zenimax and Bethesda decided to change things up a bit.

    Normally, when PC players log on to the PTS, the entire update (generally speaking, of course – some exceptions are made if things aren’t ready yet) is available for people to test. This gives the community and some of the more “hard-core”, dedicated players and fans an opportunity to jump on board and help Zenimax Online Studios iron out any remaining bugs and identify any glaring issues that need to be resolved before the update makes its way onto Live servers. It also gives players a chance to get a first-look at the changes to existing systems, like combat, class balance, PvP systems and PvE encounters, just to name a few. And that’s important – players on the PTS often have the capability to influence some of the changes that do (or don’t) make it into the update. Feedback is taken by the developers, and it helps to shape the content every time a patch is released.

    But when Morrowind hit the PTS in mid-April, things were a bit different. Zenimax and Bethesda decided to split the PTS up into two sections – the public “Patch 3.0 PTS”, and a separate “Closed Beta” for Morrowind, for which they hand-selected a fairly significant number of players to take part. They then placed the entire new update under an extremely confusing Non-Disclosure Agreement – where players partaking in both the “Public” and “Closed” sections were not permitted to speak about, stream, or otherwise share publicly any details of the entire update.

    However, there were some exceptions – and this is where it got confusing – certain parts of the content were briefly disclosed in public press releases, blog posts, and Patch Notes by Zenimax, which were free to be discussed, though players still weren’t allowed to talk about any specifics or things they were testing as it related to the aforementioned blogs and Patch Notes.

    While Zenimax and Bethesda have gradually rolled back certain elements of the NDA since the PTS was first released, parts of it still hold true right now – it’s why players can’t talk about Battlegrounds, or the new Trial, or anything tied to the new story in Vvardenfell – and while I can personally understand the desire, on the part of the Bethesda & Zenimax Loremasters, to keep the story under wraps, I still find it incredibly frustrating, and an absolutely moronic move as a player. The community has been justifiably upset, confused, panicked and lost while they attempt to sift through the comments, conjecture, claims and speculation of their fellow members who have been desperately trying to make sense of what is, undoubtedly, one of the single largest shifts in Combat and Class design since the advent of the Champion System in Patch 1.6 – and for weeks, no one could talk about what it was actually like, in the hands of the players testing it, to those members of the community who are relied upon by the masses to theorycraft new builds and develop ways to make use of these changes in the best possible way.

    This is not a brand-new game that is under development. It’s an MMORPG, one with regular updates rolling out every few months, and one that has been on the market for over three years. When a new piece of content is released, one in which massive design philosophy shifts are taking place, it’s just downright irresponsible to attempt to hide it, sweep it under the rug, and prevent some players from telling others about the very things that will be affecting everyone – and we’ve witnessed the results of it in the past month, with major content creators and supporters leaving, the outrage and backlash from even the most supportive of forum-goers, and the overall embarrassingly negative tone pervading the community as we await what should have been the most exciting, massive, gloriously wonderfulicious update the game has ever seen. Instead, we’re left with this mess of a blunder – and one can only hope that the folks in charge have learned their lesson:

    Don’t Do This Again.