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Next Playtest


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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Cheliax

Well, the NEXT playtest is off to a derp-tastic start. Seriously, it's a clusterfu... er... it's a mess, already.

The servers are overtaxed and the download links are broken, customer support is presently unreachable, and because of the way the playtest was set up, playtesters who signed up with an e-mail that is different from their WotC forums e-mail have to reconcile the two addresses. Which requires customer support, which - as I mentioned - is down.

Apparently, in the Wizards community, you actually can't change the account associated with your WotC forums login without contacting customer support first and having them do it.

The very few playtesters who have been able to get their hands on the playtest are already reporting errors (a greataxe listing 1d12 in one place and 2d6 in another, etc.). I know it's just a beta, but it's been out for all of three hours and the confusion is already abundant, in the forums.

I sincerely love WotC. I've been playing Magic: the Gathering since beta, and there wouldn't be a Pathfinder if WotC hadn't reinvented D&D. But I swear to God, you'd think that nobody at WotC has ever seen a computer.

Still, my hope is that 5e is great. I'm hoping against hope that 4e was just the "new Coke!" of D&D, and that 5e will return the brand name to greatness. Mind you, I'll keep playing Pathfinder even if 5e is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it's always nice to have options, and I think we're all invested in the significance of the D&D brand name.

Here's to the hope that the massive playtest launch failures do not reflect the quality of the product itself.

Cheers.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've been unable to download jack all morning due to the download link page redirecting to Wizards Customer Service. Extremely frustrating to say the least.


jreyst wrote:
I've been unable to download jack all morning due to the download link page redirecting to Wizards Customer Service. Extremely frustrating to say the least.

Enter 'playtest' into the search box.

Shadow Lodge

I've tried all of the tricks: searching "playtest" on the customer service page, found a link on the D&D forums that seems to lead to something, however, it seems to time out.

Osirion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was excited to download the playtest. My excitement turned to frustration, however, when I tried to create an account at wizards.com. You have to read and agree to TOU, but I was not able to view the TOU. Instead, I got a blank popup in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. What's worse, I couldn't just check the box acknowledging my agreement to the TOU. So, no account --> no playtest for me.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Allen Oh wrote:
I was not able to view the TOU.

I was able to read the terms and conditions... at which point I immediately opted out of the "public" playtest.

I will not agree to a work-for-hire contract that grants WotC the ability to act as my attorney in fact and requires me to playtest only with other people who have agreed to a work-for-hire contract that grants WotC the ability to act as their attorney in fact.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Epic Meepo wrote:
Allen Oh wrote:
I was not able to view the TOU.

I was able to read the terms and conditions... at which point I immediately opted out of the "public" playtest.

I will not agree to a work-for-hire contract that grants WotC the ability to act as my attorney in fact and requires me to playtest only with other people who have agreed to a work-for-hire contract that grants WotC the ability to act as their attorney in fact.

So a lot of strings attatched then?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Kevin Mack wrote:
So a lot of string attached then?

Yes, and you don't have to take my word for it:

Here's the Playtesting Agreement.
Here's the Playtest FAQ.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Epic Meepo wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
So a lot of string attached then?

Yes, and you don't have to take my word for it:

Here's the Playtesting Agreement.
Here's the Playtest FAQ.

Thats........a lot of legal speak especially for what is supposed to be a public playtest.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Kevin Mack wrote:
Thats........a lot of legal speak for what is supposed to be a public playtest.

And it's not even boilerplate stuff you'd expect to see in a freely distributed product. There's talk about "work-for-hire" and "attorney in fact" in there. Unless someone's actually hiring me for a job, I'm not touching a legal contract with that language in it with a 10-foot pole.

Edit: Also, note from the FAQ that you aren't allowed to publicly playtest anything or share any actual rules with the general public. You can only play the game and share the rules with other people who've signed WotC's onerous work-for-hire contract. So it's not a public playtest at all. It's a giant, in-house playtest amongst a group of unpaid contractors.


The agreement allows you to opt out at any time you wish. You are under no obligation whatsoever.

The work-for-hire agreement is necessary for Wizards to make use of any input you provide for them concerning the playtest.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
The agreement allows you to opt out at any time you wish. You are under no obligation whatsoever.

Sure. You are under no obligation to take any specific action; you're just passively entering into weird legal arrangements that survive indefinitely. Read that "attorney in fact" part of the agreement again. That doesn't end when you opt out.

Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
The work-for-hire agreement is necessary for Wizards to make use of any input you provide for them concerning the playtest.

No, really, it's not. A simple statement that they are allowed to use your feedback in their product without compensating you would suffice. Instead, they busted out "work-for-hire" copyright law.

EDIT: This isn't a license to use public playtest material. It's a straight-up nondisclosure agreement to access in-house WotC reference documents. I don't enter into NDA's lightly.


You need to read it again. The rights of WotC to act as attorney refers ONLY to the responses you make to the playtest, and all materials that make up the playtest.

NDAs don't generally tell you to "publically discuss your thoughts regarding the D&D Next Playtest Materials" or say IP holder "releases you from any and all confidentiality requirements related to your thoughts regarding the D&D Next Playtest Materials and your playtesting experience".

This is NOT an NDA. Nor is it a binding contract concerning anything but the information you provide WotC concerning the playtest.

It keeps you from suing them if you give them a good idea and they use it.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Let me start by saying that I'm not an attorney, so nothing I say constitutes legal advice.

That being said, the "attorney in fact" clause applies to "the above." The phrase, "the above," is such a vague reference in the context of this agreement that it could be applying only to your feedback; but it could also be argued that it applies to all rights enumerated in paragraph 4, which would include rights to anything you write in the future that WotC, in its own judgment, believes to be a derivative work.

As I said above, I'm not an attorney, but I do work as a freelance author and a literary agent, and paragraph 4 of that agreement sent up a bunch of red flags for me. As someone who wants to sell my own, original intellectual property in the future, I felt I would want to consult an attorney before agreeing to anything with that particular wording.

At which point the effort required isn't worth the pay-off of getting to read a few proprietary playtest documents. So no thanks, WotC. I'm not going to potentially jeopardize my aspirations as a professional author to provide you with free market research data.


Epic Meepo wrote:


As I said above, I'm not an attorney, but I do work as a freelance author and a literary agent, and paragraph 4 of that agreement sent up a bunch of red flags for me. As someone who wants to sell my own, original intellectual property in the future, I felt I would want to consult an attorney before agreeing to anything with that particular wording.

At which point the effort required isn't worth the pay-off of getting to read a few proprietary playtest documents. So no thanks, WotC. I'm not going to potentially jeopardize my aspirations as a professional author to provide you with free market research data.

You seem a mite paraniod for supposed "what ifs", you don't even have a clue for sure if you have anything to fear.

It isn't like Wotc is asking for a Faustian deal.


Epic Meepo wrote:
As I said above, I'm not an attorney, but I do work as a freelance author and a literary agent, and paragraph 4 of that agreement sent up a bunch of red flags for me.

It shouldn't. They're stating that they own the copyright to everything they send to you, and they're clarifying that they have the right to make use of the feedback you send them (and that they are immune to any kind of suit you might bring to them for "stealing" the ideas you gave them via feedback, just in case you decide to be a jerk). If you're concerned about any of that, just don't send them feedback. You can still download the materials, playtest them all you want, and chat about it with others freely.

You're being much more concerned than you need to be.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Sorry, I can't be bothered to post in the thirteen other identical threads, but I'm noticing a pattern:

Can't download the playtest?

Wotc's infrastructure sucks. Next is a failure, Wotc doesn't get it!

Can download the playtest?

No one wants it. Next is a failure, Wotc doesn't get it!

Boilerplate legal text?

Next is a failure, Wotc doesn't get it!

Oh, and point this out?

Irrational Wotc shill!

Spoken as someone is probably going to be playing Savage Worlds anyway: Give me a break.

Taldor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Epic Meepo wrote:

Let me start by saying that I'm not an attorney, so nothing I say constitutes legal advice.

That being said, the "attorney in fact" clause applies to "the above." The phrase, "the above," is such a vague reference in the context of this agreement that it could be applying only to your feedback; but it could also be argued that it applies to all rights enumerated in paragraph 4, which would include rights to anything you write in the future that WotC, in its own judgment, believes to be a derivative work.

Chill out man...ambigous wording in a contract of adhesion screws the drafter (wotc) not you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contra_proferentem. The wording isn't a secret trap out to get you.

Also, if I am remembering clearly this late at night, wotc as your attorney in fact (I think we call them agents up here) has a fiduciary duty towards you which would also prevent them from screwing you.

The work for hire language is in there in part to prevent someone from claiming back their playtest feedback idea 35 years from now, or to prevent their idea from being modified. If you follow the music world you'll see a bunch of news stories like this one http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/village-people-singer-wins-a-l egal-battle-in-fight-to-reclaim-song-rights/ that involve work for hire stuff.

Someone in Legal did a pretty good job of making an agreement that prevents chuckleheads from claiming WoTC stole their idea but doesn't go much further than that.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Robert Hawkshaw wrote:
The wording isn't a secret trap out to get you.

I don't think the wording is a secret trap out to get me at all.

But it does state quite clearly that the playtest materials are confidential information. And for my own piece of mind, I don't want to know any confidential information that I don't need to know to do my job. (That statement applies to confidential information in general, not just confidential information involved in this playtest.)


Epic Meepo wrote:
Robert Hawkshaw wrote:
The wording isn't a secret trap out to get you.

I don't think the wording is a secret trap out to get me at all.

But it does state quite clearly that the playtest materials are confidential information. And for my own piece of mind, I don't want to know any confidential information that I don't need to know to do my job. (That statement applies to confidential information in general, not just confidential information involved in this playtest.)

Which brings up the question as to what kind of non-playtest confidential information they could give you?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

A Ninja wrote:
Which brings up the question as to what kind of non-playtest confidential information they could give you?

I was referring to all interactions I have with anyone in my life, not just interactions with WotC. I don't want anyone giving me access to confidential information about anything unless I need that information for work. I don't want to be responsible for keeping the secrets of people with whom I have no personal or professional relationship.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Awww b@$%#~&s, my TARDIS got borked again!

Andoran

bugleyman wrote:

Sorry, I can't be bothered to post in the thirteen other identical threads, but I'm noticing a pattern:

Can't download the playtest?

Wotc's infrastructure sucks. Next is a failure, Wotc doesn't get it!

Can download the playtest?

No one wants it. Next is a failure, Wotc doesn't get it!

Boilerplate legal text?

Next is a failure, Wotc doesn't get it!

Oh, and point this out?

Irrational Wotc shill!

Spoken as someone is probably going to be playing Savage Worlds anyway: Give me a break.

+1

Agreed and seconded. Too bad this will be ignored.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Didn't have the time to download so far and I am happily waiting till the deluge is over and everything goes smoothly. This will also give me time to try and remember my WotC account tag and password...

About the agreements: really, this is typical for the US of A aka "agree here puhlees that you can't lawsuit us for anything (in other countries you couldn't do it anyways because they still have some common sense in their legal system but we don't)."

So there is no reason to miss out the playtest just because of that, or does anyone really expects to be brought before a court if he plays with his homegroup where people have not agreed to the terms of the playtest?!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed some posts and the replies to them. Grow up.


I think that what they're trying to do is insure they get as much feedback as they can, by telling people to make sure their playtest group will all participate.

What's the point of playtesting if WotC never hears the players' opinions?

Qadira

Jerry Wright 307 wrote:

I think that what they're trying to do is insure they get as much feedback as they can, by telling people to make sure their playtest group will all participate.

What's the point of playtesting if WotC never hears the players' opinions?

Then again, the playtest agreement isn't an agreement to report on your playtest.

But at the same time, the agreement is an extra step that goes towards, at least for some people, making people more invested in the playtest in general.

I mean, even though I know that I don't have to report my playtest results to WotC, the fact that I agreed to their terms kinda-sorta makes me want to report my feelings on the playtest to them.

So, I guess in addition to the standard legalese, there's a bit of a psychological trick at play here: those of us willing to push "Okay!" on the "Do you agree to the terms of this playtest?" button are, by virtue of having pushed that button, more likely to report our feelings and experiences of the playtest, even if we haven't signed up for anything like that.


:D

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Ratpick wrote:
Jerry Wright 307 wrote:

I think that what they're trying to do is insure they get as much feedback as they can, by telling people to make sure their playtest group will all participate.

What's the point of playtesting if WotC never hears the players' opinions?

Then again, the playtest agreement isn't an agreement to report on your playtest.

But at the same time, the agreement is an extra step that goes towards, at least for some people, making people more invested in the playtest in general.

I mean, even though I know that I don't have to report my playtest results to WotC, the fact that I agreed to their terms kinda-sorta makes me want to report my feelings on the playtest to them.

So, I guess in addition to the standard legalese, there's a bit of a psychological trick at play here: those of us willing to push "Okay!" on the "Do you agree to the terms of this playtest?" button are, by virtue of having pushed that button, more likely to report our feelings and experiences of the playtest, even if we haven't signed up for anything like that.

I think it's more pragmatic than that. By signing up, you have to give them a valid email address. Once you give them an email address, they can send you surveys. If you didn't agree to the playtest (and therefore provide an email), you wouldn't get a survey, and would thus be much less likely to provide feedback.


Excellent point, Tamago.


I'm just waiting to see the pathfinder logo crossed out and D&D Next over top of it...

Yes I have read it, and I see some similarities to Pathfinder that should flatter the folks at Paizo for creating such a great product that WOTC wants to adapt it. Needless to say my money is staying here.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
MicMan wrote:
...does anyone really expects to be brought before a court if he plays with his homegroup where people have not agreed to the terms of the playtest?!

I like to think my word actually means something. When I enter into a legal agreement, I abide by that agreement, even if the other party has no means of confirming or enforcing my compliance. That's part of the reason I don't enter into legal agreements lightly; when I make a commitment to something, I mean it.

I suppose things are different for people who are sitting around saying, "WotC doesn't know who I am and won't ever take me to court, so I don't really have to follow the rules I just promised to follow." If my word was only as good as the ability of the other party to enforce compliance, I guess I'd be just as nonchalant about entering into legal contracts as the next guy.


Epic Meepo wrote:

I like to think my word actually means something. When I enter into a legal agreement, I abide by that agreement, even if the other party has no means of confirming or enforcing my compliance. That's part of the reason I don't enter into legal agreements lightly; when I make a commitment to something, I mean it.

I suppose things are different for people who are sitting around saying, "WotC doesn't know who I am and won't ever take me to court, so I don't really have to follow the rules I just promised to follow." If my word was only as good as the ability of the other party to enforce compliance, I guess I'd be just as nonchalant about entering into legal contracts as the next guy.

So: You've naturally concluded that people who find the terms of the contract less concerning than you see to must be morally bankrupt.

Make perfect sense.

Qadira

TheChozyn wrote:

I'm just waiting to see the pathfinder logo crossed out and D&D Next over top of it...

Yes I have read it, and I see some similarities to Pathfinder that should flatter the folks at Paizo for creating such a great product that WOTC wants to adapt it. Needless to say my money is staying here.

I think a lot of the "looks like Pathfinder" stuff is just stuff that was already in 4e that was, through parallel evolution, adopted into Pathfinder.

For an example, 4e already had at-will cantrips. Then again, so did Pathfinder's very first Beta playtest release, but since those two games were released only three months apart (with Pathfinder's beta leading the way) I would assume that the finalized version of 4e was pretty much on the printer already, so that particular idea was probably not implemented into 4e as a direct cause of Pathfinder.

What other ideas and/or mechanics did you see were informed by Pathfinder? Because, personally, a lot of Next just feels like extensions of 3.5/4e ideas and mechanics to me.

Andoran

bugleyman wrote:


So: You've naturally concluded that people who find the terms of the contract less concerning than you see to must be morally bankrupt.

Make perfect sense.

Sure seems that way. I better go to church sunday and confess my sins. I get it not everyone is thrilled with the legal terms of the playtest. Yet calling people who disagree morally bankrupt kind of a stretch putting it mildly.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
memorax wrote:
bugleyman wrote:


So: You've naturally concluded that people who find the terms of the contract less concerning than you see to must be morally bankrupt.

Make perfect sense.

Sure seems that way. I better go to church sunday and confess my sins. I get it not everyone is thrilled with the legal terms of the playtest. Yet calling people who disagree morally bankrupt kind of a stretch putting it mildly.

I dont find the legal stuff awkward or unreasonable at all. Nonetheless, to be fair, Epic Meepo was responding to the implicit suggestion that it didnt matter if he did have a problem with it ("...does anyone really expects to be brought before a court if he plays with his homegroup where people have not agreed to the terms of the playtest?!") - the suggestion presumably being that someone with his concerns could just sign it and then break it with impunity.

He wasnt suggesting that anyone who was willing to sign the agreement and stick to it was morally bankrupt - merely implying that signing the agreement with the express intention to not honour it was not something he was prepared to condone.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
memorax wrote:
bugleyman wrote:


So: You've naturally concluded that people who find the terms of the contract less concerning than you see to must be morally bankrupt.

Make perfect sense.

Sure seems that way. I better go to church sunday and confess my sins. I get it not everyone is thrilled with the legal terms of the playtest. Yet calling people who disagree morally bankrupt kind of a stretch putting it mildly.

I dont find the legal stuff awkward or unreasonable at all. Nonetheless, to be fair, Epic Meepo was responding to the implicit suggestion that it didnt matter if he did have a problem with it ("...does anyone really expects to be brought before a court if he plays with his homegroup where people have not agreed to the terms of the playtest?!") - the suggestion presumably being that someone with his concerns could just sign it and then break it with impunity.

He wasnt suggesting that anyone who was willing to sign the agreement and stick to it was morally bankrupt - merely implying that signing the agreement with the express intention to not honour it was not something he was prepared to condone.

Also, the words "morally bankrupt" were, you know, NOWHERE IN HIS POST.

Some of you dudes have simply got to learn that some criticism of WotC is going to occur. Some of it's even justified. Some criticism of Paizo is justified. Some criticism of the pope is justified. There are no friends to be won nor people to be influenced by e-knighting blindly and wholly on behalf of a company you don't directly work for. It's not "groupthink". It's a bunch of people who generally are not WotC roadies discussing WotC's policies/procedures/decisions using critical thinking skills. There's lots to like about the playtest, but everything need not be sunshine and bunnies.

Good heavens.


Jeremiziah wrote:
Some criticism of the pope is justified.

The pope smells a little funny... Maybe it's from when he [expletive deleted] in the woods...

Disclaimer:
This criticism may not be justified... Or criticism.


Oh and so far I like what I've read in the play test materials. I hope I can convince my group to sign on so we can have a go.

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