The Daily Grind: Do you seek out MMORPG leaks?

Over the past couple of months, the MMORPG community has worked its way through massive leaks of top-secret info: first for Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind, then for The Secret World’s morph into Secret World Legends, and most recently for Guild Wars 2’s upcoming expansion. The latter two events in particular provoked long discussions among our staff and commenters about when and whether to cover leaks that are already in the wild and how to approach news we’ve never agreed to withhold. And with The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, at least, the studios’ excessive secrecy and elitist invitation-only testing helped propel a masochistic community desire to see leaks manifest, leading to a perfect storm.

And now it’s ruined for everybody… or at least for people who couldn’t resist clicking past the spoiler warnings. I’m bummed that we’re going to miss out on the fun of unwrapping all those presents one at a time, in Guild Wars 2’s case anyway – it’s more fun and better hits to get to roll out a little at a time. But I’m also hopeful the studios might take alpha tester NDA betrayal as a sign to be more communicative and transparent too and not keep everyone in the dark as long as has gone on here. (Or maybe even just stick to paid testers from the start and give no regular player any temptations.)

How do you feel about MMORPG leaks personally — do you seek them out and click on them, or do you stay away?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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57 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Do you seek out MMORPG leaks?"

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Ryan Allgood

I absolutely look at all leaks. I love information leaks. I think the whole industry has been put in this position where they can’t say *anything* without players taking it as 100% guaranteed fact and promises. So they always have to be super careful with what they say and they have to withhold 99% of the actually interesting information, or wait until almost the last minute to “reveal” things.

But leaks? Yeah, if something ends up not working out, they can be like “Well we never promised that.” You get all this raw information without the devs having to dance around subjects for fear that they will be taken as gospel.

I don’t look for hyper specific story leaks, but to be fair, I only care about the story in FFXIV.

The recent Guild Wars 2 leaks got me interested in the game and I logged in again for the first time in over a year.

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Malcolm Swoboda

All the time. Until I find a MMORPG with a story compelling enough to not spoil myself about it (TSW comes close, and just about only TSW; this includes SWTOR and GW2).

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Arktouros

I don’t seek them, but I don’t avoid them.

If anything I find them annoying because they’re generally incomplete and can lead to misled hype that ultimately leads to disappointment in something you would have never known about otherwise. A great example was Elementalists and sword from GW2 for Heart of Thorns. We had the skills datamined, and then we got a toot-toot horn and it was unbelievably disappointing.

miol
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miol

…it’s more fun and better hits to get to roll out [leaks] a little at a time.

a1111.gif
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Utakata

This is where one of pigtails wonder if the dog in question here would get a bad leg cramps from doing that. While the other pigtail is wonders if the dog’s bladder is a TARDIS? o.O

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rafael12104

Well, it goes like this in my view: You are responsible for your own spoilage and Devs are responsible for their own leaks.

Players, please don’t go to reddit and then complain about leaks. Hec, even here at MOP, the titles of articles should give you a clue, right? Short of someone tackling you and forcing you to see and hear, you are in control of your leakage.

Devs… well, first, there are intentional leaks. Can’t get around that crappy practice and they seem to do it more and more often. Now days, when some Reddit hack claims to have scored “the stuff they don’t want you to know”, it is exactly the opposite.

But there are times when real leaks do happen. Big ones too. Yet the same rules apply.

Players see above.

Devs: Short of just blatant theft, Devs hand code to trusted individuals for testing and in doing so lose control to their data. Yup, their fault. Why? Vetting these trusted sources is on them. Also, making them sign NDAs with some teeth would help. They could do that, you, know. You leak, you pay 100k. That will grab a leakers attention. Instead, you have NDAs that are literally worthless.

That’s it. TLDR? See the first sentence of this post.

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Robert Mann

Meh. I don’t really seek them out, but they don’t bug me much. So long as design is as it is, where story and everything is fairly static, that will be the case.

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jay

I don’t, but I also don’t play alpha or beta for the same reason. I want the games to be fresh and brand new for launch. There’s nothing like that feeling of first logging into a brand new game. The rush of excitement and newness coupled with the knowledge that all of your choices from then on are permanent.

If i play in a beta or alpha, I know they will be wiped eventually, so that feeling is muted and tainted. The same goes for leaks. If I’m constantly on the lookout for news, leaks, and media for an upcoming game I’m remotely excited for. By the time it releases, I’m kind of already over the honeymoon phase.

I’m not worried about having that edge over my fellow players. Most of them are like locusts and will be gone within a few months anyways.

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Fervor Bliss

Never go looking for leaks. Spoilers never bother me either.

django857
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django857

I don’t go looking for them. But if one happens to show up on some site i visit i will read it. Do i fel bad about the leak happening..no i don’t. I do not take games that seriously anymore.

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odin valhalla

“It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing” A wise person.

Depends on your ethics.

Often when you come to fan sites or news sites that feature leaks with a little digging you can find literally pages of narrative on terms of service, code of conduct etc. Always built in is that little line on that includes something like “we reserve the right” and that harkens to my point, it depends on your ethics. The real issue is the application, when you choose to impose them sometimes then you dont others you loose credibility which is extremely hard to recover.

I personally think leaks are unethical, its a “leak” not a reveal or shared data. Is there measurable harm? I dont honestly know. I do know that not only do “leaks” happen but they are celebrated, often by the same individuals who rail against gaming companies for what they deem as unethical practices like lock boxes, P2W, pre alpha’s.

Must be nice to have your cake and eat it too.

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Schmidt.Capela

My usual reaction is to not actively seek leaks, but to read them if I find one and it’s about a game I’m currently interested in. With a caveat, a game I’m interested in is a game I’m usually searching around for every scrap of information available, which means I will typically find any existing leaks even though I’m not specifically looking for them.

As for whether I’m bothered by leaks happening: not in the least. I’m far more bothered by devs that keep information secret for too long and release them in a slow drip to artificially build hype. In fact, trying to build hype that way can make me actually lose interest in a game, in which case leaks might actually restore my interest in an upcoming game or expansion.

I don’t care about spoilers, though. That “opening your Christmas presents early” analogy is completely lost on me because I see nothing wrong with that; the fun for me, as a child, was in figuring where my parents had hid the presents and figuring what they were early without my parents noticing I already knew.

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Wendigo Runner

I don’t actively seek them out, but I do generally read about them if it’s for a game that I’m interested in. Morrowind has been a bit of an exception for obvious reasons and I do selectively avoid certain other spoilers.

Things like classes, however, and other mechanics are not at all spoilers to me.

Benjamin Northrup
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Benjamin Northrup

I love leaks. more information to the consumer is always better for the consumer in general, even if some people prefer to be “unspoiled” it doesn’t hurt them that other people have the information. I seek out leaks for everything under the sun, I read summaries before I read books or watch movies/TV shows, etc. I prefer to know what I’m getting into ahead of time. We are people of limited time, if I can bail on something early because I know what’s coming isn’t my cup of tea, or jump on board earlier because I know its something I’ll like, I’m all for that.

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MeltWithYou

A couple of things – MOP is a news site, you guys live and die by gaming news/rumors/discussion, report it – let the people decide whether they want to read it or not. I think you guys already do a really good job at tagging rumors, spoilers etc BUT the latest GW2 leak, well, that one – maybe next time don’t post the new maps as the main pic ;)

Rumor: Guild Wars 2 leak reveals expansion masteries, locations

Theres some things I can’t help but spoil for myself, but GW2, pretty much everybody knew for the most part, the expansion was going to be in the crystal desert…

For as large as a company Blizzard is, they do a pretty good job keeping leaks at a minimum. Nobody knew what the hell was going on with Titan for years. Most of the WoW expansions you have no idea about until a few days before announcement. I was genuinely surprised when I saw the Overwatch announcement.

With that said, what gives ‘other companies’? Can nobody keep a secret anymore these days? Do you need extra compensation to zip the lips?

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Nordavind

No.

As I’ve said before, the weeks and months and years(!) of teasers and info and Q&A and videos and streams what not is a thing I don’t like about the current development of (new) games and expansions. Data mines and leaks and the like is unappealing to me.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I dont _seek_ them, but I read them if Im interested in a game. My most favourite leaks are about new wow expansion before every Blizzcon

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Utakata

Leaks are delicious! <3

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Kickstarter Donor
Nordavind

Norwegian lession time!

Onoin = løk
Leek = purreløk
Garlic = hvitløk
Shallot = sjalottløk
Shives = gressløk

Løk is the word.

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Veldan

*Onion
*Chives

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Loyal Patron
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Little Bugbear

I don’t go looking for leaks (except in grocery stores). That said, if I see a leak on a site I read it, I”m not afraid to be spoiled. Part of the enjoyment of MMO’s for me is discussing their future, so leaks do not offend me.

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John Bagnoli

As leaks really are and why the publishers don’t like them is because it makes them lose control of the marketing. I’m not sure if there has been any definitive analysis of the negative (or positive?) impact on leaks on game profit/revenue. If there has, I’d love to see it.

Sure, there is concern that what is leaked is not what is going to be ultimately seen by the public, including bugs and incomplete mechanics, animations etc. That can also be a concern.

But as far as lore or setting or even revealing new features (even ones not ready) who cares? I mean really, has that ever really significantly affected someone’s enjoyment of the game? And as pointed out below, most of the times these developers cannot wait to show us the goods… for a price. Early release, beta, alpha, pre-alpha, beta 1, beta 2, pre-alpha beta gamma beta, Early alpha beta release alpha Alpha Centauri. Developers are consummate whores about showing content. Don’t get mad at us for reaching up your skirt this time when you’ve let us do it (for $5) a thousand times before.

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Xijit

Why should I care?

Whatever they are adding to the game will just be insignificant mechanic changes, rehashes of old content, and damaging to the game’s over all balance … Plus half if it will just get changed again with the next update.

Oh, yeah … And a good 90% of anything that actually is significant; is going to be exotic end game / meta guild content that the vast majority of players will never have access to.

threeknee
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threeknee

I enjoy some small details here and there, but in regards to the latest GW2 leaks, I’ve been avoiding them, successfully, until you put up that image of the new maps right on the mop main page a couple of days ago, so, thanks for that. That was not cool.

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Bryan Turner

I think we all know where I stand on this issue.

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Melissa McDonald

Naw, pointless usually, because it could be 18 more months before you’d even get to play the game about which they are leaking information.
And things could change entirely by the time Beta starts.

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Reht

I don’t seek them out, but i also don’t pass them up if they are posted on a site i frequent…like this one.

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Lethality

As usual, the problem is players.

Why do they feel “entitled” to see whatever they want, whenever they want? What is “elitist” about an invite-only testing program? That’s how they work best.

And beyond that, players have no self control when these things DO leak. DON’T CLICK ON THEM. And if you do – you do not get to utter a single word of judgement about what you see.

Simple as that.

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Utakata

Entitled…

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Lethality

Entitlement is exactly what this article posed is happening. What part are you stuck on?

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Utakata

“What part are you stuck on?”

…where you still seem clueless of that word’s meaning. I understand that this is your opinion, to which you don’t appear to want any reasonable facts to counter it. But if you insistent of taking this position, then I will continue to wholly and arithmetically to disagree with you. And where appropriate, point that out. <3

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Bryan Turner

Yeah keep dreaming that you have some kind of controlling interest in what I choose to seek out and look at, okay Mr Mall Cop track me down.

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Lethality

Or, do I…

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Armsbend

The way I see it developers as a whole are to blame. As soon as they shifted default beta/alpha/pre-morph testing to a pay scheme they lost control over the method. Instead of a priveledge where they check your setup, possibly look at your past history with major betas or relationship with the company – it is now just whip out a checkbook so they can make money while foregoing proper QA.

Even for the few developers that do not take part in the schemes – the well has already been poisoned.

I do not feel sorry for developers if they truly don’t want information out there. They should have piped up when the industry changed.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i feel like they poisoned the well a long time ago by repeatedly inviting from the same incestuous pool of routine beta players in each game across companies with the same feedback and the same self interested use of feedback and beta knowledge to get more first for their recruitment threads.

it became rather tiring to see the same names/guilds giving same feedback cliches every game, game after game year after year, often being exposed to those same people in public venues giving totally different narratives about the games in question to sell them to unsuspecting masses.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

why do game companies with tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in profit margins feel entitled to free labour from consumers?

why do game companies feel entitled to be deceptive towards consumers about their product?

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Kickstarter Donor
Modrain

I’m not going out of my way to see them. “Leaks” can be anything from accurate to fake, playing a game of “maybe” is just not something worth to me. If I happen to have some leaks at hands’ reach, I might look at them, but that’s all. I won’t take anything I read for granted or accurate unless it’s official.

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Armsbend

I do not believe in video game leaks. They are manicured by marketing, professionally or on an amateur level, and presented as leaks.

edit: larger avatars thumbs up

Theryl
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Theryl

Just like in politics leaks can be a low-risk way of testing public reaction, misleading the competition, or generating some marketing buzz on the cheap. The majority though, seem too unfocused and too messy to be intentional.

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Melissa McDonald

if we are saying breaking NDA =/= a leak, yes. Sometimes people do that, even make a new sock puppet so they won’t get banned.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

they definitely can be. or even if not intended as such, tend to work that way. which getting mad about leaks is funny because generally leaks help build consumer confidence in a product and are often of a positive nature even if there is no participation from the game company in the leak beyond having inadvertently invited someone who would later leak to their closed testing.

lordkrall
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lordkrall

“And with The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, at least, the studios’ excessive secrecy and elitist invitation-only testing helped propel a masochistic community desire to see leaks manifest, leading to a perfect storm.”

What does that even mean? Doesn’t literally every single game have limited invite-only testing in the earlier stages of development? How is that elitist?

How many games announce stuffs about their expansion before they announce their expansion? Of course they aren’t going to talk about something before they are ready to announce it. How does that make it “excessively secret”? It is surely just business as usual?

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Veldan

Well, for many titles nowadays you can “buy in” to the testing by preorder or participation in crowdfunding. So in that sense, invitation only testing is elitist, because it means they choose their testers from a small pool instead of opening it to everyone.

lordkrall
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lordkrall

In the betas, sure. But earlier stages (and especially of unannounced things) usually aren’t really open to random people just because they happen to pay a bit of money.

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Veldan

Alphas are often open in the same way nowadays, though typically require a higher purchase than beta for access

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

basically idk how many people get into many of these stages of beta, but generally it seems early/core/w/e closed testing for most games invites from teh same smallish pool of player orgs/guilds so often times you see alot of the same names giving the same kinds of feedback game after game year after year.

and as far as excessively secret goes, i guess you don’t remember anet going full 1984 on leaks for gw2 prelaunch saying that anyone leaking was not really in beta and were lying for “reasons”. like they’d routinely post to social media posts that said nothing more than that.

lordkrall
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lordkrall

Of course there is, and guess what? That is because companies need people testing that they know will do the job. Why risk things not getting tested (or leaked) when you already have a group of people you already know will do what they are supposed to?

I remember it quite differently. But of course they will not confirm people leaking stuff before they are ready to announce it. They either have to deny it or stay silent. And if they stay silent people rage like mad about that as well.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

it shows remarkable hostility towards their playerbase. a behaviour that imo continues through today in multiple facets of their business practices and game design/tuning.

most mmo companies rightfully ignore it with out getting all double speak on customers over leaks that if anything tend to build consumer confidence rather than do harm.

which the leaks for gw2 that were out weren’t generally too against their narrative. as much of the stuff that turned out to contradict their marketting narrative wasn’t leaked and/or was released post launch and only privy to a very small group of elite so called alpha core test group members.

they don’t need to confirm anything. just not call people who clearly weren’t lying about the game liars.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

yes i look for leaks for mmo’s i’m interested in. as a GM getting my guild on board for a game of interest may take months ahead of when preorders and “open” beta weekends begin. and as it is beta weekends are often a preorder bonus rather than a legitimate try before you buy thing.

so i need to see what’s going on with a game of interest ahead of time to get an idea of if my guildies will be down to play or not.

it has sometimes been the case that there was guild interest last minute and we go on board together without this stuff, or on a game like archeage i had deemed to have too many issues to make the guild happy, and been wrong to some extent (tho our original run in archeage actually ended with some members swearing off the mmo genre since).

but in general i do my due diligence as GM, get into the betas or look for the leaks, cut through the influencer salesmen bullshit as much as possible and coomunicate my impressions to guildies. sometimes most of us skip a game and some others play it anyway, sometimes many of us play a game that others skip. such is life ini my guild. but at least i tried to do my job as GM in serving my guild/friends first over the desires of overly uptight game devs.

in gw2’s case i remember being in beta and it was comical the bullshit they’d pull with the closed testing on social media. i think if they had been more forthcoming about the reality of the game they would’ve sold just as many copies, but retained better for at least a longer period. that they still do that sort of stuff just shows that despite high end HR departures the corporate culture is still very much intact.

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MesaSage

“Top Secret Info” lol.

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Melissa McDonald

“double secret probation”

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BalsBigBrother

I will try to avoid them if possible though admittedly my willpower isn’t always up to the job. Heck if I am really interested in something I will often avoid official previews and trailers too.

My reasoning being that I want to discover as much as possible within a game and knowing things before hand really spoils the sense of discovery, which for me is a really important part of a game for me.

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Veldan

I don’t seek them out, but will happily click them when they appear, such as on this site. It doesn’t ruin anything for me to know what they’re working on early. I’m not vulnerable to the hype machine anyway.

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Lethality

Well, the very fact you’re on a site like this clicking on things you’re not meant to see means… the hype machine already ate your lunch :)

wpDiscuz