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  1. #1

    Preview Copy Inquiry

    Hello all,

    I have been eagerly following CK2 progression for a bit now (to the chagrin of my coworkers who keep asking me what that RISK game is ) and was curious as how folks get the preview copy of Crusader Kings II. I've not been able to find anything on the forums or through the website and wondered how that worked. Is it for well known members of the community who have been involved in testing for awhile?

    From what I understand it's different from a beta in that your copy comes 'as is' but you are not held under NDA. Thanks for any information. I'm dying for February to arrive.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobel View Post
    Hello all,

    I have been eagerly following CK2 progression for a bit now (to the chagrin of my coworkers who keep asking me what that RISK game is ) and was curious as how folks get the preview copy of Crusader Kings II. I've not been able to find anything on the forums or through the website and wondered how that worked. Is it for well known members of the community who have been involved in testing for awhile?

    From what I understand it's different from a beta in that your copy comes 'as is' but you are not held under NDA. Thanks for any information. I'm dying for February to arrive.
    Congratulations on your first post on the forums!

    Anyway, to acquire a press-copy, while I'm unsure of the specifics, an individual must be interested in playing Paradox games (obviously) and subsequently play them (mostly in the form of "Let's Plays") to a notable audience who equally share the interest in P'dox and also through a notable medium (YouTube, for example). Paradox may contact you if they are noted of your work, and like what they see, or you may contact to ask for permission to be granted release copies of their upcoming games.

    That's what I've observed from some of my subscriptions on YouTube anyway.
    Last edited by Kluska; 09-12-2011 at 21:50. Reason: Spelling

  3. #3
    Grand Strategist takedown47's Avatar
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    you'll have to wait until feburary like the rest us, i think paradox only gave out previews to members of the gaming press so all those youtube videos are by people who have their own gaming websites or youtube channel. and the beta is closed under an NDA so those people participating in it are not allowed to talk about their experiences.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the information! (Yes I'm a hardcore lurker)

    I am resigned to wait patiently and watch the let's plays like everyone else then

  5. #5
    Grand Strategist takedown47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobel View Post
    Thanks for the information! (Yes I'm a hardcore lurker)

    I am resigned to wait patiently and watch the let's plays like everyone else then
    there are two other games you should get excited about, magna mundi (which is actually currently accepting beta testers right now) and Victoria II's A House Divided expansion. both are massive improvements on classic paradox games.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobel View Post
    Thanks for the information! (Yes I'm a hardcore lurker)

    I am resigned to wait patiently and watch the let's plays like everyone else then
    No problem, dude.

    Also if you do ever get the itch to Let's Play, be sure to let the forums know. Not a great deal of Paradox LPers out there, another certainly could not hurt.

  7. #7
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    I do wonder, whether or not lp'ers who get preview copies also get the game for free once its released? I wouldn't think so.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjja494 View Post
    I do wonder, whether or not lp'ers who get preview copies also get the game for free once its released? I wouldn't think so.
    I agree. Though I don't personally know, it just seems obvious that Paradox would not let the money made from their purchase slip away. Also considering people with the preview version have played the actual, albeit unfinished, game so they know if it is worth the investment or not.
    Last edited by Kluska; 10-12-2011 at 18:34. Reason: Spelling

  9. #9
    Covert Mastermind Demi Moderator Secret Master's Avatar
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    I might be wrong, but as far as I know, preview copies were given out to game reviewers and contest winners.

    What makes it different from other previews is that they did it through Steam (for me and some others, at least) and the preview copy has kept updating over time. Normally, when we get previews of a game, it's just a beta that never changes, so there's no point in playing it over and over again.

    I suspect, but can't confirm, that Paradox is trying out this updated preview thingee as a way to generate extra interest and sales, since we can keep reporting back to the community our little tidbits. Unlike beta testers, we aren't bound by the NDA. Then again, we don't have any idea what they are thinking or trying out. We just get updates and the game is magically different.
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  10. #10
    Bend Me / Break Me Communazi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Secret Master View Post
    and the preview copy has kept updating over time
    I was unaware of this. Usually it's just highly restricted alpha material with all the 'good bits'.. props to PI for putting out media friendly material, I think there are many studios that could learn a lesson from that based on the quality of what we've seen so far.

  11. #11
    Covert Mastermind Demi Moderator Secret Master's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Communazi View Post
    I was unaware of this. Usually it's just highly restricted alpha material with all the 'good bits'.. props to PI for putting out media friendly material, I think there are many studios that could learn a lesson from that based on the quality of what we've seen so far.
    Well, as I said, I suspect this is an experiment in generating extra (good) press for the game. I think it might be a winner of a strategy, too.

    However, it might also just be that CK2 is turning out to be a good product. A lot of us in the community had a love/hate relationship with the original CK: DV. It was such a good game, even with all its problems and mechanics that we wished could have been included. But it also had its problems (there were still corrupted saves happening the last time I patched and ran the game). And just about every DD, screenshot, and announced feature has made us ol' timers feel like we are getting the product we longed for all these years.

    So, there are some other dynamics at work besides just letting people have an updating preview copy.
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  12. #12
    I think it's a brilliant move as it does continue to generate interest in the community. Being able to watch a three hour stream shows off a lot of the game that looks quite polished at this point. By the way, Secret Master, if you hear a strange sound coming from your window soon, pay it no mind. Just me attempting to steal your computer with the preview copy it >.>

  13. #13
    Bend Me / Break Me Communazi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Secret Master View Post
    Well, as I said, I suspect this is an experiment in generating extra (good) press for the game. I think it might be a winner of a strategy, too.

    However, it might also just be that CK2 is turning out to be a good product. A lot of us in the community had a love/hate relationship with the original CK: DV. It was such a good game, even with all its problems and mechanics that we wished could have been included. But it also had its problems (there were still corrupted saves happening the last time I patched and ran the game). And just about every DD, screenshot, and announced feature has made us ol' timers feel like we are getting the product we longed for all these years.

    So, there are some other dynamics at work besides just letting people have an updating preview copy.
    The fact that Paradox is producing high quality alpha (and now beta) material combined with interracting and listening to fans has put me in a bit of a conundrum lately. A good one albeit.

    On one hand there is this great material to cover, yet also the urge to put pressure on other developers to raise their standards. I'm putting together some material and propositions for a large website that has been neglecting the armchair general masses, my goal is to try extend this sort of quality coverage beyond just the hardcore gamers who will see it anyway. Sadly though the games industry is dragging behind, despite being so huge. Even when it comes to music; the amount of cross-promotional opportunities lost makes me want to hurt kittens.

    It's great though that the previewers like yourself spend the time interracting with the community (and PardoxianLP, btw people donate money to him on his site.. he needs a new mic :P)

    I hate checking 15 different sites for the same regurgitated facts. Give us something NEW people.

    I'd like to do some LP's but I think attention deficit disorder would get the better of me, plus people don't understand Australian accents.

  14. #14
    I must say that as one of the previewers who got their press preview through Gamer's Gate I am a bit sad to see that version not being updated. Am thinking of doing an AAR on Tacticular Cancer to show off the new features but doing so on an already outdated version feels a bit silly. Oh well.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Communazi View Post
    plus people don't understand Australian accents.
    We americans think australian accents are cute/funny/sexy. And we're the only ones that really count right?

    But I've played EVE with people from all over the globe, and aussies are far from the most difficult to comprehend. Some welshman topped my list. It was fun listening to him, but I couldn't ever make a word out. The belgians in my fleet seemed to understand him perfectly though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trashed View Post
    I must say that as one of the previewers who got their press preview through Gamer's Gate I am a bit sad to see that version not being updated. Am thinking of doing an AAR on Tacticular Cancer to show off the new features but doing so on an already outdated version feels a bit silly. Oh well.
    WTB AAR, but I suppose that's reasonable.

  16. #16
    I get the idea behind not updating preview copies. You don't really want dozens of previews with different versions contradicting each other. It will only confuse people.

    That being said, I'm not sure how much longer I can produce content with my version of the game, as the release inches closer and more up-to-date previews and AAR's are coming out I see that there have been quite a few changes. It doesn't make much sense to showcase a horribly out of date game.

  17. #17
    NO! The LPs and stuff been epic, especially as they seem to be a lot more prolific than for any other game I have ever anticipated- so don't stop... please. There could be an advantage for the viewer in watching out of date copies.

    I wouldn't imagine that the game is going to change radically before release, so you'll all still be whetting the collective appetite for CKII but when we do eventually get our hands on the game we might find a couple of extra things that didn't come up in the LPs and we'll think, 'Ah! That is sweet.'

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Communazi View Post
    On one hand there is this great material to cover, yet also the urge to put pressure on other developers to raise their standards. I'm putting together some material and propositions for a large website that has been neglecting the armchair general masses, my goal is to try extend this sort of quality coverage beyond just the hardcore gamers who will see it anyway. Sadly though the games industry is dragging behind, despite being so huge. Even when it comes to music; the amount of cross-promotional opportunities lost makes me want to hurt kittens.

    [snip]

    I hate checking 15 different sites for the same regurgitated facts. Give us something NEW people.
    One thing I have been wrestling with this whole time is how to redefine my role as reviewed in this context of updated preview stuff. It all seems like roses and lasagna to be a game reviewer (substitute a favorite dish and romantic odor for those in different cultures), but it comes with some really odd issues to deal with in this case.

    On the one hand, I love having access to the inside track on a game I really want to play. I have made no secret for years that CK2 was a title I wanted Paradox to make, and that CK1, for all its warts, was a fun game to play. In fact, the warts and the game's very troubled development cycle has made me and the other old people around here desire a sequel all the more. (For those wondering how screwed up it was, read Johan's comments in this thread.) Just having access to the initial preview was every bit as wonderful as I hoped. CK2 includes the kind of mechanics I have lobbied for in the past, it makes the game more interesting for low tier rulers, and it even included a "pick any date" function which I always thought would be something they would never implement. Hell, even the preview copy I have is in such good shape in terms of basic QA that I could give the game 3 stars right now. I've had fewer CTDs in 90 hours of playing the preview than I had with the first month of CK's initial release. (Let's keep it that way, guys. )

    If I had more time, I'd love to stream a game or record and post with a voice over (the advantage of recording and doing narration is that I can edit the footage to be more coherent and relevant). In fact, since the version I have is on Steam, I could even tease community members with an "hours played" update every week, just to make everyone green with envy. Hell, I could even dress up in a cheerleader outfit and lead the forum in a series of motivational cheers for the staff. I'm sure my Adonis-like figure and Brad Pitt hair would be a real hit in a skirt and pom-poms.

    But here's the problem.

    Guess who's going to review the game for Avault when it comes out? Me, that's who. I'm really the only person on staff who "gets" the more in-depth strategy games. That doesn't mean my colleagues are stupid; far from it. But it does mean that if a strategy game of any description wants a fair shake by someone who at least understands the basics of various genres, then I've got to be the one who takes a look at it. But if I'm going to review the game, how can I maintain the appearance of fairness if I'm over here streaming the games I play and chatting about how much I love it? All it takes is for one person to go over to Avault and complain that I'm biased, and we end up with the debacle we had with my EU:Rome Review. I got burned for that review, even though all the major parties involved (Paradox staff, Avault staff) knew my position in the whole thing. There was no secret conspiracy, but I ended up looking like a fool. And you know what? They were right. No, I don't mean I whitewashed a crappy game (I didn't; Rome was a great game at the time, and it was an antidote to the "everything has to be like Total War or Age of Empires" mood in the industry.). What I mean is that the perception of bias was enough to neutralize any credibility I had, regardless of the objective quality of my statements.

    Then some clever person like you comes along and points out that there are all kinds of cross-promotional opportunities lost because the industry is lagging behind. And you know what? You're right. In fact, I chat with my editors periodically about page hits and that sort of thing, and if you walked up to my virtual desk over at Avault and said, "Look, dude, you stream the game once a week, and we guarantee X number of additional hits. You stream it twice and archive a detailed commentary once a week, and you earned yourself some serious ad revenue" I'd be very tempted to say, "Hell yeah, sign me up! When do I qualify for the private jet and with the wet bar and Denise Richards circa 1999 look-a-like twins?"

    So, what the hell am I supposed to do? I already am worried that my comments about the game so far are enough to get angry people to post pointlessly negative feedback when I get the review up. In fact, there are some heartless souls that would probably cry out, "You are a sellout like IGN/Gamespot/Whatever!" (Note: I am not saying they are sellouts or industry shills, but from the feedback we get on our site, our readers like that we are not like the big boys in the industry.) But on the other hand, how can I ignore the updated preview on my computer? How can ignore comments posted in the community by people who are misinformed? If I am silent about such things, then I'm not really covering the subject properly. If I let people rant incoherently when a simple, "Hey, I just played it last night, and what you are talking about isn't even in the game right now" could solve the problem and keep everyone better informed, then am I actually doing a disservice to the strategy gamers I purport to represent?

    And this does not even take into account my academic interest in the gaming industry. I've got a conference paper on medievalisms in strategy games coming up in May at the International Congress of Medieval Studies (KZoo for those in the know), so even tiny little details like the implementation of the homosexual trait are of significant academic interest. Let's face it. I would never have gotten so involved in the game industry if I didn't find questions of game design interesting. I was never very good at programming (C++ was taught to me by someone who never really used the language), but the mechanics and rules of games are something I find fascinating. It's not just cool that anti-Popes are in from a historical perspective, but how they decided to implement such a controversial and certainly medieval thing is interesting.

    What I'm saying in a very roundabout way is that this is kind of a new thing for me and I don't know where the lines between informing people and being accused of collusion are really to be drawn. I've toyed with trying to see if it's worth the extra page hits to do a commentary game and post it on youtube, with comments from my editors or something. We could always use the extra traffic, but I really don't know. My editors monitor the combined traffic for our site, and it is very clear that we get traffic from people who go back and look at even our old reviews. Both my editors and I feel this is because the demographic we represent prefers us to be less mainstream and more thinking oriented. Our readers are the kind of gamers that might go and purchase a 5 year old game if we said it was great. Would we lose that with a short-term boost gained from posting preview videos that hype upcoming products? I dunno. It's a thorny issue. Trolls I can handle, but the last thing I ever want to do is be called an industry shill and then say to myself, "Maybe they are right. Look at what I did when game X came out."
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  19. #19
    As a favor to you, I'm willing to play the preview copy and stream my experiences. I'm willing to make this sacrifice to preserve your integrity. ^_^

    Just e-mail me the game and we can get this started.

    The people that are streaming are either average or terrible. I have to restrain myself to remain constructive when commenting on their threads. I'd really like to see someone talented play.
    Last edited by Dorevai; 12-12-2011 at 05:49.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by PdoxLP View Post
    That being said, I'm not sure how much longer I can produce content with my version of the game, as the release inches closer and more up-to-date previews and AAR's are coming out I see that there have been quite a few changes. It doesn't make much sense to showcase a horribly out of date game.
    I think you will be able to 6 february, or the release of the Demo. Anything is better then a silent month.
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