Friday, May 14, 2010

Cataclysm Alphagate

At first I wasn’t really going to write about the whole Cataclysm Alphagate affair, but it got me to really thinking about it, which can be a bad thing. At first I was amazed at how long pictures were allowed to be left up as well as how they even seemed to be added to on a couple of occasions. The more I thought about it, the more questions I began to have:
  • Was Blizzard unaware?
  • Did they not care that this unofficial fansite had gotten stuff it wasn’t supposed to?
  • Was their NDA so poorly written that they were stuck?
  • Was it a clever marketing ploy to build interest and demand for a product that in all likelihood was still months away?

That last I thought initially was the most likely, but the more I think about it the more I think I was wrong. This is the conspiracy theorist in me I am sure. While it makes a great image in my head of smoky, dimly lit rooms in the Blizz headquarters with trench coat wearing men and women sitting around a small table lit only by a desk lamps “Bob, here is what you are going to do. You are going to take these pictures and leak them out to MMO-champion. Tell them you are part of the Alpha…” *winkwinknudgenudge*

Now the more I think about the whole situation, I suspect that it wasn’t any of my initial thoughts. More likely, based on my limited experience in the business world there needed to be several meetings to determine if there was a risk, and if there was one, what was the damage caused by it. After that was done, a risk register was needed. From there a Decision tree was followed to decide if it was a high risk/high probability issue (Since it already had happened I bet it was at least a high probability issue). Once that was all decided an email was sent to someone in legal to get their take.

The legal-monkey was in court that day, and his blackberry was turned off, so a paralegal got it, looked at it, yelled “Oh shit, we’ve got problems,” and promptly hid their head in the sane. After the legal-monkey returned he read the email proceeded to in his or her well mannered way yell “Oh shit, we’ve got problems”. From there they decided to send an email to say we need to do something about it, but were in email jail so had to clean out a bunch of things first, at which point a finance-monkey called saying that their foursome for golf had room for one more, and off the legal-monkey went.

At about two in the morning when the legal-monkey remembered what they were doing before hitting 3 hole-in-ones on the links, they are back at their computer cleaning out email so they could get out something saying “Take those pictures down, tell us who gave them to you or risk being dragged through a long and boring, completely counter intuitive back-assward court proceeding that will cost you lots of money and you’ll still pull the pictures down.”

Next thing you know we have Alphagate, and all of us bloggers have something interesting to write about for at least two weeks (which is about what it is now and I’m just getting around to putting fingers-to-keyboard).

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