As mentioned previously Dungeons and Dragons Experience (DDXP) is being held this coming weekend in Fort Wayne IN. As the name might imply Wizards puts a lot of emphasis on this convention and this year is no exception. With the recent announcement about the development of the new version of DnD, aka DnD 5E, aka DnDNext, Wizards has targeted DDXP as the place to where the announced playtests will begin. Wizards is also making almost the entire development team available to provide support and to participate in a series of seminars and discussions as well.
When Wizards conducted their new version preview to journalists and RPG insiders this past December they asked the attendees to sign an NDA because that version was an obviously very early rough draft and they wanted more time to hone their product. Another month or so has passed since then and one of the attractions at DDXP this year is the opportunity for members of the larger gaming community to get their first view of the new draft of the game. In order to do a playtest it will be required that Wizards get the new core rule set documented and written down on paper for the players to have access to - otherwise how can they play?
Wizards announced this week the players, those that will have access to the playtest material, will also be asked to signed an NDA. I am slightly disappointed, not because of the NDA issue per se, but because I had signed up to be part of the larger playtest community (you can do so here) and was thinking that the material to be used this weekend might be distributed to those who had signed up through the web page. I suppose it does makes sense to wait for the mass official release playtest release until after they have had some time to digest the feedback they get from this first playtest event.
Just to clarify, those attending the seminars and discussions will not be asked to sign an NDA, only those who will be reading and touching the physical material. If Wizards thinks the material is still too rough for a larger distribution that's fine, but over this weekend and the next week I fully expect the RPG blogs and twitter feeds to explode with comments, feedback, criticism, and maybe even praise. I wouldn't be surprised if pirated copies of the restricted material eventually (eventually = sooner rather than later) find their way around the internet as well.