The Elder Scrolls Online closed beta has returned for another weekend. This beta event, like the previous ones, forces players to abide by a non-disclosure agreement.
The NDA doesn't allow you to share any information, screenshots or gameplay footage from the game. Obviously they can't hunt down everyone who posts anonymously on forums or comment threads but rest assured that ZeniMax is shaking its fist at you. Some sites, like the official forums or the ESO subreddit, will remove any posts that violate the agreement. ESO PR man Pete Hines says that they'll remove the restriction eventually, though:
ZeniMax's close-mouthed approach to the beta has been a source of aggravation and amusement for me. I think it's unrealistic to invite players to try out a massive game they've been waiting years for and then expect them to say nothing. This secrecy is only going to make players who aren't in the test assume that the developers have something to hide. The testers who actually enjoy the game can't tell these naysayers to stuff it. The drawbacks of a hush-hush test seem to outweigh whatever its advantages are.
On the other hand, the NDA is ripe material for comedy.
If you have access to this beta's weekend, you should have received an email from ZeniMax. Be sure to check your spam folder. If you missed out on an invite, you can probably snag one from Curse. They're giving out half a million keys for this weekend.
While the beta will be available all weekend, ZeniMax encourages you to log in at 12pm EST on Saturday. They want to set a new record for simultaneous players in ESO. I guess we've finally moved into the "server stress test" portion of the beta.
ZeniMax says they won't hold an open beta before the game's April launch. However, they add that every eligible player who signs up for the beta should get a key. You just might have to wait a little while to finally get in.
ESO's beta is limited to the PC and Mac for now. The Xbox One and PS4 versions will eventually have their own tests but ZeniMax has yet to detail those plans at all. The game is expected on consoles in a mere four months so we should hear something about the XB1/PS4 test very soon if it's going to be a significant beta.
If your free sample of ESO moves you to pre-order, you have a choice between a standard edition and a pricier Imperial Edition. Both packages can be purchased in physical or digital form.