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General: A Master Beta Scorned

2

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  • divmaxdivmax JhbPosts: 106Member

    @Coyote

    Um, you are bitching about not getting into the Beta. Try, not getting to play the game at all thanks to Bioware's definition of "global launch" which excludes everyone not in North America or Western Europe. Despite every other MMO ever launched being able to launch truly globally...which I would know since I played a heck of a lot of them at launch.

    Not that I am bitter...

  • Agnostic42Agnostic42 That place, Overthere, WAPosts: 375Member

    I have an unusual experience with the SW:TOR Beta stress test. I tested on the second weekend, played, gave very informative answers to all questions and surveys. I even found a few bugs and reported them. I took it seriously and had fun along the way.

    I wasn't invited back, go figure.

    I had to grab a key from this site, make a new Bioware account and submitted the key to be able to play on the new account just so I could play with my wife.

    I submitted the key several days after my wife got her invite back, and it was on a completely new account so I know my new beta key had nothing to do with not being invited back.

    Not that I'm bitter or anything...

    This just backs up your statement.

    In the old days I beta tested several new features for EQ, back when they would snail mail a disc to testers with what they wanted tested. That felt worthy of being called a true beta test, this was not even close. We were only there to break the servers, while that has a purpose that I can completely understand, why put in the damn surveys?

  • AkaisAkais Memphis, TNPosts: 274Member Common

    Completely agree with your assertions and sorry you didn't get an invite Coyote.

    It really should be just an open beta at this point personally.

  • MaelkorMaelkor Friendswood, TXPosts: 465Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Akais

    Completely agree with your assertions and sorry you didn't get an invite Coyote.

    It really should be just an open beta at this point personally.

    The purpose of this last beta weekend of which I got to participate was two fold in my opinion. The primary reason for the test was to see what it wouuld be like on launch day and find out if they could handle it and what kind of procedures they would need when the inevitable happened and all of the servers get jammed with people trying to get in.

    The second purpose which was almost as important as the first was probably to allow a large population of people into the game to see what the game is and from their end hoping their product is as good as they think it is spread a positive word about the game and generate good buzz for the final marketing push.

    The last weekend beta had very little to do with game bugs and trying to break the game from that end. That is what they are relying on their smaller group of regular beta testers for.

     

    In the end, however, unless you belong to a testing company or a guild known for being good beta testers(with an inside line into game developer offices) the chance you will get into a particular beta is completely random no matter how big your ego is. Game companies will typically bring in thousands of people to tens of thousands of people with no way to hand select individuals unless you fall into one of the above two categories. You are just a random number.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    Open beta is just PR and stress testing.

    Very little feedback is given and most of what is, is taken with a grain of salt by devs.

    That's why they do closed beta and usually keep the closed beta going and seperate even during the open periods.

    Why?

    They actually screen closed beta apps and as such take their feedback and testing data more seriously.

     

  • RabiatorRabiator GrobizellPosts: 358Member

    Originally posted by Paragus1

    I remember back in the day, sometimes as a beta tester they would mail you actual CDs to install the client on.   Now it's a glorified free trial.

    I've noted the same with some F2P MMOs. Currently War Of The Immortals.

    The first difference to "classic" beta testing with NDAs and all that stuff was that I actually got an invitation mail without applying (I have an account for a different game of that company).

    The second difference was that the game is already quite polished in terms of bugfixing. In two days of playing I noticed only one bug, and that was in word wrapping. Obvious enough that the devs must have seen it themselves, unless their English language skills are zero. Now the game mechanics are not really innovative, so the game may actually run on a mature engine, just with different models image. But my point is that beta testing in the sense of checking the game mechanics seems to be redundant here. Which makes it more of a marketing beta.

    The last "old school" beta testing I did was some years ago with Seed, an indie game that really needed the help of dedicated beta testers as it was full of bugs. And they had those testers, but sadly went pay2play way before the game was ready. But I'm getting off topic...

     

  • AkruxAkrux Goderich, ONPosts: 56Member

    There is a HUGE difference between closed beat and open beta. For most companies closed beta is run by the developers and open beta by the marketing department.

  • InktomiInktomi merrick, NYPosts: 663Member

    Not that I'm bitter either but I didn't get into the SWTOR beta, or the Secret World beta for that matter. Pfft, just means that I'm going to wait until its released and listen to what certain parts of the community says. Then and only then will I plunk down some cash for the game.

    When a company holds a beta and requires people to pre-order or even order the game client before they get to play it, I have a problem with that. That was a dirty trick that Trion used and NCSoft used with Aion. Played both and cancelled both pre-orders. I do regret not following through with Aion though, it actually turned out to be a halfway decent game.

     

  • headphonesheadphones melbournePosts: 611Member

    Originally posted by Inktomi

    Not that I'm bitter either but I didn't get into the SWTOR beta, or the Secret World beta for that matter. Pfft, just means that I'm going to wait until its released and listen to what certain parts of the community says. Then and only then will I plunk down some cash for the game.

    When a company holds a beta and requires people to pre-order or even order the game client before they get to play it, I have a problem with that. That was a dirty trick that Trion used and NCSoft used with Aion. Played both and cancelled both pre-orders. I do regret not following through with Aion though, it actually turned out to be a halfway decent game.

     

    i got offered the beta, but didn't accept. more because of the timing and being unable to download the large files at that time of the month. my isp would've cut my speeds down to 56k for reaching the limit (australian isps have some odd ideas of what "unlimited downloads" means). i'm not annoyed about missing out. it's looking like what i expect it to be: a time filler until gw2.

    not sure why you tacked on that last part about companies requiring you to pre-order, because i didn't pre-order swtor to get into the beta. australians can't actually pre-order it there anyway. just signed up months ago as a volunteer is all.

  • headphonesheadphones melbournePosts: 611Member

    i think the real reason no one wants "beta-testers" these days and are leaning more toward open "glorified free-trials" is rather simple.

    in the old days, games were made for gamers. they were often also made BY gamers. i don't think anyone making games back then were sitting around a nice oak meeting table with their CEO giving them the latest share figures and talking in millions, or even billions, of dollar figures. i think they really did sit there talking about how to make a great game. a challenging game. how to make something different and exciting.

    these days, with the kind of money on the line, it's about playing the safety game. it's like the movie industry. it's safer to remake an old game (copy an existing successful model or use a tried and tested engine but change the colours), than actually try something different. proof of that lies in games which try something a little different and end up getting squashed. not because they don't have enough players, but often because they don't have the millions of players needed to keep shareholders from demanding heads on plates.

    in the end, it's not beta-testers you need. what you need is a good indication as to what "the majority" will accept. you know they're not going to be happy, but before you release the game, you want to know how much you're going to invest in infrastructure. how many servers. will you accept a month of overloaded servers because you know your content wouldn't "keep" the ragers anyway? don't want to invest in more than you need only to have everyone get bored. you want to hold onto your core demographic. you want to accurately judge your future figures. some people think a game fails when it doesn't have enough servers, or has too many glitches. these days, i don't think that's true. a game fails when it has no core demographic.

    an open "glorified free-trial" also helps weed out those who may give a false impression of how successful the game might be. look on this site and you'll get a fairly good indication of the number of fans here who change their mind one way or another. handy information for someone wanting to judge what's going to be needed to keep the mmo going. because unlike singleplay games, an mmo is almost a service-oriented game. it is a store which has to be open 24/7. so how many shops will they need? don't want to get stuck paying rent on a deserted store all kitted out and stocked up with stuff no one's going to buy because you've got another branch right next door...

    swtor won't fail. it will go f2p after a while like every other game these days. but it'll make a nice bounding profit thanks to the initial burst of subs to begin with. the shareholders will be happy. it will be a success. and that's the bottom line.

    it's time to face up to the facts: games are more and more becoming lighter and lighter entertainment to appeal more and more to the masses. which is why i fully expect "cute" potential toys in swtor.

  • Mr.CoyoteMr.Coyote Arkham Asylum, NYPosts: 28Member



    Originally posted by Melieza

    What makes you so 'professional'? 










     

    Ah, well... I attended Juilliard, I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school, I travel quite extensively, I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that, I've seen 'The Exorcist' about a HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, and it keeps getting better EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT!!!" 



     

  • NiteynightNiteynight Henagar, ALPosts: 6Member

    Originally posted by Supersoups

    Thank you. This article has touched me in so many ways and at so many places i don't even where to begin.




     

    gold digger anyone?

  • DinidainDinidain Salem, MOPosts: 47Member

    Originally posted by Mr.Coyote

    Originally posted by Melieza

      What makes you so 'professional'? 

     

    Ah, well... I attended Juilliard, I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school, I travel quite extensively, I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that, I've seen 'The Exorcist' about a HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, and it keeps getting better EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT!!!"

     

    Not to mention the fact that he's talking to a dead guy...

     

     

      Also originally posted by Mr. Coyote...

         Until that time, MMORPGs are doomed to repeat a devastating cycle of copied concept and gameplay, eventually becoming so indistinguishable from each other that gamers on a whole will begin to lose all interest in a genre that we once loved with all of our hearts. The entire industry will fold in upon itself and collapse in a pile of weak, unimagined games... *

     

    * Mandatory Disclaimer that was somehow inadvertantly omitted...

    All of Mr. Coyote's points in this article should  be considered valid and in effect at the time of the posting of this blog...however, of course, should Mr. Coyote receive an extended Beta Tester invite, all previous points in this article shall become Null and Void.

    Anyone and everyone can feel free to disagree with any or all of my opinions and observations whenever I rarely post them; it doesn't bother me one bit. Just know that I'll likely never respond to YOUR disagreement or personal attack, because I know better than to argue with idiots, especially upon internet Forums. See what I did there? -- Dinidain

  • Circuit8Circuit8 Bedford, TXPosts: 3Member

    ToR testers were effectively split into two distinctly different groups: General testers and "weekenders". The general testers were given *mostly* 24/7 access and allowed to progress through most of the game. The weekend testers were just grunts used to stress test the servers and provide generalized preferential feedback. I've been in two of the weekend tests and have another invite starting today... I'm asked to rate quest chains based on different criterea with drop-down style multiple choice questions such as "How were your light/dark side choices?". There is also a comment box.

    This gives me the impression that the weekenders are not playing to find bugs so much as they are giving feedback as to how much they ENJOYED the game. Of course we are encouraged to report anything buggy or disfunctional we discover. I trust that most of the bugs and glitches were discovered in-house and by professional testing companies. With EA backing a game they have the ability to PAY people who do this for a living.

    I wouldn't be so bitter... I also don't consider myself 'unlucky' for participating. It's given me a chance to provide feedback for a game I'm still excited about and assist its launch. Of course there are hordes of idiots with no intent of helping... But again, the weekends are stress tests mostly. And it WAS a weekender that found that one bugged quest weapon that you could one-hit anybody with. Probably a douchebag kid that wasn't planning on providing helpful feedback but the forums exploded with complaints about him... Problem discovered/solved.

  • DarkPonyDarkPony RotterdamPosts: 5,566Member

    Good one.

    Have been looking forward to Swtor for quite a while now and damn glad I didn't succumb to having a go at testing.

    Mostly because I subscribe to your "masses to debug this shit now" idea of current beta testing (along with word of mouth marketing purposes) and hence I am humble and lazy: I'm not so special that my input would be more desirable above that of others. Also I have faith in Bioware to deliver us a good game and I get to experience everything for the first time on a character which doesn't get deleted. Also; I was going to buy the game anyhow.



    WIN!









     




     

  • BeowulfsamBeowulfsam Velike LašcePosts: 128Member Uncommon

    Nice article, worth a few chuckles as I saw few of my thoughts mirrored (only I do play the beta ;)

    ).

    Anyway, it's sad to see how beta feedback changed SWTOR. Current (final release build ) still has more bugs than 2 releases ago, and same bugs as previous release. Best PvP gear was made random and from daily/weekly quests.

    Was fun listening to guildmaster rage yesterday while he was reading the patch notes and we subsequently named the final build of SWTOR "the challenge" since game challenges you with so many bugs.

    So idk what kind of feedback they got from the droves of mindless drones but it seems it's focused on making the game easy as piss and baby/senior citizens friendly. Hell, they even added an arrow in warzones ->your team...for teh mentally challenged o/

  • wjwatkinswjwatkins Ellington, MOPosts: 10Member Uncommon

    I beta tested SW:TOR over the Thanksgiving weekend and I have beta-tested many a game in the free and subscription realms and I completely enjoyed the experience. To me, the game was pretty well finished. I noted some problems with the graphics (visual tearing/artifact with AMD cards that was noted in FAQ) a very infrequent crash that ended up being an issue with Microsoft Security Essentials blocking the program. Also, some difficulty balance issues, where some "easy quest" was super hard, and some hard quest was really easy. In fact, I really did not consider buying the game until I played it that weekend. In some way, I think it was a test weekend to increase the buzz. Increase the amount of pre-orders, which is already doing pretty well. I got my key through an mmorpg site I belong to or may be from origin itself due to buying digital copies of games / o.o /

    wjwatkins

  • InktomiInktomi merrick, NYPosts: 663Member

    Originally posted by headphones

    Originally posted by Inktomi

    Not that I'm bitter either but I didn't get into the SWTOR beta, or the Secret World beta for that matter. Pfft, just means that I'm going to wait until its released and listen to what certain parts of the community says. Then and only then will I plunk down some cash for the game.

    When a company holds a beta and requires people to pre-order or even order the game client before they get to play it, I have a problem with that. That was a dirty trick that Trion used and NCSoft used with Aion. Played both and cancelled both pre-orders. I do regret not following through with Aion though, it actually turned out to be a halfway decent game.

     

    i got offered the beta, but didn't accept. more because of the timing and being unable to download the large files at that time of the month. my isp would've cut my speeds down to 56k for reaching the limit (australian isps have some odd ideas of what "unlimited downloads" means). i'm not annoyed about missing out. it's looking like what i expect it to be: a time filler until gw2.

    not sure why you tacked on that last part about companies requiring you to pre-order, because i didn't pre-order swtor to get into the beta. australians can't actually pre-order it there anyway. just signed up months ago as a volunteer is all.

    I'll explain: That last part had nothing to do with SWTOR, it had mainly to do with the two companies I mentioned. Just another way that publishers are using beta as an excuse to get players to pay money for something that used to be free. Coyote, the original article writer detailed some differences between his experience in past betas and I was merely pointing out some other new tactics that some devs are adopting that annoy me. 

    It was a new paragraph, new topic, unrelated to the SWTOR point. Hope that cleared things up.

  • CharSolCharSol ManchesterPosts: 47Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Inktomi

    Not that I'm bitter either but I didn't get into the SWTOR beta, or the Secret World beta for that matter. Pfft, just means that I'm going to wait until its released and listen to what certain parts of the community says. Then and only then will I plunk down some cash for the game.

    When a company holds a beta and requires people to pre-order or even order the game client before they get to play it, I have a problem with that. That was a dirty trick that Trion used and NCSoft used with Aion. Played both and cancelled both pre-orders. I do regret not following through with Aion though, it actually turned out to be a halfway decent game.

     


     

     

    I'd agree if that were true but I preordered aions ago and the only access I ever got was the beta weekend that anyone and his dog could join. My boyfriend however has been invited more than once despite the fact that I am the one paying for my copy of the game and his copy of the game. So I am getting rather irritated right about now. I'm expecting that he will get into early access earlier too because he got to redeem his code slightly before me because I was at work.

  • InktomiInktomi merrick, NYPosts: 663Member

    Originally posted by CharSol



    Originally posted by Inktomi



    Not that I'm bitter either but I didn't get into the SWTOR beta, or the Secret World beta for that matter. Pfft, just means that I'm going to wait until its released and listen to what certain parts of the community says. Then and only then will I plunk down some cash for the game.

    When a company holds a beta and requires people to pre-order or even order the game client before they get to play it, I have a problem with that. That was a dirty trick that Trion used and NCSoft used with Aion. Played both and cancelled both pre-orders. I do regret not following through with Aion though, it actually turned out to be a halfway decent game.

     






     

     

    I'd agree if that were true but I preordered aions ago and the only access I ever got was the beta weekend that anyone and his dog could join. My boyfriend however has been invited more than once despite the fact that I am the one paying for my copy of the game and his copy of the game. So I am getting rather irritated right about now. I'm expecting that he will get into early access earlier too because he got to redeem his code slightly before me because I was at work.

    I wouldn't say something here if it wasn't true. You might have been talking about the last stages of Aion's open beta stage. I was there for that all the way back to CBT Weekend 1 because I pre-ordered it at my local gamestop. By the time you were playing with everyone and his brother, I had pulled my pre-order.

    Maybe your situation was different than mine, doesn't make mine untrue, just makes it different.

  • GolelornGolelorn Hiding From Social Media Peeping Toms, ALPosts: 1,099Member Uncommon

    Last game I tested was LOTRO. I refused to participate any longer, because its obvious they don't care what a beta tester thinks. They just want a horde of yes men that tell them cloning WoW is the way to do it. Then what do these companies get? F2P hybrid model!!

  • SuraknarSuraknar Montreal, QCPosts: 824Member

    I empathise with the OP, having had the same Honor of beta testing in the early days myself.

    However, things have changed in many levels, not only on what Beta Testers are being called in, but also on the very same fabric that constitutes a Beta.

    Now days it is a marketing Campaign, SW:TOR, I have come to the conclusion, has been doing these "Beta testing Weekends", only to be able to expose as many people as possible to the game. Yes getting Stress Test data from their automated background systems at the same time but any actual player feedback I really beleive was not important and since concurently to these tests there was a group of Closed beta tests from whom to get feed back from anyways.

    The tools for Testing games have changed over the years.

    In addition, the mentality of Devellopment teams has changed too, feedback from players is sumarilly dismissed only acknowledged again for marketing reasons and to upkeep the "hype", since what the game will be and how it will be is something that has been pre-established already, at least in big devellopment teams and companies, it is more personaliseed in smaller independent games.

    But ya pretty much that.

     

    - Duke Suraknar -
    Order of the Silver Star, OSS

    image
    ESKA, Playing MMORPG's since Ultima Online 1997 - Order of the Silver Serpent, Atlantic Shard

  • bumfmanbumfman Valrico, FLPosts: 276Member

    MAN !! Dontcha just love getting into a car and it still has that newly homeless person's skin car seat smell :)

    Work hard Play Harder

  • DecoyTrooperDecoyTrooper Baltimore, MDPosts: 239Member

    1. Not missing much from the game other that is a Star Wars themed MMO game.

    2. These days, beta testing is just for hype.

    3. And yeah, that's what she said!

     

  • TSberriTSberri Yucaipa, CAPosts: 5Member

    i got my invite for the 11/29 test event and enjoyed the game very much.  naturally, that was the first weekend in months that i actually had to work both days so was only to progress to level 16+ before the beta closed.   yes, i too was dissappointed i didn't get another invite for this weekend but looking back, it's probably a good thing.

    back in 05, i was able to get in on the beta of DDO:Eberon.  i digitally signed the NDA and spent about a full month testing/stress testing that game.  i even pre-ordered the game (as i've done with SWTOR)  but...  with all the beta in DDO and a complete wipe of toons between sessions, i was so burnt out on having to go back into the same areas over and over again that when the game launched, i only played it for a month before cancelling my account and heading off to another game. 

    unfortunately, the same will prolly happen here with SWTOR mainly because it's going to be a subscription game.  there are WAY too many free to play games (DDO now being one of them) that i'm not going to keep paying while waiting around for them to come up with a new expansion pak once the current release has been maxed.  mind you,  i don't mind grinding, but at some point you just gotta say, 'WTF? '

    for all those who swear by WoW...  when i first played it, i wasn't impressed.  i did the starter pak a couple of months ago and it has definitely come a long way from where it started but here's something to think on...

    IF that game is SO good.... why did Blizzard/WoW go from a Buy to a Neutral rating on it's stock shares?  too many people cancelling their subscriptions, that's why.   WoW/Netflix...  there is a lesson in there somewhere and i'm glad i'm just an old  gamer and not a CEO of either one of those companies.

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