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Is closed beta as we know it a mistake?

Abuz0rAbuz0r Lexington, KYPosts: 354Member Uncommon

I see dozens of games get absolutely impaled publicly by their closed beta testers.

Companies send out beta test invites because they want to more densely populate their server and see which issues will arise (including bugs, crashes, and gameplay experiences).  It is also an excuse to allow the desperate fanbase access to the product even before it is finished.

It is possible to do beta testing with an exclusive group of people who are vetted well by the company, who will respect their NDA.  Of course, nobody would like that.

From Darkfall to Neverwinter....  people are posting on the forum reasons 'they won't continue participating in beta' because of some aspect of the combat that malfunctions or what not.   These people, rather than reporting the negative experience to the company, as the purpose of their beta test, chose to violate any NDA they had, and publicly ostricize the product.

Companies don't just have beta for you to send in crash reports.  If you hate the way your archer plays because of some stupid aspect, they want to know about it, you're there to give them your opinion.  The public forum is not the place to deliver it however.

Quitting beta because of a glitch or other correctable gameplay problem is as stupid as quitting your job because they make you work and wait until noon to have lunch.

It is my opinion that companies should very carefully choose their Beta testers, and rather than just a check-box agreement to terms and conditions, should make them first watch a video where someone explains to them what Beta is and what their purpose is and that they're here to play as a job, and not as a game.

Comments

  • AntiquatedAntiquated Oak Brook, MIPosts: 673Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Abuz0r

    I see dozens of games get absolutely impaled publicly by their closed beta testers.

    Companies send out beta test invites because they want to more densely populate their server and see which bugs will arise.  It is also an excuse to allow the desperate fanbase access to the product even before it is finished.

    It is possible to do beta testing with an exclusive group of people who are vetted well by the company, who will respect their NDA.  Of course, nobody would like that.

    From Darkfall to Neverwinter....  people are posting on the forum reasons 'they won't continue participating in beta' because of some aspect of the combat that malfunctions or what not.   These people, rather than reporting the negative experience to the company, as the purpose of their beta test, chose to violate any NDA they had, and publicly ostricize the product.

    Companies don't just have beta for you to send in crash reports.  If you hate the way your archer plays because of some stupid aspect, they want to know about it, you're there to give them your opinion.  The public forum is not the place to deliver it however.

    Quitting beta because of a glitch or other correctable gameplay problem is as stupid as quitting your job because they make you work and wait until noon to have lunch.

    It is my opinion that companies should very carefully choose their Beta testers, and rather than just a check-box agreement to terms and conditions, should make them first watch a video where someone explains to them what Beta is and what their purpose is and that they're here to play as a job, and not as a game.

    Last time we saw this was...Dominus, right? Company just folded right than pubish.

    But I think you undervalue the "negative" publicity. You cannot buy that much (absolutely free) viral marketing.

  • Abuz0rAbuz0r Lexington, KYPosts: 354Member Uncommon

    This happened to WarZ in alpha... didn't even make it to Beta.  Didn't even make it to having clutter or NPC populations.

    Scathing reviews were even posted on this website with alpha gameplay videos insulting every aspect of the game.

    If the developers had waited until the product was 'more complete' before allowing people access, maybe they wouldn't have crashed and burned the way they did.  Emphasis on the burn.

  • AntiquatedAntiquated Oak Brook, MIPosts: 673Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Abuz0r

    This happened to WarZ in alpha... didn't even make it to Beta.  Didn't even make it to having clutter or NPC populations.

    Scathing reviews were even posted on this website with alpha gameplay videos insulting every aspect of the game.

    If the developers had waited until the product was 'more complete' before allowing people access, maybe they wouldn't have crashed and burned the way they did.  Emphasis on the burn.

    WarZ was a pretty textbook example of mismanagement in a lot of other ways--you might want a better example.

  • Abuz0rAbuz0r Lexington, KYPosts: 354Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Antiquated
    Originally posted by Abuz0r

    This happened to WarZ in alpha... didn't even make it to Beta.  Didn't even make it to having clutter or NPC populations.

    Scathing reviews were even posted on this website with alpha gameplay videos insulting every aspect of the game.

    If the developers had waited until the product was 'more complete' before allowing people access, maybe they wouldn't have crashed and burned the way they did.  Emphasis on the burn.

    WarZ was a pretty textbook example of mismanagement in a lot of other ways--you might want a better example.

    No we're still on the same page, I'm suggesting that letting the public access or even to buy access to your unfinished product in beta is mismanagement.  WarZ was just an exponential version of that for allowing the latter during an ALPHA test.

  • WightyWighty Westbury, NYPosts: 665Member Uncommon

    Beta todays are nothing more than hype generating marketing campaigns... I find it comical how ravanous fanboi's will defend a game tooth and nail pulling the "but it's beta" when playing "beta weekends". Aside from maybe testing server loads nothing is accomplished...

     

    I remember back in the day when beta's were meaningful... they lasted months not days and even had  detailed submission tools in game... Some recent games even had pop up surbeys that asked how you felt about a particular questline or content. These beta weekends are a complete joke... Well exceptfor the fact that in most modern MMO games thats about as long as it takes to reach end game... So maybe it is a full blown test.

    What are your other Hobbies?

    Gaming is Dirt Cheap compared to this...

  • Abuz0rAbuz0r Lexington, KYPosts: 354Member Uncommon

    Yes Lineage 2 was like that.  And look, it's still thriving today.  It's also a grindfest, which is for another topic lol.

    remember hotornot.com ?  That's where countless teenage girls went to become either self obsessed or self loathing.  That's the modern equivelent for beta tests for mmo games.  An unfinished product getting judged and decided upon.

  • ThaneThane berlinPosts: 2,232Member Uncommon

    quite amusing how many people name war Z here, actually WRITE they are / were in alpha and then complain how this alpha was... well... an alpha test with external testers :)

     

    seriously, you might wanna check those terms before you make another statement next time....

    "I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!"

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,668Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Abuz0r

    No we're still on the same page, I'm suggesting that letting the public access or even to buy access to your unfinished product in beta is mismanagement.  WarZ was just an exponential version of that for allowing the latter during an ALPHA test.

    There are a lot more factors involved in the decision to go beta, including milestones, partner obligations, marketing, and quite a few others, the least important often being actual testing from beta participants.

    The War Z is simply a terrible example. That's like trying to support concerns about city infrastructure with a photo of the crappy job your neighbor did repaving his driveway. You don't point out issues in an industry by showing how people who are not professionals in the industry have screwed up.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • greywolf2002greywolf2002 ViveiroPosts: 17Member

    Most people join betas just to be able to play sooner to that game they are so hyped about, not to do any real service to the developers.

    So, no, betas, managed this way do more harm than good.

    I would ask the companies to be more selective with their testers, and maybe provide some guidelines about what a beta-tester should keep an eye on?

  • NobleNerdNobleNerd Wolcott, NYPosts: 671Member Uncommon

      Closed testing is fine if the company allows access to the masses when they know it is in a decent playable stage. Companies like Trion did it right with theirs. When testing Rift it felt complete but with polish needed. I and many others helped submit bug reports that tweaked the already playable game. Now if the game crashed all the time and had many glitches it would have been flamed. That is the 2 edged sword affect of letting the public in to test.

      What I personally am hating is this trend of "let's charge people to test our unfinished game". If you get chosen to be a beta tester you should not be charged or encouraged to purchase anything! Companies are getting greedy and if the public just rushes in like the guy selling candy out of his van we are going to regret how this trend evolves. NO game is worth dishing out cash before the launch unless they market it to you as supporting the game. If they want me to support the game then I want to be treated like and investor. Give me a better reason to support your game with my hard earned cash than letting me test an unfinished game or a few fluff items in game! Maybe a company should try out actually giving supporters a stake in the games profit?

    image

  • ksternalksternal Hainesport, NJPosts: 81Member
    Originally posted by Wighty

    Beta todays are nothing more than hype generating marketing campaigns... I find it comical how ravanous fanboi's will defend a game tooth and nail pulling the "but it's beta" when playing "beta weekends". Aside from maybe testing server loads nothing is accomplished...

     

    I remember back in the day when beta's were meaningful... they lasted months not days and even had  detailed submission tools in game... Some recent games even had pop up surbeys that asked how you felt about a particular questline or content. These beta weekends are a complete joke... Well exceptfor the fact that in most modern MMO games thats about as long as it takes to reach end game... So maybe it is a full blown test.

    I totally agree with your statements. But at the same time, I feel companies aren't reading the comments people leave because alot of mistakes stay in the game when they could easily be fixed.

  • Abuz0rAbuz0r Lexington, KYPosts: 354Member Uncommon
    I don't like a lot of betas that I play, but instead of going in public and issuing scathing rants, I send my politely worded criticism to the developers.  None of them have been agitated by it yet. 
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