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[Column] Elder Scrolls Online: The Importance of Testing

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,580MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Beta testing has become something of a sales tool in many games but it is really much more than that. In today's Elder Scrolls Online column, we take a look at why testing is important to games in general, and ESO specifically. Check it out and then head to the comments to continue the discussion.

A few of us here at MMORPG.com have spent a decent chunk of time with ESO already, but to be sure, it’s not enough to fully judge a game on.  A few hours in a highly controlled press demo experience aren’t exactly where you’re going to get the best and most objective look at a game. Garrett is more excited than I am by the title, while I remain cautiously optimistic about its prospects until we see it in a more near-finished state.  Once an NDA drops, for any game, I figure it’s then that we can start to take criticism seriously.  Because if a company says “You lot that have been playing this title can say whatever you like” largely means that they feel its in the best shape it’s going to be before launch.   

Read more of Bill Murphy's Elder Scrolls Online: The Importance of Testing.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • orbitxoorbitxo fort lauderdale, FLPosts: 1,404Member Uncommon

    iam  a Big Skyrim fan.

     

    saw the leaked video to this mmo= not impressed.

    ill wait for offical release-  but prob wont be playing it.
     
     
     
     
     
  • ZedTheRockZedTheRock Florence, KYPosts: 172Member
    I feel there needs to be some kind of litmus test for testers and one of those litmus tests are people who are keen on the overall design decision of the game.  I would bet a hundred lifetimes that the guy who released the 20 min leak was a "hater" before he even downloaded the game.

    SUP

  • nationalcitynationalcity Decatur, MIPosts: 330Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by orbitxo

    iam  a Big Skyrim fan.

     

    saw the leaked video to this mmo= not impressed.

    ill wait for offical release-  but prob wont be playing it.
     
     
     
     
     

    And there in lies the problem people thought this was gonna be Skyrim the MMO......

     

     

     

     
  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Posts: 5,444Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by orbitxo

    iam  a Big Skyrim fan.

     

    saw the leaked video to this mmo= not impressed.

    ill wait for offical release-  but prob wont be playing it.
      

    Thats what beta is all about. Seen many MMO in beta be a totally play different by release. But I have also found game play footage not to be very telling on how fun a game is to play. 


    =-D Only on a forum can optimism be called bad and pessimism the good thing =-D Welcome to the internet and forums. 


  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    This is a damage control article. Moving past leaked footage, I think its going to be real interesting to see how this game launches and then grows. I think this game will grow after launch. Expectation has dropped out largely due to the leaked footage. So this game launches, lower numbers then expected, people pick up on it realize its fun, word spreads and suddenly we have what will appear to be sustained growth. Keyword " appear "
  • codifiercodifier PoriPosts: 47Member
    Originally posted by Nanfoodle
    Originally posted by orbitxo

    iam  a Big Skyrim fan.

     

    saw the leaked video to this mmo= not impressed.

    ill wait for offical release-  but prob wont be playing it.
      

    Thats what beta is all about. Seen many MMO in beta be a totally play different by release. But I have also found game play footage not to be very telling on how fun a game is to play. 

    Tell me an MMO which was "totally different" from it's beta state. MMO releases ends up being pretty much same as betas. You could say that if it was an Alpha.

  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,923Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by codifier
    Originally posted by Nanfoodle
    Originally posted by orbitxo

    iam  a Big Skyrim fan.

     

    saw the leaked video to this mmo= not impressed.

    ill wait for offical release-  but prob wont be playing it.
      

    Thats what beta is all about. Seen many MMO in beta be a totally play different by release. But I have also found game play footage not to be very telling on how fun a game is to play. 

    Tell me an MMO which was "totally different" from it's beta state. MMO releases ends up being pretty much same as betas. You could say that if it was an Alpha.

    Some do change quite a lot actually. While its not a massive scale change usually (graphics are likely to remain the same as well as core elements) polish and changes can be added to 'spice up' things. Closed beta tends to be for those purposes of fixing up issues or even making some changes to how things are. Graphics? Yeah, outside special effects its not very likely it will change? Combat? Mostly the core of it is the same but the way games work there can be skill changes or additions that enhance it as well. Games like 

     

    That being said, its important to stress that, as far as I've seen, the leaked footage itself seemed quite poor, in terms of the user in some ways trying to mock the game more then show it off. Unless you consider standing around or doing jack in the limited combat as being 'productive' in demonstraiting it. You can tell from the video the user wasn't trying to really impress much at all or really show anything very useful.

     

    I must stress, I'm not saying its going to be a good game. Simply put, dont judge leaked footage as being the 'final product' or really a good judge for just how the gameplay functions. The footage a 12 year old kid messing around isn't going to be as good as a professional reviewer checking things out.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,452Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by codifier
    Originally posted by Nanfoodle
    Originally posted by orbitxo

    iam  a Big Skyrim fan.

     

    saw the leaked video to this mmo= not impressed.

    ill wait for offical release-  but prob wont be playing it.
      

    Thats what beta is all about. Seen many MMO in beta be a totally play different by release. But I have also found game play footage not to be very telling on how fun a game is to play. 

    Tell me an MMO which was "totally different" from it's beta state. MMO releases ends up being pretty much same as betas. You could say that if it was an Alpha.

    Except that in the case of this game and this leaked footage we find people not thinking. Surprise surprise.

    So let's really look at it (again).

    What won't change:

    Art Design (which is different from "graphics")

    How quests are disseminated and offered

    Animations (possible some could change but I've never seen them change dramatically in any beta I've played with the exception of adding some animations that weren't available in the beta)

    general game design - won't go from a sanbox to themepark to sidscroller to "whatever"

    What might change

    Possible High rez textures, lighting, etc will be added into the game over time

    Possibly animations but nothing drastic

    Possible combat Balancing

    Landscape if  additional areas are added

    What will change

    Higher level content will be added into the game

    Additional quests will be added into the game

    Additional voices/replacers for place holder voices

    Additional cosmetic options though this won't be drastic

    pvp system will be added

    Crime system will be added

    Additional combat skills

    What the footage showed us?

    Art design

    How quests are disseminated and offered

     

    that's pretty much it. This isn't an open beta/stress test. It also isn't an alpha or pre-alpha so one should recognize the same game at launch.

     

     

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by codifier

    Tell me an MMO which was "totally different" from it's beta state. MMO releases ends up being pretty much same as betas. You could say that if it was an Alpha.

    TSW was one of those. Character creation was very much changed from closed beta to launch. Still scratching my head on why they let it get to open beta that way but it's a moot point now.

  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    In beta Basketball started out with a rock and a milkcrate
  • SuilebhainSuilebhain Lutz, FLPosts: 45Member Uncommon

    My guess is that the producer of the footage is some WoW Fanboi who feels threatened by the prospect of a fantasy MMORPG that may actually attract people away from WoW. Even while playing other games I heard people in general say, almost unbidden, that "TES online is going to suck". When I would ask them how they knew that, they would say something like "I heard some things".

    I was in City of Heroes beta and let me tell you, that game transformed radically from when I joined in to when it was released. As stated above, certain elements did not change, but what did change was the level of detail put into the world itself, and the smoothness of gameplay. By the time City of Villains came out, the game was rock solid.

    I find it hard to imagine that a game that has Mark Firor on board is going "to suck". Some may hate him because of things done with or to Dark Age of Camelot (or not done, in the case of perceived promises unfulfilled) but the fact of the matter is that DAOC was the game that WoW had to beat when it came on to the scene and that, to this day, had the best PvP system that I had ever seen, and I am not even a big PvP fan. The idea that a guild could capture and hold a keep for days added to the virtual world - none of these 15 minute warzones that are  passed off as PvP these days. In fact, taking artifacts could take all night, or days, and the call to arms that would go out when a realm's artifact was under attack had a galvanizing effect that supported PvP and roleplay, something sadly missing from anything not named GW2. Even there, you cannot log off in a keep and wake up there the next day - instanced PvP prevents continuity.

    I am looking forward to TESO, largely because I have pined for such a thing since playing Morrowind. I just hope that the designers remember that it should be a RPG FIRST, and the best RPG setting is a sandbox. There are many of us still carrying the torch for SWG, the best MMORPG ever (pre-Dumbifying).

  • MukeMuke BredaPosts: 2,166Member Uncommon

    lol SWG, that game was dying pre-CU.

    broken content, horrifying game engine, lack of content.

     

    But i agree, before I found out about it and was exploring; it was fun.

    "going into arguments with idiots is a lost cause, it requires you to stoop down to their level and you can't win"

  • TelondarielTelondariel Ottawa, ONPosts: 1,001Member
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by codifier
    Originally posted by Nanfoodle
    Originally posted by orbitxo

    iam  a Big Skyrim fan.

     

    saw the leaked video to this mmo= not impressed.

    ill wait for offical release-  but prob wont be playing it.
      

    Thats what beta is all about. Seen many MMO in beta be a totally play different by release. But I have also found game play footage not to be very telling on how fun a game is to play. 

    Tell me an MMO which was "totally different" from it's beta state. MMO releases ends up being pretty much same as betas. You could say that if it was an Alpha.

    Except that in the case of this game and this leaked footage we find people not thinking. Surprise surprise.

    So let's really look at it (again).

    What won't change:

    Art Design (which is different from "graphics")

    How quests are disseminated and offered

    Animations (possible some could change but I've never seen them change dramatically in any beta I've played with the exception of adding some animations that weren't available in the beta)

    general game design - won't go from a sanbox to themepark to sidscroller to "whatever"

    What might change

    Possible High rez textures, lighting, etc will be added into the game over time

    Possibly animations but nothing drastic

    Possible combat Balancing

    Landscape if  additional areas are added

    What will change

    Higher level content will be added into the game

    Additional quests will be added into the game

    Additional voices/replacers for place holder voices

    Additional cosmetic options though this won't be drastic

    pvp system will be added

    Crime system will be added

    Additional combat skills

    What the footage showed us?

    Art design

    How quests are disseminated and offered

     

    that's pretty much it. This isn't an open beta/stress test. It also isn't an alpha or pre-alpha so one should recognize the same game at launch.

     

     

    ^ Exactly.

     

    There isnt going to be anything surprisingly different from what was leaked, and what will be released in a few months. 

     

    As a note, I think the article title is a bit off.  Its less about the "Importance of Testing" and a chastisement to the beta testers who are leaking information.  Really, however, its aimed towards the potential customers who are thinking of buying the product or sitting on the fence about it, giving a mild finger-shaking to say, "Its not out yet; its only beta".  Thanks, we get it.

     

    Its all part of the hype.  Negative hype is still hype, and it still produces articles written about it.  People will still leak info, others will read it and chat about it..and people will still buy the product.  Its a cycle that we've seen for years.

     

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  • uller30uller30 MILWAUKEE, WIPosts: 114Member
    What amuses me is that people ie bad review sites or YouTube only with stupid hosts are calling this he finished game product. From closed to other open betas to weekend only tests the finished product is never what you buy(usually) byte images are different, or the whole story line is finally imputed or simply they keep fixing and altering mechanics.
    What the person did was ruin or alter people's views for his game which is wrong and I hope his ip/name is perma banned. I will wait till I get y hands on the game or simply form my opinions from ESO. This is not skyrim online.
  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    This game will be fine, just dont look at it like its skyrim or elder scrolls. Look at it like its an mmorpg with elements you expect and an elder scrolls based lore and story
  • Nightsong89Nightsong89 Flagstaff, AZPosts: 48Member

    I really don't take the leaked gameplay videos as anything more than a leak and a peek at an unfinished game that is still in development and testing the various game mechanics.

     

    What I do have an issue with is ZeniMax and their silence on the matter. Yes, I know they aren't required to respond but putting out a gameplay video of their own with developer commentary would go a long way in showing players what the game offers and how it looks and plays. Without that, players are stuck going off of the information developers put out and any leaked gameplay videos, be they good or bad.

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  • alias333alias333 tbilisiPosts: 24Member Common

    Zenimax talks too many shit about that leak video is bad,we dont have to make any descussion about and many things more,but HEEEEEEEEy WTF we have just seen beta and this is ESO game and it sucks and i am very very dissapointed because i was waiting for this game. Zenimax talks about sending randomly keys but i know that many people even didnot got any single key in europe countrys.

    and this is dear zenimax what happens when you are starting to talk with audiance lies. Aion was also in with cbt1 but mmorpg gave 10 000 keys and did it with all 6 cbt. you are hiding your game from audiance so we dont know whats really is inside. at least make Pre-Order and give people 100% beta access who will pre-order this game.

    your lieing toooooooooo muuuuuuuch Zeni,Toooo muuuuuuch. like you allready gave us date release in 6-8 month,be prepeared to compete with archeage. Idiots are working in companies and brained people are sitting at home. Human and nature.

  • RelGnRelGn halalaPosts: 494Member
    The game is in development for years what makes you believe that 8 months more of work will save the leaked video we all saw.

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  • Lowfer69Lowfer69 La Grande, ORPosts: 65Member

       The leaked video was crap and the guy was making sure it looked like crap. I could go into just about any game and turn down the graphics and make them look terrible, not to mention you could tell by what he was doing he wasn't trying to show off any of the actual features. He was doing his best not to actually show you anything. He wasn't playing the game he was doing his best to make it look bad. I mean at the very beginning he went in and changed the UI to make it look as lackluster as possible. He was a troll who had already decided he didn't like the game, he was one of these ES fans who doesn't want the game to succeed. Judging the game based on that leak is wrong.

        I'm not saying the game will be the best ever or anything but basing my judgement on a video put out by a guy who would stoop to leaking isn't fair to the company or the game. We as a community should know better and should be supporting this endeavor in spite of people like that guy. I'm optomistic and this is from a guy who hates the direction of MMO's over the last 10 years. I personally would love it if a company actually had the balls to make a hardcore game again...

  • LordSneergLordSneerg Lorton, VAPosts: 119Member
    Agree with the  trolling video leak. I am not worried about the game right now because it is in early beta. Few people are in ATM. Just like every other mmo that I was interested in I will make my own choice. As for Betas... They are not being used like they should. You have people that want sneek peeks, don't care about the game, or people that don't report their bugs and hope things get fixed.  I just think it is hard to get people to truly work out bugs of a game if you are not going to pay. At this point I think mmos should use beats for stress test and not for bug hunting. 
  • muffins89muffins89 Yakima, WAPosts: 1,306Member Uncommon
    i don't belive the game will change too much from the leaked video.  but,  i like what i saw.  not all mmo's are for everyone.  if you didn't like what you saw then this probably isnt the game for you.

    I think the prostitute mod corrupted your game files man. -elhefen

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    As a closed beta tester and a former game dev (but not of mmos)

    What will change.
    Sound
    Music
    Post processing .fx effects

    .what will probably change
    Animations
    Itemisation
    Class balance
    Leveling / advancement rate

    What might change
    Models
    World layout
    Pvp rules
    Instance design

    What won't change
    Lore
    Overall structure / design of the game
    Combat system
  • VorthanionVorthanion Laguna Vista, TXPosts: 2,117Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by codifier
    Originally posted by Nanfoodle
    Originally posted by orbitxo

    iam  a Big Skyrim fan.

     

    saw the leaked video to this mmo= not impressed.

    ill wait for offical release-  but prob wont be playing it.
      

    Thats what beta is all about. Seen many MMO in beta be a totally play different by release. But I have also found game play footage not to be very telling on how fun a game is to play. 

    Tell me an MMO which was "totally different" from it's beta state. MMO releases ends up being pretty much same as betas. You could say that if it was an Alpha.

    Even in the Rift beta, with a very responsive dev team, the game did not change much in any meaningful way from closed beta to open beta to release other than the typical tweaks and nerfs, but the overall mechanics were untouched despite feedback.

    image
  • keithiankeithian Los Angeles, CAPosts: 3,042Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by orbitxo

    iam  a Big Skyrim fan.

     

    saw the leaked video to this mmo= not impressed.

    ill wait for offical release-  but prob wont be playing it.
     
     
     
     
     

    DUH did you even read the article? Your post is an example of what the article is about.

     
     

    There Is Always Hope!

  • LorimarLorimar freisingPosts: 9Member

    While I agree with almost everything you said Bill I have to differ on one point: It's not as they're in early development - they're heading for a 2013 release. They've been already showing the game (or at least the most polished parts of it) at PAX to public which leads me to 2 conclusions: a) they are afraid to show more of it to a larger audience because of the backlashes when showing the first screenshots or b) they're heading for a Age of Conanish release with a superb Tortage and some other not quite so shiny content.

     

    tl;dr Keeping an unfinished game safe from an expected shitstorm is totally fine - still instant deleting all gameplay footage of a public demo makes me wonder

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