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[Editorial] General: The Beta Is a Lie

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  • LambchopzLambchopz Elmhurst, ILPosts: 1Member

    I don't think there's anything wrong with doing it this way. For a f2p MMO, this kind of soft launch is probably a good idea. I don't have a problem with it.

    But I do agree with the notion that devs should stop pretending it's a beta. It may not be as final as a full retail launch, but it is most certainly not a beta, no matter how many times they call it that. I agree with those that say the term "soft launch" is a more appropriate way to phrase it.

    Basically it's just semantics, but it would feel more honest if they did it this way.

  • OzivoisOzivois Phoenix, AZPosts: 598Member

    FTP games stay in open beta because they can.

    It's just too damn scary these days for developers of MMO's to say their product is complete; especially those on a tight budget. Until developers get better at explaining to the customers that this kind of product (an mmorpg games) will always be in need of updates, bug fixes and the occasional rollback these ftp developers will keep doing this.

     

  • ghettocelebghettoceleb brush prairie, WAPosts: 76Member Uncommon
    Nice article Bill. 
  • GrakulenGrakulen Staff Writer St. Charles, MOPosts: 460MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vannor
    Good ol' bill knew this would bring in some traffic :)

    Haha :)

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member

    Rare to see such a candid article about what many of us knew for a fact: Yes Open Betas are at best a soft launch and at worst a shameless money grab from people that are so excited about the game that they dont mind paying for a beta.

    Thumps up for the candid article. image

  • DeanGreyDeanGrey Fresno, CAPosts: 154Member
    The game is available to anyone without any restrictions beyond the marketplace. They can call it whatever they want, I will continue to call it "launched". For Neverwinter I would also call it "overpriced".
  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,332Member Uncommon
    Agree with everything said.  I've noticed it happening more and more.  Even in subscription games (swtor, tsw, gw2 come to mind) went into "open beta" before launching.  Granted it didn't cost a penny (neither do most f2p open betas either), but open beta has basically become a "come see our game" preview.
     
    I'm no economic genius, my only experience is a year in economics class, but it would seem to me that Neverwinter would make alot more money if they lowered their prices by 50%.  If mounts were $15 a month, they would sell alot more of them.  Currently, I maybe see 1 of the store mounts every 2 hours or so while adventuring, and I've yet to see the $40 worg mount or $35 honey badger companion.  If companions were like $10 tops and mounts $15 tops, I would probably end up buying every single one of them... That's like $120 over the next few months from me personally, instead of $10 for character slots...
  • PsycospankPsycospank Alicew SpringsPosts: 36Member Uncommon

    100% agree, I find the whole open Beta thing a bit of an anti climax. Almost to the point that I felt like uninstalling NW, before I really experienced the game. Thankfully I pushed through that and have found the game a great jump in jump out experience. Lets face it though its ready for a proper launch., and so many others who do the same thing. 

    As for this being a marketing ploy, I think they could have hyped it just as much with out doing that kind of strategy. 

    image
  • winterwinter El Paso, TXPosts: 2,276Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MadnessRealm
    $40 for a freaking mount? For that price I can buy a bunch of full Steam games. Is it account-bound or character-bound?

    On subject now, I always found the excuse players came up with when something negative was said about their favorite game: "The game is in Beta, when the game launches it will be really different". It's a weird form of brainwashing for the fans that seems to allow the developers to get away with a poor launch or not delivering a working product. "It's a beta! But for $40 you can buy a good looking mount!".

    Ridiculous to say the least.

     The game (Neverwinter) is free to play. want to play for a year with a epic mount it cost you $40 want to play WoW for 2-3 months with a mount and its gonna cost you $60 or more (ie box price, monthly subscription, and then cash shop for the mount)

       Nothing is ever free and if you actually stop to look at how much your paying in F2P, Subscription, or B2P games  neverwinter is  a pretty good deal (GW2 just for the base games gonna cost you $60 before you even get to buying a mount. WoW  well over $100 to play for a year before you even buy the cash shop mount etc.)

       Most people agree that the Cash shop should be toned down on its prices but its amazing how some people will complain yet pay 2 or 3 times as much for less from a B2P or subscription game. Because suddenly its like those subscription and box cost don't exist when they buy the $25 cash shop mount as well.

  • MadnessRealmMadnessRealm Montreal, QCPosts: 2,716Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by winter

     The game (Neverwinter) is free to play. want to play for a year with a epic mount it cost you $40 want to play WoW for 2-3 months with a mount and its gonna cost you $60 or more (ie box price, monthly subscription, and then cash shop for the mount)

       Nothing is ever free and if you actually stop to look at how much your paying in F2P, Subscription, or B2P games  neverwinter is  a pretty good deal (GW2 just for the base games gonna cost you $60 before you even get to buying a mount. WoW  well over $100 to play for a year before you even buy the cash shop mount etc.)

       Most people agree that the Cash shop should be toned down on its prices but its amazing how some people will complain yet pay 2 or 3 times as much for less from a B2P or subscription game. Because suddenly its like those subscription and box cost don't exist when they buy the $25 cash shop mount as well.

    If I buy a B2P, I'll be spending $60 on it tops and I'll have a full game to play with. $40 for what is simply a "mount" versus $40-60 for a full game is quite a leap. Sub games I couldn't care much about, I haven't subbed to one since 2010.

     

    I do play F2Ps however, and even then, the mounts usually range from $5 to $20 (for some games where the mounts have some crazy bonuses). $20 being the highest price I had ever seen...until today apparently.

    ------
    Your daily dose of common sense since 2009!

  • AlomarAlomar Middle Earth, NJPosts: 445Member Uncommon
    Great point that everyone I've spoken to, and myself, agree with about "open beta's" (Neverwinter). Being a pvp'er myself I found Neverwinter nothing more than a 3 day distraction with awful balanced 5 player pvp. I might have kept playing casually to level each class and make a few purchases but the over-pricing (of everything compared to most cash shops) and the "open-beta" label drove me away earlier.

    Dozens of MMO's, RTS's, FPS's, etc.

  • NobleNerdNobleNerd Wolcott, NYPosts: 671Member Uncommon
    Agree completely with ya Bill on this one! I think you should do a rant on this and the whole funding a game through kickstarter. If you want me to fund (or in another word invest) your game then that makes me an investor. If I am an investor then I deserve the potential to make dividends from said investment. If you take my money for an idea and I support you then if that idea develops into something profitable I deserve to have a share of that. You want my support monetarily then I deserve to reap a reward from the product if it does well and my gamble pays off. THIS does not happen with kickstarter or any other option for game development right now. This is why I will not give a game developer my money.

    image

  • DracondisDracondis Reston, VAPosts: 176Member
    If a game doesn't have the balls to call itself Launched, they don't have what it takes to get my money.
  • jesteralwaysjesteralways ChittagongPosts: 997Member Uncommon
    Bill mate YOU ARE AWESOME!!! nice article sir. you have pointed out the nasty money grabbing attitude of the f2p publishers while providing very poor game experience and calling it "beta". nicely pointed out. if the game has to be buggy and messy and still in "beta", then why are they taking money for it? and i am even more disgusted by the people who are actually supporting it.

    i want an open world, no phasing, no instancing.i want meaningful owpvp.i want player driven economy.i want meaningful crafting.i want awesome exploration, a sense of thrill.i want ow housing with a meaningful effect on my entire gameplay experience, not just some instanced crap.i want all of these free of cost, i don't wanna pay you a cent, game devs can eat grass and continue developing game for me.
    Seems like that is the current consensus of western mmo players.

  • jesteralwaysjesteralways ChittagongPosts: 997Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lakers4eva
    Totally agree with you but if you feel like this about open-betas then how about Kickstarter and, if i'm not mistaken Greenlight(dont use Steam so not really sure if its like Kickstarter). At least in open-beta you have about 80-95% of the game compared to to launched version, what does Kickstarter give? Absolutely nothing but some pictures and some promises in some cases. Its the same deal basically, accepting money from customer for a game still in "production", just like open-beta, but at least open-beta gives you an almost complete game(well complete in the developers view anyway, players would disagree on what a complete game would be).

    no steam greenlight is not the same, you only upvote(much like "like" feature of facebook) a game that is trying to get itself on steam list, there is no monetary transaction required like kickstarter or "buy founder pack and gt free beta access". and as for kicksatrter, it is completely different, in kickstarter you are not paying for a game, you are a investor; a proper founder  of the game. it is completely different morally, "we may not be rich but we can still fund a game'- it is a bit appealing to think, which gamer ever not think of funding a game or be a part of a game development? 

    i want an open world, no phasing, no instancing.i want meaningful owpvp.i want player driven economy.i want meaningful crafting.i want awesome exploration, a sense of thrill.i want ow housing with a meaningful effect on my entire gameplay experience, not just some instanced crap.i want all of these free of cost, i don't wanna pay you a cent, game devs can eat grass and continue developing game for me.
    Seems like that is the current consensus of western mmo players.

  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYPosts: 3,436Member Uncommon

    RAWR F2P P2W B2P P2P MMOFTW SELLOUTS RABBLE RABBLE RABLLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just about covered it :-p

    image
  • InktomiInktomi merrick, NYPosts: 663Member

    Well, nice post Mr. Murphy, although this sort of beta tomfoolery has been going on for quite some time. I have been in a few closed betas (Rift) that offered beta access if you bought the game.

    That is what I call "paying for beta."

    The new thing is not really new. What happened with Neverwinter has happened in Allods Online and Dust 514. A long beta period where item malls and virtual currency were available to the neverending consumption machine of the modern gamer.

    Remember the $20.00 sparkle pony from Blizzard? You bought it.

    Remember that $20.00 bag from gpotato? You bought it.

    Remember that $10.00 box from Atlantica Online? You bought it.

    It does not matter if it is closed, open or released status of the game, the industry knows that we (the community) will pay outlandish prices for outlandish things because we all want to advance faster than the next guy and feel like this unique and special little snowflake.

    We have set the bar. We vote with our wallets. And we are telling this game publishers that "Hey, I will buy stuff in beta!"

    Don't blame the game companies, for they are businessmen and video games are a booming business. They don't make these games for handshakes and hugs.

  • bltmebltme hardon, HIPosts: 26Member
    To my understanding closed beta is the point prior to release where the developer is still adding content, features, or other implementations. If none of this is being done, the point I'm trying to make is I'm fed up with beta. If I wanted a beta I'd go get the fish.
  • socalsk8trsocalsk8tr bakersfield, CAPosts: 65Member

    Firefall won't be doing any more experience wipes even in closed beta to open beta july 9th. I'm personally hoping they do a resource wipe as the gathering system set up in the game is fairly complex (15 different resources that range from quality 1-1000 that randomly rotate in and out of the map over a period of time so some qualities may not be seen for months).

    Though I feel as for firefall being f2p they are gonna have a much harder time drawing in paying customers (mounts can be earned in game save for a select few that are only attainable by closed beta participants though it is the same thing just a different skin). They have very little that would make a player consider buying something in the cash shop at this point myself and others have pointed this out and suggested several different types of items all of which do not create pay to win within the game which they've done fairly good with so far. 

    They do have other issues though as the trailers and marketing for the game do not represent in any way the current game iteration. Currently the entire game play focus seems to be more around gathering/crafting and trying to create a sand box copy of Eve's economy structure through permanent item destruction as a fast paced action MMOFPS. The permanent gear destruction may work with Eve a p2p game that allows players to buy power from other players with cash however I don't know how well this will work out as a f2p model for firefall. Anyone that plays Eve I'm just curious do you think the game would have lasted as long as it has in a f2p model without selling power in the cash shop directly to players?

    However it will have content that will require vertical equipment progression so it creates a fairly short grind loop to stay in a peak performance area of the game. I personally feel the way the game is being marketed with the current trailers and past trailers will lead to lots of confusion unless they are able to pull off something quite large before the open beta launch in july. 

  • TheCrow2kTheCrow2k Adelaide, AKPosts: 953Member
    If you are charging money for microtransactions ( not founders packs) then you are at release.

    Star Conflict has really heavily relied on the "open beta shield" charging players for in game purchases & then making major gameplay, balance & mechanical changes after the fact while sheltering behind the "open beta" shield.

    This practice needs to end, NW, MWO, SC etc are all released.

    Bottom line: If you want our money then take responsibilty for your product.
  • wordizwordiz Eugene, ORPosts: 464Member
    From my experience, as great as the game is, the exploits and different things that could have been caught in a real beta hurt the game a lot, but of course with the shop open a wipe can't happen now. Can't help but feel like NW is more of a cash grab than a real attempt at making a good game.
  • NightfyreNightfyre Pandora, OHPosts: 173Member Uncommon

    Beta is still a beta... it's not an official game because they know there's bugs.  Neverwinter made it's own mistake doing this, it's not a great game and maybe they'll make it one eventually (maybe).

    The Founders system is something new that someone tried and everyone is getting on the band wagon.  Some are testing the waters of what they can get away with.  You don't have to buy the founders pack, unless you believe enough in the game to take that step.  You still have a chance to get into the beta without buying the founders like any other game.

    Firefall stated they wouldn't be doing wipes way before the Founders thing popped up.  Though they took away the "Tech" Tree setup and refunded costs, it still wasn't a wipe just saying hey this is a better way of doing it.  (hench we're in still in beta, expect this stuff)  They have a ways to go, with needing additional areas to explore, but still a beta it is so anyone playing should expect something to break along the way.  So buying into their founders is showing support, you still have other ways of getting in without it.

    I think the Beta is still there like it's always been, just has a few footnotes with it now.  Now we're just waiting to see who is going to try and get away with the most from this Founder system.

     

  • VlackeVlacke BelgradePosts: 155Member

    Open beta is a lie, there is only money grabbing.

    Through money grabbing they gain power.

    Through power they gain victory.

    Through victory gamer's wallets are broken.

  • ruonimruonim DGPosts: 251Member
    Taking money for alpha = kickstarter.
  • tordurbartordurbar Alexandria, VAPosts: 429Member

    I used to give open betas the benefit of the doubt when it came to bugs and crappy gameplay. Now I don't. I feel like Murphy - if you have a live cash shop then you have a live game. No more excuses.

    Good column!

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