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ALPHA/BETA

zimboy69zimboy69 Member UncommonPosts: 395

For a long time Ive seen posts about  games which are in alpha or beta and you will see the comment ah it will change because its in alpha or beta

 

but what changes ?

from almost every example i can think of the game is exactly the same in alpha and beta as it is in release

 

they might add one or two new things  or tweak a number or two or change  some small part but  the game plays and feels the same as it was in alpha and beta

 

from my experience if you don't like a game in alpha or beta  your really  not going to  suddenly like it at release unless its a single part you don't like and that's  the part that gets changed

 

anyone know a game which had a huge change from beta to release

 

or even a game which was in alpha and then suddenly had a  big change 

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Comments

  • DarwaDarwa Member UncommonPosts: 2,181
    The terms are, in the MMO genre at least, meaningless now. 
  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid Member EpicPosts: 10,435
    Originally posted by Darwa
    The terms are, in the MMO genre at least, meaningless now. 

    This^

     

    the term alph/beta turned into a scheme to avoid bad criticism (that is actually true and valid). Why is it true and valid? because to this day, every mmorpg out there that has charged money while being in alpha/beta has released in almost the exact same state it was in alpha/beta. They are doing business so the product should be treated as a finished (clearly unfinished) product.





  • zimboy69zimboy69 Member UncommonPosts: 395
    Originally posted by Darwa
    The terms are, in the MMO genre at least, meaningless now. 

    can you  think of any game MMO or other wise  which changed  enough  to make you  change your mind on a game from beta to release

     

     

     

    *edit

     

    i've just thought of a game in alpha which has changed a lot  but it s  still in alpha   and that's prison architect but its not quite what i was looking for

     

    image

  • LudwikLudwik Member UncommonPosts: 407
    Guild Wars 2 had no AoE cap during beta but put one in place at launch. ESO did the same thing as well.

    Personally, I think doing so removes a very large skill component from the game and replaces it with mindless zerging. Had I known they were going to do that, I would not have pre-purchased the game.
  • Jagwar_FangJagwar_Fang Member UncommonPosts: 264
    Originally posted by zimboy69
    Originally posted by Darwa
    The terms are, in the MMO genre at least, meaningless now. 

    can you  think of any game MMO or other wise  which changed  enough  to make you  change your mind on a game from beta to release

     

    it always make me laugh  when you see someone say  game (insert any game ) is bad  then you see the comment its beta  it will be better when released  

     

    *edit

     

    i've just thought of a game in alpha which has changed a lot  but it s  still in alpha   and that's prison architect but its not quite what i was looking for

     

    I can't think of any that I have tested over the years, but then once you get to the Beta stage it is usually not a good idea  from a financial standpoint to change major mechanics because that equates to needing a lot more cash and by this point there usually isn't enough left to undertake such efforts.  That isn't necessarily always the case though.  Alpha testing can uncover major problems and cause changes, but I haven't seen any in the limited experiences I've had in Alpha testing MMOs.

    Once you get to the beta stage you should really be looking at having different users test the game to discover bugs and optimize the game for a bigger sampling of computer setups as well as testing hardware such as servers to make sure you can handle the player load.

    If a company does effective market research in the beginning and uses that in early development along with evaluating the current and emerging technology then the risk of needing major rework in the Alpha/Beta stages can be mitigated to a fairly low level. 

    But a bad design decision is just that, a bad design decision.  No matter how hard you try, you just can't fix stupid sometimes.

  • DarwaDarwa Member UncommonPosts: 2,181
    Originally posted by zimboy69
    Originally posted by Darwa
    The terms are, in the MMO genre at least, meaningless now. 

    can you  think of any game MMO or other wise  which changed  enough  to make you  change your mind on a game from beta to release

    *edit

    i've just thought of a game in alpha which has changed a lot  but it s  still in alpha   and that's prison architect but its not quite what i was looking for

    Yes, if we define the terms. Traditionally, the categories went similarly to this:

    1. Alpha - working model, little more than covered wireframes - a 'rolling model' if you will.
    2. Beta 1 - added limited textures (no shadows, reflections etc), and essential basic game mechanics like damage, crafting and so on.
    3. Beta 2 - added visual effects such as light, spells, explosions and complete UI.
    4. Beta 3 - commonly called 'closed beta' where maybe 100 members of the gaming public would be invited to assist a handful of paid testers.
    5. Beta 4 - otherwise known as 'open beta' and generally available to anyone that wished to help stress the servers. Usually only over a 24/48 period.
    6. Release - The game goes 'live' with rapid content input that wasn't quite ready at launch.
    Using this system, then the biggest change I ever witnessed was with a game called Dark and Light. The game underwent a massive change that made the game unrecognisable between stages 2 and 3. I never found out why, but Google has plenty of theories.
     
    To relate this 'traditional' testing system to modern practice would go along these lines: 
    1. Stage 1-4 are done 'in-house' with only friends, family, and investors being invited.
    2. Stage 4 becomes 'Alpha' and will cost you three times the planned cost at release. We'll call this p3.
    3. Stage 5 becomes 'Beta' and will cost you twice the planned cost at release (p2).
    4. Gaming website are given promotional 'testing' keys to distribute in return for advertising space, usually with a 'don't review us badly' clause.
    5. Game is released, but without the collaborative testing input of impartial people that haven't already bought into the 'dream'.
    Of course, I've chosen to ignore the whole crowdfunding aspect as I've yet to see anything worthwhile come of it, but you could consider that modern stage -1 or earlier.
     
    As a disclaimer, I'm well aware that not every game in the past has followed the old way, and not every new game will follow the modern way. I merely list these as generalisations to help the OP and other posters define which stage is which.
  • olepiolepi Member RarePosts: 1,453

    In a normal software field, alpha and beta have actual meanings. There is a normal progression to s/w development:

    - develop a plan, or architecture of the product

    - develop a plan on how to implement your product

    - unit test, where you test individual parts of the product as the get implemented

    - alpha test, first time the units have been put together to be tested, not expected to really work

    - beta test, all systems in place, product should work, just needs tweaks

    By the time you've hit alpha or beta test, the product architecture is already set. It is way too late to make any real changes in the architecture of the product. That time was way back at the beginning.

    If you did see a big change in alpha or beta, then the earlier architecture steps failed.

    ------------
    2020: 43 years on the Net.


  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid Member EpicPosts: 10,435
    Originally posted by zimboy69
    Originally posted by Darwa
    The terms are, in the MMO genre at least, meaningless now. 

    can you  think of any game MMO or other wise  which changed  enough  to make you  change your mind on a game from beta to release

     

    Neverwinter. I believe it was in alpha when Cryptic/PWE showed a hands on video of the combat with the Control Wizard class. It looked fantastic because you could walk around while shooting spells everywhere (slowly walking in a combat ready stance). Then they decided to remove that and make combat rooted in place. Now its awful. They took the action out of action combat.

     

    The reason behind this change was they wanted to avoid Wizards kiting on melee classes..... Melee classes are more mobile while attacking and have charge attacks so they cant really be kited. Dumb decisions are dumb.





  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441

    To simplify things:

    Alpha usually means internal testing of the basics.

    Beta usually means that you use either paid beta testers or public help to find ll the bugs, balance the mechanics and generally make the game playable. 

    Many games only test part of the game, like Age of Conan and it usually means that the rest of the game will be in really bad shape at release.

    Others use the testing as a way to promote pre-sales, something which can initially give you some income but usually hurt the game since people paying are way more focused on having fun than actually helping making the game ready for release.

    Edit: Oh, yes... There is also open beta/stresstests to see that the servers can handle enough players and in some cases to see how the game actually is on a full server. It is not the same experience to have a 100 players and a server launching with a filled starting area not to mention the fact that the server soft and hardware often need some work on so it wont crash or lag.

  • FalcomithFalcomith Member UncommonPosts: 810

    Alpha / beta, the two words are different on how the process of beta phases work. Of course I will admit some developers tend to throw the words around loosely. 

    For instance I dont know why Arche Age was considered alpha beta when it came to NA. Should have just been considered Beta.  The game was already built as it was already released for Korea and maybe a few other areas in that region. it was just in developement to westernize it. (text, voice, and then added features as it went on. Most features was of course already built in the other version of the game from the east that they just moved over.)

    Alpha is supposed to be the beginning phase with bare bones. Without mentioning a game, because of legal reasons, I was in a true alpha test in which the testers started with this small land mass and one building (Think of the size of WoW's Goldshire). The first month was testing the engine and seeing how the pre-made toons interacted with the landmass and textures. Then it went on to adding features such as jumping and propulsion through the air. Next they added small weapons to our toons and a few mobs to test small scale combat. Later added toon customization / creation. Then they added more buildings, more mobs, more abilities and another zone. And kept building on from there...

    You get the idea. To say alpha is where you can see if you like a game or not is totally false in that aspect for a true alpha test.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 6,349


    Originally posted by Darwa
    The terms are, in the MMO genre at least, meaningless now. 
    So very true. By the time we (the players) see the game, be it alpha or beta, it is pretty much in full on production mode. We will not see any major gameplay changes. All we will usually see are tweaks of existing systems.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR


  • Azaron_NightbladeAzaron_Nightblade Member EpicPosts: 4,825
    Originally posted by rojoArcueid
    Originally posted by zimboy69
    Originally posted by Darwa
    The terms are, in the MMO genre at least, meaningless now. 

    can you  think of any game MMO or other wise  which changed  enough  to make you  change your mind on a game from beta to release

     

    Neverwinter. I believe it was in alpha when Cryptic/PWE showed a hands on video of the combat with the Control Wizard class. It looked fantastic because you could walk around while shooting spells everywhere (slowly walking in a combat ready stance). Then they decided to remove that and make combat rooted in place. Now its awful. They took the action out of action combat.

     

    The reason behind this change was they wanted to avoid Wizards kiting on melee classes..... Melee classes are more mobile while attacking and have charge attacks so they cant really be kited. Dumb decisions are dumb.

    They would've been better off just leaving PvP out of that game IMO.

    I enjoy the occasional warzone or battleground in most of the games I play, but Neverwinter's PvP is ugh... incredibly dull and unbalanced. Though I can easily imagine Control Wizards would've gone completely godlike in PvP if they had left that in, considering they dominate PvP already without that added mobility.

    My SWTOR referral link for those wanting to give the game a try. (Newbies get a welcome package while returning players get a few account upgrades to help with their preferred status.)

    https://www.ashesofcreation.com/ref/Callaron/

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