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An issue with Pay to Test

GeekyGeeky Member UncommonPosts: 399
I believe an issue with current games and their "Support us at $1000 and become and Pre-Alpha tester" mentality is that you get Fan boi's that are doing the testing.

Fan boi's aren't critical enough of the game, the design choices or the timelines for which it's been laid out.  A game being tested by people who won't question your choices is going to lead to a game that has bad mechanics, design implementation and more than likely game breaking bugs that weren't complained about enough that they are now forever in the game.

The current MMO I play has patches regularly but some stuff breaks.  Completely breaks a game mechanic and when I, or whoever, voice our displeasure and want to know the actions and timelines, there are always people who say, "It's ok.  This or that.  Here's a work around.  Don't worry."  And if we were all to do that, say "It's ok", the game would suck.  It takes criticism to ensure a game is maintained or works properly and in the case of designing a game, it (any of them) should have critics playing the game from the earliest points of implementation.  But a critic sure as hell isn't going to pay $1000 to go in and criticize a game.

Pay to test is great for indie game studios, but it's not good when the creators are only hearing praise for the work they are doing, slow as it might be.  Because a tester who is critical could end up losing their $1000 and not be an "invited" tester anymore.
MendelGdemamiAlBQuirky
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Comments

  • UtinniUtinni Member EpicPosts: 1,789
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    GdemamiKyleranfoppoteemaskedweaselIselinUngoodultimateduck
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 27,915
    edited February 5
    Geeky said:


    Pay to test is great for indie game studios, but it's not good when the creators are only hearing praise for the work they are doing, slow as it might be.  Because a tester who is critical could end up losing their $1000 and not be an "invited" tester anymore.
    I would think someone who put in $1000 (if they are a regular schmo) would be more critical. Especially if the game diverts from what was initially promised.

    But then you have to remember, $1000 isn't a lot for some people so they don't think of it as anything more than "here, let's see what you can do and I don't care if you can't."

    and $1000 isn't going to go that far so I suspect their voice will eventually have the same weight as your voice.

    Of course, someone could make a post and say "people who get into alpha for games think that their opinion should always be heard."

    There's always someone who is going to point fingers for some reason or another. 

    Game developers want to make a good game. There is too much on the line for it not to be good. However, I DO know that there are players who think they know more, want their opinions to be heard over others and if the developers don't listen then they start saying things like "I told you so ..."

    So, are the opinions of the "less than $1000" club actually better or is it just that they want the game they want and if it doesn't turn out that way they get upset?
    AmatheCryomatrixAlBQuirkyultimateduck



  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,665
    I think part of this phenomena is that the developers aren't really looking for criticism from early access testing.  I believe that most are looking for free publicity.  Testing has become an arm of the marketing department.  They're in cahoots with the accountants, even, to charge people to test a game.  The only people this arrangement aids is the people who operate spoiler sites.

    This attitude has even spread to the players.  People claim "I beta tested" as if it were some badge of honor.  That's just making it more acceptable from the developers point of view.  Who would pay Boeing to be a passenger on a test flight of a plane with experimental jets?

    It always comes back to you get what you pay for.  If a company wants honest criticism to help perfect a product, they pay people to conduct tests.



    AmathefoppoteeAlBQuirky

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member LegendaryPosts: 7,010
    edited February 5
    I think its more funny that the OP thinks that anyone selling testing periods actually cares about the development of the game. In 'ancient times' alphas/betas were free. Now if you see free alphas/betas, they're usually used for free pr (looking at you blizz and your BfA 'alpha/betas' you pretty much only gave to content creators and it turned out so well too...).
    GdemamifoppoteeiixviiiixAlBQuirky
  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 6,678
    I would think it might be more like getting commentary on a new Star Wars movie from huge Star Wars fans. You will drown in criticism. Ask Disney. 
    MendelSovrathAlBQuirkyultimateduck

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 5,284
    Amathe said:
    I would think it might be more like getting commentary on a new Star Wars movie from huge Star Wars fans. You will drown in criticism. Ask Disney. 
    If Disney would stop producing the film equivalent of explosive sharts, they wouldn't receive all of the criticism.

    Rogue One and The Mandalorian were good though.

    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    Yeah. I know what being a part of Warframe's Design Council was like. They generally turned to us for Warframe/weapon names and minor aesthetic things. Not major gameplay design decisions.
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 13,574
    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    Yeah. This goes hand in hand with "we made this change because you told us you wanted it!" 
    AlBQuirky
    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED

    "... the "influencers" which is the tech name we call sell outs now..."
    __ Wizardry, 2020
  • RenfailRenfail Member EpicPosts: 1,604
    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    Depends on the developer. Our early access community has been invaluable in helping us evolve our game over the past few years. While our overall design is planned, it's not set in stone, and testing is a great way for us to see if something is working the way we intended it to, or if it was something that looked great on paper but isn't coming across as "fun" for the player. 
    AlBQuirkyultimateduck
    Tim "Renfail" Anderson | Creative Director | The Saga of Lucimia MMORPG
  • UtinniUtinni Member EpicPosts: 1,789
    Renfail said:
    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    Depends on the developer. Our early access community has been invaluable in helping us evolve our game over the past few years. While our overall design is planned, it's not set in stone, and testing is a great way for us to see if something is working the way we intended it to, or if it was something that looked great on paper but isn't coming across as "fun" for the player. 
    You guys are definitely an outlier in most regard for a development team. Not many dev teams will disable pre-orders like you do.
    KyleranRenfailGdemamiAlBQuirky
  • RenfailRenfail Member EpicPosts: 1,604
    edited February 6
    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    Some of us do. 

    However, there is a HUUUUUGE difference between something that is a sound piece of design advice that fits in with our existing game mechanics/design decisions, and someone having an opinion on something they *think* would be better for the game. 

    This is where a disconnect happens between players who get upset that a developer isn't "listening" to them when they offer up advice. Not all advice is good. Not all advice fits in with the direction of a game, or the existing mechanics. Sometimes the advice is something that sounds good up front, but when you start looking at all the edge cases that could crop up if you implemented said change, it becomes evident from a coding standpoint or a design standpoint that it's just not a sound decision for the company to make. 

    Then you get players running around hollering about how "the developers never listen to me", when in many cases, that's not actually true. What's going on is that a player only sees things from the client-facing side of the equation, and we (the developers) are looking at the wide-reaching implications of things. 

    How will that change impact the other classes? Economy? Social interaction? What happens when X, Y, Z, or A, B, and C interact with the new change? What happens when A, B, C, and X, Y, Z could theoretically work, but then it's going to impact the coding for chat server, login server, social server, combat, faction, AI, and beyond, and suddenly what you thought was going to be a simple and cool idea is going to take 100+ man hours of code to implement, and you can't even see the wide ranging implications until it's been put into the testing server and then iterated on a dozen or more times to get it to where it could actually work. 

    Many players don't think about any of these things. Instead, they have an idea, feel that it's the "best idea in the history of ideas", and then get mad when a developer doesn't implement it. 

    I can assure you, at least for our team, we are always listening to what players have to say, regardless of their level of financial contribution to our company, and how much money they have given us means absolutely squat in regards to whether or not an idea makes it into the game. 

    Instead, it's all about whether that idea can merge with our existing codebase and our existing design without messing up the entire flow of things. And can we realistically put in the engineering time to get it done, or is it something that would be better served as a patch later on? 

    Soooo many complexities at work. 
    gervaise1GdemamiAlBQuirky
    Tim "Renfail" Anderson | Creative Director | The Saga of Lucimia MMORPG
  • UtinniUtinni Member EpicPosts: 1,789
    Renfail said:
    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    Some of us do. 

    However, there is a HUUUUUGE difference between something that is a sound piece of design advice that fits in with our existing game mechanics/design decisions, and someone having an opinion on something they *think* would be better for the game. 

    This is where a disconnect happens between players who get upset that a developer isn't "listening" to them when they offer up advice. Not all advice is good. Not all advice fits in with the direction of a game, or the existing mechanics. Sometimes the advice is something that sounds good up front, but when you start looking at all the edge cases that could crop up if you implemented said change, it becomes evident from a coding standpoint or a design standpoint that it's just not a sound decision for the company to make. 

    Then you get players running around hollering about how "the developers never listen to me", when in many cases, that's not actually true. What's going on is that a player only sees things from the client-facing side of the equation, and we (the developers) are looking at the wide-reaching implications of things. 

    How will that change impact the other classes? Economy? Social interaction? What happens when X, Y, Z, or A, B, and C interact with the new change? What happens when A, B, C, and X, Y, Z could theoretically work, but then it's going to impact the coding for chat server, login server, social server, combat, faction, AI, and beyond, and suddenly what you thought was going to be a simple and cool idea is going to take 100+ man hours of code to implement, and you can't even see the wide ranging implications until it's been put into the testing server and then iterated on a dozen or more times to get it to where it could actually work. 

    Many players don't think about any of these things. Instead, they have an idea, feel that it's the "best idea in the history of ideas", and then get mad when a developer doesn't implement it. 

    I can assure you, at least for our team, we are always listening to what players have to say, regardless of their level of financial contribution to our company, and how much money they have given us means absolutely squat in regards to whether or not an idea makes it into the game. 

    Instead, it's all about whether that idea can merge with our existing codebase and our existing design without messing up the entire flow of things. And can we realistically put in the engineering time to get it done, or is it something that would be better served as a patch later on? 

    Soooo many complexities at work. 
    You forgot about how the design decisions will affect the battle royale mode and horde mode versions of the game also.
    RenfailAlBQuirky
  • RenfailRenfail Member EpicPosts: 1,604
    edited February 6
    Utinni said:
    Renfail said:
    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    Depends on the developer. Our early access community has been invaluable in helping us evolve our game over the past few years. While our overall design is planned, it's not set in stone, and testing is a great way for us to see if something is working the way we intended it to, or if it was something that looked great on paper but isn't coming across as "fun" for the player. 
    You guys are definitely an outlier in most regard for a development team. Not many dev teams will disable pre-orders like you do.
    Yeah, but we still won't allow refunds =P Makes us bad guys in many folks' eyes.

    I guarantee you when we open the store up again in mid-March the floodgates of naysayers will spring open and you'll hear endless cries of how we are yet another "greedy" developer who is "preying" on people and spending all of the pre-order money on vacations and the high life. 
    ultimateduck
    Tim "Renfail" Anderson | Creative Director | The Saga of Lucimia MMORPG
  • AAAMEOWAAAMEOW Member RarePosts: 1,262
    It sound just like any forum argument on game design and direction.

    The only difference is you are implying if people criticize the game, they'll get kick from beta.
  • UtinniUtinni Member EpicPosts: 1,789
    Renfail said:
    Utinni said:
    Renfail said:
    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    Depends on the developer. Our early access community has been invaluable in helping us evolve our game over the past few years. While our overall design is planned, it's not set in stone, and testing is a great way for us to see if something is working the way we intended it to, or if it was something that looked great on paper but isn't coming across as "fun" for the player. 
    You guys are definitely an outlier in most regard for a development team. Not many dev teams will disable pre-orders like you do.
    Yeah, but we still won't allow refunds =P Makes us bad guys in many folks' eyes.

    I guarantee you when we open the store up again in mid-March the floodgates of naysayers will spring open and you'll hear endless cries of how we are yet another "greedy" developer who is "preying" on people and spending all of the pre-order money on vacations and the high life. 
    Only if this website writes an editorial about it. 

    "TIM ANDERSON STRUGGLES WITH FALLOUT AFTER OPENING PRE-ORDERS FOR SHORT TIME. BACKERS OUTRAGED AT USE OF FUNDS TO WRITE A BOOK YEARS AGO!!!!!!"
    RenfailAlBQuirky
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,637
    Geeky said:
    The current MMO I play has patches regularly but some stuff breaks.  Completely breaks a game mechanic and when I, or whoever, voice our displeasure and want to know the actions and timelines, there are always people who say, "It's ok.  This or that.  Here's a work around.  Don't worry."  And if we were all to do that, say "It's ok", the game would suck.  It takes criticism to ensure a game is maintained or works properly and in the case of designing a game, it (any of them) should have critics playing the game from the earliest points of implementation.  But a critic sure as hell isn't going to pay $1000 to go in and criticize a game.
    A tester who is a fanboy and says, "Here's a bug I found, but that's okay, because here's a workaround for it" has really helped the developers.  Competent developers will look at this and see information about what causes the bug, which will help them to fix it.  And they will fix it, at least unless it's a bug somewhere in their tools that they can't fix themselves, because that's what competent developers do with known bugs.
    AlBQuirky
  • GeekyGeeky Member UncommonPosts: 399
    Quizzical said:
    Geeky said:
    ....stuff....
    A tester who is a fanboy and says, "Here's a bug I found, but that's okay, because here's a workaround for it" has really helped the developers.  Competent developers will look at this and see information about what causes the bug, which will help them to fix it.  And they will fix it, at least unless it's a bug somewhere in their tools that they can't fix themselves, because that's what competent developers do with known bugs.
    Ehh...not really what I was trying to say.  I mean more like Dev A says  "hey, we're releasing a BR we've been working on for the past year and you guys are already in it, y'all cool with that?"

    Pre-Alpha pledger "Holy shit, I get to play a BR that wasn't originally in the design. I love you guys, keep doing amazing work."

    Again, from many people I've heard from this is my mistaken theory of what those who pay $1000 to become a Pre-Alpha tester are like.  But I still think I'm not entirely mistaken, because if you pay $1000, and then another $500 for Seed A money, and then buy $200 worth or merch, you'll probably start to see the game differently than those of us who haven't spent any money on the game and give, IMHO, more of an unbiased critic of game design implementations.  

    I totally understand those that have paid money in the game can and probably do "work hard" at making the game good? But if you've already spent a large chunk of money, you're probably going to be more of a fan of the game than others.  And we all know how Fan boi's protect.
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 5,859
    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    True, but who calls out the bugs?

    - 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


  • bcbullybcbully Member EpicPosts: 9,974
    Iselin said:
    Utinni said:
    Spoiler Alert: They aren't actually taking design advice from payed testers.
    Yeah. This goes hand in hand with "we made this change because you told us you wanted it!" 
    During beta 2 weeks before launch if the secret world there was a combination of skills found that created an insane cascading effect. The effect would hit people an unlimited number of times until dead within a second. 

    There was only one counter a defection build. I emailed devs over and over screaming bloody murder. They broke one of the skills that caused it, but never fixed it. It wasn’t a bug, rather an unintended design effect. 

    Can’t remember if I payed anything, but I would like to submit this as a beta tester design change.  ;)

    AlBQuirky
  • centkincentkin Member RarePosts: 1,520
    Providing good and relevant bug reports should result in a refund of the money you put in for early access.  There is a big difference between playing early and trying to break things and send the results to the devs.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,637
    centkin said:
    Providing good and relevant bug reports should result in a refund of the money you put in for early access.  There is a big difference between playing early and trying to break things and send the results to the devs.
    The problem is that people would send in useless bug reports, the developers would refuse to refund their money, and then people would complain that the developers lied.  Here's a bug along with exactly how to trigger it is useful.  "The game crashes sometimes" is not, unless you can offer more detail like "the game will always crash when you do exactly this".
    GdemamiAlBQuirky
  • FrykkaFrykka Member UncommonPosts: 154
    My suggestion for weak spots like wack-a-mole when harvesting in Crowfall was implemented...   in early pre-alpha a lot of suggestions were tried, some stayed.  Suggestions now when we are on the home stretch are not going anywhere.  Being a PvP oriented game the testing helped get the mechanics right.
    AlBQuirky
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 5,859
    centkin said:
    Providing good and relevant bug reports should result in a refund of the money you put in for early access.  There is a big difference between playing early and trying to break things and send the results to the devs.
    If players expect a polished, finished game during beta (let alone alpha), they don't need a refund, but rather have their heads examined.

    The whole idea is that players are paying to test the games, not getting a head start, usually.

    - 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


  • violarobertsviolaroberts Newbie CommonPosts: 1
    Hey there. I like your shared idea. Thanks for making this for me. Also, I want to get useful info about questions and answers tests. Do you know where I can read more detailed about this? 
  • k61977k61977 Member RarePosts: 1,285
    The biggest problem with buying your way in to "test" is that most of those people never send in a single piece of feedback.  Yeah having them there to test server strength an stuff like that can be very useful, but most of them are just there to play the game, not truly test it.  Then instead of talking to the developer about any issues they go to forums just like these an trash the game instead of helping it which believe it or not can sway people from purchasing the game down the road when it does come out of the testing phase.

    I like to look at what Echtra Games did.  They have gone a more traditional testing route.  They went the traditional alpha phase, not even in a beta phase yet.  They have actually engaged with their testers an made changes based on that feedback.  No one paid their way in to be there.  No tester is losing anything other than the time they volunteer to test the game if the game never comes out of testing.  Hell they went all the way back to the drawing board twice now since enlisting testers to help, an the game is 1000 times better because of it.  If you did that with paid their way in testers you would have riot on all the forums.  I have seen it to many times to count in the last 25 plus years that I have seen game development change.



    SovrathAlBQuirky
  • ultimateduckultimateduck Member RarePosts: 701
    Geeky said:
    I believe an issue with current games and their "Support us at $1000 and become and Pre-Alpha tester" mentality is that you get Fan boi's that are doing the testing.

    Fan boi's aren't critical enough of the game, the design choices or the timelines for which it's been laid out.  A game being tested by people who won't question your choices is going to lead to a game that has bad mechanics, design implementation and more than likely game breaking bugs that weren't complained about enough that they are now forever in the game.

    The current MMO I play has patches regularly but some stuff breaks.  Completely breaks a game mechanic and when I, or whoever, voice our displeasure and want to know the actions and timelines, there are always people who say, "It's ok.  This or that.  Here's a work around.  Don't worry."  And if we were all to do that, say "It's ok", the game would suck.  It takes criticism to ensure a game is maintained or works properly and in the case of designing a game, it (any of them) should have critics playing the game from the earliest points of implementation.  But a critic sure as hell isn't going to pay $1000 to go in and criticize a game.

    Pay to test is great for indie game studios, but it's not good when the creators are only hearing praise for the work they are doing, slow as it might be.  Because a tester who is critical could end up losing their $1000 and not be an "invited" tester anymore.

    You should have know that, by posting this here, you would get the same "fanboi" reply from everyone here. There is no way anyone on these boards will let you be right in your complaint regardless of the nature of the complaint. It is their self imposed job to make sure they point out any and all holes that they interpreted in your complaint.

    In reality, it doesn't take a backer to point out flaws in a game. An experienced gamer could have received a free weekend code and played for a few hours and walked away with a ton of flaws, or found that people complaining nonstop about flaws are just being big babies and there is no real issue at all, even if you spend $1k and they spent $49.99, or nothing... unless by spending more you gain access to areas or features others may not have access to.
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