The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMO testing experience you’ve ever had?

    
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I know I’m not alone in feeling beta-fatigue. I hear the same things I feel from you folks in our comments and from our writers too. We’re tired of being asked to pay to perform QA duties for game studios. We’re tired of games rushing to “open beta” soft launches so they can make a quick buck. And maybe above all else, we’re tired of having so much of the game experience spoiled before the “real game” begins.

I didn’t always feel that way, though. When MMORPGs were few and far between, I gobbled up testing experiences, which meant that while I alpha’d classic Anarchy Online (yes, it was that bad) and love to tell the “monsters-that-way sign” story from Horizons, I also got in on the ground-floor with insanely fun betas like Asheron’s Call’s and Star Wars Galaxies’. I even got to test a very early version of World of Warcraft thanks to a dear friend, and I pretty much had to be dragged back out of it because I had such a great time.

It’s been a while since I was that in love with a beta; vanilla Guild Wars 2 might come the closest. What about you? What’s the best MMO testing experience you’ve ever had?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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wontgrowup
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wontgrowup

MewmewGirl

In CBT it was pretty messy, but that is understandable since it is pre-launch. But even after launch it was still buggy. I found it very hard to find my way in that game.

MewmewGirl
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MewmewGirl

I hear Star Wars Galaxies was great if you were looking for something that simulated the tedious life of a Moisture Farmer toiling in the background on some desert planet.  I read that it did that very well, but that the rest of the game wasn’t very good.

StClair
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StClair

Puzzle Pirates, back in 2003/04.  My first “M”MO, and my first beta.  I loved it – the theme and gameplay were new and different from all the Generic Extruded Fantasy that I’d gotten tired of a decade before, playing text MUDs; the devs were a constant presence on the forums and in-game; and the playerbase was heavily selected for adults falling into the Social and Explorer segments of the Bartle diagram.  Gameplay was still incomplete and mostly focused on cooperative PvE and just standing around in circles chatting.

What I didn’t realize – too inexperienced, too naive – was that this mood and tight little community couldn’t last past the game going live. The “anything to win” PvPers showed up, as did the teenagers and kids too young to play without lying about their age; the devs became more and more scarce; and the game in general became a lot more competitive and cut-throat.  The addition of the now-commonplace F2P model, as an alternative to subscriptions, and poker, in which a lucky and/or skilled player could make more in a few minutes than a boatload of pirates could in an hour of solid pillaging, were IMO the beginning of the end.

… and yet, I still remember those early days fondly, and I’m sure I’ll be there when they finally turn the lights off.

Denngar
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Denngar

Asheron’s Call 2 was, at the least, the most unique. I got in when they added the “smart” AI to mobs. This wasn’t just them call out for healing or help (which was revolutionary at the time- talking mobs and the use of non-self healing was crazy!); the mobs hunted players. Most of us in the starter zone had to flee the spawn point and regroup, rebuff, and prepare for the mobs to track us down again (they sought the highest population density, or so we believed), and they’d recruit more mobs on the way. I think the patch was only online for a few hours when the complaints forced Turbine to revert the change. I was super disappointed in that decision, but felt like the devs were cutting edge because they did it, and it was my hope they’d do more stuff like that in the future.

Vunak
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Vunak

Rifts was the most smooth I think I have ever played.
The funnest would have to be CBT Korean ArcheAge. I had a blast with ArcheAge in its CBT1 form -CBT2. Way different game than it is now.

melissaheather
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melissaheather

EverQuest Next Landmark was a magical experience for me.   The future seemed brighter than the sun. 
Landmark as it exists today has no real population and provides little reason to cause me to log into it…     #ragrets   (sic)

Estranged
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Estranged

Real testing? Camelot Unchained.
I don’t count betas, they are basically finished products used to advertise.

luxundae
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luxundae

Really liked the Asheron’s Call beta back in the day.  Wow, that was a while ago…

The apocalypse at the end of it was great :)

Also, whenever I get into a WoW expansion beta, I’m always struck by how wonderful the *beta* community is.  Everyone talking in general chat and helping each other out and forming big beta guilds for testing content.  Weirdly, that actually turns me off from playing the expansions once they’re actually released….the community element is never as good in “real life”…

Adri Cortesia
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Adri Cortesia

I couldn’t experience beta tests of the “old” MMOs like DAOC, UO, EQ or even WoW. In DAOC test years I was erm .. 12? I had no internet back in 2000. So I can just talk about the last years. 
Rift, GW2, ESO and now CU (the topic said testing not alpha or beta!). That’s not a great selection. Personal I would prefer GW2 because I loved the concept and the game … and GW1. I played the whole Beta WEs with less sleep than healthy. 

But over all games I love the update politics of CSE. It’s great to be a part of a “game” (called Engine by the dev team) which makes its first little baby steps. CU is not as shiny as GW2 was and will never be as popular as WoW but I can feel the love and the passion bx the team making a great game.

So considerung the polishing it’s definitely GW2 but l think my heart will belong to CU and its dev- team for just being themselves.

Cambruin
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Cambruin

WoW Cataclysm Beta. The forums were rampant with disgruntled players, the lack of feedback by Blizzard, the complete disregard for the beta community’s wishes, …

Several days in and I just up and left. Cold turkey. My best move ever. A world of MMOs opened up to me. Lord of the Rings Online pre-Rohan, Everquest 2, Rift, …