The Daily Grind: Are you less inclined to enjoy an MMO in beta testing?

    
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It never happened.

Writing is not a matter of having no bias, it’s a matter of being aware of your bias and attempting to correct for it. That comes up for me when I write about MMOs in betas, because my default assumption is to do less and have a slightly harsher view. Considering my love of persistence in MMOs, this is probably not a surprise. I don’t want to play the lesser version of the game when all of my progress is going away! Save me for launch, please. Especially for expansions for World of Warcraft, which I have no doubt I am going to actually play anyhow.

This is not a universal feeling. Some of my friends prefer playing in beta titles, simply because while the game is in beta you can test things freely without worrying about spending your points wrong or anything similar. It’s like friends who used to play on the City of Heroes test server most of the time, partly because everything got reset every so often and thus never got stale. So what about you guys? Are you less inclined to enjoy an MMO in beta testing? Do you actually prefer it?

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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AGx-07_162

I don’t really “play” betas. For me, a “beta” will always be an unfinished product even if it’s meaning has shifted to “demo” for a lot of developers. For me a beta is something that needs to be tested. When I step into a beta I want to get a general idea of the what the developers are doing with the systems; combat, character creation, crafting, and so on, not delve deep into them or attempt to make any meaningful progress. It’s hard to comment on my inclination to enjoy it. It’s like taste testing a food: the little sample is either good enough to pique your curiosity and drive you try the full product, it’s so bad that you’re turned off, or you just consider it “OK” and move on.

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kalech

I don’t mind giving betas a go and I think servers with regular resets can have their charm, but it depends on the type of game. I don’t really care much about betas for MMOs because I’ll just have to redo it anyway, but I don’t mind checking some new stuff out. Dip my toe in to get myself excited for when the content arrives for real.

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Reht

Not really. Unfortunately, at least with Everquest 1, beta testing means a lot of work for the guilds competing for a spot in the top 5-10 serverwide ranking. We would raid on beta 3-5 nights a week on some expansions (depending on whether or not raids were available, broken, etc.). I used to enjoy it because i was overly competitive and knew the preparation would pay off for us at launch since a guild’s placement within the top 5 could come down to minutes. Unfortunately, all that time fighting through often broken and buggy content in beta actually has ruined a couple expansion launches for me and definitely killed the enjoyment i should have gotten out of that new content. As a result, i find myself much less interested in trying out games that i get beta access to.

quark1020
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quark1020

I don’t enjoy playing betas, simply because I’ll get tired of the game before all the content gets added in. Then there is the possibility of all my work getting rolled back. This isn’t a big a deal with me, since its what I typically do when I roll alts, but the last thing I need for the roll back to happen after I have gone far with them.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

I hate paying for real estate twice. The idea of constantly having characters wiped to start over is fine if you’re making a Groundhog Day MMO. Otherwise I’ll pass.

Additionally a game that pushes players to roll up alternate characters as “content” is a fail for me. If I roll up a 2nd or 3rd character it should be due to me really loving the idea of 2 or 3 classes. It should not be due to me having “completed” one class and having nothing else to do.

That said back in the late 90s, early 00’s I used to love to beta test. I had more time and, more importantly, I was idealistic as to the direction and scope MMORPGs would go. Now, seeing them go completely away from where I had hoped they would I’m not so keen on spending my time testing a game that I know is not going to be even 50% of what I’d want.

Heck there is only one game in testing right now that is over 50% of what I know I’d enjoy and I’m not testing it because there is a price point to entry. It’s not a matter of me not being able to afford the price but rather the principle of the whole thing. I’m not paying you to test your game to ostensibly help make it better so you can in turn make lots of money.

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Castagere Shaikura

Been playing mmo’s since 99/2000. I have never wanted to beta test any of them. So people just feel a need to be in on this so so they can feel like they helped make the game i guess. I would rather wait to play when a game is ready. I remember a friend doing the anarchy online testing and it was really bad enough for me not to want to do it.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

Heh, I had a friend get into the Anarchy Online beta. I had wanted to myself. I went to his apartment and watched him try to log into the beta. His machine was leaps above all the minimums. He couldn’t get in. He tried for like 4 days, no joy. We’d play games of Warhammer 40K while he waited to get in. After watching that over those 4 days I never looked at that game again. If you’re going to have a beta, at least be at a state where you can fix login issues in at least 48 hours.

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Daniel Miller

Does Bless online count? I loved the kr Bless. Na has so many changes its not even the same game.

Overall i dont like testing. I like trying new games before they are westernized though.

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rafael12104

I’m less inclined to be a completionist. I’m not one to hurry to max level etc. etc. I don’t grind dungeons either.

If it is a true beta, I sample things just a few bits and pieces, give feedback and move on.

Doesn’t mean I’m less inclined to enjoy it. I’ve enjoyed a few betas more than the actual game after launch, to be honest.

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Tee Parsley

Uh, while gameplay mechanics got changed and tested frequently on the City of Heroes Test Server, it was about 5 years or so in before they did an actual wipe. With no advance notice, and with a total tone deaf approach and response. Most of the test server fans I played with stopped testing and playing there after that. Probably a dumb move by a newbie developer.

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Jokerchyld

I used to love being one of the lucky ones selected for closed beta, back when you needed an invite. But what I’ve found out is I end up ruining the launch by knowing what to expect and I dont like that. Now Im patient enough to wait for 3-6 months after launch to dip my toe in and see if something interesting to me is being offered.