The Daily Grind: What’s the most coveted MMO alpha or beta you’ve ever gotten into?

    
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At the time I write this, we do not yet know who will get into the first test phase for World of Warcraft’s upcoming expansion, Shadowlands. I suspect a lot of people want to be invited. Yes, some people are quite loudly done with the game at this point after the current expansion felt like a clown car crashing into a fireworks factory, but a lot of people either want to see if the expansion is a disaster or an improvement and others are just still eager for something new to play. There’s a sense of covetous interest.

This is not new. Even though there are many alphas and betas out there that are very much in early development, we frequently love getting a chance to peek at these games before they’re released. And while these things are also professional obligations for me, the amount of joy I felt when getting to test WildStar or Star Wars: The Old Republic ahead of public release was substantial. So what’s the most coveted MMO alpha/beta you got into, preferably outside of the various Kickstarter projects you can just buy access for?

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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Aaron Weddle

My most coveted MMO beta was from a now long dead title called Tabula rasa

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Zero_1_Zerum

My college had a game design program. So, devs would have beta tests there that were open for students, even if they weren’t in game design. I wasn’t, because I hate programing, but I did beta test some games.

I don’t remember a lot of the games I tested, but I do remember that one was Firefall.

Mainly because I got a swag bag after my testing session was over.
I think I still have the beanie with the game’s logo, somewhere.

I never played it after the beta tests were over. I got my fill of that game while testing, was too bored by it to play it after it came out. But, still feel like it was a darn shame that game ended up shutting down.

creationguru
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creationguru

I would say was proud to be in FFXIV ARR beta, Tera beta, and Landmark

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Phubarrh

I’ve not done many, and most of those I have didn’t last more than 5 minutes on my machine. One beta I do vividly recall, however, is the Guild Wars stress test. Placed in the immediate vicinity of post-Searing Ascalon, it was a spectacularly dull setting. If Guild Wars hadn’t been so early an arrival on the MMO scene, I might never have bought it and subsequently fallen in love with it.

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Witches

ESO, i got to experience the bugs that made into the launched game a few months in advance, it’s just a pts for a game that hasn’t launched yet, a good thing but not for me, don’t plan on ever doing it again.

Oh and that EA game that sounded like TSW but turned out to be kind of a raid where one player is the raid boss, i actually liked it but it never got past the beta phase.

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NeoWolf

I object to the notion of Beta/Alpha entry being a valued thing in its very principle.

Beta/Alpha is not a reward it is a job. It is quality control and something they used to reward us for doing. because by doing it and taking it seriously the end product was a better, less issue filled experience for ALL to play.

It should not be being thrown around or sold as an early look excuse to play a game it is an important service that NEEDS to be done. Not offered like some prestigious reward, or valued carrot on the proverbial stick for having gotten into.

Beta/Alpha prestige is a concept I find almost as objectionable as selling Early Access to unfinished games.

They are both backward notions from a world that flipped on its head to what makes sense anymore frankly.

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Utakata

I don’t do alpha’s. The undeveloped husk of what the game could be would forever seared into my memory…

…I do do beta’s though. And GW2 was the one I sought after. It wasn’t a bad experience. Nor was their any jarring or notable difference between live and beta.

I think that answers the question. o.O

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Paul

“clown car crashing into a fireworks factory” my new favourite metaphor for today :)

To be fair though from the outside WoW players always seem to be describing the latest expansion in similar fashion :P

On topic for the day though I usually stay clear till games are done – sometimes its best not to look under the hood too much I find

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Anstalt

Most coveted is probably SWTOR, got into a closed beta about a year before release, testing the jedi starter zone. I felt pretty priveledged to be part of it, but was then shocked by the actual design (so linear and small!)

One of the features that was present during that beta, but wasn’t there for launch, was choosing a voice for my character. Can’t remember whether I had a selection of 3 or 4, but I got to choose. At launch, every class just sounded the same, no choice available.

Most enjoyable beta was for WAR!

I absolutely loved the orc starter zone, so much fun, and my first scenario was Gates of Ekrund (dwarf) and I had a blast. That beta picked up my enthusiasm for the game so much!

Been in plenty of other betas, I usually apply for any big release games. Unfortunately, the reality of playing a game is usually a lot worse than the PR leads u to believe, so most beta testing by me has not resulted in buying the game. FFXIV (1.0 and 2.0) was probs most disappointing, I loved the world design and the combat was OK, but in each version there were just too many other systems I disliked.

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PanagiotisLial1

PWI beta was quite fun as the game was initially structured around teamwork across all levels and you had things to do everywhere with other people. It had a lot of touches that were uncommon on games of that age(but common today) like flying and actually flying battles and bosses. Raid bosses didnt exist only in instances but also patrolled some areas too giving a bit variety instead being “locked” in dungeons all time. All that went on up to 2 years after beta when gradually PWE turned to a personal dailies game rather than a team based game. Got to say it was the most fun teamworking I had.