The Daily Grind: Do you play on your MMO’s public test server?

And now we're good,yes?

ArcheAge has the honor of inspiring today’s Daily Grind, as I was writing a piece about ArcheAge’s next update coming to the PTS and I wondered: Who are all you folks who actually go over there to test?

I’m not saying I never go poke around on test servers. You bet I do. But it’s always for work. It’s because I wanted a screenshot or a piece of information that I could bring back here for the site. It’s never for fun. I respect the individual developers, but I also respect myself enough not to work for a games studio for free, and that’s exactly what they’re trying to get out of you when they open up a PTS. Then again, I also appreciate those gamers who know this and devote their time to making the games better for everyone anyway. It’s complicated, in other words.

Do you play on your MMO’s public test server? Do you have personal conditions? What do you tend to do when you’re testing?

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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With some games you feel it’s a waste of time as your input will get ignored.

Adam Russell

I sometimes log on test just to see whats incoming for live soon, or to check if they really fixed that bug thats been bugging me.

To get people to play on test server long term though, you need some incentive like freeplay.

Hikari Kenzaki

Come on now. You know very well that there are bugs that simply can’t be caught without exposing them to 100s or even 1000s of players. Bugs that the average player is going to encounter and immediately take to Twitter or their video game blog and complain about.

This isn’t a self-respect issue and it’s certainly not another “Why do you people…” article. Some people enjoy finding these obscure bugs so you don’t have to encounter them.

I appreciate and respect everyone who is in a game testing out new features, making guides for players to use on day one, and so much more. I certainly don’t look down on them as people who have been duped into doing free work.


With all due respect, Bree – some people enjoy kicking the tires of a game feature before it’s ready for prime time. Other people don’t.

I just don’t see what “self-respect” has to do with the matter. If developers start getting slimy with below-minimum-wage “incentives” for lots of testing on the PTS? Sure, then you might have a case.

But if fun in a game for you involves figuring out how something works, and why, and how/when it breaks? If you *enjoy* that? Then how is that different from the time you spend playing the game in the first place?

Think the whole “respect” thing is off-base here. I can imagine circumstances where it could theoretically not be, but I’m not personally aware of any of them.

If you like messing about in unstable games with new toys that might blow up in horrible, interesting ways, then poke into the PTS server on your game. If you don’t want to know anything about the new stuff, or if that sounds like “work” to you? Then stay far, far away.

I don’t think it’s really that “complicated” at all. Games are there to have fun with. If playing on the PTS is fun for you do it. If not, don’t.


I did play on test servers a few times, a long time ago. I stopped with it became abundantly clear that the devs were ignoring all feedback and pushed the updates through with known, crippling bugs that the testers had been telling them about for weeks.

Turing fail
Turing fail

EVE Online’s test server is good for trying out new ship fits and game mechanics with little to no risk. Since the test server mirrors the production side, I’ve heard it’s also good for mapping out enemy/other people’s installations.


It’s never even crossed my mind to hop into a PTS.

Kickstarter Donor


I do not mind testing if it is being done as a proper Beta test indeed over the years I have done an absurd amount of testing (and when I say testing I do not mean what passes for Beta and EA these days).

But Test Servers are largely like Early Access where there isn’t really any “testing” taking place per se on the player’s side. It is just a mass of people wanting access to new content first in effect.

The only testing actually being done is server-side by the devs via analytics.

Oleg Chebeneev

I did on Project Ascension. Thats custom WoW server. Ive been very active there and tested things to give devs feedback.


I’ll beta test something but after launch, that’s the responsibility of the developer. Many times over the last 15 or so years this has become a “rush to launch” situation where the beta is a marketing tool rather than a testing tool. And then later on a PTS is put up for all of the craploads of balancing and testing needs… but as far as I’m concerned, that ship already sailed.