Well lets start by saying this is my first post to mmorpg.com. That said, lets get on with it.
I have recently downloaded the Champions Online patcher, seeing as how the Open Beta opened 8/17/2009. After waiting months for the game to come out and searching everywhere for a beta key, since I missed my chance here, I was finally able to get it.
On my lunch break from work I came home and started the patcher. After that I had to go back to work. I'm used to installing a new mmo or beta and waiting 4 plus hours for the patcher to download all the latest files. But this was a bid rediculous. After going back to work for about 5 hours I was anxious to get home and start my character creation and testing the game. Low and behold, the patcher stopped at 0.2%
I searched the forums and found that there was a problem with the patcher and they "fixed" it. So I downloaded the new patcher and tried again...fail.
I would start the patcher, and if it actually started, it would connect to one of a few servers to download the files. Every time it would start fast if it started at all, then quickly sink back down to nothing. This wasn't a very good fix.
Mind you, I realize this is a beta and I expect issues. When the development team doesn't even recognize that there is a problem then I have a problem. Over a hundred pages of posts about players complaining about the patcher and we had two or three posts from the dev team. None of the dev posts seem to quell the problem. Even if they were to simply say "yea we screwed up. Give us a moment" instead of just telling everybody to restart the patcher.
As a part of a development team myself I can tell you if we released test software for our clients and they couldn't even start it...we would loose those clients if we didn't explain it to them.
Software companies have to realize that the beta test isn't just a test. It's not simply for people to go in and make sure everything works. On the player side of things, a beta test is also a test to see if you want to purchase the game. How is the support, how is the patcher, how is the game. Do I want to spend months within a year working with this game and giving them my money?
If the team continues as is, they will likely loose subscriptions. I will continue to try, even after getting the latest patcher it still freezes*sigh* but, oh well.
Development teams need to keep players and testers informed of everything that is going on. Even if it is to say that they are working on things. Players will still be upset, but at least they will be more likely to understand. Don't just tell players that you had a hot fix and all they need to do is get it. What happens when files are updated again and the patcher still fails?
Good luck to all the beta's out there.