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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » How can a game be BETTER during Alpha/Beta, than during Launch?

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38 posts found
  StoneRoses

Novice Member

Joined: 9/13/09
Posts: 911

8/25/12 4:48:58 PM#21
Oh, it's you again!

  dermy

Novice Member

Joined: 2/08/06
Posts: 12

8/25/12 5:15:15 PM#22

I can only atest to seeing this in one beta i have been in which was swtor. 

A few months before launch a lot the classes had massive nerfs to their game play (cool downs added, target limits added, and some got poorly thought out mechinics changes)making the gameplay feel chuncky and  much less fun to play. 

The item system in beta was basicly ungrade a peice of gear you like as you level but this changed to a mostly replace gear as you level system. 

Those two reasons are why i thought beta was better then relaese.

  worldalpha

Novice Member

Joined: 11/03/11
Posts: 401

Working hard on WorldAlpha

8/25/12 9:36:00 PM#23
Expectations during beta are lower than after launch. With higher expectations, any issues are magnified and frustrate gamers to no end.

Thanks,
Mike
Working on Social Strategy MMORTS (now Launched!) http://www.worldalpha.com

  Crazy_Stick

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/28/12
Posts: 1067

8/25/12 10:01:25 PM#24

I am reminded of a browser MMORPG called Nadrim. During alpha and beta it used a differing model of play but as launch date approached the publishers and development got nervous. They changed the play model to be like every other game on the market and ditched the unique flavor previously cultivated leaving everyone surprised. It was like they grew afraid of taking a chance and hoped for a more sure return by being like everyone else by using a “proven and familiar set of mechanics.” I never thought it even half as good again.

  maplestone

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

8/25/12 11:20:15 PM#25

Players don't play MMOs the same way in a beta that they do in production.

If there is not a proper development freeze and things are tight or anxious, you can end up have mechanics radically changing right up until the launch day.

  centkin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/01/10
Posts: 722

8/28/12 10:22:01 AM#26

Usually it is a last minute feature change or activation...

For example -- you might be able to jump to Height X during the beta -- then near or at launch they decide to enable the obstacles they had by lowering the jump Height to X-1.  Now all of a sudden things you could leap over are now obstacles you have no way to get over.   A huge annoyance factor is added and this picks apart the game.

They could radically change the way things work right near the end.  I have seen this as well, where they have a fun mechanic that works quite well but they percieve it is "too difficult" or "has the potential for being too unbalanced if played well" and they up and change the mechanic.  All of a sudden the gameplay becomes tremendously different.  If you prefered the old mechanic then the game could no longer be fun for you.

They could radically change things for balance.  A game could have a tank class that can actually put out a little dps and in the end they decide to clamp down and make them no dps at all like in most games -- or they could remove the armor factors from the priests, or they could do all sorts of nerfs that would make riots if done when the game was launched. 

They could add obstacles -- faction requirements and level or quest requirements to access X content, or add in artificial stats to block your progress for fear people will get to the end too rapidly.  A lot of times this exposes a weakness in the game as the game might have been fun played straight but when you have to do questline X , well questline X wasnt as fun as the way you would have played it otherwise but you have to do it anyway changing the whole experience of the game.

They could massively simplify crafting right at the end, or make crafted products go from being utterly useful during beta to utterly useless upon launch. 

----

Typically any last minute change made in the beta cycle has been a disaster from my standpoint as a tester.   There just isnt enough time to find all of the implications and ramifications of the change unlike if it were done say 6 months+ before release.

----

Oh and one other thing -- in an early beta or alpha they seem to think more of the players than later on.  They tend to make the games require more grey matter to play them and then dumb it down with time till the game is more populist/lower common denominator.  I have seen tons of really neat ideas get flushed down the toilet.

At least for me, I tend to have the most fun playing a good MMO 9-15 months before it is released in the strictly closed beta timeframe with the strong NDA intact.  This is from all standpoints from the community to the dev access to the true mechanics as envisioned before they get hyperbalanced and watered down.  The devs also tend to be "playful" which is really quite an experience.

  mmoguy43

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2255

8/28/12 11:26:08 AM#27
Originally posted by MMOExposed

I heard stories of this sort of thing happening in a MMO often.

But what leads up to a game being previewed as more fun during the Alpha/Beta testing phase, than during the Launch?

I heard this happen in Warhammer Online, as well as SWTOR. But what exacly happen that made them worst of Launch than during the testing?


I don't know why you think you heard that from those two games because it is false. The beta wasn't better.

It is probalby more like they were having fun when it was new (starting in the beta) but it got boring by launch.

  Angier2758

Novice Member

Joined: 9/05/09
Posts: 1059

8/28/12 3:22:25 PM#28
Originally posted by mmoguy43
Originally posted by MMOExposed

I heard stories of this sort of thing happening in a MMO often.

But what leads up to a game being previewed as more fun during the Alpha/Beta testing phase, than during the Launch?

I heard this happen in Warhammer Online, as well as SWTOR. But what exacly happen that made them worst of Launch than during the testing?


I don't know why you think you heard that from those two games because it is false. The beta wasn't better.

It is probalby more like they were having fun when it was new (starting in the beta) but it got boring by launch.

 It did happen in WAR....

Here's how the balance issues started....

Take out 2 of the tanks and 2 durable melee DPS from the game during early beta... this leaves a bit of a gap in terms of competition for high damage melee stealthers...

Steathers kick ass.... especially against casters.

They nerf stealthers....

Casters now have really no competition...

Casters get nerfed......

Healers now have no competiton....

Healers get nerfed....

WAR down the toilet because they took shit out during beta.

  ShakyMo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

8/28/12 3:57:45 PM#29
TSW had better pvp in closed beta, because we were all wearing level 10 greens and only pvpers went there rather than token farming gear monkeys. Other things improved in live though, particularly the graphics.

Regarding war, you forget how ridiculously op knights were when they introduced them later, I know I played one.
  Rawiz

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/08
Posts: 472

8/28/12 4:55:11 PM#30

Well, as the latest Alpha I played was DayZ, I think it's mainly about those hilarious glitchy experiences you can get while playing. I guess it requires a guild/friend at least, don't think I'd have as much fun solo.

For example in that game I ran too close to my friend and somehow broke his legs and made him faint, picked him up and carried him around for 10 mins, laughing all the time, while he was begging me to let him go.

I'm sure that bug will be fixed by the time DayZ stand-alone comes out, but I'll miss that.

  Banquetto

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 1017

8/28/12 5:44:23 PM#31
In the case of WAR, it felt like the codebase got out of control - for every bug they fixed in beta, they seemed to add two new ones. Which often happens during crunch time.
  mmoguy43

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2255

8/29/12 12:01:37 PM#32
I thought we were talking better as a whole not a few better features. Beta and especially Alpha has always been really buggy and near unplayble compared to the launched game so because of that I wouldn't say that is better.
  Darwa

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/04/04
Posts: 2066

8/29/12 12:04:46 PM#33
Dark and Light was awesome during early testing. Dawkins knows what happened :(
  Burntvet

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 2623

8/29/12 12:09:19 PM#34

As to features going missing, it is cheaper for devs to cut ones that aren't ready, than spend the time/money to fix them or work on them.

And that is the long and short of it.

 

  centkin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/01/10
Posts: 722

8/29/12 3:22:35 PM#35

Yes they do cut key features near the end -- but the very worst is when they ditch some major feature near the end and replace it with something cobbled together at the last minute that is at best blandly standard.  When you throw out something major and then end up rapid-coding some filler to take its place -- it always ends up longing. 

When the decision for any feature is "This isnt going to work" or "We simply do not have the time now to finish it so yank"  near the end, disaster always seems to strike.

  mgilbrtsn

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/14/09
Posts: 1062

He who fights and runs away... misses out on the loot

8/29/12 3:23:49 PM#36
Fairly easily.  There is a lot less load during Beta (Even with Beta weekends).  It takes a launch to really test the system, and then react to the issues that arise.

They are coming for you!

  Chopper_Lover

Novice Member

Joined: 2/03/09
Posts: 21

8/30/12 1:43:43 AM#37
Alpha and Beta tests help the game developers detect bugs faster during these periods.

  lokiboard

Novice Member

Joined: 1/12/06
Posts: 198

8/30/12 1:51:14 AM#38
Does anything work in this game?  The previews were alot better....No AH?  WTF....Cant get on....Booted constantly(which btw should not take me out of ventrillo or keep me from getting on the internet....I have to reboot my comp??? WTF kind of BS are you doing to my video cards as well????  Now its down for maintenance at 1130 pst(BS lies).....RIDICULOUS!
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