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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Should game developers stop doing Open Betas

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  cybertrucker

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/08/07
Posts: 1120

Freeloading mooches are the scourge of the gaming community.

 
OP  5/01/13 1:51:05 AM#1

Seeing all the whining and crying, and overall Ignorance surrounding exactly what an Open Beta is supposed to be. IE server stress testing.  I am curious if maybe it would be better for developers to go a different route and not do massive open betas, and instead do a more intensive closed beta, which a larger invite right at the end just to stress test with.

It seems obvious that the instant gratification crowd and trolls swarm these open betas. The instant Gratification crowd do not seem to get the fact that BETA testing is more about ensuring the game is working properly than giving them an awesome play experiance while it is going on. The trolls and haters on the other hand get to use these Massive open invites as a chance to come in and swarm the game then jump on forums and bash the game with righteous zeal. 

We see this time and again. In all honesty this is one of the reasons I have actually stopped getting involved with Beta's all together my last one was Aion. After which I swore them off completely. Closed betas can run incredibly well. However The stress testing is when many times the shit hits the fan. And people just dont seem to get that this is pretty much intentional.

  Homitu

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/01/09
Posts: 2006

5/01/13 2:08:29 AM#2

I personally don't know if I would ever buy an MMO that I didn't get to try in some moderate capacity first.  It's just too big a commitment for such an uncertain, yet potentially surprising genre.  

Betas have certainly evolved from actual buggy testing and fixing to full on demos in the minds of players, and I think developers have recognized that.  They subject their games to betas now only after they've already been polished several times over through extensive internal alpha testing (the new beta).  There will always be a huge portion of players who do nothing but bitch and moan, not only during beta testing but during launch week, after patches are implemented, after certain desired changes are failed to be implemented, after every sever issue and graphical bug.  Developers know this and are well schooled in perceiving which player complaints are helpful and to be addressed, and which are just the venting of passionate, emotional individuals and can casually be discarded.  Thick skin is a must. 

  Banquetto

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 1017

5/01/13 3:55:11 AM#3
Mainly developers need to stop launching a game, collecting money in the cash shop, but still saying "only beta lol!!!" when people point out the bugs.
  ThumbtackJ

Novice Member

Joined: 8/11/11
Posts: 319

5/01/13 4:03:43 AM#4
Originally posted by Banquetto
Mainly developers need to stop launching a game, collecting money in the cash shop, but still saying "only beta lol!!!" when people point out the bugs.

This. I hate this shit. 

 

I mean, if you're super close to 'release' anyways then I'm okay with an open beta say a week or so before hand. Like others said, getting to try before you buy is an important element, as MMOs can be huge commitments and time sinks. $60 upfront for something you may not enjoy is a bit much (unless you are loaded and that's just chump change, then whatever I suppose).

 

That said, free to play games don't need open betas. It's not like you won't be able to try it at launch because of some box price and/or subscription being required. If you ARE going to do an open beta, especially for a F2P title, then remove that fucking cash shop. As Banquetto pointed out, they want that cash shop money ASAP, but still want to say "beta" when shit doesn't work as intended. 

 

Just the opinion of some pale nerd behind a monitor bitching on a forum though.

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  AlBQuirky

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 2713

Tomorrow's just a future yesterday...

5/01/13 4:15:12 AM#5

One has to remember that "Open Betas" are set up to test the server loads. It opens the servers to traffic the game previously could not get without a massive invitation campaign.

When a company does go to open beta status, the game "should" be close to launch with server glitches the main concern. They have had closed betas to test the rest of the game. This step is supposed to make the launch date smoother for everyone involved.

I agree with Banquetto about making money during ANY beta testing, but us players open up and say, "GIMME!" If *I* were running the games, I would not pass up an opportunity to make some cash.

That being said, it used to said that if you're making money, you're no longer in "beta status." After all, who in their right mind would pay money for an unfinished product or service? Easy answer... Gamers. and unfinished furniture aficionados.

- Al

Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
- FARGIN_WAR

  GroovyFlower

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/12/11
Posts: 1252

Skyrim

5/01/13 4:17:36 AM#6

i don't play beta's or open beta's anymore ive done few in my time and still games released to early and still with most bugs/exploits ingame when game launched.

So dont play CLOSE/OPEN BETA'S anymore problem solved.

Plus its alot more fun start a game with no knowledge of own experience, but only what you've seen on youtube from gameplay movies.

  moosecatlol

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/25/10
Posts: 1149

5/01/13 4:22:58 AM#7
Selling items and claiming "LOL BETA" should be rewarded with capital punishment.
  ShakyMo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

5/01/13 4:47:30 AM#8
They should stop doing this 12 month away from launch marketing hype.

I actually think it works against them, as they get everyman and his dog commenting on the game. It's not berm a good move for TESO in this regard. Also the hype train fuels expectation soon to be followed by disappointment, which goty ganesh like war and gw2 imo as they were supposed to be game changes.

Should just announce about a month before launch. This is one area where blizzard are much better than the competition - its done when its done, its done how they want it done, they don't let the public dictate what's in it.
  kjempff

Novice Member

Joined: 10/12/04
Posts: 640

Make worlds not stories

5/01/13 4:50:24 AM#9

At some point a game will have to stand the test from a huge number of players. A limited number of closed beta testers will only reveal some of the bugs and the big crowd will find the rest - Every game has bugs at launch, whether they call it open beta or release. I guess calling it open beta is a way of hinting that the game is not finished, as opposed to releasing and get a bashing for releasing prematurely. I don't recall any mmorpg launch to have gone smoothly.

More closed betas might take the load of the number of gameplay related bugs, but alot of other problems will only be revealed when the masses are let on. Having a fully working game in closed beta with players actively playing for months before launch does seem to take the edge of. I kindda liked how Path of Exile worked this, where you could buy an early access pack and play closed beta for up to half a year? before launch, because the game was working mostly and the players were dedicated and accepting that "there will be bugs". Wonder if this approach would scale to a more advanced game like a mmorpg?

  Caldrin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/02/04
Posts: 3868

5/01/13 4:54:22 AM#10

Open betas are sued to stress test the servers..

 

Without an open beta how do you test proper server load with actual people playing on said servers?.. you cant and if a company does not run an open beta that will lead to launch day issues where the servers are overloaded..

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  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 12770

5/01/13 11:10:53 AM#11
I think you're arguing not so much that a game shouldn't have an open beta as that it should have a longer closed beta followed by a shorter open beta, with the latter really just for stress testing.
  BahamutKaiser

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/13
Posts: 295

On hiatus for a while guys, MMOs still aren't interesting me.

5/01/13 5:59:48 PM#12
I don't necessarily have a problem with what their doing. I just expect them to name it something else. Participating in the Smite open/closed beta, they have taken a great deal of feedback and enhanced the game tremendously in the process. In this manner a game can become what it is suppose to be rather than go through to release in a sad state. The only issue, the status.

If players are educated that it is a formative phase and it is called something to that effect, it could be a great tool to make games far more satisfying than they currently are, games like FFIVX are a perfect example of a game going to release with no clue what their doing and costing incredible amounts of effort in the wrong direction.

Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, if they get angry, they'll be a mile away... and barefoot.

  Jaedor

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 734

5/01/13 6:02:06 PM#13

I'm thinking the meaning of "open beta' is not what it used to be. So developers can change their methods or consumers can change their definitions, but something needs to change because they are no longer in sync.

  Panzerbase

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/20/13
Posts: 311

5/01/13 6:06:30 PM#14
Open beta is used to test the performace of the game and its support systems, but unfortunetely it now has a carni-like atmosphere with trinket shops galore. Kind of like the local mall. 
  waynejr2

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3663

RIP City of Heroes!

5/01/13 6:06:57 PM#15
Originally posted by Homitu

I personally don't know if I would ever buy an MMO that I didn't get to try in some moderate capacity first.  It's just too big a commitment for such an uncertain, yet potentially surprising genre.  

Betas have certainly evolved from actual buggy testing and fixing to full on demos in the minds of players, and I think developers have recognized that.  They subject their games to betas now only after they've already been polished several times over through extensive internal alpha testing (the new beta).  There will always be a huge portion of players who do nothing but bitch and moan, not only during beta testing but during launch week, after patches are implemented, after certain desired changes are failed to be implemented, after every sever issue and graphical bug.  Developers know this and are well schooled in perceiving which player complaints are helpful and to be addressed, and which are just the venting of passionate, emotional individuals and can casually be discarded.  Thick skin is a must. 

 I wouldn't feel threatened by someone saying they wouldn't try a game before they purchase.  It's not an effective threat to anyone with a bit of confidence.

  User Deleted
5/01/13 6:12:21 PM#16
Originally posted by cybertrucker

Seeing all the whining and crying, and overall Ignorance surrounding exactly what an Open Beta is supposed to be. IE server stress testing.  I am curious if maybe it would be better for developers to go a different route and not do massive open betas, and instead do a more intensive closed beta, which a larger invite right at the end just to stress test with.

It seems obvious that the instant gratification crowd and trolls swarm these open betas. The instant Gratification crowd do not seem to get the fact that BETA testing is more about ensuring the game is working properly than giving them an awesome play experiance while it is going on. The trolls and haters on the other hand get to use these Massive open invites as a chance to come in and swarm the game then jump on forums and bash the game with righteous zeal. 

We see this time and again. In all honesty this is one of the reasons I have actually stopped getting involved with Beta's all together my last one was Aion. After which I swore them off completely. Closed betas can run incredibly well. However The stress testing is when many times the shit hits the fan. And people just dont seem to get that this is pretty much intentional.

The problem is that what is being called 'Open Beta' these days, is not an open beta. GW2 had an open beta, where it let everyone try the game before launch and stress test it. What Neverwinter is doing is launch, not Open Beta.

The point where you start charging people money that you wont refund, and letting them make characters that wont be deleted.... is launch. Its not Open Beta. Open Beta is meant to be the final stage of testing BEFORE you let people make permanent characters or in-game store purchases that wont be refunded.

All the F2P companies have adopted this 'soft launch / Open Beta' approach to guard themselves against blame if and when something goes wrong, but its misleading and confusing to people who are not familiar with F2P bullshit.

Seriously, if I got a level for every time someone asked 'will characters be wiped after beta' in Neverwinter last night, I would have hit level 60 in 10 minutes. These people are confused because F2P companies are using the wrong terminology.

  Homitu

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/01/09
Posts: 2006

5/02/13 10:24:21 AM#17
Originally posted by waynejr2
Originally posted by Homitu

I personally don't know if I would ever buy an MMO that I didn't get to try in some moderate capacity first.  It's just too big a commitment for such an uncertain, yet potentially surprising genre.  

Betas have certainly evolved from actual buggy testing and fixing to full on demos in the minds of players, and I think developers have recognized that.  They subject their games to betas now only after they've already been polished several times over through extensive internal alpha testing (the new beta).  There will always be a huge portion of players who do nothing but bitch and moan, not only during beta testing but during launch week, after patches are implemented, after certain desired changes are failed to be implemented, after every sever issue and graphical bug.  Developers know this and are well schooled in perceiving which player complaints are helpful and to be addressed, and which are just the venting of passionate, emotional individuals and can casually be discarded.  Thick skin is a must. 

 I wouldn't feel threatened by someone saying they wouldn't try a game before they purchase.  It's not an effective threat to anyone with a bit of confidence.

Wait where's the threat?  It's a simple statement that that is indeed how some players operate.  And knowing this, if I'm on the marketing team for an upcoming MMO, I'm absolutely taking this into account.  Playing on the confidence theme, if you're confident in your product, you won't be afraid to let people try it out in its near complete form.  You'd expect, if the game really is great, that players who try it will get hooked and want to keep playing.  On the other hand, the player who never gets to try it never gets hooked.  It's really quite obvious, and it's exactly why virtually every game has an open beta.  

Come to think of it, as I think back on my MMO history, it turns out I have never bought a single MMO without having tried it first.  Oh edit that, I did pre-purchase GW2 before ever playing it.  Having followed it for years, I just knew that game had so many features that suit my MMO style.  I had no doubt I'd get my money's worth out of it.  Being b2p with no sub fee certainly contributed to my lack of hesitation to buy it before playing it.  

  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 5164

Opportunist

5/02/13 11:34:24 AM#18
Originally posted by evilastro
Originally posted by cybertrucker

Seeing all the whining and crying, and overall Ignorance surrounding exactly what an Open Beta is supposed to be. IE server stress testing.  I am curious if maybe it would be better for developers to go a different route and not do massive open betas, and instead do a more intensive closed beta, which a larger invite right at the end just to stress test with.

It seems obvious that the instant gratification crowd and trolls swarm these open betas. The instant Gratification crowd do not seem to get the fact that BETA testing is more about ensuring the game is working properly than giving them an awesome play experiance while it is going on. The trolls and haters on the other hand get to use these Massive open invites as a chance to come in and swarm the game then jump on forums and bash the game with righteous zeal. 

We see this time and again. In all honesty this is one of the reasons I have actually stopped getting involved with Beta's all together my last one was Aion. After which I swore them off completely. Closed betas can run incredibly well. However The stress testing is when many times the shit hits the fan. And people just dont seem to get that this is pretty much intentional.

The problem is that what is being called 'Open Beta' these days, is not an open beta. GW2 had an open beta, where it let everyone try the game before launch and stress test it. What Neverwinter is doing is launch, not Open Beta.

The point where you start charging people money that you wont refund, and letting them make characters that wont be deleted.... is launch. Its not Open Beta. Open Beta is meant to be the final stage of testing BEFORE you let people make permanent characters or in-game store purchases that wont be refunded.

All the F2P companies have adopted this 'soft launch / Open Beta' approach to guard themselves against blame if and when something goes wrong, but its misleading and confusing to people who are not familiar with F2P bullshit.

Seriously, if I got a level for every time someone asked 'will characters be wiped after beta' in Neverwinter last night, I would have hit level 60 in 10 minutes. These people are confused because F2P companies are using the wrong terminology.

Who says they don't have the ability to refund money spent if they had to do a complete wipe.  The problem with the argument you present is that people want to keep their progress (or you wouldn't have seen all those wipe questions) and if they can't they won't participate.  The developer needs those heavy load metrics, not just for servers, but to plan around the entire game load (customer service, etc).

I don't think they're trying to guard against blame at all here.  They're trying to set expectations.  They plan on merging the three servers into one, like STO, and making some other changes.  The open beta time lets them evaluate load and demand and plan their strategy.  It also lets them find and close exploits that a larger population will cause to surface.

If Trion had performed a larger open beta with Rift, maybe they would have discovered the huge security hole in their software.  Maybe they would have been able to plan for the multi-hour queues.  Instead they hard launched with all those problems, still took the money, and their customers had to put up with that.  It took a few weeks to iron those things out, all the while they happily took in that subscription money.  Was it okay because it wasn't in open beta?

If the beta tag is on the software, then at least the customer is warned about the state of the game.  Yeah, companies abuse this a lot - Google is probably to blame for the current mindset - but I don't think this launch abuses that at all.

  Dauzqul

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/10/12
Posts: 1189

5/02/13 12:39:14 PM#19
No way. All of these Open Betas have saved me so much money.
  meddyck

Elite Member

Joined: 1/18/08
Posts: 1108

5/02/13 12:46:05 PM#20
They should only stop doing open betas if they plan to offer at least 7 day free trials at launch. Otherwise I'm not even considering buying their MMO.

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