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News & Features Discussion  » [Editorial] General: The Beta Is a Lie

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123 posts found
  User Deleted
5/16/13 10:41:34 AM#21

Using kickstarter to get players to fund actual development of a game is far more disturbing than having some developer call their launch a beta.  We've gone from just buying a game when it's done (box/retail shelf), to prepaying for beta access, to now, actually funding the development of the game.  The only one's paying out of the ass are the players.  What's next, putting in a bid to developers to see if they feel your request for a new title is even worth their time and effort?

 

I'd like to see the days of old where you know, game developers were on the down low about what they were working on and you only actually got to see it when it was released.  No more of this pre-pre-pre-super-duper-awesome-first-look-pass purchasing scams.  When you have a product, release it, we'll buy it.  If it is decent, you'll earn return to cover your investment.

 

People talk about there being no consequences to death in games... what consequences do developers risk if you already paid for it's development.  Even if it's total crap, they lose nothing.  If it's mediocre, it's total profit.  How does this model encourage them to do better?  It doesn't.  Only if their is risk of loss is their motivation to succeed.

  Four0Six

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/18/11
Posts: 1135

5/16/13 10:43:28 AM#22
Weasel words.
I will add "Open beta with no wipe" to the list, including but not limited to: virtually, compare to, almost the same as. These phrases and words are used by groups to get the populace to think in a specific manner.

Advertisers use them to market products, often times when marketing generic products, "Kirkland dish soap, VIRTUALLY like Dawn". "Sams choice cola, compare to Coke.".

Now game publishers are seeming to use them to cover a poor launch. Since they call it "Open beta" it can have flaws. If they call it "launch" the players cry foul.

This will continue until consumers, reach down, grab firmly ahold of their shoulders, pull hard, and get some fresh air.

Nice read Bill.
  booboofinger

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 93

5/16/13 10:45:27 AM#23
Open Beta is a lie as much as charging way over the "accepted" monthly charge for a P2P game and calling it "micro transaction".

Unfortunately misleading people with labels is not something that happens exclusively in video games. Just walk down the supermarket isle and you will see terms like "Lite", "Green" and "Value" on products that either marginally fit that description or where it's flat out misdirection.


Unfortunately twisting the truth is something that is engrained in our society. Marketers will always twist things around to benefit their company and mislead their customers. And as long as we customers put up with it, it's not stopping.

  olepi

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/15/07
Posts: 1057

5/16/13 10:46:09 AM#24
Originally posted by tawess
Originally posted by Dogblaster
well written .. open beta is just an excuse for bugs and flaws the game has.

But as i said.. At least they are open with it and not trying to hide it (as was the way before... I look at you Champion Online, with friends ofc)

 

What are they "hiding" Olepi... It is in bold letter... BETA... as in not done yet... invest at your own risk.

Do you have to buy the car before taking a test drive? Why won't they let you drive it first, and then decide to pay?

Why charge for something that isn't finished? Do you pay for a meal that isn't fully cooked?

Taking NW as an example: they have clearly released the game for the masses to play, and they are charging to play it. But they still want to call it beta, why? I think it is because they know the game isn't done, and has a lot of bugs, and they wouldn't be able to release it as is unless they could keep changing it. So they want the full benefit of release and charges, but also want the benefit of "hiding" the unfinished parts and the bugs behind the term "beta".

------------
RIP City of Heroes. One of my favorite MMO's.

  Vannor

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/11/03
Posts: 2998

5/16/13 10:56:44 AM#25

I agree. Except I don't think NW could be called released and get away with it. Too many customisation features are missing like armor and weapon skins, classes, paragon paths, there's only two PvP maps, only one type of a battleground, major exploits, too many holes for gold farmers and bots to wriggle into, totally unbalanced classes, every dungeon boss has the same mechanics; adds come at certain % of hitpoints.. the list really does go on. They have the immersion and sense of adventure pretty nailed and the foundry, though problematic and not the first game to have it, is a revelation. Open beta done this way is a blatant excuse to start generating revenue on an unfinished product. 

Lately we are being bombarded with unfinished products and by the time they 'are' ready.. we've already played the lesser version, spent our money and moved on... never to return.

People say there is no difference in the long run.. but I think that playing unfinished game after unfinished game is the lowest position the gaming industry has ever been in. Most of the ftp crowd will hardly ever play a proper gold release MMO again because by the time the last 'open beta' game becomes launch status they will have practically 'finished' the game and be playing another game's open beta. Thing is though, chances are these games will evolve into something completely different than they would have if they weren't released until fully ready. I personally wish they'd held back and released the game when it was fully ready and has all the features and options it is supposed to because I'm pretty much done with the game now and will probably never return.

If the cycle doesn't stop, quality is going to keep getting lower and lower and the cash grab incentive is going to get stronger and stronger.

Just you wait.. open alphas with working cash shops and no character wipes are on the horizon.

  PulsarMan

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/20/09
Posts: 218

5/16/13 10:58:40 AM#26
Originally posted by pmiles

Using kickstarter to get players to fund actual development of a game is far more disturbing than having some developer call their launch a beta.  We've gone from just buying a game when it's done (box/retail shelf), to prepaying for beta access, to now, actually funding the development of the game.  The only one's paying out of the ass are the players.  What's next, putting in a bid to developers to see if they feel your request for a new title is even worth their time and effort?

 

I'd like to see the days of old where you know, game developers were on the down low about what they were working on and you only actually got to see it when it was released.  No more of this pre-pre-pre-super-duper-awesome-first-look-pass purchasing scams.  When you have a product, release it, we'll buy it.  If it is decent, you'll earn return to cover your investment.

 

People talk about there being no consequences to death in games... what consequences do developers risk if you already paid for it's development.  Even if it's total crap, they lose nothing.  If it's mediocre, it's total profit.  How does this model encourage them to do better?  It doesn't.  Only if their is risk of loss is their motivation to succeed.

I see the points you're making. But you're only focusing on the negative side of things. 

Programs such as Kickstarter are allowing games that would never be developed in the old Dev / Publisher setting, to see the light of day. Along with that we must remember that no one is forcing anyone to donate to a kickstarter, or purchase an "Early Access", or Foundry pack...or whatever they choose to call it. 

If you pay $100 for an early access pack, and are handed a turd...yeah, you got screwed. But to assume the developer has nothing to lose is a bit near sighted. How many of us are going to purchase the next big title from The WarZ developers? Not I. 

Again, your points are valid. But we have to remember that the development atmosphere of today is rather different than it once was. Games cost a great deal more to produce. The risk is much higher. Were I a development studio, I would very readily support the numerous methods in which I can buffer that risk. If I had my customer crap, it would be a safe assumption to assume that my next project would not be so easily funded. If funded at all. 

  tawess

Elite Member

Joined: 3/24/05
Posts: 2088

5/16/13 10:59:56 AM#27
Originally posted by olepi
Originally posted by tawess
Originally posted by Dogblaster
well written .. open beta is just an excuse for bugs and flaws the game has.

But as i said.. At least they are open with it and not trying to hide it (as was the way before... I look at you Champion Online, with friends ofc)

 

What are they "hiding" Olepi... It is in bold letter... BETA... as in not done yet... invest at your own risk.

Do you have to buy the car before taking a test drive? Why won't they let you drive it first, and then decide to pay?

Why charge for something that isn't finished? Do you pay for a meal that isn't fully cooked?

Taking NW as an example: they have clearly released the game for the masses to play, and they are charging to play it. But they still want to call it beta, why? I think it is because they know the game isn't done, and has a lot of bugs, and they wouldn't be able to release it as is unless they could keep changing it. So they want the full benefit of release and charges, but also want the benefit of "hiding" the unfinished parts and the bugs behind the term "beta".

Car... car..? No company let you drive the car before it is done due to automotive safety.

 

As for the foods example it is more like being able to have early access to meals while the chef perfects the dish.. you will not have as good of a meal as the finished product but you will be able to eat it before the regular customer.

But you did not answer my question (just rested your opinion)  would not releasing the game with the bugs be "hiding" it and you might be tricked to pay for a incomplete product. With the beta tag you know the game is not done and you can invest accordingly.

 

 

Tomas Soapbox

This have been a good conversation

  Vannor

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/11/03
Posts: 2998

5/16/13 11:01:35 AM#28
Originally posted by pmiles

Using kickstarter to get players to fund actual development of a game is far more disturbing than having some developer call their launch a beta.  We've gone from just buying a game when it's done (box/retail shelf), to prepaying for beta access, to now, actually funding the development of the game.  The only one's paying out of the ass are the players.  What's next, putting in a bid to developers to see if they feel your request for a new title is even worth their time and effort?

I'd like to see the days of old where you know, game developers were on the down low about what they were working on and you only actually got to see it when it was released.  No more of this pre-pre-pre-super-duper-awesome-first-look-pass purchasing scams.  When you have a product, release it, we'll buy it.  If it is decent, you'll earn return to cover your investment.

People talk about there being no consequences to death in games... what consequences do developers risk if you already paid for it's development.  Even if it's total crap, they lose nothing.  If it's mediocre, it's total profit.  How does this model encourage them to do better?  It doesn't.  Only if their is risk of loss is their motivation to succeed.

Both are disturbing and both need to go away. It's a mess and the masses seem to be loving it.

  olepi

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/15/07
Posts: 1057

5/16/13 11:18:49 AM#29
Originally posted by tawess
Originally posted by olepi
Originally posted by tawess
Originally posted by Dogblaster
well written .. open beta is just an excuse for bugs and flaws the game has.

But as i said.. At least they are open with it and not trying to hide it (as was the way before... I look at you Champion Online, with friends ofc)

 

What are they "hiding" Olepi... It is in bold letter... BETA... as in not done yet... invest at your own risk.

Do you have to buy the car before taking a test drive? Why won't they let you drive it first, and then decide to pay?

Why charge for something that isn't finished? Do you pay for a meal that isn't fully cooked?

Taking NW as an example: they have clearly released the game for the masses to play, and they are charging to play it. But they still want to call it beta, why? I think it is because they know the game isn't done, and has a lot of bugs, and they wouldn't be able to release it as is unless they could keep changing it. So they want the full benefit of release and charges, but also want the benefit of "hiding" the unfinished parts and the bugs behind the term "beta".

Car... car..? No company let you drive the car before it is done due to automotive safety.

 

As for the foods example it is more like being able to have early access to meals while the chef perfects the dish.. you will not have as good of a meal as the finished product but you will be able to eat it before the regular customer.

But you did not answer my question (just rested your opinion)  would not releasing the game with the bugs be "hiding" it and you might be tricked to pay for a incomplete product. With the beta tag you know the game is not done and you can invest accordingly.

 

 


And therein lies the devolution of MMO's; companies now think it is quite alright to release, yes release, and charge for games that are incomplete and buggy. And they do this on purpose, by using the label "beta". Do you think there will be a massive new release of NW for the "official" release date? That when they actually release the real product, that it will be dramatically better and different than the beta?

Or is calling it "beta" just an excuse to release early, with all the bugs and unfinished content, and charge for it?

------------
RIP City of Heroes. One of my favorite MMO's.

  User Deleted
5/16/13 11:18:59 AM#30
Originally posted by PulsarMan
Originally posted by pmiles

Using kickstarter to get players to fund actual development of a game is far more disturbing than having some developer call their launch a beta.  We've gone from just buying a game when it's done (box/retail shelf), to prepaying for beta access, to now, actually funding the development of the game.  The only one's paying out of the ass are the players.  What's next, putting in a bid to developers to see if they feel your request for a new title is even worth their time and effort?

 

I'd like to see the days of old where you know, game developers were on the down low about what they were working on and you only actually got to see it when it was released.  No more of this pre-pre-pre-super-duper-awesome-first-look-pass purchasing scams.  When you have a product, release it, we'll buy it.  If it is decent, you'll earn return to cover your investment.

 

People talk about there being no consequences to death in games... what consequences do developers risk if you already paid for it's development.  Even if it's total crap, they lose nothing.  If it's mediocre, it's total profit.  How does this model encourage them to do better?  It doesn't.  Only if their is risk of loss is their motivation to succeed.

I see the points you're making. But you're only focusing on the negative side of things. 

Programs such as Kickstarter are allowing games that would never be developed in the old Dev / Publisher setting, to see the light of day. Along with that we must remember that no one is forcing anyone to donate to a kickstarter, or purchase an "Early Access", or Foundry pack...or whatever they choose to call it. 

If you pay $100 for an early access pack, and are handed a turd...yeah, you got screwed. But to assume the developer has nothing to lose is a bit near sighted. How many of us are going to purchase the next big title from The WarZ developers? Not I. 

Again, your points are valid. But we have to remember that the development atmosphere of today is rather different than it once was. Games cost a great deal more to produce. The risk is much higher. Were I a development studio, I would very readily support the numerous methods in which I can buffer that risk. If I had my customer crap, it would be a safe assumption to assume that my next project would not be so easily funded. If funded at all. 

Used to cost 15 cents for a cup of coffee... now they charge you $1 or more... that's cost of living adjustment and marketing.  We pay more for games for the same reason.  Average computer game costs $60 retail compared to say $25 in the 80s.  They are being compensated for those costs.  That can be recouped in box costs and it is.  We're paying beyond box costs.

 

If a game won't see light of day without us funding it... meaning the boys with the deep pockets don't see a profit in it to justify producing it... then perhaps the rule of survival of the fittest is in play.  If it really was worthy... wouldn't they see the need to invest in it?  If it's a case of wanting to be their own boss... well there are plenty of examples where people developed their own game on their own dime and time... takes freaking forever and a lot of dedication but it can be done.  People offer their services for free to get the work done.  Game gets made.  Wasn't about funding peoples paychecks but about making something they wanted to make.  Kickstarter is in-between the two... they still want to get paid and make a profit first... game is just a means to get there.

  rygard49

Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/11
Posts: 987

5/16/13 11:19:39 AM#31
Well written, couldn't agree more. Once you start taking money and treating the game as if it's a finished product, it's launched. It irks me that F2P companies try to have it both ways; taking the cash, but hiding behind the shield of "beta" when flaws are presented.
  Manestream

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/10/03
Posts: 577

5/16/13 11:20:25 AM#32
Have to agree, As soon as the game started taking money for item store purchase's then in my opinion its released.
It would be like asking you to pay a monthly fee to play the game but we will still call it a beta version of which that would not have gone down well.
I do not like cash shops as I have seen friends spend a hell of a lot in them over a period that easily works out to 3x or more than what a monthly subscription would have cost. At least with a monthly fee you know exactly how much and how long you have with the game before you next need to delve into your pocket.

My opinion of these would be something like :-
P2P - Best option, know where you stand
P2p-F2P - failed P2P games trying to milk the left over playerbase for as much as they can.
F2P - Games that have been deamed not worthy of having a monthly sub or want to immediatlly start milking the players for as much and as fast as they can before the game collapse's

Would like to see existing P2P games take up the option of cutting their fee by 30-40% first before going down the F2P. Many players can afford 1 game and if they are constantly playing the 1 they WILL tend to get bored quicker and start drifting around other games. If the fee was dropped by that maybe they will pay for 2 subscription games a month.
  cheeseheads

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/15/11
Posts: 54

5/16/13 11:30:39 AM#33
agree 100%.   Open beta is just an excuse for companies to hide behind for the not ready game.  but still take our money.   its funny though to go onto a games forums thats in open beta and say this.  wow the fanboys attack you hard :)   
  Battlerock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/12/11
Posts: 996

5/16/13 11:33:21 AM#34
The money in an f2p title is generated right out the gate,hype takes control you make impulse purchases through microtrans the producers make a judgement call and either walk or stay. If there is good momentum they stay. If not they take the money and run. This is why I like sub based games it keeps them honest and gives them incentive to build the game and create some longevity.
  Razeekster

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 7/09/11
Posts: 1986

May the game be ever in your favor.

5/16/13 11:35:35 AM#35
PWI's cash shop prices have always been outrageous. I don't usually tend to play their games because of this. I mean come on, $40 mounts?! Most F2P games price their mounts anywhere from $10-$20. $40 is just showing blatant greediness.

Smile

  Vrika

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/03/05
Posts: 2127

5/16/13 11:36:56 AM#36

I agree. I think "open beta" has became more like a fancy way for saying "It's new and just released! Come check it out!", instead of having anything to do with testing any more.

I think MMORPG.com should do their reviews when game allows first players to start spending either purchased gametime (in case of P2P games), or consumables purchased with real money (in case of F2P games with cash shop).

  olepi

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/15/07
Posts: 1057

5/16/13 11:37:53 AM#37

Sir, the car's not ready yet, it barely runs at all. But we have lots of people who want to test-drive it now! What should we do?

Son, just call it a "beta-test" drive; if anyone complains about how there's no windows, no A/C, and the brakes only work 1/2 the time, just point to the "beta" sticker on the windshield.

Oh, but be sure to charge full price anyway.

------------
RIP City of Heroes. One of my favorite MMO's.

  ZombieKen

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

5/16/13 11:37:54 AM#38

In my eyes, when they start taking money, it's released.

 

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  Dreamo84

Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 3111

I actually still like MMORPGs

5/16/13 11:40:26 AM#39

Easy solution. Don't play it until they "launch" it. People have this lack of self-control when it comes to MMOs.

"They should not have launched this game yet! I don't like it, it's too buggy!"

 

Well, wait...I am enjoying the game. If they hadn't launched it I wouldn't be able to enjoy it. You can certainly choose not to play it, sounds like a win win. Why do you want to ruin my fun just because you feel the need to play something you don't like?

I think a big part of the truth lies in the fact that many of the complainers(especially on this forum) don't actually play the games they complain about. To me, that's a far bigger problem than any open beta tag debate.

  herox77

Novice Member

Joined: 5/27/12
Posts: 2

5/16/13 11:41:26 AM#40
On firefall there has been a wipe to characters once already(that I know of and sense I started playing about a year ago). It was not to long ago when they overhauled the frame system and put in a difference in pvp and pve frames.

Now on to the topic of "open beta". I feel that the "open beta" thing is more than just a way to get our money without the worry of to much crap thrown at them by the community. While in "open beta" developers can radically change mechanics in a game without that much outcry form the community. While in fully launched games communities tend to rage when something they have come to know and love, or get used to, to suddenly gets changed and they may or may not lose many hours of game play to get some that they now have to get all over again or get the new version of. Also when you come to look at it the money thing just helps them make a better MMO(hopefully). They could use that income to maybe hire more people to flesh things out quicker or to get better servers so when people come in at the launch of the game they are not smacked with server outages and heavy lag. All "open betas" come with an unspoken disclaimer that basically says that: We want to let you guys play this now, but know that radical changes could be made, progress could get reset, and your many hours of sleepless nights could end up being for nothing. With this known players tend to react less harsh to developers because this is an "open beta" and not a full lanuch of the game.

All of these things are unacceptable in the a fully lanched MMO. Developers use these "open Beta" to make an mmo just better for the players in the long run. Because once you go to "fully launched" then a lot of potions for changing the MMO are closed.
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