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

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123 posts found
  gaeanprayer

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/08
Posts: 2360

5/16/13 10:54:54 AM#41
Article would hit its mark a bit better if you'd take another gander at that last line, Bill :)

I'm glad someone touched on this topic, it's been a problem for a while. Betas haven't been what they're supposed to be for years, they're just means of advertising, and ways to release games as buggy, exploitable messes (Neverwinter) while still under the protective veil of the word "Beta". You see how many people rise to protect a game, say "it's a beta, it's going to have bugs," and companies have gotten smart enough to use their fans. Hopefully their fans will wisen up and stop allowing themselves to be used.

"Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  Jaedor

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 796

5/16/13 11:04:05 AM#42

Good read and I agree. I think my defining line between beta and launch is the combination of two things: separate beta server and the wipe line. Without a separate beta server, no wipes means it's a launch.

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7677

Logic be damned!

5/16/13 11:06:33 AM#43

I think the utter failure at launch of games like SimCity and Diablo 3 has scared developers into not wanting to call something an "official launch" so that they are incapable of having a "bad launch."

They can always blame problems on that fact it's "open beta" or a "soft launch" to try and avoid some bad press, and call it "official launch" once the problems have been sorted out.

Too bad the average gamer is smart enough (not something I say often) to see what they are really doing.

 

Now Playing: D3:RoS, Watch Dogs
Looking Towards: Destiny

  Iselin

The Listener

Joined: 3/04/08
Posts: 3716

5/16/13 11:28:50 AM#44

So I say "are those real?" And she says "I'm not telling." So I say "Well, real or not, they are very nice." And she says "Thank you!"

....

 

Seems like Bill and the media in general are more affected by this pseudo-beta than any reasonably intelligent gamer who knows for a fact that it's a launch. They're not quite sure when the correct time is to stop "previewing" it and start "reviewing" it. Mind you, I often find it hard to tell the difference between an opinionated preview and a "real" review. Hey! Do you think that maybe they're doing it deliberately so that people will see it for themselves without having been pre-conditioned by reviewers and Metacritic one way or the other?

IDK but I'm playing it and haven't spent a dime. Got a couple of level 30 characters and sorry Bill, I don't think a spider would make me enjoy it a lot more than using my slow-ass 5G Palomino nor am I having storage issues and the purple chest key gambling mini-game doesn't interest me. 

Yeah...it's an "open beta." Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?

  alkarionlog

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/19/09
Posts: 994

5/16/13 11:33:06 AM#45
well I say you are kinda 5 years later, nothing new they use "open betas", to make players get adicted tot he game and start milking then soon, some at least would wait till a certain date to push the CS out, not anymore. but the poroblem is as long players feel its a ok behavior they will not stop doing that and things will go worse

FOR HONOR, FOR FREEDOM.... and for some money.

  keithian

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/20/06
Posts: 2942

5/16/13 11:37:06 AM#46
I totally agree with this article and the timing of the review. It should be done when a company gets greedy like asking for money for open beta. The only thing I disagree with is that this is a good game. I found it a step backwards from the latest releases (GW2, SWTOR, etc) and completely boring from a PVE perspective.

There Is Always Hope!

  User Deleted
5/16/13 11:40:09 AM#47
Just call it "soft review" then and you're all set.
  nbtscan

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/06/06
Posts: 426

5/16/13 11:45:21 AM#48
Paying for beta access was common even among games that were to launch as a subscription game. I don't know how prevalent that is now, but the last game I saw that with was Aion. I don't think you should have to pre-buy a game to get closed or open beta access. Especially open beta, where this is the phase in the game's development where things are as they will probably be in retail, and this is where consumers should be able to honestly decide whether or not they will want to play this game or not.

While this is probably a terrible example, FFXIV: ARR will have an open beta that is free for all to try. Alpha and Closed Beta has been a mix of people who played the original game and people who signed up via their beta website or received a beta key via an event such as PAX East. I say this isn't the best example since SE needs to do everything possible to put their company and this game in a better light.

I know I've gone a bit off topic, but this was talking about MMOs in general nearly as much as Neverwinter, but I hope you guys do something similar with your "open beta journal" for FFXIV: ARR. I'm not sure if reviewers from MMORPG got into the game or not, but I don't really see any impressions from their current beta phases here. The upcoming beta phase in early June will have the game see a lot of changes, so I hope it can get some exposure then.

  unkkut

Novice Member

Joined: 3/15/11
Posts: 20

5/16/13 11:47:37 AM#49
If you see "open beta", dont spend your money. I can't rationalize spending money and getting exactly what you paid for as a problem, regardless of the games phase.
  koljane

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/01/10
Posts: 129

5/16/13 11:49:45 AM#50
Amen to that. This is kind of things are common now. It is not an RPG but DOTA 2 is still in "beta" :D.
All new games are trying to hook you on their Foundry packs or VIP access to beta by paying big money like every AAA rated game is worth.
Don`t know how the law goes with taxes and such if you present your game as in "test phase" but I guess there is also a big exploit that tax agents could look in to it.
I mean, if the game is in BETA phase then you should give us all the things in the shop for free so we can try it out, who knows maybe the $40 mount is bugged and maybe he needs polishing and maybe we should try different builds for classes for free so we can try and maybe see the problems that could be fixed when game is released.
Personally, I play Neverwinter and right now as lev 33 i see the choices i made are not good enough in my build and now I have to pay money to respec my toon in the open beta status??!!! Seriously ??
  DAOWAce

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/12/03
Posts: 110

I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn't even matter.

5/16/13 11:50:13 AM#51
The last two paragraphs of this article are the takeaway.

Originally posted by SBFord
For review purposes, a few of us at MMORPG.com were given Hero of the North founder’s packs. That’s $200 worth of Astral Diamonds, an epic spider mount, and a bunch of other perks that we didn’t have to pay for.  Without them, the game would be far less enjoyable as Suzie’s article states.


People really need to stop defending this game (thankfully they're in the minority).  PWE ruined an otherwise good game.  I won't get into it here though, I've done it enough on the official forums.

 

Edit: Christ it's beyond hard to add formatting to these posts.  BBcode doesn't seem to work, yet it's shown in the standard editor.

DAOWAce Xfire Miniprofile
  winter

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/08/03
Posts: 2220

5/16/13 12:01:22 PM#52
So Bill not to sound like I'm defending Neverwinter or F2P too much but since you did single both out, how is this any different from what Aventurine did with DarkFall Unholy wars?
Didn't they charge for the game, as well as a monthly subscription for a game that was in beta for 5 months? theirs was not a totally optional cash shop but a "You WILL buy the game, and you WILL pay a subscription if you want to play our beta, and no we WILL NOT give refunds." kinda stance.
Indie/subscription favoratism, or simple oversight?
  Deadlyne

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 215

5/16/13 12:04:21 PM#53
I agree with this article. It has actually been bugging me for a while. It doesn't affect me directly whatever they want to call their current launch state. It's just that, in my eyes, the term "beta" should be reserved for testing not profit making. Maybe I just have outdated thinking.

Just to question the philosophy. Army of Socrates.

  aspekx

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/24/05
Posts: 2151

5/16/13 12:05:40 PM#54
the Beta is a lie in other ways, i believe (note that word: Believe). related to the monetary purchases to make this game fun. and here's what i think: if anyone seriously thinks that the drop rate on Identify Scrolls and such will not go noticeably go down after OB, then i believe they are mistaken.

"There are at least two kinds of games.
One could be called finite, the other infinite.
A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  PulsarMan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/20/09
Posts: 186

5/16/13 12:12:07 PM#55
Originally posted by pmiles
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.

It's not the same as a cup of coffee. It is terribly common to spend years on game development only to have a promising project dropped, or not break even when it ships. You're not going to miss breaking even on a cup of coffee. Leaps in tech, and the standards of visual fidelity have driven up the costs of gave development far beyond inflation and a raise in the price point. Costs are incredibly high. Most titles need to break into the millions to make any profit at all. Which is a tall order when you're not talking about something already well known. That risk is why we get such cookie cutter titles. Why make something new when we can safely sell the same thing over and over again?

Big publishers make safe investments into popular franchises and genres. Military FPS, facebook games, IOS games, and sequels upon sequels. Adventures games are not mainstream. Nor is something akin to an old school Baldur's Gate, Fallout, or even something like Wing Commander. But there are people who would love make those games...as well as customers who would love to purchase and play them. A kickstarter allows a developer to judge interest, and fund the development as opposed to going to a publisher and having demands placed upon your game so that it may "appeal to a wider audience." Or be rejected altogether. Just because a publisher does not feel that a game can become a multi-billion dollar franchise does not mean that title should not be developed at all. 

As far as working for free - Go ahead. But most of us need to get paid. 

  aspekx

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/24/05
Posts: 2151

5/16/13 12:13:22 PM#56
as for Kickstarter comparisons, while the material actions of the parties involved may be similar or even exactly alike, the intent is different. and intent does matter.

"There are at least two kinds of games.
One could be called finite, the other infinite.
A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  winter

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/08/03
Posts: 2220

5/16/13 12:16:13 PM#57
Originally posted by olepi
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?

 

  Every MMO every released has been incomplete and buggy. None, not EQ, Not WoW, Not Rift etc were complete or bug free.. Sure Developers may try and soften launch nowadays with the words "Open beta", but the real truth is they have not gotten away with anything they haven't always done. Don't let the rose color glasses mislead you. Some games at launch were epic crap (AO being a good example) yet they still went on to do ok. Hell WoW its first month or 2 was down almost more then it was up. In all cases they charged and player paid for "Incomplete and buggy games"

  Po_gg

Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 1958

5/16/13 12:28:33 PM#58

Nicely written, and I agree, nowadays open beta is like the Cake, just with less topping :)

PWE did the same with RaiderZ, after the (almost fully functional) closed beta they launched an open one without any beta key requirement (soft launch). And the real launch was so silent, that weeks after the game went live people still kept asking when will it launch, will there be wipes, etc...  If I'm not mistaken the launch was simply an entry on the main page, stating "We go live today." Between two sales promotion articles :)

 

I think BadSpock's right, companies (an even more their pr departments) are terrified to announce launches as an official launch, and they're only hiding behind the "open beta" sign in case the game turns out buggy as hell. And if the open beta is smooth, they can still announce the Go Live state later... it's some kind of a failsafe to them.

  nethervoid

Novice Member

Joined: 5/01/05
Posts: 531

5/16/13 12:29:29 PM#59
Yep this is pretty much crap as far as I'm concerned. If you let people purchase your game or items from your cash shop, it's not a beta anymore. That is a very simple and obvious part of the definition of a release, e.g. getting customer revenue.

nethervoid - Est. '97
[UO|EQ|SB|SWG|PS|HZ|EVE|NWN|WoW|VG|DF|SWTOR]
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  nethervoid

Novice Member

Joined: 5/01/05
Posts: 531

5/16/13 12:30:34 PM#60
Furthermore it's sad that games are being released in some pretty crappy and still shifting states while taking every dollar any customer will give them. War Thunder for example is doing this as well, but making pretty sweeping changes to their economy under the guise of 'beta'. lol

nethervoid - Est. '97
[UO|EQ|SB|SWG|PS|HZ|EVE|NWN|WoW|VG|DF|SWTOR]
13k subs YouTube Gaming channel

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