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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » One reason why SoE is ebil

11 posts found
  Clever_Glove

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/14/03
Posts: 997

love the glove

 
OP  11/18/03 12:23:03 PM#1

http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/everquest2/news_6083679.html

SOE is offer a deal to EQ players, pre-order "Lords of Everquest". (boxes in stores soon) And you can play in the Phase 2 beta.

This is wrong in a couple of ways, and I predict it will come to bite SOE in the captains quarters.

The point of a beta is work out the bugs before releasing a game. Open beta are because PC's are not overly standard. So it gives the dev's a heads up on what hardware configurations may have trouble running the game and give them time (hopefully) to correct the problem before the game goes live.

"A game is only late until it's released, but it's bad forever"

First impressions, especially on the fickle game market, can be deadly ones. Hence open beta's to work out the bugs so that 1st time installers will have a flawless experience playing the game. But instead numerous paying customers will see a buggy and nearly playable result. How happy would that make you as a customer? Is SoE saying "It's a beta, just wait 6 months and we'll have it working" going to smooth over the 50 bucks you just blew to play the game today?

It didn't work well for Wolf Pack makers of Shadow Bane.

I can almost hear how this came about:

Manager "We need to make money on this game soon, our budget has been expended but the Dev's still tell me it's to buggy to release. Any idea's?"
Manager2 "Don't listen to them, they are just a bunch of whiners"
Manager "We did that for SWG and look what happened. Let's try something different this time."
Manager3 "Why not let customers find the bugs for us? They call that a 'deta' I think? They do it for free!"
Manager "That's a good idea... but our budget is gone. We need to make money".
Manager2 "Why not ask them to pay for it"
Manager3 "Pay to play a game that barely runs? How could we get them to do it?"
Manager "I got it, we've did the same thing in the high end game in EQ. We'll make it about elitism. We can make it seem only the "hippest" players will be in the beta... they will trampling over each other to get store to buy the beta box" (yes, they are old enough to still use the word 'hip')

This is a bad idea for both customers and SoE, unless this really isn't a Beta. It's a pre-release for the selected. Only Time will tell.

 

SoE's pay to play beta is:

Load of dung
a blanted attempt to exploit EQ users
a way to repay loyle customers
a great idea! I wish I could pay to beta all games
None of the above
(login to vote)

-=-=-=-=-
Achievers realise that killers as a concept are necessary in order to make achievement meaningful and worthwhile (there being no way to "lose" the game if any fool can "win" just by plodding slowly unchallenged). -bartle


Bartle: A: 93% E: 55% S:3% K: 50% The Test. Learn what it means here.

  Misti

Novice Member

Joined: 7/23/03
Posts: 724

11/18/03 12:36:25 PM#2

SoE is shameless when it comes to thinking up ways to milk extra money out of us I sure wont argue against that. 

This beta thing has actually already started to bite them.  When this was first found out about, the forums on thier most active EQ2 site were filled with angry posts and then soon after the forums went awfully quiet.  The SoE community relations manager even came back and released more info about the game to try to get people interested and posting again.

While I personally love EQ and think its the best game ever made, this company sure can stick its foot in its mouth and is often its own worst enemy.

  Clever_Glove

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/14/03
Posts: 997

love the glove

 
OP  11/18/03 12:49:24 PM#3
off topic: but congrats on your 5th star Misti.

-=-=-=-=-
"Playing EQ to the highend is like getting hit in the head over and over. When the hitting stops you start to miss the dizzy feeling. The lack of this "dizzy feeling" will ruin you to other MMORPG's"

A: 93% E: 55% S:3% K: 50%

Games and players have a type. What type are you? click here

-=-=-=-=-
Achievers realise that killers as a concept are necessary in order to make achievement meaningful and worthwhile (there being no way to "lose" the game if any fool can "win" just by plodding slowly unchallenged). -bartle


Bartle: A: 93% E: 55% S:3% K: 50% The Test. Learn what it means here.

  Koltrane

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/07/03
Posts: 1059

I''d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

11/18/03 2:01:23 PM#4

While this is a novel approach, SOE is not the first to try this.  If you'll recall, E&B guaranteed you a beta slot if you pre-ordered the game.  In other words, pay for an untested game and we'll let you play it for free for a month or so while we work out the last few bugs.

Shadowbane offered a free race (Aracoix) plus beta access to those who signed up before a certain date, basically paying to play beta.  However, the difference is that both of these were asking you to buy the game in question to get in the beta.  SOE is asking you to buy a completely separate game to get into the EQ2 beta, which is sleazy, but also a fantastic marketing move.

Let's look at it this way:  SOE is about to release EQ2, which is arguably the most anticipated MMOG of all time.  They know there are thousands of people eager to get a sneak peek (which is what betas have pretty much become) of this game.  Since they can't really charge for the beta itself, the next best thing is to allow those who buy one of their products a primo spot in the beta test.  SOE is also releasing Lords of EverQuest, a RTS game that is competing with mammoth titles like Warcraft and C&C.  By doing this, they are effectively guaranteeing good sales figures for LOE and charging certain users for the EQ2 beta.  You may not like it, but you have to admire the business sense.

SOE has long said that first choice for beta testers would go to those playing legacy SOE games (read: EverQuest).  They are just expanding that group and augmenting sales in the process.  I would bet that a considerable number of LOE buyers are purchasing the product merely to get an EQ2 beta slot.

Philosophically, I disagree with this move, but I can see the marketing merit of it and think it is brilliant as well as horrid.  Don't think other big houses like EA and Blizzard aren't looking at this model for their impending MMOGs.  Like it or not, gaming is a business and this is business, albeit extremely distasteful business.

NC > DAoC > EQ > UO > fecal matter > leper's oily rags > SW:G

-----

Old timer.

  Misti

Novice Member

Joined: 7/23/03
Posts: 724

11/18/03 2:08:16 PM#5

Well the part thats not so smart about this for them is that they are publicly turning their beta phase into a farce instead a platform for testing and improving their game.  Beta is getting to be a joke for most games these days since most people just want to get in and play rather then test.  SoE has just taken this one horrible step further.

As far as SoE being about ready to release EQ2 thats not true anymore.  With the beta fiasco dates it has also become clear the game will not be released till mid summer to late winter of 2004 at the earliest.

  ConAltDel

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/29/03
Posts: 10

11/18/03 2:27:50 PM#6
All MMORPG betas are a farce. They are all a sneak peak and no one really beta tests. The most I can say is that the supposed beta tests are good for stressing the servers and that's about it.

  Koltrane

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/07/03
Posts: 1059

I''d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

11/18/03 2:32:34 PM#7

Originally posted by Misti

Beta is getting to be a joke for most games these days since most people just want to get in and play rather then test.  SoE has just taken this one horrible step further.


I agree completely, Misti.  The last few betas in which I participated were basically split between fanboys who refused to see any flaws and curmudgeons who wanted to blast the game because it wasn't perfect.  Both camps were full of people who just wanted to play a free game.  Wedged in between them were a few hardy testers who were trying to do their job.  They are a dying breed.

This move is good for Sony, but not so good for the smaller players in the MMOG genre.  The big boys (SOE, Blizzard, EA) will be able to profit from this model because people will pay to play their beta code.  Smaller publishers will be the ones hurt, as they will not be able to get people to pay to play and those that sign up will likely be expecting a free game.  I think we're going to see these companies forced to pay professional testers if they want their game to be bug free upon release. 

When I say, "about to release," I don't mean next month.  I mean in the foreseeable future (next 6 months).  You may be right that EQ2's release is a year away, but right now SOE is saying spring 2004, so I have to go with that.  Dates will likely slip, especially since beta hasn't started yet, but a poor beta and a buggy game haven't stopped SOE from going gold.  I just hope the EQ release is more like Planetside than SOE, but with Raph Koster in charge, I'm not optimistic.

NC > DAoC > EQ > UO > fecal matter > leper's oily rags > SW:G

-----

Old timer.

  BurningMan

Novice Member

Joined: 10/04/03
Posts: 618

Not perfect but almost there

11/18/03 2:49:43 PM#8

SOE IS THE GAYEST COMPANY EVER hmm sigh hope one day they get a boycott o ya murt i know what ur g onna say so live with it soe sucks

http://www.kingsofchaos.com/recruit.php?uniqid=8mj35887

  Clever_Glove

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/14/03
Posts: 997

love the glove

 
OP  11/18/03 3:57:16 PM#9

Originally posted by Koltrane

I agree completely, Misti.  The last few betas in which I participated were basically split between fanboys who refused to see any flaws and curmudgeons who wanted to blast the game because it wasn't perfect.  Both camps were full of people who just wanted to play a free game.  Wedged in between them were a few hardy testers who were trying to do their job.  They are a dying breed.

This move is good for Sony, but not so good for the smaller players in the MMOG genre.  The big boys (SOE, Blizzard, EA) will be able to profit from this model because people will pay to play their beta code.  Smaller publishers will be the ones hurt, as they will not be able to get people to pay to play and those that sign up will likely be expecting a free game.  I think we're going to see these companies forced to pay professional testers if they want their game to be bug free upon release. 


I implore to the Site Admins to give Koltrane 5 stars, if anyone deserves them it's him.

I think there is a mistake in what "Open beta" means. It's not to find bugs, theoretically a game company would hire beta testers for that. (although far to many MMO makers forget this, hence such sadly buggy games) Open betas are about hardware compatibility issues. If the game installed then deleted itself 30 minutes later it would be effective for the "open beta".

The problem is you are giving up your free time and your personal information to the profit of a company. In return they let get the 1st look a new game. Now SoE is asking you to pay them to provide the information they need to make the game more profitable for themselves. I haven't seen so much boldness from a marketing department since Kraft said they where raising prices and cutting down on the amount of product in the package for your personal health.

This doesn't sit right with me, I certainly would not participate in this. But I'm not one to tell people how to spend their money.

On the issue of finding bugs... I hope more competition to the MMORPG market will help remedy the bug issues on release. As of current, they can save the money on beta testers, users are all to happy to pay for the privilege. (by not canceling their subscription)
 

-=-=-=-=-
"Playing EQ to the highend is like getting hit in the head over and over. When the hitting stops you start to miss the dizzy feeling. The lack of this "dizzy feeling" will ruin you to other MMORPG's"

A: 93% E: 55% S:3% K: 50%

Games and players have a type. What type are you? click here

-=-=-=-=-
Achievers realise that killers as a concept are necessary in order to make achievement meaningful and worthwhile (there being no way to "lose" the game if any fool can "win" just by plodding slowly unchallenged). -bartle


Bartle: A: 93% E: 55% S:3% K: 50% The Test. Learn what it means here.

  Koltrane

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/07/03
Posts: 1059

I''d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

11/18/03 5:31:25 PM#10

Originally posted by Clever_Glove

The problem is you are giving up your free time and your personal information to the profit of a company. In return they let get the 1st look a new game. Now SoE is asking you to pay them to provide the information they need to make the game more profitable for themselves.


This is a fantastic point, one I have tried to make (in vain) on previous beta boards to starry-eyed fanboys who took umbrage at my voicing displeasure with aspects of the game in question.  Several times I have described on the beta boards problems that I have found, only to be met with, "You are lucky to be playing this game!  There are thousands of people who would gladly take your place!"  It is this attitude that allows Sony to sell beta slots. 

I have always considered beta a two-way street.  Yes, I get to play a game early and for free, but the developer gets valuable information regarding their game from me and others, if we do our jobs.  Now, Sony wants me to pay for the privilege of giving them feedback.  No thanks.

As I said in an earlier post, good beta testers are a dying breed.  By allowing people to buy a beta slot, the quality of the tester pool diminishes greatly.  Anyone who buys LOE can now demand a beta slot, and rather than selecting testers from among a set of interested applicants, SOE is now catering to a bunch of customers.  That is fine when the game is gold, but counterproductive when trying to chase bugs and stress test the servers.

Despite the number of people who think to the contrary, a beta invitation is not a winning lottery ticket.  It is a job that requires those testing to report bugs and give regular feedback.  There are plenty of people, however, who consider it more of a sneak preview than a work in progress, and they are among those who will gladly pay for beta, be it through a secondary purchase (like LOE) or an early commitment.  The fact that loading up on "pay for beta" players will cull them an inferior test group is likely of little concern to SOE when compared to the additional revenue.

I am afraid that this trend will not go away.


Originally posted by Clever_Glove

I implore to the Site Admins to give Koltrane 5 stars, if anyone deserves them it's him.


Thanks for the vote of confidence, Glove!  you're making me blush! 


NC > DAoC > EQ > UO > fecal matter > leper's oily rags > SW:G

-----

Old timer.

  Clever_Glove

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/14/03
Posts: 997

love the glove

 
OP  11/19/03 8:08:26 AM#11

Didn't Tom Sawyer try this? He got his freinds to do his chores by a simlar method.  Funny how the same old tricks come back around.

 

 

-=-=-=-=-
"Playing EQ to the highend is like getting hit in the head over and over. When the hitting stops you start to miss the dizzy feeling. The lack of this "dizzy feeling" will ruin you to other MMORPG's"

A: 93% E: 55% S:3% K: 50%

Games and players have a type. What type are you? click here

-=-=-=-=-
Achievers realise that killers as a concept are necessary in order to make achievement meaningful and worthwhile (there being no way to "lose" the game if any fool can "win" just by plodding slowly unchallenged). -bartle


Bartle: A: 93% E: 55% S:3% K: 50% The Test. Learn what it means here.