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I think veteran players have higher standards.
So maybe it depends on what your goal is, like if you just want to bring another mediocre game on the market that already exists in a dozen variations or if you want to release an inventive high quality game that is able to impress even people, who have seen it all. In the last case, you better ask some vets for their opinion already in the early stages of the game.
I'm one of the guys, who has played or tried maybe a dozen of MMORPGs and I'm not easily impressible anymore. So I'd say, if someone wants to develop something cool and inventive, I could be a good beta tester, but if the game doesn't want to set standards in gameplay, but just wants to be another clone, then I'm not a good beta tester, because after 1 or 2 weeks, I wouldn't log in anymore anyway.
I don't waste my time with testing a game that doesn't try to set standards in some areas and offers some gameplay that's still interesting for experienced people like me.
Actually I have a lot of gaming friends, who think the same. They are in a waiting stage. They don't bother to try another boring clone of game XY anymore, even if they can play that for free, they are hoping to get a beta invite for some inventive future games that might still have something to offer for the experienced player.
Vets like me only want to help improve games that have potential I guess. Something that we would like to play in the future, not something mediocre that we wouldn't subscribe to anyway.
My favourite game was Neocron (1) during the first 1 or 2 years after release
- first-person-shooter-like interface, so fast fighting with pistols cannons, swords, rifles, magic-like psi force or vehicles, you were able to lose some equipment on death, but also get some item of your enemy.
- Clan and faction gameplay, capturing and defending outposts, good teamplay was important
- cooperative gameplay like monster bashing and pvp fighting was combined in many areas
- sandbox style. Clans had their own agenda and made politics. Factions too. So it was really an intense game with lots of love and hate ;)
- characters were not forced to specify too much. Customized hybrid characters were possible and used successfully by people, who knew how to play them. Skill and tactics was important. Numbers didn't matter too much, so you where often able to win outnumbered, if you played better.
I had the most pvp fun in this game and the best group experience with my clan. It was not a power-leveling game, so you weren't forced to bash monsters all the time. If you were in the mood, you could just hang around with some mates, talk, tell jokes, wait for some trouble or provocate someone, have some nice pvp with lots of dead people afterwards like friends vs. others, clan vs. clan, faction vs. faction, just where you were and drink some virtual beer in a virtual pub afterwards.
If maybe a quarter of the server population loves you, but half of the server wants to kill you and the rest doesn't care then it doesn't get boring. ;)
The MMORPGs that I've played so far ( what I enjoyed most comes 1st ):
Neocron (before it changed too much and population dropped), EVE Online (because of sandbox style), WoW (best PvE encounters), City of Heroes, Anarchy Online ... lots of stuff that I tried and that wasn't really original, because it was just powerleveling or just not fun at all.
Besides that I've also played Planetside for some time several years ago and it was also fun at that time, but lacked sandbox rpg features ofc.
Next game has to give me at least the freedom to do, what I like with my clan like it was in Neocron or EVE online. Never gonna play a simple monster-bash, powerlevel, collect-item MMORPG again that forces that playstyle on me, because there is not much else to do or because you can only compete, if you powerlevel all day long.
P.S.: Before I started with MMORPGs, I was playing some MUD, too. It was also a game, where social interaction was more important than powerleveling. We even went camping with ingame friends one summer. That's how I like it.