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MMO rants

I like to blog about things that I've found bothersome in current MMOs. So expect a lot posts about things I dislike and about how I feel they should be changed.

Author: beregar

Pet Peeve: it's only beta

Posted by beregar Monday December 6 2010 at 6:58AM
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You just wrote a lenghty post to a beta forum about what you feel is wrong with the game and how you think it should be improved and someone replies "it's only beta". No kidding Sherlock. That's exactly the reason why I wrote the damn post in the first place - because it's beta and I'm giving feedback. What should I do? Wait until release? Pretend the problem does not exist?

Few things are more aggravating than people going around the beta forums replying "it's only beta". This is like saying your opinion does not matter. It's even less useful than posts that say "feature x sucks". At least that's a form of feedback to developers. Generally this behaviour is seen in two situations:

A: Someone writes something you disagree with and you want to discredit their opinion and tell them to basically shut up. "It's only beta (shut up)"

B: Someone is in serious denial about the state of the game. Look I get it you like the game and that it has potential but if it's two months away from release, and it's a bug ridden piece of excrement or simply has systems that no one likes... well tough, but they are not going to fix those problems in two months without extending the development time. Simply looking back at other buggy/faulty game releases should tell the game is gonna tank if it's released as it is. Yet people cling to "it's only beta" like stating it aloud enough times fixes all the problems.

- B

jorcoman2 writes:

Id much rather have some random community member say "its only beta" to me than a developer, how terrible would that be?!

Mon Dec 06 2010 4:17PM Report
indiramourn writes:

Comments like, It's only beta, change after the game is released to 'It has potential'.

Sadly several developers regularly release games in a 'not ready for prime time' state and get away with it.  And I'm not talking about games that get most of the bugs worked out within a month or so from release.  Companies like Funcom (AO and AoC), SoE (EQ2 sucked at release, but become playable only after 1.5 years of patching--which mostly took away stupid features they had in at release...group debt, linked mobs that gave no XP until they were all killed, locked encounters... etc.). 

Mon Dec 06 2010 5:02PM Report
KenFisher writes:

RE: "That's exactly the reason why I wrote the damn post in the first place - because it's beta and I'm giving feedback."

 

I agree completely.  The beta process is supposed to be about identifying bugs and design issues (missing features, borked game mechanics, etc.).

 

In a way I fault some developers who hold a free-trial and stress test, but call it beta.  They have no intention of changing or fixing anything, the whole event revolves around developing pre-purchase hype.  The non-technical people get sucked in and don't understand why testers (the few who are there to do so) give feedback and report bugs.

Mon Dec 06 2010 6:15PM Report
beregar writes:

@jorcoman2: has this actually happened to you? :S

Thanks for the replies everyone. I've got more beta related "pet peeve" entries coming up in nearby future. I do have a lot pet peeves, especially when it comes to betas. :)

Tue Dec 07 2010 2:01PM Report
Zakane writes: I actually don't mind the term since most the time I've seen it used (personal experience) Is when someone crashes and or get stuck in the game due to a bug. Then complain. Someone will always say "Well its only beta" as in to say well you are bound to find bugs, report it and move on. Don't go crazy because you experienced a bug during beta. Over all is it really worth getting upset about beregar? After all its only beta haha sorry had to =) Wed Dec 08 2010 11:49AM Report
beregar writes:

Thank you Zakane. I was hoping for a comment along your line because it gives a nice bridge to my next pet peeve - which is people who rave and rant at betas instead of giving proper feedback. :)

I can agree it comes down to a matter of perspective. I often see things like "it's only beta" and its reverse "omg this feature sucks" as a waste of space, but I'm a big fan of constructive feedback.

- B

Wed Dec 08 2010 12:37PM Report
Giluvas writes:

There's only one type of post more useful than the "it's only beta"....

"First!"

Of course, sarcasm intended :)  I'm all with you on the annoying post.  "It's only beta" is just thrown out there by people who want to either start a stupid argument with the original poster or have had the reasoning part of their brain replaced with a banana.

Thu Dec 09 2010 7:53AM Report
fatenabu1 writes:

the reason i have said it is only beta in the past to posters is because they complain about bugs and whine abou thtme here at mmorpg.com, not to the developers who can do something about it, nor do they generally recommend a solution to be made.

 

Instead they say this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong, so I uninstalled and will never play this game again. I have seen that a lot here. In a beta test the tester is there to play the game, point out bugs, try to help with the bugs.

Whining about it at mmorpg.com isn't being productive to the purpose of a beta. Too many people see a beta as a free trial or even as a pre-emptive release to a f2p game..

 

Dustin

Fri Dec 10 2010 2:33AM Report
beregar writes:

Interesting. I don't see why people should have any business to "whine" about state of the game here at MMORPG.com anyways. Pretty much all betas I've been in were covered by NDA and have their own beta forums. I was referring to feedback given within said forums where developers can access it.

Thanks for the comment though.

Fri Dec 10 2010 9:46AM Report
dreamscaper writes:

The main problem with the statement is that betas are no longer betas. Over the past few years, it's slowly changed so that there is virtually no bug-fixing or game changes that come as a result of a beta 'test' - they've been turned into glorified free previews as a form of PR. Companies love that because it helps drive hype, which helps increase initial sales.

Fri Dec 10 2010 12:02PM Report
beregar writes:

I have to agree with that somewhat, dreamscaper. There are still various stages of beta but the later you get in the less influence your opinion has over the game development. When it gets to "preoder and get a key" stage I feel testers have very little influence over how the game is developing. Some companies even keep separate servers for pre-order beta people and closed beta testers.

Some companies show also heavy developer ignorance regardless of the stage of beta. That's going to be the subject of my third beta pet peeve but I'm debating whether to write an article that explores my history as a gamer aka why do I play MMOs. *hmms*

- B

Fri Dec 10 2010 1:03PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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