Thursday, July 3, 2008

What would you do in the Wrath Beta?

Today came the news that signups for the Wrath beta are live. This is a sign that they're getting ready for the open beta kickoff, which I suspect will probably happen in the next month. All of which begs some interesting questions, which I've turned into this blog's first ever poll: What would you do if you got into the Wrath Beta?

Some people don't want to know about the new content so they will be surprised by more of it when it finally comes out. Others wouldn't have the time to check it out if they wanted to. But let's say that you don't mind spoilers (or, at least, are willing to put up with them in exchange for potentially amusing screenshots of unfinished content). What do you do when you get into the beta?

This is what happens when Blizzard forgets to set the "face mask turns off facial hair" button.

One obvious choice is to copy your existing characters into the beta. This way, you're playing a familiar, often well-geared, character, and diving right into the most eagerly anticipated content. You're also going to be best equipped to give Blizzard feedback on the content you're testing, though realistically it seems that they're not taking major feedback by the time they open the testing up to even a closed sample of the public. The downside, of course, is that your characters will have to repeat the whole process when the expansion goes live. That isn't to say that you won't get to experience quirky bugs (e.g. the time Blizzard accidentally replaced the texture of the Fel Reaver with a bear; yes, an actual, regular-sized bear), but there's only going to be so much content to see.

There's no unfinished quest content here, really. (Screenshot taken in mid-November 2006, shortly after Blizzard announced the apparently much-needed TBC delay.)

But this expansion, like TBC before it, also offers an alternative. There's a new class, one that the vast majority of the WoW playerbase doesn't have experience with. The downside to taking a death knight for a spin is the starting level; you'll be rolling through fifteen levels of existing content before you even get to Northrend, and, if you actually LIKE your Deathknight, you'll be doing it all again when the expansion launches. Then again, being one of the earliest level 80 DK's in the world is an experience that you only get one shot at.

Personally, I think I'll be going the DK route if I get into the Wrath beta. I will, of course, copy over my existing level 70's and check out the new talents, but the opportunity to test the DK is unique enough that I wouldn't want to miss it. I'm not really doing anything on the live servers that can't wait for a few months, and I'm sure I'll be able to come up with some way to shake things up when it comes time to take my real characters into Northrend. Besides, you never know what's going to happen on the beta servers.



Suicidal Zebra said...

Good question. Whilst I'd want to be using my main (a Paladin... *sigh*) in Beta, I would be spending most of my time testing out their new abilities and providing feedback on them to Blizz and the WoW community as a whole (or the tiny number who read my posts in various Forum). The upshot would probably be that I would level as far as I needed to get a decent grasp of the mechanics of new Spells/Talents, which could well be the level cap, and test out key quest chains and dungeons (esp those that Blizz want testing). I'd certainly resist pushing through content at a breakneck speed as if it were the first month of Wrath on a Live server.

I think that if a player looks at the Beta as 'early access' into new content they're setting themselves up for a fall, especially if they are used to the polished 'Live' content and have never done much playtesting in the past. Beta's, especially early ones, can feel like pulling teeth and paying for the privilege with all the bugs and nonsensical implementations. Definitely not for those who lack patience.

Green Armadillo said...

The point about early/late beta access is a good one. In the earlier stages, with fewer players in the beta, you'd have plenty of time to get to max level without playing at breakneck speed (and forsaking all ties to your retail server), and the devs will probably be paying more attention to lengthy design feedback posts.

Later on in the beta (which was the phase I got into for TBC via a contest at, there are many more people on the forums leaving their own personal treatises (Skinning a bear should aggro every bears in a 40 yard radius), and there isn't much time left for devs to do anything but fix show-stopping bugs and exploits (e.g. people slowfalling onto Tempest keep).

LarĂ­sa said...

I've got mixed feelings just like you, still I signed up for it. Being a gnome I can't help myself, I'm just too curious aout it.

I wrote a post about it as well, it will appear on my blog in the next few days.

Another thing: I didn't find another way to contact you than by comments. I just wanted to thank you for including me on your blogroll! However the link's a bit broken. To make it work so it shows my latest post - change the link to my feedburner address:

For some reason this is just a problem for Blogger blogs. When a WordPress blog links to me it works perfectly well. Don't ask me why.

It was Zupa at
who came up with the solution. I would never have guessed it myself.