Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bypassing The Betas

There is a lot of beta going around these days, and I couldn't be less excited.  To name a few:

  • I've had access to the Pandaria beta for several weeks now.  Downloaded the client, copied over characters, have yet to log in.
  • The Diablo III open beta is this weekend.  In fairness, I suppose I would be more interested in this if I hadn't already made my purchasing decision on this game when I picked up the annual pass.  I've known for a while now exactly when my "invite" is arriving - the launch date of May 15th. 
  • Tera has a complicated rollout schedule.  The game is in open beta this weekend, with a pre-order promo allowing players to retain one character per server into the headstart (which will open it up to the full eight character slots per server) and launch.  I don't see it written down anywhere whether open beta players who subsequently pre-order get to keep their character, but I assume this is likely.  So, at least this pre-head-start thing will potentially not be wiped.  Even so, I'm not in any hurry.  My decision to wait on SWTOR paid off with a more polished game, a lower price tag, and a clear choice of which server to pick after the dust settled on the launch.
  • Further out on the horizon are more betas for games like Secret World and Guild Wars 2 (both of which are already distributing keys through various means), and more titles upcoming.
Don't get me wrong, I tip my cap to anyone who is still excited enough about some forthcoming MMO to spend their time dealing with bugs and crashes on a server that is going to be blanked before launch.  Personally, though, these things are making less and less sense for me as I juggle a large number of games that are already live, and as free trials become a required feature for even subscription games. 

5 comments:

Magson said...

I logged in on Tera this morning. Once I got used to the controls it was kinda fun, but only kinda, so I will be uninstalling the beta client later this afternoon and won't look back. I don't particularly care for the hyper-sexualization of all the females either. Chat was full of people complaining that the women were too skanky, or that the Elin race seemed designed for pedophiles to play.

Normally I don't care, and even enjoy the sexiness of the females in MMO's, but Tera was a bit too in-your-face with it for me.

Bhagpuss said...

Just blogged about this myself. I love real betas - proper closed betas that go on for several months, where stuff actually changes and you get to do real bug-hunting and your feedback is heard and openly discussed by developers on the forums. Betas like that I will join whenever I can. I'll be signing up for the Otherland alpha sometime this weekend on that score.

Faux-beta marketing exercises like this weekend's Tera and D3 I can do without, especially for two games I wasn't interested in in the first place.

GW2 and Rift's series of beta weekends carrying on for a quite a while prior to launch sort of sit in the middle. The Rift weekends were proper betas, surprisingly. A ton of changes were made in direct response to player feedback. On balance I'd say I enjoyed the beta weekends more than my six months after launch. Hoping for the same from GW2, minus the "enjoyed more in beta than after launch part", obviously!

Umrtvovacz said...

There is also Firefall and Planetside 2, both great looking MMOFPS. Also, there will be no real beta for GW, as: "The development team abandoned the early open alpha and beta testing which they had used for the Guild Wars game. ArenaNet considered that player expectations for open beta tests of MMORPG had changed, and the beta was no longer used to test the game but to trial a nearly finished game prior to purchase. Beta tests scheduled for 2008[27] were cancelled to ensure Guild Wars 2 had maximum impact and appeal to these players." from wiki

Ardwulf said...

About the only beta I'm interested in is the one for GW2, for exactly the reason noted - as a trial, since it's a game I am interested in. The others on the immediate horizon I don't care very much about.

Yeebo said...

I treat Beta's as a way to see if a given game client will run well on my rig. If I can't get into a beta, I generally wait for a free trial of some kind. $60 is way to much to spend to find out if I can run something at decent settings.