A Beta's not worth as much as it used to.By: Necroscourge posted at Jun 05, 2012 11:51 pm
When I think of an betatest for a big game, I obviously figure its to test the games servers and locate bugs in the games design and implementation. A effort by the developers to make sure the vast amounts of content in their game is regulated and accounted for. Company's like Sony Online and Trion worlds however obviously have other plans for this practice. Recently the fad in online game developers is to spam facebook and twitter with buzz about the game, the biggest part of these attempts is releasing beta codes for their game that A. Are not actually tickets into the game RIGHT NOW, B. Are only released in numbers less then 50 resulting in bots and people with too much time on their hands getting all the codes, and C. Are not actually marketed to MMO players at all.
Both of the companies I mentioned used their Beta process as a big amazing Press event, releasing small amounts of codes at times of the day when most people that actually care about the game are either sleeping or at work as well as having their community managers spam twitter instead of actually doing their job (Fighting spammers and trolls on the forums). Automated bots grab most of the codes released by these companies and re-purpose them on other websites, while any codes spared are taken by young children just getting home from school that have absolutely no intention of actually testing the game in the capacity they should.
Both of these companies held beta sign ups on their websites for months before initiating these campaigns, making absolutely no mention about the thousands of people that are actually fans of their product that want to play the game. Sony makes this even worse by having their community managers reply to facebook messages begging for keys with "Come impress us on twitter" and delete all posts bringing up how their marketing campaign is only alienating the intelligent part of their fanbase. That's right, if you post something funny or interesting on their twitter feed they MIGHT give you a beta key.
Whoever came up with this marketing idea needs to get punched in the face. Its our duty as online gamers to stand up against these companies and flood them with emails telling them how insulting this process they are forcing upon us is. A Beta, for those who do not know is the part of the development process where users are allowed to try the product during that period for the purposes of detecting bugs,glicthes, and design issues such as weapon balance or disappearing texture glitches. These are usually either open or closed, in that closed betas are the ones with codes involved. A decade ago, these codes were given out for games that you had to pay to play (We called it a "Subscription") and the idea of the beta was to be able to play for free during development to help squash errors.
Planetside 2 and End of Nations are both Free to Play games as pretty much everything is these days. Why, may you ask are they enforcing code policies? Companies seem to think that by limiting the amount of players that can access their FREE GAME will create MORE hype for the game by some sort of stupid forbidden fruit angle. In reality, this strange practice of punishing the games fans that are too busy to lurk on a facebook page all day like the community managers can (They are paid to sit at a computer all day, you however are not). I played the End of Nations beta for exactly two days before I realized the game is in no way actually ready for any degree of testing. This is the same game, by the way that I lurked the facebook for exactly three days in the hopes of getting a code. Anybody see why there is something wrong with this picture?
Lets recap. You (Stupid managers of large gaming companies) expect all of your most loyal fans to play some sort of popularity ratrace on social media for the "honor" of experiencing how broken and not done your game is. A game, by the way that you are going to be offering FOR FREE DOWNLOAD anyway. And you think we are all going to just be... alright with this? I don't see why you can't just work towards a Open Beta like every other game developer is. or atleast do what you are supposed to and activate a couple thousand accounts and get rolling instead of making us beg for codes.
Now, I expect I am going to get atleast one asshole who thinks he knows what he is talking about and will blurt out something along the lines of "If you don't like it, don't participate" or "Its a honor to play the game". Yeah, no. A Beta is a period, need I remind you that the community looks over and fixes the various bugs and errors of the game, not plays around for funsies. The object of a closed beta is to hammer the games code and make sure its safe for mass public consumption. If you are telling me I have to bend over backwards just to have the "honor" to fix your game for you, then you obviously must be new to your job. Or high. Or both.
I'm not saying the concept of a closed beta is stupid, i'm saying the concept of treating a beta like some sort of elite club is. We are literally begging and wasting our lives on these guys social websites just to get the opportunity to see the game in one of its ugliest and unplayable periods instead of doing what we used to do (And most of us already have done on their website) which is just log your interest on their website and continue on with your life.
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