Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The AP Beta Will Hurt Development

Reading the forums it has become apparent that most of the people in the beta do not quite understand why they are there.  The majority seem to believe that they are there to get a preview of the game.

Having this many people, and more soon, to the tune of possibly near 2M people when all is said and done, will mean that it will be harder for blizzard to sort through the whining that things are broken from the masses that think they are there to play the game, not test it.  These people all seem to complain this suck and that sucks and the other sucks and how can they release something that is broken like this.

See, that is the key line there, how could they release something broken like this.  The thing is, it is not released.  This is a beta.  Things are going to be broken.  You are supposed to report that they are broken, you are not supposed to complain that it being broken is ruining the flow of your game so you can not continue the quest line.

If you can not continue the quest line you report that there is a quest bugged, supply any information that you think might be needed, and move along.  Either find another quest line somewhere, find something else to test, or log out and wait for them to fix it so you can continue testing another day.  At the very least, if you just want to play, then grind some mobs so you level up and move to the next zone. 

Don't complain, contribute.

As it is, there are a few quests that seem to be bugged and on the forums I have seen numerous posts about them.  One such quest, the jade witch, seems to have dozens of posts about it.  Most of them are just one person, no replies, complaining they can not continue with the quest line. A few of them are someone complaining and others just saying, same here.  Then there is one, yes, just one that I could find, that offers any actual information about it.  The person gives computer specs, gives a description of how many people in the area, explains what they are doing, the time of day, what others seem to be doing, game settings, server, etc.

So that means in dozens of posts on the forums about the quest in question only one person actually did what a beta tester is supposed to do.  They are supposed to test it and supply information when something does not work so the coders can use the information in an effort to fix the problem.

Beta testers are not supposed to complain because it is broken and ruining their questing because they can't continue.

Being there are so many people on the beta that are doing a disservice to the game I think that blizzard should institute a hard line no tolerance approach and start removing these people from the beta test realms.

There should be a motto that people on the beta should be required to follow or risk losing access to the test realms.

Don't complain, contribute.

All these annual pass holders are going to make the beta process a lot harder for them to get things fixed.  Lets just say some guy that works there is trying to fix the quest we mentioned.  He does a forum search and sees that there are dozens of posts on the jade witch so he looks there for some details that could help him isolate what the problem is so he can fix the problem. 

Instead he ends up bogged down reading about people complaining that it is hurting their progression.  He reads about people complaining about how it is bad design to release things like that.  He reads countless people saying, don't work for me either.  He reads for hours, hours of wasted time, only to find that one post where someone actually included any information he might be able to use.  That is if he even ever finds it in that massive pile of crap people are posting that is of no help.

All those complainers are flooding the forums with nothing useful.  It will not speed up the beta process, it will slow it to a crawl.  People working on the problems will be forced to sort through 100s of messages of pure dribble to find the one that might actually have a piece of information they might need.

Every time one of these annual pass people complain they are delaying the progress of the game.

Sure, just saying, the quest is broken, even without listing any information is helpful some.  It shows them that it needs looking into.  Sure, posting, broken for me too, helps to show that it was not just one person that had the problem.  Those threads, even if not informative, do hold a purpose but you don't need 50 of them.  If all these people want to do it say it does not work for them they can hit reply at the end of the other four threads on the same page about the same thing to say it is not working for them either.  No need to clutter things up.

All of these people are going to slow the beta down to a crawl.  We might have all thought we had a chance to see mists in the summer but from seeing how the beta is being handled I can tell you that will never happen.  The beta testers will not allow it.  They will do everything they can to slow down the process to a crawl because complaining about things fits them more.

Perhaps that is the reason there is no in game error reporting yet.  Perhaps we should give blizzard some credit where it is due.  If there was an in game reporting system then there would probably be even more "this is ruining my progress" crap for them to sort through.  At least the forums are another venue that people would need to go to if they want to post and that might limit some of the complainers.  If they could press a button in game and complain there might be more complaints.  Bravo blizzard, good move, at least you are trying to limit some of the BS these annual pass holders are wasting your time with.

Don't complain, contribute.

That really should be the beta motto and blizzard should be putting notes on peoples accounts, in my opinion at least, and making note of who complains and who contributes, and making sure the next beta that comes out anyone that has a note on their account as a complainer and not a contributor, does not get an invite.  Annual pass or not.

You know they will do things like the annual pass again but lets all hope, for the betterment of the game and development, that they do not automatically give out access to anyone that signs up.  They need to put something like, people who apply for the annual pass get a chance to get beta access and a chance to get preview access.

That way they can get actual testers for the testing phase and then let everyone else in a couple weeks before it ends, so their complaining will not matter, the testers already did all the work.  The testers already did what is needed in the beta.

This many people, this many complainers, this many entitled people that think everything revolves around them, all of those people, the annual pass holders that think they paid for this right, are ruining the beta test and making sure the release is a lot later then it should be if they where not there.

As a note, I am not saying all annual pass people are like that.  I am sure a great deal of contributors are there as well but when compared to the number of complainers I see on the forums about it, it was not worth the trade off.

The annual pass will hurt the development of the game, if anything, just looking at the forums will tell you, they already have.


  1. Do you think it could actually hurt WoW's revenue as well? What I mean is, if so many people don't actually understand what a beta is for and think that Blizzard is just providing them with crappy/broken content, wouldn't that put them off continuing their subscription in the long run?

    1. That is another thing. They could lose players that get upset with it. They can also lose players that "finish" it on beta so when it does come out they don't play.

      Very good addition as to why the AP beta thing was a bad business design.

  2. My biggest concern is that this does bog down the beta, and Blizzard panics and pushes an unfinished product out the door to hit a release date.

    1. It will bog things down, as I mentioned I believe is already happening.

      It can cause them to release too soon or take forever and I do worry about either of those happening.

      The too soon would be the worse of those two options and knowing their track record that is entirely possible.