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Reader Comments (13)

Posted: Jun 5th 2009 8:30AM wufiavelli said

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Think eve has the right approach. You have a PvE area with some minor pvp and decent pve stuff. But then you take a massive area and make it for sandbox pvp and elite pve. It has the bests loot, highest rewards, the rarest ores, and sandbox building nature.

I do not see many games do this. Instead they are normally all sandbox pvp like Darkfall or all pve themepark like wow with some shabby ass very controlled capture point pvp areas.

Posted: Jun 5th 2009 8:15AM Grok said

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I personally prefer a bit of both. Whenever I've played a beta I'm kind of mindful that we're meant to test the game and find the bugs. The most obvious and direct way to find these bugs is to go through the provided content, especially the specific developer targeted content.

At the same time, I do want to get a feel for the world, find the small details that make that world unique and just explore. I don't think either is mutually exclusive. I missed the beta keys for this weekend and I'm pretty disappointed about it, but I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the next round.

Posted: Jun 5th 2009 8:30AM Halldorr said

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"There's that awesome feeling of specialness, you (and a few others) have been chosen to join an elite group to try out the next biggest MMO of the year."

Sure Lesley rub it into our faces that some of us don't have beta access ;) We're on to you!! ;)

Kidding, kidding. I prefer to be let loose into a beta to poke around and see what kind of trouble I can get into. However, if I was a game designer I'd prefer the small focused segments to make sure my beta testers are actually testing things that need to be looked at.

Posted: Jun 5th 2009 9:11AM (Unverified) said

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I really prefer the structured beta, means there is a better chance of meeting other people and having a rough idea what you're supposed to do rather than wandering around pointlessly.

The only thing is that in the WAR beta we got jumped from T1 to T3 in different phases and it left everyone a bit lost, because we'd gotten attached to the T1 character and didn't know how ot play the higher level ones.

Looking forwards to Aion this weekend :P

Posted: Jun 5th 2009 9:20AM (Unverified) said

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For a beta to be successful it needs to have both components, and done in the correct order.

When things are starting out it makes sense to have structured tests to work on basic mechanics, itemization and balance. This can then be expanted to test out how different areas of the world are optimized and how well they function for specific purposes.

However, after basic things like mechanics and some rough balance are sorted out a beta needs to move on to a sandbox style. A good MMO should be more than the sum of its parts. The story, areas, levelling and difficulty need to scale appropriately througout a characters lifetime.

Finally, endgame needs to be tested, tested and then tested again. If testers don't have COMPLETE access to what the endgame holds, then there is no way to find out how compelling it is, and how long any one piece of content or gameplay is going to hold up.

WAR did things right at the beggining, but didn't have enough time to do the last two steps properly. WAR is a game that works great for the areas that were focussed tested extensively (T1-T3) but falls down on the character progression and endgame side of things.

Posted: Jun 6th 2009 7:44AM (Unverified) said

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I was going to post a reply to this article, but there's no point now that dok has said everything I was going to say - and even used the same game as an example as I intended to. Agreed 100%.
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Posted: Jun 5th 2009 9:48AM (Unverified) said

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Beta is worthless, You should get paid to do their jobs for them. And its not an elite few anymore, its a giant mass, of anyone they can get to play, to ignore the fact that you have real ready games to play that you are likely paying for. They shouldn't even need to beta this game, People have been playing Aion for like 4 years, Just because it was bought my nc(failfest)soft is buying Korean software and trying to sell it to Americans doesn't make it a new game.

Posted: Jun 5th 2009 10:55AM Grok said

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You are absolutely clueless.
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Posted: Jun 5th 2009 10:17AM Aganazer said

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Hrmmm... I wonder what Lesley is planning on doing this weekend besides Aion blog posts every 15 minutes...

Posted: Jun 5th 2009 10:58AM (Unverified) said

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Sounds about right to me

Posted: Jun 5th 2009 4:29PM Teki said

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Sandbox all the way.

Posted: Jun 5th 2009 5:20PM mattwo said

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depends...if it's a game that is supposed to give alot of freedom and you don't need to know what to do (like SL), then sandbox. If not then a mix of both, with options for one or the other

Posted: Jun 7th 2009 9:54AM (Unverified) said

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I think you're falsely mixing up some terms here.

Sandboxed game is a game like Ultima Online, where it's more like a simulation of a virtual world. Most of the stuff ingame is created by players (i.e.gathering ore->making ingots->make weapons & armors). Professions and gathering resources plays a big role and there are no defined classes like sorceres, warriors, hunters, rogues etc. Instead every character can learn every skill, but is limited to a few he choses. So you could have a character which can yield a sword good and also can cast. If you often cast a heal skill, your heal skills become better etc.

What you really mean is: focused beta testing and (for the lack of a better term) normal beta testing (which in most cases is only there for PR-stuff to let people see the game before it's released and not actual beta testing to improve the game).

In my opionion focused testing is the only real efficient way to test an MMO, and to improve it. But this needs to be done from the begining of early alpha stage and for (almost) every focused test there have to be premade characters to test this segement. Without premades, the beta testers will get tired pretty fast and their results will be bad. Some testers will even give up after a few wipes phases. Did this in Warhammer, but often there wasn't premades which made it pointless to play 2 weeks to test the new stuff every time the chars were wiped. Warhammer never had good endgame focsed tests. We wasn't able to test the endgame before the game was released and this was one of the reasons why the endgame sucked, because it wasn't tested enough and it tooked many months after released before some of the flaws where fixed.

The normal testing however can only be done, when the game is finished. At this point, it's already to late to change the mechanics of the game if something is flawed. It's only good to get the feeling as a whole (i.e. if leveling speed/dificult is ok) and fix some minor bugs with quests etc. You can't change class or PvP mechanics at this point anymore and feedback from betatesters is mostly ignored at this point

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