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Reader Comments (85)

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 5:17AM (Unverified) said

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Since most companies tend to use Beta's more like previews, I don't think the Beta argument is valid. With lame marketing like pre-order offers, paying to get into Beta's (FilePlanet), and limited offers pre-release, it's no longer about testing the game, it's all about marketing and trying to get players to want to buy it.

I think Van Hemlock's (Tim) three month rule is a pretty good one, especially after the recent disappointments in the last few years. Give it a few months to patch up and for the hype to die down and then see what's left. If it's good, it's not going any where. If it's bad, you've saved yourself time and money.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 5:22AM (Unverified) said

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I'll probably try STO again in 6 months, when the box is marked down to $9.99.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 6:34AM yeppers said

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Very true!! Heck, I found LotRO in the Target bargain bin for $5 a few months ago. I'm now a subscriber! I'm hoping STO is a very different (and more Trek-like) game a year from now.
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Posted: Jan 24th 2010 1:36AM (Unverified) said

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Amazon has WAR for $7.20.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 6:53AM beskar said

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This article is stupid. MMOs are in a CONSTANT state of flux, which is virtually the same as beta, throughout their lives. Just because it stops being called beta after a while, doesn't mean game is ever "finished" .Can we get some people writing here who actually understand the industry?

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 7:19AM (Unverified) said

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Personally i wouldn't touch STO if you paid me. I preordered Champions and that last minute patch killed the game. Add in the Cryptic store and the whole game became " Can i haz more money? " . I will laugh my head off if they do the same to STO. In Cryptics case instead of saying " It's only the beta wait and see " you should be saying " It's the beta make the most of it ".
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 11:39AM aurickle said

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I'm sorry, but with respect it seems that you're the one who doesn't understand the history. Look back on the last few years. The MMO industry is at this point littered with a number of games that were released too early, with the intent to continue development after launch in order to flush out the game's deficiencies. Vanguard, WAR, AoC, CO and now STO are simply the ones that immediately come to mind, and look at what happened.

Vanguard has an extremely loyal core following, and the game truly is a good, fun game that brings some new things to the table. It's arguably superior to EverQuest II. But EQ2 had the better launch in terms of player retention, and now EQ2 is the one where SoE's budget is going. Vanguard can't bring out hardly anything new anymore because the majority of players abandoned the game during that first year when the devs were trying to fix the things that should have been fixed in closed beta.

AoC is perhaps the most telling. Like with Vanguard, it spent the last year fixing the things that should have been fixed in closed beta. Only now are they finally truly starting to move into new territory. It just got awarded the "Most Improved of 2009" title. The new patch that they are getting ready to roll out brings awesome stuff to guilds. But guess what? They're merging servers down to 4 on Monday. There is hope that the Rise of the Godslayer expansion will bring an infusion of players into the game, which may work because it'll come at a time when there aren't any other MMO entries on the radar. But it's safe to say that AoC is a mere shadow of what it could have been if they'd just taken six months more time for beta.

There is a direct correlation between quality of beta and success of launch. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and this industry is all about first impression. After all, you get 30 free days when you buy the game. It MUST hook you by that point or you won't subscribe and will be gone; often forever. Yes, there are examples (like Aion) of games that had great beta cycles only to end up flopping with the audience. But these are anomalies; not the norm. Conversely, I can't think of a single MMO to have a horrible beta yet end up being a big success.

Something else worth mentioning is that the "it's only beta" retort intrinsically does betas a disservice. By its very verbage, the phrase trivializes betas. Heavy use of the comment is enough to leave someone wondering, "why have betas at all?" Given how Cryptic seems to have come closest to making that thought manifest, let's see how CO and STO stand a year from now. Will they be thriving? Or will they -- like Vanguard and AoC -- be mere shadows of what they could have been?

You see, the "It's only beta" comment has a red-headed stepchild: the "it was released too early" explanation for an ailing game. :)
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 7:21AM beskar said

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Who cares about STO? What I am talking about stretches across every MMO that has been made, and ever will be made.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 7:22AM beskar said

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Who cares about STO? What I am talking about applies to every MMO ever made, or still to be made. Period.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 7:57AM LaughingTarget said

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What I find the most troubling is that a developer's second, or in this case, third MMO still has all the exact same problems that plagued the previous titles. Same server issues, same bugs. Tell me, isn't there a point they should learn from their mistakes? Why are we seeing the same server load lag that hit other games and don't show up later in the cycle? Didn't anyone bother to think, "Maybe we should do what we did on Game X to get the servers running properly instead of reinventing the wheel every single time?"

This seems like piss poor project management to me, not a good sign of the future.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 8:34AM BubleFett said

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OMG How is it that a company like Cryptic can produce such an abomination
on a well known franchise like Star Trek. The hype that they fed to mmo sites like
this one and others is just another proof that the MMO space is becoming
more corrupt like the consoles.

STO has suffered cause of the cutting corners to see more profit. But
in the long run is going to hurt them. For Gods Sake there are F2P MMos
with better open betas than that of STO OB. How could that be? Is totally embarrassing to say the least.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 11:40AM Miffy said

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I've played every MMO beta under the sun and there has NEVER been a beta patch that fixed the issues I've had with the game. Theres a very simple reason for this and it's because you can get over bugs and lag. However you can't get over poor design and poor features or lack of. These are things that are put in pre alpha and alpha but the actual design of the game is done very early on. So by the time the games are in beta they're basically set in stone. Sure the developers might lock off content but that is to only focus test certain parts to stress test and bug fix.

So if you hate the game in beta, you'll hate it for the rest of it's existence.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 10:00AM Birk said

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@ Vikingking

There was another game with an absurd amount of hype around it...

I think they called it World of Warcraft.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 3:09PM (Unverified) said

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WoW is an already established game that has more subscribers than anyone else. It's not hype, it's loyalty. They expect players to leave after a time then return in a year for the new expansions and patch updates.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 10:09AM Ayenn said

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Wow, so the irrational STO hate has moved over here, has it. For the record. the beta cycle for STO is phenomenal. Some of the most efficient and swift bug crushes I have seen in all the years (13) I have been playing MMORPGs and testing them. Its a good game and will be better by the end of beta, and ever better still in a year and then two years and then 5 years. The doom people are spewing about STO is really just irrational hatred for a game because it is not the game they envisioned it would be.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 10:53AM (Unverified) said

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It is bad, I hope you enjoy it.

People should expect great thinks from a Star Trek MMO. Star Trek Online should be scrapped and go back to the development table. They should just start over and do the IP justice.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 11:56AM Ayenn said

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Look at that! Now I have been grayed for having a valid opinion that does not jive with the haters views. I feel like magic! You people who attempt amateurish censorship are seriously a joke.

The game will be fine at launch. If the design is not what you thought it should be then don't play it. It is that simple. Go back to what ever game you were playing before. You might be happier there.

For the record, when a company says it is an open beta, it is a beta. If they say it is a preview, then it is a preview. If anyone expects anything more that a beta phase when they try an open beta they are fooling themselves and ignoring the intent of the open beta phase.

Just because you want something to be other than it is does not make it so. Intentionally re-framing something in this way is really just self-indulgence and immaturity on the part of the person who does not accept the state of something. This is not unlike trying to censor someone because they don't agree with you.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 11:16AM (Unverified) said

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"It's only beta" is probably one of the most ineffective hand-waving arguments there are. It's like saying that your car's fuel tank is leaking and someone replying "Well, it's only a rental." It doesn't make the problem go away and it doesn't make it less relevant.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 11:31AM Wensbane said

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Taken from the STO forums:

"If you havent manually set your FPS with /maxfps command; then you are redlining your card without even knowing it. Apparently STO has a huge bug where it sets your GPU to try and attempt an infinite framerate which bottoms it out. Even if you arent running hot you are still doing damage since its redlined."

Need I say more? *facepalm*

Posted: Jan 23rd 2010 11:48AM jpkustra said

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I agree with an earlier post a little ways back in. The beta experience for this game was invaluable to me. I learned that this game was nowhere near anything original, fun or exciting. Thank you Cryptic for giving me a taste of your craptastic game so I know not to waste any money on it or anything else you might produce. You screwed me over on CO and I gave STO a shot but I'm done with you.

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