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Reader Comments (50)

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:14AM Psychotic Storm said

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If open betas were used for what they should be, testing, ironing out bugs and polishing, stress tests and so on, yes they are essential, especially with how much demanding market in now.

Unfortunately they are just been used for marketing of the game.

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:17AM MrGutts said

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Nowadays no, it's just a marketing gimmick to get some excitement going for a game.

But if you don't wanna piss your money away on a 60 dollar game, then a open beta is the closest thing to expect from a game coming out.

Posted: Sep 6th 2010 2:26PM einstini15 said

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I think betas serve both objectives. There is some bugs being found and fixed. It also works like marketing. However, this type of marketing is a double edged sword. If the game is crap....
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Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:21AM shinkie said

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I believe they are. It's the only way to really try before you buy.
Sometimes they do go through changes, and it is a way for the studios to see server issues, lag etc. Aion was in beta and had that awful Game Guard, and was finally removed after protesting and many issues with it. So I do see the benefits.

I've learnt not to buy a game solely on the beta now, after the CO mess, but mostly for me, it's just a demo.

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:21AM myr said

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90% of people do look at them as free trials. A lot of people (understandably) won't drop $50-80 on the game without playing it first. I know STO's open beta saved me from purchasing that, at least.

Most companies aren't really looking for bug info on these open betas though. The far more valuable information they gather is how their servers handle the stress of being pounded by hundreds of thousands of fanboys. Stress testing, they call it, and figuring out how much server hardware they need to invest in.

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:26AM (Unverified) said

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the FFXIV OB doenst even allow new applicants to access the forums which is from what i read in a game support menu the only way to issue feedback. They arent looking to iron out anything. Totally a ploy. Not a good one either the game has hardly anything to do. im hoping theyre with-holding content but that would defeat the purpose of testing the game in the first place.

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 1:47PM VGJunkie said

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In addition to marketing betas, open betas are also mainly used as stress tests for the most part. I agree with you that it is rare that anything changes between the OB builds and the release (unless they plan it that way of course). Stresses basically let the gamers kick the tires a bit and allows for the developers to see how much load a single realm can take, in addition to the authentication servers.

I used to still report bugs during OB, but not any longer. I mainly use them as a trial version of the game before I decide whether or not to plunk down ~$50 for the game.

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:25AM (Unverified) said

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OB is just for marketing, and i will go as far as saying closed betas as starting to become more and more like what the old OB's where about. most work is done in alpha or friends and family testing.

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:30AM (Unverified) said

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I am afraid that open betas are bad for most games. Many games will suffer from the backlash of people that play. There will always be people that don't like features, feel it isn't ready, but open betas allow the loudest, most destructive element to voice what might be a huge bias against the game. Betas should be closed and should include those community members who have been actively a part of the games community, and comments should not be allowed to destroy a game before it ever goes live. controversial game-play decisions should be treated as controversial by the developer and with an air of openness to the beta testers, letting them know that these features are undergoing testing and will not necessarily be part of the final game. With MMO's people should be reminded that there will likely be several updates in the first few months it is live and that all MMO's are a work in progress.

Granted some games have been launched that were NOT ready. One possible solution if a game knows it will need updates but is being pressured to launch, the free period should be extended beyond 30 days for subscription games until such time that they feel it is truly ready. There is no easy answer.

The honest truth is that many MMO's are very ambitious huge projects. Developers should engineer a game that will earn back the money it costs over a period of time and not hype it so much that it needs to have a gigantic launch. Often this is called a "soft launch".

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:31AM (Unverified) said

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The sad thing is, with less and less companies having free trials (especially at launch) people are forced to use betas to preview an mmo.

They want to know the game they are going to buy is worth the box it came in.

It is rediculous to force a potential customer to buy a product on blind faith alone, and any company that does so generally doesn't have a product worth buying.

As far as FFXIV, the beta isn't going to well. In addition to the bugs, crashes etc that are normal, there is also a lot of design flaws. The game, like its predecessor, is very eastern style and geared toward console players. There are no way to change the controls, and the UI is rather minimal, most things buried in a menu you have to stop and open manually instead of hitting a hotkey for. The combat is a sloppy mess, you're not really sure what you're character is doing half the time so you just spam your attack key and hope the other monster dies first.

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 10:01PM (Unverified) said

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I don't disagree that beta's are important at least closed ones, but most single player games usually don't let you have a free trial for months after release, other than xbox arcade type games. I didn't get into the Starcraft II beta, so I have to go by the overwhelmingly positive post launch reviews. Same would be true for single player games with bad reviews. I can always choose to wait to purchase till a demo comes out. Why do MMO's have to offer this Open Beta and single player games don't?
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Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:55AM (Unverified) said

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I completely agree, I have been burned on "blind faith" too many times to fall for it again (Warhammer, Champions, APB).

Too many people are releaseing before thier game is done a polished just so they can start getting a Return on Investment. Most times they do make a return, but not a profit; as they dupe enough people into paying for a golden turd. From there the life of their game lasts 2-3 years (at best) and they have no where to go after launch but down...

Thank you for your assessment of the FF MMO, I -was- going to try it, but won't waste my time now.
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Posted: Sep 5th 2010 10:35AM suntyl said

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@adamaant theres unfortunately typically a difference in quality when it comes to single-player vs. mmo's. especially at release. Most likely due to subscription models, the quicker the game comes out, the sooner they can start regularly making money, so more often than not a game comes out in the MMO market that would never be considered even close to done in the single-player market.

Do single-player games still have bugs and seem rushed occasionally? Sure, but when's the last time you picked one up from the store and found it entirely unplayable? Typically never. MMO's need trials now because the developers of those titles have broken the trust of most consumers by consistently releasing unfinished and mediocre games.
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Posted: Sep 5th 2010 12:06PM Saker said

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"The sad thing is, with less and less companies having free trials (especially at launch) people are forced to use betas to preview an mmo.

They want to know the game they are going to buy is worth the box it came in."

I couldn't agree more! I won't buy a MMO till I've tried it period. Many of the major "review" sites have much too close a relationship with these companies to be trusted *cough* gamespot *cough* And there's so much pr spin-marketing out there, only by trying it can you hope to really know if it's worth your money.
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Posted: Sep 5th 2010 1:11PM (Unverified) said

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UMM take your time and watch your meter and let it fill the game works fine for me, yea there are alot of stuff that needs to be fixed but overall the game has work for me and other friends of mine in my LS in ffxiv I'am enjoying the game its almost like FFXI just the fight parts are diff.
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Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:32AM alinos said

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open betas are nothing more than a demo now

Which is why i think the FF XIV one had the false launch because they didnt want the demoers to hit whateva bug they suddenly discovered

thiers also the fact that alot of people in open betas don't report bugs even if they could

alot of people just try to burn through content to see if they would actually wanna play the game

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:47AM (Unverified) said

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The only thing i've tested in the beta is the downloader and the beta key generation. 0/2 so far. Not looking good.

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 8:51AM (Unverified) said

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Yes, they are necessary. Not to fix the game, as anything broken at Open beta will also be at launch.

I don't buy MMO's anymore, UNLESS: I get into the Open Beta and it blows me away; or I am able to do a Trial (6-9 months after launch usually). It is good because it shows me if a thing is ready to launch or is just a polished (sometimes not polished) turd.

SWToR is one game I -might- break this rule for. But I don't think that -most- games, no matter how good, are worth their $60-$90 (for the collector edition with more crap toys) price point.

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 9:17AM (Unverified) said

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they're most necessary. The CO and STO ones saved me a lot of money

Posted: Sep 5th 2010 9:30AM Pingles said

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Closed Betas are to get the game ready for mass consumption and Open Betas are to test server back end stuff and iron out minor bugs.

I have found very few open betas make radical changes to the game.

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