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Reader Comments (15)

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 8:40AM Xilmar said

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public test servers are good. for the company, qa guys, players, everyone.

one's motivation for being on a test server can vary...you can be there to mess around, maybe do/try stuff that you wouldn't do/try on the live servers, get all the juicy details on the next patch or upcoming features, or you might just want to see the work in progress, maybe even help out with a few reports/forum posts.

for me personally test servers have been a fun and usually short alternative...crazy experiments that would burn my eyes on the live server, repeatedly exploiting a bug for lulz and epicness, doing stuff that would not be possible on the higher population live, that sort of thing...reporting bugs was always part of the fun, but almost never the final objective.

a test server is work in progress, everyone knows that. if the devs provide me with a fun mirror, i have no problem helping out when i can. incentives attract people, which is fine, but for me double xp or extra loot was never the reason...it brings a slightly different gameplay option for me to try out, which deserves a thumbs up in my book


tl;dr they're fun, help devs and players, and everyone should give them a shot at least once.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 8:46AM Apakal said

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I've always considered it more work than it's worth. In at least wow, the theory crafters could get a pretty good idea of what the changes were going to do just by working the math, which was good enough for my purposes.

I also think a lot of guilds use them to get a leg up on the competition, which I don't really agree with. I don't think major raid or progression content should be available on public tests. Closed tests should be good enough. Weeks of practice before it really matters kills a lot of the spirit of competition for me.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 8:53AM Harley Dude said

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The only time I ever go to test servers is to make a max level toon to test skill builds. It's not my job to help the devs find bugs once I'm a paying customer. Beta testing is one thing, since while they get free labor, you get a free sneak peak, so we both are getting something out of the deal.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 8:53AM Khorrax said

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I've only ever been on the APB test server. Aside from more play time and submitting feedback (which wasn't really taken into consideration) to improve the game, I guess it felt good to know I was one of the chosen (few). At least the email I got suggested I was picked based on my feedback for the closed beta sessions I had been in. So it was a sort of reward, which I didn't hesitate to receive.

Since then, I've had the chance to go on Crimecraft's test server, but given the limited time I spend playing the game, I thought I'd leave the spot for someone more committed to the game (and with more knowledge of the game mechanics). And that's about it.

To sum it up, I think test servers are a very good idea and it should be a common feature for all MMOs.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 8:54AM nomoredroids said

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Never have, and I probably won't ever. Just don't see the draw to them.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 9:44AM Ryn said

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It depends on how easy it is to access it for me. Strangely, Star Trek Online test server is really easy to access. No Test client to download, no patching over your existing client and messing it up. But with EVE Online, totally the opposite. I think they make it more complicated than it really needs to be. Being on EVE's test server is worth it for sure, just complicated for the average user. I have a background in IT, and first time around I patched over my existing game client, meaning I could play on the test server, but had to reinstall to play the actual live game. With STO, you just pick the test server from a button.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:38PM Space Cobra said

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@Ryn

Agreed, STO is one of the EASIEST Test Servers to get on. And you can copy existing characters or start new ones in a snap. You can also get leveled in a snap, too!
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Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 10:52AM FrostPaw said

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No, if I'm paying to play a retail game I shouldn't have to test the developers content for bugs that might ruin my game.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 11:29AM tk421242 said

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I have no opinion on this.... but Corporal Hicks says no to playing much on test servers! Just take off and nuke them from orbit.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 12:18PM drakon said

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I think that if companies are serious about getting people to actively play long-term on a test server they need to offer a reduced subscription rate with the restriction being that you can ONLY play on the test server.

I know there are a few games where I would gladly pay a reduced rate to be able to play, if only on the test server. Some (like Rift) I would not however.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 1:18PM Slayblaze said

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Yes I've played on the WoW PTS several times while in one of Silvermoon's progression guilds, and really it was a lot of fun although usually a bit of a harrowing experience as well. Basically going into pretty tough raids blind and only knowing very little about what to expect based mainly on hearsay and rumors.

The sole reason we did it was so that when the content went to a live release that we could just breeze the top officers through the new raids, gear up real quick, and then help through the rest of the guild through scheduled organized runs until everyone was geared and had met their goals. Also several of the officers would spend a lot of time going through non-raid content so we would know exactly how to do the quests, where the new vendors were, how the new systems worked and so on. By far the main goal was the raids though. It could be a lot of work due to more wipes than usual and having to run back over and over.

But it also was a ton of fun! One thing I really enjoy about the PTS is that you end up grouping with people you would normally not associate with because they're in a different guild, and when in a progression guild it is ALL about YOUR guild - not someone else's - it's a tightly knit group effort. But on the PTS all bets are off, and we would often find ourselves in partys and raids with people we knew only through reputation, or very brief meetings previously, or former teammates even.

The PTS is like an alternate reality which is inside an alternate reality so you can basically do what you want with no repercussions in the "real" server world. There is something liberating about that if you happen to be in a really serious guild who is trying to be and stay near the top of the "server first" list, nerver mind the "world first" list which takes a huge amount of effort to be organized and productive. Having a PTS really helps out the Guilds in that regard more then the individual players, although sometimes solo players just want to see and experience the new content out of curiosity I suppose.

So I believe that playing pn a PTS is far more vital to the players than to the developer because it gives the player an edge up on the competition by learning new content prior to release. For the player who is not competitive it can also be an interesting experience but little else, since nothing you "do" on the PTS carries over to your "real" server.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 1:45PM SocksForYou said

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You've blown the test server! You're just grinding metal. Come on ease down, ease down.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:33PM Ragemaster9999 said

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I have played on test server for testing purposes numerous times in several differnet mmos, usually when new big changes are in the works. It's important to know whats going to happen to your mmo, and stay up abrest on current events with the game, just like RL politics and finances.

Sometimes players can find bugs that the company QA overlook, and sometimes lead to changes in content before it hits live thru proper feedback.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:45PM Space Cobra said

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Just my comments/personal experience.

I never considered playing on a test server and really, never do for the most part. I want to just play the game. While I do get into the Beta forums, my past is just load up the game and play. No forums. No test server. Pure game experience. Really, test servers take time away from playing the "real" game IMO.

But, as I get into communities and games I may care about, I may hit the test server, but with some caveats. It has to be easy to get to. I don't like to transfer characters at their current level, unless they are maxxed out and I can god-mode stuff just for testing, so in many MMO cases, since I level slow, I don't use that option so I never test (CoH).

When Devs do ask for volunteers or they "bribe" you (like STO did with offering a Tribble for all testers) and I like the game, I may do so. I realize Devs need a steady stream of testers, but many times, if it impacts my game time or I have to set up another copy of the game "physically" by working with folders and going to an obscure website hidden at the bottom of a bar/dive, I kinda avoid it.

Posted: Feb 24th 2011 1:46AM Poordevil said

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I have no interest in testing. Call me when you roll out the finished product; it generally has plenty of bugs and needed fixes to suit me.

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