Dear Trion

I can’t ‘reserve’ a beta spot for ArcheAge.

I can buy a spot.

There is a difference, and pretending there isn’t doesn’t make your emails more appealing.

13 Responses to Dear Trion

  1. sid6.7 says:

    I actually appreciate when devs force some kind of purchase commitment to get into a beta. It separates the true believers from the riff raff who just want to play for free and won’t stay with the game for the long haul anyways.

    • Kuviski says:

      I have to say I strongly disagree. What this model rather encourages, in my opinion, is for the hardcore fans to get into the game earlier than others to discover secrets and keep them to themselves. Then there’s also the fact it’s already pretty absurd they want you to pay for testing, especially for AAA-quality MMOs – these companies would have the money to hire professional testers would they wish to do that, and the pay of those testers would be but a drop in the ocean considering their level of income.

      There are other ways to make sure the testers are dedicated, better ways in my opinion than asking them to pay money to test for you. For example, put some effort into finding the good testers, those who enter the most useful tickets, and keep sending them keys to new beta tests but don’t send them to players who tend to never send any data to you.

      • Kamuka says:

        To quote the communist kangaroo:

        “Are you aware, that most crisis theories of capitalism that predict the imminent downfall fail, because they underestimate how many once free of value domains of social coexistence can fall to the capitalistic chain of exploitation, therefore weakening the crisis tendencies by a quasi anew original accumulation?”

        crappy translation by me, not sure if an English version of the books exists

      • sid6.7 says:

        Hardcore fans are going to get into a game early to discover secrets regardless of whether or not they have to pay.

        The difference is that the crowd looking to freeload won’t be joining your game. Every free MMO beta is littered with people who jump in, give an early beta opinion, trash the game, and then never purchase said game.

        If they are at least invested enough to “pay” to get into the beta, then they likely believe in the vision for the game, are less likely to trash it, and will be invested enough to play at your launch and may even provide some decent feedback along the way.

        Also, let’s not confuse alpha and beta. By the time a game reaches beta, the majority of the game should be finished and it’s just balancing and stress testing. If it’s not, then it’s really an alpha not a beta and you are right, there are better ways to find testers.

        • sid6.7 says:

          For the record, I’m also against ‘free’ trials. I don’t care if they only charge $0.01 but the simple act of requiring a credit card to create an account can eliminate a lot of headaches.

          Assuming, that is, the dev is willing to prevent an account banned using that credit card from creating new accounts. This makes it more difficult for cheats to create test accounts and for gold spammers to create new accounts to spam gold messages.

      • kalex716 says:

        What are some of these “efforts” you speak of that dev’s can deploy to find the most worthy of testers?

        Online questionnaires? Interviews? Trivia contests? Give them out to the person who begs the most on your forums? All sound like they’d be just as subjectively poor at getting “good testers” as anything else…. I haven’t even see your ideas yet, but I’m gonna call them idealistic already.

        A monetary investment is a particularly useful way of gauging someones interest in your product. Its a solid way of measuring how “serious” someone is going to take it.

        It might not be the only way, but its probably the best if you are running a “for profit” business.

        • sid6.7 says:

          For example, put some effort into finding the good testers, those who enter the most useful tickets, and keep sending them keys to new beta tests but don’t send them to players who tend to never send any data to you.

          I wasn’t disagreeing w/ you on how to find to identify good testers. But that said, a few points — first, nothing excludes your above suggestion (tracking useful tickets) from being used among beta testers who have paid. Second, I also pointed out that a difference between alpha and beta and that I don’t agree with paying for alpha access.

          So how would I find my alpha testers?

          First, through my forums. Most games have some type of forums where the most dedicated or interested in the vision are already soliciting ideas. Those posting the mose useful ideas should get a priority invite.

          Second, through clan invitations. The large clans/gaming organizations will bring a lot of members and are typically a cut above the riff-raff because they understand MMOs are social games.

          And I’m sure there are ‘other ways’ to find people as well for alpha. But that’s distinctly different than the modern beta test which is all about stress testing, balance and a ‘first look’ by the public.

    • John says:

      “It separates the true believers from the riff raff who just want to play for free”

      You mean the blind fan boys that drink water in the name of the game and are ready to kill anyone that might think that there is something the game is missing? Or something the game is not doing right?

      If I was a developer and I wanted people to truly test my product in order to find the flaws and help me make it better I wouldn’t trust it to the guy who would spend 150 dollars to access to my game because the he got hyped from my marketing advertisement.

      • sid6.7 says:

        I would argue that one the major obstacles that a developer faces is how to stay true to your vision while at the same time making your game appealing to as broad a group as possible.

        By no means am I saying there isn’t danger in listening to those that already share your vision. But I think too many games dilute their product by trying to appeal to too broad an audience.

        So rather than watch a dev test his products with someone who has no intention of playing his game for the long haul, I appreciate a dev who sticks to his vision and tries to build a game for the people who share the same vision.

        The obvious downside is that you could be capping your potential audience. But here’s the thing, changing the vision isn’t going to solve that problem. All it does is rachet up your development costs and create animosity between the dev and the early believers.

        Just ask any product marketer how well any product launch goes when you piss off all your early adopters.

        • John says:

          I see your point but there are 2 problems.

          1)Those who seem to share the vision of the developer doesn’t really mean that they actually know what the vision is. Some people are blinded by hype and after a month or 2 they realize that this game is not for them. There are many things/flaws that someone can ignore due to hype/excitement.

          I have a friend btw that he starts every MMO and swear that this is the best MMO ever happened and that he will spend the rest of his life in it only to quit after a month with a list of complains.

          2)What the company aims for. Many failed by trying to please the whole world of gamers, but are the company really aim to work with a niche audience or they will switch to f2p model because they “failed” to get the subs they dreamed for? (I am talking in general, not for Archeage specifically..I know they start as f2p).

          A tester that is almost “indifferent” can spot the flaws of the game much easier.

  2. SynCaine says:

    I don’t really agree with changing the definition of what ‘beta’ means for software. Beta software ISN’T ready, and so those who use it are in fact testers (whether they are active testers or not is another subject).

    Either way, the post isn’t that Trion is asking for money or not for AA beta; that’s up to them. My issue is how they are communicating about it with the emails. Just kinda weaselly to say ‘reserve’ rather than ‘buy’. Minor issue, hence the short post.

    • sid6.7 says:

      The definition has already changed. The MMO who came before them already messed that up. :)

      I would argue that the so-called “Alpha” and “early access” products on Steam are even further evidence of how definitions are changing for unfinished games.

      Regardless of what you call it, once the dev opens the doors for ‘public’ consumption, I appreciate it more when they charge for the privilege and weed out the riff raff.

      (and your original point was well taken)

  3. […] Syncaine over at Hardcore Casual 24/7/14 […]

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