Accepting beta feedback: I don’t even…

From Ravious at KTR:

Trion Worlds said that the game is on such a stable base that the devs are actually able to work on requested game improvements that are received through beta feedback rather than trying to plow through work that should have been done before beta.

The above seems like such an obvious thing, making changes based on beta rather than running a beta and still just finishing what you already had planned, but I wonder how many MMOs have actually done this? God knows I’ve been in plenty of betas, closed or open, where it seemed we were there just to double-check the work, and no real changes were made based on feedback that was not “this causes the game to be unplayable”.

Maybe this also explains the worry some have about Trion listening too much to the forum-posting minority rather than designing the game the way they intend to. We are so conditioned to have our beta feedback ignored that, when it’s actually accepted and incorporated, it shocks us. Certainly if Trion makes changes that help the vocal minority at the expense of the general majority (or just makes fan-based changes that are bad for the game overall), this will be an issue, but so far, from a distance, I don’t believe that’s the case.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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13 Responses to Accepting beta feedback: I don’t even…

  1. silvertemplar says:

    Everyone seems to go on about “companies listening too much to the players” .

    I have zero stats behind me, but i am seriously wondering How many MMOs actually had this problem? There’s also a catch 22 with all this, if a company REALLY listens to players, they will also -continue- to listen when some braindead idea was implemented and everyone realizing it is not working…by REVERSING it! [again based on player input, after they figured out it was a stupid idea] .

    Anyway:

    1. Company listens to players TOO MUCH and totally ruining the game that no one wants to play it

    VERSUS

    2. Company NOT listening to players , not changing the game in a way seems “obvious” and totally ignoring player feedback and THAT resulting in ruining the game and no one wants to play it.

    I am really really really struggling to think of examples of #1 . Maybe it happened in UO…or did it? But really, give me examples in the last 10 years of #1 .

    Now #2 i can think of almost every single failed/failing MMO that came out in the last 10 years. This includes Star Wars Galaxies [changing the game without any player input still falls under this too] and then NOT changing the game “back” once players clearly hating it is as a #2 yet again..double whammy actually.

    So i am a little skeptical over this “Theory” that TRION is listening “too much” and should not make changes based on player feedback….i say they should “just do it” if they think it will work, but so long as they keep the finger on the pulse to realize when it is NOT working.

    • SynCaine says:

      As Sid suggests, I’d toss out Wow as an example of #1. To me what WoW was originally was great. Pre-cap PvE was not hard but not a faceroll 100% of the time, raiding was progressive and required both a solid guild and a solid amount of time to learn encounters, and world PvP was not a total afterthought.

      Then people wanted everything to be ‘accessible’ and, well, we have WotLK/Cata and the current WoW.

      • silvertemplar says:

        Well that’s a “personal view” you are taking there. WoW as an MMO is still as successful as ever DESPITE listening to players.

        I’m looking for examples where the game visibly went downhill [in terms of players playing and enjoying the game] due to “listening to players” .

        I can think of countless things where BLizzard does NOT listen to player feedback in WoW TOO.

        Blizzard is certainly not listening to you or any 2005-WoW-Raider are they? [i.e. if they were listening “too much” don’t you think they would have reverted back to some form of 2005 mode? ] . Maybe there just ain’t that many people that actually wants WoW-2005 ?

        • SynCaine says:

          Right I was talking more about player enjoyment vs financial success. If sub numbers or profit are the measuring stick, yea, WoW is a bad example.

        • silvertemplar says:

          Well yes, but i don’t see those 2 things as mutually exclusive (enjoyment vs sub numbers).

          I can’t imagine players playing WoW if they’re not enjoying the game….(i certainly won’t)

        • SynCaine says:

          As I’ve written before, I find it hard to see how someone who enjoyed WoW in 2004 could enjoy 2011 WoW. In that sense, Blizzard ‘ruined’ WoW for it’s players.

          Of course, they replaced the 500k or whatever of 2004 with 12m non-MMOs. Good business move, not so cool for MMO fans.

      • silvertemplar says:

        Sorry what i mean by “personal view” is, let’s say Blizzard “listened to the majority” when they dumbed down the game.

        Was this successful or not?

        I say : Yes it was. Otherwise WoW would be dead right now.

        Hence, again Blizzard did not ruin their game by “listening to the players” .

  2. sid67 says:

    1. Company listens to players TOO MUCH and totally ruining the game that no one wants to play it

    It happens all the time — particularly as it relates to class balance. A good example are the Hybrids classes in WoW who complained incessantly in TBC about not being equivalent to the pure classes. The original design was for them to NOT be quite as viable due to the fact that they were flexible classes.

    Enter Wrath, they ARE equivalent and interchangeable with the pure classes. Popularity for the Hybrids sky rockets as pure classes have more competition for spots and Hybrids can just “go healer” or “go tank” as needed. Of course, they now need (and roll) on a set a gear for each Hybrid spec.

    • silvertemplar says:

      WoW is a terrible example since it’s clearly successful and remains successful . Blizzard is constantly “tinkering” with these things, and i have yet to see their subscriptions -drop- due to “listening to players”.

      I’d say the “Damage done” by listening to players in WoW is far less than “NOT listening” .

  3. Dril says:

    I’m not sure. I think they’v managed to systematically piss off two of the larger groups in the game: mediumcore-casual raiders and ye olde PvPers.

    The guard changes were heavy-handed and, frankly, only necessary on PvE servers (and this is coming from a PvE-server playe) and they’ve managed to basically kill of world PvP overnight.

    The removal of 10-man raids (not raid rifts, those are still in, but I doubt they’ll be anything super special) is quite a blow to me. I’m still going to raid, but I was looking forward to less management difficulty and more raid difficulty, not the other way around.

    Ah well. It’s still a damn good game.

    • SynCaine says:

      I have not been following the patch notes that much, but the raid change, they removed 10 mans but kept 25 man raids?

      • Bhagpuss says:

        Nope!

        See this:

        http://forums.riftgame.com/showthread.php?61579-Post-Beta-6-On-Rifts-Raids-PvP-and-Damage%E2%80%A6

        It’s exactly what SynCaine was talking about. They changed the PvP mechanic in beta six. It caused a huge amount of negative feedback. They used the metrics and feedback from that beta to give them direction on where to go next and PvP gets retuned again accordingly.

        I don’t particularly agree that it’s untypical to see this degree of change in a beta – I saw very similar sweeping changes to gameplay mechanics in EQ2 beta and Vanguard beta just to name a couple that sprign to mind. What’s unusual is for the changes to look considered, measured and intelligently reactive to feedback rather than sheer, blind, thrashing panic.

  4. Irenor says:

    I’m not a big RIFT fan (not my type of game), although I’ve been participating in Beta since Beta 3, and I have to say that it’s really one of the most polished and stable game I’ve seen after all these years.

    But one thing I have to wonder, is that, unlike most comapnies, Trion doesn’t seem to be trying to rush the product, which is where most other companies often fail. They rush it because of the publisher or investors pressing them to, and it ends up in a flop. On the other hand, Trion doesn’t seem to have any investors or publishers rushing them and if they do, well they don’t seem to be bothered too much by it. Which in turns allows them to work at a more efficient pace and build the game up a little more.

    Hopefully if Trion gets it right, it will be a major success, something we haven’t seen in quite a while.

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