Sunday, 6 May 2012

Bata gaming



I have a rule about Betas. It’s a simple rule. I don’t play them. This rule has served me well in the past it prevents me from becoming jaded by an unfinished product that I would otherwise enjoy, it also saves me wasting time. If a game is really great I could sink a good chunk of hours into the beta to later have to repeat all the content when the game goes live. 

This is why I haven’t touched the Guild Wars Two beta. It’s also why I didn’t play The Old Republic until it had been out a few days.

Beta’s are a strange idea to begin with. When a beta is offered it’s not a beta at all. Usually the game is usually stable enough to call at worse a release candidate or Demo.

What are doing us stress testing the servers and giving them feedback on playability. Sure a bug or two maybe discovered but the true purpose of a Beta offer is to get you to buy the product early (pre order now and get beta access) or to give you change to try a Demo. If the game is not liked by the gamers the developer gets to say ‘all those things you hated are beta only features that will be changed in the full version.  Where as the word ‘demo’ is a commitment to the quality of the product. 


This being said I strayed away from my habit of ignoring Beta’s and loaded up Ghost Recon Future Soldier on my PS3, the only reason I did this was because it was available through the Playstation store (plus members area) and was little to no effort to get. 
Being a shooter there is no content to be spoiled by this multiplayer beta, I would play the same few levels over and over on any shooter so it’s really an irrelevant worry. 

The game however is a wonderful surprise. It’s all the best features of Ghost Recon Advanced War Fighter (a game I had a lot of live for) but with a more modern feel and graphics that look glossy and impressive.

As a Demo I have enjoyed this game to the point where I have little doubt that I will buy it soon after release. As a beta the game has failed, there are very few things unfinished or in need of change, and as usual with these ‘demo style betas’ there isn’t even a facility to report a problem if you do find one. 

TLDR version: Beta’s are stupid but Ghost Recon Future Soldier is good. 

3 comments:

Laurence Cook said...

I am not a fan of "pre-order" beta's either, essentially you are paying early for a game to help them test it. However if I get invited to a beta for a game I in vaguely interested in I will happily play it. Playing the beta of Tera made it clear to me that buying it would have been a waste of £30.

I have little doubt of the strengths of guild wars 2, so I probably won't bother with a beta. It is funny, the playstation plus beta of Killzone 3 made me want to buy that.

Laurence Cook said...

I am not a fan of "pre-order" beta's either, essentially you are paying early for a game to help them test it. However if I get invited to a beta for a game I in vaguely interested in I will happily play it. Playing the beta of Tera made it clear to me that buying it would have been a waste of £30.

I have little doubt of the strengths of guild wars 2, so I probably won't bother with a beta. It is funny, the playstation plus beta of Killzone 3 made me want to buy that.

Lady Fleata said...

I like betas tbh they help me decide on games that im not so sure about or subbed mmos that will asks for my credit card upon creating a login..

TERA Beta - gave me a good idea that its definitely NOT a game i wish to purchase.

And I played "The Secret War" FB game (i know meh!!) to death to get into The Secret World" beta as this is a mmo i'm intrigued about but not sure I will sub yet.

Diablo 3 beta - was good as i wanted to see how things worked, skills and classes. I played for about an hour before I decided to quit and preorder the game.

So I like betas, they have their place in the world, but I agree with both you and hangman. preorder for Beta access is a scam.
Everyone should be allowed to play betas (which should be called Demo) to give them a hands on, informed choice before buying.
do we rely on reviews from the media / you tube and other outlets, i say no! give us personal experience of your product so I can decide for myself.