Where the Past, Present and Future Meet

Beta Testing

Like many others, I am currently playing around in the Mists of Pandaria Beta and though I would share a few thoughts. This is not my first beta. I participated in the betas for Fallen Earth, SWTOR, Rift and Tera. I have also played a couple of recent demos from Mass Effect 3 and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

I have leveled several toons through the Panda starting area and created a pre-made level 85 to test out the level 85+ content. Overall, I have had few issue other than the Burning the Scroll quest, that everyone was stuck at for several days, and a couple of bugged quests, including one that is sometimes bugged on the live servers as well. Of course there are the times that I could not log in and the usual server disconnects that as sort of expected. The spawn rates on many of the quests mobs are jacked up high enough that there is usually not much difficulty in finding enough mobs to kill. In some cases when there are not a lot players logged in, the spawn rate is a bit too high and you have a bit of difficulty in getting away from the mobs. I have noticed that the class balance is off, even in the starting area but haven’t really played around much at the higher levels.

The big thing that I have noticed between this beta and other or even demos is that things are actually buggy and you don’t really have to look hard to see things are off. Other betas I have been in, usually appear much more polished and have fewer bugs. It may bee that I did not get into those betas until later in the testing cycle. I am more inclined to think that those betas were being treated more like demos than betas. Several other people have mentioned this as well. One of the best write ups I have seen can be found here, although leaning more to getting beta access as a perk of pre-puchasing. http://www.manaobscura.com/2012/04/11/pre-purchase-for-beta/

Are developers using beta access and another demo or are they actually seeking help in developing a better game through thorough stress testing in a beta?

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5 responses

  1. Especially with Rift I had the feeling that Trion is not looking for player feedback as much as they are curious about the game performance under load.
    On the other hand, when I started testing Dawntide – ages ago – I actually had frequent chat with the devs over IRC, and I also knew most of the other playtesters – there were about 30 of us altogether.
    As a developer with a few years under my belt, I simply cannot understand why there are no automated tests for testing simple quests. You don’t really need the players for that. The value live people can give you over automated tests comes with their ability of cognitive thinking – which is perfect for finding bugs in the quest descriptions (e.g. the instructions are hard to follow) or image-, audio-, spatial-, rendering- and UI errors.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm

  2. Between this news and the recent GW2 beta weekend, I’m glad that developers are using their betas to actually test the game. Treating them like glorified demos has given many players an incorrect perception of what testing is really about.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm

  3. Hey,

    I saw your blog from the NBI forums. 🙂

    Did you participate in the Cataclysm beta? That was, in my humble opinion, way less developed than MoP is at this point. I have no idea if I came in on the Cata beta earlier than I did MoP, but there were whole chunks of graphics missing in Cata. Also, I haven’t fully explored the new areas in MoP yet so maybe it’s the same and I just haven’t seen it, but MoP felt more “finished” than Cata did to me. And I am by NO means saying that MoP isn’t without it’s bugs, crashes, and frustrations. I was just making a comparison.

    Welcome to the world of MMO blogging.

    May 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    • First WoW beta I have been in but I remember what the servers were like back in early Vanilla and the big graphic glitches when BC was released. I expect there to be issues, after all it is a beta. It just seems that other betas, non WoW, have been more like demos than betas.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm

  4. I am in the beta, but I have a hard time finding time to play when my spouse also has time to play….and he wants to level together. So I haven’t spent as much time with it as I’d like…along with trying to do the mom, wife and student thing.

    May 8, 2012 at 11:12 am

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