Thursday, September 6, 2007

Beta Aversion

Tobold says circle-jerking is good as long as you add something to it. See here and here and here. The topic is beta testing video games. More intelligent, articulate bloggers and commenters have a firm hand on the subject, so I'll talk about circle-jerking... I mean... beta testing on a personal level.

How do I personally feel about beta testing games on my own time? Fuck it. Don't get me wrong, I love being a software tester. Sometimes I get that "stop talking now" look from Avril at dinner parties because I'll start ranting about defect management or the validity of simulated GPS.

If you enjoy playing the game in beta, good for you. Beta testing is important, and I am glad we have a big pool of people wanting to do it. Maybe it's become more of a marketing tool, but beta testing provides value and game quality none the less.

But I don't want to beta test. I want to read bloggers honest opinions of their experiences in beta. I want to play the game months after release. I want patches fixing the bugs and balance issues. I want server stability. I want to level in the newbie zone without lag caused by overpopulation. I just want to have fun.

I see three reasons for this beta aversion:
  1. Leaving work at work. I design and run tests for buggy, half-finished software all day. I log defects and verify defect fixes. When I see a bug in a game I'm playing, my mind switches to QA mode and my enjoyment fizzles.
  2. Limited game time. I have family obligations limiting when I can play and self-imposed guidelines on how often I will play. So when I get the time, I want to play (preferably something without technical problems).
  3. Patience. I don't mind waiting. Sure, I look forward to some games (see exception below) and keep an eye on their development. But I don't feel some burning desire to play the game ASAP. Avril can't understand why I'm waiting until October to start LotRO when we have a second computer already.
One exception: Warhammer. Yes, I signed up for the beta months ago. Yes, I would beta test it if given the opportunity. Yes, I am a hypocrite.

1 comment:

Bildo said...

I think most people are signing up for the WAR beta, Link. You are forgiven. :)

Just read my impressions of betas when I can post them. I seem to get lucky and get invited to quite a few.

I love being a part of them but then I'm not in your field. I'm just an obsessive gamer, who wants to be on the inside, and betas and blogging are the closest I'll get. :P