Already growing discontent, some fans are asking what’s the point of the beta test. Verily doth a Blue sally forth, armed with fingers and explanations.
I want to know what the point of even releasing the beta is? Is it just to work out bugs? Because they damn sure do not ever take into account player feedback and try to fix things to make them better before the official release.
Not liking what I hear about RoS. Seems like a lot of the same boring crap just in a new way.
Nevalistis: This has been a really interesting Beta test for a lot of reasons.
First, we’ve never done a Beta quite like this before. Normally, our Friends & Family Beta phase goes relatively under the radar, because it’s locked down with an NDA and includes only folks who have been recommended internally for testing. This time, however, we’ve opened up invitations to major community influencers in addition to another 3000 of our most active players. On top of lifting NDA restrictions, we’re aiming to allow the community at large the chance to provide input at an earlier stage than we’ve ever offered before.
The best thing about this level of transparency is that we’re receiving a massive amount of feedback at an incredibly early stage of development. Forums are lit up, videos and livestreams are coming in, and our inbox is bursting with constructive criticism and positive feedback alike. Weekly reports are compiled that go directly to our development team to make sure they’re able to stay on top of community sentiment, concerns, and mechanical feedback while they continue to work. It’s definitely a busy time over here, and we’ve already addressed several legendary item effects, disabled Crushing Blow, and are continuing to making tuning adjustments to skills, difficulty, and monsters as a direct result of player feedback. For a very small glimpse at these changes, you can view some of the hotfixes we’ve implemented here.
However, an unfortunate side effect of inviting a larger audience of players to the Friends and Family stage (a phase which is historically not supported with forums, patch notes, or even routine patches) is that people are making assumptions off of a limited amount of information. For example, items are dropping in droves right now. That’s in part because of intentional over-tuning for testing purposes and in part the result of several bugs, making loot acquisition much more rapid than what players will see when Reaper of Souls ships. A lot of fixes and changes have gone under the radar because, at this point in testing, adjustments happen to the Friends & Family Beta so quickly that compiling and maintaining a patch list for them is not entirely feasible. A tweak that goes in in the morning might be reverted a few hours later. These things happen in multiple iterations and waves and at an extremely fast pace. As the Beta progresses, however, the process slows down a bit and becomes less frantic. For Closed Beta, for example, we’ll be able to provide regularly updated patch notes to keep you all up to date and give you a better idea of how your feedback is affecting development.
There’s only a certain amount of comfort I can lend, and I know showing is generally easier to accept than telling. We’ve been hard at work here, and hopefully (very soon), we’ll be able to share the fruits of our labor – much of which are directly a result of your feedback.
Because blizz uses betas only to chop, never to add. Other games added alot thoroughout thier betas, at this point, blizzard is just honing & balancing some stats w/ thier PC team, everyone else is plaforming. Something is’nt working right? Chop it.
Nevalistis: You’re right. This is what we’re doing with Beta, because that’s how we utilize our Beta process. Not every company has the same exact goal or process for their Beta testing. Our goal is focused on fixing or removing broken things, so that when the game ships, we deliver a sturdy base game that’s both fun and works.
Betas are a start to a great foundation, and as with all Blizzard games, you can expect us to build on that foundation by continuing to evolve and tweak the game well after we’ve released Reaper of Souls.
The second poster is simply incorrect about one thing. There were a ton of major system changes during the Diablo 3 beta, which is the main reason it went on for months longer than planned. That said, I can certainly back up the blue’s comments on how early this test is starting. I’ve played in a lot of Blizzard betas, and Reaper of Souls is clearly the furthest from feature-complete of any of them. That’s not a criticism; it’s just a factual statement about how close to release the game is in terms of polish and balance and fine-tuning.
On the larger issue, I think some gamers are confused about what a beta test is, since the definition has evolved in the gaming industry. Usually game development is very messy in the early stages, with a huge mishmash of ideas and features thrown together, missing lots of graphics, filled with crash bugs, with a minimal UI, etc. That gets gradually shaped and formed into a final game, and not until quite late in the process, when it’s been polished and made user friendly and is virtually feature complete, does it enter “beta testing.” That’s how Blizzard does it.
Some smaller game developers have shifted this paradigm. That model reorders a lot of the development. Instead of an internal product that’s a giant mess with tons of features that gets slowly turned into something playable, some smaller studios have taken to creating a what’s almost a glorified tech demo; a game with minimal features, but enough polish to make it playable. It’s pre-alpha in terms of content, but they call it a public “beta test” to get early publicity and financial support, and to essentially outsource QA to the fans. That process can work, and some very early adapter hardcore fans love seeing the game take shape as features are gradually patched in, but it makes for a very long beta and will turn off casual fans who get into the beta and find a game with minimal features. Which is why we’re unlikely to see Blizzard, or any other large studio, following that business model. And why their patches focus on polishing and balance, since the games are well past the “throwing in and testing out new content” phase.