I’ve been playing a ton of beta tests these days, and I’m once again reminded of Beta Fatigue or Beta Burnout. There comes a time during a beta test when I believe playing becomes detrimental to my future enjoyment — to everyone’s enjoyment. For me, that’s usually the second I realize I’ll lose my character to a wipe. I become emotionally detached, unable to form any connection to my character or the game.
Yesterday I talked about the newbie experience being one of the best experiences available in a modern MMO. Ironically, that’s the part of the game the devs keep people testing the longest. I get why it’s tested so extensively, and I don’t.
I want to experience one of the best parts of the game with fresh eyes, fully attached to the game and my character. Now, I completely understand that beta tests are optional and I am under absolutely no obligation to opt myself into them… but I suffer from wanting to know what other people know. I’m naturally curious, and the urge to ‘try before I buy’ dominates my decision.
To further complicate things, some of these games are destined to be 3-monthers. Does part of that 3 months get eaten up by testing time? You better believe it.
Do developers work harder to limit the number of exposures players have to their content before launch? Do they severely limit testing to a select few, then not wipe once more people get access? I think there needs to be greater emphasis on true testing and less on utilizing a ‘beta’ for marketing efforts.