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“It’s Alpha”

I hadn’t heard this in such a long time — probably because of the people I surround myself with — but I heard it tonight: “It’s alpha.”

Long ago, we used to hear, “It’s alpha,” or, “It’s beta,” all the time as a reason to justify a game’s problems. Years, perhaps decades, ago this was probably true. A game in alpha or beta would be still heavily in development with issues that should be overlooked. That’s because back in that era the games stayed in alpha and beta for years and only the hand-picked select few actual testers gained access.

Tonight while watching some of the popular streamers playing Dauntless together, one of the streamers said he didn’t want to play Dauntless because it was repetitive and boring. As an aside, I agree that Dauntless looks boring. One of the other streamers suddenly became incredibly defensive and said, “It’s alpha, give it a break.”

Wrong.

It’s not true alpha. It’s a marketing promotional period for the game now. It’s a time to sell advanced founder’s packs for a game going F2P. Any game, not just Dauntless, in this position has left that stage where one can make excuses for the game. When you start taking people’s money and allow them to freely talk about the game, you lose the ability to disclaim that the game is not ready for people to critique.

In today’s “alpha” and “beta” ::gulp:: … “tests” … you’re a fool if you think that isn’t how the game will be at launch. Those systems? That UI? That’s launch. That’s what you’re going to play. If that game is boring, repetitive, sluggish, etc., then that’s how it’ll be at launch. Perhaps the only issues I would say you might have to overlook are server downtime and stability. Even then, I’d expect those issues — at least temporarily — at launch.

Launch doesn’t suddenly change the game. Launch doesn’t radically introduce a patch that makes the game go from being a boring repetitive mess into a sterling and cohesive package of fun. Why would it?

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