Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

QOTD: The Champagne Room

[Beta is] like the champagne room of your local nightclub, I guess. You're supposed to watch as the special people go in, and envy what you think they're doing and dream about the day you get in there too…. but in the end, it's just a different room with the same people and products, only bigger egos. Huh, that comparison was more accurate than I expected.
~~John "Big Bear Butt" Patricelli, "Looking for Relief"
I have found this is often the case. I even had to /ignore a couple of really annoying people in the TESO beta last night, even though I decided within less than an hour or so of blocking them that I would probably never play the game again, even if it goes F2P. Full disclosure: I did pay $60 for Landmark. But I have yet to see the sort of behavior that would warrant /ignore-ing people when I have been logged in.
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  1. Unless you make a pro-active decision to switch the General channel on you'll never hear anyone say anything in Landmark so it's not going to be an issue! It's effectively a single-player game unless you make a considerable effort to make it otherwise.

    I don't think the "champagne room" analogy works, or at least it can only work if you believe all MMOs are totally identical and interchangeable. If you believe that playing WoW is indistinguishable from playing ESO then yes, the beta testers are just in a different room with the same product. If you think there are appreciable and noticeable differences between each MMO, however, then the people in a closed beta for a game you haven't yet seen are de facto having an experience you haven't had and can't have until you join them.

    Whether that means they are having more fun than you is another thing entirely, as is whether being in a beta bestows them any kind of glamor or prestige. Those are clearly disputable factors but to suggest that there is no experiential difference whatsoever between being in a beta and not being in that beta seems to be an unsustainable position to hold, although if you can't get into a beta for a game you really want to try it might make you feel a bit better about your situation.

    This all used to be a lot clearer when we only had real betas instead of very lengthy pre-launch marketing cycles, of course.

    1. You'd have to read John's full post. He was specifically discussing WoW and the WoD beta. But I have to disagree with you. Most of what I seen of betas involves a false sense of superiority on the part of many "testers" because they have exclusive access to a "product" that is in fact incomplete and inferior. And that's exactly where I (and John) draw the parallel.

      True testers who are actively submitting bug reports, etc., may or may not have the same attitude; and therefore, the Champagne Room analogy may or may not apply.

    2. I read it, or at least the relevant section. MMOs in beta are not the same as MMOs at or after launch in exactly the same way that an MMO at launch is not the same MMO a month, six months, a year, five years later. That's an inevitable consequence of the perpetually changing environment that constitutes an MMO, or at least one that hasn't reached mothball status.

      It may be a moot point whether betas are necessarily "better" than launched MMOs (although I can think of several instances where they were clearly better for me) but it's surely inarguable that they are different, and that each stage is different too. Depends how curious you are, I guess.

      The whole thing about the attitude of beta testers is another matter entirely. If you want to see rabid fanboyism at its naked worst then you'll always find it on the non-beta forums for a game in beta. Inside the beta its generally a mix of some of that leavened with a much more relaxed "this is interesting, lets see if we can break it" approach. But as I said, most of the things that get labelled "beta" these days are nothing of the kind and the atmosphere is quite different.