Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Real March 2nd Update

Productive day, an hour on the Elliptical and a 4 hour nap. It's my day off!

I've been failing to record my vines for two key reasons. Firstly I have this crazy neck beard going on because I've been working 10-12 hour days and I don't think enough about my physical appearance. Secondly one of my good friends started following me on Twitter and that has suddenly made me self conscious. Those other random 20 people are probably bots, right? But MPKLoki, well that's Max, now I'm all shy and stuff. ... nerds, do we ever make any sense?

Tonight I am looking at an Uplink Analysis from September 14th on the subject of Beta Burnout.

The question asked in this uplink was It's fairly common for early beta testers to "burn out" on the game they're helping test. What are good ways to avoid burnout?

It was an odd question, because I'm not sure if we are talking suggestions for the developer or suggestions for the fan. Because I'm a fan, I only feel qualified to provide input from that perspective.

I am of two minds when it comes to Beta for games that I am interested in or excited about. I'm not talking about late stage beta, those I want access to without reservation. (The Final Fantasy 14 beta saved me from buying an $80 collector's edition.) With early term betas, the kind where most of the game is unfinished and there is limited access and daily/weekly instructions on where to focus testing I waffle a bit. On the one hand, I very much want to help the development team find and eliminate bugs, errors and game play issues before the game launches so that it can become the best version of itself at launch. On the other hand, I feel like it could wash away the newness of the game and that first month of shared learning as a community would be something I would miss out on at launch.

On a related topic I am likewise split on how I feel about "founders programs" or paid betas. This has become a thing recently, mostly with Free to Play games. Pay upfront for some unlocks and some in game cash and you'll get in beta. I've actually done this for three games in recent memory. Marvel Heroes (which didn't include beta.) Firefall and Mechwarrior Tactics. I have played the two that I had beta access to for a combined total of maybe 5 hours. Even though I am literally invested financially I find myself less emotionally invested. I think Founders programs are good for F2P games though, they help demonstrate and measure interest to make sure development is well funded and successful. They can provide the team with a much needed extra quarter to produce a finished game instead of being forced to throw it out half finished with holes covered over with bondo and red solo cups.

Anyway, there were some interesting responses to this Uplink, you can read them all over on Wildstar's Blog.

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