In RIFT’s latest Closed Beta event, Trion proves to us that you can still call an Open Beta, a Closed Beta. They basically made it so that anyone short of being an absolutely horrible search engine user could get in this one. Perfect in a way, brilliant in another, but I speculate the negative effects of such a move.
On one hand you have the assembling of a mighty host of players who now have a chance to see this game before they buy. All those sitting on the fence, now can join in. And from just a small collections of thoughts from guildies that we thought we were going to have a hard time getting to come play this game, were logging off late last night with some smiles. I could tell, by the fact they played a far distance into their normal evening ends. The games gained some on the fencers.
And what’s clearly to me the primary reason for this vast Beta event, was that Trion was able to test server loads and population levels. I think they suffered in some aspects; having major server issues to look at, as well as most of us for the first time seeing any king of latency issues. To me, you have to applaud the fact that a developer would do what they can to see what their servers can handle before launch. Any time a developer is not trying to have a failed launch day is one that should be met with hugs. Delicious juicy hugs of rainbows. Seriously, I’m not joking. Bad launch day’s are as bad as break-ups, thinking you just drank glass shards, or pointy toed shoe kicks to your testicles.
However, it does have a draw back. It’s called morons don’t understand the term Beta Testing. I may appreciate a developer looking to find out their true server loads, their real latency expectation on launch, their discovery of optimal server populations. But Farius, the absolute authority of MMO history and reviews, happens to be in General Chat making sure everyone knows how much a game sucks because he got dropped from the server. I can appreciate you took the money-saving route of using a Beta Test as a test for your wallet, but at some point I would hope that could take a minute to realize that when the server population says “FULL,” that it in fact actually means it’s full. The QQ in channel 4 was so overwhelming that it had to be turned off. Which to me was a scary revelation in terms of Beta.
Now, we know they are morons, but I really wonder on the metrics of the testing. If marketing actually talks to the design team and they actually draw up statistics on what effects turning a Closed Beta into almost an Open Beta to determine server loads and latencies. Do they draw up conclusions on sales lost or gained based on the decision? For me as player, I’m not sure I care as many of you don’t. If they are stupid enough to rage out of a buying decision based on Beta testing, then they were going to rage out early any way. But on a purely capitalistic stand point, the difference between an idiot raging out now on a Free Closed Beta invitation rather than a day into launch is roughly $50 for each one.
For example, EA sold nearly 750,000 copies of WAR. Only 500K were around in October of 2008 in less than a month. You can basically consider you had 250K of nerd rages in the first week. That’s roughly $12.5 million dollars you wouldn’t have had if you had a free Open Beta a month before launch. So, with your experience last night in Beta and most likely encountering mass lag or dropped from server issues, do you think that the Beta event will do more harm than good in terms of potential buyers with so many new faces in the fold?