Don’t let the Beta bugs bite

I find it annoying that in this current age of online game development that “beta testing” is used as a tool by the marketing department, rather than a method to identify and fix problems with a game before release.

I remember being quite excited about being invited to the Tabula Rasa beta, a game that I was quite looking forward to at the time. It was clear that even a month before launch the game wasn’t going to answer my MMO prayers, but I thought that I’d submit feedback to see if things would improve before release.

Along with many others, I filed numerous bug reports, sadly none of the suggestions were acted on and as far as I’m aware the TR interface remains one of the most clunky and unappealing features of the game. This one element alone resulted in me playing for less than a month after release.

It’s sad that to improve “word of mouth” about a game beta testing is used to parade the games abilities to a potential audience. This has a negative effect if the player base is bug reporting various items in the game that need attention or alteration, and none of this information appears to be acted on, as the truth is the final version of the game is already installed on our machines.

A Beta testing phase should stay focused on the feedback it receieves, and deliver games that match or exceed our expectations.