Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Beta tester – what if they pick me?

Suddenly the news flashed last week– you could volunteer for beta testing of WotLK. And I couldn’t help myself, I got caught by the rush and tried to get into the website where you could sign up. It was pretty crowded, but at last I made it. I threw my name into the huge beta testing lottery and now I keep my thumbs crossed they’ll pick me.

Or do I really? I’ve never ever been a beta tester myself, for heavens sake, a year ago I had no idea what a beta tester was.

Generally I’m a bit suspicious about doing things on beforehand. Like excessive playing on the PTRs, what’s the point really? It doesn’t help your character a bit – you invest game time into something which won’t help you gear up or progress in any way at all. As a matter of fact, you take part of content on beforehand, which will take away a lot of the sense-of-wonder-feeling, the surprise effect I’m hoping to get from the expansion.

Thinking that way you can wonder why I even entered my name – am I just doing like everyone else, without thinking for myself?

But on a second thought I’m attracted to the idea of being a beta tester myself.

I’m curious. After all I’m a gnome. It seems the expansion still is pretty far away and sure, it would be fun to get some new content to enjoy. Grinding primals, flowers, dailies and running heroics for the 1 000th time isn’t quite as exciting as exploring unknown territory, is it?

It would give me a little lead to non beta-testers when the real expansion comes. For once I would know a more than some fellowplayers - I could be a source of information. Wouldn’t that be a great boost for my self confidence?

The idea that I actually could make a difference - that my input possibly could affect the way they design the game is really thrilling. Though my picture of what being a beta tester actually means is quite vague, I guess that’s what you do. You test things – you give opinion about it, and they listen to you.

They say that beta testers are chosen by hazard. Probably it’s the wisest thing to do. If testing only was done by the most initiated and dedicated hardcore players – they wouldn’t really get much information about how the game works for the more casual ones. On the other hand I wonder if the very casual players really will hear about the beta testing – or of they would care about it if they did. Maybe not. So when it comes to it, the testing group probably won’t be representing the average of the player population after all.

If they actually elected beta testers, would I be a good candidate for it? Yes – and no.

I’m pretty new to WoW and to gaming, which means that I’m not qualified to make in-depth analysis of game mechanisms and such. But maybe that’s not what they need from the beta after all? On the other hand I’m a speed writer and can easily formulate my opinion, if that’s what they need. And I think I’m pretty average as a player when it comes to experience and progression, which probably is good – they need input from ordinary people like me.

The fact that I’m running a blog speaks against me. They could suspect me for being one of those annoying leaks they want to stop. But since I don’t chase for huge numbers in my visitors counter, I actually won’t say a word more than I’m supposed to in my blog.

I don’t know how secret the whole business about beta is. Maybe you’re not even supposed to tell anyone if you’re picked as a tester? In that case you’ll never know that I actually won in this lottery.

But be assured. If I’m picked I’ll do whatever I can to help the expansion to turn out just as awesome as we hope.


Anonymous said...

lol.. geez we think alike.. I ummed and arrrhed, but then finally signed up... then thought, what if they pick me... sure I will test for you, I have 1/2 hour before the friday raid, and 1/2 hour after...

We shall see... I am not really holding out any hope after all.

If I do get in, well.. maybe a deathknight will be in order.

Eishen said...

I applied myself, praying NOT to be one of the choosen….. curiosity is too much powerful for keeping me out of making the attemp to be there…. but I fear the effect it will have in both my sense of novelty when it hits release and – worse - in my regular raiding time.

As for the “leak probability” I suspect this stage of the beta will be more of a marketing overture than a real probing ground, so I expect the NDA to be very lousy.

2nd Nin said...

I applied as well, and I don't really know why either. I enjoy playing content, but really I am a raider, levelling is something fun to do while messing around with friends, but the real fun I have from the game is raiding and working in groups.

I suppose the draw of the Beta is to go and see the content in an earlier form, so you can see whats going on in the minds of the developers and to gauge where the game is going to go and what its going to be like (with obvious leaks and similar).

Anyway, I hope I get in, but in a strange way I am not sure I need to.

Softi said...

It is an interesting thought, isn't it? If we get into the beta together we should play together, what do ya think? ;)

I think if I got in I'd have fun looking around for a bit, and then probably get bored and go back to the 'real' game. >_<

2nd Nin said...

:P long as you are in the EU beta then sure, my lag to the US would be painful.

1 tank signing in :P

Flawlless said...

I wont sign up, I want it to be all fresh when I go there.

Latte said...

I really hope you get picked as a beta tester mainly because I think you look at the game from a different view then the average beta tester. You would represent the people with a more “casual” view to the game even though you currently are more of a raider. I’m sure your input would help the developers.

Green Armadillo said...

Good news first, typically Blizzard will lift their NDA before starting the official Beta phase, so there shouldn't be an anti-blogger bias. I dunno if it's because they have that much confidence in their games (compared to other companies, which have kept up their NDA's until the last possible moment in order to hide the poor state of their games), or because they know that members of the general public can't be trusted not to leak information. Apparently they can't even trust employee friends and family, and the rumor on the alpha leak sites is that the reason Blizz hasn't updated the alpha build in nearly a month is because they're tired of all the leaks.

I got into the TBC beta late in the testing cycle via a contest at worldofwar.net, and I shared many of your concerns; why spend the time to level when I'm just going to turn around and do it again? I scoped out all the vendors with limited supply alchemy recipes so I could snag them on launch morning before anyone knew where they were, I explored a bit to get an idea of the lay of the (Out)land, I learned which quests to skip in order to save rep gain for later, and I tested the new mage talents. (I did, of course, report bugs as I encountered them, but I'd be surprised if any bug I reported was something that Blizzard hadn't heard yet.) That said, I didn't play as much as one might have expected given how eagerly I was anticipating the expansion, and I think my highest copy was at level 62 when the beta closed.

This time, I'm a lot less concerned about that. Part of this may be because I don't raid anymore (I did then), and I'm not even really in a guild on the Alliance side (where most of my characters live), so there are no social ties that I'd be neglecting if I didn't log into my retail servers for a few months. Part of it is the chance to preview the new class and have the rare opportunity to watch it evolve. But part of it is also that I already have two level 70's, with at least one more on the way. Nowadays, I'm much more used to spreading my effort over multiple characters rather than pouring my life into gearing one main up for raiding. As a result, the idea of "losing" a few months' progress on a single character doesn't bother me as much as it used to.

Larísa said...

Softi, it never crossed my mind, but you're right: if we get into the beta both of us we could play together! As a matter of fact all of us WoW bloggers on the EU servers who get into the beta could. Wouldn't it be just great fun! I just got an idea into my head: how would it be if we could organize a 10 man raid together or - maybe more realistic - a 5 man instance - in the beta. And then we could all blog about our experience from different point of views. We've all got so different ways of writing, seeing things in our blogs, we concentrate on different aspects. I think it could be quite interesting. Not to speak of just chatting a bit with you and other bloggers, that would be amazing... Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope we'll all win the lotery!

Green armadillo, I guess you're quite write. Since I'm raiding and really only playing one char seriously, it's quite difficult to get free time to use for beta testing. Probably I won't be able to see as much of the content as I'd like. Maybe for good - I WILL get surprised after all.
Even if I'm picked for the beta.