Friday, September 12, 2008

4 Types of Beta Testers

Last Poll Results:
What role do you want to play in Wrath?
DPS - 50%
Tank - 20%
Healer - 10%
Haven't Decided - 20%

More people seem to want to be DPSers in Wrath. This doesn't particularly surprise me, since the ratio of DPS to other types of playstyles is roughly 4-1. >> I should write about that sometime...

This was posted over at the IGN boards. Ironically, I'm trying to win a beta key with it. >>

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I think I'll take the opportunity to talk about beta hostility. There seems to generally be four kinds of people involved with the beta: Those who are part of it and do good work reporting bugs, those who are part of it if only for bragging rights, those who are not part of it and instead just glue themselves to MMO-Champion (or another similar site), and those who are not part of it and whine about the fact they are not part of it. There's probably people who don't care as well, but that means they're not really involved with the Beta in any way.

First off, let me start with the positive note: I love you people who are part of the beta and enjoy it, as well as do good work in making the game better. It means I will have fewer frustrations when I finally get to experience the final content. It means that maybe Paladins won't be a horrible class and even more horrible DPS option for the third round in a row. For that, I thank and salute you. You guys are awesome.

To the people who are part of the beta for bragging rights only - while I wish someone else had your beta key, you are still playing the beta and still doing things with it and contributing, whether you like it or not. So I laugh at you - HAH, YOU'RE HELPING! YOU CAN'T NOT HELP UNLESS YOU STOP BETA-ING! Even if you personally are not reporting bugs, by playing the beta, you're still providing information for Blizzard to parse, examples for others in beta to follow or not follow based on your actions, and spreading the word about how good or bad something is because in your need to show off, you have to have content to talk about. So, in a very backhanded kind of way, I thank you too.

To the people who are part of beta and browse forums and theorycraft and otherwise pretend we were in the beta without actually being a part of it (yes, I'm part of this group) - you guys are great too. We are the bridge between the privileged beta players and the regular live players. We can compare and contrast what works and doesn't work on live to what seems to work and not work in beta. We are the ones who keep playing what's out now so that there's still something to compare the new with. While not directly involved with the beta, we are still helping in a sort of ambiguous kind of way. So thanks to you too - keep up all the interesting topics and writing. It's how I keep myself from being bored at work. ;)

Finally, to those of you who did not receive a beta invite and desire to have the world know you didn't - seriously, there's lots of other productive stuff you could be doing. You could be enjoying things in live you may have not yet - level an alt, try a different spec, try to progress where you haven't, or deck yourself out in Season 4. Done all that? Then follow suit of the 3rd type of person I mentioned earlier. Keep your reading up on the stuff that's coming out and form constructive discussions on what's going on in Beta, and use your extensive knowledge of the things you already know to help those discussions remain useful to devs and other players alike. The point is, take that energy you have from quintessentially whining and apply it positively. You'll make the game you want to play so badly so much better by doing that - even if you don't directly get to play the beta yourself.

I understand the frustration in not getting a beta key - I'm in the same boat, after all. =) But I still do what I can to help the community, and I still raid on live (even transferring servers to a more active one in my time zone to do so) because I have a love of the game. I've always believed that in anything, be it a hobby or a job, the people who make the most progress in making that hobby or job better are the ones who are most passionate about it. It's about channeling your passion into something positive and constructive. If it means a better game, I'm more than happy to keep it up.

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