I was reading Matticus’ post on the subject and started to type out a response, when I realized that I was typing enough to form a post in my own right. I have read a number of opinions over the last few days… some people upset, some trying to be pragmatic about it and I think you’ll find mine is a slightly different take on it.
See, I was in the Cataclysm Beta… I got in pretty early on and I remember my fighting with that Beta. It took the hubby and I days and hours of time to even install the Beta. The download we got was broken and he had to get the beta launcher from a friend of ours so that we could even access the program. That in and of itself took several days to troubleshoot. Then when I finally finally brought it up to login, the terms of service covered the login and couldn’t be scrolled down or gotten out of. Hubby had to go in and alter a text file to troubleshoot that so that it didn’t cover the login.
In the Beta, things were broken to heck… whole zones unfinished, or at least not yet put on the beta [even near the close of the beta], boats and teleportation were completely broken. The forums were awash with people who kept losing toons to glitches and were unable to delete or get them back. There were no GMs troubleshooting the servers or responding to issues… and they said as much on the forums… we were on our own.
And then, shortly after I began providing feedback, they broke the feedback/report bug function… for a month and a half to two months. Following that, Ghostcrawler came on the forums and lambasted us for not providing quality feedback.
See upon being told of beta access, I had a number of bloggers and friends come tell me how lucky I was and that I would be held responsible for the quality of the next expansion. I washed my hands of that notion as quickly as possible and sure enough, every bug I can recall reporting made it into the live release. I WAS in the Cataclysm beta… but was not valued as a consumer/customer or Beta participant. The beta was a pacifier to quiet the raging masses for a few months so they could do nothing but ignore us and hope we’d be happy.
I know, I sound like a horrible person in these paragraphs above… but the BETA experience truly opened my eyes and honestly not in a good way. In the live game, I’d actually been able to hang onto the notion that I was a valued person in terms of the game… and we still play World of Warcraft and enjoy it quite a bit! We have a fabulous circle of friends and guildies and our raid team is doing so well… I’m so proud of them. But as my friend Kanrad even commented last night, the beta is a bit of a shock to the system for people like us.
Yes, I know that especially early on there are going to be problems – many problems. But see, my hubby is in the computer industry… and I’d quizzed him beforehand on how I could be as big an asset to the beta as possible… what does his company need for betas in their software? And if I was shocked about the quality of the Beta, you should have seen hubby’s face… He termed the Cataclysm beta as barely meeting the qualifications of being ready for Alpha testing.
Anyway, so that’s what I experienced and came from. It was not a positive experience. But I did purchase the annual pass… we both did and we made that decision excluding the MoP beta perk from the equation. It was not a viable selling point to us and therefore we decided on the deal on its other merits – mainly the Diablo 3 access.
Am I a bit disappointed to not be in the Beta yet? Yeah… I can’t deny it… just a bit. We all like information and we all like to be on the spot where everything’s happening… so yeah, just a little bit. But we will get access eventually and while I do hope Blizz will surprise me this time, I full expect to be disappointed. Perhaps because of that, it won’t be the truely bitter experience of last time.
That said, I have better things to do this time around than spend those days upon days fighting to install and/or play a beta of a game. Maybe the SWTOR beta experience spoiled me there :P