[Primer] Public Beta or why was this not held / fixed / balanced in Closed Beta? and what you can do about it ( Spoiler skip new features )
Closed Beta program and Beta rewards
Empires has a Closed Beta program. The Beta manager can reset progress at any time. Testers can reset their Beta account at any time. No progress is ever permanent.
Closed Beta programs often have very limited customer support, since any mistakes can be reset and an rewards are temporary.
For more discussion see
Limited Public Beta
Many game studios release new games only in small regions such as UK + New Zealand + Australia, before global release.
Game studios do limited public Betas because it allows them to fix problems with refunds and IAP before a large amount of money is involved.
Most modern games are released through many different distribution channels ( physical media, Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. ) and each channel can, and often will, have bugs.
Unlike a Closed Beta, limited Public Beta expects any payment issue to be resolved, or as the bbb.org states “operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer complaints”.
Public Beta and Gold Standard editions
In Empires, the only official Public Beta is the Friends Invite ( see notes ). But there are unofficial Public Beta every time a new feature is released ( HotM, Barracks, War, Season 2, Tourneys, etc. ).
This is true of many physical media video games also. When a physical media game has a majority of the bugs worked out, a Gold Standard edition is released. This allows a player to reinstall the game without spending a month downloading and installing bug fixes. This practice is going away due to changes in the distribution of video games.
The Perfect is the enemy of the Good
Software gets released when it is good enough.
Development cycles, advertising, distribution, etc. None of this is free. Most of it is an Opportunity cost and must be paid up front. In todays economy this often runs from the tens of millions to the billions ( depending on local currency ). Someone loans the company money. These loans have repayment deadlines. Missing these deadlines can lead to penalties or the bankruptcy of the game studio.
This is very similar to moving into a friend’s apartment because they need help paying rent and not paying rent for the first 6 to 18 months. If your friend has savings, they can wait. But as their savings runs out, they need you to come up with the back rent so you both do not get evicted.
Releasing the game allows the company to generate income and make the initial loan payments.
This is also true of new features. Most games have a cycle of player interest waxing a waining. For a freemium game this is often reflected directly in the fluctuation of overhead costs and the fluctuation of IAP income.
New features are a great way to entice back old players who have left and to get all players to increase their IAP helping the game studio make payments on the loaned money whether external loans or internal loans from other parts of the company ( for exact details consult each game studios quarterly reports. Yeah, that is just exciting as it sounds ).
Unlike closed Beta, and limited public Beta, new features are introduced to the live server, and undiscovered things happen.
Participating in New Features
Full Disclosure- I rage quit for 120 days just before War Rules were introduced, so I missed a lot of rage over Field Aid. Best decision I ever made.
Usually in plain sight in the Terms Of Service is the legal necessary, but unpopular declaration that the game studio owns your account, not you ( see notes ).
This means your only legal recourse if you do not like a new feature is to stop playing the game or not participate in the new feature. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options ( see Field Aid above ).
But by participating in the new content you are taking a risk. If you think the benefits outweighs the risk then participate. If you think the risks outweighs the benefits than skip all new features until the game studio gets most of the problems worked out.
Click for Official Friends Invite Public Beta
Click for TOS and I am not offering legal advice in any jurisdiction
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary herein, you acknowledge and agree that you have no right or title in or to any content that appears in the Service, including without limitation the virtual goods or currency appearing or originating in any of Small Giant Games’ games, whether earned in a game or purchased from Small Giant Games, the game account itself, or any other attributes associated with an account or stored on the Service. ( linky, linky )