[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 )

Subject
[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

([Primer] What is Beta testing, or why can't they fix *all* the bugs?)

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.

New Features

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.

Notes

Click for Official Friends Invite Public Beta

Version 19 Release Notes

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 )

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I’m curious about the term risk. I’m extremely risk-adverse and I don’t understand how I’ve put myself into a risky situation by playing a new aspect of the game, ie raid tournament.

The benefits are the rewards I got. Where was the risk? I really don’t understand?

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Risks

Rewards versus time

Some players only play the first stage of most common and uncommon quests. In their opinion, the time invested is not worth the rewards to complete the quests.

Some players feel they did not get rewarded for the first tourney, so in their opinion ( which is perfectly valid ) they spent time for little rewards

They can avoid the risk of disappointing rewards by not participating in new features. This is one of their two legal recourses.

The classic example is Alliance wars. Legal player based ACTION - not participating in a new feature - forced the Devs to add an alliance opt out button to wars to patch their broken public Beta match making. When that did not solve their public Beta match making problem, they added an automatic player opt out after two missed wars - with a manual activation. When that did not patch their broken public Beta match making system they took the concept behind Elo’s math, broke it down into the most rudimentary and inelegant form, and add the -10 to +10 win / loss adjustment. All of this is an example of the Perfect is the enemy of the Good. But it does not make the Devs or the players happy.

Game Disadvantaged

Some players feel they were disadvantaged

They can avoid the risk of being disadvantaged by rage quitting Empires ( which is not only perfectly valid, but something everyone I know has done at one time or another ). This is the other of their two legal recourses.

Had I not rage quit empires over the Gacha mechanic, and several other casino based game elements, I probably would have liked the new War Rules. Unlike many players I love anti-healer heroes. When I did come back my favorite War Rule is Field Aid. My opponents score less points against my defense but I score the same, or better, versus their defense so I come out ahead.

But I can see how people who did not level anti-healing heroes can feel disadvantaged when their current heroes suck at Field Aid and all the war loot they are missing out on every third war.

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I probably have too much time on my hands so I never think of it this way. I actually play the game to waste time.

I’m not sure I’ve got the “rage” gene. I certainly got frustrated with the war rules, especially the arrows before they were balanced. I still find the healing battles to be long and tedious but I love the wars, so I’ve just accepted them.

It’s not like I’m totally naive with how people respond to the game. My husband turns the air blue when he’s doing raids and has often threatened to quit when things don’t go his way. I don’t understand his “rage” at the time either.

Definately something missing in me :blush:

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Nope you are awesome. The world needs more people like you.

“Keep Calm and Carry On” (linky, linky)

And the PUBLIC Beta of tourneys can definitely use you. Especially with the number of rage quits I expect to happen in the next 48 hours.

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Communication is key - I think a lot of the confusion is proper communication and expectation levels are not setup prior to launch.

Much of what you outline can be mitigated with some standardization around expectations at launch - and being well prepared with contingencies when things flop.

Failure -even publically- is good, as long as you’re prepared for it.

@Gryphonknight Thanks for the summarized format - i appreciate the time it must take to do this.

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Subject
Tourneys on live server, Dev Response

Click for Tourneys on live server, Dev Response
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I wanted to discuss this and considered opening a new thread, but ultimately felt it better to bump an old one that seemed to contain some useful information already to start an ongoing conversation about beta.

I would like to begin by firstly making it very clear that I am in NO WAY impugning Beta players in any way. I feel they do a great job in giving their time for no reward to ensure we all have a great experience and also in making sure that the community understands what is coming. However given the current debate over in certain thread I felt it right and proper to open a conversation about the way that SGG actually conducts Beta testing.

I am not an SSG Beta tester, and therefore I cannot comment on what does or does not happen in Beta, but I have been involved in software testing and I know that the way that testing is conducted and feedback evaluated can effect the outcome and validity of that test greatly.

Please DO NOT turn this into a kick the beta tester thread.
Please DO NOT turn this into a how the heck did Telluria ever get released thread

Please DO provide honest and informed opinion about the operation and function of the Beta programme so that we can present reasoned input on how Beta could be changed for the better as feedback for SGG.

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Beta testers NEED all heroes, control of adding and subtracting tiers and emblems…

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