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

[Primer] What is Beta Testing, or why can’t they fix all the bugs?

==Preventing Crashes and Data corruption==
Beta testing is like having a professional check your furnace each fall. It prevents fatal furnace errors ( gas explosions, carbon monoxide deaths ). Having to restore from backup because an update accidentally corrupted the entire live player database is a pain in everyone’s behind, Devs, players and the spouses of all involved.

But beta testing does nothing about the bug in the intelligent thermostat code that turns on the cooling each night at 1:27 AM. For that you need millions of clueless first time users. Luckily the universe provides those every time a game feature goes lives, much to Devs continued sleepless nights ( I would link to a cute poem about Devs and “The Night before Update” ( set to “The Night before Christmas” ) from another MMO here, but then I would get a bazillion spam flag on this post. Instead have a youtube video from a dead MMO Video, How Gamers Killed Ultima Online’s Virtual Ecology | War Stories | Ars Technica (How many spam flags will I get for a discontinued game ?? inquiring minds want to know ) )

Due to the number of different model devices ( my family is currently using 5 different models of two different devices ), and the different operating systems ( my family is currently using 6 different builds ), it is literally impossible to test all the hardware and software that the program will run on.

But modern developer tools and beta testers help them catch most of the bugs that cause fatal crashes or corrupt the database. ( Than you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you )

==Testing new features==
Sorry, but this is less important than catching crashes or data corruption. Sometimes it will be better to release a buggy version of a new feature, than continue to trying to catch all the bugs ( The perfect is the enemy of the good ). See above problem with fixing every bug. Heck, sometimes the “bug” becomes a “feature” and the Devs leave it in on purpose.

Many games have “house rules”. Card games are famous for having house rules that vary from family to family and group of friends to group of friends. If you don’t like the house rules, you can find another group to play with. Unfortunately, MMOs cannot have house rules, everyone has to pick one set of rules and the Devs built, and paid for, the house so they set the rules.

Just like a card the Queen of Hearts can have different roles depending on the card game ( Hearts, Spades, Euchre, Go Fish, Poker, etc. ) different Empire and Puzzle Heroes and Troops will have different uses depending on farming, missions, quests, raiding, titans, etc. So it is hard to balance a new hero or new troop without seeing how it slots into current teams and play styles.

Deliberately entering the hero, or troop, on the weak side, may result in everyone getting rid of it. If it later becomes hot, players will complain they got rid of many of them ( looking at you Blindness & Gambler’s Stance )

Deliberately enter them on the strong side risks combos that exponentially increase that strength ( looking at you elemental debuffs ) giving a small group of players a godlike advantage.

Adding a new mechanic has both disadvantages since some players will ignore the the mechanic and some players will discover a new use for the mechanic.

==F2P MMO Grinding==
Because this is a F2P MMO, if you level a 5* hero, like Thoth-Amun to 4.80, then use it to level another hero, you only recover 10% of the XP you used to raise Thoth-Amun from 1.1 to 4.80. This grinding keeps the Devs in business. However, it is hard to balance combat because of two reasons a) time to max out, and b) perceived usefulness.

Since it takes time to max out Thoth-Amun, needing to buff/ debuff his stats will not be apparent until sufficient people have raised him to maximum. Because Thoth-Amun may have a reputation in the community as weak, everyone may skip raising him. But if a new hero General is added, that significantly buffs minions on all heroes, suddenly Thoth-Amun, and other minion generating heroes, may become insanely popular and more people may raise Thoth-Amun from 1.1 to 4.80.

So the Devs go from little, or zero, game data, to suddenly having the forums flooded with demands to buff/ debuff Thoth-Amun’s stats relative to other minon generating heroes.

==Why does it take so long to fix a bug/ buff/ nerf==
Some bugs are just hard to track down. Throwing time and money at it may not even work. Others don’t become apparent to a large number of players encounter it. Some just aren’t worth the developer cycles to fix it, especially if it has little impact on game play or only happens in rare circumstances to a tiny group. No game company has unlimited developer cycles, you have to prioritize.


Just to reiterate. This is why we have beta:

“It was a bug where clicking any button on the launch client would delete the entire beta and force users to download the just-under-50GB thing all over again.“

UPDATE : I’m hearing from readers who say they were affected by this and didn’t even need to click anything; they simply had the client open. (Linky, linky)

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Sounds like the general population is the beta test and beta is just an extra and unnecessary step before releasing features or heros. Just my simple interpretation of your post.

What it means to be a beta tester

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