What’s the Point of the Reaper of Souls Beta Test?


Already growing discontent, some fans are asking what’s the point of the beta test. Verily doth a Blue sally forth, armed with fingers and explanations.

I see a lot of complaints and dissapointment about RoS already. Thinking back to the original D3 beta, and the brawling beta.

I want to know what the point of even releasing the beta is? Is it just to work out bugs? Because they damn sure do not ever take into account player feedback and try to fix things to make them better before the official release.

Not liking what I hear about RoS. Seems like a lot of the same boring crap just in a new way.
Nevalistis: This has been a really interesting Beta test for a lot of reasons.

First, we’ve never done a Beta quite like this before. Normally, our Friends & Family Beta phase goes relatively under the radar, because it’s locked down with an NDA and includes only folks who have been recommended internally for testing. This time, however, we’ve opened up invitations to major community influencers in addition to another 3000 of our most active players. On top of lifting NDA restrictions, we’re aiming to allow the community at large the chance to provide input at an earlier stage than we’ve ever offered before.

Nevalistis continues after the break. As you’ll see from the comments after it’s proving a divisive topic with the community.

The best thing about this level of transparency is that we’re receiving a massive amount of feedback at an incredibly early stage of development. Forums are lit up, videos and livestreams are coming in, and our inbox is bursting with constructive criticism and positive feedback alike. Weekly reports are compiled that go directly to our development team to make sure they’re able to stay on top of community sentiment, concerns, and mechanical feedback while they continue to work. It’s definitely a busy time over here, and we’ve already addressed several legendary item effects, disabled Crushing Blow, and are continuing to making tuning adjustments to skills, difficulty, and monsters as a direct result of player feedback. For a very small glimpse at these changes, you can view some of the hotfixes we’ve implemented here.

However, an unfortunate side effect of inviting a larger audience of players to the Friends and Family stage (a phase which is historically not supported with forums, patch notes, or even routine patches) is that people are making assumptions off of a limited amount of information. For example, items are dropping in droves right now. That’s in part because of intentional over-tuning for testing purposes and in part the result of several bugs, making loot acquisition much more rapid than what players will see when Reaper of Souls ships. A lot of fixes and changes have gone under the radar because, at this point in testing, adjustments happen to the Friends & Family Beta so quickly that compiling and maintaining a patch list for them is not entirely feasible. A tweak that goes in in the morning might be reverted a few hours later. These things happen in multiple iterations and waves and at an extremely fast pace. As the Beta progresses, however, the process slows down a bit and becomes less frantic. For Closed Beta, for example, we’ll be able to provide regularly updated patch notes to keep you all up to date and give you a better idea of how your feedback is affecting development.

There’s only a certain amount of comfort I can lend, and I know showing is generally easier to accept than telling. We’ve been hard at work here, and hopefully (very soon), we’ll be able to share the fruits of our labor – much of which are directly a result of your feedback.

Because blizz uses betas only to chop, never to add. Other games added alot thoroughout thier betas, at this point, blizzard is just honing & balancing some stats w/ thier PC team, everyone else is plaforming. Something is’nt working right? Chop it.
Nevalistis: You’re right. This is what we’re doing with Beta, because that’s how we utilize our Beta process. Not every company has the same exact goal or process for their Beta testing. Our goal is focused on fixing or removing broken things, so that when the game ships, we deliver a sturdy base game that’s both fun and works.

Betas are a start to a great foundation, and as with all Blizzard games, you can expect us to build on that foundation by continuing to evolve and tweak the game well after we’ve released Reaper of Souls.


The second poster is simply incorrect about one thing. There were a ton of major system changes during the Diablo 3 beta, which is the main reason it went on for months longer than planned. That said, I can certainly back up the blue’s comments on how early this test is starting. I’ve played in a lot of Blizzard betas, and Reaper of Souls is clearly the furthest from feature-complete of any of them. That’s not a criticism; it’s just a factual statement about how close to release the game is in terms of polish and balance and fine-tuning.

On the larger issue, I think some gamers are confused about what a beta test is, since the definition has evolved in the gaming industry. Usually game development is very messy in the early stages, with a huge mishmash of ideas and features thrown together, missing lots of graphics, filled with crash bugs, with a minimal UI, etc. That gets gradually shaped and formed into a final game, and not until quite late in the process, when it’s been polished and made user friendly and is virtually feature complete, does it enter “beta testing.” That’s how Blizzard does it.

Some smaller game developers have shifted this paradigm. That model reorders a lot of the development. Instead of an internal product that’s a giant mess with tons of features that gets slowly turned into something playable, some smaller studios have taken to creating a what’s almost a glorified tech demo; a game with minimal features, but enough polish to make it playable. It’s pre-alpha in terms of content, but they call it a public “beta test” to get early publicity and financial support, and to essentially outsource QA to the fans. That process can work, and some very early adapter hardcore fans love seeing the game take shape as features are gradually patched in, but it makes for a very long beta and will turn off casual fans who get into the beta and find a game with minimal features. Which is why we’re unlikely to see Blizzard, or any other large studio, following that business model. And why their patches focus on polishing and balance, since the games are well past the “throwing in and testing out new content” phase.

Comments

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  1. LOL!

    Blizzard is so full of S H I T!

    I am not buying another product that is not top quality…

    That means that i wont be buying another Blizzard game in a long time…

    • And as all logic goes, why are you STILL here ? …
      You are the one full of s.

      • I love the franchise so much that I take my time on regular basis to:
        1. See what is happening with the game and see if there is a light of hope to see a Blizzard North come back.
        2. Express my feelings of the game/patches in general.
        3. While I do all the previous try to contribute in make Blizzard see they are butchering (still sadly) my beloved Diablo.
        4. MOST IMPORTANT. This is the Internet, Iam still here because I WANT, AND I CAN. And I dont have to ask for your permission to do so.

        :)!

    • Well said, we need more people like you if PC gaming is ever going to get back on track. Less sheep and more educated gamers who don’t buy the same shitty game over and over…

  2. I was quite disappointed when I saw how many streamers continued to progress using clearly bugged skills, seemingly not realizing what betas are for. If you continue abusing a bug after you found it that automatically invalidates your feedback about the pace of progression, skill balance and many other things. Report bugs and then go back to testing everything else.

    As far as I saw, only Kripparian did things right by starting completely fresh with a new account and by not abusing the bugs he and others have found.

    • You’re right about Kripp. However, he’s already become rather bored with RoS it seems, and is playing other games now.

    • Krip abused the OP Beam on crusader and farmed T6 🙂
      But he did start fresh and was playing legit for a while.

      • RoS will be 1-2 months for most SC players that don’t already have high paragon classes and already enjoy what d3 is. RoS, while it brings some new shinies and vastly improved iterations of current game systems, suffers from a lot of the same problems of d3 vanilla.

        Anyone looking for a savior expansion for d3, RoS is not it. Anyone that’s looking for a refreshing look at d3 with improved iterations, RoS is it.

        I know this will sound really entitled, but It’s just how I feel about RoS. RoS looks amazing visually, the detail blizz has put in is nothing short of amazing. The problem with the RoS expansion though, is that it feels like they put game content excluding A5 that should have all been patches for d3 vanilla. Most of the stuff in RoS should have been patched into d3 already. Where RoS fails is the actual content that is not new acts. It’s underwhelming to say the least. It’s all stuff blizzard has been promising to put into the game since very early d3 classic and when you look at it with that perspective, RoS should offer something far greater in terms of endgame and replay-ability after all this time.

        RoS is a testament to how good blizzards art team, and coding team is. Sadly it’s also a testament to how inept they are at adding meaningful new content, addressing things that require real inspiration and ingenuity, and how they still don’t know what the hell d3 needs to appease the craving masses. The game is still just an empty shell, although this time around, the shell is gold plated and adorned with jewels, but that doesn’t change the fact that when the pressure is applied RoS will crack and crumble. GG blizzard. GG.

      • I guess I wasn’t watching him long enough then. He’s still my favorite streamer and not just for RoS. I like his general attitude towards gaming.

  3. The first blue post gave me hope , the second took hope away.

    I know this is a very early stage of beta and they are tweaking and tuning numbers , but I also still hope to see new features thrown in from Community feedback , some very interesting ideas have been given by the community and that should tell blizzard something , this community is very passionate about Diablo and we want to see it live to the hype we have , the game engine is just amazing and it has the most fun combat system from all the ARPG , but the game lacks in depth and End Game content.

    This game has so much potential and it really kills me to see it all go to waste if the devs don’t get it right this time around , we have already waited long enough for D3 to come out , then we waited some more for fixes and patches , then we waited more and more for patch 2.01 and then that was pushed to a date closer to the expansion release and that is all time that we have been waiting for the game we expect from Blizzard ,a true sequel to our beloved Diablo 1 and 2.
    If they take some of the community ideas and balance them and implement them, this game could turn out to be one of the best games ever released , all it needs is just a little bit of creativity , not shove things down our throat because they think this is the right way to make the game , we went down that path already and it didn’t work out well for Jay Wilson , I almost never bash Diablo 3 because I do love it , but I don’t want my hope taken away from me , more teasers at this point in time is not helping , it simply building more hype and if they fail , the fall will be so big they might never recover from it and Diablo could meet its doom.

    • *laughs
      … And diablo could meet its doom.

      And Diablo has met it’s Doom. Many times on my way to multiple paragon 100s…

      Being that diablo in the past was very male and in d3 Leah became diablo (female) it would be quite accurate to say it when referring to diablo.

      I swear the amusing things people say. But yes I know you meant the franchise.

  4. RoS wont mean what LoD meant for d2. Better prepare yourself.

    I also cant stop the mad laughing when I see how they “valuate constructive criticism and feedback” while admitting they are only chopping out the content. So hey people, if you didnt write “remove x, cause I hate it” you were just ignored.

    Ahaha

    • Yes, they’re not adding higher res 🙁

      + No more tri-fecta to the core, funnier end-game, better legs, new nice looking act, changes to skills.
      – no Druid, no changes to stash, awfully BIG numbers, no Druid, no intriguing socket system, no Druid.

      I believe that RoS is a big improvement from D3V. But hey! No Druid 🙁 (and yes, I care about Druid)

  5. If Blizzard ever plan on doing this sort of F&F beta again (and given glimpse of feedback above, it seems likely), then they would be best served if they implemented a system where all these “little tweaks” can be seen by playesr when they log in. A “changes since your last login” log that is hidden by default (?) but can be pulled up to show the changes.

    As for actually writing the changes, it’s not difficult for engineers to write a 1-line description of what the change is that they’ve made. Yes, a lot of changes will require more text than that to describe fully, so you’d end up with things that are vague or confusing. Also lots of internal non-player-visible stuff can just be “Made XXX more efficient” or “Fixed bugs in YYYY”. Developers should be writing at least minimal patch notes for their changes anyway.

    Then, anyone playing the beta and any other interested parties, can actually see themselves “yes, Blizzard are changing lots of stuff”, without the need for Blizzard to spend lots of time preparing patch notes (which actually *is* a pretty tricky thing to do, to make sure you’ve captured everything and described it clearly).

  6. So it would appear that this beta testing leans more in the direction for Blizzard’s benefit, and less for the consumer’s benefit.

    I see the difference now.

    • Where did you get that from? Having access to the game earlier in the development cycle allows the community to influence the final game to larger degree with their feedback. It’s true that it brings publicity for Blizzard, but the potential to have a better product is a win for everyone involved.

      • The only influence is we test it for blizzard so they can balance it.

        Feedback from players on anything other than what is already in the Beta is not gonna change a thing.

        If they are not implementing anything new atleast they should say that this time around there will be a MUCH better support and more patches with content at a rapid pace instead of waiting 2 years for a patch to fix the loot which is the heart of the game.

  7. I really really hope the second post is wrong and they are gonna add some form of additional stuff to the close/open beta. Or at least put the additional content on the ptr right after ros hit the shelves

  8. The ammount of ignorance, not only in this site’s comments but in the community as a whole.
    People REALLY donno what Beta means anymore, they still think Blizzard acts like other developers that release a DEMO as a beta….

  9. I love the smell of discontented D3 fans in the morning.

    I log into beta streams every week or so for a half hour on twitch and I’m blown away by RoS.

    • you must lead a happy and sorrowless simple life if you are so easy to impress by so little. i admit, i envy you a bit.

      • At last you come out and admit you lead a sad and sorrowful life. It’s pretty obvious to the rest of us, but admitting you have a problem is an important first step to getting over it.

    • really ?
      what exactly blows you away ?

      I watched Kripp level up his Crusader and I watched Moldran for a few hours and that’s it
      I was bored

      however, I can watch Path of Exile all day long – the races are lots of fun to watch, streamers planning out the builds on the skill tree, even regular leveling and crafting keep me glued to the stream when I should be working 🙂

      for me its more interesting watching Kripp and others stream Hearthstone than it is watching RoS

    • Those discontented have two choices as I see it, come release. Criticise from the sidelines with no first hand experience or buy RoS and continue being discontented but only have themselves to blame because they bought it whilst being fully discontented at the time. They’re between a rock and a hard place.

      Like blackoutchili said, he’s envious that you’re enjoying it.

  10. QUOTE

    you must lead a happy and sorrowless simple life if you are so easy to impress by so little. i admit, i envy you a bit.

    That’s unnecessary. Please refrain from insults.

  11. As many can note diablo as a whole game is not a very “big” game in comparison to games like Skyrim or something. It’s a very small game and because it is a small game, it needs to compensate for that but what is supposed to make it “big” are its skill and item systems and right now a lot of the systems thus far have been gutted for casual experience, and right now blizzard thinks that is ok and it is not ok. They need to make these systems very in depth because for such a “small” game it needs to make up for it by having a very good in depth skill system and item system.

    I think they are putting a good effort toward coming up with legendary’s that do some cool stuff. I think that this recent criticism coming up, now that people have had some time to play RoS, about the games lack of depth for end game is interesting and not entirely wrong either. It may have to do with the highly increased drop rate for testing purposes which is part of the end game (but only a piece of the end game) that is skewing peoples perception about the loot end game. Now that we have some interesting loot to obtain but are not truly considering how much we may want to invest playing to obtain these legendary’s on release with their theorized much harder to find drop rates it’s hard to determine how much the new loot will help with the end game alone because it’s really all there is which is the problem.

  12. O, yes the are my friend. More brown then ever.

  13. The problem with RoS beta is that it is severely lacking in end game content.

    If they go the route of only ‘polishing’ it, I do not see it turning out well.

    There is no excuse this time round with so much feedback (more negative than positive)provided. However, I think they will rush it out anyway cos Bobby bucks

    PS: On twitch RoS literally died off, no1 cares about it anymore which is a sad reality.

  14. URL]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxOUxwkoLyw[/URL] to this game we’re now stuck with…

    They seem like they’re trying to go back to the game shown in 2008, but are unwilling to redo enough of the unpopular features they added (or more like announced) in summer of 2011. I’ve never seen a business so rampantly ignore their customers when their customers have given such clear and well documented feedback for such a long time. Blizzard has been told since Beta that itemization sucks, and have been given endless suggestions on how to fix it
    Wow, I can’t believe that second blue actually said the only difference between F&F and release will be the removal of features that aren’t working in F&F. No additions. Just subtractions. Man, I guess that pretty much means it’s all over then. That’s it. The end of The Diablo franchise. And I actually started to think this expansion had potential when I heard they’d be closing down the AH. Then they tell us they’re replacing the AH with BoA. Oh how did things ever come this far. How did we go from this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxOUxwkoLyw
     to this game we're now stuck with...
    
    They seem like they're trying to go back to the game shown in 2008, but are unwilling to redo enough of the unpopular features they added (or more like announced) in summer of 2011. I've never seen a business so rampantly ignore their customers when their customers have given such clear and well documented feedback for such a long time. Blizzard has been told since Beta that itemization sucks, and have been given endless suggestions on how to fix it, but they keep coming back with the same thing. The same with end game. The same with story. The same with skills and balance. The list just goes on and on. It's like they really want to just say "This product is being sold AS IS." but don't have the courage to do so for fear of lost sales.
  15. Well, improved trading and PVP was what I was hoping for with the expansion.

    I always liked the social, trading, and PVP aspects of D2. Call the old D2 system lame or dumb all you want, but that’s what hooked me in.

    Now they’re doing BOA with items? Uhh, what? Might as well play a single player rpg at this point.

    But if this is what the D3 fans are happy with, then I’m happy for them. I’ll admit, it was fun going through the four acts on normal through inferno. After that there’s nothing for me. I did get my money’s worth with the game, but unfortunately not the Diablo experience I had hoped for.

    At least with the reports from the beta, it will be easy to avoid buying RoS.

  16. The second blue post says it all.

    Our goal is focused on fixing or removing broken things, so that when the game ships, we deliver a sturdy base game that’s both fun and works.

    So our feedback about improvement are worthless. 90% of the feedback is about making and adding things to make the game better. But blizzard believe RoS is the best and that its too good that after removing all the broken things it will be perfect.

  17. Blizzard is a (corporate) MMO focused company now, ‘feedback’ is the first word in their IGNORE list.

  18. The beta test is simply advertising. Gaming sites like this one cover it extensively, providing Blizzard all the publicity they need, they wont have to spend a dime on a campaign.

    Feedback is irrelevant, the game will be thoroughly re-hashed, adjusted and changed a few months after release anyway.

  19. Because D3 vanilla got thoroughly changed a few months after release?

    It got a bunch of band-aids at best.

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