Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Closed Beta Blues

I love The Secret World closed beta. I always love to pick and choose different classes in betas, to see what skills are the most fun to play, but this beta is pretty awesome. I test out theories and see what falls and what rises to the top, I throw something out or jot it down for later. The thing is though; I kinda hate Closed Beta’s. I know, I know, closed beta’s are bug searches and server testing; and I always try to drop suggestions and the like when I’m in a closed beta but the fact of the matter is I can’t standing getting my character wiped at the end of closed betas.

I remember back in the Super Nintendo days and how character data was saved on those cartridges. Cartridges were expensive little things that had everything on the game. So no bug fixes, no DLC; if you shipped a game with a game ending bug that was too bad. I remember playing Final Fantasy III, what is now referred to as Final Fantasy VI, perhaps the best Squaresoft Final Fantasy game ever. In those days any number of things could corrupt  or erase your memory so you always had multiple saves. I would always have three saves; one for all the time, one for dungeons, and one for towns. It kept me from losing all that data when a save slot got erased or corrupted. My formative RPG years were spent making sure my data never got erased. Which of course is amusing, no make that incredibly irritating, now that I play closed betas, because no matter how cautious I am with closed betas my character is going to be erased.

I suppose I could stop playing closed beta’s but I am a budget gamer, I don’t buy a game that I’m not fairly certain is a high quality AAA game, I just don’t have the funds anymore. Closed betas allow me to test out the system and see the triumphs and failures with much better fidelity than any preview will ever instill. I know it’s unlikely that anything is going change, companies don’t want you to get an unfair advantage over players who couldn’t get into a closed beta; besides bugs that allow players to game the system mean that players have an incentive over what is already there to not report it. I understand all that, and I suppose it’s more of a pie-in-the-sky hope, but I really would love to not get erased. I spent so much of my early RPG days making sure it never happened; it seems a shame to stop now.

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