Google+ ALT : ernative: [GUEST POST] To beta or not to beta, that is the question

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

[GUEST POST] To beta or not to beta, that is the question

It's hard work writing this stuff every day, so I asked some of my friends if they'd fancy a swipe at the gig. This is the first of (what I hope will be) a regular feature. Welcome to my first ever Guest Post :D  Take it away Mr J (or T as he is known in-game...)

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Hi, allow me to introduce myself. The Godmother has asked me to contribute a guest blog while she recovers from her intensive beta investigation; don't worry folks, she'll be back soon after a deserved lie down in a darkened room and a rub down with a damp copy of the Radio Times.

Greetings! Silly mage hat ftw.

Who am I? Well, I've known our hostess in real life for more years than I care to calculate (hint: decades), long before this 'ere internet thing was around. My gaming dates back to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum - Elite was my first gaming obsession - and our gaming paths have been mostly parallel over the years; unsurprisingly, it was a trial invite from her that introduced me to WoW (and the guild she runs) over six years ago.

So, dear reader, allow me to share a dilemma with you. I signed up for the Annual Pass as soon as it was announced, because frankly it was something for nothing; my subscription automatically renews anyway, so the freebies were exactly that - free. At the time I didn't really give any thought to the beta, because back then I was more concerned about real-life things (work, Leyton Orient's awful start to the season, stuff like that).




But then the beta started and as soon as the first reports started coming in, I started pondering about my own invite as and when it would appear. You see, I hate spoilers. Hate them with a passion. I hate being told something that spoils a surprise, I hate having plot foreknowledge in fiction, I hate anything other than a hint of what's to come. The classic example of this is my favourite TV show both now and when I was a nipper; a programme created and developed with cliffhangers in mind, whose creators fight a constant fight to trickle out information that whets the public's appetite to tune in without revealing too much. I nod 100% in agreement with that show's past and present showrunners, whenever they shake their creative fists at people who deliberately try to spoil it for others.


Careful now.

And now my beta invite has arrived, so the dilemma is real. Because I agree with the Godmother when she says that those with a beta access aren't meant to be there for their benefit, but to test and poke and see what breaks so that Blizzard have a better idea of what needs fixing and what can wait. Heaven knows we've all encountered broken things at launch in the past, where we've thought 'surely somebody spotted this in beta?'. Such as, finding that the Cataclysm enchanting rod pattern could be learnt but not made, then finding that some enchants needed that rod but couldn't be made, then finding that by the time one could make the rod, the enchants had gone grey. Yes, that one still annoys me, even today! I've asked myself what I'd do if I was offered the chance to see behind-the-scenes filming of Doctor Who, and I have to say I'd jump at it. My inner child would never forgive me if I didn't. But this? Is it fair on the whole point of the process to just potter about in a tiny corner of the beta, covering my ears and eyes going 'la la la, I'm not being spoiled'? At the risk of sounding melodramatic, but enabling me to use the following image, do I have the right to be that selfish if I'm signing up to be a beta tester?


The Doctor ponders on whether to reconnect the internet to the beta server

So is it just me, or is anyone else facing this dilemma?

3 comments:

Sephrenya said...

I don't have this dilemma because, even though I signed for the annual pass on the day it came out and have played WOW for 6 years, I don't have a beta invite. Not that I'm sad or bitter or anything :(

Jonathan said...

Boo. But once it does arrive, as it surely will?

Anonymous said...

Im in the wont be spoiled camp. I did sign up for the pass, but i dont want to get bored with content and find out things before the expansion is out.