Beta testing that is !!!

With an alleged ramp up of beta testing being talked about, guild beta testing, EU beta invites imminent and the first of the “beta weekends” already completed, what are peoples motivations for wanting to get into this beta testing programme?

Lets be honest, we all want to get our hands on TOR as soon as we are able, especially if its before someone else. Talk about bragging rights! What could possibly be better than getting the inside information about such a hugely anticipated title and being able to sit in front of your jealous friends saying “Really sorry guys, I’m just not allowed to say anything…”. Ok, so maybe thats just me? I’m sure no-one else would be so cruel….?

The problem is though, why DO we want to beta test this so desperately? Sure, there are a number of people who genuinely want to test the game, report bugs and help the developers release a game as close to 100% polished as possible. There is, however a huge number of people who merely want to play. To see what it is they are going to get, regardless of what state the game is in. To critique every aspect of the game and to influence other peoples opinions. Which of these groups really deserve to get beta invites?

Its hard for the developers to really know what an individual player’s motivations are. We all filled in the beta tester application and probably embellished the truth a little as to our “previous experience” etc. so what criteria are used to choose? It really makes no difference what criteria are/were used as there is no accurate way to measure for motivation or reliability or trustworthiness. Inevitably both types of player will get invited and once in the beta programme their motivations can, and possibly will, change anyway.

So, where does that position the beta testing? Can the developers rely on their selection criteria? Can the current crop of beta testers be trusted to actually test and feedback appropriately?  Will the alleged ramp up of testing actually take place? Well, the only way to answer any of those is to actually be involved in testing I guess?

My personal feelings are that we can trust all the relevant parties to do their bit. There will always be bugs, there will always be leaks, there will always be polarised opinions. Everyone involved will do the utmost to minimize all of those things and I’m sure we can look forward to a superb product at launch. I guess I just wish that I could have been more involved…….

Although there’s still time (hint, hint Mr Reid)