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Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers

BF3Blog has word that some servers have popped up for the Battlefield 3 beta allowing 128-player games. The servers are apparently running the Operation Metro map, but rather than offering the 32-player rush mode like the official servers, they are running a hacked version of conquest mode, allowing 128 players rather then the intended 64. The bad news is that this is, rather unsurprisingly, a "considerably" laggy experience, and worse, they pass along Electronic Arts' warning that playing on hacked servers may compromise your EA account, and may earn you a ban, which can cause you to lose access to your other EA games.

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91. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 4, 2011, 12:17 Verno
 
You guys are really sperging out here.  
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90. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 4, 2011, 01:48 Jerykk
 
True enough, but the probability of a day 1 patch is almost 100%. The days of going gold being a stop to bug fixing are long past.

No doubt, but how many of those fixes are going to be a result of the beta testing and how many were already made before beta testing even began? Apparently the beta build was a already a few weeks old when the beta started. The Gotham City Imposters beta test starts this week but the game isn't coming out until 2012. GCI is also a significantly smaller scale game than BF3. However, by starting the testing this early, they can be sure to catch and fix most of the bugs and balancing issues before the game goes gold. That's how beta testing is supposed to work.

Beta testing has never been about significant design changes. It's about finding bugs and fixing them.

True, about the design changes. As for open betas being about finding bugs and fixing them... that's debatable.

Two factors there. First off, they aren't focused on testing game modes, they are testing the engine and the networking. Which mode the beta is using isn't really a relevant issue.

From an engine and networking perspective, Conquest is more complex than Rush. You have larger maps with more players (64 on PC) and vehicles, along with all the physics calculations those entail. Conquest is simply more demanding in every respect, from scripting to memory to networking to physics. You mentioned that Conquest was being tested on a smaller scale but that doesn't really make any sense, as Conquest has a higher player limit and is more likely to have issues due to its greater complexity. If anything, Rush should be tested on a smaller scale.

Granted, but that's actually an argument against your position. That's why they need to have a large open beta, because it's the only way to ensure that they get enough people posting bugs. Anything smaller, and the 0.001% (really, only 1 out of 100,000 people look for bugs?) would be too few people to spot and report them.

Or they could just have a smaller closed beta test with better, more reliable and more qualified testers. If they're going for quantity rather than quality, then it makes all the more sense to focus on Conquest because, again, that has double the player limit and is simply more demanding.

That's what the players use it for. But that's not what Dice is using it for. If all they wanted was a demo, they could have made a demo. And they almost certainly would have made it a demo of a more compelling facet of the game (Conquest mode, for one).

Unless they were trying to cater to the average CoD player, who would find Rush much more familiar. You can't really be sure of DICE's intentions. For all we know, EA could have demanded an open beta as a means of generating hype, pre-orders and sales of MoH. An open beta so close to the release of MW3 would certainly help draw attention away from the competitor. It's certainly too late for any bug fixes to make it into the shipped game but it's not too late to undermine MW3's hype. Coincidence? Perhaps, perhaps not.

It's something that they perceive as a benefit, certainly. But what I don't understand is how you are trying to use that as an argument against. Using a beta to promote a product is not mutually exclusive with its role as a beta test.

True, but when you consider the timing of the beta and its focus on a mode that isn't as technically demanding as the alternative, you have to question how productive (from a testing standpoint) they expected this beta to be. If they really wanted to stress the limits of the networking and engine code, they would have at least placed equal focus on Conquest.

This comment was edited on Oct 4, 2011, 01:58.
 
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89. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 4, 2011, 01:09 Bhruic
 
Well, for one, the game is probably gold already. The game comes out this month so the console versions have already been submitted for certification.

True enough, but the probability of a day 1 patch is almost 100%. The days of going gold being a stop to bug fixing are long past.

I highly doubt they're going to make any significant design changes

Beta testing has never been about significant design changes. It's about finding bugs and fixing them.

In addition, the beta test is focusing on Rush mode, when Conquest is inevitably going to be the more popular mode. It will also be the more complex mode and thus have more bugs, which is why this beta should be focusing on that instead of Rush.

Two factors there. First off, they aren't focused on testing game modes, they are testing the engine and the networking. Which mode the beta is using isn't really a relevant issue. Second, I can't see any reason to suggest that Conquest mode is any more "complex", unless they've made significant changes to it that I'm unaware of. Conquest in BC2 was a simpler game mode - albeit not substantially - because there were no objects to be interacted with. Conquest is all about being within a cap zone.

Map-wise, they certainly could have picked something with more details - vehicles and such - but they've apparently decided that that's not something that needed as extensive testing. They have, in fact, been testing both vehicles and Conquest mode, just in a closed fashion (on the passworded 64 man servers).

About 0.001% of players will actually look for bugs, try to find consistent repro steps and then submit the bug to the devs.

Granted, but that's actually an argument against your position. That's why they need to have a large open beta, because it's the only way to ensure that they get enough people posting bugs. Anything smaller, and the 0.001% (really, only 1 out of 100,000 people look for bugs?) would be too few people to spot and report them.

The vast majority of players are simply using the beta as a demo

That's what the players use it for. But that's not what Dice is using it for. If all they wanted was a demo, they could have made a demo. And they almost certainly would have made it a demo of a more compelling facet of the game (Conquest mode, for one).

which is why EA used it to promote pre-orders and MoH sales

It's something that they perceive as a benefit, certainly. But what I don't understand is how you are trying to use that as an argument against. Using a beta to promote a product is not mutually exclusive with its role as a beta test.

The fact that players have been finding major bugs without even trying is pretty worrisome at this stage of development, as betas are supposed to be pretty polished.

I agree that it'd be nice if there were less apparent bugs in the game. Whether or not that is something to worry about for the release is something we won't know for certain for 3 weeks.
 
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88. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 4, 2011, 00:05 Jerykk
 
Are you really so desperate to not appear wrong that you're going to split hairs like this? They had always announced that there was going to be an open beta. There was never a stage where the only way to get into the beta was to purchase anything, which is what you claimed.

Fair enough. Let me rephrase: EA promised early access to the beta to those who pre-ordered BF3 or bought MoH LE. As such, the beta was effectively used as promotional tool for both BF3 and a completely unrelated game.

But what you've yet to accomplish is explaining why them having marketing aimed at early beta access in any way invalidates what's taking place as an actual beta testing phase.

Well, for one, the game is probably gold already. The game comes out this month so the console versions have already been submitted for certification. We also don't know how much feedback from the beta will actually have an impact on the shipped product. I highly doubt they're going to make any significant design changes. In addition, the beta test is focusing on Rush mode, when Conquest is inevitably going to be the more popular mode. It will also be the more complex mode and thus have more bugs, which is why this beta should be focusing on that instead of Rush.

Finally, open beta tests are almost always glorified demos. About 0.001% of players will actually look for bugs, try to find consistent repro steps and then submit the bug to the devs. The vast majority of players are simply using the beta as a demo, which is why EA used it to promote pre-orders and MoH sales. The fact that players have been finding major bugs without even trying is pretty worrisome at this stage of development, as betas are supposed to be pretty polished.

This comment was edited on Oct 4, 2011, 00:23.
 
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87. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 18:53 Dades
 
When you treat your beta test like a product demonstration both in terms of how you make it appeal to people and through marketing then you don't get to hide behind its software revision anymore when it comes to complaints and criticism. Testing and demonstration should always be separated so that consumer perceptions do not harm your product and so that you don't mislead customers.

You've said your piece, maybe you can excuse them for this but it's obvious that the majority here don't share your opinion.
 
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86. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 17:06 Bhruic
 

It's not patently false at all. Notice I said that the only way get into the beta was to either buy MoH LE or pre-order BF3

Are you really so desperate to not appear wrong that you're going to split hairs like this? They had always announced that there was going to be an open beta. There was never a stage where the only way to get into the beta was to purchase anything, which is what you claimed.

Thus, EA did indeed use the beta as a marketing tool to increase sales of MoH and pre-orders of BF3.

If you wanted to claim they used early access to the beta as a marketing tool, you could do that with complete justification - they did. But what you've yet to accomplish is explaining why them having marketing aimed at early beta access in any way invalidates what's taking place as an actual beta testing phase.
 
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85. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 17:03 Bhruic
 
Either way you take it, you are defending the indefensible

I would be if I were defending what he said. I've already repeatedly said that I'm not - he clearly went too far. But where he went too far was in the language he picked, rather than the sentiment being expressed. He later picked better language, and that language has remained in place.

And a word of advice to those throwing insults: Insulting the person that insulted you whilst telling them to grow up (attempting to take the moral high ground), just makes you look like a hypocrite

You're right, it appears I also picked some poor language.

I apologize to Krovven for the insults, they were, regardless of the provocation, uncalled for.
 
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84. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 12:36 Optional nickname
 
tRens wrote on Oct 3, 2011, 08:20:
I agree with Bill Hicks completely.

http://sennoma.net/main/edits/Hicks.html

Yes it is marketing.. and the game doesn't feel like BF2 did at all. It is just like COD.

EA Bean Counters: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
 
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83. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 12:15 Jerykk
 
Ahem, patently false on that last bit. This is an OPEN beta, I provided nothing to prove that I had pre-ordered the game through NewEgg (not that they would provide any way to give them that info anyway).

All you need to do to get into the beta is to have an EA.com account, tie it to Origin, then go to Store.Origin.com and click the little "play now" button or whatever on BF3's page in the Origin Store. Voila, "Free" Beta test to the game.

It's not patently false at all. Notice I said that the only way get into the beta was to either buy MoH LE or pre-order BF3. Doing either would guarantee you early access to the beta before everyone else. Thus, EA did indeed use the beta as a marketing tool to increase sales of MoH and pre-orders of BF3.
 
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82. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 10:01 Shineyguy
 
Jerykk wrote on Oct 3, 2011, 00:36:
I agree completely. But that's why the people who aren't testing, and are only doing things like complaining about what map is available, or what gamemode is available, or whether they can use vehicles aren't doing anything useful. Dice/EA are certainly grateful for the feedback they've been receiving from the people actually testing, and they've said so. The comment the guy made wasn't about those people.

Regardless of who his comments were directed at, testing is never a "privilege" for testers. That's like saying that it's a privilege for someone to do my taxes, clean my toilet, make me a sandwich, etc. That's a privilege for me, not the people actually doing it.

Considering that the only way to get into the "beta" was to either buy the Limited Edition of MoH or pre-order BF3, it seems fairly obvious that the community manager is essentially saying "You guys should be thankful that we're letting you demo the game at all." Emphasis on "demo."

Ahem, patently false on that last bit. This is an OPEN beta, I provided nothing to prove that I had pre-ordered the game through NewEgg (not that they would provide any way to give them that info anyway).

All you need to do to get into the beta is to have an EA.com account, tie it to Origin, then go to Store.Origin.com and click the little "play now" button or whatever on BF3's page in the Origin Store. Voila, "Free" Beta test to the game.
 
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81. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 09:01 Jeraxle
 
Furthermore, I wouldn't characterize them as complaining about opinions about maps. Have you read their forums? Some of the posts make the worst posters here look almost civil. It was to those posters than the Community Manager was directing his attention.

Either way you take it, you are defending the indefensible. Whatever his reasoning or whomever he was speaking to is irrelevant. Once EA took down his post, they admitted guilt. They admitted he should not be speaking to anyone in such a manner.

And a word of advice to those throwing insults: Insulting the person that insulted you whilst telling them to grow up (attempting to take the moral high ground), just makes you look like a hypocrite.
 
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80. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 09:01 Verno
 
Getting back to the topic itself, I'm a bit frustrated that server owners can't decide for themselves what is and isn't appropriate. If this is the kind of attitude we can expect from EA at retail then I think I will skip this game after all. The beta didn't go very well and I'm tired of EAs continual blunders with regards to this franchise.  
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79. removed Oct 3, 2011, 09:01 sdgwe
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Oct 3, 2011, 09:06.
 
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78. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 08:20 tRens
 
I agree with Bill Hicks completely.

http://sennoma.net/main/edits/Hicks.html

Yes it is marketing.. and the game doesn't feel like BF2 did at all. It is just like COD.
 
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77. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 07:36 Dades
 
The community manager would probably have an easier time managing expectations if EA didn't treat this like a demo  
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76. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 07:32 yuastnav
 
Bhruic wrote on Oct 3, 2011, 03:41:
[...] And while the Community Manager went a little overboard, having to cater to the insipid twits would be more than I could stomach, so I can completely sympathize.

And that's why you shouldn't be a community manager.
Same reason goes for him.

Btw, there is a new invention called "the edit button" - uh, you might wanna check it out.
 
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75. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 06:06 Bhruic
 
You can have closed beta tests

Closed beta tests can't handle large scale testing tasks. You can't carefully select tens of thousands of testers. If you need to test in such a fashion, the only feasible way to do it is to throw it open, and allow in large numbers of people.

I think we need to make a distinction between playtesting and beta testing. Beta testing is supposed to be technical. Testers find bugs and report them, servers get stress tests, etc.

That's a good point, but I think it's not as relevant as you're trying to make it. I'll agree that the example I used wasn't a perfect one, but it was still close enough to get the gist across.

If EA is looking for playtesters, they shouldn't complain when they get opinions about maps.

I don't think they are looking for playtesters. Or, rather, that isn't the primary focus. There's a considerable list of bugs that have already been found and fixed thanks to the beta test. I'm fairly confident there will be significantly more.

Furthermore, I wouldn't characterize them as complaining about opinions about maps. Have you read their forums? Some of the posts make the worst posters here look almost civil. It was to those posters than the Community Manager was directing his attention.
 
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74. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 05:59 Bhruic
 
I believe the marketing he is talking about is the trojan horse method EA is using to get it's Origin game platform off the ground. They are indeed using this beta much more as a marketing tool than any other I can recall.

If that's the case, then I'd have to agree. My understanding is the marketing he was refering to was various ads, emails, news articles, etc, hyping up the beta. I'm not sure that the marketing as a factor of getting Origin onto systems would really make sense with the rest of his argument... But I'll let him speak to that.
 
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73. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 05:57 Jerykk
 
Unless a beta is completely internal, all beta tests are marketing. There's no way to not have them be, and still get any results. As I've already pointed out once this thread, you can't get mass-market testing without getting mass amounts of people to test.

You can have closed beta tests, where the testers are carefully selected and access is granted to those who are qualified, rather than those who pre-ordered the game or bought the limited edition of a completely different game. For example, I'm currently part of the Gotham Imposters beta test. I didn't have to buy anything, nor was the beta test advertised beyond a single news post on gaming sites.

Simply put, if you use your "beta test" as a means of getting pre-orders or sales, you are offering a demo, not a test.

Again, they are only doing you a favor if they are actually testing. To use the earlier chef example, if people are coming in to try the dish, and leaving without telling you anything about their impressions of it, they aren't helping you at all. And even that Dice/EA are fine with, they are having problems with, to continue the example, people who are coming in, trying the dish, and then complaining because the food isn't the food that they happen to prefer.

I think we need to make a distinction between playtesting and beta testing. Beta testing is supposed to be technical. Testers find bugs and report them, servers get stress tests, etc. This is not the same as listening to music and giving your opinion afterwards. Conversely, playtesting is very much about opinions. If EA is looking for playtesters, they shouldn't complain when they get opinions about maps. They should be taking this feedback and adapting to it. Based on the feedback thus far, it's pretty obvious that people like Conquest mode more than Rush mode. As such, wouldn't it make more sense to focus on improving Conquest, since that's what most players will eventually be playing?
 
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72. Re: Hacked 128-Player Battlefield 3 Beta Servers Oct 3, 2011, 05:03 Mordecai Walfish
 
I believe the marketing he is talking about is the trojan horse method EA is using to get it's Origin game platform off the ground. They are indeed using this beta much more as a marketing tool than any other I can recall.

Kudos to them for being clever, as this has effectively maximized the amount of computers they could get Origin onto in as quickly a time as possible.

The two-step trojan horse method in use here is pretty obvious.
 
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