Tabula Rasa: Too Many Testers

Gamasutra offers some reflections from Richard (Lord/General British) Garriott at the 2007 Independent Game Conference after the Destination Games/NCsoft designer was asked about the marketing of Tabula Rasa. While he feels the marketing (which he describes as a "black art") was "fine," he reserves some criticism for himself and the development team, saying something that hurt the game was the invitation of too many beta testers before the game was fun enough to be worth playing. Garriott commends the Guild Wars team for how well they handled their own testing, but has this to say about testing Tabula Rasa:
“We burned out some quantity of our beta-testers when the game wasn’t yet fun," he said, adding, "As we’ve begun to sell the game, the people who hadn’t participated in the beta became our fast early-adopters.”

He continued, “And the people who did participate in the beta, we’ve had to go back to and say ‘look, look, we promise: we know it wasn’t fun two months ago, but we fixed all that. Really, come try it again.’ We’ve had to go out and develop free programs to invite those people back for free before they go buy it. So the beta process, which we used to think of as a QA process, is really a marketing process.”
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31 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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31.
 
No subject
Dec 6, 2007, 08:58
Fugazi
 
31.
No subject Dec 6, 2007, 08:58
Dec 6, 2007, 08:58
 Fugazi
 
I thought I would try the game out since I am a sucker for SciFi settings and I am enjoying it quite a bit. Granted I am still at a low level (15), but many of the missions are soloable and the online community seems to be fairly sane unlike many other MMOs. I also like the fact that I can play for 30 minutes at a time and accomplish something unlike Eve et al. where I am sitting at a POS for hours waiting for orders.
And TR's clone system is pure genius.

The CRTC needs to be destroyed.
30.
 
Another thing...
Dec 6, 2007, 04:22
30.
Another thing... Dec 6, 2007, 04:22
Dec 6, 2007, 04:22
 
The ego thing that people have posted about here seems stupid. Garriott is taking blame for the problems at launch, not pushing blame on other people. To me thats commendable. He could have said marketing screwed it up or some other nonsense. Instead, hes saying..."We screwed up." Romero would have never done that.

29.
 
No subject
Dec 6, 2007, 04:19
29.
No subject Dec 6, 2007, 04:19
Dec 6, 2007, 04:19
 
I came from WoW and DAOC before that, and Asherons Call before that, and I am enjoying the game. There are alot of things that they can improve and add but its SO different than anything else that I can see how great of a game it can be as they add content.
To me they pulled off the shooter/MMO thing very well, the system works. Tweaks are needed but thats true with any game. End game content lacks, but WoWs end-game was UBRS in the beginning so Im not too worried that more will be added.

28.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 22:32
28.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2007, 22:32
Dec 5, 2007, 22:32
 
I don't know about any of you, but if I actually enjoyed playing a game in beta, I'd definitely buy it at retail.

I guess maybe he shouldn't have let so many people into the beta to realize how bad the game sucked, but then again, they probably wouldn't have bought it anyway.

He's starting to sound like John Romero when he got too big for his britches around the time of Daikatana. How amusing would it be if "Cadet" British's shitty game demoted him to make console ports for the rest of his career.

The John Romero complex is going to make you it's bitch!

27.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 19:59
27.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2007, 19:59
Dec 5, 2007, 19:59
 
Third person shooters are retarded, FPS are much more immersive. They could at least have had first person as an option.

Try zooming in to first person then? DUH!

Avatar 19028
26.
 
Re: Fileplanet
Dec 5, 2007, 19:00
26.
Re: Fileplanet Dec 5, 2007, 19:00
Dec 5, 2007, 19:00
 
Im playing TR and its great fun, not sure what you goofs are goin off about. better and less monotonous than WoW's pathetic end game that is for sure. At least the combat keeps me awake and the instances scale so I dont have to wait for a full party of 5 retards

25.
 
Re: Fileplanet
Dec 5, 2007, 18:25
25.
Re: Fileplanet Dec 5, 2007, 18:25
Dec 5, 2007, 18:25
 
The problem isn't with exclusivity, the problem is that Dev's and Publishers are using 'Beta' as marketing instead of using it for the process of beta testing.

Then you have stupid shit like the 1 logo's at the start of the game that had 100 people all button mashing, trying to get it and it turned into a cluster fuck.

As much as I hate Guild Wars, it looks like World of Warcraft next to TR.

Avatar 12670
24.
 
Re: Fileplanet
Dec 5, 2007, 17:22
24.
Re: Fileplanet Dec 5, 2007, 17:22
Dec 5, 2007, 17:22
 
This is the problem when you have subscriber exclusive 'betas'. Its not a tool for testing, its simply a perk people get and something that gamespy use to drive traffic and subscriptions.

I agree with this, but the TR beta wasn't necessarily an exclusive beta. I got in the beta, and I'm one of the most fervent opponents of subscriber exclusive "betas".

23.
 
re Beta Testers
Dec 5, 2007, 17:14
23.
re Beta Testers Dec 5, 2007, 17:14
Dec 5, 2007, 17:14
 
So RG thinks that he annoyed all the Beta ppl when the game was "not fun".

1. Retail did not make it "fun"
2. Those same Beta Testers got annoyed because you and the DEVs ignored everything they said. Seems like the DEVs knew that the beta ppl were just there for marketing and not to provide feedback.
3. TR was reinvented how many times? 3+ And is still is without merit.

/Yeah I betaed GW (for 5 months) , AA (3 months), TR (2 months). though after the first it was a lot fewer hours per month.


22.
 
Fileplanet
Dec 5, 2007, 15:54
22.
Fileplanet Dec 5, 2007, 15:54
Dec 5, 2007, 15:54
 
This is the problem when you have subscriber exclusive 'betas'. Its not a tool for testing, its simply a perk people get and something that gamespy use to drive traffic and subscriptions.

Go back to the old model of restricted technical beta's with largely complete games and have a free week event as the final stress test before the game goes live. You get the old beta usefulness back, and you get the marketing of the polished game too.

21.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 15:41
21.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2007, 15:41
Dec 5, 2007, 15:41
 
Hell if I go back and look at my earlier posts of Tabula Rasa I called it.

Just like every other NCSoft MMO, the game lacks CONTENT. There is only so many times you can do the same repetitive shit over and over before you say 'this sucks' and move on.

Avatar 12670
20.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 15:07
20.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2007, 15:07
Dec 5, 2007, 15:07
 
Too many beta testers too soon wasn't the problem. This is a game they had to almost entirely redesign from the ground up because it sucked so bad. Give us a fuggin break, Garriot. Go back to what you did best and make some single-player CRPGs.


"Grab a napkin, homie. You just got served."
- Wolowitz
"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."
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19.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 14:46
19.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2007, 14:46
Dec 5, 2007, 14:46
 
I dunno, I never played Tabula Rasa but I watched my brother in the beta and it was at least different. I forget exactly when he played though. I did play Lord of the Rings Online and well... that just made me reminisce about World of Warcraft. *shudder* I just felt like it was trying to do WoW, except WoW did it better and I didn't stick around for that either. Not exactly a good feeling to project to me if they want to get my money heh.
Huh? I'm sorry, I was thinking about cake.
18.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 13:57
PHJF
 
18.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2007, 13:57
Dec 5, 2007, 13:57
 PHJF
 
this is not better than lotro

and what was the other mmo released? vanguard? kind of hard to *not* be better than that.
Steam + PSN: PHJF
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17.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 13:13
sir
17.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2007, 13:13
Dec 5, 2007, 13:13
sir
 
Looks like I'll have to play devil's advocate on this one. I think TR is better than the other 'big two' MMORPGs that were released this year (Ok, so that might not be saying much). I never played beta so I can't comment on that, but there's something about running around with a shotgun and blowing away multiple enemies at a time that never gets old for me, plus the game does have a few decent innovations, such as shared XP even when a mob is tagged by someone else. However, it is sorely lacking an endgame and many of the skills for the final tier of classes don't work as intended (or in some cases, at all :o).

Avatar 17694
16.
 
About Garriot....
Dec 5, 2007, 13:12
16.
About Garriot.... Dec 5, 2007, 13:12
Dec 5, 2007, 13:12
 
Garriot seems to have little or no actual interest in making a good game. He's long past that. It seems he just wants to create a marketable product. I remember him bragging about how profitable Ultima Online was when the game was literally unplayable. He didn't care about game quality or the people playing his game then, and I doubt he cares now.

This comment was edited on Dec 5, 13:12.
15.
 
No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 12:50
15.
No subject Dec 5, 2007, 12:50
Dec 5, 2007, 12:50
 
I bought the retail box, and wish I hadn't.

I don't see what the hell Garriott is talking about, though. The game got a gigantic rebalancing patch one week before retail release. So there shouldn't have been testers within a week of release? That patch sucked ass, by the way, and lasted into retail with it making health and power regen more MMO-like (i.e, slow) and screwing with shield and damage to the point that it was hard to tell just why you died when you inevitably did a few seconds after walking out of a contested base.

Sorry General British, but people think your game sucks because it does suck. It's enjoyable for a short period of time just because it's different, but once you get past that you're shooting stuff rather than swinging a sword you find out that it's really not any different in its core mechanics. There's no depth, there's no interesting skills... some skills you get later on aren't even worth putting points into, while ones you start with are. What kind of design is that?

Blame the testers. What a massive egotistical bastard. Next time Richard, try shutting your cockholster and just making a good game instead.

14.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 11:42
14.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2007, 11:42
Dec 5, 2007, 11:42
 
Third person shooters are retarded, FPS are much more immersive. They could at least have had first person as an option.

Anyways..all that hype and it turned out to be a pos.

13.
 
No subject
Dec 5, 2007, 11:29
13.
No subject Dec 5, 2007, 11:29
Dec 5, 2007, 11:29
 
I got a free account and gave it a try, it still sucks. It's more complete than it was at the end of beta, but it's still shit. I agree with the below people who say it was good around June or so. It was much different than regular MMORPGs, if they had listened to the early testers, they may have had a chance.

I only made it to around level 12 or so with my free account. Right after I met up with a mob that was immune to my weapon damage, blocking my way past a bridge in an instance, I uninstalled it. It used to be that you'd get plenty of different damage types dropped that you could use, but they even managed to ruin that. I didn't get a single weapon I could use that entire time that did anything other than physical.

This comment was edited on Dec 5, 11:30.
"Pants! Pants! Pants!"
12.
 
What really happened...
Dec 5, 2007, 11:26
12.
What really happened... Dec 5, 2007, 11:26
Dec 5, 2007, 11:26
 
A couple months into Beta, they realized that there wasn't enough content. The fast-paced shooter game mechanic enabled players to advance very quickly to a nonexistent end-game. They realized that they had no ancillary activities (crafting, socializing etc.) to slow players down. So all they could do was mess with the existing game. It didn't work.

And if Garriott really just figured out that Beta testing is a marketing device, he truly is past it. (As pathetic as that is, it's not nearly as sad as the fanboi testers that think they're on a mission from God to make a better game. You know who you are!)

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