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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.”

12. What really happened... Dec 5, 2007, 11:26 Toebot
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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    Date Subject Author
  1. Dec 5, 10:02 No subject loomy
  8. Dec 5, 10:29  Re: No subject Ray Marden
  14. Dec 5, 11:42  Re: No subject Praxus
  27. Dec 5, 19:59   Re: No subject Talisorn
  28. Dec 5, 22:32    Re: No subject Kedyn
  20. Dec 5, 15:07  Re: No subject Cutter
  21. Dec 5, 15:41   Re: No subject The Half Elf
  22. Dec 5, 15:54   Fileplanet Beady
  23. Dec 5, 17:14    re Beta Testers VultureMAN
  24. Dec 5, 17:22    Re: Fileplanet dubfanatic
  25. Dec 5, 18:25     Re: Fileplanet The Half Elf
  26. Dec 5, 19:00      Re: Fileplanet Grounded
  2. Dec 5, 10:02 No subject Slink
  3. Dec 5, 10:06  Re: No subject KillerBee
  5. Dec 5, 10:16   Re: No subject Frijoles
  6. Dec 5, 10:21    Re: No subject Mysdrial
  4. Dec 5, 10:15 reality check? wusel
  7. Dec 5, 10:26 Hm, now I'm interested Verwirrung
  9. Dec 5, 11:05 No subject Sepharo
  10. Dec 5, 11:22  Re: No subject Frosty
  11. Dec 5, 11:24 beta invitations Tumbler
>> 12. Dec 5, 11:26 What really happened... Toebot
  13. Dec 5, 11:29 No subject Cabezone
  15. Dec 5, 12:50 No subject PropheT
  17. Dec 5, 13:13  Re: No subject sir
  18. Dec 5, 13:57   Re: No subject PHJF
  19. Dec 5, 14:46    Re: No subject Narf2029
  16. Dec 5, 13:12 About Garriot.... That Guy
  29. Dec 6, 04:19 No subject esloan
  30. Dec 6, 04:22 Another thing... esloan
  31. Dec 6, 08:58 No subject Fugazi


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