MMORPG 101: Getting into beta testing

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I have not been doing the world's greatest job posting news here on the Examiner, but I have a great excuse. I'm managing the alpha test for an upcoming MMO (no, for real, it doesn't have to have elves and orcs to be an MMO), and preparing to go into the beta phase.

Experienced MMO people already know a lot about getting into beta. But for the Examiner 101 series, we try to break it down for newcomers. Check it out:

What's a beta?

A beta is an unfinished, incomplete, buggy version of a game. It can be annoying and frustrating, and occasionally tedious. But if the basic idea behind the game is a good one, you will also see flashes of awesome. A beta is a front row seat on the process of game development, and fascinating if you like seeing into the guts of the beast.

How do I get into beta?

Apply. Towards the end of every development process, game studios need to stress test their servers. If you're willing to tolerate the servers crashing for no reason, or if you just want to play a nearly complete MMO for free before it launches, sign up on the company's website. The timing of getting in will be a bit random, but most people will eventually get in.

How do I get into the real beta?

Oh, you mean the closed beta. You still need to fill out the form and register, so do that first.

Next, find the forum for the game. (If there's no official forum, consider starting one!) Post regularly and thoughtfully, about your reactions to the existing imagery, your thoughts about the market, and your hopes for the game. Don't make your posts too long, and use a spellchecker. Start a FAQ. Welcome new users cheerfully, and answer their questions. If a developer asks a question, answer it. Post news related to the niche the game is going to be in. Finally, show your sense of humor whenever possible - beta testing can be very, very frustrating, and everyone would rather hang out with the fun person as opposed to the angry person.

The forums are awfully busy. How can I stand out?

If you spell everything correctly and post every day, you will stand out. But if you want to take it a step further, send a short, friendly PM or email to the developers you see most often on the forums. This might be a community manager, or a designer, or even the CEO. In your message, give your forum handle, your real name, and a little of your gaming background. Explain what it is that you love about the idea of the upcoming game, and ask if there's anything you can do to help test the product. Don't kiss up, or gush, or flatter. Honesty gets you further with professionals.

How can I prove I'd be a great tester?

The website almost certainly isn't perfect. You can show your beta testing prowess by finding and reporting site bugs. Describe the bug in a short, simple sentence. Describe the way you can replicate the bug. Provide your system specs, your browser name and version, a screenshot of the bug, and the time/date you encountered the problem.

by Sanya Weathers



Bianca said...

Wanna say thank you for the useful information that you have been shared by posting them on his site! Keep it up!


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