With the Rift beta test (hopefully!) rapidly approaching, I thought I would share some of my beta testing hits with those of you who might not have ever been involved with beta testing a game. Most of these are simple common sense tips but I think they may help some of you who have never been in a beta test before.
- Remember, at all times, that this is a beta! You will run into bugs, you will find quests that you are unable to complete and you will find places that you fall through the world or get stuck on terrain. It will happen. Don’t get discouraged. This is what you are here for!
- Test what they ask you to test, even if it is not what you want to do. If the devs ask you to test a zone for terrain problems, do it. Don’t run around doing something else. There is a reason that they asked for that particular test. Keep this in mind at all times.
- Keep a pen and paper handy at all times when logged into the game. In the heat of battle it is sometimes hard to submit a bug report, so have a pen and paper handy to jot down any bugs, exploits or impressions that you may have and submit them later.
- Submit every bug you run into, no matter how small. See a misspelling in quest test? Report it. Found a single rock in the middle of nowhere that your character got stuck on? Report it. Again, this is what you are here for. No more, no less. Every bug report contributes to a polished product.
- Frequent the Beta forums. You will find a wide range of discussion there, including tips on testing, where to test, general impressions and the concerns of the devs and the players. Make sure you check the forums consistently and contribute to them. Your impressions of the latest test will help the developers create a game that you and the rest of the community wants to play.
- One more time: Remember this is a beta. It is not here for you to make a purchasing decision. It is not here for your enjoyment. Sure, have fun but always. always work toward the intended goal; to help the developers create a fun, polished game.
- Submit bug/exploit/impression reports that are clear and concise. Do not ramble. Report the bug and move on. Try to make a report that the devs can easily understand. Remember, you may be reporting a single rock out in the middle of hundreds of them, so be as clear as possible so that the devs can fix the problem.
- Finally, remember and abide by the NDA. It is human nature to want to talk about what you have seen, good or bad, in beta but do not. Don’t post it on the forums, don’t post in on your guild forums or in your blog. Each time someone leaks a bug, that may be one potential customer lost. Gamers tend to forget that a game is in beta and bugs are to be expected, so when they see a beta leak talking about bugs, exploits, imbalances etc. they tend to write that game off. The NDA is there for a reason. Abide by it at all times.
So, there you have it. My simple beta-testing primer. I hope it helps all of you potential beta testers realize that beta testing is not like playing a game on release. It is not just a stress test, it is a vital step in the release of a MMO.
I wish all of you good luck in getting into the upcoming Rift beta test. I, personally, think it will be a blast and I really hope all of us can help Trion Worlds to release a really stellar MMO. It is an exciting time to be a Rift fan!