11 August 2012

Shared Topic: Are you playing in the WoW Beta?

This week’s Blog Azeroth shared topic post comes from Frinka from Warcraft Street:
Are you playing the MoP Beta? Why or why not? How much time are you spending there vs. the "live" servers.
When I subscribed to the annual pass option, I was guaranteed a MoP Beta key. That wasn't why I fired off the annual pass, however. I was going to be playing in some form or other, so why not get a free copy of Diablo 3 to muck about with at the same time. The account wide mount was okay too for up and coming alts. The beta key? Worthless to me. Absolute rubbish.

Paying for the Privilege to Beta

In my professional role ( switch talent spec to Project Manager), I find myself constantly beta testing either base software code or integrated data solutions within a standard software code base. In any event, I spend a substantial chunk of my waking hours ensuring things work as expected and advertised.

When I get free time, the last thing I want to do is ensure a game I'm paying a fee to not only purchase but also play on a monthly basis is also working as expected and advertised. I'm shelling out dollars to a company to develop that software, after all. I expect Blizzard to pay staff to perform that role.

Now, now! Don't get me wrong! The more exposure and the more people that are testing something, the better the final product becomes. Beta testing from a general public polishes the product into something better than Blizzard could have imagined or marketed in the first place. It's an open exchange of not only "can I log in and not blow up?" but also "the lore here doesn't jibe... what if...". I'm indebted to those folks that are beta testing! They are helping make my eventual play experience all that more seamless, magical and satisfying.

But, if I only have a few hours to play, I'm going to play the final polished product (even Cata in the doldrums of a pre-expansion period). I'm not going to pay Blizzard for the privilege of testing their software for them as well as purchase a copy of the same game I would have tested. It's a stand on principle.

Surprise Me

The other main factor on why I never activated my beta key? Surprise! When Wrath was being released, I was an avid reader of Big Red Kitty's hunter blog (c'mon, who wasn't?). BRK was communicating tidbits of the beta pets, gear, zones, etc. When Wrath hit, I felt like in all the focus of pre-expansion TBC on Wrath content, I missed  out of an element of discovery in Wrath of that same content for myself. In other words, I got so worked up on researching Wrath that I missed out on experiencing a part of Wrath. Part of the fun for me in a new expansion is exploring the new content. Learning (and failing) make it more fun.

You may notice in my reading list, however, there are blogs that cover the MoP beta. I am reading, but as posts get into the details and mechanics, my reading becomes a skim. I don't understand in the least, for example, how a pet battle works. I just know that there are pets that will now go all Pokemon as needed.

I also know there will be Pandaren, and they will start neutral, and somehow that Pandaren will choose to align with either the Alliance or the Horde.  I know there is a new class, the Monk, and that the class will be like a druid only in that it can be played as any of the three main roles: Tank, Heals or DPS.  Although there are sites covering this information, I'm not actively reading them -- again I want to experience this for myself.

By the same token, I know the talents are totally being revamped. I will review the class sites for my characters after I've messed around with talents on my own. By merely applying someone else's experiences to a new spec, I'm losing the ability to experience that on my own.
My favorite part of Wrath, hands down?  The Death Knight character experience from birth to graduation at 58. In Cata?  The starting zones for the Goblin and Worgen races. I don't want to risk spoiling any of the freshness MoP will add for the Pandaren or the Monk class with previews or guides.

So, no... you won't find me on the beta realm. To those that are there, kudos and thank you very much for your contribution! It's just not something I'm willing to do.

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