This week BioWare had announced that beta weekend #3 had come to the surprise of many of its fans. As this weekend is upon us I simply find myself asking one little question - "Why are we still testing a game that is nearly ready for launch?" I do understand the concept behind all the testing and such, but are these weekends being used as a way to "draw" the undecided into either A). Purchasing a Pre-Order, or B). Refining a game that is still incomplete.
In some aspect I believe it is a little of both. The part that frightens me a bit is that if in fact it has a little to do with the second option, what does this mean for launch day? Will the game in fact be complete and rid of the bugs that were found in previous builds that had been tested?
I have been around too many MMO's that have been launched and tested that have come out of the box feeling like they were missing pieces here and there, or just did not have the right pieces where they should be at all. I have no doubts that BioWare will have a completed game come December 20th - but I feel like I should be a little weary with the amount of "testing" this is still happening a month or so before the game arrives at my door step.
I am a very jaded Star War Galaxies player of old, and that game was so incomplete that at times it was totally unplayable. I do not wish the same for ToR or any other Star Wars branded game, as I have a huge undying love for anything in the Star Wars Universe. To think that there COULD be that chance that something will go awry would be devastating to me - and thousands of others who have been wronged by SOE and the SWG model of play.
No I am not saying ToR is anything like SWG (it certainly is not, from what I have seen), nor am I comparing BioWare to SOE's business model (money first - screw your loyal costumer base after). I just feel that there is something that is "unseen" (as with anything in the development process), that many of us wish to see and know.
I know many of the people playing SWG right now will not be satisfied until ToR completely sinks and fails, where as the old schoolers (like myself), are looking forward to this like a kid running downstairs on Christmas morning.
All I wish to convey in this piece is that sense of uncertainty that many of us feel in our gut when we take a log back on the past, and are trying to look ahead to the future of the gaming realm. Sure there have been things like World of Warcraft that have come out - but that slowly went downhill and then turned into an "NGE" of sorts that SWG had done previously!
I hope and pray that BioWare sticks to their guns and keeps the game the way that they have planned from the start and does not falter when the community demands there to be some sort of radical changes that could be utterly detrimental to the game (as development companies usually do). I want this game to be great! My friends want it to be great! For it to be anything else then that - would be heartbreaking.
I am looking forward to December 20th like many of you out there and hope to see you in game. Let us all make this game last and become one of the best out there to date! I know this was a bit off the cuff, but I feel it needed to be said.