GameDaily has an interesting article up about how game
developers seem to be using players as beta
. Buggy code is released as a final product to the public with the thought that it can always be fixed
with a later patch. And, while the article specifically discusses single player games, the argument is perhaps
even more applicable to large MMO's in which regular patches to add content (and fix old bugs) are the norm.
While it's understandable to an extent - World of Warcraft is a massive game, and it would be impossible to test every
race, class, and talent spec in every situation - some of the bugs are sufficiently obvious that they make one wonder
how much testing happens at all. However, perhaps MMO's are so expansive that it's imposible to give them the
full quality assurance treatment in the traditional sense - which is why we've ended up with test servers and a regular
patch cycle. What do you think - are we beta testing the software we're paying for? And should we be?