Are We All Just Beta Testers?
GameDaily has an interesting article up about how game developers seem to be using players as beta testers. 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?
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