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The Digital Continuum: Your face is 'still in beta'

Kyle Horner

There's been discussion recently of the failings of "Dude, it's a beta!" as an argumentative device when someone makes a critical observation about an MMO during the beta process. Syp over at Bio Break takes the stance that people who say things like this are either considerable fanboys or have severe brain health issues. Of course, he then pulls away from that statement by declaring that the truth lies somewhere between the person claiming a game is "suck" and the person defending said title's honor with, well, "It's beta, dude."

I, however, think differently -- and it's probably not what you're expecting.

Let's find out where the real truth is buried. Is Guy A right when he says X issues/bugs will ruin a game or is Guy B correct in asserting that a game is still in beta?

Well, both could be correct depending on when in beta (early closed, late open) they're having this discussion and over what game it's being had. There are a lot of variables, meaning that sometimes Guy A is right and sometimes Guy B is the correct party. Or does it mean that? Those very same variables can also mean that both parties are sometimes wrong, too. And ultimately, to me that says the whole argument is entirely a moot point.

I don't really care what two people are arguing about so much as I prefer to have a worthwhile discussion on a game I'm interested in playing or currently playing. To ponder over why people use "Dude, it's beta." is a wholly non-worthwhile road I've got no desire to travel down. I don't want to talk about why people choose to shout terrible obscenities when the topic of American healthcare reform is brought up. I'd rather just talk about that problem, not the people who're adding twenty gallons of stupid to the conversation.

And you know what else? I can empathize with Syp (and others, too) being annoyed to no end with people who get all bent out of shape when you give even the smallest critique of a game, but here's a secret: For every person who vehemently defends a game regardless of argument, there are detractors who'll rage-slam a game for reasons known only to them.

The worst is when both types of people get into an argument. If that ever happens, either immediately block both player in chat or log out of the game. Assuming you do read what these two morons have to say, be sure booze is nearby -- you're going to need its assistance shortly.

So let's stop complaining about these two groups and just keep to ourselves. I know they seem the majority, but there does exist a type of player that's more than happy to hear your criticisms about a game they happen to like. I happen to enjoy Star Trek Online, for instance. I know the game has it's flaws and if you'd like to openly trade critical thoughts on why they came about or how we could fix them, I'm all for that. Just don't get upset when I don't mirror your feelings about a game, because that's almost as silly as expecting "It's still in beta!" to work a week and a half before launch day.

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