Russ Bullock on Open Beta

by InnerSphereNews in [ Announcements ] on, Oct 26, 2012 6:00 PM UTC

Hey Everyone

I would like to address this to the core community of MechWarrior Online. You guys are absolutely the most loyal community in all of gaming, intense! But far and away the most loyal. To explain what I mean by loyal let me start out with a huge thanks to all of our Founders. The program was quite obviously a huge success, in fact at 5.2 Million it has set a new high bar for these types of programs. That is a huge statement to just how amazing the MechWarrior franchise and it’s unique and exciting play mechanics are, and now a whole new generation of gamers are about to learn that. These founders have made it possible for us to make the game better and to make better choices these past 4 months, with each of those choices leading to a better overall product.

Since we have just today announced Open Beta for Monday October 29th, I wanted to address that with the community. During this past year we have learned an incredible amount when it comes to listening and managing a community. Over the course of that year we have listened, learned and then reacted to many topics that have come up. One topic that has always been a major point of conversation is the topic of Open Beta and when the product would be ready for it. This one in particular has always been fascinating to me, for the most part I wondered why people in the community even cared when the product went Open Beta, after all they were already playing the game and enjoying it, what did it matter to them when the product went Open Beta? Of course after studying the subject you start to understand and list off the various reasons people have. But I was also filled with the belief that each of those concerns is very easily addressed, and I will list off a few here:

  • 1) I don’t want to spend money on the game until it has more content – This one is very easy to address as Open Beta launch will represent the FINAL data wipe, therefore players will be starting over one last time. This also means that all of their MC, if they have purchased any, or the entirety of the Founders rewards will be reimbursed completely: therefore you get to choose when the time is right to spend your MC currency.
  • 2) I don’t think it’s fair that my Founders premium account should start at Open Beta - At an estimated Nov 13th patch all Founders will have their premium time reset once again (two free weeks of premium time!) and be given a “button” that allows Founders the opportunity to choose exactly when to start their premium time. It will not start counting down until you, the Founder, decide it is worth it.
  • 3) Oh no it can’t be Open Beta because the game still does not have X Feature or Y piece of content, I can’t believe MWO will not said feature or content – I think all of us get caught up in the retail product mentality. Just because MWO is going Open Beta in no way means we are finished making the game or that we will even slowdown in the slightest. We already have nine months of work lined up in front of us and frankly there is no end to the work in sight. We could easily delay Open Beta endlessly to just wait for one more feature or one more piece of content which could easily become a black hole.
  • 4) I love MechWarrior and I want the whole world to love it too, but if it goes out too soon that may not happen – This is a great point of passion that we share with you, but there are just limits to what we can do and how long we can hold off on launching the product. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the core MWO experience is a ton of fun. All of the media previews from PC Gamer to Penny Arcade agree, the core experience is extremely addictive and fun - we already have what most games never end up finding. Now we just need to add more content and more features, that’s great we can do that and will.

Now that I have talked about some of the feelings the community has expressed regarding Open Beta, let me try and explain some of the reasons why we feel the time is right:

  • 1) We just can’t ask more of our closed beta testers - The closed beta testers have done an amazing job, but many of you - including many founders - are just plain fatigued at having their data wiped. In fact according to our data we even have 10’s of thousands of Founders that are just waiting for Open Beta to play again so that their play time is not wasted. It is time for us to get into Open Beta and stop the data wipes.
  • 2) We can’t effectively test certain things any further with our current community – In many ways we can’t effectively test systems both in back end infrastructure and game systems without both more and different types of players. We need to bring in new non-core players to determine what aspects of MWO interface, etc need to be changed and exactly how they should be changed. We can’t make proper headway in these areas without Open Beta.
  • 3) Customer Support, server stress – we just need to take the next step in our player base to be able to stress and then take these systems to the next level.

In the end there are many reasons across all aspects of running a large game like this that tell us we need to take the next step in order to continue to improve the product at the pace we want to. I hope this information helps you guys in the community understand more clearly the reasoning behind our decisions. I know that almost all the questions and concerns we get from the community is because you care a great deal about this product and really desire to see it successful. Many of you wonder what it is you can do to help make this game a success. Of course many of you purchased Founders packages, which was an immense help, but how else can you help? Please be a huge positive force on the forums, social feeds and most importantly in the game. If you see a new player needing help, take the time to inform them on the nuances of MechWarrior and how they can get better at the game. Help us spread the word and bring new players to the game. Continue to submit support tickets with any issues or bugs you find in the game, as well as continue to provide us your feedback but strive to keep the emotion out of your opinions.

I hope this has been helpful, and once again thanks for your support. I will talk to you again soon.

Russ Bullock
President
Piranha Games Inc.

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