BetaTester Guidelines

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No Bounce, No Play (How To Be A Successful, Respected, and Useful Beta Tester)

Originally posted by Lashiens at The Seed Forum

We're all very excited about Seed and all the possibilities that it has, based purely on the fact that it is EXTREMELY outside of the MMO 'norm'. As optimistic as we may all be, there are still basic things that we still need to remember, and understand, and constantly take to heart, especially when beta testing comes knocking at our front door and we get our hands on the meat of the game. There are quite a few people here who are relatively new to MMO's, and some of us who have been around the MMO block MORE than a few times. I've been a veteran beta tester for quite a few years now, so I've had my share of good betas and bad betas, and here's a few guidelines(slightly modified) that I've noticed hold true to almost all of them:

1) Seed will, by no fault of it's own, be ungodly broken and not "functioning as intended."

Runestone is a very new company to the mmo genre, so expect them to make mistakes. There are companies like Sony, Blizzard, and NCSoft who have been doing MMO's for YEARS now, and they still mess up constantly. So don't expect to come walking into a game completely bug-free This is a natural, growing process. Furthermore, because the game is going outside of the norm completely, a lot of things are experimental to a certain degree. Keep this in mind whenever you get stuck inside of a wall.

2) The developers are only human.

Things break. All the time. This is why we can send rockets up in space, but can't seem to make a car that will go further than 150,000 miles without exploding. That's alright. If you find something that's messed up, or not working in beta, make a bug report! And it always takes time to fix things that are messed up. Don't forget though, that the people who make the game are just everyday people like you and I. This is their job. They get up, go to work, code stuff and try and make sure that you are entertained. Don't jump down their throats because you're having a bad day. Remember, this is how these guys pay their mortgage payments, of COURSE they're going to try and do it the best they can.

3) Don't shoot for the moon and then be angry that you ended up in a pile of crap.

Beta testing is, indeed the "Worst Case Scenario" for online games. Our purpose, as beta testers, is to wade through all the crappy broken parts of the game and "Pull the diamond from the rough", so to speak. If something isn't working, report it. If something IS working, but is 'cumbersome', say why. Devs love feedback like fat kids love cake, they can't get enough of it. There's NEVER such a thing as "Too much feedback" in MMO's.

4) Be curteous to EVERYONE. Devs, and Players alike.

There may be people in the community that you don't like. That's okay. There may be a developer(s) that you don't like. That's okay too. However, you DO have a responsibility to be kind, and courteous to each other all the time. Although you may hate the guy who's playing next to you, you do have one thing in common: We ALL want the game to work properly. If you log onto the game and suddenly Kroll or Xmentor comes up to you and says "I want you to do X for me," stop what you're doing, and do it. There's more than likely that there's a good reason that they're asking you to do it.

5) Beta testing is a privilege, not a right.

Remember, you're here to test the beta, not run around like a clown. Sure, it's ALWAYS good to have fun, but remember that it's a privilege to be a part of this process. If you're not going to beta test, then by all means give up your spot to someone who's going to help everyone out. The devs have even been so generous enough to allow us to beta WITHOUT signing an NDA, which is pretty much unheard of in the industry. Don't trample on it.

This basically sums it up, I'm sure other people can interject some helpful hints here, but these are things that we all need to keep in mind from day one once we walk in that door to a new reality. Help the devs, they help us. It's a scratch your back, you scratch mine situation.

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