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My experiences beta testing various games.
In the early days of the internet the idea of beta testing was pretty much unheard of and games would be tested in their usual way with play testers during their creation, but as the internet grew in popularity with a sudden rise in online games there was a need to not just test the games themselves but also the servers on which they ran. In most aspects the games were fully tested beforehand and the manufactures needed a way to get thousands of people on their severs as a test run before the game's final release. At first such testing only really applied to PC role-playing games, and the giant MMORPG games, but with so many games nowadays running online this also applies to console gaming even if their online features are minimum.
My first play test was for a PC game called Seed. It was a first-person shooter similar to Time Splitters. I remember it was a real hassle to install and to later remove, but it was its online features that were to be tested. I loved the quirky characters and the cartoon-style graphics. Unfortunately I had problems playing it online, especially with dial-up internet at the time, so couldn't contribute much on their forums. I'm not sure what happened to the game or if it was ever had a final release, as there's little mention of it online.
The next game I beta tested was a giant MMORPG called RF Online. It was already a popular game in Korea but was released in USA and Europe by Code Masters and it was that version that was being tested. It was the first game of that type I had ever played online and was very, very addictive. It was buggy too and I spent a lot of time in the forums posting error reports. I was particularly annoyed with myself for not spotting a blatant typo in the name of one of the gaming factions. One of the annoyances was that it was a European server which was split onto separate country servers when the game was finally released meaning a lot of online friends gained from beta testing couldn't play together in the final release.
My current PC isn't really suited for gaming so now I tend to beta test on the PlayStation 4. Mirror's Edge Catalyst was the first and I was a big fan of the original Mirror's Edge so was looking forward to playing this one. Technically speaking it's not a true online game but there are features that only work whilst online with the main being user created timed races. Personally I found no bugs to report other than the occasional lag while some players experienced a full game crash. Incidentally there's an electronic device in the game referred to as a shotgun which often got reported as a game bug due to it not actually being a gun. While I didn't enjoy the game as much as the original Mirror's Edge I still enjoyed it enough to purchase the full game when it was released.
The next game I tested was Overwatch. Unlike Mirror's Edge Catalyst it wasn't a sequel of another game and was totally unique in the way it plays. Whilst it's a first-person shooter there's a lot more to it than that, with each player possessing their own unique weapons and abilities. The beta test contained far fewer game modes than the full release which in turn has, over the years, had far more added since. There were a lot of very minor character animation bugs and issues with certain locations upon the maps but nothing major. One bug in particular, the one shot kill with the character named Hanzo, has never been fixed to this day leading me to conclude he's supposed to be that way.
For more details in date order of my experiences with each game click on the links above. Please note that certain comments were made at the time the games were being tested, so certain things said do not apply to the final release of the game in quesition. This is particularly true of Overwatch which has had multiple patches with new characters and game modes added.
by Raymond Johnson.