I’m starting to think that Trion Worlds has struck upon a brilliant way to do closed betas. Perhaps they’re not the first (probably not), but man if it isn’t working out in their favor.
If you haven’t been paying attention to Rift lately — and why not? — Trion has been hosting bi-weekly beta events that typically open up for a weekend, then close after a few days. While there are players who undoubtedly wish that the closed beta would just keep on going, it’s certainly paid for Trion to do it this way.
Why? Four reasons immediately come to mind:
1. By splitting up the CB into several events, the company is able to promote each event separately and make a big deal out of them that way. You release just one closed beta, you only get one big PR push to announce it; you release several closed beta events, you get a PR push each and every time one’s on the schedule.
2. It keeps player enthusiasm high while helping them to avoid initial burnout. Players who get their hands on a new game typically play the heck out of it, which is why you often see beta testers limping to the launch date with souring feelings on the game. By giving players just a taste here and there, it satisfies curiosity and allows them to have fun without giving them unrestrained access before release. Plus, there’s that little thrill of anticipation when you know you already like the game and have a future event to look forward to playing. It kind of made me wonder what it would be like if we could only access MMOs on certain dates instead of continuously, but that’s a topic for another day.
3. It gives Trion time to recoup and restrategize. I have no doubt that running a CB event like the past four ones are incredibly time- and energy-consuming for the team, taking them away from working on the game to running it for a while. So it’s probably good they don’t have to do both constantly, but can run it with a whole bunch of people for a short time, then figure out where they need to go from there and have a couple weeks to work on it.
4. You can really see the improvements and how Trion listens to customer feedback with each beta event patch, something I think would be lost if it was a continuous CB that saw small patches every couple days. Like it or not, big patches get us more excited, and that once again plays to their hand.
As for this past weekend, I dabbled a bit but didn’t have a ton of time to really get into much. I did one warfront (fun if typical PvP zerging), a dungeon run (Realm of the Fae) and a number of rift invasion stuffs. At this point, I’m really just ready for launch, and I don’t feel like investing a whole lot more time into my character other than just checking a few things out.
How about you? Did you play, and if so, what did you think?