Larisa posted about why playing in the Beta is probably better than waiting until release here. It got me thinking about several things regarding Cataclysm and the Beta, and in general, my play style.
Larisa’s reasoning is that because there are no guides that Beta must be more fun than doing things at release. Beta must be more fun because you have to explore and meander through. It allows you the relaxation of not rushing to level cap.
While I understand that Larisa is among those who feels their toon must reach level cap as quickly as possible so they don’t lose any raid time with their guild, by doing so you gain something, but you also lose something.
If being able to explore and meander through content is what you want, then choose to do that. While it may seem that many people will call you a noob and consider you a lesser player for not pushing that edge of content, are you losing “fun” just so people you don’t know won’t call you lame?
Who cares what other people think?! Even at this late stage in Wrath I don’t think any less of the people who are new to the game and working on their first toon, or the people who just hit level 80 and are just now getting into raiding. Why should I think less of them? It’s the immature trolls who make fun of people for these kinds of reasons, and if it isn’t for this reason they will find another.
We all have to find that balance between fun and progression, but I think fun should be the primary goal and the final factor. If the progression you are making is causing you to no longer have fun, if playing has become more of a job and less of a game, then maybe it is time to reconsider your play style.
Sometimes I think many end game raiders forget that there is so much more to the game than end game raiding. The best times I’ve had in game have been exploring and just messing around. This is why I think Roleplayers have all the fun (they’re the blondes of WoW imho). I would give just about anything to find that perfect balance of exploring/messing around to raiding. Time will tell if I have actually found it with my current guild.
The other thing about Larisa’s post that troubles me is the impression that Beta is there to play in. An anonymous commenter said in response to her post:
“Good grief, Larisa. The “beta” servers are there to test the content/mechanics. To test them exhaustively. I sincerely hope that very few people actually consider beta testing to be their playground. Search your damned “fun” elsewhere, because this shortsightedness is detrimental to you as well.”
This comment was quickly shut down, since it was said in a fairly negative tone and after all it is testing for a game, so it should be fun. While I agree that it should sort of be fun since it is testing for a game, I do also agree to some extent with the anonymous commenter.
I’ve run into a few people now who are playing on the Beta who have nothing good to say about it, and are in fact considering quitting the game over it and not purchasing Cata. Why, you might wonder? Because it is so buggy and unfinished. To every one of these people I have told them that perhaps they are not well suited to be a Beta tester. There is a reason it is in Beta, and that is because it is not finished.
I would hate for Larisa’s post to cause people to want to play with the Beta and become sorely disappointed because it is unfinished. While I agree in that perhaps Blizzard has messed up their timing a bit with the wind down of Wrath feeling quite a bit early when compared to the expected release of Cata, I think it would be a mistake for a majority of players to try the Beta. Just because you are feeling kind of bored with the current release doesn’t mean you should play the Beta.
In the end, all of this is speculation on my part. I have never been a Beta tester, nor do I want to be, primarily because I recognize in myself the dislike for an unfinished product. I am not so knowledgeable in the gaming industry to think that my opinions on an unfinished game would be at all valid, nor do I think that playing an unfinished product would be fun. Finding broken quests and broken mechanics in a game is not fun or entertaining to me.
I for one am waiting for release to play Cataclysm. I’m also avoiding reading any Cata guides as well. I’ve always played like that, only using guides and walkthroughs when I become stumped or start to struggle (with the exception of watching Tankspot videos for boss fights on progression raid content).
This post is in no means meant to slander anyone partaking in the Beta. While I may not be the kind of person to enjoy testing, someone has to like it and someone has to do it. Props to those of you with the knowledge and patience to truly be testers.