I had all sorts of thoughts this morning, about advantages many have with continually getting Alpha and Beta invites to every Blizzard title that comes down the road. They are in Top guilds, they maintain WoW database sites, they are friends and family. They are granted exclusive access to content that many will not see for 6 months to perhaps as long as a year. Who knows, maybe even longer if they are included in internal tech Alpha testing. They do have a distinct advantage over the vast majority of the player base. There is also a group that are not even subscribed to the game itself that do nothing but play in the Public Test Realms. They are testing the game, they are there supplying information to the designers, either by reporting problems, or just being there giving them data they can analyze. I had a lot running through my head trying to nail down what seemed wrong. Is it that they do have an advantage? Yeah, they do, they have played through most of a game title by the time it launches, so can breeze through content, they have tested the dungeons on all levels available, they have participated, perhaps even come up with strategy guide videos for the raids. And it occurred to me what the problem really is.
Blizzard is outsourcing too much and it is allowing us to consume content faster than they can develop it. By the time Legion launches, sites like WoWhead will have all of the quest lines uploaded, there will be guides written for all classes, sites will have determined best in slot gear, what stat weights are best, best talent choices, dungeons strategy guides, raid guides, walk through videos of quest chains, if we have hidden treasures there will be add on programs pointing you to within 5 feet of what you are looking for, there will be programs like we have that will allow you to do all of your garrison missions in half the time. All of this will be out there and available at launch. And as a result, the only thing that will slow anyone down is the amount of time they have available to play in a day, and whether or not they know where to look.
Some may say, well you don’t “Have” to use the information, don’t “Have” to get add on programs. But that is not the point. The point is, testing has become not only for testing, but also for marketing the game, by doing away with Non Disclosure Agreements, by giving outside sources more than enough time to populate their databases, to allow those worlds first, eSports minded people time to prepare and practice. And in the end? after these people have played the game over 9 months potentially at launch, and the game goes live and they destroy and consume content at a lighting fast pace? They will be demanding more. They will be looking for the next tier release, when many are just getting through the initial zones to max level, these people will already be not only done with Normal, Heroic, Mythic Dungeons, but also all of the raid tiers. And some will look in awe at how skilled these players are, but I have come to the realization, that yes, they are excellent players, they do play to a level many can not even comprehend, but they have also been playing through testing for months before many even see a load screen. They have worked out strategies, know what gear from what source they need, know exactly what professions they may want to have, where to look for materials in order to craft items. They do have an unfair advantage in playing, but it is not unfair in their ability to get it done faster than the majority, but that it forces the majority to keep up with content releases based on their level of consumption.
I personally feel that this 9-10 months of open testing is going to cause burn out, will cause people to become bored faster than ever before, and will push Blizzard into pushing to release even less content faster to keep up with demand. If all testing, all information was kept internal, was not available on launch, everyone would be on the same footing, people would have to “Think” Would have to research, look for things, would not have a crutch to lean on. When World of Warcraft launched the idea that people would have 10 or 11, or more max level characters fell into the they must have no life category. Now? I’m surprised I don’t have more than 3. And I could. I could buy a boost to 90, run them through the starting experience, get their garrisons up and running and cranking out 2,000 gold a day, or more. Having everything laid out to the smallest detail at launch is destroying the game. We may as well have a program play for us, do all of our questing, do our fights, we just log in, send our character out on mission’s, log out and check back later to see what they got.