MoP Beta Thoughts and Impressions

Here are some initial thoughts that I’ve had while I played the MoP Beta, as one of the many hundreds of thousands of new “beta” testers.

  • The game appears to be well contained and packaged. Much of the easy stuff (splash screens, etc) are done.
    • Typical download and install bugs are present, which is to be expected for a beta. Nothing that could not be polished up within a few months.
    • Everything I encountered was solvable using google and some common sense.
  • The starting zone lacks consideration of load, and as this is not Blizzard’s third round of expansions, that is poor. Phasing in highly populated areas should be a standard, and is something that a new version of the game should have.
    • Dry: Consider adding all the Annual Pass people into our own phase, or spread the AP folks across some new servers where Blizzard do not expect a large volume of test tickets from.
  • I think it is an excellent metric for how stupid the player base is when they will sit their characters in front of a quest choke points and just spam a useless command. I was going to post a solve for the few quest odd behaviours I saw, but none were actual issues that would be present without the hideous volume of new players. It is like the griefers on the Isle of Quel… outside the new 5 man – not really an issue..
    • I saw “GG BLIZ”, with many variations. Useless.
    • Clearly these players have no interest in actually doing diagnosis or investigation, and this that the game should auto-magically fix itself.
    • These players should not be beta testers. Or perhaps the beta process only needs a few hundred of them total, not thousands.
    • In all likelihood these are annual pass holders (as am I), and they became Beta testers only to see the game early. They’re unlikely to actually test anything.
    • The problem quest that had stumped a large volume of players took about 10 minutes worth of research to find a solution for, then a few minutes to get done.
    • A cynical person might suggest that this is a deliberate bottle neck, to keep people from getting through the rest. That would be a marketing mistake, but does make me smile.
  • Visual art and style is consistent and nice. Well done to the art teams for the starting area. The style is a close cousin to the Night Elf areas, with more contrast and variation in the colours used.
  • Despite the comments to the reverse, the style reminds me of the Kung Fu Panda films. Its good actually, because I liked that film, and I don’t mind if the art reminds me of something else – akin to Space Marines in 40k, and StarCraft.
  • Lore and Quest text is OK. I can’t say that any of it provided additional motivation for me to play through, as it was typical. Having some surprises in the initial quest areas would be great.
  • Quests in the Panda region are consistent with WoW’s typical quest objectives (as expected), and have a nice spiritual side.
    • Keep the flame, commune with spirits, etc. All reasonable.
    • The quest mechanics are different from what we have seen before which is good.
  • How far is the game from release? No idea.
    • Well… a beta should be about improving the product, finding side issues, and garnering feedback. This appears to not be that style of beta. I’d say that the game is fit for beta and playable, but there is a long way to go yet.
    • The bugs I have seen so far are such that I would expect we more than 3 months away from being boxed up. The cycle of identifying, resolving, verifying and closing has a 3-4 month turn around for a game like this.
    • Introducing a new class is a large undertaking and the balancing of that class with the existing ones will either be done turning this beta, or via patches after launch. Obviously now is better, but that adds time to the release date.
    • My guess: expect September, maybe October if the release is to be “perfect”.

More will follow as I level slowly through some zones.

3 thoughts on “MoP Beta Thoughts and Impressions

  1. Nooooo the bean is due early September… I definitely won’t have any time for gaming then! I mostly agree with your comments on the beta experience, I really like the music in the Panda starting zone music too as well as the art work.

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