It’s round 2 of the World of Warcraft: Catacylsm beta, and invites are being/have been sent out to those who have opted in to test for the Beta. I find that this particular time in the expansion’s life cycle is rather fascinating, particularly because of the context surrounding it. You all probably know by now the fiasco surrounding Activision-Blizzard (though some believe moreso Activision) and their decision to implement RealID on the Blizzard forums in the near future. Thanks to the loud and relentless voice of the userbase as well as the response from the company’s stockholders, the decision was recanted.
Some may think of this as a terrible blunder that will forever leave a scar on Blizzard’s pristine development record. I think it’s a sign that they listen to their audience, and are capable of working with them.
And what better way of living up to this feat by undergoing an open Beta for their upcoming expansion! As I tweeted this morning, we as a community have an opportunity to be heard once again, to make a difference in the coming expansion. If Blizzard can listen to our feedback regarding RealID, they surely can listen to the feedback regarding the gameplay and content in their expansion, make adjustments accordingly, and release a fine product.
But that outcome relies not only on Blizzard doing their job as developers, but on you, the beta-opt-in’ers as well! When check off World of Warcraft as a preferred preference, you are doing so to give feedback regarding what the company has presented so far with their product. You are given free reign to piss and moan about things that people have often done in the live servers, so that they won’t have to piss and moan when the game goes live.
Test all that you can. Don’t look at one aspect of something and focus on just that. Sure, you’re probably focused heavily on endgame, or PvP, but don’t just look at the end product of what your DPS is, or how many duels you win. Look at your spells. Cast everything in your spellbook and see if they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Cast them again. Cast them again. Get a feel of your new abilities, and give feedback on how that feel. Is your rotation clunky? Is it unintuitive? Is it mind-numbingly BORING? It’s your opinion, and it matters!
Test what matters to you. If I were given a Beta invite, I would test the motherfuck out of the Frost mage tree. I’ve already seen what’s been leaked on MMO-champion and such, and there are plenty of questions that I want to ask, and instead of asking someone on the forums about what such-and-such is like, I want to see for myself. Instead of whining on the forums about how Frost is going to be a bad spec again, I want to leave a personal note through the beta client about such-and-such is lacking. Instead of watching videos about AoE grinding in the new expansion, I want to be the one to make said videos, to share my knowledge with everyone, including Blizzard.
Give feedback. Any feedback. Go into a new zone and leave your very first impression. What do you think? I don’t care if your initial reaction to Ashenvale is “WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN,” I’m sure your message will come across. Blizzard will know they’re doing something right, which is just as important as when they’re informed that they’re doing something wrong. That’s what the Beta is all about.
We’ve all learned a thing or two from our experiences in the game as it’s evolved from Classic WoW to Burning Crusade to Wrath. It’s our responsibility as those who show interest in being in the beta to keep learning, and to report what we’ve learned to Blizzard, so that the lessons learned by everyone else who experience the live version of the expansion will do so in all of its intended glory.
Get your Beta on! Are you ready for it?