SWTOR’s Missed Opportunity

Recently, over three weekends (26-27th February, 4-5th March, 11-12th March), Bioware organised playtesting sessions, on the PTS, for players to test the new Warzone, Odessen Proving Grounds and the new Arena, Rishi Cove. They announced the times on the forums and played along side the players incognito. No further effort was made to advertise the PTS or get more players onto the PTS.

When Bioware announced* that they would not be doing anymore testing of the new Warzone and Arena on the PTS, I was very disappointed. Disappointed because Bioware have yet again missed an opportunity to engage with their community of players. The three weekends of playtesting sessions were inadequate to test the new Warzone. There were too few players on the PTS. There are two main reasons there weren’t that many players on the PTS:

  • The PTS is a massive download – you have to re-download the whole game. This is time consuming and you can not continue playing on live servers while the download is happening.
  • There are no incentives/rewards for taking the time to help Bioware test their content.

See, once upon a time, Bioware invited us all onto the PTS to test healing changes in PvP. They gave the players Cartel Coins for their time, so lot’s players were enticed to come onto the PTS. Many a fun game were had, Bioware got their content tested by a large number of players and everyone lived happily ever after.

But no. This time around, when we really needed more players for testing, there were no incentives and barely any official advertising which unfortunately meant, very few players. Offering incentives, in the past, has seemingly made it worthwhile for most players to take the time to download the PTS.

clusterfuck

A few of us that did test on the PTS and give feedback said that their needed to be more players testing, but Bioware never acknowledged our concerns. On a thread* on the PTS Forums started by Pallais, a few of us came up with some suggestions for incentives Bioware could offer for testing content. Some of these suggestions brought up included giving special PTS testing exclusive tiles and the Devs streaming themselves on the PTS to further motivate players to come on and play with and against the Devs. Rewarding Cartel Coins was brought up too.

Yes, the Devs were on the PTS. But they we incognito, so we didn’t know for sure who they were. Like Pallais suggested, they could’ve just had one team of ‘visible’ Devs and still had some Devs incognito. Not only would this have likely enticed more people to come on the PTS for the chance to play with or against the Devs, it also would’ve given the players the chance to ‘engage’ with the Devs and see them. The Bioware Devs are so invisible and seemingly nonexistent as far as the player base is concerned. We barely ever see them interacting with the community. All communications come through the community team. The internal workings at Bioware are so invisible and secretive that we have no idea of what is going on. They say they see us and what the community does but they rarely show or prove that they do.

There was a follow up developer post, by Alex Modney, which thanked the players who took the time to test the new Warzone and Arena. Unfortunately, the post has since been removed when they recently wiped the PTS Forums. Basically he said that they had a fix for the instant-death bug we experienced on the final weekend of testing and reiterated that they appreciated and had read the feedback on the forums from the players. I guess we’ll have to wait until the 5th of April to see if they changed or added anything.

For testing the new Warzone, there really needed to be a variety of players of varying skill level and a greater abundance of different classes to ensure the Warzone was fit to be released. As it stands now, there are great concerns in the community surrounding class balance. The new Warzone in particular makes certain classes which are already considered OP even more OP. Certain mechanics within the Warzone which are heavily RNG dependent are also of concern. Too much about the Odessen Warzone is dependent on luck when it should be determined more by player skill. More players would’ve made this flaw even more obvious in my view.

odessenwzdefcan

There is perhaps a chance that with the impending Eternal Championship testing that Bioware could offer some incentives to get people to come on and test it. I suspect there may be a few more people testing out the EC then the WZ but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Either way, I hope for future testing that we can get more people to come onto the PTS. I hope Bioware will make more of an effort to advertise testing, offer incentives to entice people to come onto the PTS and take advantage of a great opportunity to engage and interact with the community.

Did you test the new Warzone and Arena on the PTS? Do you think Bioware did a good job or should they have done more?


If you’re after a guide about the new Warzone, Odessen Proving Grounds I have a guide you can read here or you can listen to me talk over the basics in my segment on Passionately Casual Episode 16.

*Unfortunately all the threads and Dev posts relating to the new Warzone and Arena testing were wiped from the PTS forums recently so I can not link to them.

 

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  • Really good points about the incentives to play on the PTS. I think adding CC as a reward (even if it’s just a little bit), or even a legacy title would create a community buzz that would both fuel the beta testing and the involvement with the game in general in a positive way.