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New Game Features Creation of "Alpha" world

Burger Meister Meister

Well-Known Member
Problem:
Game developers are introducing new features and making significant changes to the game in the Beta world.
In the software delivery cycle the Beta delivery should be about fixing bugs, not about introducing new features.

The Beta world is about 2 weeks ahead of the Live world which means that any significant changes that were introduced into Beta are already committed to going Live.

As can be seen by the significant negative feedback from the past couple of events the player community, both in Beta and the Live world, has not been happy with some of the new features.

Game designers are essentially working in a vacuum as it is too late to make any significant changes before moving to the Live servers and there is little opportunity to respond to feedback.

Solution:
Introduce a new "Alpha" world where the game designers can go nuts with new ideas.
The Alpha world is an opportunity for designers to get early feedback from players as to what they like and what they don't like. What is playable and what isn't playable.

Ideas introduced in the Alpha world do not automatically go into Beta. If there is enough acceptance from the Alpha player community (or lack of negative feedback) then it can move to Beta.

It would be expected that many ideas would die in Alpha and never make it to Beta.
There is no time line linking Alpha to Beta as in the case of Beta to Live (2 weeks). If it moves from Alpha to Beta it will be done when the idea has been sold to the community.
It is also completely understood that the Alpha world could have many bugs. The Alpha world is for testing the waters of new ideas.
Bugs are fixed in Beta, assuming an idea makes it to Beta.

Thanks, BMMB
 

Dony

King of Bugs
this game is from free to play company, introducing alpha servers means, closing this company, just because they wouldnt have income to maintan the game, if all they would do is reiterate every single suggestion from community over and over again without earning any money. not gonna happen ever. they do what they can with human resources they have, unless they double or triple that amount, which is not so easy as you can think of
 

Heymrdiedier

Well-Known Member
im pretty sure, there is an alpha world and its at inno headquarters. there they fire all their ideas and the product managers decide which goes through in the end. And they are gonna make decisions based on how they are gonna get an income. Very logical.

You are upset/angry about the last events, and it is your right to be so. But its not because theres negative feedback, that there is actually something wrong. The amount of players who won more then 2 of the same bear and have those max level is pretty high. while the complaints were: ooh we are never gonna be able to get 1 to max.

If inno changes something completely, the main reason will be because they were getting less money out of it.
So the big changes in the past event are done for a reason.

Although i also often have trouble understanding their decisions: examples: Event outpost is pretty useless with endless quests. spend 10$ or do 5 extra quests? If you make all rewards mediocre, people wont be triggered to spend money on it.
If you make diamond expansions price unreasonable high, thats also gonna end in less players buying them.
 

UlyssesBlue

Well-Known Member
When the spire was introduced it came to beta in a partial form, and had no fixed timeline for when it would arrive in Live. Its purpose here was to get the balancing issues right, get player feedback, gradually roll out each of the components, etc, and didn't go to Live until most of the issues had been ironed out. I think this game could really benefit from having a place where new features were tested more thoroughly like that, whether it's the existing beta world, or a new alpha world. Currently features don't make it to beta until pretty much everything is done except for ironing out the last minute bugs, and it gets rolled out to Live after 2 weeks regardless of its performance here, which means if any serious issues make it as far as beta, they'll mostly end up on Live unchanged as well.
 

Burger Meister Meister

Well-Known Member
What I am trying to suggest is some form of mechanism that game designers can use to bounce their ideas off of players before forcing it onto the entire live community.

Feedback in the forums corroborated with conversation in the FS indicates that players are not happy with changes that have been made over the past several months.

This was a fun game and could be a great game but not without a little more attention paid to your players. If my company operated this way we would be out of business long ago.

An Alpha world was just one possibility. If someone else has a better idea on how to get game developers working with players earlier in the game feature development stage then I am more than willing to help provide input on those ideas.

this game is from free to play company, introducing alpha servers means, closing this company, just because they wouldnt have income to maintan the game, if all they would do is reiterate every single suggestion from community over and over again without earning any money. not gonna happen ever. they do what they can with human resources they have, unless they double or triple that amount, which is not so easy as you can think of
That makes no sense at all. In order to develop a game feature the game developers have to have access to test servers where they can develop and test their ideas before introducing it to the Beta world. So, don't can it Alpha world, Call it "test" world.

I am not asking the developers to "reiterate every single suggestion from community over and over again without earning any money". Actually the opposite is true. In order for them to earn money they have to put out "good" features that players will want to play. The more a player likes a feature the more he/she will play it and get their friends involved. There is not going to be any growth in the community if a large number of players are saying "this is crap", "this is not fun", why am I wasting my time", "I would rather be doing...", etc. That's just not good for business.

What I am asking is that developers give the "test" community an early glimpse at what they are working on to see if it is truly a money making feature. Are players going to enjoy it.

The perfect example is the current Winter event. I am sure that if the developers were reminded that this is a strategy game and not a casino they might have done something better with the rewards system. All of the negative feedback must be embarrassing for someone on the Inno team.

The Alpha/Test world doesn't need to be a big world occupying 1000's of servers. It can be a small world with limited enrollment with players from various levels of progress from Chapter 1 all the way up to Chapter 15.

I have been doing software development for over 35 years and been involved in cloud computing since 2013. I know that these things are possible.
 

Heymrdiedier

Well-Known Member
This is capitalism:

while i understand what you asking, and i also wished they listened to the community more, i can only notice one thing.
Like you said a normal company would be out of business already, but this one isnt, in fact they are making good money out of it, so they must still be doing something right so that players still wanna play this game.

Also there is loads of complaints on the forums, thats also true, but almost all of those complaints come from people who hardly spent anything on this game.

the only way you will influence this company is by not spending a dime when they do something you dont like, (and the signal is louder if noone would spend), but to also spend money when you do like something. Thats the way you can influence the game designers. threatening to quit playing or stop spending when you never spent anything in the first place, isnt really gonna affect anything. In fact i believe they are happy to see non-spenders go and replace them with spenders.

Its harsh, but i think this is the truth, and it wouldnt be my business model to run a company, but its a business model nonetheless, and one thats working for inno. ( i personally like the ikea model, please the masses with cheap prizes, but see that the ticket is pretty high at the register - or like fortnite)
 

Lovec Krys

Well-Known Member
In fact i believe they are happy to see non-spenders go and replace them with spenders.
If the non-spenders quit that doesn't mean that they will be replaced with spenders...
From my experience, when non/low spenders mass quit, the spenders follows with a delay. The game can still exists for years, but with rapidly shrinking player base there will be limited number of new players and of course potentional spenders. So there will be hardly any spender replacing a quitting non-spender. And sooner or later you will get to the point when your income shrinks despite the rising prices for everything. I know such a game which still exists, but there are no new players and the remaining player base has shrunk to the fraction and the income from the game is conctantly shrinking while prices for premium content has risen to the skies (basicaly for a new player to become competitive, you need to pay thousands of dollars, otherwise the game has become unplayable, so logically no new players).
So if you want to have a succesfull game, you have to treat well enough non-spenders too, otherwise you won't have enough new paying players to replace the quitting ones and the game will be doomed.
 

Burger Meister Meister

Well-Known Member
@Heymrdiedier @Lovec Krys
Or even worse yet they turn small spenders into non-spenders.

I admit that I don't spend a lot of money on this game but in the past I have been known to buy the occasional diamond pack when they go on sale.
So I would consider myself a "small time spender".
With the latest set of changes I don't feel the urge to spend money just to beat the game. Rather I don't want to waste my money on something that I am not happy with.

What they have effectively done is turn a small time spender into a non-spender thus reducing their incoming.
Remember that money isn't made from a handful of big time spenders but rather a massive quantity of small time spenders. Its the model that stores like Costco and Price Club are successful with. Sell lots for small margins and make a lot of money.
 

Loki Blue

Well-Known Member
-1

Beta is functioning exactly as it is supposed to. New features are introduced here and we Beta players test them. Cities on the Beta server were never meant to be played like cities on Live servers are. If playing on Beta server is problematic for you (or anyone else), play on one of the Live servers. Simple as that.
 

Burger Meister Meister

Well-Known Member
@Loki Blue , I disagree. Beta is 2 weeks before it goes live.
I have no problem playing on Beta with the full understand that it is not Live
Beta is for fixing bugs not for introducing new features.

Ask any software developers of large projects and they will tel you that they go through a minimum life cycle of; Alpha --> Beta --> Release Candidate (RC) and finally --> Production

Beta gives the opportunity to test under stress where bugs are more likely to be found.
 

Arayla

Well-Known Member
In my experience, Alpha is too buggy to even get a good understanding of new features. I've never worked for a company that allowed customers into their Alpha servers.

I think what you are asking for is to be part of a User Interview or a Focus Group.
 

UlyssesBlue

Well-Known Member
In my experience, Alpha is too buggy to even get a good understanding of new features. I've never worked for a company that allowed customers into their Alpha servers.

I think what you are asking for is to be part of a User Interview or a Focus Group.
A focus group would be an acceptable solution as well.
 

Burger Meister Meister

Well-Known Member
A focus group would be an acceptable solution as well.
@Arayla A Focus group would be an excellent idea.

As far as Alpha is concerned, yes it can contain bugs but don't make the assumption that it would be too buggy to play. If it is that buggy then it isn't even ready for Alpha release yet.

In the industry an "Alpha" release is intended to give clients a "first look" at the concepts in the software.
 

LArsouille

Well-Known Member
there is Beta 2 that exists. the moderators, and the other members of the staff test before beta1 all the new features of the game :)