What do you think of Early Access?

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Doctor Tyche
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What do you think of Early Access?

In 2016, the big buzzword for games was "Early Access." While we were under development, the image of early access changed from the Minecraft model for supporting games we were excited about into a kind of sales model. Too many games went for Early Access, which means more games failed which were Early Access.

But, we are asked if we will offer some form of early access, be it an alpha, beta, or what have you. And, the truth is, such an idea is on the table, but with the state of the early access market as it is right now, it would be foolish to rush into things.

I think this video covers the concerns over Early Access reasonably well:

So, what are your thoughts? When is it right to offer access to the game?

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Lothic
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The main difference between

The main difference between what most people call "alpha" testing versus "beta" testing usually involves how many "end users" are involved. I'd have no problem with CoT being initially alpha tested only by "Devs, friends and family" at first and then having more open betas later on. Sure I'd personally want to play anything related to the game ASAP, but frankly you don't really need a bunch of random potential players stumbling around with something that's only like 10-20% finished.

As far a early access goes I'd definitely follow the advice of the attached video and try to get the game as launch-ready as possible before you offer any deal that could be categorized as pre-paid early access. As the vid implies the concept of early access is really only negative if you try to pull it out it too early - get a beta build out that's arguably 80-90% playable and I think you'd be fine with it.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Pyromantic
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It's hard to give an unbiased

It's hard to give an unbiased opinion on this. For me personally, I was unaware of the kickstarter until after it passed, so I guess I'm not currently slated to get any access to the game before the general public. That said, if there's another round of fundraising I will absolutely be in there, regardless of its particular form.

But I have to say, one of the main reasons I have more confidence in this game than any other CoH spiritual successor is because you have shown patience in developing the game in the best manner you can. If there were to be some form of early access, and if that generated negative publicity in the way so many early access games have, it would be an awful shame to damage the game's chances of long-term success.

Arguably, you are already offering early access by planning to launch below the intended level cap; I think going much further than that is likely to do more harm than good.

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I would prefer a more

I would prefer a more traditional alpha-closed beta-beta sort of access in a game like this. The early access is fine for certain games (IMO, primarily ones you can play stand-alone or with just a couple friends) as long as they have the content to make it interesting at the start and enough fresh material added often enough to maintain interest without being irritating when you have to start all over again from scratch.

A huge issue either way is that there is enough willingness to be open to player critique and to new ideas, and enough people working on things to implement updates and those new ideas with a certain level of frequency so it doesn't seem like things are being ignored.

I never felt so frustrated as when I was doing closed beta for a game like SW:TOR and kept asking them to consider more costuming options, more customization, and having multiple ways for new characters to start out so that they don't have to repeat the same missions over and over and over again, and it seemed like those were simply ignored at the time. As an admitted alt-oholic, and one who knows a *lot* of people who are the same way, those things are very important to maintaining long-term interest in a game.

I seem to have a particular knack for doing things in a manner not "intended" by the game devs, so I end up finding a lot of places to get stuck in, missions that won't complete because you do things in a different sequence, etc. There has to be a willingness to take care of those things, imo. I typically focus on testing early game stuff a lot because I think that if you don't grab the players attention early then they might just abandon the game and move on. So many of the early access things I've looked at seemed to have a certain path the devs chose and they kept going down that path regardless of broken things already in place that needed attention, and fast.

Things like that are why I am very hesitant to jump in to paying for a game that hasn't undergone a fair bit of play by people not in on the development - I don't mind the testing, but I hate the idea of me having to pay them to tell them what's broken with their game. There are also quite a few game titles that have been in "beta" for years and years, and that's basically a cop-out to me so that the dev team can excuse away broken bits of the game that they're not addressing.

CoT will be a bit different for me, because I've already committed my money to the project, and therefore have a vested interest in seeing that the game becomes a success so that I feel as if I've "invested" in a game instead of feeling I've wasted money.

(insert pithy comment here)

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I agree with the general

I agree with the general consensus so far. Do it VERY carefully and conservatively, or not at all.

Being accused of being vaporware isn't nearly as bad as being publicly panned early on for being a bad or broken game--and we've clearly seen that early peeks are often met with unfair criticism due to lack of undertanding and impatience.

Also, from a risk/reward perspective, from all the failed or foundering early-access games we can clearly see the risk. I'm not sure the potential reward is even close to worth it.

PS- I guess the excetion to this would be if our early acces was just unarguably amazing. If we really blew people away with it. That'd be a win, of course. But short of that... seems dangerous, and for what?

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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I'm of the opinion that if I

I'm of the opinion that if I'm paying to play a game then it has launched. Especially with MMOs, for which any monthly fee or transaction is intended to maintain and develop the game, I consider it disingenuous for a developer to take a "you can't hold us responsible, we're still in early access" approach. Besides, as DocT has repeatedly pointed out, keeping a game "live" for this early access stuff is expensive.

No surprise that my vote is that when the game is ready for beta testing it be made available for beta testing.

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Cobalt Azurean
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The first time I read the

The first time I read the words 'Early Access', I thought it meant 'early start before official game launch', like the head-start that CoH had. I soon learned it was more like, 'pay us to play our product and give us feedback which we may never implement in a game that may never launch', which I consider to be more like a closed-ish beta. Closed in the sense that there is a barrier to entry, which is the fee or charge or pay-to-play or whatever you wish to call it.

Much like how going free-to-play was previously viewed as being the death knell for a game, it seems the current impression of Early Access is that it's basically a money-grab taking advantage of eager fan-players of the product. And while it may not actually be that duplicitous, and it may never have been intended to be as such, perception is reality, especially on the internet, and may change over time if developers do EA and do EA correctly.

If you are going to do a real beta to receive feedback, don't charge people money for it. That seems like dirty pool and the true crux of the Early Access perception problem. After all, there are other, what I would consider more legitimate, ways to solicit for additional monies. I already have money invested in this game in more than one way, but I still wouldn't pay for Early Access.

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While some games go through

While some games have used/are using early access relatively successfully (Darkest Dungeon and Rimworld come to mind), it is a potential minefield. It is no substitute for real Alpha or Beta testing in my opinion, and if employed by MWM, then it should be used carefully - probably near the end of development to open up the game and catch any last-minute issues - especially server-related stuff. Actually paying for the game, as opposed to being invited to a beta, changes the dynamic slightly - people tend to feel more entitled, and are more vocal. It really can be a double-edged sword.

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I understand that with four

I understand that with four CoH successors, there will be benefits to going first. And if you can go first as an 'early access' game, then there's your value. But if you don't give a good experience, you could at best drive people to the other three or at worst pollute the waters so badly that no one is interested in the other three.

There is also value at letting another game go to early access first, and lurk on the discussion forums to see the kind of feedback they get; all the while running your own closed alphas and betas.

I've played in a few closed betas that made it to open beta but never went beyond that. Those were good experiences but the games were unfinished, poorly translated or otherwise not ready. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

I'd rather see a big hype train for an official launch with head-start access available to people willing to pay for it.


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Software testing is something

Software testing is something I do at work, I'm happy to document bugs for a product that is not quite ready to ensure it is playable at release. However it seems like the video's definition of "early release" is mostly about cash flow, 'playing', with incidental 'testing'. Without knowing a lot about the expected timeline and scope of CoT I'd err on the side of saying a significantly buggy (pre) release is not optimal.

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One of my most personally

One of my most personally impressive interactions with a GM/Dev was in 'Age of Conan' and well after any alpha/beta period, when the game was fully live. The 'tutorial' in that game is 20 levels worth of content packed into a single cluster of zones and in playing it, I had discovered a serious problem. In one particular location, it was a trivial matter to accidentally slip through the geometry and fall several "hundred feet" (subjective) to one's death.

I fell and died, so I submitted a bug report and continued to play, but when I fell through a second time and got hung-up, embedded in the geometry, then I hollered for a GM to come pull me out. The amazing thing is, the guy came to look at me in 'invisible angel' fashion, said it should be impossible for me to have gotten where I was, then asked if I minded helping him document the issue. I agreed, and spent the next half-hour being teleported and resurrected over and over, as I Deliberately explored the limits of that invisible hole. The GM was very pleasant to work with in chat and used his incorporeal status to fly all over with a virtual camera shooting movies of my repeated horrible deaths.

It turns out, what I had run into was a place where a stairwell, a floor, and a wall came together, and the underlying structure had a gap between those interacting surfaces. It was not obvious, because the Texture overlays overlapped and interpenetrated properly. So I'd found a spot where one could walk along innocently, slip through a crack and fall for 100K damage.

And, after the next patch, it was no longer possible to fall through at that spot. I was seriously impressed!

This kind of respectful Player/GM interaction is something I've never encountered elsewhere... except 'way back when' in EverQuest. I certain that, if I run into any trouble playing City of Titans, my interactions with GMs will be similar.

On topic, though, I have to agree that any sort of 'Early Access' program should not happen until after 'closed beta', or as part of it. I'd almost have to expect it would be limited to 'genuine citizens' of the community and might include a brief NDA. I think there might need to be multiple rounds of 'open beta', as well, and I would run it in a 'Test Server' environment, where nothing was permanent.

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I have to agree with the

I have to agree with the sentiment here. If I were in MWM's shoes, I'd only pursue the early access route if it was a necessary part of my business planning model. By that I mean do you need (not nice to have but need) an infusion of capital or a "soft" opening just before a full blown live launch? Well then early access might be something worth considering. Even then I'd have to evaluate early access versus other alternatives to meet these same objectives. I most certainly would not do it as some kind of player perk, development on the fly, or something of open ended duration.

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I'm not personally looking

I'm not personally looking forward to ultra-early access and debugging the game. I want to play the finished product more than anything else. If that means making most of the testing open only to devs and maybe a few select Kickstarters, fine by me. I'd even give up any beta access to someone else if they have a person in mind that could be more helpful in actually fixing problems than I would be.

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Early Access? DON'T

Early Access? DON'T

I've played too many games that died early because they were released too early.


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My only early access

My only early access experience (Killing Floor 2 if it matters )was gifted to me by a friend for my birthday. Although I enjoyed playing it and seeing the various changes as the game was figured out, I think the overall effect it had on the player base was negative.

I look forward to the open betas and if tapped I'd love to help with closed testing, but I don't think early access would help.

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I'm with the general

I'm with the general consensus here, especially:

Darth Fez wrote:

I'm of the opinion that if I'm paying to play a game then it has launched. Especially with MMOs, for which any monthly fee or transaction is intended to maintain and develop the game, I consider it disingenuous for a developer to take a "you can't hold us responsible, we're still in early access" approach.

I don't have a great impression of Early Access and would suggest MWM avoid it unless there were a desperate financial need to push the game through to fully live. And even then that it be done with a huge helping of caution.

I'd rather see MWM go with Orson Welles' advice and sell no game before its time.

Spurn all ye kindle.

TitansCity
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How many sessions of betas

How many sessions of betas are you planning ? Just one,before launch ? Or maybe 2 or 3 sessions ? So as to detect errors and then correct defore an early access ?
To my opinion, an early access should be after the last beta session. Early access means what it means :) Access the game earlier than other. But, it's not a beta.

Don't either forget that early access could also be a good way to stream (make the game famous) the game inside communities, friends, etc but it can also "disguss" some players that are quickly fed up with new things.
What is great with early access is to have a feedback from users to point what to do before launching the game, but it means having an early access, then, before the beta than after.

Indeed, it depends on what you need :) An early access is not a bad thing, unless you have a plan for it to aim a fixed goal :)

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I don't have anything to add

I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said.

I, also, feel that early access of this type is not worth the risk.

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Please don't rush this game,

Please don't rush this game, I have high hopes for this to be the revival of CoH. There's definitely a lot of work to be done to live up to that expectation. To put in my 2 cents, I really think the story needs to be strong and to be honest I'm not feeling the prototypes for the current team to be. I'm really looking forward to seeing the end product and will for sure be keeping tabs on CoT.

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I understand what you mean,
bambam23 wrote:

and to be honest I'm not feeling the prototypes for the current team to be.

I understand what you mean.

But I bet if before any of us played CoH we had been presented the team prototypes ahead of time, many of us who now fondly remember and love them wouldn't have been feeling them either. Or Superman, Spider-man, Batman, The Hulk, Wolverine, etc. for that matter.

It's all about where they go with them.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

Darkfaith
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If Early Access is sort of a

If Early Access is sort of a late beta thing, when the game is pretty well done, it can be beneficial. As others have said, though, there is a very negative view of it, these days....and if it's done too early, it can hurt the game in the long run. I'd be for a very late early access, but nothing of the sort that say....VO is doing. I like where VO is going, but I also realize that I have a better understanding of the development process than the average user. The average user will make harmful assumptions about an unfinished product.

Halae
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I'm personally of the opinion

I'm personally of the opinion that "Early Access" hurts launch sales. I tune into the Co-optional podcast every week, and for a very long time now the group that does that caps off the show with a releases list, and every time they come to an early access game that's finally officially released, it's always "wow, that finally released? well, I got bored of it before when it was still crap, so I don't really care about it now."

Beta events are where it's at, I think. you can do some stress testing and give the community previews of the end result while controlling the hype. the events become appetizers, rather than an unfinished main course that leaves people with a distaste for the game due to its unfinished state. A weekend or a week where people get to play, and then things go internal again so that the devs can address feedback and the problems that arose before doing another event and seeing what the feedback now is - people will still be excited for release and won't be burned out on Early Access bullshit, while still giving devs that valuable beta feedback.

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I'm with Halae here. I think

I'm with Halae here. I think Alpha should be in shop. Now there are some that did good Subnautica is a game I Early Accessed to and didn't feel like it was not finished. Even when I bought it the thing was beautiful and still growing. That said it's the DEVs that make an Early Access worth it. Same with Kirble Space Program the Devs were very open and honest about what's being done.

I ran around VO and felt I was in a place with cardboard cut out buildings. The magic wasn't there yet and haven't logged back in.

So I say Early Access should be Beta stage at least. Enough done to have something rememberable, but not having players feel they are in an empty world. I been in a few Beta's including Elder Scrolls Online.

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MONEY GRUBBING?

MONEY GRUBBING?

"Early access" smacks of elitism and money grabbing to me. Neither is what I understand COT to be about. Now it is a business whether we like that or not. It needs to be run well in order to preserve the game. So if "early access" is needed, so be it.

That being said I think that we should BETA the H. E. Double Hockeysticks out of it with those of us that have an interest in producing the best experience possible. Once ready, release it.

To be fair we should also consider what is perhaps the opposite direction, free release weekend or week to be fair to weekend workers. I'm not for it either, but what are the reasons to do one versus the other?

"THE TITANS ARE COMING! THE TITANS ARE COMING!"

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"When is it right to offer

"When is it right to offer access to the game?"
Sorry Doc for speaking more to the thread conversation than the specific question. I suspect that it will be ready to release once the experience is sufficiently positive for most players to want to play more. Also it needs to be good enough that any overly negative critics will need to think twice for concern of seeming out of touch or just flat out wrong.

By the way, given some of the recent updates I think this project is headed in that direction. It's starting to look like COH was a proof of concept for COT. Please let me know if you have need of a Jenkins build master.

"THE TITANS ARE COMING! THE TITANS ARE COMING!"

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There's a difference between

There's a difference between "early access" and a "launch head start" ... with the former being unacceptable while the latter is in keeping in the spirit of precedent.

For too many other games, "early access" turns into a sort of Eat Your Cake Before It's Baked kind of thing, where it's very possible to "take the money and run" leaving behind broken promises and an unfinished broken game.

And I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned yet that in the context of City of Titans, the only EARLY ACCESS release the game ought to have is ... the Avatar Builder. Seriously ... the Avatar Builder and being able to load up a collection of Hellwreckage soundtracks ought to be all the hype building the game should need while the finish and polish gets put onto the game itself.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

There's a difference between "early access" and a "launch head start" ... with the former being unacceptable while the latter is in keeping in the spirit of precedent.
For too many other games, "early access" turns into a sort of Eat Your Cake Before It's Baked kind of thing, where it's very possible to "take the money and run" leaving behind broken promises and an unfinished broken game.
And I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned yet that in the context of City of Titans, the only EARLY ACCESS release the game ought to have is ... the Avatar Builder. Seriously ... the Avatar Builder and being able to load up a collection of Hellwreckage soundtracks ought to be all the hype building the game should need while the finish and polish gets put onto the game itself.

I completely agree and I was going to comment to that effect.

The early access method is too risky. The game's draw is forging your own story, exploring the world and working with/against others. Why spoil that experience? Why allow what I presume to be an unfinished product shape those perceptions of the game? Communities like Twitch will scoop CoT up like the daily special, chew on it for a couple days then spit it out (to whatever end). The Character Creator in CoX was basically a game within itself. You got to create a super that conformed to your own expectations and desires without having to take one step into the game. It did help to know how powers functioned within the game, but conceptually you could play out your own mental version of your character within the confines of the character creator.

The Avatar Builder should be the primary publically facing element of the game. Let the public fill in the gaps with their hopes, dreams and desires (pull an Inception on us). I'll get into the Beta style testing element later, but at its core, the game experience should be available no earlier than a "launch head start".

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Like pretty much all the feed

Like pretty much all the feed back here, I'd avoid early access unless the game is pretty much finished. I do think a beta weekend to stress test the servers and find bugs (and to wet one's appetite) is a smart way to go about it but an all out pay to play for early access I don't think is wise. After the beta, take the feedback and findings back in house, address the issues and go from there. That's my two cents on this...

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

load up a collection of Hellwreckage soundtracks

Speaking of which, weren't two tracks being finished and the soundtrack was supposed to be released?

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After listening to that video

After listening to that video I have to agree with everyone else. DON'T!

I get the impression that a lot of the less scrupulous studios are use Steam's Early Access functions as a form of Kickstarter. Stick with internal Alpha's and early betas, closed betas, then open betas. You could offer the Server loading beta on Steam as by that time you have a product that is, what, 90% or more done?

I would only offer Early Start for those who pre-order the game, just as CoH did. Incidentally, I ordered their game will still doing the beta and ended up with two game codes, one from beta and one from the pre-order. Each code had different benefits and couldn't be combined. So I got one and my son ended up with the other. Of course he had to wait as he was only 4 at the time it came out, but he got lots of practice on Daddies lap in the meantime (kept making my character jump in the middle of combat, great fun! Tab Targeting for the Win!!!)

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Consider my vote going into

Consider my vote going into the "please don't do early access" column. We have too many cautionary tales out now, imo. Too many games that used 'early access' as an excuse to release empty, unfinished products. Not saying you guys would do that, but it just screams of bad idea to me nonetheless.

As an original kickstarter backer, I'll be happy to participate in the bugfinding mish that is beta. But beyond that I want launch to be launch, and none of that early access stuff.

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So to recap. Early access is

So to recap. Early access is not something that works out for most studios. It's not something the most people come away from with higher expectations for the full launch. There is such a thing as early release hell. And generally don't do it.

It seems to me that early access started as a glorified head start, then turned into a open beta, and now has devolved into closed beta and even alpha categories of development. I agree with everyone else that early access is not something to mess around with. Keep everything as a beta test until it's ready for full release. If things do go sideways, it allows you to step back and say, "It was just a test, we're working on it." If it's early access and people have put down money then you can't say that anymore. Frankly I'd keep everything as closed beta until you are ready to bombard the server with traffic. heck even if you are ready to do that keep calling it a closed beta even if you are approving any tom dick and sally that sign up for closed beta. Because it doesn't give the impression that the game is ready. You, as devs, can't behave like any other studio because you aren't like any other studio. This is your first rodeo and you are not professionals. Not saying you don't behave professionally but you are not making your money this way so you can't hold yourself to another studio's standards.

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I do not know the composition

I do not know the composition of the MWM crew. There is a non-insignificant need for a tester role in software development. If you have that covered, great. If you don't, you cannot rely on DEV to properly test the software. They can test the code, but testing the software is a different matter. For one, their time is better spent creating the code. Secondarily, they do not have the perspective to be an advocate for the user.

My frame of reference defines Alpha as functional code that allows you to test a narrow set of functionalities at an early stage of development. It provides you with the capability to walk through a scenario; something as simple as dying in combat and reviving at the hospital to accepting a quest, completing it and turning it in. The software is not bug free and it is not complete. The only people looking at the software are internal to the company.

My frame of reference defines Beta as being code complete (i.e. all planned code has been finished). All of the features are accessible, it is not bug free, and any features that the team wants to add are budgeted & scheduled. End to end scenarios are feasible at this point. In a closed Beta, only the team and a select set of users that fit a profile or have influence on end to end scenarios have access (NDA for anyone not on the team). In a wide Beta, the net gets cast a little bigger (in your case, probably KS backers).

Given my 'extensive' understanding of MWM dynamics and scheduling my suggestion would be as follows:
* Use the Avatar Builder as your first and primary publically facing exposure. Make sure you have information easily available to the public that wants to know more (release schedule, concept info and scope for the game, links to the dev videos, etc).
* Keep Closed Beta and/or Wide Beta as restricted as possible. NDAs all around for everyone. Maybe tap into the KS backer pool to help test and find bugs.
* If you do a load test, restrict the scope of the playable area to something like the CoV prison breakout. Stick to whatever parameters you set, get the data, then pull the plug.
* Do a launch head start for the KS backers

This is the part where I lament not knowing about the KS when it was open.

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I'd go classic with a F&F

I'd go classic with a F&F alpha for systems testing, then maybe open up to the biggest of the KS supporters with a closed alpha until you've nailed down the systems you want to include at launch. Then a closed beta with limited participation, maybe opening it in tiers of support or timing to get you enough numbers for decent testing.

I'm not a fan of open beta because it is considered early access, so as long as you keep any access closed with an NDA, that's what I'd recommend.

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What I am about to say is

What I am about to say is meant in no way derogatorily towards the other successor projects, it is meant as a statement about the current position of this project and is relevant to the topic of early access--and more.

With the cancellation of SoH's kickstarter and their decision to now follow a limited/early release strategy that is similar to the tack that Valiance has taken, combined with the fact that Heroes and Villains is not planning on producing anything playable anytime soon, and the fact that all three of these games seem to be planning on staying nearly identical in look and play-style to their predecessor--I think that Missing Worlds Media and City of Titans are in a perfect position to distinguish themselves with the full launch of a true, AAA MMORPG that is (as planned) not as much a re-make of City of Heroes as a next-gen game that takes the look and gameplay further.

I also think that the timing might be perfect in that MWM seems to be reaching a point where they are capable of releasing the kind of things most people seem to want to see as teasers for a game, rather than the unavoidable "sausage making" that they've been limited to releasing due to both the nature of having Kickstarted a game from effectively (with the engine change) day one and the fact that they (wisely) chose a "modular" development strategy where various facets of the game are worked on fairly independently and not merged until necessary.

Essential to taking advantage of this opportunity is, secondarily, getting the game released while there is still a relative vacuum of a fully-released successor to City of Heroes, but, primarily, that the game be a good, full AAA game that will not get broadly panned (other than by the run-of-the-mill haters who pan everything) and that is engaging to play, not just for CoH Refugees or Superhero fans, but as an MMORPG in general.

This last, primary point is intensified by the fact that City of Titans is not bringing a known IP to the table like DCUO or Marvel Heroes, so the game has to stand on it's own merits fully and completely to truly succeed. So when it comes, it has to bring it.

I truly believe that the opportunity that I have outlined above is real and can be taken advantage of with an heroic effort.

But, then, that's what we do.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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Kudos, sir. Well said!

Kudos, sir. Well said!

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Hear, Hear!

Hear, Hear!

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I think Early Access is a

I think Early Access is a great tool to build hype for the game.......when used correctly. My suggestion is thus:

Inaccessible Alpha:
This is inhouse ONLY! You guys have worked too hard to let people who traditionally dont understand the true meaning of Alpha see the game in this state. They will NOT understand and they will NOT be kind.

Beta 1:
First public access version of the game. Extremely limited to a very few people, mostly friends/family/trusted community folk under strict NDA.

Beta 2:
Larger Access version of the game. Possibly via invite. Still closed to the 'Public' mind you, but a good way to stress test the weight of the game and begin getting the word out. while NDA is still in effect, expect some of the more passionate public to begin leaking info about the game.

Beta 3:
Largest access version of the game pre launch. I would use this one to satisfy my Kickstarter access promises, as well as limited Media invite as well. Most importantly, last half/quarter/3 days of Beta 3 would/could serve as my 'Early Access' window.

My point is the same as the others: could be a good tool if used correctly, but a Very Risky prospect for possible little gain and big losses. I wouldnt consider it until the game is in a really polished state, even if that means i dont get a chance to see/touch it until Next Year.

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Good way to get some extra

Good way to get some extra cash AND beta testers!

You hear the dead, their bones shake and rattle for you to join them. So you will.

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I think early access is a

I think early access is a powerful development tool (whether we're talking about "Early Access" or any form of pre-launch testing by players), but only if you follow 2 basic safety rules:

1) It's free. If a developer is charging for it, their own motivations are going to get tangled up and lead to bad decisions about quality and design. Player expectations will also get tangled up, leading to disappointments and negative reviews. If you (or any indie game devs) need money prior to a high-quality launch, the best way is to ask for it. That keeps expectations and motivations as clean and clear as possible.

2) Do it for the right reasons. Either...

a) To help the players explore their options, without creating a "haves versus have-nots" situation. Example - releasing a basic but functioning character creator to everyone to allow a head start on cosmetic aspects, and build excitement to help you sell the game at launch. This kind of partial launch of one game aspect should demonstrate the quality you expect the whole game to have at launch; it should be well-annotated where any pieces are missing, for instance, and it should not give early access players any significant in-game advantages over players who start at launch.

b) To improve the game's quality - This also has to done to high standards or it's a waste of time for all involved, and can lead to negative reviews from those who would otherwise be your strongest supporters. If you're going to have player testers at any stage prior to launch, pay very close attention to them and treat them with the same respect deserved by your internal test crew. Listen to their reports, maintain a near-real-time searchable list of known bugs which they can view, and don't call a bug fixed until they've retested and confirmed it's solved. If they report a non-bug issue (such as a class balancing concern), discuss it with all player testers in a private forum, and even when there's disagreement (between the testers or between testers and devs), maintain communication in each issue's thread and find a way forward that emphasizes and implements as many points of common ground as you can.

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EA is great in the right

EA is great in the right hands. Ark Survival Evolved just single handily annihilated people's perception of EA. These people had the nerve to release a paid DLC to pass it along as testing, and the fanbase actually brought into that garbage and defend them. These folks will not even optimize the game. They prioritize content over development.

If CoT where to do a EA, it would go well. The game is well known as the the most successful successor. Many have been waiting for it and do not know what happened. The issues i have with EA are dependent on the people doing it. I would not bother with EA if VO released it.

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I am of the opinion that

I am of the opinion that early access isn't about testing or marketing. It is/should be a way for struggling developers to get an early infusion of money to complete development of the game.
Kinda like a crowd sourcing endeavor with only one pledge amount and one pledge reward.

That's not how many developers use EA and even some success stories like the aforementioned Ark:Survival Evolved seem to be abusing the system (they released a paid expansion while still in EA) by never leaving the EA program. As far as I can tell the most common reasons for these games to stay in EA long past their original intentions is due to feature creep and no incentive to finish. Contrary to common thinking, few games actually 'fail' in EA. Cancelled games involved in EA can be counted on your fingers. The reason why is a game can stay in EA long after development has been abandoned continuing to sell access.
The most visible EA games are shaping public perception about that program and casual consumers are becoming more and more wary/resistant of early access.

The true success of EA, from a gamer point of view, have been new/unique games concepts by smaller developers that have officially released . Games like Speedrunners, Plague Inc: Evolved, Broforce, Kerble Space Program and others had a defined release schedule and followed through. But these success stories come under the radar because they tend to be 'off the beaten path' games.

There is also issues with distribution contracts concerning EA. Steam, for example, has a different contract for EA than it does for full release games as one might expect. What many might not expect is that some of those differences restrict a game developers marketing and entail higher distribution fees.

My opinion is that unless MWM absolutely needs a cash infusion to complete the game they should avoid EA. It comes with too much baggage.

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The problem with recent EA

The problem with recent EA games is that their intentipn was never to really use it for optimization or to better the game as a whole, but as for money, as most know, in the business world, everyones favorite color is green. Its amazing how Ark has been "Early Access" for what, two years? Yet hasn't really changed much.

This has clearly left a smear on peoples perception of EA as Ark wasnt the only game to do it at that time.

I do believe CoT devs have no intention of anything like this, so EA might be a good idea, but it might be in your best interest to put big red text saying "This is not a projection of the final product" if EA does come around. I myself find that the main page updates are sufficient to keep me coming back.

As foolish as this seems,

Gotem.

From ya boy, Elios.

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I prefer the the closed alpha

I prefer the the closed alpha->closed beta->open beta model. I like the way the old MMOs like Everquest did it. Where you could buy a preorder of the game that guaranteed you access to open beta but you had to apply for closed beta and be invited. That method should help people realize that if they are in closed beta, they are testers and the game can change at any moment. Personally, I don't do closed beta or alphas any more because I find it very frustrating to get used to a system, such as crafting, and then have it be completely changed. I don't mind dealing with lag, or bug hunting, which in my mind is what open beta is for, stress testing and finding those bugs that having a ton of people on would flush out. I also don't think open beta should be much more than a couple of weeks. As far as Alpha and closed Beta go, I think they should go on for as long as they need to to get the game done.

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zyric wrote:
zyric wrote:

I prefer the the closed alpha->closed beta->open beta model. I like the way the old MMOs like Everquest did it. Where you could buy a preorder of the game that guaranteed you access to open beta but you had to apply for closed beta and be invited. That method should help people realize that if they are in closed beta, they are testers and the game can change at any moment. Personally, I don't do closed beta or alphas any more because I find it very frustrating to get used to a system, such as crafting, and then have it be completely changed. I don't mind dealing with lag, or bug hunting, which in my mind is what open beta is for, stress testing and finding those bugs that having a ton of people on would flush out. I also don't think open beta should be much more than a couple of weeks. As far as Alpha and closed Beta go, I think they should go on for as long as they need to to get the game done.

Except so many companies are now using the closed alphas and betas as their own fund-raising versions of Early Access to the extent that the only difference between them is whether they are on Steam or not.

I have played more than a few closed betas that never left beta before the game disappeared. And after the fact, it was clear that it was all just a money grab. The most glaring example was Black Gold Online, which was a very ambitious game, but it was in a constant state of Beta for its entire life.


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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

The most glaring example was Black Gold Online, which was a very ambitious game, but it was in a constant state of Beta for its entire life.

Sounds like that one had a vaguely predictive name given its shady outcome.

This whole question about whether MWM should be open to get money from any EA activities is a tough one. Even though I'm personally willing to trust that this particular game is not a front for a "fly-by-night" outfit that's just trying to scam for money it's clear that other EAs have had such bad reputations that maybe MWM should try to avoid that trap altogether.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

zyric
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Except so many companies are now using the closed alphas and betas as their own fund-raising versions of Early Access to the extent that the only difference between them is whether they are on Steam or not.

I have played more than a few closed betas that never left beta before the game disappeared. And after the fact, it was clear that it was all just a money grab. The most glaring example was Black Gold Online, which was a very ambitious game, but it was in a constant state of Beta for its entire life.

That is true now but, as I mentioned, I like the model the MMOs used to use. You couldn't buy your way into Alpha or closed Beta. They were invite only. You could only buy your way into open Beta, which was only a couple of weeks long, so it gets rid of the money grab issue because the company doesn't make most of their money until the game is released. I honestly don't mind doing community funding by selling badges, costumes, mounts, ect as long as it doesn't include Alpha or closed Beta access. That should be reserved for testers, not whoever happens to have the money to buy their way in. When the original preorders were introduced you paid $5 for the preorder, which was applied to the final purchase of the game when it was released. If you happen to buy it at a brick and mortar store, you didn't even have to buy the full game, and online they didn't bill you the full price until the game was actually released. If you wanted to you could buy the preorders from the various different distribution channels to get all of the in game goodies, but the cost of the full game was only reduced by one preorder. This is the model I prefer.

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Elios Valoryn wrote:
Elios Valoryn wrote:

The problem with recent EA games is that their intentipn was never to really use it for optimization or to better the game as a whole, but as for money, as most know, in the business world, everyones favorite color is green. Its amazing how Ark has been "Early Access" for what, two years? Yet hasn't really changed much.

This is a perfect example of what I meant by EA games shaping public perception about that program and casual consumers becoming more and more wary/resistant of early access.

Elios, I don't think developers who use the EA program are motivated purely by greed. There are unscrupulous developers of course but they are exceptions not the rule.
You could not have picked a worse example than Ark to claim developers don't work on games in EA. Of all the games I have seen in EA, Ark is the most consistently updated and improved game there is. Their sin is not under development its over development. They have what amounts to a completed game but they missed their release date in order to add new features and they even released a paid expansion while in EA.
This is the biggest problem with EA (IMO), there is no incentive to leave the EA program. It is unregulated monetization, especially in North America. Steam only just started being restrictive in what it allows to be in the program over a year ago.

Also, 2 years in EA is actually a bit below the average for those in the program. Kerbel, Plague Inc and Speedrunners all were in EA for at least 2 years. The more complex a game is, the longer it needs in development logically.

I agree that EA is poorly perceived but we should be factual in our arguments.

If, big if, MWM decided to adopt the EA program in any form I don't think they would abuse the system or treat it as a midnight cash grab. But the program is currently tainted by misconceptions and a lack of education about it. All games released with an Early Access sticker will have a stigma associated with it and this game in particular, with the way it is generally viewed outside of these forums, would be facing more public trust issues than most. I don't think EA is a good fit for CoT.

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Most games should have early

Most games should have early access.

There's just sooo much to cover in a game like this, that you can't possibly expect a Dev team to see it all. Those working on the game, have a completely different perspective.

Let's look at Mass Effect: Andromeda - just about every single part of that game is under developed. It's quite easy to say, that there was zero pre launch testing (with any intention of making changes based off feedback at least).

The one thing about Early Access is that the greater majority of those interested are expecting a near finished game to play, and have no intention of providing real feedback. Then when the game launches, and there are differences to what EA was, they get all pissy (see Lego Worlds).

I dunno. Early Access can be a good thing. But, the game needs to be close to finished AND still able to make substantial changes prior to launch. A difficult balance to be sure.

Lothic
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Whill B wrote:
Whill B wrote:

Most games should have early access.
There's just sooo much to cover in a game like this, that you can't possibly expect a Dev team to see it all. Those working on the game, have a completely different perspective.
Let's look at Mass Effect: Andromeda - just about every single part of that game is under developed. It's quite easy to say, that there was zero pre launch testing (with any intention of making changes based off feedback at least).
The one thing about Early Access is that the greater majority of those interested are expecting a near finished game to play, and have no intention of providing real feedback. Then when the game launches, and there are differences to what EA was, they get all pissy (see Lego Worlds).
I dunno. Early Access can be a good thing. But, the game needs to be close to finished AND still able to make substantial changes prior to launch. A difficult balance to be sure.

There's a key difference between "Early Access" and alpha/beta testing. Yes alpha/beta testing technically gives potential players "early access" to see a game before it launches but alpha/beta testing also implies serious fundamental TESTING whereas the term "Early Access" usually implies a point where the Devs think the game is effectively done and are just letting players tinker around a few weeks/days before launch for a fee.

I obviously favor alpha/beta testing for all games but I'm not that gung-ho about companies charging money for "Early Access" to a game.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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If MWM really needs a cash

If MWM really needs a cash infusion then I think putting out a few founders packs would be way better than launching it as EA. Wouldn't mind if the higher versions gave access to a few beta weekends or weeks that focused more on stress testing but of course proper testing of mechanics would be by invite only and they have constant access.

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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

If, big if, MWM decided to adopt the EA program in any form I don't think they would abuse the system or treat it as a midnight cash grab. But the program is currently tainted by misconceptions and a lack of education about it. All games released with an Early Access sticker will have a stigma associated with it and this game in particular, with the way it is generally viewed outside of these forums, would be facing more public trust issues than most. I don't think EA is a good fit for CoT.

I believe that if MWM does any sort of Early Access they should make it their own brand of access.
Do not use any of the commonly misconstrued vocabulary. Create your own naming structure for whatever depth of access you want to allow and clearly define that structure. The public needs to understand why access is being granted and how long that access window will be available. When framed properly the up front information can stem most of the backlash around the program.

My biggest concern is that MWM may use Early Access as free 'testing' to compensate for limited resources. I don't know the composition of MWM, but I am going to make a wild guess that there isn't a structured testing department tasked solely with testing. Many fans will always say that they will test for free or that they have been in a million closed alphas. You can never trust that fans have your interests in mind. They want to play a game.

From my experience, testing conducted outside of your company has a narrow margin of effectiveness, so the scenarios need to be crafted properly to get the information you need. Anything from load testing to understanding the personas of the user base (how they play the game and what they want to achieve).

Now if MWM wants to use Early Access for an objective other than testing, they open themselves up to problems that people have been talking about in this thread. If it is a visibility thing to get the game noticed, the exposure needs to be rock solid. If it is to generate more funds, everything needs to be clearly outlined.

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I hereby volunteer for any

I hereby volunteer for any level of testing, whether it is alpha, beta, gamma, Early Access or Late Access. I really don't care, but I'd like to have an opportunity to help get the final stitches in place before we send this monster up to the roof in the thunderstorm.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Do we know anything about MWM

Do we know anything about MWM's structure and if any resources are allocated to a testing organization?

This defaults back to not knowing why Doctor T asked when access could/should be granted. I share your enthusiasm to get this game stable and polished before it goes out the door Huckleberry. I have spent the majority of my professional career in a testing role and I am familiar with how things like this play out. As time progresses and we approach a release date, the window for fixing certain classes of bugs or adding features closes. The problem is that the more changes you make to the code (regardless of how innocuous it may seem) increases the chance of destabilization.

For the most part the information (non-lore) MWM has been releasing has been at a component level. It is very likely that everything has been integrated at this point, but not ready for public consumption (hence the targeted release of information). If that is not the case, I am concerned about the release schedule because testing isn't something that just gets tacked on at the end of a project or that you outsource as an Early Access.

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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

This is a perfect example of what I meant by EA games shaping public perception about that program and casual consumers becoming more and more wary/resistant of early access.
Elios, I don't think developers who use the EA program are motivated purely by greed. There are unscrupulous developers of course but they are exceptions not the rule.
You could not have picked a worse example than Ark to claim developers don't work on games in EA. Of all the games I have seen in EA, Ark is the most consistently updated and improved game there is. Their sin is not under development its over development. They have what amounts to a completed game but they missed their release date in order to add new features and they even released a paid expansion while in EA.
This is the biggest problem with EA (IMO), there is no incentive to leave the EA program. It is unregulated monetization, especially in North America. Steam only just started being restrictive in what it allows to be in the program over a year ago.
Also, 2 years in EA is actually a bit below the average for those in the program. Kerbel, Plague Inc and Speedrunners all were in EA for at least 2 years. The more complex a game is, the longer it needs in development logically.
I agree that EA is poorly perceived but we should be factual in our arguments.
If, big if, MWM decided to adopt the EA program in any form I don't think they would abuse the system or treat it as a midnight cash grab. But the program is currently tainted by misconceptions and a lack of education about it. All games released with an Early Access sticker will have a stigma associated with it and this game in particular, with the way it is generally viewed outside of these forums, would be facing more public trust issues than most. I don't think EA is a good fit for CoT.

Maybe I shouldve done more research...

As foolish as this seems,

Gotem.

From ya boy, Elios.

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Elios Valoryn wrote:
Elios Valoryn wrote:

Maybe I shouldve done more research...

I'm sorry Elios, I should have made it clear that my reply was not meant to paint you in poor light. I was just using your post as a way to illustrate my point about public perception. I hope you don't feel embarrassed or insulted because IMO there is no reason to be. The opinions you have about EA are by far the most common out there and perfectly understandable.
If you had said 'DayZ instead of Ark I probably wouldn't have said anything. DayZ is currently stuck in a update and rollback development cycle.

There are quite a lot of games in early access that are not cash grabs and if you are looking for a good sandbox survival type game Ark is one of the better ones. 7 Days to Die is another good one and it is also in early access.

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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

I'm sorry Elios, I should have made it clear that my reply was not meant to paint you in poor light. I was just using your post as a way to illustrate my point about public perception. I hope you don't feel embarrassed or insulted because IMO there is no reason to be. The opinions you have about EA are by far the most common out there and perfectly understandable.
If you had said 'DayZ instead of Ark I probably wouldn't have said anything. DayZ is currently stuck in a update and rollback development cycle.
There are quite a lot of games in early access that are not cash grabs and if you are looking for a good sandbox survival type game Ark is one of the better ones. 7 Days to Die is another good one and it is also in early access.

Nah its all good, I said something wrong, better to be corrected than to keep saying false information.

Thats almost the definition of stupidity

As foolish as this seems,

Gotem.

From ya boy, Elios.

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I personally think you should

I personally think you should avoid "early" access, it has no real upside on the whole.

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I would snort this game like

I would snort this game like coke from a hookers behind... With that said, early access it more of a terrible gimmick than a functional tool. Not that it CAN'T be a functional tool. A lot of people here have pointed out a lot of great pros and cons. Realistically, I would say get it into a full functioning beta state before letting it out to the wild. With Valiance online, they let it open (for free) but there was nothing to do and nothing to see. Had they asked money for that, people would have killed that game, then and there. Money from early access would be great for the first expansion/dlc and great for those of us who are dedicated followers since we're getting in at a possible half price.

I want this game. I want it bad. Unfortunately for me, i would rather get a proper closed beta than paying for alpha time. With how many things could go wrong in early gameplay, people would be all too eager to bury a game for the slightest bug over early access. I'd say no but kick myself the whole time.

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CoT has a unique problem here

CoT has a unique problem here.

At full release (end of 2018?) the city still won't be nearly finished and all the character types won't be in the game yet. If someone pays for early access, then gets the full release of the game, but it's not really full, they'll feel cheated. No one expects an MMO to be 100% of a world the day it launches... except people who've sat in early access for a couple years. They expect that. This results in an "over-promise and under-deliver" pattern that makes gamers pissed off. No one on these forums would be pissed off because we all know what's going on, but the gaming community as a whole will come in with those expectations and be disappointed. Release the game as it is planned and they won't be, but creating early access then ending it is perceived as a promise that the game is 100% done.

That said, it's always possible to create a new model... something between open free beta and early access. For example, pay the "box price" first, get access to beta, don't pay monthly until beta is done, type deal. But listing that deal as early access would only hurt the game's perception. If it were done at all it should be done behind the curtain, meaning not on any platform like steam. And then we'd run into the problem of it only being a few dozen people, which wouldn't really make a difference. So as much as I want to see the current state of the game and get a feel for everything as it's being developed, I give this a thumbs down.

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If you consider the increased

If you consider the increased level cap, the new archetypes, the new city zones, etc as an expansion rather than just being part of the full game then people shouldn't have a problem with it.

Neither should people have a problem with a very transparent "This is planned for release, this is planned for later" statement.

Granted this is all "should". I am aware some people are Unreasonable. But if the game said (if it was going to do an early access thing) when we release we'll have all this stuff and it does... Well, promise fulfilled. Thus far the Cost devs have been pretty clear about what they're going to have upon initial release and what will come later.

The idea that because stuff comes out later that the product you buy isn't the full product is absurd.

"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to."

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I didn't say it wasn't a full

I didn't say it wasn't a full product. I said that's how it looks if it's early access. Early access is seen as a chance to get every last possible thing in before release, which is why so many survival and mmo titles end up stuck in early access limbo for years. The developers become trapped and can never consider it a "full release" without backlash. Whereas if the exact same version came out without early access, low level cap, limited areas and all, it'd be standard for an mmo and no one would bat an eye. They'd get what they expect and be fine with it. I'm talking about expectations versus reality. The expectation of a title that is early access for a couple years is higher than if it were simply released directly. In business, the one thing you never want to do is over promise and under deliver, and that's exactly what this would be if it were early access. It's pretty much impossible for an mmo to be "complete" when it's first released because there is no "complete" state. But, unless you plan on going to each and every mmo gamer in the world and explaining that to them individually, it's still a problem.

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As far as I know they only

As far as I know they only get backlash when they don't release a complete version (a non early access version), or when they start releasing stuff to make money while it's in early access like a cash shop, or an expansion, etc.

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I like more to wait for until

I like more to wait for until the game is ready. I think this is better for the game also.

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Honestly I think it would be

Honestly I think it would be cool to see the game released with certain sections boarded up with construction gear and buildings half done with a big sign on a fence saying future site of so and so or under construction as long as we have some zones to explore and can hit the level cap at release we should be fine plus from what I have seen in character Creator videos on twitch we won’t even worry about playing we will be stuck in creating heroes and won’t get to playing lol

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I've thought about this

I've thought about this question for a while, and realized that I can't offer a good response, because IRL my training is in science, not business.

You need to make this decision in a way that best fits your mission statement, business model, and quality control regimen.

Of course we players want to get into the game ASAP. On the other hand, we want a thoroughly polished experience. We want the game to have good reviews, bring in lots of new fans, and be around a while. We want all kinds of things that may or may not be achievable.

When it comes to business decisions like this, you probably ought not take too seriously what we think. If you need advice, hire a professional who specializes in these sorts of things. Otherwise, you should just trust your team to arrive at the best decision they can.

I know you can do it.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

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Hello all, First off I would

Hello all, First off I would like to say I missed the kick starter event and you absolutely need to do another. I went into a MMO coma that I have never woke up from because the OG was taken from me. I don't want to play another until this is brought back. I think I can say that many very loyal players didn't know the even kick starter event took place and would gladly give to make this a possibility. I dream of the day of paroling the streets with my Hero's again. I would easily pay for an Alpha, or Beta to just help fund this bad billy. Just get it going already. I need to tank, heal and blast the holy hell out of baddies again. Hunter needs to Hunt.

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City of heroes closed on

City of heroes closed on November 30 so maybe the city of titans developers can do a 2nd Kickstarter on November 30 this year :-) as a titans reborn from the ashes Kickstarter

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Mind-Freeze wrote:
Mind-Freeze wrote:

City of heroes closed on November 30 so maybe the city of titans developers can do a 2nd Kickstarter on November 30 this year :-) as a titans reborn from the ashes Kickstarter

It should be a Nice symbol ^^
But it could be a way of honoring the sillyness of ncsoft as Well

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They should not only have

They should not only have Early Access, but give us a badge celebrating the early access :)

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

They should not only have Early Access, but give us a badge celebrating the early access :)

Only if I can get a one-time only badge for celebrating the fact that I'd like to smack you upside the head for saying that. ;)

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;)

;)

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I'm not against an early

I'm not against an early access. I think "early access" started off as something that was really cool, basically an alpha/beta to try out the game and find bugs or stress test servers, but then got turned into something completely different by developers who abused it. Now it's just a way for them to make money off an unfinished product, potentially allowing them to never actually finish the product.

But I think if MWM does decide to do it... Don't call it early access. :P Just call it a beta test. And as said above, don't advertise it much. Or just keep it invite only. Even if you slap BETA TEST in large, flashing bold letters everywhere around it, people will still go into it thinking it's the full release and leave disappointed. Thinking it's just another failed early access game.

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RandomZombie wrote:
RandomZombie wrote:

I'm not against an early access. I think "early access" started off as something that was really cool, basically an alpha/beta to try out the game and find bugs or stress test servers, but then got turned into something completely different by developers who abused it. Now it's just a way for them to make money off an unfinished product, potentially allowing them to never actually finish the product.
But I think if MWM does decide to do it... Don't call it early access. :P Just call it a beta test. And as said above, don't advertise it much. Or just keep it invite only. Even if you slap BETA TEST in large, flashing bold letters everywhere around it, people will still go into it thinking it's the full release and leave disappointed. Thinking it's just another failed early access game.

The thing is, I don't think that selling access directly to "early access" (regardless of what it's called) is a very good idea, ever. If they have to "do it" then it should be part of a bigger package, like the Kickstarter tiers or a Founders Pack.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

;)

The badge you get with your early access should be origin-specific and give your mastermind pets double strength stat during the early access

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Airhead wrote:
Airhead wrote:
Brand X wrote:

;)

The badge you get with your early access should be origin-specific and give your mastermind pets double strength stat during the early access

You forgot about the one-time only early access cape that you can never get anywhere else and the specialized one-time only early access "elitist skip" travel power that'll be twice as fast as the standard Super Speed. ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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On a serious note, let's not

On a serious note, let's not forget that the people who adopt a game early and play it a lot tend to have more IGC and items than those who just started playing. As such, there's already a bit of a barrier to entry in the second year or so of a game and after. There's no need to add insult to injury and concoct excessive amounts of extra stuff that only the veterans can have, plus that doesn't make any money, takes resources to produce, and tends to shun newbies from trying your game.

I personally want CoT to be as newbie friendly as possible to ensure a good supply of new players on an ongoing basis.

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In many ways an MMO thrives

In many ways an MMO thrives on new players and a supportive community to welcome them. "Veteran" perks are nice if they can be reasonably acquired by new players and even better if they in some way allow us to help other new players; facilitating a lineage of community support in game design.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Airhead wrote:
Brand X wrote:
;)
The badge you get with your early access should be origin-specific and give your mastermind pets double strength stat during the early access
You forgot about the one-time only early access cape that you can never get anywhere else and the specialized one-time only early access "elitist skip" travel power that'll be twice as fast as the standard Super Speed. ;)

I remember CoH had some special cape kinda like that and no one ever really used it :p

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Beeker wrote:
Beeker wrote:

In many ways an MMO thrives on new players and a supportive community to welcome them. "Veteran" perks are nice if they can be reasonably acquired by new players and even better if they in some way allow us to help other new players; facilitating a lineage of community support in game design.

I never saw a problem with rewards that were based on time spent with the game, the problem was other people who cried when they came late to the game and some of them were because "I just didn't think the game would be this good." Well then, suffer with the consequences. :p

Mind you, I didn't care for certain costume pieces being in those vet rewards, when I thought they should've just been given to everyone (Belly Tees!) However, more unusual costume pieces would be a different story.

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Radiac wrote:
Radiac wrote:

On a serious note, let's not forget that the people who adopt a game early and play it a lot tend to have more IGC and items than those who just started playing. As such, there's already a bit of a barrier to entry in the second year or so of a game and after. There's no need to add insult to injury and concoct excessive amounts of extra stuff that only the veterans can have, plus that doesn't make any money, takes resources to produce, and tends to shun newbies from trying your game.
I personally want CoT to be as newbie friendly as possible to ensure a good supply of new players on an ongoing basis.

Unless all currency and items got reset after the early alpha/beta was concluded. Then it wouldn't really matter one way or the other

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

I remember CoH had some special cape kinda like that and no one ever really used it :p

That would be the Cape of the Four Winds.


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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

I never saw a problem with rewards that were based on time spent with the game, the problem was other people who cried when they came late to the game and some of them were because "I just didn't think the game would be this good." Well then, suffer with the consequences. :p

Why should there ever be "consequences" like this? What benefit does ANYONE playing a game gain from having some players permanently barred from getting certain things in the game? I will always question anyone's desire to want to have permanently exclusive things in a game. Is it a primal need to fulfill their elitist desires to feel superior to someone else? Whatever the motivation it's ultimately pathetic as far as I'm concerned.

If it were only just a matter of getting things based on "how long you've been playing the game" then at least eventually a newer player could still get those things as long as they end up playing for a long time as well.

The "problem" comes when you set things to be awarded based on the real world calendar (that has nothing to do with actually playing the game). If a certain badge/reward was only earnable during such-n-such dates years ago then it permanently screws over newer players even (ironically) if one of those newer player ends up having more time playing the game than somebody who just happened to be around to get the time-based award. I saw players of CoH who loyally played the game for almost its entire 8.5 year run (having only missed like the first 18 months or so of the game) who were forever screwed out of the first anniversary badge just because (through NO fault of their own) they weren't around when the GAME had an anniversary which had absolutely nothing to do with actually PLAYING the game. These screwed players played for YEARS longer than most anyone else they ever played with yet they were the ones forever penalized. That's just plain stupid no matter how you try to defend that via pleas for elitist entitlement.

Brand X wrote:

Mind you, I didn't care for certain costume pieces being in those vet rewards, when I thought they should've just been given to everyone (Belly Tees!)

Yet another reason why having any exclusive items/rewards are intrinsically "questionable" at best. People are always going to be able to easily debate what makes for a reasonable Vet award versus something else you could have Day One without any vet status.

Brand X wrote:

However, more unusual costume pieces would be a different story.

Why? Again what makes one item worth having the first day you start to play a game and other item something you arbitrarily have to wait years for?

Brand X wrote:

I remember CoH had some special cape kinda like that and no one ever really used it :p

And here we have a good anecdotal argument for raising the question "Why should there ever be anything permanently trapped behind a wall of exclusivity" if even the people who have the exclusive toys in question rarely ever use them?

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Kiyori Anoyui wrote:
Kiyori Anoyui wrote:

Radiac wrote:
On a serious note, let's not forget that the people who adopt a game early and play it a lot tend to have more IGC and items than those who just started playing. As such, there's already a bit of a barrier to entry in the second year or so of a game and after. There's no need to add insult to injury and concoct excessive amounts of extra stuff that only the veterans can have, plus that doesn't make any money, takes resources to produce, and tends to shun newbies from trying your game.
I personally want CoT to be as newbie friendly as possible to ensure a good supply of new players on an ongoing basis.
Unless all currency and items got reset after the early alpha/beta was concluded. Then it wouldn't really matter one way or the other

Just in the general sense, not in specific reference to open betas per se (and as such, this is a pretty off-topic post, for which I apologize), a player that has played a game for like a year will generally have more IGC and/or more items (certainly BETTER items) than a person who just got the game and has been playing for a week. So right there, we need to recognize that long-time players are already walking around with the rewards from all of their previous game play in the many forms that takes (IGC earned/spent, items acquired/bought, etc). Giving them MORE stuff to commemorate a year spent in the game is a nice way to mark a personal anniversary, but let's not go nuts on that stuff, please. I would rather make the game super-newbie friendly and attract new players than worry about veteran reward stuff.

1. Newbie friendly policies = attracting new players = more people taking up the game = more money in purchases of the game, if nothing else.

2. Veteran rewards = reward players that we already have for play that they've already done = promote elitism

Note how line 1. leads, possibly, to increased revenue for the game, and line 2 does not.

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The best way to have

The best way to have exclusive things would to have timed exclusives. Things that go away after a while or become available to everyone.

Sure a first anniversary badge and title, but it goes away after 6 months or a year. It fulfills the "exclusivity" requirement while also not being a thing other people can't get, cause after it's gone -no one- gets it.

"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to."

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Project_Hero wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:

The best way to have exclusive things would to have timed exclusives. Things that go away after a while or become available to everyone.

Things that are presented as "limited exclusives" are fine for games like this. Just like many of the CoT Kickstarter items where the thing you get will be exclusive for up to one year or four Issues. After that the item becomes available to anyone.

Project_Hero wrote:

Sure a first anniversary badge and title, but it goes away after 6 months or a year. It fulfills the "exclusivity" requirement while also not being a thing other people can't get, cause after it's gone -no one- gets it.

While I get that having exclusive items eventually "disappear" is one way to "solve" the problem of permanently exclusive awards I honestly don't think that would be the ideal solution.

Like in your example of the "disappearing" first anniversary badge - wouldn't it just be easier/better to not have such a badge in the game in the first place than to have it be something that SOME people get then it vanish at a later date?

Why not offer "character anniversary" badges (a.k.a. birthday badges) as an alternative? Instead of being linked to real world dates that happen only once a "character anniversary" badge would be linked to whenever a character was created. This way a player's character would ALWAYS eventually be able to get the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on badge because they are not tied to dates in the real world.

The only viable "solution" to anything that would be permanently exclusive in a game like this is to not design it to be permanently exclusive in the first place.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:
Brand X wrote:

I remember CoH had some special cape kinda like that and no one ever really used it :p

That would be the Cape of the Four Winds.

That's my cape!

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Exclusive "get it now or cry

Exclusive "get it now or cry forever" items are just complete and utter BUNK in online gaming. That kind of exclusivity is almost always reserved for "cash grab" moves by the company done as Limited Offers to get people to buy buy buy.

Thanks ... but NO THANKS.
Games have a tendency of lasting well beyond the "buy by" date on these kinds of thing, after which the exclusivity becomes an impediment rather than an advantage, because if you didn't get it then ... to bad, so sad ... you can NEVER get it now ... even long after the "we made a promise" excuse has outlived its usefulness.

So exclusivity time windows are just bad and dumb for the long term health of the game. It creates artificial divides between the HAVES and the HAVE NOTS. It also has a tendency to create "orphaned" bits of game stuff that need to be accounted for in the grand scheme of things, but which an increasingly small minority of players possess (or make use of) over time.

The closest I'd want to get to this sort of thing would be a sort of "subscribers first, freeloaders later" kind of deal, where if you're a subscriber to the game you get the "new stuff" immediately as a part of your subscription, but then the F2P crowd can pay (Stars) later on to acquire it too (a la carte) AFTER some time has passed (6 months?) such that there's an obvious advantage to being a subscriber. This would be a form of Preferential Treatment towards subscribers (get the new stuff sooner) that avoids the trap of exclusivity, simply because everything becomes available to everyone EVENTUALLY. I don't have a problem with subscribers getting Preferential Treatment in getting access to new features and "stuff" sooner than the freebie people (in part since that means the subscribers help to TEST everything before it goes into totally open circulation), but there shouldn't be anything where if someone joins the game later on there's a whole bunch of stuff that they just can't get anymore because the window to acquire it has closed (and will NEVER reopen).


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

So exclusivity time windows are just bad and dumb for the long term health of the game. It creates artificial divides between the HAVES and the HAVE NOTS. It also has a tendency to create "orphaned" bits of game stuff that need to be accounted for in the grand scheme of things, but which an increasingly small minority of players possess (or make use of) over time.

I wouldn't care if non-subscribed and/or newer players have to wait longer to get special things or even if they ultimately have to pay more to get special things as long as there was always some way for them to get access to everything in the game eventually. Simply put things that are PERMANENTLY exclusive via one-time only awards in games like this are PERMANENTLY sucky for the game as a whole.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Radiac wrote:
Radiac wrote:

1. Newbie friendly policies = attracting new players = more people taking up the game = more money in purchases of the game, if nothing else.
2. Veteran rewards = reward players that we already have for play that they've already done = promote elitism
Note how line 1. leads, possibly, to increased revenue for the game, and line 2 does not.

If veteran rewards are rewards for time subscribed, as they were in the old game, then I see them differently. They are a reward to a player for being a long-term revenue stream -- income that the game has definitely received, rather than potential future income. That is income that seems well worth rewarding, in my book. And they can serve as an incentive to keep subscribing, in which case they also potentially increase future income as well. They are also not exclusive, in that anyone can earn them if they remain subscribed long enough.

Note that time subscribed does not necessarily equal time played, so the premise that anyone earning a vet reward will already have more stuff accumulated in the game won't necessarily be true for every player.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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