Saturday, March 31, 2012

WTFaid?: Blizzard screwed up with beta invites.

Welcome to another installment of WTFaid?, a semi-regular column in which I discuss things that might not directly impact gold making, but that I want to talk about nonetheless. If you're looking for gold-specific tips, check out my archive and blog roll! If you're looking to get some insight into the mind of Faid, God help you. Also, read on!


Mists of Pandaria beta invites are being dispensed now. Eluniar's received one and he launched the beta for the first time tonight; he seems to be enjoying it though I've not talked to him much about it. While it interests me I've decided I'd rather experience it first-hand when I, some day, receive an invite.

Now, don't worry, I'm not going to complain about how I've been been playing WoW non-stop since launch day so I'm more deserving of an invite than others. I can't imagine what's happening in the minds of those with the audacity to say they are more important to Blizzard than another fan. 

I think, though, you have to admit Blizzard's not going about this invite/beta process very well.

First off, like it or not they did give the impression that annual pass players would be given instant access when the beta went live. Mike Morhaime said "in addition to getting Diablo III free you will also get guaranteed access into the next World of Warcraft expansion beta when it goes live."

I'm not sure if it was in the fine print that what he said wasn't actually true but they certainly worded it to give the impression that players will get access to the beta when it goes live, also known as instant access.

So there's a point to the upset fans.  Still, fine print and semantics abound here so I try to push this aside. (Plus the multiple times Blizzard have been inconsistent and fickle in other statements has lead me to take anything Blue with a grain of salt.)

Here's my issue, and where I think Blizzard really screwed up on this.

Many people don't even want the beta but are taking spots from those that do. 

The majority of invites going out right now are going out to Annual Pass holders.  The problem is that the Annual Pass had three perks: MoP Beta, an in-game mount, and free Diablo III. 

In other words if you knew you were going to be playing WoW for a year there was no reason not to get a pass. It was essentially saying "I'll do the same thing I was already doing but now I get a free new game, yay!" It was just a smart decision for WoW players interested in D3.  That's not even taking into account folks who were most interested in the mount.

I have no statistics, I'm sorry to say, but I will dare to say that many, if not the majority, of players who signed up for the Annual Pass did it for free D3, not beta access.  And there's nothing wrong with that at all.

The problem is that Blizzard assumed that anyone who has the Annual Pass wants and will use beta access when that's flat out not true.  I have two guild members who have beta access who have said plainly that they don't intend to install or use it at all since they want to avoid spoilers.

Then you've got people like many of us in the gold community who are chomping at the bit to get in but still haven't received an invite.

I'm not going to say anyone is more deserving of a beta invite than anyone else. I am going to say that it sucks that beta invites are being sent to people who don't even want them.

Blizzard could have fixed this easily. They've already got the system in place and it could give them better testing data.  Put annual pass holders at the front of the invite queue but require anyone who is interested in the beta to fill out a beta profile. This way those not interested in the beta could have avoided opting-in and those who really wish to try out the new content could have those wasted invite spots. 

At the end of the day I'm excited to get guaranteed access to the beta at all. It will be my first time in a beta and I look forward to testing a lot of stuff out. So all in all I'm pleased, I just wish there'd been more thought put into the Annual Pass/Beta combination.


  1. I agree they were not very clear in their advertising or how the beta will roll. Thankfully, they started Beta long before they would have in the past (It wouldn't be STARTED until at least June in the past). It is basically in Alpha right now, so that Annual Passers should all be in before the actual "Beta" phase starts. We can all go to Blizzard with Torches and Pitchforks if they haven't phased in all the Passers by that time. I know I'll be mad if my "pass" gets me into Beta a month before it closes lol.

  2. I am frustrated about how they did it too. They should have just said "if you signed up for AP on these dates, you have "x" amount of months paid, and your account was started on "x" date or before, your access will be granted within . But they didn't. /shrug.

    Just FYI, here's my stats, maybe that will help or give you an idea:

    Account "born on" date: March 18, 2006
    Months active (paid): 72 - 1 pending (now)
    Annual Pass signed date: 10/25/2011 8:29a
    I have been in four past public [patch] tests and have entered in 11 issues/problems found while playing.

    From what I read, all of the above are considered (when your account went live, how many months paid, and date of AP signed- not sure if previous tests are counted). Also not sure what takes priority over the others, but I do know that the invites are factored in over all those statistics.

    If yours are similar to mine, then one can guess that the invite is very soon. I received mine a few days ago, it was in my spam box. I didn't check my account until yesterday and it was there.

    Hope this might give some ease for you on your incoming invite..


  3. They've made a few mistakes. Basically - Beta isn't for testing anymore. They are using it as a promotion and selling device like "Pay us a year and you get a sneak peek at MoP". This changes the expectation. Public Beta should not have been released until it was in a "beta" phase which means fairly well complete - Right now the beta they have out isn't even as far along as some of the Friends and Family alphas of past expansions and those expecting their freebie "sneak peek" at MoP are now alpha testers basically and its causing bad press. Second they should have build up the servers and internally load tested before going public..They knew far in advance the exact number of people they needed to account for and could have taken another month or so to build up a server farm that was stable for that load. Basically what I'm saying is right now they SHOULD be doing F&F alpha like in the past and Annual Pass no NDA Beta starting around May-June. They felt the pressure of a million fans chomping at the bit for Beta and started opening the flood-gates early and act surprised when a million players are trying to fit through all at once..

  4. how could you possibly misunderstand "when it goes live" to mean as soon as the beta drops, you people baffle me...and "10/25/2011 8:29a"???? you signed up 4 days after the offer dropped you are WAYYYYYYYYY back of the line...and yes they knew how many they had to fit in over the ENTIRE testing phase, there are many months to go....sheesh how many QQ posts did you post on the general forums because you couldn't read the agreement you signed...its was one or 2 paragraphs...ugh

  5. Epic,

    I was just giving details to possibly help folks with a timeline.

    The things that frustrated me was how blizzard handled the whole thing. Waves (IMO) should have been flagged on battlenet accounts (maybe with a "assumed date" for Beta Invites so folks wouldn't be just guessing when.

    QQ all you want at my comment, or my thoughts on it.

    I did get an invite "oh great epic one".....
    No QQ posts on forums....
    I did read the agreement, which was also "subject to change" and was changed since I signed it....

    Troll away.


  6. I am one of those people who don't want to play the beta and still got an invite during the second wave, because of the Annual Pass.

    I signed up for the Annual Pass because I knew that I would continue to play WoW all year (never stopped since Classic) and because I wanted the mount. I was not even interested in free Diablo III, since I had the intention to (and did) preorder its Collector's Edition.

    I never cared for beta testing, because: 1) I see as a testing place i.e. a place full of bugs that I should take the pain to report; 2) spoilerific, buggtastic and useless since you nothing your character does will be carried over to live servers.

    I feel really, really bad for the people that wanted in.

    If Blizzard had ASKED me "Do you want Beta access as well?" I would have said "No thanks, please give it to someone who is actually interested in speding time to report bugs."

    I just hope they hand it differently (better!) next time.