The Beta and You

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The Beta and You

Mensagem  Vulkanu em 12/1/2012, 21:18

The Beta and You
I copied this thread on a different forum and thought it may be a good idea to post this here as well for anyone that is deciding to sign-up for beta.

(This thread is mainly for anyone who has never participated or rarely participates in betas)

I would like to try and inform everyone on what a beta test is and what can be expected when joining one as well as what is expected from you. This thread will show you the good and bad sides of being a beta tester.

------------What is Beta?------------

Beta is a pre-release version of software that is given to a select few participants which are known as "beta testers". The beta testers test and give feedback for that given software that they are testing. Testing and giving feedback for this software will help the developers of the software to find any sort of issues that may occur. The developers then will go and check out whatever the tester may have reported and try to solve that problem. Usually betas will have a NDA agreement that you must sign before applying to a beta.


------------What is NDA?------------ You need to know what this is!

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement, confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement, is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential materials, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement. An NDA creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect any type of confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets. As such, an NDA protects non-public business information.

NDAs are commonly signed when two companies, individuals, or other entities (such as partnerships, societies, etc.) are considering doing business and need to understand the processes used in each others business for the purpose of evaluating the potential business relationship. NDAs can be "mutual", meaning both parties are restricted in their use of the materials provided, or they can restrict the use of material by a single party.

It is also possible for an employee to sign an NDA or NDA-like agreement with an employer. In fact, some employment agreements will include a clause restricting employees' use and dissemination of company-owned "confidential information."

In rare cases, the contract may state that the existence of the NDA itself cannot be disclosed.

Summary: NDA is a contract that you sign with the company to participate in the beta. This agreement states that you can not talk about any information from within the beta to outside users currently not in the beta. You will only be able to give any information from within once the NDA is lifted. If you do not follow these rules, there is a chance you will get a warning or possibly be banned from the beta. You MUST be 18 or older to apply to a beta!

Extra Note About Being Under 18

If you are under the age of 18 when signing a NDA agreement you will not be able to join the beta. If there is no NDA once the beta stage reaches open beta, you are then allowed to join in if you decide to try to sign up for it.

When is a NDA Usually Lifted?

Most NDAs are only lifted once the beta stage goes into open beta. In some rare cases it could be earlier(Aion). Also, again, in some rare cases developers will never lift the NDA when transitioning to beta to retail (Warhammer Online), meaning that you can not talk about a portion of the beta content that was in the game before and it is not in the retail at that current time.

------------Information Usually Required on the Application------------

On a beta application there is usually a bit of information that is required from you. This is some of the basic information that is required. Some of these however may not appear on some applications.

1. First name and last name
2. e-mail address, gender, date of birth
3. address, country, zip code
4. Gaming experience
5. Dxdiag (computer information)
6. Why do you want to be a good beta tester/Why would you be a good beta tester?
7. Are you a member of a clan, gaming company or the press?


------------DxDiag and You------------

Pretty much all beta applications will request this of you. Dxdiags are used to help the developers choose what kind of system they need to test in the beta and can help determine which systems can actually run the beta and which can not.

Here is a step by step process on saving and submitting your dxdiag file.

1. Go to Start
2. Run, type in Dxdiag
3. Click "Save All Information"
4. Name it Dxdiag, sometimes betas will tell you what they want it named
5. Save as a .txt or .xml, sometimes betas will ask for either one of these
6. Click the "Upload" button under the dxdiag portion of the application
7. Look for your file and upload it.


------------What to Expect in a Beta------------

1. Server lag
2. Bugs, whether it be quest bugs, character progression bugs, map bugs, ect. Some bugs can prevent you from completing certain things like quests or lvling up or buying items.
3. Surveys (some betas have these, they will appear after completions of quests usually asking for your opinion of the quest)
4. Game freezes
5. Client Crashes
6. Audio Issues
7. Scheduled Play Session Times
8. Focused beta Testing (beta version temporarily set up to test a certain feature)
9. Server Restarts
10. Constant Game Updates
11. Launching Errors
12. A good portion of game content may not be in at that given point of time in beta.
13. Character Wipes

If you are wanting to participate in betas you HAVE to be willing to deal with these sort of circumstances.


------------Extra Note About Character Wipes------------

When you are in a beta ALWAYS expect that your character can be wiped at any given moment. Companies will do this sometimes to try to focus on specific content or to assist their assessment of the natural leveling experience.

Beta wipes usually happen right after a huge major patch or a transition into a new beta phase.


------------What is Expected of Me?------------

When you get invited to join the beta test, you are expected to report whatever you feel is not working, a simple suggestion, or just a bug. Be sure to also post about client issues. This will help others who may have the same issue. Remember when you are testing, you are trying to help make this be one of the best games out there, try to make it great and fix it any way possible that you can.


------------Get to Know the Community------------

Knowing the community on the forum will make it beneficial to both the testers and the developers. This will save time by not having flames all over the forums but it will lead to debates whether or not a feature should be in the game, is a skill/class overpowered or not, ect. Not arguing consistently on the forums will also require less moderation and more time reading up on bugs/suggestions/ect. which will then result into more polishing. Knowing the community can also help to have more organized focus testing that is group based.

------------Things to Do When Testing!------------

1. Travel throughout the whole map
2. Test different classes (skills, talent trees, class quests, class based equipment)
3. Try out all the emotions (if any)
4. Do as many quests as possible!
5. Group! A lot of the time betas have bad or buggy grouping systems.
6. Gather as many people as possible in one area and try to crash the game!
7. Try the game on different graphical settings to see if there are any issues with some options.
8.Guild creation, try creating them and play around with the guild features
9.Try to find a way to exploit money!!!! One of the biggest ones here, if you find a way, REPORT IT! We don't want to see this in release!

The goal of doing everything on this list is to find as many bugs/glitches/issues as possible and reporting them. This is the best way possible to locating them!

How to Report Bugs/Glitches/Errors/Etc. on the Forums

When you are reporting on the forums you want to be as constructive as you possibly can be when doing so. Just telling them what the issue is will not benefit them at all because they are not sure how you got it and where you got it.

Before you do report anything, be sure to look to see if anyone is having the same problem. Add on to their thread and tell exactly how you got it. However, making duplicate threads does not always hurt so they can easily notice that the problem still exists.

When you are reporting anything be sure to include:

1. What exactly happened? (can you click it/was there an error message/ect.?)
2. What were doing at the time? (questing/turning in a quest/killing a mob/ect.)
3. Where were you? (area name/what were you near/coordinates (if possible))
4. Did this occur numerous times? (did you attempt it more than once/how many times/did it not happen at some point?)
5. Keep reports short and to the point.

Try to include a screen shot of the problem if possible, but do NOT upload to any site besides the beta forum, only use their tools (if they have any) for uploading screen shots. By uploading to sites such as imageshack, ect., it will possibly result in getting banned from the beta for not following the NDA. Uploading to sites such as those is sharing information with others that are most likely not in the beta. If the only way to get a screen shot in the forum is by uploading to a offsite, try to get a confirmation from a dev before doing so.

Some forums have a "Manage Attachments" tab that can be used to view screen shots in threads. To do so:

1. Click reply/quote
2. Manage attachments
3. Upload file from computer, click "Upload"
4. Search for .jpg screen shot
5. Click upload
6. Submit

Sometimes developers will not always respond to your posts but it is highly likely they will check it and put it into their database.


------------Account Security!------------

If you happen to get into the beta you will want to keep your account secure as possible!

Here's how you can do so!

1. If you write down your password keep it in a secure area.
2. Never share your information with anyone!
3. If you share your computer with multiple people, be sure to never use "Remember Me".
4. Change your password from time to time and never use the same password on your e-mail and personal accounts.
5. Keep anti-virus software up to date! (AVG, McAfee, Norton)
6. Frequently use anti-spyware, for example, Ad-ware and Spy-Bot (you can get both for free)
7. Do NOT reply to any PMs or e-mails that are asking for your account info. Only do so if it is a confirmed developer. If you are not sure, ask on the beta forums which user names/e-mail addresses are the only ones you should be concerned about.

------------Conclusion: ------------

When you are beta testing, remember that you are doing this make the game the best is can possibly be. Report anything, and I mean anything that you think is an issue when testing. Also be sure to make any suggestions you may have whatsoever.

Should I sign up for Beta?

I honestly would only sign up for beta if you are actually going to test the game. We want people who are willing to try to improve the game as much as possible. If you are just in to play the game, please just wait for at least open beta and save the slot for someone who is actually willing to test.

Are There Any Benefits from beta Testing?

The are actually quite a few benefits from beta testing. You will be able to see the development process of throughout the beta stages. Also, you will of course know what you are doing once the game hits retail.

Are There Any Negatives from beta Testing?

The only negative I can say from beta testing is that if you are in it for quite some time, (a few months) the game possibly will not feel like a new game come the time of retail. Which may possibly ruin the experience at launch.

Overall

Beta is mainly not to play the game, it is to test it. You must play to test it however, but be sure to be on the lookout for any issues.

Beta testing is very time consuming. Give your opinions on everything you think needs an opinion on pretty much. If you want to contribute in beta, you have to find some way to dedicate a decent amount of time to both test and report.

When you are beta testing, you MUST have patience! If you do not have any patience at all, you will be at great disappointment. You must be willing to deal with possible scheduled play sessions and all the listed "what to expects"!

Vulkanu
Admin

Mensagens : 122
Data de inscrição : 15/06/2008

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