With the Guild Wars 2 beta hot on our heels I think that there are some fairly decent conflicts arising. How to go about selecting beta testers. Now we already know that a bunch have been selected for the closed beta, but of course no method to apply for this.
Now in the recent Guild Wars 2 "Welcome Year of the Dragon" blog post Mike O'Brien touches briefly on the beta tests that are upcoming. That in February they will be inviting select press to participate in beta testing, but one may ask. How would you be sort of included in this "select press." I really have no idea, I'm assuming that active members of the community would be included. Websites supporting Guild Wars 2 like TalkTyria and Ravious over at Kill Ten Rats. There are so many blogs and websites dedicating themselves to Guild Wars 2, those are just two of the many I look over on a regular basis. I also think that TotalBiscuit should be given access and be included in this "select press." His few Guild Wars 2 convention videos were awesome and he was probably one of the only players actually playing the game properly.
But still this procures a very curious subject. Who does this "select press" contain. I mean any schmuck like me can open up a blog and demand entrance. But obviously ArenaNet will be selecting those who are making the community a better place. Those who are going above and beyond simple blogging to create intelligent content for readers. If there were some sort of nomination system I would definitely vote for Ravious. I love all his writings and his contribution to Kill Ten Rats is really awesome. I mean he was part of the Guild Wars 2 fan day so obviously he is doing something right.
Now looking even farther ahead Mike goes on to say that they will ramping up participation in the following months allowing more people to take part in the beta. So instead of saying open beta and everyone's invited a more flexible invitation system will be used. I think this works better because it allows them to control how many players they want testing. This way they can really understand the sheer volume and keep the servers running smoothly.
In all honesty I could see myself scouring the internet entering every nonsensical giveaway for the months of March and April. I just hope the Guild Wars 2 Guru forums don't turn into the gibbering whine-fest that is the PlayDota forums. There are just so many desperate people looking for keys getting scammed, trolled and all the such. Another thing, I really hope I don't see Guild Wars 2 beta keys selling for anonymous amounts of money. This for me really degrades the community, and scamming becomes a frequent dilemma.
ArenaNet needs to find a good balance of beta testers. They need players willing to test the game and those with a strong passion to do so. Dedication will be key and not only playing the game, but actually providing feedback to the developers. I think with an anonymous giveaway of beta keys that some beta testers selected will undervalue the importance of beta testing the game. Thinking it's just another free game demo to test it out and give it a whirl. For the most part it makes sense why they would choose select press first, they need to get their game out there. A whole lot of people read popular blogs and the opinionated, truthful thoughts from these people help players unsure of Guild Wars 2 decide whether or not to keep an eye on the game for release.
My eyes have been drawn to Guild Wars 2 from the very beginning, so I'm hoping the beta will be enough to pull the attention of those seeking a fresh new MMORPG. And they get to stress test the servers and root out any bugs lingering through playtesting.
It's a win-win scenario. I just hope they find a way to weed out the defective beta testers from the better ones.