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DICE Defends Battlefield 3 Beta

Jonathan Lester
Battlefield 3, Beta, DICE
Battlefield 3

DICE Defends Battlefield 3 Beta

"There’s Been A Misunderstanding Of The Term Beta Test"

The Battlefield 3 beta has gotten a lot of gamers very excited indeed... but caused a fair bit of controversy thanks to its limited scope and a fair few bugs. In fact, many gamers and pundits reckon that launching an open beta so close to release has actually done more harm than good. However, DICE has hit back at the sceptics by hammering home the fact that it's a "test" in the truest sense of the phrase - and was primarily designed to make sure that their back end will be fit for task during the heavy launch period. We've got the full quotes and reasoning below.

In an interview with The Guardian, DICE's Patrick Liu states that the recent beta was "entirely" designed to test the online infrastructure, and that many players simply didn't grasp that it's a learning exercise for the company - not a PR tool or demo.

Yeah, I think there’s been a misunderstanding of the term ‘beta test.

We ran the alpha tests with a rush map and we wanted to have some sort of reference so we could compare results – so we needed to have more-or-less the same map. But we do understand the concerns that we didn’t show a conquest map, but we have demoed Caspian Border, and we did run a conquest map as a limited PC-only test.

Our primary intentions have been to test the backend. As we said at the beginning, we have six times the number of players we had with Bad Company 2, we have record high concurrent users compared to anything we've done before. And we know it works. In previous games, like Bad Company and 1943, we've had serious problems with the backend, it's just been overloaded – this time it hasn't been a problem.

Many open betas (Resistance 3 and Killzone 3 being prime examples) are primarily designed to be polished demonstrations that give loyal pre-order customers and press a taste of the game. Our expectations of what an eleventh hour beta should contain has been fairly skewed over the last few years, and we're confident that the quality will not be representative of the final version. [The Guardian]

What did you make of the BF3 beta? Let us know in the comments!

Add a comment7 comments
phil16  Oct. 7, 2011 at 11:56

Its looking good - shame map wasn't very good - looking forward to caspian border on the PC this weekend!

TsungUK1  Oct. 7, 2011 at 12:45

Well they only have themselves to blame. So many publishers release a Beta before the game, with no demo and many pre-order bonuses thrown around, people want to try the product before they buy it.

So I approached the beta like it is a demo of the final product. I accept there might be a few bugs in it, but the whole beta experience is disjointed. Launching Origin, to launch a browser, to launch a game with no ability to change keys/settings before joining and being under-fire. Then once in the game it isn't clear / obvious what to do from the off thus the game was un-installed (including Origin) and I cancelled my pre-order.

If DICE/EA want people to buy their games they need to supply a working demo that represents the final product. If the best the can offer is a beta then that is what the majority of people are going to go by.

Ulitmately if they don't like the judgement, they have the choice to release an improved version.

Last edited by TsungUK1, Oct. 7, 2011 at 12:46
Ashpolt  Oct. 7, 2011 at 13:51

I think this statement's fair enough. People seem to have lost track of what "beta test" actually means - it's not meant to be a demo, and it's going to be buggy - that's the whole point of the thing, to find and fix problems. The fact that other companies use betas as little more than demos doesn't mean that that's what beta tests are.

While I agree with TsungUK1 above in saying that companies should release demos, I also think that saying "I approached the beta like it is a demo of the final product" is a flawed concept, and reflective of a user issue rather than a game one.

As for it not being clear what to do in the game from the off: their are glowing objective markers on your HUD which point to exactly where you need to go and tell you what you need to do. What more do you want?

Assassin  Oct. 7, 2011 at 14:37

"There’s Been A Misunderstanding Of The Term Beta Test" I believe this should have been realised by EA/Dice before they launched the beta the term has dramatically changed since halo 3 beta then Halo Reach beta, Resistance 3 beta etc especially when it comes to console gamers.

I think this is especially true at such at late stage in the games development when the game has most likely been completed and went gold and is being pressed as we type it would have been forgiven if it was released a year ago. Its only harmed all the positive PR up to this point

jamesgrahamslack  Oct. 7, 2011 at 14:49

What is it with some people? Beta is short for beta test - the answer is in the question people.
I have to say that while this beta did have a couple of shameful bugs that have been with all of the BF series (including by not limited to being able to clip into the cyberspace under the map and camp out feeding on enemies feet!) this beta was actually highly playable.
Let’s go back to the release of Call of Duty Black Ops (which I am a massive fan of with a couple of hundred hours play of) but Black Ops was NOT playable online on release day. It took them a week or more to get it patched so you could play properly – and that was not just one or two people but most.
This lowly beta is much more playable than that. I hope that DICE will take the opportunity to fix the issues with this before release day.
In the mean time, I think some people need to look up the term beta testing.

Ashpolt  Oct. 7, 2011 at 15:14

Totally agreed, Slack.

Yes, it's slightly concerning that there are so many minor (mostly graphical) issues so close to release, but as a former games tester (at EA, no less) I've seen games in a worse state than this a month from release which have been fine by the time they've hit the shelves. If people are genuinely concerned about whether the full game will be buggy on launch, then wait for a couple of days to read the response on line (but also remember a small minority can make a big noise) - don't judge the game as a whole based on the beta though.

jamesgrahamslack  Oct. 7, 2011 at 17:07

One other thing I read today was that Punk Buster has been deliberately left off the beta so DICE can see what sort of cheating people will be doing... ready to ban people who try cheating in the real game.

Players of the beta are being asked to report player names / times and links to battlelogs on the official forum.

I am glad they are taking anti-cheating seriously unlike the debacle with CoD MW2.


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