When my beta key arrived for the Mists of Pandaria beta, I was excited. I thought that while I might not manage to put in the endless hours that some of the more dedicated testers do, I am not afraid to give feedback and I tend to think about changes in a realistic way. I understand that the classes must all be balanced and while I might occasionally wish that a heal spell was more powerful or that I could do something that a different class does, I know that it would not be as much fun to play the game if my character was unfairly balanced against others.
I clearly hadn’t thought this through to the conclusion.
I thought the biggest problem with allowing so many people to test the beta would be that many wouldn’t understand the role of a beta tester and would just treat it like they were getting the game early and complain endlessly on the chat channels without ever providing Blizzard with feedback. I had forgotten what it was like to play the game without addons.
Now I know that most of you are probably thinking that this is going to turn into a sulky post about how the game isn’t as much fun without my addons – whinge whinge…
It isn’t. I totally understand and support Blizzard’s reasons for not enabling the use of third party addons at this time in the beta testing process. It would take forever to get the game ready for launch if half of the bug reports and character balance feedback that was coming in was actually due to problems in addon code rather than the game itself. A large part of the beta testing population are also testing for the first time and may not be very experienced in troubleshooting addon problems. All this I know and support wholeheartedly. However, I actually require some addons to modify the base game in order to be able to play at all. I have written here before about the addons I use and why they are essential to enable me to play. Without them, I struggle to do more than move around and hit a couple of abilities.
So the reality of beta testing for me is that I’m currently unable to test past the Pandaren start zone, and even doing that much has been a real struggle. My testing will have to wait until a few basic addons are allowed to be added.