Thoughts on the Annual Pass
I’ve been watching a lot of what has been going on with the Annual Pass. I’ve been watching Twitter, reading the forums and posts on other WoW sites and while a lot of what is being posted is the normal qq that always seems to happen when people don’t get things exactly the way they want, I see some legitimate issues with the way it has been handled by Blizzard.
I personally am an Annual Pass subscriber and no I haven’t been invited to the beta yet, however, I’m not upset about it. I’m an experienced beta tester who has tested for multiple games through the years and multiple MMO’s as well. I understand that to keep servers stable you must invite in waves to ensure you are properly supporting everyone playing. That is not one of the issues I see. Below are the issues with the annual pass as I see them with my comments in-line.:
- Blizzard initially advertises the Annual Pass with the impression that those who signed up would get instant access to beta upon start. Any of us who are experienced testers knew that this wasn’t going to happen, however most of those that signed up for the annual pass are not your normal testers they are players who enjoy the game and see the beta as a chance to play the new expansion early. Blizzard could have stopped a lot of the initial complaints by knowing their audience and addressing this upfront.
- Blizzard announces that invites will come in waves, inferring individuals would be invited based off activity and when they signed up for the annual pass. Based off what I’ve been watching from people I know on Twitter and what people are saying on the forums, there appears to be little rhyme or reason to the way invites are being handled. (Let me emphasis, THIS IS BASED OFF WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING, not what I personally know) I personally believe this could have been rectified by establishing the wave criteria, publicizing it and then sticking to that, none of which appears to have happened for this process.
- Blizzard started out with a small wave initially as is apt to happen when testing first opens up as you are testing only small areas, and then do to outcry seemed to very quickly invite a few very large waves. This bogged down the questing areas as you had thousands of people all trying to complete the same quests at the same time, as everyone was stuck to one area and new characters. One of two things could have fixed this. Either put up more servers to handle the load or keep invite numbers down until you can support them.
How would I have done this differently? I personally would have set up a special beta just for the annual pass people. It would have been a more stable client on a larger number of servers. It would have been later in the Beta and would have been a preview, not a test. I also would have made sure this was all stated up front. Too much confusion comes from not having all the information on a program easily found.
I must clarify, these are just my thoughts on the situation and how I would handle things differently. This is not meant to be a complaint post because honestly, while I love testing I understand that I’ll get in when I get in and it doesn’t bother me.
As always comments and criticisms are welcome. Thanks for letting me rant a bit. (Steps down off the soapbox)