Reviewing Valve’s Approach to Artifact Beta
Artifact Beta is now finally over, but it would be good to analyze the methods that Valve used for this particular game. To do this, we first need to address the “Beta” phase in video games and what is the supposed goal for this part of the development. The procedure above takes part during the process of making any video game (or any software). There comes the time when the game is almost finished but needs external inputs. In other words, some suggestions from outside the development team that aims to find underperforming game mechanics. Such factors may probably affect the game’s appeal to its supposed audience. At the same time, fix some annoying“bugs” before the release date.
Depending on the type of video game, this process may last between a couple of weeks or even months. Some of the triple “A” games out there, take advantage of the Beta phase to test the multiplayer part of their games. By sharing some access codes, the development team can create crowd control among their players. This feature aims to keep their servers online and maintain a stable connection. As time goes by, more people can adequately test the game until the final release date takes place.
Was Valve’s Artifact Beta phase the right way?
Well, it depends, to the lucky people that got a Beta serial key, it was probably one of the best experience. But, for the rest of us, we were only able to see how it goes “behind the curtain.” Even though generally this didn’t look that appealing; to the developer team, this was probably the best option. Why is that? Well, when you have control over the number of players that can access your online servers. You have the idea of how capable the multiplayer aspect of the game is. The Beta phase becomes more stable, which means that you’ll have more control over any possible changes.
The other way around is to give a lot of access keys to as many players as possible. Somehow you can see this kind of approach with the recent “Fallout 76” Beta phase. In this case, this “feature” was a bonus if you were able to preorder the game. Yeah, that’s right. Being a key part for their game development, they had to pay you to test their game. Instead, you had to pay for the “privilege.”This kind of approach brings no control over the player base, which became just chaos. Many bugs and connection problems began to appear, but there was no way to address these problems before the release date. Speaking of the “release,” this game became notorious because the Beta phase was too short. There was almost no time for the developer team to address some mistakes and clean the game in time.
Did it work?
Although it was the safe approach and probably the best for the game development, there was still some backlash. Suddenly a “bad vibe” from the game fans, arose because of the many privileges that the beta testers had. Let’s say you were able to find access to the Beta. You had more time to practice and find the best Artifact had to offer. Plus, you were able to use the Steam Market earlier and even generate income by selling your unused cards.
But if instead, you pre-ordered the game, there was nothing else to do but wait. If you add the recent approach that Fallout 76 made, people that pre-ordered the game wanted an auto-invite. Although Valve had no statement that this would happen, people still demanded it. But who is to blame here? Everyone wanted to join the hype and start making their personalized decks.
Taking all those faults aside. There were a lot of positive sides from the Artifact Beta phase. For example, there where famous twitch players that felt there were missing features in the game. Due to their vast amount of followers, they were able to give feedback to Valve. The developers, viewing the distress, made some changes to appeal all their audience before it was too late.
Additionally, the process from the Artifact Beta took several months to complete. Creating more time for the development team to clean any mistakes that appeared within the game. Bugs and connection problems were almost non-existing. When the release day finally came, there were some server issues, but it only took a couple of minutes to fix everything. After launch patches just polished the game even more. In a developer point of view, this Beta phase was indeed a success.
To Infinity and Beyond
Even though you have to sacrifice some customer satisfaction to release a better product, in the long run, this approach is better — every part of the gaming development its crucial time for its success. Artifact Beta was no different for the rest. Vale chose to maintain the proper control of their player base during this process to keep everything under control and stable. The amount of time that it took to complete the Beta phase was the right amount to polish everything up. There were rumors (probably true) that there were some elements that were scrapped to honor the release date. For example, the in-game chat is missing, and there may be more information about personal stats.
But remember that this is the “phase one” of the Artifact game. There’s still some time before the mobile version of the game becomes available to the public. With another platform, there’ll be another development methods and possibly the same process that Artifact Beta went through. After its release though, there may be a cross-platform to share the player base of the game. Creating fewer times for queue and the ability to continue playing Artifact everywhere. Besides the Mobile version, Valve will probably add the missing features of the game, add more expansions, and innovate game mechanics.
Whatever the case may be, thanks to the success of the developing process of the game. The possible problems that may come in the future can have a quick fix. This advantage can help any video game to retain stability.