You know, I have mentioned this in another thread, but I think it bears repeating for all of those people out there who are upset that FFG has begun to permit people to purchase Beta copies of games for play testing and to gather feedback.
We in the paper and pencil gaming hobby have always paid to play Beta versions of a game. They were called First Editions. Now, yes, I know that a First Edition was usually more polished than FFG's Betas, but think about it for a minute, remember how it used to be:
Most game companies couldn't play-test. Those that could would grab maybe, at most a hundred people - at most. Usually that number was a lot lower. These play-testing companies would bang away at the rules, find what problems they could and then release the game. They had to do this while under the financial gun, BTW, there were deadlines and so forth to be adhered to. Time was moolah.
So, what did we get? A game that had mistakes. Sometimes they were just spelling or grammar errors, others they were a lot worse. But these untested or limited testes games would be released to us, and what would happen?
Well as I am sure you could agree, a couple of thousand people across the world playing a game (give or take of course) were always better able to find the problems with a game than a few score. Particularly since they were under no time constraints! And when they did find the problems, they send their findings back to the company, and if they company gave a damn (and some did not), they published an errata - at some point. But in the meantime, you've already paid for a flawed product - but hey, don't worry, often there was another edition coming down the line…real soon too! Though it was a toss up as to whether or not that edition fixed old problems at the expense of bringing up new ones.
So, now compare that to the Beta Test System of FFG. You don't have to buy the Beta, and if you choose not to, then you can get the benefit of often an order of magnitude more and better play testing than past games have ever received - thereby reducing Initial Edition errors and problems proportionately.
I dunno, I think the new way works for me. What do you think?
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I have no issues with the way FFG is conducting business on this game. I only hope they take the comments (in regards to editing, clarity, and things that feel "lacking") into account before publishing the final version.
Like you, I grew up gaming in the old school. Actually lived down the block from FASA back when Shadowrun, and the like, we all coming around. Was part of a few play tests for them, but as you pointed out they were exceptionally limited, and I believe my friends and I were there to test how the rules applied to the younger demographic.
Anyway, I'm having a blast with the demo/beta thing so far. About the most fun I have had GMing Star Wars in…. well…. forever. My players adore the greater attention I can provide to the story (thus have a much better "role" playing experience.
Glad you're around to inject some wisdom into the forums, sometimes change upsets people so greatly that they forget to look around and see the beach before they complain.
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