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  1. #1

    Question What was WoW like in beta and immediately post-launch?

    Reason I'm asking is because there was one particular mmo that I was very excited about as it was being developed which turned out to be a massive let down. Currently, there is another mmo that is being tested which I am interested in and which I have heard mixed messages about.

    Whilst understanding it might be naiive to take beta reports at face value, I would like to know is a game screwed if its development trajectory isn't perfect? So as a comparison, I just wanted to find out what wow was like/how much it changed from beta to launch and immediately afterwards as I never played beta. Whatever your feelings are about it now, undeniably it was a great game for everyone who played and enjoyed it at one point or another in the past.

    So I'd like to find out such things as:

    Was WoW amazing from the get go in beta?

    Was it poor/ok and then iterative design improved it exponentially over time?

    Were there specific points where it jumped up in terms of quality during beta?

    Was it poor/ok at launch ? (I don't think this is true because I remember it getting high reviews)

    Did it improve very quickly after it was launched?

    If it wasn't good until after launch, when was it that it became good?

    And I'm not really interested in things like server wait times and connection issues or anything technical really - just how good was the game design etc. at that stage compared to the high points people remember that came after?
    Last edited by Monksrus; 2013-07-25 at 03:45 PM.

  2. #2
    The Insane Slowpoke is a Gamer's Avatar
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    Alpha, Beta, and Post-launch are very tumultuous and full of changes both small and radical.

    I mean at one point Goldshire was to be a whole city, at one point Forsaken could talk to Alliance, at one point Paladin and Shaman were faction exclusive.
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  3. #3
    Maybe it's unrelated, but I found it interesting to read these patchnotes http://www.wowwiki.com/Patches/0.x and see WoW path of development.

  4. #4
    I played in Beta for original WoW, but didn't actually get the game till June following so can't comment about release. I played a Forsaken Warlock. It's been a long time. Don't remember being able to talk to humans as the guy above stated.

    Warlocks could wear armor occasionally. Rogues could wear small shields called bucklers. Lots of zones were closed off. Azshara? Western Plaguelands? Used to have giant signs on the entrances saying to keep out and infernals would kill you if you tried to do it anyway. I'm pretty sure hunter talents were never implemented in the original Beta, if they were, it was very late. Another class got their talents incredibly late in beta -- I think druids, after they had announced the ending of beta. Didn't play either one, so had no direct experience. I remember the level cap was 55, but you could still do raids occasionally (like on PTR). People were convinced that 5 levels would not make the difference on Onyxia. Remember Paladin anti-undead spells worked on forsaken and holy would cause either extra damage or a crit from regular spells. I'm pretty sure paladins had strike spells that were removed for launch.

    I had no idea what I was doing. Don't think I ever level-capped, but had a lot of fun. Most of the time I would dot up an enemy, then I would help my pet beat on it with my staff

    Paladin and shaman were faction exclusive until the Burning Crusade expansion . Everyone was upset raiding because the patch immediately prior to BC turned on the faction exclusive loots, but that was all that was dropping. A lot of horde guilds were only getting pally loot, and vice versa. They hot fixed in a week.

  5. #5
    High Overlord
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    When vanilla WoW was first released it was so vast at the time. Everything you did felt like an achievement.

  6. #6
    Most of your bullet points are the same question....

    Yes, World of Warcraft was amazing and engaging from the get go, even from early betas, although it had issues, most were resolved before launch. There were also massive changes throughout the beta (Taurens used to have plainsrunning - instead of using mounts, Warriors got full revamps from a movie Indalamar made where he destroyed everything on a route, etc etc), but the overall quality was always above average.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Darsithis's Avatar
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    Plainsrunning is all I have to say
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  8. #8
    Some very interesting replies!

    I guess I should have been more specific. The kinds of things people are talking about that were changed seem quite minor like forsaken being able to talk to alliance or plainsrunning.

    What I meant was, the fluid movement and especially the deep and rich combat system - were they like they are now from the beginning? Or was it quite stiff and shallow and progressively got better?

    Essentially, was it obvious that this game was a cut above the rest even in early beta?
    Last edited by Monksrus; 2013-07-25 at 04:18 PM.

  9. #9
    When I joined beta, Paladins didn't have talent trees. They were one of the last if not the last to get them. So at one point there was downtime and the servers came up and we finally had talent trees. There was also a complete revamp of paladin abilities a few days/weeks before the release. I have to admit, just playing for a few hours a day had my wife and I severely addicted to the game...it was really unbelievable.

    At launch, the game servers were highly unstable. Lots of lag, disconnects, odd bugs and whatnot. Lots of changes as well. I remember Blizz had to revamp the Tier 2 armor at one point because they didn't expect people to be getting it so quickly and the sets had no special armor skinning or usable stats for the classes.

  10. #10
    Epic! Viscoe's Avatar
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    Worried about Wildstar, are we?

    Anyway, games change RADICALLY from closed beta to open beta. Open beta usually mostly reflects how the game will be (I put a very heavy weight on the word mostly. It is still beta, after all.) That is from my experience with games that were not WoW.

    I'd just say wait for open beta and screw around on it if you don't get an invite to closed beta. Make your own decision from there. But as with any MMO, if W* can last more than a year or two, expect patch notes and expansions and major patches to completely alter original concepts.

    And in response to your movement post - assuming we are talking about Wildstar - the game is pretty much built around its combat and telegraphing systems, you can see it in the videos they've released. I highly doubt that will change much other than slight tweaks to abilities on uphill environments and stuff like that (think blink and disengage in WoW terms,)
    Waiting for Wildstar!
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by dokhidamo View Post
    Alpha, Beta, and Post-launch are very tumultuous and full of changes both small and radical.

    I mean at one point Goldshire was to be a whole city, at one point Forsaken could talk to Alliance, at one point Paladin and Shaman were faction exclusive.
    This guy knows what's up. I mean, Mend Pet used to be channeled for Christ's sake! (And it was all the way up to 2.1 or 2.2)

  12. #12
    Paladin in beta and immediatly post launch were pretty much 2 different classes, which remains the reason why the class sucked terribly up til halfway of TBC. The new system had practically no testing done to it at all and the hybrid hating main dev of the time (Kalgan I think it was) refused to regognice any of the issues with the class.
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by hulkgor View Post
    Most of your bullet points are the same question....
    Not to sidetrack but no it's not the same question. Was wow great immediately or not? If not, when did it become great? Did this greatness happen at very specific points with very specific implementations of features or was it more gradual? Did it happen in beta or after launch? It's all about wow's goodness but specifically trying to pinpoint when it acquired it and in what manner - those are all different questions in there........

  14. #14
    I played from the EU open beta and noticed little change from that into launch. I was still learning most of the concepts (it was very different to dark age of camelot) so it was hard to put forth a judgement on the game whilst learning it. At launch it was just busy, people were everywhere and some stuff wasn't implemented yet like battlegrounds and weather effects.

    Generally a game will go through a rough period after launch with server issues and then the population will die back, content releases all depend on the developer as if they can't see hiring the staff to develop then it will be slow for new content to come out. As WoW just kept selling and selling more and more resources were put into it and that's what made it into the game it is today.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Viscoe View Post
    Worried about Wildstar, are we?
    No. I'm worried about this adult themed mmo that's been getting a lot of buzz. I just hope the combat system is really rich and deep.

  16. #16
    nogg-aholic.blogspot.com/2006/02/why-wow-is-bad-game-reason-8.html an interesting look at wow from noggaholic the famous wow explorer~ (can't post links yet)

  17. #17
    Epic! Viscoe's Avatar
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    Monks, you have to remember when WoW was released.

    The MMO market wasn't really big and booming. You could play, like, Runescape or EQ or GW or WoW. Or UO!

    As well as the fact that "greatness" is subjective. If you want to measure by subs, then WotLK was when it was "great." if you want to measure by enjoyment, you're going to get wildly varied answers. YOu just have to test the game you're curious about yourself and DECIDE if you like it or not.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Monksrus View Post
    No. I'm worried about this adult themed mmo that's been getting a lot of buzz. I just hope the combat system is really rich and deep.
    Huh. Well, alright.

    I saw you in the W* thread so I assumed you'd be on that. xD My bad.
    Waiting for Wildstar!
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilian View Post
    Paladin in beta and immediatly post launch were pretty much 2 different classes, which remains the reason why the class sucked terribly up til halfway of TBC. The new system had practically no testing done to it at all and the hybrid hating main dev of the time (Kalgan I think it was) refused to regognice any of the issues with the class.
    Kalgan is still the head dev....

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilian View Post
    Paladin in beta and immediatly post launch were pretty much 2 different classes, which remains the reason why the class sucked terribly up til halfway of TBC. The new system had practically no testing done to it at all and the hybrid hating main dev of the time (Kalgan I think it was) refused to regognice any of the issues with the class.
    This is really interesting. What were paladins originally like? Battle-mages?

  20. #20
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