Garrett Fuller, at MMORPG recently wrote about a topic I had touched on September 1st, saying
Why MMO companies start setting their fans’ expectations three or four years before they are ready is baffling.
I completely agree. He goes even further, referencing the current model of MMO developers regarding beta testing–calling it the “Beta Effect”. You can see it unfolding in many MMO’s right this very instant, but in my case, the one I have been following so closely, The Old Republic (SWTOR). Once it was announced that beta testing was soon to begin the butt kissing went into over drive on the official forum. People are crawling all over each other to gain access, but many of them are after one thing, and one thing only. Information.
More and more often users are entering beta testing in test to see if they are interested in playing the game at release, and to gain an advantage over those who do not have access. It’s no longer about testing and polishing the game for most, and hasn’t been for several years.
Together it points out that developers need to adjust their MO. I believe they need to dial down the hype, and start the community building when there is actually information for potential players to learn.