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What We've Learned and Hope to Achieve From Open Beta

Catherine's picture

We've been in open beta for a couple of days now, so I wanted to give you all some insight on what we hope to achieve from this phase of the game and what we've learned!

Beta is a phase of development, it's not a finished product. We utilize beta to reveal cracks in the surface that only mass usage can reveal. We test all sorts of thing on the backend while you enjoy your time with the Meeroos. We look at server stability, overall performance of hardware, capacity scalability, ratios of successes to errors, we try to simulate a real-time launch to prepare our hardware for the real thing so your experience remains undisrupted and as easy as possible.

Our first Trunk release went a little haywire, with hundreds of Meeroos being coaxed from the nests at once- many people ended up with blue glowing Meeroos or vanishing nests or script errors due to the sudden server load. This let us know we had to increase our resource usage to accommodate that influx of activity! It's good that it happened, we wanted to simulate a scenario just like launch to test our devices so we know what we need in preparation for launch!

We ceased delivery of the trunks specifically to wait for enough people to be online to effectively simulate another test launch. When we felt an adequate time had passed with enough new players awaiting the trunk, we released them again in another wave. This time, things went TOO well! Our servers didn't register even a blip of strenuous activity. So, we stopped distribution once more for a final test, which will be tomorrow morning, and we hope to see even more people hamming on the server to give it a good work-out and provide us an adequate picture of performance in the scenario.

Beta also sheds some light on exactly how people will play the game. We didn't have the opportunity to see this during closed beta since our dedicated participants were so busy testing function.

There seems to be some presumptions made that we know we need to work on, much in thanks to our open beta testers. People believe they have to pet their Meeroos non-stop to keep them "Happy" or "Carefree." This isn't so. A Meeroo is delighted to be petted once every so often. Don't think of it as a chore- cuddle only when you want to, you will not be penalized and should not feel an urgency to pet your Meeroos 50 times a day. If they are in a "Happy" state, they will be just fine. Don't put an inordinate amount of stress on yourselves over their comfort.

We also see that people are torn over the HUD. Some love it, some hate it. Well, the compromise we're working on is diversifying the method of information delivery. We are aware, thanks to feedback, that many of you prefer to have traits whispered to you in local chat on a "click" of a Meeroo, primarily for participation in marketplaces and auctions, as a matter of convenience to potential buyers.

Ultimately, we plan do this. We will not do away with the HUD, as for some it is a preference, but we will offer the "click" as an alternative for displaying traits and relevant information for those without a HUD. We don't want your HUD to encroach on your experience, but it will always me mandatory for viewing the News, playing the Oracle, viewing your status as a player, or managing your fellowship. However, we know information relevant to a Meeroo should be available to all, whether they possess a HUD or not. This may help players feel more comfortable with their Meeroos, specifically those who just enjoy the breeding aspect, and remove the perception that the HUD (And the Merroos!) is demanding of their valuable time. One should never feel their Meeroos are a workload, nor should they feel the elements of the HUD are time consuming. There are many layers to the Meeroos, and they are all entirely optional. You don't have to play the Oracle. You don't have to join a fellowship. You don't have to click on collectables they find. You don't have to breed them, you don't have to pet your Meeroos... you control your whole experience. You can do any of it, all of it, or none of it- it's all up to you, and you're not penalized for opting out of any aspect of the game. Those are not there as demands, they are there to provide OPTIONS for people with different interests and playstyles.

Finally, since this is open Beta, things are certainly subject to change. I certainly expect to have some tweaking done for launch. The experience will be improved, and so will the performance. This is a development phase, and not a final product. That's why it is free. You're helping us tremendously by participating and we are very grateful. This is your opportunity to help us create the game you WANT to play in your free time! Please use your voice on the forum and share with us your feedback. We read EVERYTHING, even if we don't have time to respond promptly every time, we do read you comments and when appropriate, we discuss them. Rather than complain to others about what you don't like, please tell us, because it helps us improve. It let's us know what is working for you and what isn't. You are critical in this process, each of you.

On the General forum you will find two sticky threads that will help me aggregate information!

"My Likes" and
"My Dislikes"

Please don't be shy, be honest but polite. We're inviting you to be critical now, so you don't have to be later! We want to hear your thoughts AND your concerns. We love praise, but if we only ever received praise, we wouldn't grow or learn. It is those who care enough to be constructively critical that really give us something to think about.

Thanks for all of your patience and hard work. In closing, I would like to thank our staff who have been unfailing during the last few days, spending upwards of 14 hours online to make sure you receive the best care we have to offer.

Toxic Menges, our Customer Support & Community Manager
Allison Bluebird, Mehgan Southmoor, Silvy Dean, Chandni Khondji and Malichai Muse, our Customer Service Specialists. Also, Allatu Augustus, our dedicated forum Moderator who spends all day reading and responding! All of them have lent generous amounts of their time to this effort, please offer them a warm smile when you see them in-world.

And to our community members who diligently relay information on our behalf to other members by sharing their knowledge and pointing them to resources, we consider ourselves so fortunate to have you with us. Thanks for making our job easier!