Friday, April 6, 2012

How to Write a Beta Test Post

My post this week will be a continuation of my coverage of the Diablo III beta. The image is a picture of the Wizard class in Diablo III casting a magic missile. I thought it might be a good idea to give an example of a constructive feedback post. If you don’t follow the basic guidelines that most video game beta forums tell you to follow, none of the developers will ever read your posts. Therefore you’ll be wasting your time. Here are a couple of important guidelines you must follow to give feedback on a game:

1. Keep it constructive. You can complain all you want about various aspects of the game, but remember that game developers care very much about their games. Mix your complaints in with suggestions on how to fix said problems for the developers. The game developers won’t read your post if the moderators delete it because you said the company sucks and the developers are idiots.

2. Write clearly and well. I can’t tell you how many forum posts I’ve seen that don’t have paragraphs, or violate basically all the basic tenets of writing. If your forum post says, “Hay guyz, I reallly dont like teh wizzurd cuz of his spells and stuff. i tahnk you for reading tihs” do you think game developers will take you seriously?

3. Check to see if others have written about your topic before you make your own thread. If there are fifteen threads about how a door won’t open in a certain level, do you think the sixteenth will make a difference?

Finally, here is an example thread that I created on the Diablo III beta forums. A moderator eventually entered the thread and thanked me for my feedback.

Wizard Class Feedback – Diablo III Beta Post

I have to say, the Wizard's abilities are kind of boring. After re-rolling the Witch Doctor, I found I was having WAY more fun with the WD's abilities than the Wizard ones - and the Wizard's abilities are his bread and butter.

Here are my impressions of the Wizards abilities:

Magic Missiles: Yawn. In almost every RPG since D&D. Scales based on weapon damage, nothing particularly interesting here.

Wave of Force: Again, yawn. Area of Effect slow and deals damage, may trigger traps and make walls fall over. Also some knockback.

Arcane Blast: AoE ranged blast. Not a bad spell; good utility, but it suffers from the same problem as other Wizard spells: They're generally boring and don’t do anything new or innovative.

Buff that gives +15% weapon damage: Interesting. I'm guessing this +15% improves all your other spells, because they're based off of weapon damage. Right? (Yet I never noticed any damage difference before activating and after).

There are plenty of other Wizard spells, but none of them really stand out. This isn't just a complaint post however, I have some suggestions for more entertaining spells:

Flame/Ice/Lightning stream: A progressive damage and debuff that sets the target on fire/freezes it. The longer the stream is hitting something, the greater the fire/ice/lightning debuff it gets, the longer the debuff lasts, and the more damage the stream does.

Transmorph: A unique buff for monsters. A streaming buff that gives a monster (not a boss, to prevent griefing) +10% stats for every, say, 3 seconds it's cast on the target. Additionally, it increases the % chance you get a magic item from the monster by 1%, capping at 100%. Keep in mind that this 100% isn't a guaranteed magic item drop - it's a 100% increase in *that monster's* chance to drop an item, which is probably like 3 or 5%. Meaning it doubles the chance it'll drop a magic item when killed if fully cast.

Raging Madness: A channeled spell cast on a monster that doubles its stats and then forces it to attack the nearest target - friendly or enemy. Talents can make this spell pass like chain lightning through multiple monsters.

Just because a Wizard's spells are meant for Damage Per Second doesn't mean they have to be boring. There are creative ways to apply DPS in any RPG, and this one is no different. I'm of the opinion right now after spending hours with my Wizard that he's boring and desperately in need of more creative game design.

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