I didn’t mean to hijack/distract the thread by turning it away from Early Access games on to anti-pre-ordering, but yeah. My perspective is very unique because 1) I have degrees in both Computer Science and Software Engineering, and 2) I’ve actually conducted real alphas and betas. When it comes to public beta testing, my opinion was and still is that the game should be 99% complete. The only reason for a public beta test in the old days was a stress test for servers to make sure they could handle the flood of players, and even today that should still be the focus.
My main arguments for not having the public playtest a 0.3 or 0.4 or whatever number (it’s all arbitrary) pre-release is twofold: expectations will be set (generously or detrimentally), and a lack of knowledge how to properly report bugs. Most gamers do not know what to look for, how to search for, or how to report a bug once it’s found, even when expressly given the tools to do so. Yet so often we see buggy piles of manure released on Early Access without a proper line of communication to the devs to easily list bugs encountered, which bugs have been noted, which bugs are being fixed, which bugs are already fixed and will be squashed in the next patch, etc.
Not to mention my pet peeve - content, art styles, and levels still being designed in Early Access. I’m willing to give some games a pass in Early Access (like PUBG) because they already have their core gameplay loop done, the mechanics are in, the art style solidified, and content mostly complete, but then they ruin the mostly finished state by having some of the most asinine bugs in programming history, so no, bad PUBG. It shouldn’t have come to EA as soon as it did. An obvious example from my previous list was Star Citizen - no way in hell am I going to touch that before release, it’d ruin the dream. Does that mean PUBG or Star Citizen are/will be bad games? No. I happily threw my money at Chris Roberts because he already earned my love and respect for his other space games, plus i wanted to be part of the internet zeitgeist resurrecting the space genre. If the game itself fails, fine, but I won’t consider the money a waste - the money wasn’t to buy a game, it was to support a giant project that has changed game development forever.