It’s not often a Game Manufacturer opens up a major brand to the consumer masses for development. Where grubby little gamers, like myself, can get a “Beta testing” edition of the game and not just play it but also feedback what we think. If that information is actually listened to, and dare I say, acted upon, it’ll be the holy grail of initiatives. In most player’s eyes this kind of program is amazing. It’s something we all want as premier world creators. How many times I’ve heard “they should of let us play it before release, it would of been so much better if they had”. Yes we’re all conceited enough to think what we create is the be-all end-all of designs, and with an armchair general’s eye view of things, we can make each game better if they’d involve us. More importantly, take us seriously.
FFG goes on to comment,“This is an excellent example of how important the Beta process is, and how much we value your involvement.” Wow they acknowledged us publicly too! Award #2 to FFG!
“Due to the extensive nature of the changes to Dark Heresy Second Edition, our next update will be available at the end of November. Instead of a list of changes, this update will be a new and complete document containing the newest iteration of Dark Heresy Second Edition. Everyone who has purchased the Dark Heresy Second Edition Beta will be able to download the new version of the beta free of charge, and, of course, will still receive their $20 credit toward the purchase of the final game.” Good news indeed. Not only are we part of this but what we bought and paid for will be fully updated for FREE! Awesome Award #3!
- Weapons and Combat rules, as well as the Skills and Talents selection and usage will be made more consistent with Only War.
- NPCs will be rebuilt to become compatible and usable in other Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay games
- A new Reinforcements system which allows players to temporarily call-in and play as high-level characters will be added.
It is important to note that some of the popular elements from the current beta will be retained in this new direction, some of which are outlined below:
- The new sector, Askellon, will remain, giving your Acolytes a whole new sector full of heresy to eradicate.
- The character creation system will remain as well, along with Elite Advances, allowing you to play as a Psyker, Untouchable, or even Inquisitor.
- Rules for Subtlety, Influence, and Investigation will be retained.
- Integrated vehicle and vehicle combat rules will remain.”
From this it looks like we’re keeping some fluff and a lot of crunch, all tied closer with a more defined vision for the book. FFG has certainly got a lot from this experience. Hopefully a good experience as it’s a great way to show how running these can have a huge impact on how much better a product can be from mass testing. The trick is in garnering, filtering and interpreting the information they get back. Not a small job. Reminds me of when we started the 3rd Edition Process for D&D at Wizards of the Coast and David Gross (Editor Dragon Magazine at the time) walked into a meeting and tipped out a large box of written feedback. His words were… “This is where we should start”.
Not only is this a great way to develop a game to the next level, have locked in purchases come release, but these players will evangelize organically telling everyone how good the game is and sucking in more preorder purchases. More than just normal marketing campaigns can achieve. I’ve always said enthusiasm is the most infectious of diseases. Folks can’t help getting excited along with you and, at the worst, will check things out.
FFG finishes with a positive note, “The design team wishes to thank you for all of your dedication and hard work on Dark Heresy Second Edition so far, and is looking forward to working with you as we continue the process of crafting the best possible game experience.”
For those who’ve not signed up yet? Why not? For those involved. Keep feeding back. For those that want to get involved. Vist the FFG site for information.