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Discussion > Video GamesJul 1, 2024 8:00 am CT

What are your thoughts on weekend versus ongoing betas?

Guild Wars 2 had their first beta for the Janthir Wilds expansion this weekend, a limited-time opportunity to test all the new abilities coming alongside the Spear for the game’s professions. I was able to get a chance to play around with all nine new weapon configurations, but I kind of feel bad for players who had other plans and couldn’t spend the time in beta this weekend. It got me thinking, though: what’s the better beta style, weekends or ongoing?

This wasn’t the first time GW2 chose to use the limited-time weekend format to test new features — in fact, since its inception they’ve chosen to have focused testing weekends over ongoing betas like World of Warcraft does. As a game that also does not have a PTR they have also started having beta weekends for features being introduced during the expansion cycle. Frankly I can see the benefits to this style of testing: by focusing on specific things in a short period of time it ensures that what needs to be tested is tested. For those prone to distraction like myself it also helps to have to plan when I’m going to spend time in beta.

In the case of The War Within and other WoW expansions it is nice to have the content available without deadline (although of course there are downtimes while new builds are deployed). With GW2 if you went to visit family this weekend you may have missed the beta entirely whereas with TWW you can jump in and out as needed regardless of what’s happening in real life. Of course it’s arguable that the lack of focus is a detriment to this approach: many testers focus on the story beats over mechanical changes — outside of player ability changes, which tend to get tested thoroughly — meaning if the development team really wants you to be testing hearty meals or transferring currency they’re likely going to have to beg players to do so.

So what do you think? Do you prefer targeted testing like GW2, or do you like the ongoing aspect of WoW betas? And if you’re a GW2 player did you test out the Spear this weekend?

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