Before this past weekend, I was kind of ambivalent about signing up for betas for games I might want to play. But then I had a chance to play in the Elder Scrolls Online beta through Raptr and, since I didn't plan at playing anytime soon, I signed up and played. I'm glad I did.
I'm glad I did. Sure, I probably will not buy play the game, but not for the obvious reasons. The combat system is a little different and the UI is a lot different than what I'm used to. But by the end of the weekend I was surprisingly okay with the systems. The crafting really looked promising and I liked the graphical quality of the game. Yes, the PvE is a themepark with a lot of room on the path, but I expected that. I'm really glad that I played because I found out the camera system makes me ill. I would have hated to spend $60 and then find that little fact out the hard way.
One of the things I've forgotten over the last few years is the value of the free trial. When I started playing EVE, I didn't just hand CCP over $20 and start playing. I downloaded the 14-day free trial and was hooked after 2 days. Some free trials, like World of Warcraft's, are not limited by time, but instead by a level cap. In WoW's case, the cap is level 20. Plenty of time to try out a lot of different classes and find one or two I might like to play for months at a time.
The free-to-play craze also lessened the importance of the open beta for judging games. If I want to try one of those games, I can just create an account and start playing. If the game's good, I can spend some money. If not, I don't have any monetary investment and I can just walk away.
With the return of the subscription model, if even temporarily, I need to start looking at the betas. The days of "action combat" are here and I need to make sure I can handle the these new systems. I'm getting a bit old now and the old tab-target system that I could handle is getting kicked to the curb. Part of me likes the change as botting becomes harder. But my motor skills, never great, ain't what they used to be.
EVE Online is just the right speed for me, which means I'll probably keep playing for a long time. But I am going to want to try out different games, if only to take a peek at how the genre is changing. I should also add that I do want to play Wildstar for a few months, but I don't really want to play sight unseen. I managed to get a beta key from Curse for this weekend's Wildstar beta. I figure I need to get into the beta this weekend, because as I get closer to Fanfest, I'll want to spend more time involved in EVE, either playing the game or reading about the upcoming changes for the summer expansion. I may not even have time to play my weekly game of Tropico 4. But I really need to try out Wildstar to find out whether I'm going to buy the game or just spend a lot more time in New Eden this summer.