Why play early access (EA)?

wolfgrimdark

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Probably some other threads on this but couldn't find what I was looking for. There is a thread here: https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1061677442#post1061677442

That was going way off topic and since Eye posted about it didn't want to derail it further so made a quick thread to answer the question why do some folks play EA.

I can only speak for myself so maybe others can chime in as well. For me it is a short and simple list:

1 - I am bored and looking for something new to experience. Usually I would only purchase a game I am confident I want but in rare cases an EA version is a bit cheaper so maybe I will try it out if I have some confidence I would want it.

2 - I want to support the company in some manner or show interest in their game.

3 - I am really excited about the game and can't wait 2 years to experience some of it.

4 - Depending on the game, I may want to get a head start on designing a character and learning the mechanics.

I would say the biggest factors are boredom and excitement mixed together. I want something new to do but perhaps the only thing of interest to me is an EA game.

While playing a game for the first time is the most special I don't mind if the first quarter or half is experienced as I will still have the rest. I don't care about mechanics or the opening parts being spoiled.

Most EA don't include the whole game to begin with and if it does I simply stop before I get too far. Usually I only play EA a few times for the very begining to test out character builds and the like. In rare cases, like WOTR and BG3, I will indulge in deeper game play. My desire to play BG3 has only increased, versus decreased, from playing their EA. I am very excited to see the full content, get deeper into the companions, and learn more about the story.

For me, personally, knowing the initial act or so isn't a big deal.

Right now for EA I have:
- BG3
- Wartales
- King Arthur RTS

I was also in the EA for Waylanders and WOTR.

BG4 and WOTR I couldn't wait to try out (I also wanted to support Owlcats as I really like them as a developer and both BG3 and WOTR I wanted to play with making characters). The other three I tried as I was bored and wanted a diversion.

PS - I should add for BG3 I am no longer playing the EA, even with all the new content, as I have played it enough to know what it is like and have some fun and don't want to burn out on it. I might login now and then to create a character and test out for a bit but otherwise am waiting for the final product whenever that is.
 
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HiddenX

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I've bought lots of EA games.

1. to support the devs
2. because I'm curios

But I rarely play them longer than 3-5 hours - just to get a first impression.
After that I wait for the final release.
 
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bjon045

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I think I have bought a handful (<10) of EA games out of 300+ games I have bought. I have done beta testing (Pathfinder Kingmaker more recently) but never played a EA. I have backed a lot of games in Kickstarter/Fig though.
 
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crpgnut

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I have played dozens and the big reason is that there are a ton of games that will never see full release that are fun to play anyway. Some of them have made millions of dollars.

That's it. Looks fun.
 
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Carnifex

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I used to do this extensively, going back to when I help test such games as Eye of the Beholder, Darklands, and several others. I stopped doing it during my EQ years and really never got back into it, and then gave it up all together about five years ago. I think I simply lost the patience required.
 
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wolfgrimdark

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I used to do this extensively, going back to when I help test such games as Eye of the Beholder, Darklands, and several others. I stopped doing it during my EQ years and really never got back into it, and then gave it up all together about five years ago. I think I simply lost the patience required.

I didn't even know EA was a thing back then. I played both of those games. I thought back then it was the good old days when you simply brought the game at the store, like Gamestop, and EA wasn't even possible. You brought it when it was done and released hard copy. I thought that was why so many were bemoaning the good old days when EA didn't exist?
 
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JDR13

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For me, it would usually be to briefly try a game to see if I like it. I've never played an early access game extensively. I've also done it on occasion just to support the devs like others have mentioned.
 
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JDR13

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I didn't even know EA was a thing back then. I played both of those games. I thought back then it was the good old days when you simply brought the game at the store, like Gamestop, and EA wasn't even possible. You brought it when it was done and released hard copy. I thought that was why so many were bemoaning the good old days when EA didn't exist?

It didn't exist back then. I think he's referring to beta testing. Not sure why he's talking about that as if it's the same thing.
 
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Redglyph

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Sometimes, I like EA, alpha and beta (closed or not).

1) First and foremost, it's more an experience with the community and the developers than just playing a game as a product. I'd rather participate, explore and help than be a by-stander.

(Encased, Pathfinder, Exp: Rome are good examples)

2) It's a way to give suggestions before it's too late, although it only works once in a while and in small groups.

(Encased, Mechajammer, Solasta are good examples)

3) Knowing it helps financially promising indie devs can be motive enough. KS are not always sufficient.

(BG3 is .. not a good example, or maybe it is, I don't know anymore. We'll see when it's out)

4) Sometimes curiosity takes over. :)


PS: Thanks @wolfgrimdark;, I wrote I didn't want to derail that thread by answering that question from Kos over there, but I was too lazy to create a thread. I wasn't sure it would get any reply, tbh.
 
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purpleblob

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I must admit, I've been playing more EAs recently - guess its because more games come out as EA before being released.

I participated in alpha/beta testing of Kingmaker and Wrath of the Righteous because:

1. I was too excited to wait for a full release
2. I wanted to support Owlcats
3. I always wanted to participate in gaming development in some way and alpha/beta testing is all I can do :p

Other EAs I played are mainly indie games and I picked them up early because I wasn't sure when they will release (if ever).

Following are the ones I enjoyed:
Winkeltje: The Little Shop, Valheim, RimWorld

Following are the ones I regretted:
Garden Paw, Low Magic Age

RimWorld came out of EA but I must admit, I liked EA version more - I really disliked some of changes made for full release. I played over 300 hours during EA phase, so absolutely worth the purchase :)

Winkeltje: The Little Shop is set to be out of EA on 22 April! I've already sunk in over 100 hours and keen on diving back in :D Totally worth it for me

I loved early games of Valheim but things started to get too grindy around mid game, so it's been uninstalled. Still, I played over 90 hours and definitely don't regret the purchase.

Garden Paw was quite disappointing - I played over 60 hours but it was more due to my craving for playing something similar to Stardew Valley. Garden Paw really lacked content - most of the time, I was running around the empty world, picking flowers to make bouquet and sell it to (somewhat freaky looking) animal villagers.

Low Magic Age, I can't even remember why I purchased it… played a bit less than 7 hours then uninstalled it. Oh well, at least it wasn't price-y.

I'm still weary of EAs in general. I didn't list it above because I played less than 2 hours of the game, but Book of Travels was a real shocker of an EA experience - its a TMORPG (tiny multiplayer RPG) and it had so much issues with servers and bugs, I completely lost interest in it now :/
 
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pibbuR

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I don't think I've ever played an EA-game. Because:

1. I prefer to have the whole story before playing.
2. I play very slowly.
3. I have more released games I want to play before I die, than I will have time to play before … Unless I become the oldest person ever in the world.

For BG3, I probably should play BG2 in stead of the EA

pibbuR who never the less consider the reasons given in the I-play-EA-games posts valid.

PS. A related question: Assuming you have a significanyt backlog: Why play EA in stead of the unplayed games you already have? DS.
 
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Pladio

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I have played Early Access games for a while if I truly think about it, but not a lot of them.
The first EA game I played was called a closed beta at the time and is Mount and Blade. I played it for years before it was truly released, but the modding for that game was amazing.

Other than that I tend to buy early access games to support dev teams more than to play them. For example, I did buy BG3 because I think it's the kind of game I want more of. Same for Colony Ship RPG.

Why would I play the games is a different matter. BG3 I played for about 20 hours just to test it out and see different builds and choices.

For the Colony Ship RPG, the whole point of the game is to see all the different outcomes for me, as unlike BG3 the total length is probably not going to be more than 30 hours. So I can replay it fully 5-6 times in the time I would play through BG3.
 
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wolfgrimdark

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It didn't exist back then. I think he's referring to beta testing. Not sure why he's talking about that as if it's the same thing.

Ah okay. That must have been a bit harder to set up beta testing on in the sense of no mass media like today.

I suppose beta testing is part of EA in some ways although I view them as somewhat different, especially in the very old days of needing disks to install and play a game versus the more casual approach of just downloading something, often with no interest in testing it and instead just wanting a sneak peak.
 
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wolfgrimdark

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... snip ...

PS. A related question: Assuming you have a significanyt backlog: Why play EA in stead of the unplayed games you already have? DS.

I can only speak for myself and don't think I qualify with a backlog of only 7 games or so. I tend to have a pretty narrow range of games I like, although I like to diversify and try some new things ... which is often how I get a backlog now and then.

But the reason they go to back log is because they haven't grabbed my attention like other games. So when I get bored and need a game to play it tends to be ... hmm list of "meh" backlog games or something new and shiny?

Some backlog games I am sure I will never play (I usually hide those on steam). In rare cases I may have competing games. I may alternate playing both or wait till one is finished. In that case I would not pickup any new games as I would already have a full queue.

Just that having a "full queue" of games I *really* want to play is rare and not constant.
 
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purpleblob

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PS. A related question: Assuming you have a significanyt backlog: Why play EA in stead of the unplayed games you already have? DS.

I don't really have any backlogs.

Any games that fails to grab my interest in first few hours, I cross them off my list. Also, I'm very picky with games, I hardly purchase any of them to begin with.
 
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wolfgrimdark

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I don't really have any backlogs.

Any games that fails to grab my interest in first few hours, I cross them off my list. Also, I'm very picky with games, I hardly purchase any of them to begin with.

Lol you said this so much shorter than I did even though this is pretty much what I meant :)
 
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Redglyph

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PS. A related question: Assuming you have a significanyt backlog: Why play EA in stead of the unplayed games you already have? DS.

Because of relative priority, what is new is more attractive (like chocolate boxes… comes from never growing up)

And the backlog is a useful tool to let the games ripen and shed their bugs. Or come out of Early Access since that's how they entered the back log. Damn, I realize now it's a vicious circle!
 
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fragonard

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The first EA game I played was called a closed beta at the time and is Mount and Blade. I played it for years before it was truly released, but the modding for that game was amazing.
Exactly the same for me and I've continued by buying the M&B2 EA. I've put about 800 hours into it and have now put it aside pending final release. That's it though, I don't have any others.
 
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Carnifex

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My earlier comment was to the point that we'd often have updates available before the game was even released, at times. While it certainly wasn't referred to as "early access" back then, I see correlations to what exists today. You could apply the updates yourself sometimes online or, more likely, get a disk mailed to you or acquire it from a gaming magazine at the time. At least that's my understanding of what the current early access stage is all about, extensive testing to get a product more ready for the general market.
 
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