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Open letter regarding beta keys


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Dear Klei,

 

I am a long time DS player.  I recently came to the forums to follow the DST development.

I'm posting this today to make a simple recommendation, namely that you allow participants to purchase beta keys.

If you are looking for an existing model, feel free to review Everquest Landmark's business plan (it's posted on their forum).  They offered several different bundles, one with access to closed alpha, and 2 with access to closed beta.  I paid $15 for my closed beta key, and purchased additional keys for gifts.  They are funding their game before it's even released.  Keep in mind - it is going to be a free-to-play game.

While I understand the reasoning behind the Key Depot, you have to realize that people are now selling keys for $30-$50 apiece, or even getting scammed with trades on Steam.  There are a couple of reasons why this is bad; 1) This kind of back-alley dealing tends to have a negative impact on the image of a game 2) This is lost revenue for Klei, since you could set your own beta key price and collect the revenue yourselves.

I believe you have enough momentum and a large enough player base that you could give the players who want access to the beta what they want while simultaneously generating an additional revenue stream.  Also, consider the free marketing that comes from Let's Play videos and other media generated by buy-in beta participants.

I understand that it may be too late for the current phase of beta testing, but if you are anticipating beta to last for several months, then you may want to consider shutting down the key depot and including this offer with the next phase.  I for one do not mind paying $5-10 for early access to a beta even though I already own the software, since it allows me to support a company whose work I appreciate.  I'm sure I am not the only player who feels this way.

 

If you have an ethical problem with charging someone for a beta key that gives them access to a game they already own, then do what Sony did and attach perks to the purchase... perhaps an in-game recipe to create a Beta Banner that buy-in participants could create and proudly display on their servers.  Just a thought.

Best Regards,

Jim

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Dear Klei,

 

I am a long time DS player.  I recently came to the forums to follow the DST development.

I'm posting this today to make a simple recommendation, namely that you allow participants to purchase beta keys.

If you are looking for an existing model, feel free to review Everquest Landmark's business plan (it's posted on their forum).  They offered several different bundles, one with access to closed alpha, and 2 with access to closed beta.  I paid $15 for my closed beta key, and purchased additional keys for gifts.  They are funding their game before it's even released.  Keep in mind - it is going to be a free-to-play game.

While I understand the reasoning behind the Key Depot, you have to realize that people are now selling keys for $30-$50 apiece, or even getting scammed with trades on Steam.  There are a couple of reasons why this is bad; 1) This kind of back-alley dealing tends to have a negative impact on the image of a game 2) This is lost revenue for Klei, since you could set your own beta key price and collect the revenue yourselves.

I believe you have enough momentum and a large enough player base that you could give the players who want access to the beta what they want while simultaneously generating an additional revenue stream.  Also, consider the free marketing that comes from Let's Play videos and other media generated by buy-in beta participants.

I understand that it may be too late for the current phase of beta testing, but if you are anticipating beta to last for several months, then you may want to consider shutting down the key depot and including this offer with the next phase.  I for one do not mind paying $5-10 for early access to a beta even though I already own the software, since it allows me to support a company whose work I appreciate.  I'm sure I am not the only player who feels this way.

 

If you have an ethical problem with charging someone for a beta key that gives them access to a game they already own, then do what Sony did and attach perks to the purchase... perhaps an in-game recipe to create a Beta Banner that buy-in participants could create and proudly display on their servers.  Just a thought.

Best Regards,

Jim

 

I don't even know how to respond to this. Just, no. DST is a free update. Everything happening in the Key Depot is happening because people are impatient. They are scamming themselves. Keys for a beta should never be sold, it makes no sense. Klei isn't one to money grub.

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I don't even know how to respond to this. Just, no. DST is a free update. Everything happening in the Key Depot is happening because people are impatient. They are scamming themselves. Keys for a beta should never be sold, it makes no sense. Klei isn't one to money grub.

I agree.

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Okay, there is so many things wrong with that plan.

1.) Klei is giving out keys. It's worked well so they won't change it.

2.) As the person above me stated, DST Is a free update, no charging will be made.

3.) This is how Klei does their system: Community + Community Interaction with Community=Money.They are not *the company that made Everquest*

4.) Klei will not handle this "Nintendo Style" community is a big priority to them. They care a whole bunch about community alongside money.

Look, what you said is "Everyone should pay money for keys to the beta and, Klei should make money from people's videos of DST" this is unfair as people have copies of the game. Also, a beta banner for ethnic servers is unfair. I have a server that is put up. I'm American and I don't get a beta banner just because I'm not from another country. Seriously, if DST has any perks, then it's being able to test it out.

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Okay, there is so many things wrong with that plan.

1.) Klei is giving out keys. It's worked well so they won't change it.

2.) As the person above me stated, DST Is a free update, no charging will be made.

3.) This is how Klei does their system: Community + Community Interaction with Community=Money.They are not *the company that made Everquest*

4.) Klei will not handle this "Nintendo Style" community is a big priority to them. They care a whole bunch about community alongside money.

Look, what you said is "Everyone should pay money for keys to the beta and, Klei should make money from people's videos of DST" this is unfair as people have copies of the game. Also, a beta banner for ethnic servers is unfair. I have a server that is put up. I'm American and I don't get a beta banner just because I'm not from another country. Seriously, if DST has any perks, then it's being able to test it out.

 

 

First of all, i agree with you.

 

I don't mean to sound selfish, since i have DST, but i think they should keep on doing it like they do now and not make it some transaction thing. The small DST community is "From my eyes seen" Cooperative, friendly and i haven't seen any griefers or hackers.

 

The people Klei have granted access to DST have shown respect for him and they respect other players.

Let me put it this way.

 

If you are given an apple, would you eat it? You'd proberebly eat it all, even if you were stuffed.

 

If you buy an apple on the other hand, You would eat it ofcourse, but you wouldn't surely eat it all, you'd just throw it away in the trash if you didn't feel like eating more.

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Pretty much what everyone has already said. It also wouldn't be good PR for Klei. Also The entire reason they are doing it the way they are doing it is to not get overloaded. The small trickle of new beta keys every day is intentional and purposeful.

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Damn. I know this game can inflame passions, but this is way too much. What's wrong with some people ? Everyone will get access FOR FREE when phase 3 will start.

 

And anyway, the extension will come out one day eventually. I'm starting to think there are lots of people who have dedicated their life to this game. Scary.

 

Don't you have any other game to play before gettin your hands on DST ? Or you could just play regular DS, I don't know. Or maybe go outside a little bit, breathing some fresh air might clear some things up.

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I understand your urgency to play DST... believe me, I get it, my table was flipped in excitement when MP was announced. I was super-lucky to be gifted a key, and I watch my email and PMs daily in the event I'm given more so I can share them with others who weren't so fortunate. 
 

Klei has so far shown themselves to me to be an ethical company. They are a business, don't get me wrong, and businesses need to make money to survive. They sell their games and profit. However, they have also shown a value, a morale, that is rare in this day and age of corporate growth - loyalty to their customers.

 

While what I'm about to state is not the end-all-be-all, but Klei has proven this over the time I've been engaged with them. They seek to understand and help us. They listen to and support us. They consider our wants and needs as well as their own. They follow their visions, their goals, while also accepting and incorporating feedback from their fans. Every company has real people on the other end of interactions, and Klei embraces that engagement from both sides.

 

They are providing players beta-access to DST for free. Sure, it helps them work out bugs, but it also offers a new experience for their ever-hungry players. They will provide DST in its entirety to all current owners of DS free-of-charge. That in itself is the perk, and is something that all should be grateful for, as it's practically unheard of. You need to be patient, and see this from outside yourself. They're not holding back keys out of spite or malice or carefully-staged marketing plans... they're giving out more and more keys as their hardware/software capabilities permit. This game is not finished, there are still bugs presented daily, and the planned content enhancements haven't been introduced at all. Klei is timing their growth so they can offer everyone the best version of their game that they can, and meet as many expectations as possible. This is called integrity.

 

Please don't accept and encourage the influence of capitalist companies - they don't care one bit about you, no matter how shiny the packaging. Throwing money at your problem may feel good in the short-term, but it won't make it any better in the long-term. Not everything you want can be bought, and not everything that is bought will actualize your dreams. The people selling keys are not loyal or ethical - they are greedy, profiting off of generosity, and manipulating others' desires into their personal gain. In some cases, they're outright lying, and stealing players money or trades while abandoning their own.

 

Klei is not responsible for the actions of any of this. I disagree with all your recommendations, and hope they will never-ever support, encourage, or mimic any of it. Ethics are unique to an individual, true... but that behavior is just shameful, and I truly believe that no amount of pleading will reduce Klei to that.

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I understand your urgency to play DST... believe me, I get it, my table was flipped in excitement when MP was announced. I was super-lucky to be gifted a key, and I watch my email and PMs daily in the event I'm given more so I can share them with others who weren't so fortunate. 

 

Klei has so far shown themselves to me to be an ethical company. They are a business, don't get me wrong, and businesses need to make money to survive. They sell their games and profit. However, they have also shown a value, a morale, that is rare in this day and age of corporate growth - loyalty to their customers.

 

While what I'm about to state is not the end-all-be-all, but Klei has proven this over the time I've been engaged with them. They seek to understand and help us. They listen to and support us. They consider our wants and needs as well as their own. They follow their visions, their goals, while also accepting and incorporating feedback from their fans. Every company has real people on the other end of interactions, and Klei embraces that engagement from both sides.

 

They are providing players beta-access to DST for free. Sure, it helps them work out bugs, but it also offers a new experience for their ever-hungry players. They will provide DST in its entirety to all current owners of DS free-of-charge. That in itself is the perk, and is something that all should be grateful for, as it's practically unheard of. You need to be patient, and see this from outside yourself. They're not holding back keys out of spite or malice or carefully-staged marketing plans... they're giving out more and more keys as their hardware/software capabilities permit. This game is not finished, there are still bugs presented daily, and the planned content enhancements haven't been introduced at all. Klei is timing their growth so they can offer everyone the best version of their game that they can, and meet as many expectations as possible. This is called integrity.

 

Please don't accept and encourage the influence of capitalist companies - they don't care one bit about you, no matter how shiny the packaging. Throwing money at your problem may feel good in the short-term, but it won't make it any better in the long-term. Not everything you want can be bought, and not everything that is bought will actualize your dreams. The people selling keys are not loyal or ethical - they are greedy, profiting off of generosity, and manipulating others' desires into their personal gain. In some cases, they're outright lying, and stealing players money or trades while abandoning their own.

 

Klei is not responsible for the actions of any of this. I disagree with all your recommendations, and hope they will never-ever support, encourage, or mimic any of it. Ethics are unique to an individual, true... but that behavior is just shameful, and I truly believe that no amount of pleading will reduce Klei to that.

 

Thank you all for your comments.  Please understand that I mean no disrespect to Klei or their community with this recommendation.

While I do agree with the sentiments expressed here, as a businessman myself, I understand that employees (and bills) need to be paid - just like I need to be paid so I can support my family.  Perhaps I should not have used Sony as an example, as that appears to be inflammatory.  I do believe that there are good business decisions that match up with good sense and good ethics, and there is a continuum between the "evil capitalist corporate entity" and "good guy businesses" like Klei.

I don't like microtransactions in games.  Nor do I appreciate the so-called "pay-to-win" model.  There are some things I don't support.  However, I need to point out that paid early access to alpha/beta software is a valid business model now, one that Klei utilized (if I remember correctly) when releasing Don't Starve.  Early Access is big business on Steam and I have supported a number of games that I felt showed promise. 

 

Also understand that I am in no way "desperate for keys" or "pleading".  I am in fact playing through about 5 different games right now in my very limited free time.  If you like horror, give The Evil Within a try, it's like a mashup of Silent Hill and Resident Evil (which is something I've always wanted).

A large part of the reason for this recommendation is that I really feel what is going on in the Key Depot is distasteful.  Whenever I read that forum I feel like I'm about to get shanked with a sharpened toothbrush.  I don't know how to reconcile everyone's statements that Klei is all about good community, and watching people get scammed and charged exorbitant amounts in one of their forums.

And while I agree that those who are participating in that forum are doing so on their own volition, I also have to disagree with your comment that Klei holds no responsibility there - it is a Klei forum hosted on a Klei website for a Klei game, and therefore I feel that they hold some of the responsibility for allowing those behaviors to continue.

 

So in summary:

 

1) I understand and agree with the majority of your sentiments,

2) I still feel that this recommendation has some validity,

3) I think we all agree that what's going on in the Key Depot is crazy, and

3) I don't really expect anything to come of this recommendation - it's just that, a recommendation for the future.

 

With respect,

 

Jim

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So in summary:

 

1) I understand and agree with the majority of your sentiments,

2) I still feel that this recommendation has some validity,

3) I think we all agree that what's going on in the Key Depot is crazy, and

3) I don't really expect anything to come of this recommendation - it's just that, a recommendation for the future.

This isn't meant to be disrespectful or obnoxious but you forgot #4. Thanks for your thoughts.

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Thanks for responding! It's nice to get a genuine discussion going. If I'm understanding correctly, you're seeing 2 problems, and proposing a solution that should fix them both:

Problem 1: keys are not easily accessible, prompting would-be players to buy/trade amongst themselves and potentially be scammed
Problem 2: the Key Depot subforum is becoming overrun with contributors to Problem 1
Solution: keys could instead be sold by Klei directly, gaining legitimate access for would-be players and helping Klei financially

I agree with you that this solution could have some genuine success, and totally understand your point about beta/early access being valid these days. But there are still issues in this solution, and a ripple effect:

1) It's too early. It's common to interchange words in the gaming world, but don't mistake this one. The current beta is NOT the equivalent of "Steam Early Access". The plan, if I recall correctly, is: closed beta, open beta, Steam Early Access, full release. This current (closed beta) phase is intended for testing functionality, finding bugs, and understanding exactly what resources Klei needs to successfully support multiplayer for not just hundreds or thousands of people, but millions on a continual basis. They're hoping to offer 64 player worlds of their own, and dedicated servers for all.

I'm not sure if you watch the DevCasts, but 2 weeks back, Seth offered up a server with 8 players and a custom-made map. Even for him, the host right there at Klei, it was unplayable and he had to cut it down to 4 players. If it's buggy for the guy who writes the code with just 8 people, it's not ready to move to the next (open beta) stage. I know I'm not the only one who saw what happened with Towns and The Stomping Land, and I'd hate to see DST go the same route due to moving too fast.

2) It's too late. Everyone knows these are free keys, and that in the future, DST will be given for free to current owners of singleplayer DS. It would be completely unethical for Klei to backpeddle and suddenly announce they're selling beta access. While some eager folks would certainly jump on it anyway, they'd lose a hugely loyal fanbase of current players, and their reputation would take a beating as word leaked to the interwebz. People would start wondering if they're secretly being sold to Ubisoft or EA :wink:

3) The Key Depot was created for trading. Until Joe (or Jan or Seth or etc/etc) say otherwise, anyone who wants to offer cash as means of bartering can do so. I don't think it's very wise myself, but it is what it is. Klei has their TOU, and are responsible for any poor actions that occur here and/or by their forum members. When they're made aware of improprieties on their site, they do take necessary measures, but they have no way of controlling what people are doing outside of here. While some offers may initially be advertised on their forums, these "cash trades" and/or scams are happening other places like Steam, PayPal, eBay, etc. Those sites need to police their own trading forums/depots and enforce their TOU.

Not only in gaming, but in life, people need to be responsible for their actions and accountable for the outcomes. Sometimes it takes being scammed out of $50 on a free game to learn what "poor judgment" and "caution" mean. One good thing that has come out of this is that people are posting their experiences on the forums, and learning to recognize who to stay away from. One poor chap posted his chat log with a scammer, and others recognized the user name and are sharing what happened to them as well. This will, in turn, aide Klei in their responsibilities if or when the scammer joins this site.

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And while I agree that those who are participating in that forum are doing so on their own volition, I also have to disagree with your comment that Klei holds no responsibility there - it is a Klei forum hosted on a Klei website for a Klei game, and therefore I feel that they hold some of the responsibility for allowing those behaviors to continue.

3) I think we all agree that what's going on in the Key Depot is crazy, and

It's like that saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." I hate seeing it happen, but it really is on them they take on those risks that I personally would not take on. And not everybody is the same or behaves the same way, that's fine. But they've been warned, they should know and not be surprised when it does happen. Klei is in no way encouraging this behavior and for me, that's enough. They posted and made it very clear. I do not hold them responsible. If it gets really out of hand I am sure they will step in and put a stop to it as they have before with things, that presumably, got out of hand. heh.

As far as I am concerned I have no ill will towards them if they chose to focus on fixing and being able to put out DST, instead of all the minor "politics" involved. They are working at a slow, but steady pace. It's only a matter of time before everyone gets the chance and no one will even have a reason to do these crazy things anymore.

My 2 cents.

Edit: (for clarity as well) I forgot to add a problem with allowing people to buy keys, too many people might buy them and that at the time being is too much for Klei to handle in trying to fix things. So, they are going at the pace that they can handle for the purposes of beta testing. And I for one am okay with this.

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1) It's too early. It's common to interchange words in the gaming world, but don't mistake this one. The current beta is NOT the equivalent of "Steam Early Access". The plan, if I recall correctly, is: closed beta, open beta, Steam Early Access, full release. This current (closed beta) phase is intended for testing functionality, finding bugs, and understanding exactly what resources Klei needs to successfully support multiplayer for not just hundreds or thousands of people, but millions on a continual basis. They're hoping to offer 64 player worlds of their own, and dedicated servers for all.

 

 

Thanks for the clarification - your statement here helps to focus the issue.  I wasn't aware that was the order they were pursuing for development.  It seems like every game company has a different process for pushing to market these days and some of the gamers (like us) who try to follow development get a little lost along the way.  I haven't been able to get to a Devcast yet but I'm going to try for the next one.

 

But yes, that is exactly where my thinking lies... 2 birds with one stone and all that.  Even since I made my original post there have been further scammers exposed over in the Key Depot.  I know they have a disclaimer stickied at the top explaining the rules, but it still can leave a bad taste in your mouth when you see that kind of stuff happen.  So some of us who would like a key in order to legimately assist with testing (and not just looking to grief or be jerks) are put off from attempting to get one there.

 

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Thanks for the clarification - your statement here helps to focus the issue.  I wasn't aware that was the order they were pursuing for development.  It seems like every game company has a different process for pushing to market these days and some of the gamers (like us) who try to follow development get a little lost along the way.  I haven't been able to get to a Devcast yet but I'm going to try for the next one.

 

But yes, that is exactly where my thinking lies... 2 birds with one stone and all that.  Even since I made my original post there have been further scammers exposed over in the Key Depot.  I know they have a disclaimer stickied at the top explaining the rules, but it still can leave a bad taste in your mouth when you see that kind of stuff happen.  So some of us who would like a key in order to legimately assist with testing (and not just looking to grief or be jerks) are put off from attempting to get one there.

 

 

The only reason I ever go to the sub-forum now is to see all the silly people paying like $50 for a free key, and getting scammed. Klei has nothing to do with anything that happens over there. If people want to trade away things for a free key, let them. They should know the risks of trading through Steam for something that Steam, nor Klei, has no control over. Not to mention it seems like everyone forgot that Steam Rep was a thing. 

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oh, the time when closed Beta and Early Access didn't mean the same thing...(and the word Selfie didn't exist)

 

now, you make good points there(although I haven't read the entire thread yet.), but my main excuse to think that remaining the way it is, is because, this way Klei has way more control about the number of people playing(and, people lose way less money. Those people buying stuff are hopefully the vocal minority). Seeing how easy it is to crash the game and stuff to happen, and how the game(at least from what I've seen) is in such a early state, I don't think it would be a good idea to let people into it(specially with the amount of newcomers who think DST is some kind of paid DLC like RoG).

but who knows? maybe they will turn this into a early access costing 2x the price of the original game just for the money. Who cares if a bunch of kids irresponsible people enter the beta and enlarge the amount of servers(and crashes) heavily without even caring about feedback(and griefing. griefing like there's no tomorrow)

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