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Proposal: Closed Test Realm only for testers with NDA

tldr Version:

Please replace the Public Test Realm with closed beta testing under a NDA and only reveal information about new content when it is ready to be played by everyone.

. . .

Whenever upcoming changes to DbD are revealed the same pattern seems to repeat itself:

  • Some people have very specific concerns how new changes might affect the game after reading a written description
  • The changes are put on the Public Test Real where only PC players have actually access
  • Players being able to participate share their impressions based on their actual testing experience
  • Some players not participating in the PTB keep discussing their impression on the forum without actually having participated

What is the result of all this:

  • The feedback to the PTR becomes completely muddled. Assumptions, personal preferences and subjective ideas how the game is supposed to be get mixed together with actual feedback.
  • It requires a lot of time to read trough all this input for moderators, developers and casual forum users who want to stay up to date.
  • For moderators and forum users time is spent in inefficient ways.
  • For some casual forum users the enjoyment of the game and the initial excitement for new content gets severely diminished by negative feedback.
  • For some users reading about new content weeks or months before they also can play and form their own opinion is frustrating.
  • Some users may even decide not to purchase new content dlc based on discussions on the forum.
  • Some users who played the game before may decide that it is not worth their time when a casual check in on the forum confirms that the community is still stuck in the same negative state.


  • Remove the Public Test Realm PTR
  • Preplace it with a Closed Test Realm CTR
  • People can apply to be participating in closed Beta testing.
  • People participating in closed beta testing sign a non-disclosure agreement NDA.
  • People who share any CTR information with the public get banned from future CTR


  • New game mechanics, content and changes are tested internally with a trusted audience to ensure that they will only become public when they reached a release ready state.
  • New content, updates and game changes are released to the public when they are ready to be played be everyone.
  • When new content is released all players can enjoy the content immediately.
  • A more positive and constructive forum environment is created by limiting theoretical discussions about potential changes by focusing the attention on the content that is actually playable by everyone.


  • BossBoss Member, Trusted Posts: 10,829


  • TheBeanTheBean Member Posts: 2,320

    Those Fog Whispers can do that.. They are playing this game as their job so they might be better suited to offer that kind of feedback. Also they probably already signed NDA when they went to Quebec

  • tt_ivi_99tt_ivi_99 Member Posts: 1,270

    Sometimes you dont have to test things to know if they are good or not for the game. Would you even test old DS to know if it's balanced?

    I agree that some things cant be discussed before testing (pip system for example) but things like making you get stunned for 3+ seconds if you miss a swing? Nerf the timer thing on Deep Wounds? You dont need any testing to know that's not good.

  • HP150HP150 Member Posts: 397
    edited April 2019

    Defeats the purpose.

    All feedback, positive or negative, real or perceived, should in theory be important. If it's valid negative feedback then it should result in changes. If it's feedback based on perception then the team needs to get hands-on and do a better job of communicating why the perception is wrong. That's just general marketing and community management.

    Besides, who exactly is this "trusted audience" you're speaking of? The streamers who won't be able to stream the PTB, make money, or grow their channel and are unable to even discuss the changes because of the NDA? Or just the exact same random Joe Schmoes who happen upon the "application" for the PTB? In which case it's the exact same result as the current PTB but with extra annoying steps.

    The PTB is already dead 2-4 days after it's released. How bearable do you think the queue times are going to be once you start cherry picking testers? Who exactly do you expect to sign up for this and test it extensively? The larger the sample size the better.

    Remember, their customers aren't only people who are willing to sign an application and an arbitrary NDA (which would most certainly be broken anyways). Feedback is feedback, even if it's based on theorycrafting.

  • lindechenelindechene Member Posts: 69

    I will pick up just a few points to provide further details on those to give a better understanding based on what mindset this proposal is coming from.

    • Theory crafting

    It is important that players can propose new game ideas on the forum.

    However it is extremely unproductive that speculation and in many case wrong assumptions how the new features may work are mixed together with feedback from those who actually tested them.

    • The streamers who won't be able to stream the PTB, make money, or grow their channel and are unable to even discuss the changes because of the NDA?

    When streamers show footage from the PTB with positive attitude to some it can be considered as advertisement for the game.

    However if streamers show footage from the PTB with negative comments and are pointing out issues this can actually turn some potential players away.

    That is the reason why such discussions should remain behind closed doors when the content is not in a presentable stage.

    Streamers can still stream the content that is available to be played by everyone.

    . . .

    • "The PTR is already dead 2-4 days after it is released."
    • "After PTR only minor tweaks can be made before releasing the content."

    Quality feedback:

    One purpose of the PTR may be to get active feedback about the quality of the content.

    How do players like the new features and how can they be possibly be used in unintended ways?

    Quantity feedback:

    Another purpose of the PTB may be to get passive feedback from a large quantity of players about bugs in a live playing environment.

    . . .

    Is the player base to small for a PTB?

    Currently my impression is that the DbD playerbase is to small to reliably find and squash any small bugs during the PTR phase. If the statement that the PTR is already dead after 2-4 days is an accurate description of the actual player participation this would further explain why.

    Based on observations many of the minor bugs are only discovered once the game was released to the full population of all players.

    In addition there is a risk that the sample of PC players participating in the PTB is not an accurate representation of the opinions of the whole player base.

    . . .

    Who could be providing the quality feedback?

    • Fog whisperers are invited to visit the offices and get introduced to new game mechanics currently in development. Because those players know the game and the community extremely well there are in a great position to point out good aspects of new ideas and possible risks of how other players may use abilities in unintended ways. (This may already be happening.)
    • Test groups of 4x5 people with some basic familiarity about DbD from the local area of Montreal are invited to the office to test new features.
    • Test groups of 4x5 people with no knowledge about DbD from the local area of Montreal are invited to the office to test new features.
    • Feedback from all three groups is considered before going live with new content or updates.

    . . .

    Who could be providing the quantity feedback?

    • After internal testing new content is released on all platforms at the same time.
    • After one week all players get in game a link to a survey.

    . . .

    Tldr / Summary:

    Considering the current challenges with this community a PTB the benefit of not having the negative consequences of the PTB is valued higher than the possible feedback gathered that way.

    The flow of the feedback would be more optimized if more testing would be done behind closed doors first.

    After content is released ALL players from all platforms get access at the same time and can provide feedback on actual game impressions.

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