Good beta testing requires an unbiased eye. We all have our biases, of course, but it's important that our biases be recognized and minimized as much as possible.
Someone in another thread pointed out that linking beta access with pre-ordering adds a bias -- towards fans. It's only natural that our feedback tends to that reflect our bias, try as we might to minimize it.
Note I said "tends to", I am not saying the feedback was too biased, or unusably biased, or the like. And note that I include myself in this.
There definitely was a lot of 'positive vibes' towards the game in beta, and a definite 'group think' bias in favor of the game and brad and SD (and I'm not saying that's a bad thing).
Then there was brad's reluctance to accept polite and respectful concerns regarding the game being release-ready starting back in June.
The bias and the reluctance made a dangerous combination.
But there's more -- there were often responses by some of the other testers to said concerns, responses that attempted to diminish said concerns and concern-expressers, and to dissuade folks from expressing similar concerns, and echo brad's out-of-hand dismissing of said concerns.
Such responses were well-intentioned but with hindsight we can see they weren't as helpful as they could have been. The game obviously needed more folks expressing concerns, not fewer, and the concerns needed more heeding, not less.
Standing up for someone one likes and believes in is admirable. However, sometimes the best thing one can do for a friend is to be critical (in a well-intentioned way, and 'critical' in the academic sense of challenging ideas, and not in the demeaning or insulting sense) and tell someone something even when you know they don't want to hear it. Sometimes the best thing one can do for a friend is to sit back and let polite and respectful concerns get aired, and not jump in and help diminish them.
I bring this up because I'm getting a deja vu sense in this thread. Some are offering polite and respectful concerns and I'm seeing some of the responses I describe in the "But there's more" thing I mention above. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm so concerned about not repeating the mistakes of the past that I'm imagining it. But then again, maybe not.
I hope I'm wrong. I hoped I was wrong back in June when I questioned the game being release-ready by Aug. I didn't sufficiently press that belief back then, to my regret. I don't want to make that mistake again, and thus this post. So my suggestion is to let folks politely and respectfully express their concerns. No need to jump in and defend brad or the game from them. No need to downplay the concerns or concerned, or diminish them. Just let them be. Given how things have turned out so far, if we're to err on one side it's best to err on the 'too much concerns', as we've seen how the 'too few concerns' approach turned out.