Tablua Rasa creator Richard Garriott believes offering a large open beta so early on was a mistake, a bit like his haircut.
The problem lay with allowing legions of fans to "burn out" on an unfinished game, one crucially lacking the final fun polish, a bit like his haircut.
"I actually think the biggest mistake was made not by the marketing department, but by the development team," Richard Garriott told Gamasutra. "We invited too many people into the beta when the game was still too broken; we burned out some quantity of our beta-testers when the game wasn't yet fun."
"As we've begun to sell the game, the people who hadn't participated in the beta became our fast early-adopters. And the people who did participate in the beta, we've had to go back to and say 'look, look, we promise: we know it wasn't fun two months ago, but we fixed all that. Really, come try it again.'"
A better example of how to do things can be taken from other NCsoft title Guild Wars, apparently, which invited small clusters of "friends and family" to give the game a once over, before opening to the masses in the two or three weeks leading up to launch.
Shame, really, because Tabula Rasa is actually rather good; boasting high levels of polish and low levels of grinding, making it fast, fun and unique.
There is still work to do, mind you, but for an MMOG to show such potential so early on is a thumbs-up from us.
Pop over to our Tabula Rasa review to find out more.