For the first time since RuneScape 2's release, Jagex took a gamble by allowing players to beta test a large update. Given the level of secrecy behind their development process over the last few years, this came as a pleasant surprise. The changes brought their own problems and complaints, as is to be expected at this point, but many of the complaints themselves were quite unexpected.
One of the earliest complaints was about who got in at all. Time would compound this issue, as within days, a significant portion of players with beta access found that their time was better spent duplicating rares and gambling without risk than testing, while many others decided that it just wasn't worth their time. The result was a beta test with very little actual testing, a fact that was especially noticeable because the gambling centers were where the average player would claim their free equipment. Few players seemed interested in helping to change the combat system that they would be stuck with in a few months, though with the most recent update Jagex has taken steps to stop it.
And the players that did want to help? Jagex set up seven sections of the official forums for discussion on various aspects of the beta - the three combat styles, PvP, PvE, the interface, and equipment - and more surprisingly, Jagex moderators answered questions and addressed comments about the system. Unfortunately, most threads would not have been out of place in the rants forum in December 2007. It's hard to find well-researched or thoughtful suggestions between quitting threats and poorly-written demands to stop the combat update from happening, which can easily discourage an interested player from trying to offer feedback at all.
Ultimately, it seems as though players are hell bent on justifying Jagex's previous stance on beta tests - don't have them. In hindsight, it's obvious that these problems would come up: anyone who has been to the Grand Exchange recently has seen how widespread the gambling problem is, and item duplication was discovered so quickly that one has to assume that Jagex expected it. Furthermore, Jagex has neglected to provide much of a response to the few things that many of their testers agree on, such as the combat formula.
Only time will tell if Jagex's gamble will pay off, but at this point it doesn't seem possible, nor does it seem likely that we'll see another beta again, since we, the players, have wasted the opportunity. It's hard to say that nothing is wrong with the beta now when few players are playing it as intended and those that are have been silenced by knee-jerk complaints and general comments about how bad it is without suggestions for improvement. In general, it seems as if both sides want something good of this, but have no idea how to go about it and are held back by their darker sides.
The phrase "This is why we can't have nice things" comes to mind. Our loss, I guess.