That's why I don't want to, I know if I got into Beta I would do my very best to test the game as much as I could, report bugs and generally try to be as much of a help as I could. I've done that in so many other games in the past and really grown to hate them.
This is usually caused by a combination of a few things:
A) Developers not listening to beta tester feedback for changes/enhancements.
B) Developers not fixing 'bugs' because they claim the behavior is 'by design' and actually a 'feature'.
C) Developers rushing the release of the final version without the necessary polish, against the recommendation of beta testers.
D) Lack of communication and transparency from the developers about bugs/suggestions/enhancements submitted by beta testers and why changes are either made or not made.
E) Beta testers becoming intimately familiar with all the flaws within a game, and disappointed with the developers on point A, B, C, and D.
F) The final game leaving a bad taste in your mouth and becoming less fun because of point E.
G) Lack of a community (forum, newsgroups, etc) for the beta testers to interact among themselves and discuss all things relating to the beta. Though I doubt this will be an issue with the FFXIV beta, being an MMO and all.
H) Lack of awe and wonder during the final release. Seen this, been there, done that. Time to do it all over again so I can reach new content.
For the reasons above, some Betas end up as an enjoyable and rewarding experience, while others end with disappointment and loathing the final product to a certain extent. With FFXIV, much of this burden will lie on Square-Enix, and whether or not they keep organized and run a tight ship. The rest lies on Beta testers doing their part by submitting good feedback. If 95% of Beta testers fool themselves into thinking the beta is just a sneak-peak demo, and wrongly assume the remaining 5% of testers are going to be able to pick-up the slack, they are doing a disservice to everybody and the beta experience as well as the quality of the final product will suffer.
Even with some of the beta testing risks listed above, I still find myself joining both high-profile and low-profile beta tests quite often. As long as you put forth an honest effort by filing bugs, you can leave feeling you have made a difference. You can honestly say you submitted enough feedback to make the game the best possible, and it's now in the developer's hands to either listen or not. Even if the developer only listens to 1 out of every 10 suggestions you make, you can say you did your part in making FFXIV a better game.
That said, preferring to skip beta testing is a perfectly valid opinion, which no one should look down on. After all, one of the greatest rewards for Beta testers is seeing those who skipped the beta having the best experience possible with the final product, while being none the wiser to all the trails and tribulations Beta testers had to go through to get to that point. Edited, Mar 6th 2010 6:51pm by Cyberbeing