Lately, gamers have been lamenting betas as “glorified demos,” feeling deprived of any real input into a game’s final form. In a recent story, Andie Gbinigie of XboxGameZone investigated whether public betas were even relevant any more. If the negative reaction over the timing and positioning of Battlefield 3‘s wide-access “test” last fall is any indication, they might be more trouble than their worth, possibly damaging perception of a game. In an attempt to buck the trend, SemiFormal Studios is giving players a chance to make a real difference in the direction their ambitious MMO Ensemble Online will take.

We’ve previously introduced you to the innovative concepts that the sandbox MMO is bringing to market. The map is enormous, the class system is diverse and customizable and the diplomacy and natural resource mechanisms strive to instigate player interaction that can be either friendly or hostile. Of course, if you don’t want to build towns, level your character and deal with the rest of civilization, you can carve out a home on one of the game’s over 400,000,000 tiles and live a life of solitude.

The possibilities seem substantial, but you don’t have to take my word for it. You can check it out for yourself right here. SemiFormal wants you to flood Ensemble Online’s servers. Make them bend under the weight of your impressive town-building, monster-slaying, hermit-living girth. Oh, and if you happen to like what you see (or have some issues that you think should be fixed), you can share them with the team.

If you’ve been craving a more open, customizable MMO experience that blends Minecraft‘s go anywhere, do anything mentality with Civilization’s diplomacy, this might be the answer. You won’t know until you try it out, though. Get on that.