Testing Woes

I updated the site last night with the info about the Skettis Kaliri. I also pulled all the PTR info onto it’s own page where I can manage the updates more easily. And I added some shots that show the differences in crab and lion models.

I tried to get a shot of the sporebat changes, but in the model viewer the PTR sporebat doesn’t show particles at all. Maybe I am doing something wrong there. Anyway, later today I will try to get some decent in-game shots of the differences. For the record, I hate the lighting in Zangarmarsh.

The PTR updated again yesterday, but so far I haven’t seen many new changes related to pets. Lots of people angry about itemization, some continuing discussion of the new way Meend Pet works (as a simple heal over time buff instead of a channeled spell) and whether that is a blessing or a curse — oh, and the mail goggles are still broken. But nothing especially interesting that caught my eye.

I do rather wish that Blizzard would provide real patch notes for PTR updates, though. I know it’s not always easy, especially given what I’ve heard about the size and disorganiztion of their live team. Believe me, I know it’s not easy. But it’s worth it. PTR patch notes serve the front-line community — people who run fan sites, people who spend time being thoughtful and helpful on the forums, people who keep the wheels of information and interest turning — people who keep retention up. WoW may be bigger than Jesus, but it still needs some retention.

I’ve been following the MMO industry for a long time, and there are many aspects of the WoW freight train that I think could help improve the industry overall. But it makes me sad to think that the lesson we learn from WoW might be that good communication (and customer service, for that matter) are pretty much unnecessary.

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6 Responses to “Testing Woes”

  1. gigiya Says:

    Why would Blizzard waste time and resources changing the crab’s model instead of doing something like making the crab useful? I know it’s not the same people that’d do the work, but I still don’t think they have their priorities straight.

  2. Mania Says:

    On a large team — and from what I hear they have a large live team — there are always going to be a lot of different individual and group priorities happening all at once. You’re lucky if you can mostly keep people pointed in the right direction on the big stuff, like class balance.

    More than likely, there was a bug filed by a tester that the fringe looked weird on the crab trinket. This bug was passed to an artist who looked at it and agreed that it looked weird, and so removed the fringe. It probably never went in front of anyone else for review — why would it? It’s just a little graphics tweak on a trinket. And no one thought about other effects it might have — for instance on pet crabs.

    Even after it was done and on the PTR, if the artist or QA or the art lead or even the producer sees the reaction from hunters, they will probably decide it’s not worth the time to un-fix and then fix some other way, because it’s a small thing and they need to save their energy for the big issues — like that apparently unintentional nerf to tailored sets.

    There are tens if not hundreds of these small mistakes — bugs that should have probably been fixed some other way, or not fixed at all, and bugs that should have been fixed but weren’t — and getting all of them sorted out is beyond the abilities of most leads or producers. I don’t blame them, by the way — it’s hard, thankless work, running a live team, and you do better if you concentrate on just getting the big things done right.

    The major limit on live teams is not productivity — there are generally enough people to do what needs to be done — but attention. No one ever has enough attention to keep all the details under control. Crabs are just a small casualty of that underlying problem.

  3. lourencia Says:

    Greets! I was able to check out the Lion skin that has been changed on the PTR. It looks like a bugged model to me. The ring on the tail looks like the beginning of the old tail, just moved up farther. I /bugged it and i hope others do as well. Hate to think that my proud lion is going to be hanging his head down :)

  4. Mania Says:

    Actually that’s a great idea, lourencia — we should /bug any changes that might be unintentional to make certain that Blizzard knows about it. In my experience, the rate of /bug reports from test directly affects what gets fixed first, because QA hates reading the same thing over and over. :>

  5. lourencia Says:

    Well… today the head looks SLIGHTLY better but its still off. The tail looks worse than it did on my gold colored lion. I did notice today that my lion is quiet a bit larger in size, like the jump from level 50 to level 60. He didnt get bigger on live when he hit 70 so maybe theyre finally throwing that in there /crosses fingers. Anyone else notice this too?

  6. lourencia Says:

    Ugh, no edit… i meant to say that the tails looks worse today than it did yesterday on my gold colored lion. Forgive the spelling errors, its late and im tired!

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