Justin Webb, Senior Designer
2 Part 1
With launch only a few days away, many Mythic folks are beginning to
realize exactly what they have accomplished. Some people have been
working on the project for three years. With the pressure rising and
the final frantic tweaks being made, many are marking their
“time served” by coming up with unique ways of
celebrating their achievements in a very personal way.
WAR Blogger on the Prowl
Note: Make sure you check back in with us
throughout the day to see exactly who and what Justin is talking about
when he discusses the celebration of achievements. It’s
incredibly funny, and we can't wait to bring it to you.)
2 Part 2
This week, things have been very hectic. As always, the QA department
has been toiling away making sure that WAR will be as polished as
However, you never really get to hear all that much in the gaming press
about QA. I think everyone intellectually understands what they do, but
the specifics are more vague.
Also, The question I get asked the most by people is “How do
I become a video-game designer?” There are multiple ways, but
without a doubt, the best way is to first get your foot in the door at
a studio. This usually means starting out in either Customer Service or
I decided that I could kill two birds with one stone and talk to some
QA testers this week. I’m really curious to hear their
experiences leading up to launch, and what it’s like working
in QA. Today, I talked to Jenny:
A pic of
Jenny Schradeya with one of her favorite sources of caffeine.
QA Embedded Community Systems Tester: Hello
JW: Hi. What
would your day-to-day have looked like two months ago?
months ago? I’d actually have been working 40-hour
weeks. I’d come in in the morning, check the bug tracker and
check forums for new bugs that have been posted. Two months ago, I was
embedded in the Community Systems team. So anything that had anything
to do with people interacting…and also guilds, and grouping,
and warbands, and chat. So I’d come in and check the 50 test
requests in my queue, get started on those. And anything that was a
retest -- a bug put in previously that has come back to me because
they’d fixed it -- Check those to make sure they were
actually fixed. It’s a tough job, all day. 40 hours a week.
JW: So that
was two months ago … the Halcyon years.
we’re at T-mminus-3, what kind of stuff have you been
doing this week? What’s the day-to-day like now? I hear
things like “smoke tests”, regressions, and I
don’t know exactly what those things are.
JS: Now, at
t-minus-3, I come in at about 7, wake up, come out from
underneath my desk. First thing is still actually checking email, of
which I’ll have about a 100 or so.
They’re all server-status emails for all of the beta servers
… things like that: “Hey, community,
we’re gonna let everybody know we’re taking this
down, OK? QA you need to check these before we can put them back
up.”… stuff like that. And then emails from the
“night shift” QA testers that are responding to and
putting up new issues that they’ve found … or that
we fixed yesterday.
JW: I think
a lot of people might think that if you work in QA you just
log in a character, prance around the game, and go “Oh look,
that tree is slightly pointing in the wrong direction”.
That’s a playtester. It’s very different. I
honestly think that if I were at another company working on a different
kind of game that would probably be true. But working on an MMO, in
which there is no final product, ever -- It’s never finished,
you can’t win -- there’s an infinite number of
interactions, an infinite number of things that a player can do. You
couldn’t possibly just playtest it. There’s no way.
That’s why we have to have a beta with hundreds of thousands
of people in it.
That’s a really interesting point. The difference between
a first-person shooter on rails versus an MMO. What kind of challenges
does that provide to the QA department?
JS: Well, we
have to have embedded testers. I think that’s
one of the main differences. We probably work much more closely with
Devs than QA testers do at other companies, where you just do
playtests. I test everything for the Community Systems. We have an
embedded tester that tests just the UI. We have an embedded tester just
for the Tome of Knowledge. We have a few embedded testers just for
Careers & Combat. For every team basically in the game right
now, we have an embedded tester. We also have core testers that
“pick up the slack” if the embedded testers get
overwhelmed. And we can’t just always go in and pick up a
controller and play. We have to use a lot of dev commands. We have to
force things to happen in the game that normally would take a player
ages to do. You know, like becoming level 40.
That’s my favorite dev command.What time were you here til
I left kinda early yesterday because I came in at 7AM. I
left at about midnight.
JW: I was
going to ask you to define “early”, and I
was expecting something like eight, but midnight is …
It’s been completely nuts. I’ve actually
slept under my desk a couple of times in the last couple of weeks
JW: So, are
you still having fun?
JS: OH my
GOD! I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!
words of wisdom for people contemplating trying to get into the
JS: SLEEP IS
FOR THE WEAK!
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