WoD: How To Be A Good Beta Tester

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The Warlords of Draenor beta is finally here! The first wave of invites went out yesterday (June 27th 2014) and more will be sent out as soon as they need more. Be on guard for potential scams. You can log into your Battle.net account and view your game licenses to check if you’ve been invited. If you’re interested in participating, opt in here.

A lot of people are talking about how excited they are about the Warlords of Draenor beta and what they are planning on doing if they get access. But some people are also questioning what’s expected of them as a beta tester and what they should do to become a good beta tester. First I think you should ask yourself these two questions: Why do you want to be a beta tester? What do you think makes you a good beta tester?

I participated in the Wrath of the Lich King beta, Cataclysm alpha+beta, Mists of Pandaria beta and Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls beta. At first I saw it as a chance to get a sneak peek and play the game before everyone else, but then I learned that there is so much more you should do and I felt important and happy to be one of those who got to test it and give feedback to polish and improve the game before it went live.

I’ve now read through some websites and forums, gathered and written down what I think are the most important things to keep in mind if you are going to participate in the beta test.

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What is a beta test

Game testing is a process for quality control of a software. The primary function of game testing is the discovery and reporting of software defects, also known as bugs. A beta test is usually the second test (after alpha) and the first test by the actual customers. Beta testers are needed because the designers are probably so used to their game that they’re very likely to overlook many things that fresh pair of eyes won’t.

Usually there is an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) you need to agree to in order to participate in testing, but not for Warlords of Draenor. This means you are free to talk about, write about, stream and share screenshots from the alpha/beta.

Who can be a beta tester

A veteran player isn’t necessary a better beta tester than a new player. Introducing previously uninvolved testers with fresh perspective may help identify new bugs. Blizzard wants a wide variety of testers: varied, locations, age, experience and game interest. You don’t need the newest computer, the best graphics card etc. Blizzard wants to make sure that the game works on everyone’s computer. They want a variety of testers with all kinds of different hardware, not just people with the latest stuff.

What to keep in mind

  • You shouldn’t sign up for the beta if you don’t plan on actually testing and giving feedback. Many people sign up for the beta not to test it but to play the game and see if it’s something they would like to buy.
  • The beta is not a demo to complete content before anyone else.
  • Nothing is final before it’s live.
  • Being a beta tester is more like a job than something you do just cause it’s fun.
  • The beta test is designed to find bugs, issues that have made it past internal testing.
  • You are responsible for checking that the game works, is easy to use, has actions that make sense, and contains fun gameplay.
  • If the game was perfect, they wouldn’t need people beta testing.
  • The more bugs that get reported in the beta, the less there will be when it goes live.
  • Visit and read the official beta forums, follow Blizzard’s updates on what they want you to focus testing on.
  • Test as many features as possible in as many ways as possible.
  • Consult with other testers for answers to potential problems you may be experiencing.
  • Support creative new approaches to abilities, spells and other changes to the game.
  • Instead of complaining out loud or in the chat, report your problem by using the feedback survey or the official beta testing forums, and be constructive.
  • You can still give feedback on the quests, zones, dungeons etc even if you don’t find any bugs.
  • Remember that all characters in Blizzard beta tests are wiped from the servers before the final game. Carrying characters over from the beta to the final game would give beta testers an unfair advantage and there are numerous technical issues as the beta client is not the same as the final game version.
  • What is your reward? A sense of accomplishment. You helped to polish a game you enjoy. And a sneak peek at the game is the reward for most. But previous beta invites and good feedback can increase your chances of getting picked again.

What to expect

There will be frequent disconnects, and the realm may be up for a few minutes at a time as new content is added. Do not expect the entire expansion to be available. Expect things to be broken, graphics to be missing or placeholders.

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Bugs

Testing requires creative gameplay to discover often subtle bugs. Some bugs are easy to document, but many require a detailed description so a developer can replicate or find the bug. Do stuff Blizzard never intended for players to do. Because a player will do so by accident and cause an issue. Players also have ways of doing stuff the developers never thought of doing. It is better that it happens in beta than on live.

Bugs can be…

  • art glitches
  • animation errors
  • logic errors
  • level bugs
  • quest items not working
  • random dismounts
  • falling through the world
  • getting stuck
  • damage and class/mob balance bugs
  • lore error
  • + much more

I remember I’ve been able to fly indoors, or dismounted from my flying mount in the air when flying above buildings. I’ve also fallen through worlds, got stuck in walls or behind invisible walls and stuck in cracks in the ground.  Been unable to complete quests, pick up items, missing NPCs and NPCs who yell over and over again so the whole zone gets a headache. I’ve also seen spelling mistakes in the quest info and NPC speech, and tons of graphic bugs.

How to report bugs

As a beta tester, you’re expected to report the bugs you encounter in the game. Blizzard has beta forums for feedback and bug reporting. Once you’ve found and identified a bug, you should write a brief report so Blizzard knows that there is a problem and can fix it before release. Good bug reports can be read quickly, easily understood and be recreated even by someone who is playing the beta for the first time. A good bug report makes it much easier to get the bugs fixed as fast as possible.

Make sure you can repeat the bug
What caused the bug? What where you doing? Write down what you did before you encountered the bug and try to make it happen again. Check the forums to see if the bug you found has already been reported. Sometimes there is a post or a list of known bugs, bugs they already know about and are working on. If you got more information to add about a bug someone else has already reported, just write a reply to their post.

Information to give
Make a note of the time and the place that the bug occurred and what you were doing when it happened. Sometimes it can also be important to write down which class, spec, level and race you are. The beta build you are using can also be of importance. It can be found in the lower left of the login screen. You want to include your computer’s information if you’re experiencing graphic issues, crashes etc. Write down exactly what the bug did. Did you get disconnected, a screen freeze, game crash or an error message? Did you character get stuck? Maybe you fell through the world? Or are you unable to pick up or use a certain item? The more detail the better. Go back and see if you can cause the bug to occur again.

How to recreate the bug
Write down the steps needed to recreate the bug so the developers can recreate it and see what happens. This can be which spell you used, where you walked, which item you used and where, which NPC you spoke to etc.

Writing a bug report post
If you find multiple bugs, make one post for each bug you find. Use a tag in the subject of your post to make it easier to know what kind of bug it is. Like [Quest bug], [Spell bug] etc.

If you can remember and do all or some of the points above, you’re on the right way to become a good beta tester! Good luck and enjoy!

Check out this funny video about beta testing, made for Cataclysm but it’s still useful.

Sources and useful links

This post was originally written for the Mists of Pandaria beta and posted March 21. 2012. It was rewritten for the Warlords of Draenor alpha/beta and reposted June 7. 2014.

Druid Tier 11

Boubouille of MMO-Champion has shown us a preview of all the tier 11, so has Wowhead, and I prefer Wowhead because you can change the race and gender of the model, sorry Boubouille, I don’t like humans as much as you do. Here is the link to Wowhead’s preview of druid tier 11. You can choose any race and gender, even gnome, but I only took of night elf, tauren and troll cause they are the druids. There is no worgen model.

My first thought when I saw the druid tier 11 was “priest”, cause the shoulders look like wings. But it doesn’t look like cloth and why would a priest have a beak on their head and claws on their shoulders, so it’s clearly a druid set. The colors made me unsure, the blue and white set, cause when I think druid I think of brown, green, nature colors. Blue and white is for me more mage and priest.

But I love how they’ve used feathers and the shape of the shoulders, and finally some new colors, to be honest I’m tired of brown and green druid sets.

So here they are, what do you think of the druid T11? Which set do you like, and on which race/gender?

BlizzCon 2010: Blizzard Sound

Finally the sound panel as the last panel on BlizzCon 2010. I had been waiting for this all day and was getting really tired, we’re 9 hours ahead of LA. But it was so worth it.

I’m a huge fan of the WoW music and have always played with ingame music on, I feel sorry for those people who play without, you’ve missed out on the most beautiful music ever made!

I feel like there is not enough talk about the music in the game, people forget about it, or don’t listen to it. When I now read on forums etc about BlizzCon most people only talk about the classes and dungeons, live raid, the D, and the dances and costumes, everything but the music? In one way, I feel sorry for those guys who don’t listen or care about it, as I said, in another way I’m like “pff, you’re the ones missing out”.

But these guys at the sound panel deserves a big thanks and some honor, they’ve done a wonderful job with the music and I’m so thankful for it. The game wouldn’t be the same without the music. Hours and hours of music have they composed, written and recorded.

On the sound panel we had Derek Duke, David Arkenstone, Russell Brower, Glenn Stafford and Neal Acree who are the composers of the music for Cataclysm. They told us how they fought over the zones, who should do which zone, everyone wanted to do the underwater zones, so they had to draw straws, but David made the Vashj’ir music.

David and some others played music live: Durotar, Feralas, Hyjal, Stonetalon, Vashj’ir, Temple of the Moon. I loved the flutist Susan Windberg, I played the flute in a marching band at school when I was younger, I enjoyed playing, but not the marching, so I quitted, but after hearing her on Saturday I want to start playing the flute again, realized how much I miss it, the sound of it.

They talked about the different ways to write music. Russell only uses a pencil and paper, but not everyone got the ability to “hear it without hearing it” as Glenn said. Neal uses keyboard, computer, Glenn uses piano, Derek prefers humming, David uses the computer and humming/singing to record his ideas wherever he is.

They also told us about their favorite composed pieces from Cataclysm.
Neal: Night Song: Night Elves
Glenn: Cataclysm 3
Derek: Skywall part 1, part 2
David: Nordrassil, Surrender the Booty
Russell: Mountain

My favorite of those has to be the Night Elves song, it was one of the first I heard and it’s so special, never heard anything like it before. You just have to hear it and you will understand what I mean.

It’s really interesting to hear them explain how they work, how they get inspired cause it’s so fantastic how they can just see a zone or a character, read a story and then just know how the music should be, what instruments they should use. They also get inspired by things that happen in real life, and try to put the emotions into the music. It’s so amazing how they do that.

As the Cataclysm takes place in Azeroth and many of the old zones, they had to remake a lot of music for the zones cause as the zones change the music changes too. But Neal said it’s important to stay true to the old classic music that’s why they reuse it in the newer cinematics and main titles, make a new version, they don’t wanna remove anything.

Orgrimmar was reforged, a lot got changed and new buildings were build after Garrosh took over, as all this changed Orgrimmar needed new music. So David accepted the challenge and he said it was hard because it’s a popular theme. But he just added more instruments, more drums and metal and made it more “kick ass”. I love the new version of Orgrimmar and you can find it here. David also made the Thunder Bluff/Mulgore music. Derek made the goblin music. Glenn did Arathi and Plaguelands.

Invincible

Music by Russell and Jason Hayes, lyrics by Neal Acree and Derek Duke.

Jason Hayes first made the song “O Thanagor” which was in Warcraft III The Frozen Throne closing cinematic, then the melody was putted into the WotLK main title and Neal wrote the lyrics. Then came the Fall of the Lich King patch and the first part which is in the main title called “Arthas My Son” become the Chorus and they wrote “Invincible” as verse to go with it, Derek wrote the lyrics.

And the lyrics contains a lot of lore. About Arthas’ feelings for his horse, how it was to be imprisoned, and feelings of the trapped souls. The song is named after Christie Golden’s book Arthas, and the title leaves you wondering if it’s about the horse or Arthas himself.

The BlizzCon 2010 Blizzard Sound panel can be found on YouTube.

My best Cataclysm beta screenshots

I have already posted many of these screenshots here, but thought I’d make a new post with my favorite screenshots from the beta. Many are from the new zones Uldum, Deepholm, Mount Hyjal, Vashj’ir and Twilight Highlands, but there are also some from the old and updated zones.

I love to take screenshots and photos in real life, but I’m not sure if I’m any good at it. After I read Angelya’s tutorial “Tips for Taking Screenshots” on Revive & Rejuvenate I decided to practice some more on it and share them here, maybe get some feedback :)

Ready for 4.0.1 and Cataclysm?

Today Blizzard officially announced that Cataclysm will be released on December 7. And the 4.0.1 patch will most likely be here next week and many things like achievements will become feasts of strength and be unable to achieve. One would think that I with all my spare time already had done all this, but no, I completely forgot about it or I just didn’t believe the patch and Cataclysm was that close.

I read this article on WoW Insider and it got me thinking, so now I sit here with one week left and several half-done achievements. Not that it’s very important to me, just annoying to almost have them complete. The ones I really wish I had are Conqueror and Champion of Ulduar cause I only need a few of the easy bosses to get them, I just didn’t think they would get removed, but of course they will now when I think about it. None will die on those bosses with all that gear and new abilities.

Same with the Immortal and Undying, I would love to have them on my current main which I believe will be my main in Cataclysm. I’m not a person who goes after achievement points or want to achieve everything, but I would really like to have these things before they get removed and I feel I also deserve some of them cause I’ve spent so much time there, in Ulduar and Naxxramas but always been unlucky and never gotten those achievements.

I also wish I had the ZG raptor mount on my druid, but I have done ZG so many times and never seen it drop, and I have the tiger, so maybe I should be happy. But I don’t think I’m far from exalted with the tribe, so maybe I’ll finish that achievement.

But things I’m looking forward to with 4.0.1 are:

  • The new eclipse mechanic for us druids, you can read more about It and see screenshots of it in this post.
  • Reforging because with all these new class changes and spirit gives hit and my gear already has enough hit, I will be far over cap and can easily turn some of the hit into for example haste, crit or mastery.
  • New talent trees: Yes, I love the new balance tree! I love the new spells and talents! As my character on the beta isn’t a premade and it has been hard to gear up for heroics, I haven’t been able to test everything I wanted to test, so looking forward to test it on live. I just can’t wait! Hope my love for balance druid will grow bigger and I will think “Yes, of course I wanna stay moonkin in Cataclysm!”
  • Improved graphics on water and lava, this is a big improvement from the old graphics, now it will look like real water and lava!
  • Spell alerts to notify procs: Never figured out to use the addon which does this, but this new built-in spell alert doesn’t need any customization and works for procs like Nature’s Grace and Shooting Stars around the character and the spell will be highlighted on the action bar.
  • Text when leveling up to tell you when new talents, spells and abilities are available. Used an addon for this before.

The full patch notes can be found here.

When Cataclysm hits more will be changed and removed, I don’t have a list, and there might be some other things I have to do before, but I’ll find out. The biggest changes will be the world of Azeroth. It will change so much, in good and bad ways. The changes look amazing, but I’ll miss old Azeroth so much cause I have so many memories from back in those days I leveled my first character and explored the zones for the first time.  But it’s good that they finally make some changes to the old world, as content changes, and the level increases the world should be changed too, just logical.

VG.no article (Norwegian)