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.

My first weeks in Pandaria

We were already online at 00:00 and created our monks and were ready to start leveling when suddenly….

Not surprised as Kazzak is a high populated server and with everyone logging in at the same time and begin on the same place it would be a miracle if the server didn’t go down once, twice or maybe ten times, how many was it again?

But we finally got to level our monks.

It was a lot of fun cause all you need is…

Spinning Crane Kick!

At 85 I switched to my druid and we did some quests in Pandaria, some of them were weird like when we had to throw monkey poop on jinyus

Others were exciting like this one

and some led us to monsters who maybe were a bit too excited to see me

I got to travel by boat through a cave up in the mountains

I got a new mount, this is actually a yak in a quest, but I bought the yak mount later

I learned surfing

I managed to get a target board on my head

and I got a new nick name: Syrco Poppins

I’ve seen a lot of skeletons

But also a few dead bosses

I’ve also waited for hopeless bosses

Ridden a shark

Got a new friend who’s growing

Got trapped behind a wall in Guo-Lai Halls

and beaten up by a plant

But it has pretty much been some very exciting and fun first weeks in Pandaria.

 

Balance druid gear list – MoP

Updated list here

So I got inspired by Saz who made a list of enhancement shaman gear and decided to spend some time in the beta and then create my own list of balance druid gear.

This is a list of pre-raid gear for level 90 balance druids but it might also work well for restoration druids and mistweaver monks as they use the same gear.

It’s still work in progress, so I will update it if anything changes or if there is more to add.

Factions

The August Celestials

Honored

Revered

Shado-Pan

Honored

Revered

The Klaxxi

Honored

Revered

Exalted

Golden Lotus

Honored

Revered

Dungeons

Gate of the Setting Sun

Mogu’shan Palace

Scarlet Halls

Scarlet Monastery

Scholomance

Shado-Pan Monastery

Siege of Niuzao Temple

Stormstout Brewery

Temple of the Jade Serpent

Professions

Leatherworking

Time for MoP beta testing

I got into the beta in the third wave, I think, I don’t really remember. I downloaded the client, copied over a character and started leveling a monk. But that was weeks ago. I haven’t had much time to play anything at all. There has been so much going on in real life, and when I had time to sit down and play, I got WoW errors all the time, but hopefully it’s a bit more stable by now.

I think I’ll have more time to test this weekend. But don’t think I’ll write that much about the druid changes as most of you have read about it on other blogs and websites, unless there is something I want to give my opinion on etc. If you’re looking for bloggers who are more into theorycrafting and testing like that, you should check out Restokin and Sunfyre’s Nest.

MoP: New druid glyphs and my thoughts on them

Have you ever wanted our Travel Form to look different? Or do you miss the old tree form? Maybe you don’t like the Moonkin Form and wish you didn’t have to be in it? Does it annoy you that you can’t cast healing spells in Moonkin Form?

Then you might like some of the new glyphs which are coming in Mists of Pandaria.

From WoWhead:

  • Glyph of Stars: Moonkin Form ability is replaced with Astral Form, conferring all the same benefits, but now appearing as an astrally enchanted version of your normal humanoid form.
  • Glyph of the Chameleon: Each time you shapeshift into Cat Form or Bear Form, your shapeshifted form will have a random hair color.
  • Glyph of the Orca: Your Aquatic Form now appears as an Orca.
  • Glyph of the Stag: Your Travel Form now appears as a Stag and can be used as a mount by party members.
  • Glyph of the Treant: Allows you to shapeshift into Treant Form. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of movement slowing effects.
  • Glyph of the Moonbeast: You can now cast Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, and Tranquility without canceling Moonkin Form.
  • I think this looks very exciting, but I’m not sure which ones I would choose to use. I doubt I’d use Glyph of Stars as I love being a moonkin, but I wonder if they just made us this glyph instead of giving us an updated version/skin of the moonkin which I really want! I hope they will still do that, soon, hopefully for MoP.
  • The Glyph of the Chameleon can be fun if you shapeshift a lot between Cat and Bear Form and easily get bored with the same hair color, it’s always fun with a change!
  • Finally a change to the Aquatic Form which is sooo outdated that it’s sad, and I use it a lot, so I will definitly get the Glyph of the Orca.
  • I like the idea of the Glyph of the Stag cause it would be great in PvP and if you run a lot of raids or dungeons where you can use Travel Form, or at lower levels.
  • If having the Glyph of the Treant means all specs will be able to shapeshift out of movement slowing effects, then I will have to get it for PvP. And I wouldn’t mind being a treant, but it doesn’t have any abilities?
  • Glyph of the Moonbeast sounds so scary but it will only let you cast heals in Moonkin Form, but I don’t see why I would have that one if it doesn’t give me any bonus healing cause we usually have other healers to heal us in dungeons, raids and PvP.

They’ve also updated with several other druid glyphs

  • Glyph of Grace: Feline Grace reduces falling damage even while not in Cat Form.
  • Glyph of Nature’s Grasp: Reduces the cooldown of Nature’s Grasp.
  • Glyph of Cat Form: Increases healing done to you by X% while in Cat Form.
  • Glyph of Claw: Your Claw and Mangle (Cat) attacks reduce the movement speed of the target by X% for 12 sec.
  • Glyph of Cyclone: Increases the range of your Cyclone spell by X yards.
  • Glyph of the Predator: Your Track Humanoids ability now also tracks beasts.
  • Glyph of Shred: While Berserk or Tiger’s Fury is active, Shred and Ravage have no positional requirement.
  • Glyph of Fae Silence: Faerie Fire used in Bear Form also silences the target for 3 sec, but triggers a 15 sec cooldown.
  • Glyph of Skull Bash: Increases the duration of your Skull Bash interrupt by X sec, but increases the cooldown by Y sec.
  • Glyph of Master Shapeshifter: Reduces the mana cost of all shapeshifts by X%.
  • Glyph of Survival Instincts: Reduces the cooldown of Survival Instincts by X sec, but reduces its duration by Y%.
  • Glyph of Might of Ursoc: Increases the health gain from Might of Ursoc by X%, but increases the cooldown by Y min.
  • Glyph of Stampeding Roar: Increases the radius of Stampeding Roar by X yards.

What do you think of the new glyphs and which ones will you use?