Legion: How To Be A Good Beta Tester

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The Legion beta test has begun! The first wave of invites went out a few weeks ago and more will be sent out as soon as they need more. Players selected to participate will receive an email invitation. But be aware of phishing attempts. Log in to your Battle.net account to verify that there is a Legion beta license attached. If you’re interested in participating, opt in here. Read Blizzard’s official post on Legion beta here.

A lot of people are talking about how excited they are about the Legion beta and what they are planning on doing if they get access. But some people are also wondering 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 and 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.

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

Read the Legion beta patch notes here.

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.

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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. You can also go to the “Game Menu” in-game, “Help” and “Submit Bug”. 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. Rewritten for the Warlords of Draenor alpha/beta and reposted June 7. 2014. Rewritten again for the Legion beta and reposted May 23. 2016.

Looking for a reason to log in

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Earlier this week Blizzard Watch posted a breakfast topic called When’s it time to walk away from a game? which made me think a lot about how little I’ve played WoW recently. Right now I don’t remember when I last logged in, it might have been a week ago or maybe more. The last thing I did was to buy a WoW Token for gold and cancel my subscription because I don’t want to pay real money anymore when I so much gold.

I think there are several reasons to why I don’t play WoW that much anymore. One reason is that I don’t have a guild. The guild I was a social member in stopped raiding so almost everyone left and it went to quiet, there were rarely anyone online. My boyfriend and I went looking for a new guild and we found one but it doesn’t seem like a lot’s going on there either. We were online a lot at first when we joined but there were never more than five or so online and it didn’t look like they got any raids together. We haven’t been online in a while now so I’m not sure how it’s now and I don’t feel like we’ve given them a good chance.

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Another reason to why I don’t play so much is that I don’t think there is a lot of fun things to do in-game anymore. I got tired of looking for a rated battleground team in Looking For Group every time I wanted to do some rated battlegrounds and I finished my Nemesis quests in Ashran only to discover that I had totally forgotten about the Highmaul Coliseum which you have to do to get 100 kills or a win if you are to get the Warlord of Draenor title which I wanted. I haven’t played the coliseum yet but I watched my boyfriend do it and I didn’t like how you’re in a raid with everyone there and they can put up mage portals before the match start so you accidentally click them and get ported out from the match, talk to each other before the match starts or how people can group up if they know each other, use some kind of voice chat and easily just kill those not in the team and then let one of their players win. I guess I’ll go back and do it sooner or later, but not right now.

I think Warlords of Draenor is a good expansion and I’ve had a lot of fun leveling my characters, doing everything there is to do in my garrison, exploring, learning about the lore, battling in Ashran and battlegrounds it’s just that I don’t find it that fun anymore and I can’t find anything I really want to do. But there are plenty of things I could do that I haven’t done yet in Draenor or even more things I could go back to previous expansions and do. Like collect new pets, go fishing, finally finish the celestial tournament, kill bosses for mounts, get some new transmog gear or take my first step into Blackrock Foundry. But I just don’t feel like doing any of those things so I don’t want to do it just to do it, just to do something, I want to wait until I really want to and then do it.

It feels like it’s time for a small break, not like I’m going to quit and don’t know when I’m coming back, but just do as I do right now, play less, log in when I want to and play other games as well. I think it would help a lot if I had a guild to play with, that’s what I miss the most.

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I installed Diablo III last week. Haven’t played it since last fall before the release of Warlords of Draenor but I played a lot before that. I read up on seasons and created my first seasonal character, a wizard which is level 70 now. I already have a normal wizard at level 70 but I wanted to start from the beginning and relearn it, and I’ll do the same with a demon hunter which is my second favorite class. My boyfriend started playing again as well, so we play together which is really fun because it’s been a while since we played anything together.

I think I’ll just continue to play Diablo for a while and maybe some old games, maybe look for a guild and wait for the day I really want to play again and find a reason to login.

Do you still play WoW regularly or are you struggling to find a reason to log in?

Screenshots from Draenor

Draenor is a beautiful place with many different zones which all have something unique you want to capture a picture of either it be the fall colored trees in Talador, windswept and snow-covered fields in Frostfire Ridge, the galactic sky in Shadowmoon Valley or the moons which are visible in every zone. I have taken around 1000 screenshots in Draenor and here are some of my favorites.

Which zone or area in Draenor is your favorite?

Hidden in Mount Volwrath

It was merely a coincidence that I discovered this small easter egg hidden high up in Mount Volwrath in Talador.

I was exploring the area around Tanaan Jungle when I thought I’d use Aviana’s Feather to climb some mountains on the border of Talador and Tanaan Jungle so I could get a nice overlook of the zones. It took a while to get up to the top as the cooldown on Aviana’s Feather is 10 minutes. I was on my way down again when I saw something on a ledge below and I jumped down to it.

There I found a painting easel with a framed canvas which looks unfinished, a paint brush and a box of water on a small table, a bag with the Horde symbol on it and an American football.

I have no idea what it means but I read here that there is a leveling designer named Colin Volrath and this mountain is called Mount Volwrath. The Horde general in Ashran, High Warlord Volrath, is named after Colin so maybe this mountain is too, but I don’t know.

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I went around on the other side of Mount Volwrath and found this orb object floating in the sky. I have no idea what it is and why it’s there, might just be misplaced and forgotten.

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Have you found any easter eggs or other less known places or items in Draenor?

A busy month of WoD and IRL

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November was a busy month with BlizzCon, the launch of Warlords of Draenor, my 25th birthday and a visit from Sweden. At first we spend a lot of time fixing the apartment we have lived in for four months now. There were still some things to do and stuff to buy, but it’s about finished now after a few trips to IKEA and some other stores. We had to prepare for both the expansion launch and my birthday including two birthday parties so the fridge and storage were filled with all kinds of goodies.

Our plan was to play as much as we could that week and weekend in between work and birthday parties, but it didn’t work out that well because of the latency and queue problems on our realm. So it took much longer than we thought to level up and the first levels took the longest. We decided to just wait for it all to get better and spent more time doing other things like do the first quests on our alts to get them to the garrison, complete missions, level professions and sell stuff at the auction house. My druid is a scribe and got all the new glyphs pretty quick so I sold all of them and earned a good amount of gold the first week.

We had a visitor from Sweden the weekend after so we spent the whole weekend showing her the city, visiting family and eating amazing food. Went to Pepperkakebyen which is the largest gingerbread town in the world, enjoyed the view of the city from Fløyen and ate Norwegian Christmas dinner.

It didn’t take long to hit level 100 when we finally had time to play. Now we’re trying to gear up for raids by doing heroic dungeons and we might try out some challenge modes soon. I’m also planning to level up my shaman very soon, she’s already level 92 but she’s stuck in her garrison doing missions and profession stuff. I think and hope we will have more time to play in the future, but there is a lot to do this month as well with Christmas coming up soon. We’re not going anywhere but we have some presents to buy, then there is work, family visits and meetings with friends.

How has your first month of Warlords of Draenor been?