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Friday, April 20, 2012

Issue : People : Jobu


Developers shut down the servers when they need to fix bugs or add new features to a game. When this happens the only people walking around the game world are employees. When working on an MMO downtime happens a lot, because MMO's by nature are always changing.

It's pretty surreal to be one of the few avvy's walking around a world that not an hour ago was populated by PC's, It kinda looks like a frozen theme park at night. As quality assurance it was our crews job to try and find all of the shit that might be wrong with the new code before the lights came back on. Even though everybody in the building knew we couldn't possibly find everything. That's what patches were for.

It was sort of like that show supermarket sweep, cept with a different ruleset. Lights go off, everybody starts running toward stuff, cept not to grab it, but to make sure it's not broken when the lights come back on. Not rocket science, what else could you possibly do?

The boss of my bosses boss was a stoic guy born across the bridge from where I used to live. He built the walls and atm's to the theme park. He never talked much unless you were talking about baseball, and always had a lot to say about his home team, and even more to say after that guy with the awesome beard won them a championship. I told him wake me up when the battle of the bay starts again because that was fun.

On larger updates people from other departments like producers and marketers were press ganged into helping us test, a development we never enjoyed much, so we had to make our own fun. They never held what we did in high regard or thought it a "skill," and let us know as much when they showed up, so we sat back and watched them do their thing.

And they always did the same thing. We noticed the people in the big offices ran on information, and whoever had the information had the power, which turned updates into a mini game for them, with a high bug count equaling a high score. And if they couldn't get this info from the vets they would start milking members of the team directly or indirectly using strats like implying promotions, little baubles, veiled threats, that sort of stuff. And around 7/10 noobs fell for their tricks because they were only in QA to get somewhere else, and there somewhere else was saying nice things to them. What a lucky break! But those few that didn't bite were always worth the process, good peoples.

So when the lights went off in the store we knew they were gonna run straight towards us instead of the bugs, so we would just give them stuff to use to keep em busy, example, pssst, there's a cosmetic bug over by the lagoon, a functionality bug by the guild house, etc.. Because to a person outside QA it's all about playing the game and reporting bugs you trip over, be they valid, dupe, or NAB, didn't matter to them as long as it was something to show the bosses.

But as QA we learned to play games on our off time, and test at work, because it's not about us, its about the people that actually enjoy this crappy thing we do for kids. And that there's a big difference between the two, but hard to explain to someone in a short time, and even harder to explain to someone that doesn't really want to be there. And honestly it was all academic to us, because we knew we were getting fired sooner or later no matter what we did.

Long story smedium they would always end up palming bugs to show to the bosses bosses boss right as the server was about to go back up so they could look good, but instead of getting the reaction they wanted the bosses bosses boss would pretend like their shit was valid, then made us go fix it later because he knew we had real work to do and wasn't happy we spent our work time fucking with them like that, cause it only meant OT for us.

And then they would high five and say "In your face QA," and went back to their lives feeling like they tested something, but our office didn't change when the lights went on, we still had to deal with angry devs and player bugs, finish out our 14 hour shift, get in our shitty cars, go home, wake up, and start a new test plan. Psh, whatevs. Oh speaking of publishes well played D3, launching beta while everyone is zooted, that was much appreciated. Oh yeah and the creative heads jobs are in.

The Protoculture Mixtape V.71 Issue : Games : Pubs

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