Thursday, 22 January 2009

Buggy Patches and patchy baggies

So, the patch is here. And the result from the reports I have seen seems more like patch-werk than a blood elf bombshell. Yes, that ugly. I have not yet encountered any of the mentioned bugs and I WAS able to create a DK on other realms. Not sure also if these reports come from the US realms and the EU ones seem ok (although I highly doubt that).

So lets see what we ended up with:

  • Some players can not create DKs on other realms. Unfortunately, this was one of the major positive aspects of this patch.
  • Wintergrasp BG causes all sorts of problems and had to be shut down. If I am not mistaken Wintergrasp was a flagship aspect of Wotlk which is as good as a tank in greens facing Patchwerk.
  • Lag seems to be here once again, making our life 'interesting'. Too many in the same place it seems, if you get my drift.
  • Various class related problems like warlock summons etc.

And here is my question. Why the hell Blizzard allowed this patch to go live at this state. It is not like the issues were not known. It seems though they are more acute now. If the problems are related to the population that has access at any given time to such features, then they ought to draw more people in the PTRs by means of other incentives (not free epics, more like playtime-gifts).

Blizzard is renowned for their attention in detail. For their nice ideas of how to make a game look involving, immersive. For the good quality of their worlds. Such issues like the ones we face in the recent patch disrupt the feeling of immersion[1]. I feel they need to address certain aspects to maintain the good quality of this game:

  • Sort out their method of communication with the public and disregard flames/pleas/demands of the nature "omg, givf patch nao!!!one!!!" or whatever symbols the leet language uses) and focus on allowing patches get public when they are ready. Better late than broken.
  • Exploit their PTR mechanics and draw more people there - by means of constrained playtime-rewards - in order to have more realistic data in terms of stress-testing etc.

Now, to be honest its easy to sit on your char and nag to Blizzard for not doing this right. Being a developer myself I know there are often unforeseen variables that may affect a product. I therefore mention the above while giving Blizzard the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully, their reaction on such issues will be appropriate.

[1] The feeling of immersion, whether physical or psychological in nature, allows the sense of belief that the user as left the real world and is now “present” in the virtual environment (Sadowski & Stanney, 2002). Witmer & Singer (1998) define immersion a psychological state characterized by the perception of being or feeling «enveloped by», «included in» or «in interaction with» an environment offering a continuity of various stimulatory experiences. Slater and Wilbur (1997) define immersion as being the extent to which a computerized system is capable of offering to the user the illusion of reality at once being: inclusive, vast, surrounding and vivid.


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