The doldrums…

they be settin’ in…


I know I’m starting to feel it later than most. When I was transferring to <Unemployed> and getting giddy at my inclusion in 25-man content other people were looking months ahead at the release of Wrath and sighing their longing to the skies.

Recently there has been a new wave of beta keys delivered to the eagerly waiting masses of Azeroth. It would seem that this is the largest release of beta keys to date. I’ve been reading many blogs by people with beta keys but a good half of them seem to have been granted a key by a reader or some other grateful fan. This time, I logged on to see that five of the <Unemployed> recieved an e-mail informing them of their good fortune. I don’t know how many on Hydraxis are now in Beta, but that was a signifigant percentage of the people I talk to on a day-to-day basis.

I was not one of the lucky people to be graced with a beta key. However! Instead of QQing about it (I do plenty of that in the privacy of my own head anyway) I’m going to do my best to help those who did get an invite do their job better.

Yes, I said job.

By using your beta key and not passing it on to someone else you have acknowledged your willingness to work for Blizzard for free. You are a Beta Tester. Your job is to play (or attempt to play) the game you have been provided with and report back any erroneous things you might find. Your job is not to complain that something is unbalanced and bemoan the broken-ness of the game. What you are playing is not Wrath of the Lich King. What you are playing is its beta.

Most games do this step behind the scenes. Take, for instance, a novel. An author is writing a novel and finally the last chapter has been written. But the novel isn’t yet done. There is proofreading to be done and there are issues of flow and tone to be addressed. This all takes place (or should) before a publisher is ever approached.

It’s the same with Blizzard’s latest expansion pack but for one minor major detail. You’ve both been given the opportunity to play the game in its unfinished state and the responsibility to provide constructive feedback pertaining to the issues the developers are working on at the time.

Take this beautiful Blue Post of Ownage, for example…

Q u o t e:
WOTLK Balance – Is a Colossal Failure

I log on today for the patch and what do I see: Warrior, Shadowpriest and Shaman NERFS.

Meanwhile Rogues, DeathKnights and Mages are completely broken. (I play Rouge and Mage so no I’m not personally upset, but this is just dumb).

Even without poisons, on my Rogue I can kill a Shadowpriest within ONE cloak and stunlock. Meanwhile Blizzard is nerfing the mitigation on the Shadowpriest Dispersion. What a good way to balance the game – trying to re-tool the classes that aren’t broken, without touching the ones that obviously are.

Since the community has been so gracious in providing it’s feedback. I would really love to hear some feedback from the Blizzard Developers making decisions.

Have you ever leveled a character to 70 in World of Warcraft?
Have you ever logged on to the WOTLK BETA Test Realms?

Blizzard wanted player input for the development process? I would love to see the player input that advocated for Shadowpriest, Warrior and Shaman Nerfs. Because any player that logs on the Beta Realm for just about minutes, that is not completely blind, would have easily told you, that you’re doing it wrong.

WOTLK Balance is a Colossal Failure. The beta has been plagued by moronic development decisions,
that have completely unbalanced this game, over-complicated this game while reducing the skill level of this game.

I could write pages, about what is broken, what isn’t, what is good and what needs to be fixed. But honestly I’m sick of this. What a waste of time, all the individual player input has been. And one knows it when they see patch notes like these.

Actually, comparing our accounts, I have multiple 70’s more than you do. I also notice that all of my characters are higher level than yours in the Beta.

Thanks for helping us test out the Beta while you lasted. Beta testing isn’t cut out for everyone. It was nice having you.

The Blues have posted time and again, reminding us that we have yet to see a broad-spectrum, accross-the-board class/game balance. In fact, from what I’ve seen, it looks like they’re just now starting to balance the talent trees and skills within each class. <– There’s blue posts there, go read them, very informative.

Now, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a huge “You’re in beta so you’d better be damn appreciative and stop your whining” post. This has turned into a preface of a post I’m going to write for/over the weekend. My goal will be to explain, in layman’s terms and as clearly as possible, how to recognize and critique graphical errors. This might seem like something that’s pretty obvious, but knowing a little bit about the terminology and the way things work can go a long way to helping you make informed critiques and thereby making the Developers’ jobs of fixing the problems that much easier.

So, keep an eye open this weekend, some of the things you can expect to see explained are:

  • The difference between textures, models, and meshes
  • Exactly what an animation is
  • Alpha Maps & Particle Systems
  • Baked vs Dynamic Lighting
  • Collision Boxes

And yes, there will be copious amounts of visual examples!

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  • Comments (1)
  1. While, like you, I wasn’t one of the people chosen for beta (YET!) I’m really looking forward to your follow-up post. I’ve been playing for so long and met so many people who claim to play longer yet I always seem to be the only one who knows inner game mechanics. You can bet I’ll be letting people know about your post. Prepare for widespread education!

    Oh and nice blog header. I hadn’t seen it since you changed it. Turned out really nice, I think. :3

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