When is a tester not a tester?

I’ve been playing Diablo 3 this past week and wishing I was on the beta test.

There’s plenty of things that seem to have slipped past the testers which lead me to this post.

In order to get on to Blizzard’s testing, all you need to do is submit your computer specs and be a paying subscriber. Then you may get a beta invite for a new game, and more likely if you subscribe to WoW then you’ll get to play on the PTR (Public Test Realm).

This is all well and good, but it seems most users don’t grasp  the idea of what testing means.

  • It’s a way to preview new content and gameplay
  • It’s a way for professional bloggers to report on new features that may or may not survive the testing phase to make it into the live/retail game
  • It’s a way for gold bloggers to identify new things that will be hot when the new features go live

But it’s also how the majority of bugs get squashed. Or should that be how the major bugs get squashed?!

Having played Diablo 3 for most of the week it’s become apparent to me and a few others that a lot of things seem to have been missed from the testing phase.

For starters there’s the server error messages that report one thing to the user but in actual fact do something else.
The targeting system needs calibrating. This is probably not helped by the fact that you click to move – many a time I’ve clicked to move but attacked instead or vice versa. I understand the click to move notion as it’s an isometric view so moving with keys could be a little confusing.
Another obvious thing is the server messages and errors you get even in the single player mode. I know it’s because of battle.net but better communication to the end user would be good, or maybe even not breaking the gameplay if battle.net goes offline? – when this happens in WoW it doesn’t hinder gameplay too much, just means you can’t speak to RealID friends. Which is how it should work in Diablo 3.

Maybe Blizzard need to introduce a better way of reporting errors than on the forums? Like in-game for instance – it’s not as if you’re not logged in when you find the bugs, so maybe a way of taking a screenshot if relevant and attaching it to a bug report would get more people reporting bugs however big or small. I noticed in the SWTOR beta they had an in-game reporting system like this, no mention of having to logout of the game to login to the forums to report a problem.

Blizzard have everything else, why not implement a better reporting system for errors/bugs – and not just in the test realms.
I think this is the major problem with Blizzard’s implementation of test servers/realms – reporting problems is so long winded and has to be done outside of the game that very few people do it.