Warhammer Online: PQ Night (2)
Image by Evan Sims via Flickr

So the WAR Herald tells us today that the public test server testing has finally concluded for the latest patch, which will include the new content for Land of the Dead, their first free live expansion. Over the past few weeks, many intrepid expeditioners have signed on to the PTS, bashing the heck out of the code and the mechanics in WAR’s Egyptian-themed dungeon and area so it can go out as bug-free as possible.

If you’re a WAR player and you didn’t sign onto the PTS, you really missed out. There was a good amount of focused RvR going on, as resources necessary to gain access to Land of the Dead dropped off of dead players. Aside from that, I discovered people engaging in duels and practiced fights to test mechanics. Surprisingly, no one interfered with these little tests, which was great. While on the battlefield real RvR is dynamic and spontaneous, the fact that there were players testing changes to stats and careers (though they’ve since been pushed back) can only be a good thing, as such attention to detail is needed to make things feel right.

There was also a lot of testing of the Land of the Dead mechanics from top to bottom, from the fight over zone control via resources to the PQ’s and public area of the new zone, to the 6 man dungeon. If I had to typify players’ experiences with the content, I’d have to say a lot of people needed a little bit of a handle to get it right. The first few nights were filled with players wandering around, wondering what to do and how to do things. Over time, this changed, but I can’t help but think the confusion was a bad thing, not a good thing. The fact that the learning curve may have been a bit higher than Mythic thought allowed them to adjust the way they not only approached PTS but also the upcoming content.

As a result of the testing, the combat and careers changes were pushed back to allow for more granular work, and the amount of resources needed to gather for access to Land of the Dead was reduced. There’s also been a noticeable effort to educate players, either through viral marketing or interviews. I’m thankful that some of the PTS testing was useful and helpful.

To be honest, though, there just weren’t enough players – which is sad, because in an area where there are no consequences in terms of player choice, testing becomes great fun as you try to “break” content to make it better. We need more PTS testers for the next cycle, especially with tons of changes to careers coming, so be sure to fire up that test client and give the new stuff a spin at the wheel. It’ll only help you and your fellow players for a better WAR experience.

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