Blizzard Confident QA Can Polish the Game

Some have questioned whether the limited closed Beta will be enough to get the game out the door in a polished state, but as Blizzard has stated right from the start, this limited Beta test is all about connectivity testing and Battle.Net. And let’s face it, the majority of ‘testers’ won’t actually be testing anything. I don’t think running four naked Barbarian females through the game passes for Beta testing these days 🙂

When asked whether there would likely be aditional content in the Beta, which obviously there won’t be because the story is an integral part to the game, Bashiok responded:

We don’t have any plans to extend the beta beyond the Skeleton King fight. Some of the beta content, or items, could change as we make tweaks, but overall the beta is intended mainly to test system compatibility (how the client runs on all the different hardware/software configurations out there) and work out all the kinks of the new hardware running the servers.

It would be foolish to say we’ll be able to squash every bug, but we have a QA department that is large enough to test a massive online game like World of Warcraft, and so we feel very confident that we’ll be able to test and release an extremely high quality four player co-op game like Diablo III without having to open it up to public testing.

The QA department will have their work cut out, four player game or not, WoW has seen some humdingers of bugs in the past. There will be bugs and they are to expected, we already know that there are plans for tweaks once the game ships out. Let’s hope they are just tweaks.

Update: A fan cited Bashiok’s comment and asked why not more testers sooner. Zarhym replied with additional details.

  1. Start with a small sample audience to test stability.
  2. Take bug and crash report feedback; act on them quickly.
  3. Release new patches to make some very necessary changes in the small test environment.
  4. Keep testing stability while adding new components.
  5. If everything is running incredibly smooth after steps 1-4, invite people from the general public to open the flood gates on stress testing and get focused gameplay feedback/bug reports.

This is a very layman’s description, but the point is we have to slowly throttle in more people to test the game as we continue to create new builds and work out new functionality. Once the environment is stable and many of the core features are there, we then start to invite the masses.

I’d feel remiss in not mentioning this: we absolutely want everyone to play this game as soon as possible. But to make that a reality, we must first excel in both content and deliverance. (So let’s put on our classics and we’ll have a little dance, shall we?) 😉

I’m guessing we are on step 4 right now?
Zarhym Basically, yea. 🙂 We’re getting really close! That’s the good news.

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34 thoughts on “Blizzard Confident QA Can Polish the Game

  1. I predict ongoing hotifixes in wake of leveling heroes. Much as progression in Blizzard’s other games (like pro WoW guilds), hotfixes come in fast to address bugs as they happen.   You’d think their QA department would have spot such glaring problems, though.

  2. They may find more bugs and have a more polished game if they opened it for public testing, but they consider the price of spoiling the content and the story too high and I concur.

    • its all about sales, if the large content of the game was spoiled, and was for example bugged or not good enough, it could hit the sales. To be frank, Blizzard can sale games based purely on hype, with betas covering only small percentage of content. Why would they risk.

  3. Public betas for bug testing are a cluster anyway. (Just spend a few minutes skimming the “Beta Bug” forum and count how many people re-re-re-re-repost issues that have been listed as known since the first few days.)  If they were planning on relying on a public beta for Act 1.5-4 content testing, there wouldn’t even be a chance at shipping this year.

    Blizzard is lucky they can afford to: 1- Hire that many people for internal testing. 2- Invest in a hot-fix friendly architecture for easy post-release tweaking.

    • I was in the HG:London beta and i can assure you it’s not going to end the same. HG:London was almost unplayable in the beta due to horrible bugs.

  4. Depends on what your definition of polish is.    If the servers don’t crash during the release week I think it will be a win in their book.    I do see a lot patches in the 1st couple weeks though as bugs are reported since their internal testers find the glaring flaws but not the ones like:  “I sat spinning circles in town and fell through the well and now I can’t move my character” and other obscenely mundane things that devs say ” well no one would ever do this”. 

    At this point I don’t really care unless an announcement has 2012 attached to it other than release it whenever.

  5. There will always be bugs but Blizzard does have a good track record in terms of addressing the problem.  Well, after Diablo 1 anyway.  

    There will be issues but I wouldn’t worry about a Dead Island or Fallout scenario.

    In the end it will come down to what the developers decide to get done.  Blizzard is better than most in that regard.

  6. In before they eat their words when massive glaring issues come up on day 1 of release (after Skeleton King quest!)

  7. heh, the game is in fact quite polished. It was polished back in 2010. I don’t know what else there is left to do short of getting rid of some very minor things

    • yeah, would have been really awesome to see the game released back in 2010 when they didn’t even have public games working, or  “resetting your Blacksmith’s recipes after sending an item you bought on the Auction House to your shared stash”, or discovering they have to make “radical changes” to the DH

  8. I am curious how long the QA team has been testing the game.  I hope this means after a short closed beta they will be releasing the game.  😀

    Would love to see the game get released shortly after Blizzcon.  High hopes…I know, I know.

  9. I just don’t understand. If they have so many Ppl testing why is the AH so screwy? And why did they not notice the DH sucks at low levels. Oh, and also, these stupid small “naming” and bookcase bugs? Let’s not forget public games were screwed up and still don’t work correctly. Is it because they used quite an older demo for F&F that has been fixed already they just don’t have access to? It all doesn’t add up. =\

  10. While F&F has found some pretty big things, lets not forget it’s main purpose is supposedly testing the networking / compatibility.  That doesn’t mean QA was done with their own bug hunting / smashing.  It’s all an iterative process that takes time.  It doesn’t make much sense in my mind to leave testing the new setup and system compatibility until the game is polished to a mirror shine, when stuff could be done concurrently.  Network guys don’t need game devs to finish the game mechanics to work on the back end.

  11. This all but confirms they are waiting to see what Bioware/EA does with the announcement of the release date for SWTOR. they will release before or a bit after the initial release  I’m pretty sure once the weekend beta tests will get the closed beta release for D3 and then a release before the end of the year. It will happen. No guarantee but I think it will happen.

    • What the…? It in no way says anything about SWTOR.. I don’t think most diablo players give a care about a star wars mmo, and Blizz certainly won’t…

      • The point is that most MMO players are fans of WOW and some WOW players are going to play SWTOR. For me I can’t wait to play D3 but I’m also interested in SWTOR. I care about both games but I’m not sure if I want to spend $120 on both plus the $15 subscription for TOR. not many people have $120 to spend for 2 games unless you don’t have family or girlfriend.

      • Sure. For example most of my friends(or probably all of them) waiting D3 and just 1-2 knows about SWTOR =) and lol most of them(including me) dislike WOW
        We don’t care about something except D3, because in soviet Russia Diablo3 anticipates you, username

    • Hell, they’re usually buggy months AFTER release. Blizzard’s good reputation is that those bugs don’t make the game unplayable, unlike a lot of games I’ve seen over the years.

  12. They may not add extra level/quest content, but they could add Nightmare and Hell difficulties I think. Crank up the treasure class, increase monster difficulty, remove the clvl 13 level cap and show off the higher item types and runes.

  13. They need to test the PvP matchmaking algorithm. Make sure scrubs aren’t fed mercilessly to the pros on a regular basis. Also just need to test PvP, see how it feels.

    • Honestly i thing PVP will be the most descalibrated system in D3, that algorithm you are talking about will take some serious time! (Patch Gang Bang!)

      But im confident the game is overall well polished!  😀

  14. Well..what did you mean? You seemed to be implying the game was ready for release in 2010, when it simply wasn’t. Yeah they had the core there, but there was still alot of work to go in terms of content, balancing, class skills, UI work to name but a few. I know from OUR point of view it was looking amazing then, but that was because we were being shown very specific parts. From Bliz’ point of view there was still alot of work to be done. No worries though, it just means it’s going to be super madcore pants fillingly bombtastic when it comes out in a few months! 😀 So we can all be happy about that!

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