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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning: QA at WAR

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,581MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Angela Webb has an inside look at Quality Assurance for Warhammer Online. As she says, "It's a lot of fun, but don't get confused, it's a lot of work." Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the heroes behind the scenes in this terrific inside look.

It's pretty well known that working in QA (Quality Assurance) is the best way of getting your foot in the door of the video-game industry, but most people don't know what it's actually like to work inside a QA department. QA has various reputations: good and bad. I'm going to share what it was like to work in the QA department of the MMO Warhammer Online. There were perks, a lot of them. But I think you should know the reality of what a job like this entails.

Read all of the inside secrets of QA at WAR.


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Comments

  • nepulasnepulas HamburgPosts: 172Member Uncommon

    warhammer .. quality 2 words that doesn t match

    Retired : Daoc , Warhammer , WoW , Lotro , Tabula Rasa :( , Everquest 2 , Aion, Eve , AoC , SW:Tor ( failwars ), Planetside 2
    Waiting : Star Citizen
    Playing : TERA Online
    FPS : Toxikk

    Yt chan :

  • DnomsedDnomsed Fairbanks, AKPosts: 261Member Uncommon

    Interesting read, I always find insider views of the industry fascinating.  Kudos to the QA team at Mythic, every patch has gained ground on improving this game.  I have been a subbed player since release and everything thats been done in every patch has improved on the game.  Does it have issues, yes, but so does the WoW juggernaught even with its 4+ year head start.  I encourage anyone whose had an interest in this game to give it a free trial, you just might get hooked.

    Warhammer fanatic since '85.
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  • bbates024bbates024 Phoenix, AZPosts: 80Member Uncommon

    What an intresting read! I thought WAR was a great game with great ideas that seemed to slip over time with some of the changes leaving certain classes in the wind. I would have continued to play longer but the windowed version of WAR was horrible and duel-multi boxing was almost non existant. UGHHH I would love to hear more about being in QA if you are going to write more i'll be reading it.

  • nighthaunternighthaunter londonPosts: 3Member
    Thanks for sharing your experience, it was a really interesting read.

    I have a friend in the industry and he says pretty much the same thing.

    The main thing that puts me off is the overtime, I enjoy my time at home with my partner and don't want to be stuck at work 10+ hours.

    I think that repitition is pretty much part of any job, I've been doing my job for 5 years and not much has changed in that time.
  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,979Member Uncommon

    I think some folks should have spent less time going to movies and more time creating a better game.

    I know, not QA's fault, they just test it, and aren't to blame for the games poor design choices.

    But know this, just because something is working as designed does not mean that it is working well.

    Article was a good read, but for the most part, QA is pretty much as described here in this story no matter what industry you work in, you just don't get all the cool perks in most cases.

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • ComnitusComnitus Williamsburg, VAPosts: 2,462Member

    Originally posted by Kyleran

    I think some folks should have spent less time going to movies and more time creating a better game.

    I know, not QA's fault, they just test it, and aren't to blame for the games poor design choices.

    But know this, just because something is working as designed does not mean that it is working well.

    Article was a good read, but for the most part, QA is pretty much as described here in this story no matter what industry you work in, you just don't get all the cool perks in most cases.

    If only we had servitors that were permanently plugged in. Then they'd work 24/7 and make the best game ever.

    image

  • augustgraceaugustgrace Cottonwood, CAPosts: 624Member Uncommon

    Games in the breaks rooms, free gifts and swag, movies on fridas, no wonder the game came out like it did.  Everyone was too busy partying to work on the game.

  • KorithianKorithian IpswichPosts: 243Member

     It is a shame that at no point in the QA was the question asked is this fun. Sure they checked checking icons; making sure monsters were the right type and level; checking that quests worked correctly; verifying that the right items dropped from NPCs and monsters; making sure things were in the right place; placement of objects; and even basic grammar checks on the text. But someone should have said this game just isn't that much fun.

     

    The quests were just walls of text that ment nothing, the combat was auto face auto attack occassionally spam a special attack. There was a lack of customisation for the characters so they all looked the same and people had very little control over them. And thats before you even get onto the RvR. So while I am sure a lot of high quality testing was done there are other aspects that have to be asked. Sure you can blindly assume that this is what people want and trade on the IP or the company. But in the end Its important that the game is fun or you will quickly see server merges and few people still playing.

  • Torment1982Torment1982 Fremont, CAPosts: 156Member

    I often see that you really need to meet people or know someone to get in, pretty much the only response I ever got from the professors who used to be in the industry as well.  In this case its more fairly generic advice.

    How did ms. webb make her way in?

    And lay off the perks they got, its part of the culture.  I've consistently heard working for EA can be miserable, imagine then that these are the perks at a miserable company and work your way up.  Most of the time they make a considerable trade in pay for those perks, game industry pros can make significantly less than their peers in other industries for comparable positions.

  • lethyslethys New York, NYPosts: 585Member

    This game was so bad its incredible.  I hate that I got gimped with my first class choice.  I hate games where you can even potentially get gimped by class choice.  I hate games that advertise PvP in worlds and then feature Instanced PvP up the wazoo.  Like shut up and stop lying to me.  I hate games that don't even have enough quests to level without doing the abandoned group questing.

     

    Overall the game sucked.  Interesting read on your experiences.

  • hermit000hermit000 Truro, NSPosts: 91Member

    I enjoyed WAR while i was subbed to it. I agree there were some poor design choices fo rthe game, but what they did they did fairly well.

     

    I enoyed this article, deffinatly a good read.

     

    In regards to the overtime being a bad thing. In the restaurant industry and teh call center industry 11 hour days are very common...to the point where an 11 hour day got to be relaxing compared to teh 16-18 hour days

  • mjkittredgemjkittredge Nashua, NHPosts: 126Member

    I remember when I first started playing about 6 months after the launch, I reported a flying creature I could see and target but could not attack. Never heard back about the issue.

    I don't think I could stand the QA job, even my favorite games that I love, I get bored of them and need a break from time to time. BGB, Beloved Game Burnout. Although I do like to explore every bit of each zone and try to find secrets or a beautiful sight and capture a screen shot. The designers of Warhammer put in a bunch of extras for those who explore thoroughly, which is very cool of them and greatly appreciated by me.

    Thanks to the author and everyone else who have worked very hard to make Warhammer Online what it is today, an admittedly flawed but still fun and detailed game that improves all the time.

  • jimbo833jimbo833 glasgowPosts: 158Member

    Originally posted by Kyleran

    I think some folks should have spent less time going to movies and more time creating a better game.

    I know, not QA's fault, they just test it, and aren't to blame for the games poor design choices.

    But know this, just because something is working as designed does not mean that it is working well.

    Article was a good read, but for the most part, QA is pretty much as described here in this story no matter what industry you work in, you just don't get all the cool perks in most cases.

    she said she was working 11+ hours 6 days a week.. i think EA need to know when to push stuff out the door.

     

    and good read, i was thinknig of apply-ing for this position at real time world a while back( to QA APB)

  • augustgraceaugustgrace Cottonwood, CAPosts: 624Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Torment1982

    And lay off the perks they got, its part of the culture. 


     

    Funny, thats the same argument we hear when a politician gets caught doing something he/she shouldn't be.  Just because something is "part of the culture", doesn't mean that it gets a free pass.

  • IrishIrish Rochester, NYPosts: 261Member

    A couple things I've seen that are sort of relevant to the column and/or comments:

    First, making games is a shitton of work. A lot of hours, a lot of family neglect, a lot of whining from team and customer. Those movie nights/stops to the bar keep morale up and production moving.

    Second, seeing the problems with the game you are working on is way more difficult than coming in to test it. It is pretty easy to become biased when you're living and breathing something, and it can become difficult to see the forest through the trees.

    Though I had a great time with WAR for a while, the game did have its flaws. I would have liked to seen what the first round of external testers were really saying about it, and how much/little Mythic could respond or change/fix due to the design being locked-in.

  • IrishIrish Rochester, NYPosts: 261Member

    Originally posted by augustgrace

    Originally posted by Torment1982

    And lay off the perks they got, its part of the culture. 


     

    Funny, thats the same argument we hear when a politician gets caught doing something he/she shouldn't be.  Just because something is "part of the culture", doesn't mean that it gets a free pass.

    Relax, Kotick! :P

  • GetzMangoGetzMango CT USAPosts: 178Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by nepulas

    warhammer .. quality 2 words that doesn t match

    Thank you for that well thought out responce. We are all much better informed gamers because of people like you. Kudos to you Sir! 

    I enjoyed my time in WAR, I hope they can continue to improve it, and keep moving in the right direction.

    Every MMORPG is AWESOME, until it's released!
    I don't want a game so much as I want a WORLD!
    --
    o·pin·ion –noun
    1. a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
    2. a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.

  • Fascinating and enjoyable read, thank you for the insight!

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    Being a beta tester for a game is about as close to a QA role as I really ever want to get ... and that was with no accountability other than my own conscience poking me.  To have actual deadlines and performance evaluations ... yikes, it's a scary thought.

  • Torment1982Torment1982 Fremont, CAPosts: 156Member

    Originally posted by augustgrace



    Originally posted by Torment1982

    And lay off the perks they got, its part of the culture. 


     

    Funny, thats the same argument we hear when a politician gets caught doing something he/she shouldn't be.  Just because something is "part of the culture", doesn't mean that it gets a free pass.


     

    Pfft, there's a strong difference between part of the culture and clear abuses of power and authority.  Most of those politicians using the culture as an excuse are clearly violating the public trust.  I also explained why it was part of the culture in the gaming industry, having to do with the exchange of perks for the higher pay more common in comparable jobs in other industries.

  • thamighty213thamighty213 NewcastlePosts: 1,630Member

    Originally posted by Torment1982

    Originally posted by augustgrace



    Originally posted by Torment1982

    And lay off the perks they got, its part of the culture. 


     

    Funny, thats the same argument we hear when a politician gets caught doing something he/she shouldn't be.  Just because something is "part of the culture", doesn't mean that it gets a free pass.


     

    Pfft, there's a strong difference between part of the culture and clear abuses of power and authority.  Most of those politicians using the culture as an excuse are clearly violating the public trust.  I also explained why it was part of the culture in the gaming industry, having to do with the exchange of perks for the higher pay more common in comparable jobs in other industries.

    Perks are one of the few things that keep the industry going be it fun days such as paintballing, working from home (if your role permits) and the myriad of other things a company may do.

     

    Torment is completely correct in terms of the salary you could be doing a very similar job at a software company or any other industry and making far more money.

     

    To touch on the overtime mentioned this is very rareley paid overtime you are contracted to shipping a title out of the door and in leiu of this lack of overtime there are release bonuses but lets face it how many times do you see a MMO hit its initial proposed release dates and thats only for the guys on the dev team QA etc the support team, community team etc have no such luxury and generally are putting in 14 hr days 7 days a week :) (QA lightweights :) )

     

    People who work in the industry certainly those of a community, support, QA and Jnr Dev role are not in it for the money these people could generally be elsewhere earning far more they do it for the love of the gaming industry or a affinity to the title they are working on,  something to think about next time you are ready to lambast a community rep or post something akin to the very first reply in this thread,  these guys like yourself are 99% of the time fellow gamers with a passion for gaming and the title and are there to ensure what your playing is the best it can be,  it doesn't always work out that way for a myriad of reasons but a lot of the time it will not be because those guys are not doing the job they are paid poorly for.

     

    The original article nails the QA role I don't work that side of things but I do have to assist at times and its the most tedious job I could possibly ever imagine having to do you are often left wanting to claw your eyeballs out.

     

    EA are a very fun company to work for contrary to their demonic perception by the outside gaming audience everybody I know who has worked for them has always enjoyed their time there.

     

    I

  • BeermanglerBeermangler Cluj NapocaPosts: 397Member

    I'm a 5 years QA veteran in the gaming industry and I approve this OP :P

    Better to be crazy, provided you know what sane is...

  • XianthosXianthos lolPosts: 723Member

    Would be pain if i would have to grind in my job <.<

    EvE doors

    See the best doors on EvE-on!

  • tunridatunrida BarcelonaPosts: 5Member

    Great  post, was interesting and a plesure to read.

     

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