As the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen team toils away on future content, this last pre-alpha session was sans a major update but we thought this was a good time to revisit the purpose of testing and why we run these sessions. We also invited our community of testers to share why they log in to test content, session after session.
What is Pre-alpha Testing?
Every time the development team adds content or makes a change, this has to be tested. We do our own internal testing with a QA team, but this can’t catch everything. Having hundreds of players in game, poking bears and touching textures is what really shows us where the weak points are. If there are flaws in a system, these guys will find them. In addition, the load of having a crap-ton (specific numbers will vary) of people log in at the same time, will give us delicious data on performance and choke points that our dev team can hungrily devour for future updates. As more features go into the game, more testing will need to occur, which is why we have the pre-alpha –> alpha –> beta process. Each point in testing brings the game closer to launch.
What are our testers testing?
In the most recent updates, our testers were focused on performance and crafting content. Crafting and gathering, along with itemization, have taken the front seat of development adding another level of gameplay that lends to the number one tenet that “content is king”. Adventuring is only one slice of the MMORPG gaming pie and we want to serve the whole dang thing. Testing is an evolution, though, and historically, Pantheon has had several cadences for tests. What we need and when we need it are always up for deliberation, so be sure to check in from time to time to see how we are doing.
Who are our testers?
Starting alphabetically…just kidding, that is NDA territory. There are a few different kinds of testers. Those who are very much a supporter of the genre and want to help build a better game (most of our testers). Those who are competitive are hoping to make their mark in a future game by obtaining the edge of having already played it. Those who just want to try out shiny new things. All types of testers have their value because they all have different goals and various ways of progressing in a game and we need that info. Here is what our testers say about their motivation to test Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
To help ensure that a high quality, high fantasy MMO that has challenging, exciting, captivating and compelling gameplay (that is also well balanced and as bug free as possible) so that it will attract and hold players attention for over a decade through thorough testing of all gameplay mechanics and comprehensive feedback of said gameplay mechanics.
I test in hopes of helping to shape a game that will fill a gap in the MMO community that will push players to rely upon one another to accomplish goals instead of being able to do it all by themselves. I test because I care and hopeful that my opinion/feedback will help to improve and make Pantheon a world/setting that will flourish and be around for years to come.
I’m here to help make the game as great as possible. I want this to be a memorable experience for someone like what I’ve had for MMO’s in the past, and I’m sure those games had their own testers providing valuable feedback and data. This is my way of paying it forward to the next MMO newbie.
I test because I want to make Terminus my home. I intend to play the game for a long time, and testing and providing quality feedback will only help make the world better and better. As time has gone on, even the most jaded has to admit the game has gotten a lot better.
In hopes for a challenging, (primarily) non-instanced group centric adventure in a fresh new world.
Testing is what we make of it, and I leave you with a short story of testing provided by one of our favorite members, Glorfendill. Enjoy.
Yes, You can be a (nearly) all Monk Group.
Our group had theorized and planned to try an all Monk group, or at least 5 Monk + Healer group, for some time. Thanks to monthly testing we finally reached a point where testing was regular and frequent enough that we didn’t feel like we were missing out on testing the other classes. So we taped up our hands, strapped on our sandals and went to searching for evil people to punch in the mouth.
We kicked snakes before they could kick us.
We beat up thugs before they could gang up on others.
We crushed skeletons before they could finish cackling.
We slapped spirits so hard we sent them across to the ‘other side’.
We even Crushed Orc Bones under our heels.
Along the way we made our very own lightsaber bo staffs. I was even able to take the time to learn how to sew, and made my very own complete clothing set including a fancy gi with a striking blue sash. Some of the others opted to go the quick and easy route and buy their clothes from a local tailor that offered a pretty good deal, although he apparently wasn’t authorized to sell gis so they just purchased a set of robes with their clothing.
Our shaman healer was able to hoard all the armor and weapons he could want. He kept us in top shape splashing regenerative waters on us regularly, buffing up our stamina and helping us Stride like the Wind.
Eventually we made our way high into the cliffs of Thronefast.
Where we encountered a large group of bandits known as the ‘Gadai’.
Among their ranks are brutish “Heavies”, arcane “Magicians”, roguish “Quickblades”, enchanting “Mentalists” and even some wayward fellow “Monks”.
As we fought them we soon found out that their monks had acquired armor, including actual gis, that were substantially better than what my fellow monks had been able to purchase from the vendor. One by one my compatriots were able to obtain upgraded items from our slain enemies. We also found that perhaps the reason they had been so affordable was because they had actually been sold a set of ‘The Emperor’s New Pants’.
“QUICK! Take his pants while he’s down!”
And so our general goal, to fight off evil and better equip ourselves, shifted into a search for pants that fit!
Shucklighter, (Obernath): Monk
Xinux, (Xinu): Monk
And the man who drew the short straw.
But of course, no trip anywhere in Terminus is complete, without taking at least one moment to just stop and enjoy the view.
Thank you to Glorf and friends for sharing their PA adventure. If you would like to take part in future test sessions, check out our pledge page to find out how you can help shape Pantheon.