Transcript of RuneScape Behind the Scenes #36 - QA & Desert Diaries

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[00:03] Behind the Scenes
Desert Achievement Diaries
[00:07] There's a new achievement diary coming soon so we caught up with Mod Twigs and Chief from RuneScape QA team
[00:13] to talk desert tasks, game testing and bug killing.
[00:17] Desert achievement diaries has players completing tasks in the recently tasked up Al Kharid.
[00:21] To start the task set all you need to do is basically head over to the desert and open your notice board.
[00:26] There are over 40 new tasks in the achievement diary there are some very easy things such as taking a magic carpet ride
[00:32] and we also have some difficult things such as opening the Sarcophagus in the Pyramid Plunder.
[00:37] Complete them all and players will get a new amulet with some nice bonuses and a new teleport.
[00:41] Completionist cape holders will get their cape back too.
[00:47] So this is the 10th achievement diary to go into Runescape and after the desert rework recently so was one we were really keen to make.
[00:52] It's just a great area of the game and we wanted to give players the opportunity to go back and visit some areas that they haven't been to recently
[00:59] such as the agility pyramid and the mage training arena.
[01:01] We want the tasks to give players a good reason to revisit Al Kharid.
[01:04] So there's something for everyone with a little bit extra for the players that have maybe played a little bit longer and maybe a bit more experienced.
[01:11] Rather than all the task coming direct from the developer a large portion of the tasks have come from the player suggestion forum.
[01:18] So there should be some nods of recognition for a lot of players when they see the task list.
[01:21] As Project Lead I'm responsible for making sure all the achievements are achievable and that means there is a lot of testing involved
[01:29] and that can be quite tricky because the achievement diaries tie into a lot of existing content already so that can pose quite a lot of challenges for us sometimes.
[01:35] So when a piece of content is ready for the QA team we'll liaise closely with the developer to create a test plan
[01:40] and that's essentially a set of checks we'll do against the content to ensure it's completely bug free.
[01:46] We'll look for critical areas of concern in terms of a players perspective and a designers perspective.
[01:51] Audio, graphics the way that a piece of content might tie into something that may exist already.
[01:57] It's not just as simple as checking that its achievable, we've got to check that it can be completed with boosts,
[02:02] can it not be achievable with assist and things like that.
[02:05] So we go really in depth and we'll set up play tests to get everyone involved as much as we can to get a pair of fresh eyes on the content as well.
[02:12] I might miss something that Rich picks up fortunately a lot of us are players so we can treat the content as a player would.
[02:19] At the end of that we'll move on to something called exploratory testing where we'll try to think of as many ways to break something
[02:25] and usually we get a few days in of that.
[02:28] When we find a bug in the game we'll try to replicate that for the developer and we'll fill out a report and they can work through it,
[02:35] fix it, send it back to us and we'll test the fix to make sure it goes out into the game properly.
[02:41] How long it takes really depends on how big the update really is, it can take as little as maybe one person testing for 3 days.
[02:47] Sometimes we'll have the whole team involved in content such as the Combat rework.
[02:50] For the achievement diary it's taken about 2 weeks for 3 testers so it's kind of the middle of the road really.
[02:55] Fortunately we do have thousands and thousands of players playing the content on release so if they do find a bug we can get it fixed pretty quickly.
[03:03] Even if an update has gone live our job still isn't finished, we do a lot of live monitoring in the same day it goes out and in the days that come after.
[03:09] Whilst you could be forgiven for maybe thinking that a QA tester is all about playing RuneScape all day, that's kind of true to a degree I suppose
[03:16] but there's a lot of responsibility involved as well, it's a very important role.
[03:19] Essentially we're the gatekeepers between the developers and the content being released.
[03:24] We do get to find out the best strategies and we do get to see the content first before anyone else.
[03:28] Right now we're busy QAing the Demon Flash Mobs and we had a brilliant bug recently
[03:33] where demons would straight all over place as they were walking but that's luckily fixed and we're looking very good for an imminent launch.
[03:41] And we'll be giving you a first look at demon flash mobs in next week's behind the scenes