The woes of beta testing, and how I stayed sane (or tried to)

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If I had only known what I was getting myself into.

Beta testing is important to the development and wellbeing of a healthy MMO.  If not for the dedicated work of millions of beta testers over the years, WoW would not be nearly the game it is today.

Over a million players have signed up for the opportunity to be a beta tester for this expansion, and a good number of them are doing their part, reporting bugs, errors, and glitches so they’ll be ironed out before release.  There’s also a good number who are treating this as a demo of the expansion (which always leads to a reply of “you’re complaining about bugs in beta?”), but eh.  The sheer amount of testers should alleviate that problem.

Of course, some of these bugs are big enough to drive one crazy.  I’ve run into a few of these so far, so here’s a quick guide to these pitfalls in the Jade Forest.

Wet Work

You don’t even get five minutes into the Jade Forest without finding a really annoying bug!  Wet Work is a quest picked up from a barrel next to the lake near the crash site for Horde.  The quest involves swimming into the lake and picking up Spirit-touched Water Globules which spawn just above the water.  First, the water spirits are NOT what you need to pick up.  You’re looking for little water spheres, like the ones that surround Sea Pony pets.  Currently, the spawn timer on these is horrendous, with times easily over five minutes.  In fact, the only way to really complete this quest quickly is to have some sort of water walking ability, then ride around on your mount and try to get to them before others.

Thankfully, this quest is only optional to continue through the zone.  If you really want to do it, just come back late at night or something.

Acid Rain

This one, however, is mandatory.  Acid Rain is actually a pretty fun quest:  you attach yourself to a flying goblin contraption and throw poisoned ninja stars at the rampaging hozen.  Fun!  Except apparently when too many people attempt to do the quest at once, the object you interact with to start flying disappears, and won’t reappear until a restart.  If you don’t see a crate hanging from the helicopter, log out, go do something else, and come back the next day.  Until this bug is fixed, that’s pretty much your only option.

Wisdom of the Ages

Nothing holds a candle to this bug, though.  The quest isn’t hard, but the bug will drive you to the brink of insanity.  See, it involves talking to Lorewalker Cho and learning about meditation.  This will create a vehicle-based event where you keep your balance by alternately focusing and relaxing (it’s a vehicle, two buttons, and you have to keep a little bar that shows up from completely falling to one side or the other).  When you’ve meditated enough, he commends you and sends you on your way.

In theory.

The bug arises when someone else attempts to activate the event when someone else is already doing it.  To the first person, Cho has the potential to despawn, thus making the event impossible to complete without leaving the vehicle and trying again.  The second person, however, can complete the event, provided no one else tries to do it at the same time.  The worst part is that this quest is mandatory to continue progressing!

This has led to two things:

  1. Player-created attempts at maintaining order (the line seen up top), and
  2. Much, much sabotage of that order.

In an attempt to allow everyone to complete the quest and progress through the zone, players have set up lines to give everyone their fair turn.  In theory, players would be courteous, letting those who got there first have a go, then progressing one by one until it was their turn.

In practice, players are douchebags.

The back of the line actually moved faster than the front of the line, due to players logging out/leaving and the general progress of the line.  Once you got to the front, you could watch a snail outpace you.  Players would cut straight to the front, go in, complete the quest, and laugh at everyone else as they headed off to quest more, often announcing how brilliant they were at being an asshole and encouraging others to do the same.  This led to those who had waited for hours to wait even longer, as those whose turn it was kept on getting bugged out by line-cutters.  Eventually, tempers rose so high that everyone at the front started spamming attempts to get in, not worrying about who they were bugging out or when.

I’ll admit, I did this.  But there’s only so much one man can take before he loses it.  I waited in that line for five hours, patiently biding my time.  I got angry at each and every person who destroyed order by cutting to the front, knowing that I would be a better person for waiting my turn.  Eventually I got almost to the front, so close I could talk to Cho from my place in line.  And the line wouldn’t move, because everybody was getting cut and bugged out.

And I had had it.  As soon as the guy in front of me (who had also lost his temper, we had been whispering the whole time) got credit for the quest (I would’ve felt bad for bugging him out), I decided I had waited long enough.  I jumped in, and when I bugged I jumped out and tried again.  Fourth attempt was a success, and I mounted up and rode off, not caring what anyone would think of me.  I had done my time, and I needed to go test some more.

So yeah.  I’m not expressly condoning line-cutting if there’s a line on your realm.  What I am saying is that you’ll stay sane a lot longer if you do so.

The Jade Witch

Lastly, just to lighten things up, a tale of a simpler bug, and a reassurance not to worry.  The Jade Witch is where you’re supposed to go and kill the crazy pandaren lady who’s turning everyone who comes her way to solid jade, including the orc sergeant who tried to stop her (which you saw in the scouting report).  The quest is currently bugged in the dialogue you have with her.  You’re supposed to talk to her to start the fight, but she doesn’t do anything.  It’s kind of funny, really.

“Welcome to my humble abode!”
“Are you the Jade Witch?”
“…”

And she just stands there and ignores you until you try to talk to her again.  Where she’ll do the same thing.

Rest assured, the quest is not required to complete the zone.  It’s just the end of a small chain.  You can pick up quests in other locations if you want to continue leveling through questing.

Finally…

The Meat They’ll Eat

 

This isn’t actually a Jade Forest quest, it comes from Valley of the Four Winds.  And it’d be funny if it weren’t so aggravating.  The quest itself, simple.  Go get some turtle meat and steaks from mushan (they look like dewbacks from Star Wars, kinda) and bring them back for the farmer to feed to his pigs.  In theory, this isn’t hard.

In practice, the lake the turtles are found in is surrounded by a level 100 Zone of Unexpected Reboot.  You’ll crash and crash and crash again trying to collect that turtle meat.  The mushan steaks, thankfully, can be obtained far away from this mysterious zone of crashing.  Prepare to be logged out numerous times while attacking turtles.  Thankfully, they’re non-aggressive.  Just go in, attack one, keep yourself healed, and if you crash, quickly log back in before it kills you.  Loot some meat, and repeat until you either go insane or finish the quest.

So there you have it!  If not for beta testers, these bugs would persist until live.  So here’s to you, fellow beta testers, those who just don’t give up when the going gets tough.  May your sanity remain intact until the end of the beta.

Next time, I think I’ll probably finish my Cata post-mortem, with a look at the dungeons, raids, and other content of 4.0 to the present.

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