PTR Testing and You

Game Designer
From Zul’Gurub and Ahn’Qiraj onward, we have made extensive use of our Public Test Realms in order to help find bugs and improve the tuning of our raid content. We have an extensive team of Quality Assurance testers and an internal raid group, but it’s impossible to replicate the sheer breadth of information we get from having hundreds of real raid groups attempting diverse strategies as they experience encounters for the first time. We learn a tremendous amount from that testing, both in the form of written feedback on these forums, which is carefully read by every encounter designer, and from spectating raids and observing how they fare.

Now, that’s what we get out of the PTR. Speaking pragmatically, we understand that not everyone's motivation in logging on to the PTR is to give us feedback. They want to check out the new content firsthand, see what’s coming to the live servers in a few weeks or months, and, in the case of raiding, get some competitive edge that will help them clear the content faster on the live servers when the patch is released. That’s fine. We thoroughly appreciate everyone who takes the time to give measured feedback, or goes out of their way to methodically test new features and report bugs they find. But at the end of the day, we’d rather have a packed PTR with a small percentage giving direct feedback, than a nearly-empty PTR where everyone gives it. Bugs that require very specific conditions are much more likely to occur with thousands of testers than with hundreds, and it’s clearly beneficial to everyone for us to find and fix those issues before they affect millions in a live environment.

When it comes to raid testing in particular, there’s a symbiotic relationship: The bleeding-edge guild that intentionally wipes to a boss at 5% so they can set up their boss addons, try out unusual strategies, and practice execution is there for competitive reasons. But we gain information even just from silently observing that will help us make our encounters better, and fundamentally, that is the purpose of raid testing on PTR. Our raid testing times are scheduled to coincide with our core work hours, so that designers can observe as much of the testing as possible, with the exception of LFR and Flexible tests which require more open-ended scheduling given their nature and target audience (and even then, if you were doing a PTR Flexible raid this past weekend, odds are decent that I or another developer was spying on your group – creepy, I know). When it comes to Heroic testing, we try to keep the testing windows as brief as possible, in order to minimize the impact of PTR testing on the progression “race.”

But that symbiotic relationship requires that we be around in some capacity to observe. Players who find a way to access bosses (especially Heroic bosses) that aren’t currently being tested should let us know, so we can correct the problem. We discovered that over the weekend a progression raid group accessed the Siege of Orgrimmar raid and spent hours on a Heroic boss in the middle of the night, after copying fresh characters with generic names, presumably with the hope of going unnoticed. Those actions go against the intent of the PTR, the spirit of fair play, and were clearly intended to go against our wishes for specific boss testing periods. PTR testing is a privilege, and we reserve the right to revoke PTR access from those who have shown an intent to abuse it.

If you come across an oversight in our testing protocols, or a serious, abusable bug or exploit in the course of your testing of a boss encounter on PTR, and you want to let us know without alerting everyone, please note that we can read edited or deleted forum posts. (On the live servers, please use the in-game bug reporting interface.) Otherwise, carry on with the fantastic feedback that we’ve been receiving about all facets of 5.4 content thus far, and we look forward to seeing you on the Public Test Realm!
Edited by Watcher on 7/30/2013 10:58 PM PDT
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90 Tauren Paladin
17390
Very upsetting to hear that someone exploited the privilege of PTR testing in that way. Hope the offense is taken very seriously. As you said, it corrupts the spirit of fair play and competition. That's no fun for anyone.
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80 Human Paladin
12830
Very upsetting to hear that someone exploited the privilege of PTR testing in that way. Hope the offense is taken very seriously. As you said, it corrupts the spirit of fair play and competition. That's no fun for anyone.
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90 Orc Shaman
12890
Very upsetting to hear that someone exploited the privilege of PTR testing in that way. Hope the offense is taken very seriously. As you said, it corrupts the spirit of fair play and competition. That's no fun for anyone.
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90 Human Mage
15985
Maybe suspend their accounts the same amount of time they got practicing on the PTR on Tuesday of the week they could first be doing the raid heroic? That seems like it should put them on par with the rest of those racing to get through it. It also sends a message that it's completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated? Just a suggestion.
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81 Undead Warrior
12935
Sounds like action needs to be taken and example needs to be made.
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90 Human Rogue
5215
07/31/2013 12:33 AMPosted by Subrosian
Sounds like action needs to be taken and example needs to be made.


Again, I repeat: this has happened on every PTR in the past few years. Pick any top guild you like, they tested a boss beyond the allowed time, or tested bosses that weren't up, at some point in their history.

Blizzard is obviously creating a warning to those world progression guilds that, this is final warning, they are going to start punishing. Doing so without warning would be inconsistent with their past behavior towards PTR, as it always fell into a gray area.


Just because they have always done wrong in the past, does not mean they should get away with it in the future. No warning is needed.
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3 Night Elf Rogue
0
Did they use Saronite Bombs?
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90 Troll Shaman
21745
Can we get a name and shame up in here please?
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90 Pandaren Shaman
14295
Just because they have always done wrong in the past, does not mean they should get away with it in the future. No warning is needed.

I agree with this. They don't need to warn anyone. It's their game, and if they're tired of putting up with the behavior, the easiest way to make it stop is to issue punishment without giving them a warning about it first.

Can we get a name and shame up in here please?

Blizzard never names and shames. It would go against their own privacy policies, and besides that, it's really no one's business but that of the people involved.
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90 Tauren Druid
10935
Very upsetting to hear that someone exploited the privilege of PTR testing in that way. Hope the offense is taken very seriously. As you said, it corrupts the spirit of fair play and competition. That's no fun for anyone.
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10 Blood Elf Paladin
10
glad to hear this, it isnt a fair race if someone cheats (or abuses in game mechanics). PTR should always be about making sure the live patch is as stable as possible. it isnt meant to practice what does/doesnt work in a raid comp, but rather give feedback on mechanics/tuning.

would like to offer a suggestion: heroic testing is naturally a small subset of the playerbase. what if testing for heroics was done on an invite basis, from members in different guilds? that way, it becomes less about finding tactics to use on week 1 of heroics, and more about individual feedback on abilities, since guilds testing these fights wont want to give away their tactics so to speak. it also prevents abuse of mechanics, cause it would be impossible to hide that information in a public group.

it would be unfortunate to see another H gara'jal slip by, among others. maybe raid testing on an invitation basis, with non-guild groups, would help this problem? while it's understandable that people are wiping on purpose to get practice, it isnt really good feedback: PTR shouldnt be a training mode for heroics.

if you can kill it, kill it. then report if it's undertuned if you believe it is, and why. if you really want to wipe on purpose, do it during progression. practicing the fight you know you can down is no longer about reporting valuable data, it's about testing raid comps/ideas. and when you try to find a comp to beat the current fight and succeed, even if its overtuned, some people will report that it's "ok". why? cause they have a (perhaps unique) strat that works. and in the progression race, something like that can be decisive: other guilds might get stuck on the one problem you have the solution to.

it's a test realm, not a training mode. people need to be reminded of that. we all want to do our best, however it's essential that feedback given is honest and detailed, and that the emphasis is on mechanics feedback, not individual raid strats. progression for top guilds is indeed a race, but it should remain a fair one.
Edited by Sanctifìed on 7/31/2013 6:56 AM PDT
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90 Blood Elf Hunter
9275
Can you read that!
Edited by Pooky on 7/31/2013 7:29 AM PDT
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90 Undead Warlock
18955
Same thing happens in sport, business, and pretty much anything where there is competition or big money to be made. Not justifying it, just saying that's it's pretty much inescapable. People will do anything they can to win, or in the top guilds' cases, make money from sponsors from being world first, etc.
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90 Worgen Mage
20350
I noticed this thread was originally locked, but now it isn't! Hurray! Anyhow, thanks for these introspective posts you've put together lately Watcher. To play devil's advocate here, one might be skeptical that punishment will be handed out due to the lack of bans on beta even after Zarhym warned folks, but I have a feeling the guilds in question will take this seriously. You gave them fair warning. Anyone who does it in the future probably should be banned for at least the first week of heroics, if not two. Whatever it takes to impact their ranking I guess.

ps: totally offtopic but please nerf troll berserking (or just disable racials in raiding/let us pick up from a racial bank/tree). it's quite the outlier.
Edited by Digerati on 7/31/2013 10:28 AM PDT
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