Looks like I get to go first with the new regular devblogs. Wish I had some real news . Content and Programmers get all the sexy new stuff to talk about, so I'll address one of the issues I've seen on the forums recently: the lack of bug fixes reaching TQ recently.
This actually has little to do with China, despite popular belief. Yes, for a few weeks Sisi was being used for the China alpha testing, but we have had bigger problems involving the hardware. We had a succession of network configuration problems that started back in February when we moved to TQ's new hardware. This, if you remember, coincided with a move to a new hosting location, and Sisi moved too. After we had fixed that in early March, Sisi was merged with Unicorn and became the Alpha test server for China. This lasted until the end of March/beginning of April when it came back to us again. However at this time, various hardware components failed, and not all at once either, that resulted in Sisi being down for the rest of April while we obtained and configured replacements. We finally got Sisi back to normal about 2 weeks ago.
All in all, this has been as aggravating for us in QA as it has for you. You should see what this has done to our list of known defects (a public list of these is in the works, and coming Soon™).
So what does Sisi being down have to do with bug fixes and patching? Well, before we release any patch to TQ we test it thoroughly on a multi-node server (yes we do test it, honest ). With no multi-node server, i.e. Sisi, we had no way of testing any patches for release to TQ.
Talking of thorough testing, the QA department is still expanding. Interestingly, our pre-patch 'sanity' checklist has expanded as well, and it still takes the entire team about 6 hr's to test everything, not including the tests we have to spread over two days because of timers, like Corp votes and T2 manufacturing.
So, there you have it. After 2 and a half months of test server issues we can now, hopefully, implement our plans for regular bugfix patches.