Oops! I broke it.
Who am I?
Greetings fellow capsuleers! For those of you who have not yet encountered me, I am Tanis, the Test Mangement Lead here at CCP. I have been involved with EVE since it was in beta in 2002. In 2004 I joined ISD: AURORA and worked with the events team as a Senior Event Producer until 2006 when I accepted a position with CCP in the Quality Assurance department.
What will you do for me?
So now that the introduction is out of the way I suppose some of you might be wondering, “so what exactly is it that you do?”. Well, to put it quite simply, I break things. My responsibility is to prioritize and ensure the execution of testing for upcoming features, changes, and improvements for EVE. Basically, I spend my day trying to break EVE so that we can find and eliminate as many defects (bugs) as possible before we release a new patch or expansion.
Now, of course, it’s not humanly possible to find every bug, or to fully test every single part of EVE, the game is simply too big. I do, however, take a great deal of pride in my work and as a result it is my goal to always be improving the quality of EVE. What this means for you, the players, is that I want to see each new patch to the game introduce fewer bugs and fix as many existing bugs as possible.
Now I’m sure at this point that the more cynical of you in the group are thinking “yeah right, like that will ever happen”, but you may be interested to know that recently we’ve increased the size and scope of the test management team and the QA department as a whole. In the past few months we have hired on 3 new people into QA with another 4-5 on the way in the near future, as well as adding 8 people in an outsourced QA team (essentially, the team will be triple what it was before Revelations 1 release). We are definitely taking a very serious approach to improving the overall quality of EVE and we will be continuing to do so.
Yeah, but will my issue really get fixed?
Having said all that, we still need your help to make EVE better. I see quite often on the forums, or in replies to other Dev Blogs statements along the lines of “ZOMG YOU STILL HAVEN’T FIXED THE DRONE BUG!!!!!11111oneeleventyone!!” or something similar. While I have no doubt that people who make posts like that are indeed experiencing a valid issue, making such a vague statement gives us absolutely nothing to go on and does nothing to help us fix the problem.
As much as I’m sure some people are tired of hearing it, submit a bug report! The fact is; if you encounter a bug in EVE that needs fixing and the only thing you do is post about it on the forums you do yourself and the EVE community a huge disservice. By submitting a bug report or, failing that, a forum post with as much details and relevant information as possible you then become part of the solution and there will be a very good chance that the bug will be fixed (really, I’m not joking about that).
We cannot read minds (I’ve tried.. gave me a headache) and saying “EVE is broken!” gives us no useful information, not to mention that it is entirely possible that there is, in fact, more than one issue with a certain part of the game. So instead of making some vague statement saying “something, somewhere is broken” at least say “drone tracking doesn’t work properly” or “Mission: Worlds Collide cannot be completed, no NPCs spawn in the deadspace area.” That way we actually have enough information to start fixing the problem instead of playing guessing games.
Bug reports are the absolute best way to tell us about a problem with the game. You can file a bug report here. Since Revelations launched in November, we have processed over 4600 bug reports. Currently there are 51 bug reports awaiting processing. Now these bug reports will range from useless to pure gold, but you can find some quick pointers on how to submit a good bug report here.
The more bug reports we get about any issue in the game the easier it is for us to reproduce and isolate the issue so that we can then pass it along to the programmer or the designer to get it fixed and put into a patch. We will be constantly trying to improve the bug reporting system, as well as improve the process surrounding the Bug Hunters and the work they do to help keep EVE bug-free.
Cool new stuff, w00t!
But that’s not all, another little something for you cynics out there. Since I like feedback, both giving and receiving, we will be implementing a new feature into the bug reporting site soon™. Once implemented this feature will send you a mail (to the e-mail address on the account you used to submit the bug report) to inform you what happened to the bug report you submitted.
- You submit a bug report, that bug report is for an issue we are not yet aware of, so we create a new entry in our internal defect tracking system based on the information you provided.. you then receive a nice mail informing you that it was a new issue and that it has been entered into our system.
- If you submit a bug report but it doesn’t contain enough useful information you will then get a mail sent to you telling you that we will need more info, and what additional info we would need.
With this addition to the bug reporting system I feel confident extending a bit of a challenge to the EVE community: Put your money where your mouth is. If you think you’ve found a bug in EVE, report it. Once this system is in place you will be able to see what becomes of your report. Armed with this information you can then actually see if the issue is being looked into or not. So instead of complaining about the problem, help us fix it! :)
What the heck, I’m already on a roll, I might as well tell you about another little improvement we’re making. I’ve seen a lot of requests for increased training times, or maxing out of skills on the test server. Though we will not be doing that per se, and because I like to encourage healthy competition, I am instituting a new policy. Each month we will select the top 3 bug reports submitted by players, the players who submitted them will then have all of their skills on a character of their choice maxed out until the next mirror.
And now I need more beer...
I hope that this has shed some light on what is in store for the future as well as instilling at least a slight bit of confidence that we will be constantly striving to improve how we do things, and the game as a whole.