Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer of Star Wars: The Old Republic, issued an official State of the Game post to the SWTOR community yesterday. In it, he addressed many issues that are on players’ minds, including the reasoning for the move to free to play, the fact that content updates were often behind schedule, the amount of bugs that were released in Game Update 1.4, Oceanic server populations, and BioWare’s internal transition after losing quite a few staff members. It’s an interesting read, and one that I feel the community very much needed.
Keep reading to see a sample.
Topic #2: Bugs: How does testing work? Why do bugs get through? Why did Game Update 1.4 have so many of them? What are we doing to improve the process?
Answer: MMOs are undoubtedly one of the most complex games on Earth. We employ hundreds of QA professionals to ensure that our game is high quality, but sometimes bugs get through. We test every step of the way as we develop the game or change to the game. We have many, many development environments that work in a sequence to push updates from initial construction, to code and content integration, to internal end-to-end testing, to player facing testing on Public Test Servers and then on to the Live servers. Sometimes (like in Game Update 1.4) we make changes that have unintended (and undiscovered) consequences on completely different parts of the game (the performance issues that showed up in the update are a great example of this). These unintended changes happen more often than you would think (or we would like), though we usually catch them before they go live. We have recently put new measures in place both on the development teams and in QA, as well on Public Test Server (where we should find many of these types of issues), to catch things like this in the future. I am not saying it will not happen again – bugs will always happen – but we will strive to give you the best, high quality, bug-free experience that we can. As a side note, we finally got a lock on the last of the major issues from Game Update 1.4 and appreciate your patience with that one.