Blizzard have released the PR hounds with some Ulduar information over the last few days. I mentioned the website, but we’ve also had some information about plans for testing the patch/raid on the public test realms.
This hasn’t been so widely geeked over but it’s actually very exciting.
Ulduar marks a departure from the standard test methodology, which was to dump the raid on the test servers (possibly with some bosses disabled) and let people have at it. This time, Blizzard are planning to test in a much more focussed manner. Testing Ulduar will be organised at pre-arranged prime time sessions, and a schedule for specific boss testing will be posted up in advance.
I say it’s exciting, but this is really very similar to the way I remember EQ2 doing its beta testing. Leaving the test servers running all the time, but have focussed sessions for instance testing with devs on hand to take feedback and reset things.
And we finally have an answer as to why companies bother with an EU test realm (other than to test networking issues and for PR), there will be different schedules and different bosses tested in the EU than the US. A smart company might also try to get some competition going between the two zones, because you can be sure we’ll be blaming each other and not the developers if the respective bosses go live with bugs.
What it does mean is that the PTR is going to offer quite an interesting gaming experience. The test schedule means that it may be much easier than usual to sort out raid groups, just be online at the right time.
My guild is starting to talk about testing on the PTR, which they never normally do. So the buzz is definitely working. The testing phase is now intriguing to people. Part of this may be boredom with current content, but I think the appeal of scheduled raid times and ‘a boss of our own’ to test is already luring people in who would not usually be interested.