What is the PTR? ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all sorts of curiosity and questions about this PTR thing. One of my guildies affectionately refer to it as the patience test realm. The PTR as we know it is actually known as the public test realm. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s several servers that contain upcoming content for players to test such as new class changes, new in game events (like the Argent tournament) and a new raid instance like Ulduar.
But my experience with it has been incredibly frustrating. Of course, there are periods where things arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t so bad and I can try out stuff. TodayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s post is going to feature a list of annoyances and possible suggestions for Blizzard in upcoming content patches.
During the worst of times, the instances are unplayable. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d have half my raid group inside Ulduar and another half would be waiting outside trying to get in. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d receive errors like Ã¢â‚¬Å“Transfer Aborted: Instance not foundÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“Too many instances. Please try again later.Ã¢â‚¬Â It was incredibly frustrating. A typical PTR test day would involve 30 minutes of actual boss time and 90 minutes of waiting for people to resolve their technical issues.
I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even report any bugs and such or effectively test out stuff since itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nigh impossible.
Solution: In BC, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got this major traffic artery called the Port Mann bridge. It carries hundreds of thousands of cars daily and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still not enough. Right now, the city engineers in are in the process of twinning the Port Mann bridge by doubling the lanes to increase the load that the bridge can carry. I wonder if that same logic is possible to apply by launching more instance servers.
I know. Blizzard mentioned that players should be prepared to bring their own stash of buffs. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how realistic it is to have that kind of expectation that players have bags full of flasks, enchanting mats, glyphs and what not for the entire duration of the testing phase. It would just be incredibly convenient.
Solution: Have the entire McWeaksauce family at the staging area just before the instance portal that anyone can go to. Make them slightly larger than normal to prevent mammoths from sitting on top of them.
Guildies and other players IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve spoken to explained that previous PTRs were much easier to get in to. Why? Because there wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a whole lot of interest in them. Why? Because people werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bored and they still had stuff to do.
Think about it.
A large number of guilds have completed all that the game presently has to offer. More than usual, even. So when word comes out that thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new stuff to play around with, a lot of players will jump at the chance. I know if I was still working on OS drakes or Malygos, I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be as dedicated with the PTR. Most of the traffic seems to occur right around the beginning of a boss being toggled on.
Solution: Not quite sure here. Would more servers do the trick?
Lack of servers
Again, this is similar to the population control. I have players disconnect from world servers. I have players who get network connection errors. I have players who continuously error out. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot more demand from players who want to get in on the action then there are boxes that can supply that desire. EuropeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got four servers, right? North America has two. But I guess all the European ones come in various languages. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at the point now where I routinely pray for other players to get frustrated enough to give up their attempts to get back in so that my group has a higher chance of getting in.
Solution: See above.
This is just a product of every PTR phase. This is what some players are thinking:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Gold doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean a thing so I can charge a crapload for it! I can make a fortune of gold that will be completely and utterly useless! ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all going to disappear within a few weeks so I can charge obscenely high prices and not give a damn!Ã¢â‚¬Â
And this ends up being a vicious cycle. One person charges overpriced stuff for enchanting mats or glyphs. This causes everyone else to match the price to come up with the funds to pay for other overpriced stuff. And on and on it continues. Who loses? Just about everybody since they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get access to the tools they need to test stuff effectively. And donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even try to raise the garbage argument that Ã¢â‚¬Å“oh they shouldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve gotten their stuff enchanted before comingÃ¢â‚¬Â. Because we all know thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new items coming and that stuff should get polished up, too.
Solution: A really savage beating.
So why do I keep going back? Why do I continue to subject myself to hours of teeth grinding annoyances?
Because I still firmly believe that knowledge is power. Sure you can read about strategy and watch live videos of guilds attempting to do it. But the experience and feeling of accomplishment after figuring a boss out on our own? That type of feeling canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be reduplicated. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already strategies and videos out. But for the brief hours I was in there with friends and guildies, the experience of undergoing trial and error to figure out what works and what doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t is unmatched. And I have a new whole level of respect for the top tier guilds and raid leaders around the world who engage in this every time new content is available.
Props to those guys. And Stratfu.
Apparently word on the street is that linking to Stratfu brings good luck and many beautiful women. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to test this theory.