PTR: Fond Friend or Venomous Vixen??


The PTR.  Public.  Test.  Realm.  It’s been our best friend and our worst enemy.  People will flock to it, and then people will cry outrage or joy at its contents.  Some avoid it like the plague, while others spend more time in its embrace than in the game itself.

I have a huge innate sense of curiosity.  I love learning things.  When it comes to this game, I try to learn everything there is to know (without delving into theory-crafting and copious amounts of number-crunching).  There are different healing styles, different add-on preferences, different philosophies on gameplay.  I’ve learned to love the variety of them all.

However, the idea of the PTR has me torn between love and hate.  I don’t harbour a global hatred for it, but I have my reservations about it.  It is both a blessing and a curse.  And I’ll tell you why.


Patch Notes have become a huge cornerstone of the WoW community.  We read them every chance we get.  We get Twitter updates about them; entire blog posts are dedicated to them.  They help us get accustomed to our class.  If we need to change our playstyle, we get a heads up.  If our class is getting nerfed to oblivion, we know to spend more time on an alt.

We can see what gear we have to look forward to.  We drool over gear models, agonizing over the ever-changing nature of new tier set bonuses.  Our dreams are peppered with new craftable items, new patterns, new glyphs, new gems/enchants.  It’s like waiting for (insert related holiday with presents)!

In this, I’m a huge fan.  I love having to save up money/gems/mats for new enchants, or re-speccing to take advantage of a new spell bonus or counteracting a nerf.


I’m averted to the large exploitation of the upcoming raids on the PTR.  I don’t “hate” it, because I understand its purpose.

I get a huge adrenaline high from facing a new boss on my server with my guild, without really knowing what to expect.  I have to think on my feet.  The raid has to be ready to adjust and listen to the raid leader for directions.

Remember the climactic scene of the movie “The Wizard”?  The kid and his nemesis are the in the final battle, about to play a game that no one has ever seen before.  The curtain is lifted….SUPER MARIO 3!!  I was a kid when that movie came out, and I just about crapped my pants.  Neither the kid nor his nemesis had any experience with this game.  Both were going in totally blind.  No tricks, no strategies, just shutup and play.

It’s that mentality that I crave for the community when it comes to releasing a new raid.  The new content is released and has been tested by a representative sample of the community under a confidentiality clause.  My team goes in on patch day, bags filled with flask/food, ready to conquer.  Our gold stash resembles Scrooge McDuck’s money pit in “Duck Tales”.  Let’s learn this boss our way.  We can be as hardcore as we want to be.

The Toss-up

In spite of all my rantings, I understand that living on the cutting edge of raiding needs every advantage.  World and Server Firsts are a big deal to a lot of guilds.  They need that edge–the ability to practice something, even if it’s not in it’s final form.  Guilds can strategize what needs to happen before the boss actually hits the live servers.

My proposal, though, is to assign a smattering of raiders the ability to do a closed testing of these bosses.  Start the difficulty of the bosses high and slowly bring it down as needed, but not so much to make the boss one or two-shottable.  Keep in mind it isn’t too interesting for us to go in and down bosses in our current gear.

My random thought of the day: Would we complain as much about the ease of boss killings if we didn’t have a head start?  A marathon is a piece of cake if you only have to run a small portion of it on the actual day, right?

What do you think?  Would you rather train in the PTR, or save the workout for after a new raid goes live?  How do you feel about the ability to test and learn a boss ahead of time?


3 thoughts on “PTR: Fond Friend or Venomous Vixen??”

  1. Personally, I enjoy the PTR and try to get on it as often as I can. I have players in my guild who refuse to “spoil” the feeling for them. You know, that feeling of awe and stuff when you reach a truly majestic boss of some sort?

    I get that feeling before everyone else on the PTR. This way, when I see them on live, I can let everyone experience it while I’m busy setting out what needs to be done. I’d rather do the learning in an isolated environment where it didn’t matter as much. Remember, we only have a certain amount of time during raid cycles before the next content patch arrives. The bigger the headstart I can have, the better. This helps increase the odds that my guild and I will be able to complete the content within a reasonable amount of time.

    I know it’s not going to be world first or server first or anything and I’m okay with that. But I know there are some guilds to this day that haven’t not been able to down the Keepers or Yogg or anything like that. I don’t want to have an organization that emerged too slow. We missed out on over half of the hard modes in Ulduar and some of that was was my fault. I’ll take every edge I can get from advanced learning.

    Plus having detailed healing boss strategy on the day the raid instance comes out does wonders for blog traffic.


  2. My concern with the PTR is that I absolutely hate having progress wiped. I don’t mind wiping for hours on raid progression. I understand that we all play, in the end, for the love of the game, but I have a big problem with working toward a goal with “nothing to show for it.” Even if that progress is only found in the form of a token or a meaningless achievement I can link, at least my progress is not totally wiped.

    I have that problem with game demos, too. And trials. I like to have some sort of progress I can save or start over from if I want to.

    Mainly, I don’t like repeating content, which is why I’m not an altoholic in WoW.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Excuse Me While I Kiss My Bride =-.

  3. Shameless plug time: I had written my own blog post about the PTR here:

    Except for the Wrath beta, I generally don’t do PTR’s, but I do value information that comes out of them. Unfortunately, most of the info that comes out while the PTR is actually up isn’t that helpful. We get a lot of info about what the new zone/raid looks like, we here about new loot, and the fact that there are still no new dance moves, but we don’t hear about how the latest apparent nerf/buff to our favorite class works in the new environment. When 3.2 was in the PTR, I couldn’t find out any information about how the Illumination nerf was actually working out. That’s the kind of think I *really* want to learn from PTR’s.

    Of course, it *is* nice to walk into an instance or raid on patch night and have some clue of what to expect. I just wouldn’t want it to be ‘ho-hum’ on Day 1 because I’ve done it ad infinitum on the PTR.
    .-= jeffo´s last blog ..Know-It-All Man =-.


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