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Scott Jennings discusses fixing bugs in live games

Eliot Lefebvre

If there's one thing that MMO gamers all agree on, it's the short list of things we almost universally hate: cheaters, gold (or equivalent currency) farmers searching for your credit card, and bugs. Oh, the dreaded bugs. They do so much damage to your gameplay experience, why doesn't the company just fix them? The inimitable Scott Jennings tackles this question in his latest column on game design, explaining that the main reason bugs don't get fixed faster is because doing so is much harder than it seems.

As he points out, the architecture of an MMO is a tricky thing at the best of times, frequently only held together with the coded equivalent of a wing and a prayer. Some bugs are so massively detrimental to the game that they get to jump to the head of the class, but others are annoying and bad but not at the highest priority. Or -- as sometimes happens despite everyone's best efforts -- fixing the bug would require doing so much damage to the rest of the game that it's better to work around it. If you're wondering why your favorite company hasn't fixed a much-hated bug, this article should prove an interesting read.

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