That all changed this past week. I encountered a bug so big that it squashed me. In fact, it was so intense that it effectively prevented me from continuing my gameplay. That's when it hit me: After eight months of playing and enjoying Landmark, I had forgotten that this can actually happen. But it is important to remember, to keep this fact at the forefront of our minds. Why? It's not to be a defensive rallying cry for why something isn't in game/isn't working as intended; it's so we can get the game we want, sooner! How? By doing our job as beta testers.
I'll be honest: I have been lax in reporting bugs. If a bug wasn't majorly game breaking, I was just brushing it off. After all, I am used to there being bugs in all games to one degree or another, and I am fairly tolerant of minor nuisances. But what if those little bugs I have been dismissing were actually information the team needed to zero in on something and fix it faster? What if they didn't even know about some problem and by not getting a heads-up and correcting it, that little hiccup led to some major meltdowns later? When you're a fraction of a degree off when plotting an course, early detection and correction is key to keep from going way off course where it is much more difficult and time consuming to correct. By not keeping on our toes and doing our beta-tester duties, we could be hindering the very progress we want so badly!
The bug that brought it all back
So what was the situation that brought me back to the knowledge that I was indeed testing a game instead of just playing it early? It's an amusing tale. (And who knows, even more details here may help the devs!)
I logged into game knowing that this was the day I really needed to mine my heart out and hoard some copper so I could maintain my plots that expired the next day. However, as soon as my pick hit the ground, the entire square patch of terrain disappeared! Whoa! That was trippy, but it also meant I couldn't see any copper I moved and drove my pick into the ground again. And what do you know -- that patch was gone too. Soon I had a design of terrain-less game surrounding me. Bad, right? How could I find my copper now? Well, it got worse! I panned my camera a different way and suddely the terrain all over was missing! Definitely an eensy bit game breaking to me. So I filled out a bug report. And that's when it really hit me that I should be doing it for the little ones as well as the big ones.
Do your duty
After this escapade, I've been seriously rethinking my participation in the game. No, I won't stop playing! What I will do is be more alert for the bugs -- both big and small -- and report them. Instead of feeling as if I am bothering the devs with all the info, I should be thinking about how details will help them. I, too, want to help make it an awesome game us all to lose ourselves in. But I shouldn't concentrate all of that helpfulness just to content type items. I should be helping the infrastructure as well. You never truly know when your contribution will have a significant impact.
How we personally approach the game and what we do to help make it better does indeed affect how quickly we get the finished product we want. That is the point that was driven home to me this past week. There's no question that I want Landmark to be all that it can be; I am excited for the promise of the full game. Yet I must admit that while I have been enjoying the many aspects of the game that are already there, from building to ogling the work of others to PvP matches, I have forgotten a key component of being in beta -- namely, that bug reporting is why we're there.
If you are also participating in Landmark, let's get in the habit of using /bug to tell the team when stuff is a little off. Be a proactive part of this community collaboration and testing. It may very well help us get the game we want (including EverQuest Next) quicker!
The EverQuest realm is so big that sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores the franchise's nooks and crannies from the Overrealm to Timorous Deep. Running biweekly on Thursdays, the Norrathian Notebook is your resource for all things EverQuest Next and EverQuest II. And keep an eye out for MJ's Massively TV adventures!