Tag Archives: SOE

In Which SOE Surprises Me

And this time, in a good way.

On Friday, I got a 7-day pass for Landmark. I didn’t get around to it until Sunday evening because, you know, Easter and all that. And it didn’t work. It was somewhat weird, but I couldn’t get to the download page that their link was supposed to send me to. Annoyed at being (yet again) foiled by SOE and their website, I vented on twitter. (What is it with SOE and their website, anyway? When information doesn’t disappear, as Wilhelm often points out, there always seems to be at least some part of it broken at any given time.)

Yesterday (and, let’s be fair, that was the first office day again after Easter), I actually got contacted via twitter by Omeed Dariani, who is Senior Brand Strategy Manager for Landmark. Now, if I only knew what exactly that is… but it’s similar to a community manager I guess? So maybe that makes him something like Landmark’s Ghostcrawler or CCP Guard?

Anyway, being actively searched out without submitting a bug report was surprise #1. I’m not sure whether that’s one of the things that just happens on Twitter? Anyway, we got to talking (as well as you can in 140 characters), and I promised him a detailed bug report, even though the original bug had disappeared by then. And when I promise a detailed bug report, I write a detailed bug report. So I wrote him a nice one, complete with screenshots of the web site to highlight the problems, and a nice netcat/openssl trace to show the quadruple(!) HTTP redirection happening to their download link from my location. I’m not sure how much that actually will help them, but my limited experience with bug hunting is that traces from remote users never hurt, because there’s so much stuff that you can’t test properly if you’re sitting next to your own servers.

But now comes surprise #2. Within three hours, I not only got a refreshingly non-canned response. (They seem to be pretty good with that on the Landmark team at the moment. Dave Georgeson’s intro video also pointed out some obvious things that nevertheless many developers don’t like to say, like “Open Beta is pretty much release these days [so don’t hide behind it when you lack polish]”.) On top of that, I got, as  a little “special thank you”, an Explorer Pack key.

I was genuinely surprised. This is actually pretty awesome. It’s not only a non-trivial present money-wise (I think they still cost $60? Not that I had planned to buy one, but still), it’s also a nice token of appreciation.

Being the suspicious person that I am, I tried to figure out whether there were ulterior motives. I already thought about that when I got the 7 day pass; I don’t think I had ever applied for one. But I’m not famous on twitter (go look at my follower numbers, I dare you!), and my blog? Looking at the page hits… nope. So I’ll take it as a genuine thank you, and an appreciated one at that. It’s also fortunate, because I haven’t had much time to play at all yet — I think all I managed so far was create a copper pick — and that pack means I can check back at my leisure.

Now, the bad thing is that the sandbox building game genre is something I haven’t really warmed to yet. There is a chance I might not play much Landmark at all. But hey, now that I have a second chance to look at it, I probably will. It will give me the chance to maybe at least visit some other bloggers’ homes eventually, in case I end up sucking at the whole building thing myself. Syl, bhagpuss, I’m looking at you!

The In-Depth Testing of Everquest II

Today, EQ2wire quotes Everquest2.com announcing the incoming start of the beta phase for their upcoming expansion “Age of Discovery”. The beta will start on October 27th and end on November 14th.

Yes, that’s less than 3 weeks of testing. For an expansion. Granted, people talked a lot about how this expansion mostly seems to deliver things that were originally promised for their Destiny of Velious expansion, and that AoD looks more like an adventure pack than a real expansion. I can’t say, I’ve not played the game for long enough to judge.

But still. 3 weeks. Last time SOE tried such a breakneck speed, GU61 ended up horribly broken and needed numerous fixes. (Yes, that’s a different link for each word.) There’s still itemization broken in  several places, two months later. And here I thought mistakes are something you learn from.

I really would love to like Everquest II, but why, oh why do you make it so hard to do that?