So basically as an introduction to this post I would like to tell you the main topics this will be covering.
Firstly we will be chatting about exactly what is the term ‘Bug’ are we talking about an unintended feature of a game of are we talking about something that is preventing ‘content’ or ‘fun’ inside a game.
Secondly we will be chatting about what games are known for the large amount of bugs they contain as well as what games have been made unplayable/undesirable due to the either large or game breaking bugs that are in them.
Lastly we will touch on what it means to release a game that is not fully developed or is not properly bug tested.
I would like to also take this time to put a few disclaimers in here for those of you who will enjoy trying to troll this post.
A large portion of this post is either my opinion or based on my person experiences so it should be taken with a grain of salt, also as you all should be aware while some of the things I say will resonate well with some of you others will not agree with me, that is to be expected. However I ask you conduct yourself criticism and feedback in a constructive manner.
Alright lets get started.
So ‘bugs’ are basically programming inside of games that is either not working as it should or is working in a way that is detrimental to the player experience. To extrapolate more on this I have this wiki entry for those who want more depth:
A software bug is an error, flaw, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways. Most bugs arise from mistakes and errors made by people in either a program’s source code or its design, or in frameworks and operating systems used by such programs, and a few are caused by compilers producing incorrect code. A program that contains a large number of bugs, and/or bugs that seriously interfere with its functionality, is said to be buggy or defective. Reports detailing bugs in a program are commonly known as bug reports, defect reports, fault reports, problem reports, trouble reports, change requests, and so forth.Wikipedia
Now while I can accept that there will always be bugs inside of games, and no matter how much testing you do there will inevitably be one or two bugs that slip through your testing, releasing something to players that has obvious flaws or bugs is something I find to be very troubling and lazy.
While some people may argue that the testing of the games code is best done in the players hands I argue that alpha and beta testing are the primary phases where bug testing should be done, as well as ensuring that those bugs you find in those phases are removed or dealt with.
While I do accept that balancing of game mechanics and similar things are best done in the player environment, bug testing has historically not been left to the players to discover, it is only recently (since the emergence of the ‘early access’ games) that bug testing has been handed to the players and not the developers.
To give you an example:
Recently Guild Wars 2 released a new expansion called Heart of the Thorns. Now while they had 3 beta weekend events to ensure the smooth operation of their product once the product was released it was so riddled with bugs that a large portion of the players found it either to be unplayable altogether or undesirable since the chances they would loose there progress to a bug was so high that it was not worth playing.
What did arena net do wrong here? Simply put they were lazy. They released something they thought could be bug tested by the players, now while that may work for an ‘early access’ game it does not work for a MMO were thousands or players are trying to progress in their story or game progress only to be met with bugs that either prevent them doing so or make it a roll-of-the-dice as to whether they will be able to or not.
To illustrate what I am talking about here are some interesting posts from around the internet about this very problem:
Alright now stay tuned for the next update to this post which will deal with Exploits and how not to get banned because you “thought it was ok”