[GW2] Some Issues

I crashed early yesterday instead of staying up late for all the servers to come up – before 9pm.

I ended up waking up around 4:30am because the LBO had crept into my bed and was doing his best to take up as much space as possible. I carried him off to his room, placing him up on the top bunk then staggered back to bed.

A few minutes later I could hear shuffling little feet as the LLO came into our room and said he couldn’t find his pajama top (he fell asleep on the couch so we put him to bed in his clothes). Several minutes later he crawled in between me and TheWife and gave us hugs then promptly fell asleep.

And started sleep talking.

Eying the clock I saw it was now 5am and figured that was good enough.

Down I went, set up the laptop, fired up GW2 which wanted me to change my email address. So I did, then needed to confirm the change and finally logged in. I picked Yak’s Bend as my server and proceeded to roll up a (female) Norn Guardian.

I’ve decided on Norn Guardian, Human Thief and Asura Necromancer though I am tempted to do a Sylvai Necromancer because it seems contrary to the race, then maybe an Asura Warrior or something.

Spent some time running around the first area, exploring it, doing all the heart missions around, doing some other events that occurred, grabbing the two skill points that were immediate displayed on the map (does talking with other Scouts show more?) and grabbing the Vista points I saw open. I ended up at level 6 before I decided I really should continue the storyline and go to Hoelbrok (?). I popped in there and immediate did the Vista nearby and started collecting some of the Points of Interest. I found a weaponsmith on the bridge and figured I’d buy up the other weapon types I don’t have yet so I can work on them (I had Mace, Shield, Focus, Staff and Sceptre so I picked up Sword, Greatsword, Hammer and Torch). I then popped over to the Armorsmith to fill in some of the armor slots I was missing – turns out I wasn’t missing any but the ones there were slightly better so I started to replace the starting gear when I got disconnected.

I’ve been disconnected twice now and both times after the Log In Server was unreachable. Minor delay after the first disconnect a bit longer after the second so I decided to do human stuff (shower, get dressed, eat and get some more coffee). I also started compressing the GW2 files so I can send them off to my main PC. Seems GW2 wants exclusive access to the data file (go figure) so I couldn’t launch while compressing it (15gb+) which is why I’m writing this.

Thoughts so far?

Dynamic Events

These are pretty neat though some seem out of place. One near the Snow Leopard place looks to start but when you go to it, you can’t seem to do anything. In that place (it’s under the Snow Leopard shrine) I was killing Moles which was advancing a Heart Quest I didn’t have yet – which is nice – though the quest giver was much farther away I only visited him much later.

You get rewarded with points that can be used to buy things from special merchants. I picked up a few accessory pieces and a decent mace (Molemasher) with these points. Decent enough system for events like WAR had – not some random reward from a chest or bag, you get to pick what you want. It does seem similar to Rift though it doesn’t seem like there are oodles of currencies that eventually become redundant.

Training

Training is a little odd – you go to a trainer at certain level tiers and buy a book which I think opens up more skills or traits? I’ll figure it out, it isn’t complicated it just isn’t available at the starting level.

Skills

I completed two Skill Challenges and appeared to get some skills from another source (levels?). The first one is so easy it’s silly not to do. The second one was actually a ‘challenge’ where you have to fight a Bear Shaman that was pretty sturdy (not a problem for my Guardian).

With these skill points I was able to buy some other abilities. One replaces my heal and lets me cleanse conditions and another one that I picked up was an Utility skill (7 key) that puts up a force wall blocking ranged weapons. I like.

Vistas

Mini little videos that play a swooping view of the area. Nothing big but you get XP for them and it’s ideal for an Achiever or Explorer type player.

They even track the number you’ve found so you can tell there are more (i.e. 2/4) which should really motivate the Explorer types.

Points of Interest

Much like Vistas these are just markers that you can collect. Great for Explorers. They also reward XP and are usually placed near quest givers or locations events could appear.

These are also tracked.

Heart Quests

Minor quests that involved a range of things to do to please a given NPC, once the bar is full the NPC is happy with you. You get a reward and the NPC is usually a merchant of some type.

Rewards are given to you immediately or through mail (accessible anywhere) so it wasn’t a pain to get.

PVP

I haven’t started PVP yet, I’m still roaming around doing quests, exploring and getting used to the abilities I have but I did have one concern for PVP. It seems people are already actively WvWvWing which worries me because I’m suspect some of the points are easier to take now and they can be reinforced for later making it harder for your World to compete if your World is slow to get involved.

Minor concern.

Leveling Pace

I like it. It doesn’t seem ridiculously fast. I’m only level 6 several hours in where is in other games I’d be closing on 20 (yeah yeah, heirlooms and guild XP perks help… but still).

 

Back into it now before I have to take the LBO to his soccer tournament.

[IRL] Good Stuff Happening

I don’t know why it surprises me when it happens but it always does. I always find myself in a position where I’m not just working on one product but two (or three). Clearly my brilliance is evident to others but I just don’t see it. The stuff I do simply makes sense. I’m not sure why it surprises people.

I think I mentioned I was promoted into an Architect position for the QA (testing) team. I currently sit between two products directing the creation of their automation. One has a long standing automation infrastructure which had samples of intelligence buried under bandages and duct tape that has long since given way and is now using old bubble gum as an adhesive. It’s getting fixed. The team (which is a team now, not just me and the other guy) is working hard at it. They know what needs to be done and they’re working on it when they can while moving things forward. I’m pleased with where things are going.

The other team was going down the route new automation teams tend to go – just get it done! It’s only testing! Record and playback works! Look at all the tests we’ve automated! Wheeeeeee!

Yeah.  No.

Plan out your automation, investigate options early and with heavy involvement with the development team. They’re going to be writing code that you’re going to be writing code to mimic a user against – if they’re using code that won’t work with any automation tool out there, you’re starting off in a bad spot (“stuck between a rock and a crazy place” to quote Big Bang Theory). Consider your target audience, size of the team, willingness to expand and skill sets on hand. Maybe your team leverages test cases created by QA and automates them. Maybe the team puts some sort of infrastructure in place where the framework interprets what QA wants (keyword driven) or maybe the automation team builds¬† library for others to use.

Speaking of skill sets, you want programmers otherwise you’ll end up with a bunch of QA people creating a bunch of recorded scripts that will break as soon as you change the URL to the webserver or move something like a log in around. Heaven forbid you do a UI revamp. All those scripts are going to have to be recorded all over again.

Always investigate the coding options of automation tools; don’t even let the sales team table the record and playback functionality – you don’t want that.

Why? Well, record and playback tools do not allow for modular code (yet). They might break steps into functions but they don’t call those functions again or from another script. Imagine you have over 100 scripts and each one starts with logging in as a specific user – maybe the same user, maybe a different one. What happens if you have to change the user? The password? The procedure to log in? That last one means changing 100 scripts. Sure, you can do a find replace in files or a bunch of copy/pastes but why should you when you could have that log in code centralized in a library of methods to interact with your product? One method or function – 100 scripts calling it. Log in changes? No worries, change the steps in the method/function and no need to change the 100 scripts.

That’s the sort of thing you don’t think about or consider with record and playback tools.

Another thing record and playback tend to miss is a verify/validation step. Sure you just recorded a script that successfully added a user to a database… but are you sure? Did you record checking? Does the tool include a means of ‘looking’ at a value to ensure it’s there? Ensure there is only one? You’d be really surprised at how many record and playback tools do not have that.

What about reporting? Yeah, that’s a pretty result to give me, the person running the test but it means nothing to my manager or my manager’s manager or the product manager. What about previous results? What about results for the same test in older versions? Again, not something built in to these tools.

Let’s not forget source control for all this code, possibly some of the collateral as well. You don’t want to lose it and it serves no one if Ted has all the latest stuff while Nancy doesn’t and is writing scripts based on old code that doesn’t work. You need it central, shared and backed up. Source control – use it.

That’s where I’m at with the other team. I’m pushing them away from the bad and into the good.

And they’re doing a great job of it – really!

So that’s where I’m at. Work work work.

Though they did give me a raise to go along with the new position and I’m no longer on probation.

I’m feeling good :)

[GW2] Tim Says One Month

He’s probably right.

I’ll reserve judgement until I get a feel of the game. The small 5-30 minute bouts I had with the various stress tests was not enough to see anything but positives. To be fair, there have been several MMOs where you knew you were in trouble 5-10 minutes into it.

On the upside, there is no additional cost to my playing it at an extended, leisurely pace. It’s not like I’ll get left behind in levels because you can jump up to cap for PVP. I can take my time and muddle along with the various characters I’ll play.

I still haven’t settled on anything, I doubt I will until I play them and figure out what I’m interested in.

  • Thief is up there.
  • Guardian is sort of at the top.
  • Ranger is on the list.
  • Engineer has dropped a little since hearing Ed Park (in BuildCast) suggest they don’t have a lot of survival/escape type abilities so he (and his team) tend to target them first. I’m guessing Engineers still have value in WvWvW where their turrets behind defenses will work nicely. Maybe.
  • Necromancer might be another option, they almost get a whole other health bar with their shadow form… probably still won’t help me any.
  • I tried a Warrior out for a very short bit and it was amusing but I don’t know that it’ll be a keeper.
  • Mesmer just doesn’t interest me. I’m not sure why.
  • Elementalist might be a different change for me, maybe I’ll take a look.

My focus on that game will be PVE and PVP, hopefully WvWvW more than smaller fights (Battlegrounds or what ever they’re called).

I’m looking forward to the head start this Saturday, though I’ll probably be out most of the day.

What server?

At the moment, I’m looking at Yak’s Bend.

Why?

It has “Yak” in the name… jeez… why else?

[WoW] MoP Plans

Finally dropped the $$$ on MoP after checking how much longer I have the Annual Pass … discovered I have until March. That’s a long time to try to go without new content.

Yay.

I’m not unexcited about WoW and MoP, I’m just in a bit of a holding pattern with little to do. I didn’t really have enough time to complete the Rogue Legendary so I am not going to waste time dealing with PUGs or go out of my way to raid. Oh, I’ll gladly join up with the Paranormal Society peoples and raid with them (I’m 6/8 in Heroics). My second showing with the Rogue (which I switched to Combat spec) was much better. I didn’t feel as carried as I previously way once I turned of Power Auras (the Rogue set I have is overwhelming) and got back into the habit of the rotation.

I was moonlighting as a Warrior for a bit there. I’m finally digging this whole Transmogrification thing…

She’s hawt… what can I say? (You should have seen her other outfit… that one is Templar armor)

Got her up t0 60 and hit a wall with TBC. Just can’t bring myself to get through TBC yet again. I should probably just queue up for dungeons lots.

Right, back to MoP.

Oh wait, a little about the casual life first.

I had a bit of a scare where the guild I’m in asked me to take over things while the person taking over for the guild leader went on vacation. I declined. I realized that I really wasn’t doing much with them, they were just there as a backdrop. I was leveling my alts and farming stuff, dropping the odd bit of humor or wisdom (WoW wisdom) but not really part of it all. Even lately with my run for 100 mounts (Hunter is at about 96) I’m mostly just popping in and doing stuff without really interacting.

I’m not thinking I’m cut out for the casual guilds, at least not the mass inviting ones where I might be left ‘in charge’ and that’s definitely not something I want. I’ve got my own two kids to deal with tantrums and discipline them, I don’t need to deal with hundreds of other unknown kids.

Okay, now back to MoP.

Plan is to Rogue it up first, then Hunter, then DK. Over time I’ll dig out the others and catch them up to the cap, but that’s my order. I didn’t think I was going to have room for a Monk but Blizzard appears to be opening up an extra slot just for that.

Go Blizzard!