Friday, February 5, 2010

Talk is cheap

Over the past 48 or so hours, there has been much trash-talking about the Ensidia world-first kill of Arthas (and subsequent fallout).  People are weighing in on both sides.

One prevailing viewpoint of the pro-Ensidia crowd is that Blizzard failed to test the software "properly" and thus, somehow and ergo, Ensidia is blameless in this situation.

What utter, profound crap.

Let me essplain.  No - it is too much. Let me summarize.

There is a rule of thumb in the software testing world, which boils down to this:  "to attack the software properly, you have to think like a criminal" - such as , for example, when dealing with things like credit card processing - the storage of account numbers and so forth, especially. The designer will tell you how it's supposed to work under normal conditions. You get to figure out what he didn't think of, the cracks in the shell that you can exploit.

So; this rule of thumb helps one find good testers, but it begs the question as to how to "catch a thief"! Until you've sat in the seat of an interviewer, you really don't know how difficult it is to find a mediocre tester, much less a world-class game buster.  To "catch a thief" to work on your team, you kinda have to think like one, too.

So that's one issue.

Another issue is what I like to summarize as "the view is really good from the cheap seats". Really, until you've actually been put in the place of finding bugs as your bread and butter, you really have no idea what you're talking about when you criticize the work done by the testers in this situation. You really, really, don't. You have no idea what kind of guidelines they were given. You have no idea what level of knowledge they were given about how the encounter was supposed to progress, nor how complete the testing environment was. You have no idea, at all, how this was tested, or even if it was testable.

So sure, go ahead and talk trash all you want, but those of us that work in the industry know exactly how hollow and foolish your critiques are.

Walk a mile in my shoes, and we have common ground to talk.  You can make real critiques at that point, not a bunch of generalities that mean absolutely nothing.

Regarding Ensidia; Grimm said this elsewhere, but I will reiterate now.  You don't play this game for five years, earn a seat in one of the premier raiding guilds in the world, and somehow not know that this was an exploit. Saronite bombs are to be thrown at the enemy, not collapsed portions of a platform, and the enemy was not standing on collapsed parts of the platform. No, this was deliberate. And anyone that's been playing that long would know it.

To whine that they're victims of faulty QA is disingenuous at best. That QA team didn't make them toss bombs off where they would (theoretically) do no good.  That QA team didn't force them to take the achievement. That QA team didn't keep them from reporting the issue.The QA team didn't make them crow at their achievement.

An analogy, and then I will shut up on this topic.

You are walking through a mall. Ahead of you, a woman's purse has a broken strap, and the wallet has fallen out. When it hits the ground, a bunch of $50 bills spill out on the ground. She continues on, unaware of the incident.

If you take the money and toss her wallet, who's in the wrong?  Sure, she should have fixed the purse, secured the wallet. But does that in any way excuse theft? I don't think so.

Ensidia, I'm sorry that you didn't get a nice set of steak knives, but maybe next time you will use your heads and not risk your reputation on something so obvious. Or if you do (and I suspect you will), I hope you can at least own up to your stupidity next time.

Oh, and gratz to Paragon, that did it without exploits.