[AP] Angry Panda: This is a Test – This is Only a Tespia
Maple World is always growing and changing. New quests, new stories, and new adventures arrive all the time. Making sure to catch bugs, exploits, and other un-fun stuff is what Tespia is all about. If you’re not familiar with Tespia, it’s MapleStory’s test server. A test server is a special server that contains a version of MapleStory with all the content we’re planning on releasing during the next update. By letting in a small selection of MapleStory players, it can provide tremendously valuable feedback from those who have played on it. There are plenty of cases of major issues that never saw the light of day because we were able to address them before they ever got rolled out to the regular servers. In fact, the data we’ve culled from Tespia has been so valuable for The Visitors, we’ve decided to run Tespia tests before every major content rollout.
The question is, how do we select the people who get to participate in the Tespia tests? Sure, everyone would like to get on Tespia because who doesn’t like to get a sneak peek at what’s next in MapleStory? That can’t happen though, because Tespia isn’t a “preview” version of MapleStory. It’s a serious place where serious testing gets done. That means that the selection criteria may shift a bit with every test. Unfortunately that can also contribute to the notion that we’re somehow playing favorites with MapleStory fans. Well it’s time for a patented Angry Panda Reality Check:
Squashing bugs is serious business.
The purpose of Tespia is to test. That means we choose our selection criteria based on the needs of the test, not the merit of the players. While we have the highest expectations for the behavior of “Tespians” (behavior we’re happy to report is usually met – most Tespians really enjoy the responsibility of testing new content), we’re not looking for people to methodically go through content piece by piece. We’re looking for them to play the game the way they normally do based on the way they’ve played the game in the past. Let’s take our last Tespia session. In that case we kept the criteria fairly loose because there was a broad selection of gameplay we were looking to test. We had four basic qualifications that players had to meet:
1. A candidate had to have registered at least six months before the date of the test.
2. A candidate had to have had at least three logins per week for the past 30 days.
3. A candidate had to have at least one level 30 or higher character.
4. A candidate had to have absolutely no ban or abuse history.
After that we tried to pull in people with a wide variety of playstyles for the Visitors test. It’s a mark of how great Maplers are as a community that setting those criteria netted us way, way more players than we could possibly invite. For this test, we were restricting the number of invitations to a specific number of players. This wasn’t an arbitrary number. Rather it was the amount we needed to get the data necessary for a successful test. Once we had our initial list, we sorted it based on the number of logins in the past 30 days and cut that list off when we hit that number. It was really that simple.
In the future, the criteria we pick may change. We might need people who have logged in more than 300 hours on a Thief character. Perhaps we’ll need people who operate their own store or spend more than 40% of their total play time in a party. Based on our last Tespia test though, we know that no matter who becomes a Tespian, we can count on Maplers to provide the feedback we need to make this the best MapleStory it can be!