Quality assurance or "QA" is a team at Jagex made to assure that all new content within the game and on the website is as high quality as possible within a time frame. QA works from a player's point of view and tries to remove any bugs that may arise while playing RuneScape or visiting the website.
Role of QAEdit
QA was put into place by Jagex to assure that the game runs smoothly and is high quality for the players that play the game. They test new updates to make sure that there are no bugs. If there is a bug the material will be sent back to the development team to be fixed.
Before all of this, QA works with the development teams in what is called a "briefing stage". QA works with the development to become familiar with the material that is going to be created and gives feedback that explains foreseeable difficulties that may arise during the coding stage and the rest of the development. Quality assurance at RuneScape plays a bigger part in the development of content than other gaming companies because Jagex wants to ensure that they can release new content that is high quality.
Testing is a stage during Quality assurance's work where they test the new content when it has been developed and come up with errors in the coding and other things to make the game better and easier to use. They aren't just playing the game how the average player would, they try to test every possible thing in order to make sure that everything is possible.
|“|| "Imagine: if you're testing a racing game, you're not just completing laps all day. You're trying to drive the car outside of the track or crash it into things to see if the game breaks."
— Mod LewisG - Behind The Scenes - Quality Assurance
However, QA does play for fun just like a player would. This allows them to make sure that the content that they are putting into the game is actually content that a player would take time to play.
|“|| "During initial testing, you have to assume the mindset of a normal player, playing through as they would."
Mod Martin - Behind the scenes - Quality Assurance
Playing the game is only part of what the Quality assurance team goes through during their part of the development process. They have check-lists to make sure that every single piece of the new content is working right and meshing perfectly with the content already in the game. Each of these tests has to be done many different times under a number of different conditions. Even after all of this testing opening the content up to millions of players brings out problems that were unpredictable for the QA team.
Players work to fix the bugs also by sending in feedback and bug reports. It would almost be impossible to fix all of the bugs the first time because there are 250,000 players for every QA team member.
Live maintenance is the Quality Assurance's job in which they track what the players are saying about new content by reading the forums and checking bugs sent in by the bug tracker. They alert the developers to the problem and the developers work to fix the bug. Good and bad feedback helps the QA team to learn what the players that play RuneScape enjoy.
Quality assurance provides a unique opportunity to make the game better, but it can also slow down the development process severely. If QA sees something that they don't like they will send it back to the developers. The developers will fix it, but that isn't the end of the process. The fixed material will go back the Quality assurance team to be looked at again. Depending on how perfect the team wants the material to be, this process can go on and on.
This process can be seen first hand in a case such as mobilising armies. Mobilising armies was revealed in a behind the scenes (Update:Future PvP Updates) on 15 August 2008 along with other future PVP updates including Stealing creation. In November 2008 Jagex confirmed the release date to be in December. In December Jagex revealed that they would release the activity in early 2009. In the Update:Behind the Scenes - February (2009) Jagex revealed once again that they were postponing the release date to later in the year. It was then revealed in the forums that it would be sent to QA again as of 5 May 2009.
- Update:Future PvP Updates
- Update:Behind the Scenes - October (2008)
- Update:Behind the Scenes - November (2008)
- Update:Behind the Scenes - December (2008)
- Mobilising armies