7 Things Gamers Expect from a Multiplayer Online Game
Game development is a rapidly maturing craft, with the new generation of tech-savvy dreamers creating fantastic new worlds and monetizing their success. You definitely have a dream too. You are creating the best multiplayer online game ever. Of course, it is an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) or MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), because League of Legends, Crossfire, and Dungeon Fighter earn almost $2,000,000 each in revenue every year.
Who says you can’t do better? Before you ride off into the sunset with your ambitious plans, let us tell you one thing. Video games are doomed without quality assurance. Start implementing the QA practices into the game development process from the earliest stages, because this is how you secure the quality of each aspect of your product.
As you probably know, developing MMOs, especially MMORPGs, is among the most complex game development challenges your team could face. The development, deployment, and maintenance costs can also be astronomical. There is little room for mistakes when stakes are this high, so the first thing you ought to ensure for your game is quality. In this article, we’ll outline the most common expectations gamers put on online games and particular testing techniques you need to get them covered.
Gamers Expect a Fair Chance
Recall the last time you fiercely cried, “Assassin is so imba!” when you just failed to accomplish a quest and tried to get rid of embarrassment. Sometimes, the fault is really on the game. In MMOs, game imba-lance refers to more advantageous starting positions, sure-fire strategies, and excessive capacity of particular game weapons. It skews all quests and kills the fun. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that fine-tuning the gameplay balance may take months of constant effort.
Balance testing is an exhilarating task and absolutely necessary for a great experience. QA engineers get split up into teams with equal gaming skill levels and scrutinize the gameplay, trying to make sure that “victory belongs to the most persevering” (thank you, Bonaparte). They take notes on the strengths and weaknesses of each weapon class, balance maps, and check spawn points to get placed fairly.
Gamers Expect a Convenient User Interface
Experienced gamers would tell you that MMORPGs have intricate user interfaces. Is it an indicator of a bad design or a depth of a genre? Anyway, it can reflect all your multi-layered ideas as long as it doesn’t distract from gameplay. The general rule involves getting to know your audience, avoiding discontinuity, being consistent, and breathing life to the UI with special effects.
UI/UX testing helps make sure that the user interface of your game is intuitive, flexible, consistent, and comfortable to use. It provides feedback directly from a potential target audience, so you can use the valuable insights to make the UI highly effective and improve end-user satisfaction.
Gamers Expect to Not Get Hopelessly Stuck
Freezes, bandwidth issues, and dropped connections are among the most critical online game bugs that annoy gamers and make them eventually look for some other fantasy worlds.
A power combo of performance, functional, compatibility and cross-browser testing ensures a seamless gaming experience, covering all game mechanics required by specifications, the maximum possible technical load on the system, and the game compatibility with various browsers and multiple hardware configurations.
Gamers Expect an Emotional Immersion
Have you noticed that some particularly challenging quests or unexpected plot twists make you feel excited, amazed, angry, or even sentimental? Emotions play a crucial role in games. They create sensations, focus attention, aid in decision making, affect performance, and motivate exploring.
Assess the fun factor and pleasantness of your game with playtesting. The common misconception is that it means thoughtlessly accomplishing quests, but in reality, playing the game is only a part of a process that also involves recruiting playtesters, session preparation, controls, and analysis. Playtesters assess how functional, balanced, fun, internally complete, and accessible the game is, as well as reflect on whether the game managed to hit them emotionally.
Gamers Expect Data Security
Cybersecurity is a fundamental aspect of MMOs as online games are prone to cheating, vandalism, tampering with the in-game buying systems, and back-end servers cloning. Just imagine how unfair life can get. You let people into your world and they express their gratitude by thieving private data, violating your intellectual property rights, damaging the game reputation, and causing profit loss. How dare they?!
As you can see, security is one more thing that urgently requires thorough QA support. Undertaking a series of security tests will help uncover any potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious intruders. It also lays the foundation for identifying improvements required to preserve the game integrity, protect the gamer assets, and secure in-game transactions.
Gamers Expect Direction
Good MMOs are about letting gamers do what they want to, create their own stories, and choose their own methods to surmount endless obstacles to achieve their goals. Embarking on a new challenge, gamers want every inch of the path to be accessible and consistent. Moreover, they expect reasonable solutions to work. Of course, there is always a reasonable solution to a puzzle, but gamers will do their best to discover alternate options and definitely get irritated if they don’t function.
Progression testing is about playing the game linearly to make sure the gameplay never interrupts by scripting issues, illogical events, or invisible walls. Combined with the exploratory testing approach, it would also cover tricky bugs inaccessible via structured techniques.
Gamers Expect the Best Experience and They Know When Something is Missing
Nowadays, gamers are notably fastidious customers spoilt by tremendous competition between the game market behemoths. They demand nothing less than the best — including the gaming experience, thrilling plot, intuitive usability, seamless operation, and enhanced security.
However, even a modest game development studio with a brilliant concept can reach for the stars. Don’t forget that when it comes to massively multiplayer games, it is a gaming revolution unfolding right in front of us. Dream big, create and achieve. Make your own rules. Ensure the maximum quality in everything you do. And remember that there are always people around willing to help. Like us, the game testing division of QATestLab, an independent testing service provider, ready to elevate your game to new heights with the all-conquering power of testing.
Originally published at https://blog.qatestlab.com on August 10, 2020.