One of the interesting things that has happened over the last few days is that I apparently got invited to the Battle for Azeroth expansion alpha. I happened to notice this Tuesday night when I opened my battle.net launcher and found the World of Warcraft tab was trying to patch something. Sure enough upon further inspection I did appear to have access to the alpha client in my version selector drop down. I also noticed from social media that a few other people seemed to be indicating the same, so I am guessing there was a whole new wave of folks entering the testing. The thing about alpha testing that is legitimately an alpha… is it is as much a burden as it is a privilege. Yes you have access to something that most people don’t and that in some ways is inherently cool… but also it becomes your responsibility to go out into the unfinished world and help stop bugs that you will encounter.
First off let me get this out of the way… Battle For Azeroth Alpha is in fact an alpha in functionality and in name. I’ve been in so many different versions of Alpha programs over the years and even in Blizzard terms occasionally those Friends and Family Alphas feel “almost finished”. This time around BfA feels very much a work in progress and with significant functionality either missing or not entirely working. For example I spent the beginning of my evening testing an area of the game where quest tracking was not functional at all, and I sorta had to wing it given that I could not really see what was required to finish any of the quests. One of the more interesting things of note is that the Kul Tirran side of the house appears to have a flight path system that is in truth a series of extremely high speed boats, example is the one I am on above.
After spending some time bug noting Alliance side I rolled a Horde character and the Zandalari areas seem to be a bit more finished. Those areas had a proper quest flow with tracking working and advisement of where I should be going for the next quest. In truth that probably means that I should not be spending too much time in Kul Tiras until they have had a bit more time to flesh it out. I did however report a ton of instances where things were clipping oddly, or in one case where my camera was being pushed up through a when I stood in a certain spot. I guess that is part of the responsibility side of Alpha testing, that you need to vary your feedback based on what phase in the zone development they are in.
Sure I bug noted the fact that quest tracking was not working… but after doing that it seemed nonsense to keep reporting it each time I turned in a quest in that area of the game. Instead I started working on reporting the base pop and terrain anomalies, since they are likely the parts that are being worked on at that very moment. Ultimately my goal is to spend a little bit of time each night working on testing content, because I feel like since I have eyes on the game… I should be helping to make it better for launch.
The gaming for fun side of the evening was spent over in Monster Hunter World which received a patch. I did not actually defeat a Deviljho last night, but I saw several of them as they interrupted my other hunts. It is in fact as nonsense as everyone seemed to make it out to be and I am hoping that maybe tonight I can devote some time to actually purposefully hunting one or two of them to get used to how those fights go. The focus of my evening last night however was finally getting Thalen through Nergigante. It has been a goal to make sure that everyone gets off high center with this fight in part because it seemed to take me so long to do that myself. Everyone was more than willing to lend a hand in my hour of need so I feel like it is only right to keep paying that forward.
Additionally I like the fact that I now feel pretty comfortable with this encounter and could always use more monster bits. While waiting around for Thalen to finish up a hunt we started talking about our stats… at which point I joked that I changed my guild card title to Pure Long Sword at some point. I really have in fact been focused on only this one weapon for awhile as you can see by the fact I have done 253 hunts with Long Sword and the closest second is hammer with 7. Both Tam and Ashgar have way more spread graphs when it comes to weapons, and in truth I probably should as well. I should make a point of trying every weapon and seeing if there are hidden gems out there that I might ultimately like. My biggest problem has been that I just didn’t want to take resources away from my current longsword crafting projects to create other weapons.