Game Development Reference
If you've ever spent any time on Internet message boards, comments like this should
look very familiar. The tester is not specific. How much damage is too much? Relative
to what? If nerfed means “made less powerful,�? how much less? 50%? 50 points? The
development team is not very likely to take this comment seriously, thinking it's an
impulsive, emotional reaction. (And it was. The tester had just been on the receiving
end of a warlock rush.)
Lotus Warlocks should have a 5-second cooldown added to their attack.
This tester is overly specific. He has identified a problem (overpowered warlocks) and
gone too far by appointing himself game designer and declaring that the solution is a
five-second cooldown (that is, a delay of five seconds between the end of a unit's
attack and the beginning of its next attack). This comment presumes three things: that
the warlocks are indeed overpowered, that the designers agree that the best solution is
to implement a cooldown, and that the code has been written (or can be written) to
support a cooldown between attacks. The development team is likely to bristle at this
presumption (even if it is a viable solution).
Lotus Warlocks are more powerful than the other three races' highest-level units. Their
attack does approximately 10% more damage than the Dragon Samurai, Serpent Ronin and
Wolf Clan Werewolf. They get three attacks in the same time it takes the other clans'
heavy units to do two attacks. Players who choose to play as the Lotus Clan win 75% of
This comment is specific and fact-based. It gives the producers and designers enough
information for them to start thinking about rebalancing the units. It does not, how-
ever, suggest how the problem should be solved.
Sometimes, however, testers may have suggestions to make…
“It's Just a Suggestion�?
Play testing occurs constantly during defect testing. Because testers are not robots,
they will always be forming opinions and making judgments, however unconscious,
about the game they are testing. Occasionally, a tester may feel inspired to suggest a
design change. In some labs, these are called “suggestion bugs,�? and are frequently
ignored. Because bugs stress out programmers, artists, and project managers, they
rarely appreciate the bug list being cluttered up with a lot of suggestion, or “severity
A far more successful process of making your voice heard as a tester, if you're convinced
you've got a valuable (and reasonable) idea for a design change, is the following:
Ask yourself whether this is a worthwhile change. “Zorro's hat should be blue,�?
is not a worthwhile change.