As World of Warcraft: Shadowlands comes closer and closer, Blizzard has begun performing stress tests to see where they most need to improve on the live servers.
Primarily, stress tests are, as the name implies, content tests in which the developers throw as much as they can at an area of the game and see if it works. This is useful to check not just the function of a particular part of the game, but how well it holds up.
There are some things that just can’t be tested during development, and one of those is whether something can handle the load of thousands of players interacting at once. Often times stress testing is among the last steps for development.
In this particular instance, the stress test is for content that’s already live on the Beta. However, while the Beta is active with plenty of players, the number of active players invited to the Beta pales in comparison to the millions playing WoW on the retail servers.
“While the changes being tested will not be highly visible to you, they are quite meaningful to our game service,” Blizzard wrote in their post to the forums, calling on players to come and help them with the testing.
The first #Shadowlands PTR stress test is starting very soon! Blizzard has provided more information on how you can help gather them data through chat channels:https://t.co/6V34r6QbLX pic.twitter.com/78su3XDzpk
— Wowhead (@Wowhead) September 30, 2020
“The Shadowlands Beta is already running these changes and we’ve had success testing them there, but never with as extremely high a number of testers on a single realm as we’d like to see.”
The tests are taking place on September 30th, 12:00 Noon and 7:00 PM PDT, so the chances are high that they’re done by the time you’re reading this. We’ll be discussing the results of the stress test as soon as Blizzard makes a public statement regarding them.
The format of the test is as simple as going to the Anasterian or Benedictus PTR realms and creating a character. Testers were asked to simply play as they would normally for as long as they could spare, utilizing chats along the way.
This isn’t meant to be a wonderful gaming experience, though. Blizzard warns that the extremely high load will cause crashes and that they’ll likely be disconnecting players on purpose to generate higher load spikes as well, so expect a choppy performance.
Blizzard expects to be done gathering the data they need within 20-30 minutes, though they didn’t give a limit on when they’ll end the stress test. Focusing heavily on chats and requesting that players utilize the ShadowlandsTestDiscussion chat channel, this might be the only time that spam has been useful for gaming purposes.