PTU Invites

We thought we’d take a minute to discuss how we’ll be running invites to early rounds of Public Test Universe (PTU) testing.

The PTU is designed to be a staging environment where we can deploy builds for external players to test before it goes to the ‘Live’ service. As most early builds on a new release aren’t anywhere close to being ready for prime time, they require multiple rounds of bug fixing, new builds, and additional downloads. We then make several iterative changes to test the new content and features plus work on stability across the service before deploying to Live.

As part of this process, we learned that the signal-to-noise ratio for the early iterations of a build was far too low; sifting through the mountains of data on our forums that thousands of players would provide in order to find information that would help us make the build better was a logistical nightmare.

We asked ourselves: Wouldn’t it be far more fruitful to have a small group of technically-minded players hammering away on the early builds to accurately get us the information we needed to make it better?

Enter Evocati Test Flight.

The Evocati are a small group of testers we’ve picked from Issue Council reporters and PTU participants who get a very early build of a release version. These builds the Evocati get are deemed “not quite ready for normal PTU” either due to bugs or due to features that might be removed depending on how the testing goes.

Once a build is stabilized and features are completed, we then roll that build out to a wider audience.

The current PTU release format is as follows:

  • Evocati (800 invites): Our smallest group of testers who help us get our releases ready for a proper public viewing more quickly! Picked from Issue Council posters with multiple submissions or contributions and from our most active PTU testers.

  • Wave One (6,000 invites): Approximately 1,000 accounts from participating on Issue Council with one New Report and one Contribution, plus 5,000 accounts who have played more than five PTU builds in the last three months.

  • Wave Two (12,000 additional invites, 18,000 total): 12,000 accounts who have played three to five PTU builds in the last three months.

  • Wave Three (16,000 additional invites, 34,000 total): 16,000 accounts who have played two PTU builds.

  • Wave Four (80,000 additional invites, 114,000 total): 80,000 accounts who have played one PTU build in the last three months.

  • Wave Five: Open to all.

Since we’ve started this process, we’ve only used the Wave One PTU Testers. Should there be a situation where more players are needed for a stress test, we’ll invite additional Waves.

Please note: Even though we call it the ‘Live’ service, it’s still very much in the Alpha stage of development, and there are tons of features and optimizations to be added. Players on the ‘Live’ service are very much testers, too!

Still, it’s easy to get involved with PTU! We’ll update our invite numbers every few months, so make sure you are active within the Issue Council as well as playing as many PTU builds as possible!