The official role of QA (Quality Assurance) in software projects is to assure quality — that is, the software works as designed, and the design is reasonable. They find bugs.
But in a game, they do more. QA plays the game more than anyone, and has the best sense of how it works. Is it fun? Is it too hard or too easy? Does the UI work? What’s missing?
In King of Dragon Pass, the “heroic combat” concept came about because Rob Heinsoo felt something was lacking. (He ended up writing most of these scenes, too.)
I just finished implementing a suggestion from Liana Kerr:
I feel like there’s not a lot of connection between your opening questionnaire and your clan management. I have no emotional connection to the fact that we know the secrets of [redacted], because it’s never referenced again.
Well, it now is. And while a few questions don’t get an explicit mention later, I just made sure that every answer from two questions shows up in at least one scene. (The others are at least mentioned implicitly, like your ancestral enemy, or give bonuses in scenes.)
Earlier, she suggested
Advice about raiding-related promises currently shows up in the War screen, but if you go to the Raid screen, it doesn’t. As a player I’d be more likely to expect to see it in the Raid screen and would entirely miss it in the War screen.
One problem I’ve always had with KoDP is that someone dies and I immediately forget who they were — that is, I just see the name and I don’t necessarily connect it with the face that I’ve been looking at for several years. It may be a little different with Six Ages, since the UI is a little different with the ring members’ names underneath their pictures … Two suggestions: …
and so on. More good ideas that got implemented.
For that matter, it’s not just QA that can influence the game. Much of the current combat feedback is based on a suggestion by Jan Pospíšil.
Not every team suggestion ends up in the game. Some are still on the backlog of possible tasks. But more input makes for a higher quality game.