(A quick note: If you don’t know World of Warcraft, skip about 4 paragraphs down. If you do know it, it’s thoroughly worth reading and pertinent. We at Portent love to geek out now and then.)
My best friend and her boyfriend recently started playing World of Warcraft, so I’ve reactivated my account after a year hiatus. While I’m an old timer with massively multiplayer roleplaying games, this is my friends’ first foray. I’ve been trying to teach them the internet gaming lingo and nuances to playing in a group (aggro management and the like).
I’m playing a priest because I thought it would be most helpful while my friends learned the game. They are playing a mage and warrior. I’ve done my healer duties diligently, keeping everyone alive while they pounded away massive damage. During one of these sessions, my warrior friend said, “These guys are lame… they aren’t even hurting me.”
I was stunned. They weren’t hurting him because I cast a damage shield that protected him from damage he would otherwise be taking!
The parallel to my job in QA hit me immediately. They didn’t realize what I was doing for them.
A quality assurance specialist is like a support class, just like a priest in WoW. While the designers, producers and developers are creating the way a page looks and the way it works, a QA specialist makes sure it all works together.
We’re geared to work with a team, not go-it-alone. While many small projects could function without the support of QA, it’s just like doing quests in WoW – you’ll get the job done but it will take a lot longer, and there’s less room for error. Large scale raids cannot function successfully without a good healer team, just like large projects without QA.
With the support of QA, you have the confidence to try amazing, risky things because we’ve got your back.
Whether you survive massive raids or projects isn’t due to just one person or class, but it is a sign of a well functioning team with everyone performing their specialties to the best of their abilities so we can all get the loot.
Cathy Braun is Portent Interactive’s Quality Assurance Lead and has somehow found a way to introduce real quality assurance in a marketing agency. No small feat.