UO Stratics' Lady Beth, General News Reporter, was recently able to touch bases with FarmerFarley, Quality Assurance, on a number of issues regarding Ultima Online and even about his personal background. The following are the highlights of that discussion:
What exactly do you do?
I read incoming player Reported bugs (emails and Message boards), try to reproduce them in the test environment and then document them. I test some live publish fixes and changes. I also have been known to suggest some artifacts and challenging bosses. (Blaze or Death, The General's w/ teleport Slam attack, and area poison attack on Yamadon. Just to name a few of the things I contributed in the last year.)

What is a typical day like for you in Q&A?
I read a lot of emails regarding in game issues. Through out the day I check on specific issues in our test environments. Once in a while I get to relax and hang out on the public test center and watch the players. Most of my days are spent trying to solve complicated bug reports.

How long have you worked at EA and have you always been in Q&A?
I started in QA 4 years ago at EA. I tested a lot of Sims expansion titles, Motor City Online, Sims Online, and Earth and beyond, before UO.

What did you do before you worked at EA then?
I played online games, full time for about 2 years before deciding I should get a job in the real world again, before that I made Photo Copies on a graveyard shift.

Do you think the process that is currently set up for collecting bug information (example: the email and the Stratics forum) works good or do you think there could be a better way to get this information?
I like getting email, I like when players post problems and another players help them. So both avenues have their benefits

About how many emails do you get on a daily basis that are bug reports?
10 to 20 e-mails a day Most are repeats but its nice to see whats bothering people.

Is it difficult to recreate the bugs and then try fix them? For example can it take days or weeks to recreate a bug or is it a simple process that can be done in a day?
Some are easier than others. The most complicated bugs are Faction and Guild related issues where systems take weeks to properly test.

Do you play UO yourself or other MMORPGs?
Yes I play UO. I also play(ed) City of Heroes, World of Ward Crafts, EQ and EQ2, Shadow Bane, Anarchy online, DAoC, E&B and Before all these graphical user interfaces were put in place I played several MUDs, notably Gemstone 4 was my first online multiplayer.

What shard do you normally play and what is your favorite character?
I have a Bushido Sword wielder with a little Paladin in the template works out nicely. I also have a tamer mage, not GM Taming it's a tedious skill to practice but worth the effort when I get there someday.

Tell us a little about yourself. What for example is your background, are you married, favorite color, favorite movie, ect.
I love to play online. I like meeting new people most of all. I actually met a New UO player just the other day wandering taming animals with his ninja in Tokuno. At first I thought this is an old player trying to scam me, but he was really new to UO. I gave him a tour, some money for item insurance, geared him up (with a couple Tomarties even) and gave him a rune book with some safe places and some dangerous places marked. I even had my new player ticket still for him to click so I got a fireworks wand for my good deeds. I'd like to hope the rest of the Veteran players would be as nice to a new player.