Meet Mia (mia) - Arkheim's Quality Assurance

Ever wondered how a game like Arkheim - Realms at War is made? What is the journey of an idea before it makes it to the game? How are bugs being fixed? Who creates the beautiful images? How do we keep players entertained? And - who are the human beings behind this project? The Arkheim - Realms at War Team invites you to take a peek behind the scenes. Today we want you to meet Quality Assurance Mia!

Discord name: mia

Hi Mia. First of all, tell us something about yourself. What is your background and how did you end up in the Arkheim Team?
Hi! As a kid I was always passionate about games and it was a constant battle with my brother over who gets to spend more time playing on the PC. In University I studied Romanian and English translations, but my first real job was in 2014 at a game developer, where I tested several mobile games like Order and Chaos 2: Redemption and My Little Pony. Following my relocation to Germany, I started searching again for a job in the gaming industry. At the beginning of 2018 I found my way to Travian Games in Munich and I've been working ever since in the Arkheim team.

How would you describe your role in the Arkheim Team?
I am one of the two people that get to play through the game from its early stages of development until it is presented to the players. My main role is to check whether the new features that are being implemented are working as intended or not. Through testing, I get to experience the game in all its depths. As QA (Quality Assurance), we are the ones who know the game best, how the fighting system works, when different features unlock at which part in the game, and generally how it's supposed to work. It takes a lot of creativity to find different ways to try to break the game and that is probably my favorite part!

Many people think QA means playing games all day and must be lots of fun - tell us a bit about what it is really like.
Indeed, most of my friends think I just play games all day and it's the dream job. In reality, I could say it is my dream job, I absolutely love it and I wouldn't see myself doing anything else. Some of the bugs that I find are quite hilarious and I have fun discovering them, but that's not what all this is about. It takes a lot of patience to go slowly through things and do them repetitively, making sure I don't miss anything.

What is the process between finding a bug and implementing the fix?
For all the bugs that I find, I will document them by writing a bug-report which includes a description, reproduction steps and print-screens or videos. All the bugs end up in the hands of the developers, who work their magic and fix them so that they eventually come back in testing to be checked again. Most of the bugs are pretty straightforward and easy to spot, but I am sometimes challenged with the task of finding out how and why a bug is happening, and it could take several hours or even a full day/days to finally track it down. In rare cases, some bugs will always remain a mystery.

What is the worst bug you ever had to deal with?
Oh, there are too many to mention, but I can say the worst kind of bugs are the ones that are extremely obvious, they are potentially game-breaking and there was no way for me to have found them, because they never happened on the test server. One good example could be the one from the Early Access I round, when a Realm managed to Eternally Ascend within a short amount of time (instead of 36h ) by simply taking over a second Ascension Gate. That never happened on the test server of course and probably never will, but the code decided to work in a very mysterious way in that case on the live server.

What's something that most people don't know about you? Any hidden talents?
Give me a few colorful threads and I will make a friendship bracelet out of it! I enjoy making them even if it takes quite some time. My favorite piece is a Minion that I turned into a keychain. I have been volunteering ever since I was in college. My last activity was being a teacher at an integration school for the refugee women class. I helped them learn how to use a computer, make their first e-mail address and a CV. The things people take for granted, like typing on a keyboard or double clicking with a mouse is quite a challenge for someone who has never had that opportunity.

And lastly, do you have a message for our readers out there?
Yes I do! Dear players, thank you very much for all your support and dedication. I love to see you having fun and enjoying the game, as I did myself (it is addictive!!!). I am also very grateful for all your feedback, but most importantly for all the bugs that you reported. Please continue doing that, even if it feels like it's a tiny unimportant bug. Post it in the forum, on discord or write it to me privately, whichever way you prefer I am happy to receive it!

Do you have any more question for Mia? Let us know in the comments below!