What does it take for you to report bugs in an addon?
I was in the Deadly Boss Mods Discord server recently, and the channel was talking about bugs and how they are often ‘in the wild’ for multiple versions of an addon before being reported. I asked Adam, the primary developer for DBM, what the longest a bug had been active in DBM code was (that he was aware of) — the answer was 14 years. In the end it was picked by the development team.
People often joke about ‘small indie company’ about bugs in Blizzard’s code, but most addon developers are small independent developers. They don’t have a dedicated test team; many of them don’t have moderation teams for their support channels to help field questions. They’re one person who built something they wanted and shared it.
Providing feedback or useful bug reports can be the difference between an addon getting wider adoption or withering in a dusty repo somewhere. Even Blizzard benefit from actually submitting bug reports instead of just moaning about things in Trade Chat. The reason the semi-public betas and PTR exist is because more eyes are better when it comes to finding bugs. I’ve been very fortunate to be in multiple World of Warcraft betas and several others over the years. It’s not uncommon to encounter at least a few people each time complaining on the forums that the game is unplayable without giving specifics.
When sending in a bug report, whether it’s for an addon or the game itself, I like to follow these tips/steps:
- In what version of the game did you find the bug – this is especially important if reporting on the forums where it may not be automatically linked to the build number.
- In what version of the addon did you encounter the bug.
- Did you capture an error code or LUA error? If so, paste it into the bug report. In beta you will often find people writing up long and detailed bug reports on the forums because they are too long to fit into the Blizzard in game bug reporting tool.
- Is the bug repeatable? If so, under what conditions can you make it occur? This might include – where were you in game, what class, race and spec was the character that triggered the bug, were you on a quest or in a specific instance, which mount or pet were you using, which weapon or trinket?
- If possible, can you cause the bug to reoccur on different characters?
Usually the best place to report an addon issue is at the same place you downloaded the addon from. Many will have an ‘issues’ register linked from the main addon page on Curse or elsewhere. If they don’t have a specific issues page, there is still usually the option to leave comments. When it comes to troubleshooting issues, intermittent issues are the hardest to pin down and the more information you can provide, the better.
Reporting a bug is the first step to getting it fixed. Addon authors and Blizzard themselves don’t push faulty software because they want to. What does it take for you to report a bug when you find one?
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