Forged in Aeternum: How We Plan for Minor Updates

May 22, 2023

Greetings, Adventurers!

Minor Updates, Major Releases, and Fast Patches continue to make Aeternum even more immersive. Minor Updates include quality of life fixes, while Major Updates feature new content. Check out the video below for a full comparison between the two. But what about Fast Patches? Read on to learn how they work.

What is a Fast Patch?

Live Operations Lead Producer Derek Hernandez went on to explain the Fast Patch process for New World:

“When a significant issue emerges, it undergoes a series of triage steps, starting with the initial investigation and reproduction by the QA team, and then progresses through Production and Feature Leads,” said Derek. “Most bugs are assigned to an upcoming Major game update, which we strive to release quarterly.”

“To address time sensitive situations, we have a couple of options: Minor Patches and Fast Patches. While we discussed Majors and Minors in the above video, we also occasionally utilize Fast Patches, or hotfixes. Major Updates adhere to a quarterly schedule, with Minor Updates filling in the gaps approximately every other week. However, if a critical issue arises that cannot wait 1 to 2 weeks to be resolved, we deploy Fast Patches—unscheduled builds. This internal pipeline enables us to swiftly implement fixes while other patches are still being finalized, either in active development or testing. For these Fast Patches, we only include 1 to 2 critical fixes that significantly impact the game. This allows us to move fast! Once the patch is successfully built and tested (a multi-hour process), it is promptly deployed to the live environment.“

“As a recent example, on April 25, we released a new Minor Update to activate the Springtide Bloom event. Unfortunately, this patch introduced a new bug to the leaderboard system, causing players with certain character data to receive reward notifications repeatedly whenever they teleported. While we were eventually able to disable the system (and the spam) through special backend technology, each week that the feature failed to process rewards resulted in a growing list of affected players who would eventually qualify for a leaderboard reward but wouldn't receive one.”

“Instead of waiting for the next scheduled patch in 2 weeks or shipping the in-progress patch ahead of schedule with limited testing, we decided to integrate the fix into our Fast Patch pipeline once it had been tested and verified by QA. We created a new build, subjected the patch to our release test passes, and then rolled out the fix to players on May 4, while still allowing us to finalize and ship our intended patch on schedule for May 9. This approach enabled us to reactivate the feature and reduce the number of potentially delayed rewards by 50%!"

What minor update do you need in your life to be more agile? Let us know on Discord, Reddit, or the YouTube comments section. Thanks for your support! We’ll see you in Aeternum.