“Patch Notes Day is approximately as exciting as Christmas and your birthday combined, if you knew all you were getting was a list of data (but you were, like, really into data).”

As someone who used to write — and enjoy writing! — voluminous rules lists for intricate CCGs, I can somewhat see where Grinding Gear Games’ Senior Narrative Designer Nick Kolan is coming from. And now you can see the process behind producing patch notes, a process that Kolan detailed yesterday on the Path of Exile site.

After sorting through the 20,000-or-so changes to the game with each patch (“Once I’m done, I have a stiff drink and grit my teeth”) and deciding on the most important ones, Kolan has to translate the various programmers’ “god-awful” notes — which have “gotten a lot better since I started threatening to karate-chop their necks” — into something that players will be able to understand. This is also when he writes “silly jokes into patch notes to keep myself amused.”

The entire process sounds grueling and generally thankless, with Kolan and others needing to check around 10,000 words’ worth of notes for accuracy — both in-game and verbally, accounting for eight different languages. Then comes Patch Day, where the notes are formatted for the website by “masochist” Community Manager Natalia while Community Director Bex keeps the community appeased “like a monkey dancing for scraps in a bazaar, except the scraps are upvotes.” Of course, there are never any errors and Kolan can then take the rest of the week off. (Spoiler: This is not true.)

It’s a properly amusing read even if you aren’t interested in the topic or the game itself. Also, in case you’ve forgotten, Kolan reminds us that the next update — and its patch notes — will drop on Jan. 12. Maybe you should cut the team a little slack if everything isn’t quite perfect that day.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.


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