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The QAT Gazette: October 2017

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There have been major developments in the Quality Assurance Team and Beatmap Nominators this month, with new QAT leaders, changes to the Nominator Tier system, revival of mapping contests, and more ranked maps per day! Curious to know more? Read on to find out!

Hello again everyone! Another month has passed, so here we are with the second issue of the QAT Gazette! New Beatmap Nominators have joined for osu!taiko, osu!catch and osu!mania, the QAT and Beatmap Nominator Upheaval is underway and Mapping with Rewards has made a return - these are just some of the topics in this month’s issue, so let’s begin!

The Upheaval

The Upheaval was probably the biggest event of changes affecting the Quality Assurance Team and the Beatmap Nominators we have seen for a long time. For those of you who may have missed the details, you can still read more about it in the Development Forum Thread, but the main outcomes are explained below!

No More Tiers

As we discussed last month, the biggest point in the Upheaval was the removal of the Beatmap Nominator Tier system. Previously, we split the osu! Beatmap Nominators into two groups - Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 members were able to bubble maps only, whereas Tier 2 members were able to bubble and also qualify beatmaps.

Many people were not happy about these changes because of the lack of Tier 2 Nominators. The amount of bubbled beatmaps increased, while the amount of Qualified beatmaps was reduced a lot. With the Upheaval, we have replaced the Tier system with an alternative “probation” system (more of this later in the blog!), allowing all full member Beatmap Nominators to both bubble and qualify beatmaps again!

Beatmap Nominator Rewards

You may have already seen that all Beatmap Nominators received a “Beatmap Nominator” forum title and a special purple forum colour. The older players among you will maybe know this colour, as it is really similar to the old Mapping Assistance Team colour.

It is planned for members of the Beatmap Nominators to also receive further rewards for their effort, including special titles for consistently active members over long periods of time. How we judge the awarding of this Elite Nominator title is still being decided on.

QAT Leaders

The last important point of the Upheaval was the determination of a Quality Assurance Team Leader. The QAT Leader is supposed to promote discussion, organise further development, and provide a communication line between game developers and the QAT / Beatmap Nominators. This makes it much easier for the needs of Beatmap Nominators and the QAT to be heard, and also for the game developers to take action on potential problems. Communication has improved quite a lot as a result!

Three of our QATs, Deif, JBHyperion and Okorin proposed themselves for the position, and after a voting period open to all other QATs and Beatmap Nominators, Okorin and JBHyperion were elected to the position. They will continue to push forward the remaining proposals from the Upheaval and beyond!

Beatmap Nominator Applications

New Beatmap Nominators have arrived once again! Whilst Beatmap Nominator applications for osu! are currently underway, applications for osu!taiko, osu!catch and osu!mania from September have come to an conclusion, and we would like to welcome following new members to the Beatmap Nominators:

For osu!taiko: Gabe, Taikocracy, frukoyurdakul, neonat, xfraczynho and Chromoxx

For osu!catch: Electoz and alienflybot

For osu!mania: Asherz007, Litharrale and Weber

As mentioned previously, we replaced the Tier system with the probation phase, which lasts for two months at most. In this time the Nominator is able to bubble beatmaps, but not to qualify them. You could call it a “test run”, where the probationary BNs are closely supervised by the QAT.

Having joined as probationary Beatmap Nominators several weeks ago, these new members have demonstrated an acceptable level of activity and quality in this time. As such, they have recently become full members of the Beatmap Nominators who can both bubble and qualify beatmaps.

The Qualification Cap

osu! continues to grow every day, and the mapping community is no exception. To account for the huge amount of new beatmaps aiming to reach Ranked status, Beatmap Nominators can now qualify 3 beatmaps per day, up from just 1. This, along with the removal of the Beatmap Nominator Tier system, meant that the amount of Qualified beatmaps literally doubled in the space of just one month, if not more!

Because of these factors, beatmaps may have spent up to 12 days or even more in the Qualified stage. Since this was awfully slow and unproductive, we raised the amount of beatmaps that can leave the Qualified stage per day to 8, up from 6. This will shorten the time that a beatmap set will remain in qualified, hopefully back down towards the target of 7 days.

Within the Quality Assurance Team

Unfortunately, after nearly three years of service, our resident metadata expert IamKwaN has decided to step down from the QAT in order to seek some well-earned rest and relaxation. Her monumental efforts in the fields of metadata checking and standardisation have truly been a credit to osu! and the mapping community, and her absence will be a great loss to our team.

Additionally, one of our newest team members, Cryptic has also departed after a short tenure to focus on IRL duties. You will be missed guys, thanks for your contributions!

It’s not all sad news however, as we also have two new additions too! Please give a warm welcome to the Quality Assurance Team for Naxess and Raiden!

Together with Mao, Naxess will assist with development of the Beatmap Nominator subdivisions, where his experience coding a Discord bot for logging Beatmap Nominator activity will be invaluable.

Raiden has been responsible for a large amount of work on the new osu!taiko Ranking Criteria, and has joined to help manage the osu!taiko Beatmap Nominators who have grown a lot with the last phase of applications.

Mapping with Rewards is back!

Some of you might remember the old Mapping with Rewards event, but Okorin has recently taken the lead and revived it. You can now choose from three awesome songs to create a beatmap set in any mode of your choosing for this contest.

All you have to do is map one of the listed tracks, upload them to both BSS and the contest page and you're done! Your set can be even ranked already when entering. After the 3 month deadline has passed, a team of dedicated judges will review the entries and decide which is the best.

The creator of the winning beatmap set for each game mode will receive several rewards, such as a 6 months of osu!supporter, a profile badge and more! If you haven’t read it yet make sure to head over to the MWR announcement page and read more about it!

If you want even more mapping events, Irreversible has something special planned for the coming month, so stay tuned!

Summary

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed reading this month’s issue of the QAT Gazette as much I had fun writing it! (No, I really had fun writing it!)

As always, if you have any questions about mapping, modding or other related topics you wish to ask us about, make sure to leave it below!

—Feerum