This is because You have to switch the vendor for those packages. OpenSUSE doesn’t change the vendor of packages even if newer version exists unless You do a zypper dup and only then the priorities come to play (zypper up doesn’t switch package vendor). You can also do this manually using YaST and switching system packages to the versions frome some repo.
Then I have one last question; In 11.3 it did show them and if you choose to install it asked you if you wanted to do a vendor change. Personally I thought this was horrible for none nerd users. But is it still possible to flip some switch and make zypper show them? This because I now get the feeling I need to check software manually if some vendor has a new version that might solve a problem.
Nope. It cheks for updates from vendors I have configured for me automatically. I think it depends on how You have Kpackagekit configured. Are You sure “zypper up” from terminal doesn’t show latest packages after You switch the vendor ?
There is a switch in YaST to voilate the rule of not changing the vendor of packages without user interaction. When You uncheck that switch I guess it will change the vendors of packages according to the priorities You’ve got (the ones with lowest priorities will be chosen) but I’m not sure about this.