BioWare opens up about Anthem's "rocky" demo but disputes it "under-planned" for server capacity
"Our VIP demo weekend did not go exactly as we planned."
BioWare's head of live service has issued an update about the "rocky" launch of Anthem's VIP demo, disputing speculation that the developer "under-planned" for server capacity.
"Yesterday was rocky. The first day of our VIP demo weekend did not go exactly as we planned, and I want to share what happened," said BioWare's head of live service, Chad Robertson began on the BioWare blog. "We've been testing the entire game and platform for several months, but there were a few things we missed; real-world play frequently leads to unexpected issues.
"Before I share details on this and what we're still facing, I want to dispel one comment we've seen: that we under-planned for server capacity," Robertson added. "To ensure stability, we intended to manage our servers to match the player population as it grew. Overall, we had excess capacity prepared for population increases, and continue to do so. That said, what's important is that all parts of the game work as designed to meet players' needs, and that did not happen in the opening hours."
Day 1 of the VIP Demo didn't go as planned. We'd like to let you know what happened and what we're doing to fix it.— Anthem (@anthemgame) January 26, 2019
Note from our BioWare Head of Live Service, Chad Roberston: https://t.co/0bLV0nEp4h
The post goes on to detail three chief issues; platform connections, entitlements, and infinite loads. The former did not present itself in internal testing, and "investigations are ongoing", with the studio continuing to apply fixes over the weekend. The issue with entitlements, on the other hand - the term given to the incentives and demo access given to players who have pre-ordered - became problematic when a bug identified players with specific combinations of entitlements and blocked them. The team believes these issues have mostly been resolved now.
The latter - "infinite loads" - occurred when players moved from Fort Tarsis to an expedition - an issue I've encountered dozens of times myself during the weekend. While it did crop up in internal testing and had believed to have been resolved, the problem was "exacerbated in the real-world where differences with player's ISPs and home networks introduce new behaviour".
Going forward, the team is set on resolving continuing issues with login and entitlement - reach out to Answer HQ if you're still having problems - and hopes to "implement fixes" to address the infinite loads issue.
"I want to be upfront that this is a difficult one, and something we may not resolve during this weekend - many players are not seeing this issue and the last thing we want to do is destabilize the experience for everyone," Robertson stressed. The developer will also be addressing general server performance issues, such as rubber-banding.
"We believe we can address this and will be conducting some small-scale experiments to confirm that. We may roll some fixes out this weekend or may wait for the open demo next weekend, depending on the level of risk to the overall service."
While the issues have dominated social media, Robertson's keen to reinforce that there have been "many players enjoying the game", with the highly-anticipated sci-fi shooter pulling in over 300,000 concurrent Twitch viewers yesterday, and clocking up an impressive 100 million minutes of viewing. And as thank you to everyone's who's participated in the demo and endured issues, BioWare is awarding all participants with an additional Javelin skin.
"We appreciate everyone's patience and sincerely apologize for those who have had issues getting into the game", Robertson concluded. "As a token of appreciation for your enthusiasm and any issues you encountered, we're giving everyone who participated in the VIP demo weekend an additional new vinyl at launch."
If you're looking to make the most out of your limited time with this Anthem demo, here's six Anthem tips, tricks and things to know for dominating in Anthem.