BioWare explain what went wrong with the Anthem demo

Suffice to say Anthem hasn’t had made the best first impressions with a number of problems during the VIP demo weekend.

If you did manage to get the game to connect you might have encountered other players lagging and jumping all over the screen, or getting stuck on a loading screen. I had both, along with some very distracting pop up, a camera that seemed to be having seizures, and an awful lot of loading screens.

Chad Robertson, BioWare’s Head of Live Service, has posted a blog explaining what went wrong.

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.

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. 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.

While there are a number of issues we dealt with yesterday, the three primary areas were:

  1. Platform connections – this was caused by the spike in players entering the game when we opened up. Unfortunately, these issues did not present themselves during our internal testing. Investigations are ongoing, and we will continue to apply fixes throughout the weekend.
  2. Entitlements – these are account flags that grant players things like their pre-order incentives and demo access. During the demo weekend, we identified a bug where VIP players with a specific combination of entitlements were being blocked from accessing the demo. We believe we’ve resolved most of these, but have additional cases we are addressing.
  3. “Infinite loads” – this is occurring for some players, particularly when they transition from Fort Tarsis to an expedition. We saw this only in isolated cases during internal testing and believed it was resolved. Unfortunately, the problem is exacerbated in the real-world where differences with player’s ISPs and home networks introduce new behavior.

Today, our top priorities are:

  1. Continue to resolve any reports of issues with login and entitlement problems.
  2. Implement fixes to address “infinite loads”. 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.
  3. Improve server performance. We’ve heard reports of rubber-banding and other signs of server latency. 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.

I have given the demo another try this evening and the lag has gone but it crashed after ten minutes so… yeah.

Source: Bioware

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  1. Fair play on them being upfront and explaining. Obviously you would prefer they got it right first time but too many companies don’t explain what is wrong that it just infuriates fans. Transparency in this situation is welcomed.

    • Agreed. In a perfect world it would have gone without a hitch but the transparency above can only help the situation – assuming it’s being read by someone mature enough to appreciate how difficult these things are.

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