More on Anthem Demo's "Rocky" Start

A post on Reddit from BioWare lead producer Ben Irving discusses things they are working on for the Anthem VIP demo, touching on input problems, the menu/UI, and more. He kicks things off by stressing that all the issues belie the effort that preceded the release: "One note: the team worked incredibly hard on the below. Without the full context of how many resources and how much time was available for each of the items, its hard to fully grasp the incredible effort that went in, or the reasons why there is still room for improvement. That doesn't mean its good enough, i [sic] just wanted to call it out the crazy amount of effort that has gone into Anthem before addressing the feedback :)" Likewise, there's an update from BioWare’s Head of Live Service on the BioWare Blog addressing the admittedly "rocky" start to the demo for the upcoming mechanized action/RPG. This discusses issues that have cropped up and what they are doing about them, but to start, Chad Robertson also wants to clarify a misconception: "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." Here's his rundown on where things stand:
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.

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42.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 29, 2019, 07:21
42.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 29, 2019, 07:21
Jan 29, 2019, 07:21
 
Darks wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 14:54:
Bishi wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 13:55:
Ignoring the server problems, the game is a shitshow on PC and pretty awful on consoles too. This is a DEMO not a BETA and there are huge framerate problems on both platforms as well as control issues and the terrible UI.
The gameplay itself it pretty mediocre by all accounts too, as shallow as Destiny with even less content (no PvP). Such a shame as I like 'mech' games

You are clearly delusional if you think this is anywhere near the shit show as you call it that Destiny is. Destiny in nothing but a grind fest of bullshit strung together.

They wish they had a world as large as Anthems is. You saw a very small potion of the game, but yet you have already strung this game together with that shitty ass game? Yea, you clearly don't have a clue.

Yep, Destiny is a POS also. All this junk is just shallow grindfest to keep console gamers happy.

This comment was edited on Jan 29, 2019, 08:41.
41.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 15:41
Kxmode
 
41.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 15:41
Jan 28, 2019, 15:41
 Kxmode
 
One note: the team worked incredibly hard on the below. Without the full context of how many resources and how much time was available for each of the items, its hard to fully grasp the incredible effort that went in, or the reasons why there is still room for improvement. That doesn't mean its good enough, i [sic] just wanted to call it out the crazy amount of effort that has gone into Anthem before addressing the feedback :)

People don't care about the team's efforts, they only care about the final product. A demo is a slice of the final product, and the sad fact is the underlining quality of the game reflects poorly on the state of the final product and BioWare's already tainted name.

At this point, Origin early access is a joke. It is nothing more than a glorified beta test that people are paying for via their subscription. I have yet to see an EA product launch early without issues. If EA want people to sub for the early access perk, then the product MUST be ready to play on day one of that perk; demos included.
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
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40.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 11:54
40.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 11:54
Jan 28, 2019, 11:54
 
DarkCntry wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 11:28:
Looking back, I did have one technical issue...there was an animation fault when I finished up the 'trio's' mission where they didn't do anything. I actually chalked that up to back-end issue, but looking again I'd probably say it was an engine hiccup...

If that's the worst thing that happened after the server issues, then I really can't find too much technical fault, especially considering how old this build actually is.

Now, like you said, gameplay-wise, I could find a lot of issues with it if we were to base it simply on what we saw in the demo, but I also know that what the demo had is quite literally a snapshot of a tiny portion of it. I have hope that there's more to the game, but I also know that Anthem is banking on you playing with 3 friends more than you would be solo...so that might be a red flag for me.

Of the things I've learned, having a locked 4 players in the large Free Play zones is the oddest choice and about 12 too few, should be like a 16 zone. The content seemed spread out already in these areas and 4 players max makes it just feel like a large barren space. Don't get this one, it's like they are doing everything they can to make you find players to become friends with and that is a repeated mistake with mmo's, there are going to be players of all types and you can't force this on them without losing them.
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39.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 11:28
39.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 11:28
Jan 28, 2019, 11:28
 
Looking back, I did have one technical issue...there was an animation fault when I finished up the 'trio's' mission where they didn't do anything. I actually chalked that up to back-end issue, but looking again I'd probably say it was an engine hiccup...

If that's the worst thing that happened after the server issues, then I really can't find too much technical fault, especially considering how old this build actually is.

Now, like you said, gameplay-wise, I could find a lot of issues with it if we were to base it simply on what we saw in the demo, but I also know that what the demo had is quite literally a snapshot of a tiny portion of it. I have hope that there's more to the game, but I also know that Anthem is banking on you playing with 3 friends more than you would be solo...so that might be a red flag for me.
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38.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 11:19
38.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 11:19
Jan 28, 2019, 11:19
 
DarkCntry wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 11:13:
HoSpanky wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 07:23:
They certainly lost a handful of sales from my experience alone. Constant crashes: inability to change the graphic detail level without an immediate CTD, can’t transition between zones without a CTD, can’t FIRE A BULLET without a CTD. I tolerated it in the beta, but this is the same as the public demo they’re putting out next week, and it’s a train wreck. They lost my sale and any interest I had in the game, and my friends lost interest as soon as I told them how my experience with it went.

I know that my issues aren’t what the big ones are being reported, and may be fixed sooner than later. Does that really matter? There’s zero incentive to give it a third look.

This only goes to prove that there's an issue with scalability, whether it's backend systems or supporting the myriad of systems out in the cosmos.

After the initial issues with server stability, I played through the entirety of what the demo had to offer and during that time I had zero CTDs, zero frame drops, and zero technical issues. That leads me to think that there's one or more end-user issues regarding the game than it is the game itself, something that should be investigated for sure...but the stability of the game for the anecdotal evidence I've experienced has shown that the game is fairly rock-solid on this older build.

I agree, though I still had some technical issues late. The reasons ho-spanky list about the game and why he and his friends won't buy it are the wrong one's. Those are technical startup issues that will be sorted soon. The reason I wouldn't buy the game would be to find out it has a severe lack of content, huge grind, boring drops, just not fun, those weren't mentioned. Perhaps he couldn't play long enough to get there, but again that is technical and just some time needed.
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37.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 11:13
37.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 11:13
Jan 28, 2019, 11:13
 
HoSpanky wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 07:23:
They certainly lost a handful of sales from my experience alone. Constant crashes: inability to change the graphic detail level without an immediate CTD, can’t transition between zones without a CTD, can’t FIRE A BULLET without a CTD. I tolerated it in the beta, but this is the same as the public demo they’re putting out next week, and it’s a train wreck. They lost my sale and any interest I had in the game, and my friends lost interest as soon as I told them how my experience with it went.

I know that my issues aren’t what the big ones are being reported, and may be fixed sooner than later. Does that really matter? There’s zero incentive to give it a third look.

This only goes to prove that there's an issue with scalability, whether it's backend systems or supporting the myriad of systems out in the cosmos.

After the initial issues with server stability, I played through the entirety of what the demo had to offer and during that time I had zero CTDs, zero frame drops, and zero technical issues. That leads me to think that there's one or more end-user issues regarding the game than it is the game itself, something that should be investigated for sure...but the stability of the game for the anecdotal evidence I've experienced has shown that the game is fairly rock-solid on this older build.
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36.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 11:01
36.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 11:01
Jan 28, 2019, 11:01
 
- Overall, we had excess capacity prepared for population increases, and continue to do so

- this was caused by the spike in players entering the game when we opened up


These two statements don't seem to make much sense in correlation to each other.
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35.
 
Re: Morning Tech Bits
Jan 28, 2019, 09:33
Rigs
 
35.
Re: Morning Tech Bits Jan 28, 2019, 09:33
Jan 28, 2019, 09:33
 Rigs
 
Well, this is disappointing. I just got a 2060 and I had my pick of Battlefield 5 or Anthem and it honestly took me like ten minutes to decide to go with Anthem. After watching gameplay vids of each, I figured I'd like Anthem more in the long run and it'd have more of a life than BF5. Seems to me that BF5, at least on PC, is DOA for the most part, at least now. I dunno, Anthem gave me some strong Destiny vibes, which is fine, but I'm still wondering just what the whole damn thing is about. Guess I'll find out soon. Honestly would have preferred The Division 2 or Far Cry: New Dawn instead...

=-Rigs-=
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34.
 
Re: Morning Tech Bits
Jan 28, 2019, 08:19
34.
Re: Morning Tech Bits Jan 28, 2019, 08:19
Jan 28, 2019, 08:19
 
Mordecai Walfish wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 08:01:
Do they just lack the resources to do this stuff right? They have no problem charging AAA prices and finding inventive new monetization schemes, but cant be bothered to give you any sense of security in that product or their ability to run their internet servers. Just a fucking shame.

They just don't give a shit and rightfully so. Why give a shit when you can firmly count on having myriads of gullible mouthbreathers lining up to buy your latest AAA hype regardless of quality?

This here is working 100% for EA. It is spot on. They can safely rely on it. The vast majority of people are too stupid (or too addicted) to vote with their wallet.
33.
 
Re: Morning Tech Bits
Jan 28, 2019, 08:01
33.
Re: Morning Tech Bits Jan 28, 2019, 08:01
Jan 28, 2019, 08:01
 
EA is such a damn mess. As if the Battlefield V situation could be any worse for them, it turns out that the game is completely flooded by cheaters now. Do they just lack the resources to do this stuff right? They have no problem charging AAA prices and finding inventive new monetization schemes, but cant be bothered to give you any sense of security in that product or their ability to run their internet servers. Just a fucking shame.
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32.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 07:23
32.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 07:23
Jan 28, 2019, 07:23
 
jdreyer wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 01:40:
Red886 wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 00:55:
"Overall, we had excess capacity prepared for population increases, and continue to do so"

http://blog.bioware.com/2019/01/26/anthem-vip-demo-update/

lolololololololololololololololololololololollololololololol

im going to put some money down that Anthem's launch is going to be as shitty as Simcity's

Well, probably not now. Since the demo had a very public meltdown, they lost a lot of sales.

They certainly lost a handful of sales from my experience alone. Constant crashes: inability to change the graphic detail level without an immediate CTD, can’t transition between zones without a CTD, can’t FIRE A BULLET without a CTD. I tolerated it in the beta, but this is the same as the public demo they’re putting out next week, and it’s a train wreck. They lost my sale and any interest I had in the game, and my friends lost interest as soon as I told them how my experience with it went.

I know that my issues aren’t what the big ones are being reported, and may be fixed sooner than later. Does that really matter? There’s zero incentive to give it a third look.
Avatar 15603
31.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 01:40
31.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 01:40
Jan 28, 2019, 01:40
 
Red886 wrote on Jan 28, 2019, 00:55:
"Overall, we had excess capacity prepared for population increases, and continue to do so"

http://blog.bioware.com/2019/01/26/anthem-vip-demo-update/

lolololololololololololololololololololololollololololololol

im going to put some money down that Anthem's launch is going to be as shitty as Simcity's

Well, probably not now. Since the demo had a very public meltdown, they lost a lot of sales.
"Even after you've had the COVID-19 vaccine, you still need to wash hands, watch distance and wear a mask because you can still transmit the virus even though you're not going to get sick." - NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins
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30.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 01:36
30.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 01:36
Jan 28, 2019, 01:36
 
Slick wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 23:16:
Alamar wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 13:09:
What they really need to be testing, is some DDOS attacks against themselves heh.

I almost felt sorry for the techs trying to solve the issue when it went live, because we were locked to a screen that gave us the option to try and reconnect about every 3 seconds, so there was no cooldown. Just hordes of angry nerds smashing "enter" every 3 seconds, basically a DDoS.
That was intentional. It was all part of the test.
"Even after you've had the COVID-19 vaccine, you still need to wash hands, watch distance and wear a mask because you can still transmit the virus even though you're not going to get sick." - NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins
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29.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 28, 2019, 00:55
29.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 28, 2019, 00:55
Jan 28, 2019, 00:55
 
"Overall, we had excess capacity prepared for population increases, and continue to do so"

http://blog.bioware.com/2019/01/26/anthem-vip-demo-update/

lolololololololololololololololololololololollololololololol

im going to put some money down that Anthem's launch is going to be as shitty as Simcity's
28.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 27, 2019, 23:34
28.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 27, 2019, 23:34
Jan 27, 2019, 23:34
 
Alamar wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 13:09:
This isn't a new or uncommon problem... This shit still happens to WoW, which has been doing this stuff for 14 years... And their explanation is the same... PTR (public test realm) doesn't get enough players to hammer the servers...

Creston wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 22:44:
Which just goes to show what a bullshit excuse it is. I mean, seriously, the games industry has been having this problem for nigh on TWENTY FUCKING YEARS now. What, they still haven't been able to figure it out? Please. It's just because they want to see if they can run their game on three fucking potatoes first, and then when that crashes horribly, they begrudgingly scale up a few more VMs.

Do you think the corporate world still has these issues with scalability? No. But by and large, they also don't constantly try to skimp out on the cost of a server. (or rather I should say, the cost of a few licenses for a VM. As Warskull perfectly explained, if you use any of the Big 3 (or Big 4 if you want to count Oracle) for your servers, they scale those things up on demand, through a dashboard. It literally takes like 30 seconds.

MS keeps putting out security patches monthly and that is many times more important. Look at the Vampire game, I swear that guy is just an attention whore!
Avatar 17232
27.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 27, 2019, 23:23
Slick
 
27.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 27, 2019, 23:23
Jan 27, 2019, 23:23
 Slick
 
Warskull wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 14:50:
Alamar wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 13:09:
Overon wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 12:13:
All those millions of dollars and they can't even get basic shit right. It's a red flag.

Your logic is sound... But then you should apply it to every game that has this problem, which is basically every game with logging in (which may be the real problem).

This isn't a new or uncommon problem... This shit still happens to WoW, which has been doing this stuff for 14 years...

WoW is 14 years old, it is understandable. Modern games should never have this problem. There is no more risk of buying too many servers. You either partner with Microsoft, Amazon, or Google and do dynamically requisitioned virtual servers. When your server load is high, you automatically request additional servers and have them set-up. When the load drops off, you automatically let them go and the are decommissioned.

Overwatch did it with Amazon and despite one of the largest FPS launches in history didn't have a single server issue. Ubisoft is doing it pair with Google.

They over easy to use tools. They only reason to have your servers fail due to load these days is you are behind the times. This is cause purely by EA's laziness and incompetence.

Amazon has all the scaling and backend work already done.

While I agree with 90% of your post, I don't get how modern games should have this running out of the gate if WoW is still having issues with 14 years of experience.

It is silly that they seem to have to reinvent the wheel over and over again, but I'm guessing that it's probably more difficult than we're making it out. If it was as simple as plugging in a commend to open up new servers on-the-fly, then they would have done that. Their corporate overlords might be incompetant, but the people running the game I think can click those 2 neurons on to George Jetson their way out of that problem.

I'd love to read an actual account from a back-end engineer on what a launch of a massive MP title is like, and maybe some insight as to why this shit keeps happening.
For your transgressions you shall be labeled a shill, called an idiot and anytime you mention facts or disagree with a tribe member you will henceforth be known as a troll. The best you can hope for is that the labels won't haunt your offspring. -RedEye9
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26.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 27, 2019, 23:16
Slick
 
26.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 27, 2019, 23:16
Jan 27, 2019, 23:16
 Slick
 
Alamar wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 13:09:
What they really need to be testing, is some DDOS attacks against themselves heh.

I almost felt sorry for the techs trying to solve the issue when it went live, because we were locked to a screen that gave us the option to try and reconnect about every 3 seconds, so there was no cooldown. Just hordes of angry nerds smashing "enter" every 3 seconds, basically a DDoS.
For your transgressions you shall be labeled a shill, called an idiot and anytime you mention facts or disagree with a tribe member you will henceforth be known as a troll. The best you can hope for is that the labels won't haunt your offspring. -RedEye9
Avatar 57545
25.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 27, 2019, 22:45
25.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 27, 2019, 22:45
Jan 27, 2019, 22:45
 
Burrito of Peace wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 13:50:
Gee, if only there were some sort of tool that could replicate the conditions of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of users logging in to a service requiring authentication. Some sort of software that was automated that would give you a direct report on bottlenecks to authentication, how fast or slow your authdb is under load, and where load balancing might relieve congestion.

Oh, if only this magical software existed and was within the financial reach of a tiny, garage located startup like EA!

Thank you. Get the fuck out of here, Chad Robertson. Stop blowing smoke for EA's cheap-ass beancounters.
Avatar 15604
24.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 27, 2019, 22:44
24.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 27, 2019, 22:44
Jan 27, 2019, 22:44
 
Alamar wrote on Jan 27, 2019, 13:09:
This isn't a new or uncommon problem... This shit still happens to WoW, which has been doing this stuff for 14 years... And their explanation is the same... PTR (public test realm) doesn't get enough players to hammer the servers...

Which just goes to show what a bullshit excuse it is. I mean, seriously, the games industry has been having this problem for nigh on TWENTY FUCKING YEARS now. What, they still haven't been able to figure it out? Please. It's just because they want to see if they can run their game on three fucking potatoes first, and then when that crashes horribly, they begrudgingly scale up a few more VMs.

Do you think the corporate world still has these issues with scalability? No. But by and large, they also don't constantly try to skimp out on the cost of a server. (or rather I should say, the cost of a few licenses for a VM. As Warskull perfectly explained, if you use any of the Big 3 (or Big 4 if you want to count Oracle) for your servers, they scale those things up on demand, through a dashboard. It literally takes like 30 seconds.

This comment was edited on Jan 27, 2019, 23:16.
Avatar 15604
23.
 
Re: More on Anthem Demo's
Jan 27, 2019, 22:39
23.
Re: More on Anthem Demo's Jan 27, 2019, 22:39
Jan 27, 2019, 22:39
 
To ensure stability, we intended to manage our servers to match the player population as it grew.

Yeah, that worked out really well. If there's one word that I think sums up your beta demo so far, it's STABILITY. Rolleyes

This comment was edited on Jan 27, 2019, 23:15.
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