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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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