BioWare talks about Anthem’s ‘rocky’ demo weekends and ‘sincerely apologises’

BioWare has refuted claims that it "under-planned" for server capacity of its VIP Anthem demo, but acknowledged the first day of the limited-time demo launch was "rocky".

"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 wrote 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."

The update then outlined the three main contributory factors leading to the weekend’s technical difficulties; platform connections, entitlements, and infinite loads. The latter happened when players loaded an expedition from Fort Tarsis and found themselves stuck on the loading screen. Robertson acknowledged the problem did happen during internal testing, too, but the team had thought the problem was resolved before the demo launched. Unfortunately, the problem was "exacerbated in the real-world where differences with player’s ISPs and home networks introduce new behaviour".

The former did not happen at all in internal testing, so "investigations are ongoing". The issue with entitlements affected a number of players who had a specific combination of entitlements and freebies from pre-ordering, which spawned a bug that then blocked them from playing.

"Many players are not seeing this issue and the last thing we want to do is destabilize the experience for everyone," Robertson stressed, talking about the infinite load issue. "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."

And as a thank you to the "many players enjoying the game", 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."

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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