Anthem’s VIP Demo, which started on Friday 25 January and ended today, has been dogged by issues.
Among the error messages that routinely greeted those attempting to get Anthem to run were notifications that EA’s servers had no more capacity; many also experienced infinite loading screens and other egregious problems preventing BioWare’s newest IP from loading.
BioWare worked quickly to update the game on Saturday 26 January and Sunday 27 January, but BioWare’s Head of Live Service Chad Robertson still felt compelled to blog an explanation/apology: “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. 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:
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. 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. “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.”
As a further sop to those who had trouble getting Anthem to run, BioWare announced on Twitter that: “As a further thank you, all four javelins are available now in the Forge for players who have played in this weekend’s demo. Won’t get a chance to jump in? They will be waiting for VIP participants next weekend! Log out and back in to see them if you’re in game.”
The VIP Demo of Anthem is now closed (it’s disappointing that it wasn’t extended given the problems many had in getting it to run) but the game’s Open Demo will run between February 1 and 3, as detailed on EA’s website. Let’s hope it’s less sketchy than the VIP Demo.