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The VIP Demo for BioWare's co-operative action-RPG Anthem went live on January 25th and immediately ran into numerous connectivity issues. As a result, BioWare's head of live service Chad Robertson brings us this message where he talks about the demo's issues and what's being done to fix them. Have a look:
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:
Today, our top priorities are:
- 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.
While we have had problems, we have also had many players enjoying the game. It’s been incredibly humbling to see so many people watching along with us on Twitch (over 300K concurrent viewers yesterday & over 100M minutes watched -- those are Fortnite-type numbers!). Thank you for your support! Our goal is to get everyone into the demo having fun together.
- Continue to resolve any reports of issues with login and entitlement problems.
- 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.
- 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.
We appreciate everyone’s patience and sincerely apologize for those who have had issues getting into the game. 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.
We believe we've created an amazing game and we're doing everything we can to ensure our entire community can enjoy it. We're committed to keeping an open conversation with our community as part of our Live Service well into the future. (We'll also have some cool news to share soon on our plans for the game after we launch -- stay tuned!)
If you're still having problems, please reach out to AnswerHQ. Dedicated members of our community and customer support teams are here to assist you. Anything they can't handle gets reported to BioWare's development team.
And apart from that, you can now also check out a new series of Anthem-themed articles on EA's website. They cover Anthem's exploration-based Freeplay mode, its story and faction Missions and its group-oriented Strongholds. Here's an excerpt from the latter article:
A Stronghold is a particularly difficult area that you and your teammates will need to delve down into, clearing out enemies and completing objectives to progress all the way to a climactic final battle. Once you’ve cleared the Stronghold, you can return to Fort Tarsis and collect the rewards you’ve picked up on your way through the Stronghold. These rewards will be plentiful, fitting spoils for your victory.
In the developer livestream, Mike, Ben, and Jonathan took on the Temple of the Scar, an underground lair full of vicious and powerful Scar enemies (and inconspicuous pools of acid).
It’s Dangerous To Go Alone
The enemies lurking in Strongholds are not to be underestimated. Freelancers must have a full group of four to enter a Stronghold, and you will need every member of your team to succeed. So whether you are going in with your usual squad, making new friends, or just jumping into matchmaking to join with some fellow thrill-seekers, you’ll need that full group to make it through.
While varying your javelins gives your team a more well-rounded approach to the Stronghold, with more opportunities to work together and make the most of devastating combos, there’s nothing stopping an all-Colossus group from stomping their way through the Temple of the Scar. It might make for a more difficult journey though.
Haul of Legends
While Strongholds have the toughest challenges in Anthem, they’ve also got the greatest rewards. Taking on these challenges increases your likelihood of finding amazing weaponry and gear, making them the best way to search for equipment of Masterwork and Legendary rarity (we’ll be talking more about Legendary weapons later, so stay tuned!).
You’ll also pick up more rewarding medals from completing Strongholds. Medals are awarded for various combat feats, and they give the team XP for each one earned (another reason to have a full team while you play – more teammates means more medals). The amount of sheer combat prowess you’ll use to get through a Stronghold all but guarantees that your medal count will be sizable.