Sometimes in life, things do not go quite as planned, such as getting stuck behind a train on the way to work. Other times, things go very, very badly—imagine that same train derailing and skidding into a tanker filled with propane. Athem's VIP demo over the weekend trended a little closer to the latter than the former.
One of the main issues people ran into was just logging into the game. It took some players several hours to connect, and when inside, they were met with infinite loading screens. This led to speculation that developer BioWare and publisher Electronic Arts misjudged how much server capacity was needed, though in a statement detailing the various issues, BioWare's head of live services, Chad Robertson, said that was not the case.
"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," Robertson said.
Roberston acknowledged the "rocky" roll out and said BioWare is dealing with a "number of issues." They include connection bugs, which he attributed to a spike in players entering the game when it opened up; a bug that prevented VIP players with a specific combination of entitlements from accessing the demo; and the infinite load screen, which mostly occurred when transitioning from Fort Tarsis to an expedition.
"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 and 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," Robertson added.
Robertson also apologized for the issues some gamers have been facing. In addition, BioWareis extending an olive branch by rewarding all players who participated in the VIP demo weekend with an additional new vinyl at launch.
The VIP demo weekend is ongoing at the time to of this writing. It runs until 8 pm PST tonight and is open to VIP players, which are those who are subscribed to Origin/EA Access/Premium and/or have pre-ordered the game. All progress from the demo will carry over to the final release, and participants get a free in-game token as well.
There will be a regular demo event from Friday, February 1 at 9 am PST to Sunday, February 3 at 3 pm PST. The game is set to release on February 22.