Titanfall's servers only broke for a single seven hour period during the game's beta.
The Titanfall beta, which was first closed, then open, then sort-of-closed-but-still-kind-of-open, was a wildly successful operation for developer Respawn Entertainment. Community manager Abbie Heppe and server engineer Jon 'Slothy' Shiring spoke on just how successful the game was, boasting that around 2 million unique players tried out the beta.
Server concerns are understandably a hot-button issue for EA published games, considering the rather poor job they did of ensuring both SimCity and Battlefield 4's launch day experiences were smooth. So, you could imagine that a red flag went up when the beta's servers broke - admittedly, only for seven hours - under the strain of just the beta players.
"[the seven hour downtime] was sort of a human error thing, while they were trying to scale up for our game," explained Shiring. "That caused a series of failures where each one was a separate bug that needed to be found and fixed. So it was really stressful, and I know people were disappointed that it didn't work for seven and a half hours straight, but by the end of it we were ready to scale up much higher. That's what we went in expecting. Let's see what breaks, fix it, and then once we get to the concurrency we're looking for, let's push it as far as it'll go and see what breaks on the high end too."
"The most important thing for us on launch day is making sure that Microsoft's Xbox Live compute platform can scale up as high as we need it to," added Shiring. "We had the alpha, but that was fairly small. Alpha proved that the tech works. Beta, the thing we wanted to test was what happens when you scale it really high, see what breaks and then fix that so we don't have to find out on launch day."
Heppe added that "You never want to say that everything is going to be perfect. Obviously there are things that can change. But you don't want to say, 'oh, no, there will still be problems,' because you don't want to give people a lack of confidence in what you're doing. I think that this beta was really about giving people confidence that not only will we be communicative with them, but we're actively trying to work out any bugs now."
The sheer transparency that Respawn is offering us in regards to the Titanfall launch, gets a huge thumbs up from me. At least they are trying to solve server issues now, instead of waiting for them to break during the launch period.