Okay, so I've admittedly become a little incensed and as a result inflammatory in some of my attempts to try and shed a little light on this situation. Do I work for Bioware? No, and as such you shouldn't take any of this as gospel. But I am a relatively intelligent human being who does work in the IT industry and has for many years, and as such am capable of some informed conjecture that many of you might find illuminating.
I fully expect a large portion of the current complainers to dismiss this out of hand, but that's okay. Somebody will read this and go "Oh, that makes sense". That person will make this post a success.
The first point, and to me the most obvious, is that nobody should feel entitled to get into early access today. Why? Because it wasn't promised to you.
The marketing for Early Access clearly stated that you would be guaranteed "Up to five days" of early access. That's not "guaranteed five days earlier than everyone else", it's "guaranteed a chance to play early, possibly as early as five days before launch". It's much akin to when you hear an advertisement on television or the radio for a sale, and they say "up to 15% off selected items". You don't then walk into the store, pick out something marked down by 5% and then complain that they advertised falsely, do you? Of course not. Everybody understands the concept of "up to".
Please note that the advertising was always worded this way, it hasn't changed, and anybody who tells you different is trying to justify their anger and/or trolling you.
Furthermore...we're seven days away from launch, not five days. Things went so well during the beta weekends that Bioware felt it was safe to move up the Early Access start date by two days. That's an extra possible two days of early play...this is a Very Good Deal and you're punishing Bioware by raising such a fuss about it.
Many people are incensed that Bioware is trickling people onto the servers, as opposed to just throwing the doors open and allowing everyone who pre-ordered to simply jump online. Many of you are stating that Biowares infrastructure should already be in place and tested, that if they're afraid of letting everyone on at the same time for Early Access, then its a dire portent of things to come on launch day.
There's a few things you need to understand about this. Firstly, it is highly unlikely that Bioware will see more new purchases on launch day than pre-orders. Remember, most of those who have been chomping at the bit for this game pre-ordered, either for Early Access or simply to make sure to secure their copies in case their local retailer becomes sold out. There are six months worth of pre-order customers that they need to allow into Early Access. Thats a lot of people. I don't remember the actual number but it's huge, well beyond what they will see on their very first day of regular box sale. The majority of the launch frenzy will be spread out over the coming weeks, especially with Christmas looming so near.
Try and understand, that even with all of the stress-testing that Bioware did during the beta, they really have no way of knowing how well their live-production servers are going to handle all of these users. Or the new client; remember, this is a new client that was just made available for pre-download a week ago. And it's really not even the servers, more so their own network infrastructure, that they are likely worried about. Trickling 600,000 people onto a network is a big deal. Routers and switches burn out, individual drives in storage clusters randomly freeze up and need replacing. A million and one things can go wrong, and it would be highly irresponsible of Bioware to simply throw the doors open and hope they can handle whatever explosion of suck it causes.
Stephen Reid has pointed out that they have no proper way of knowing how often waves of users will be allowed onto the servers. This is absolutely understandable; they're monitoring things very closely to see how well they perform, and gaining useful metrics about individual servers as the day progresses. You must understand that the word "server" is ubiquitous. "Anchorhead" is one game server...but it is made up of several if not many physical servers in a distributed cluster. They need to know the expected capacities for their PvE and PvP servers, see how fast they're filling up, see how well they perform, and add/remove physical servers to the distributed system as necessary. Again, it would be very irresponsible of them not to do this.
Its kind of like when you stand in line at the grocery store. They have one checkout open -- and as they observe their shoppers, their patterns and turnover, they close and open additional checkout lanes as necessary. The other option is to risk either having everyone waiting forever in one line, or have everything wide open and end up with baggers and checkers standing around doing nothing...or to translate the analogy, wasting resources that they need to keep tight control of in order to provide continued stability in their infrastructure leading in to the future.
Please, try and be understanding and patient. The amount of organization and manpower that goes in to something like this is enormous. They're doing a very good job of not making the same mistakes most MMO's make at launch, and they're going to be able to provide us with a much more stable gaming experience early on because of it.