On Lag

 Posted by at 7:40 am  DDO, Game Play  Add comments
Mar 282016
 

On Lag
I’ve been avoiding this subject because I feel that there is little I can add. Everyone is talking about the lag; most of the forum threads, other DDO blogs, the developers, everyone. It is hard to find a way to add value to this conversation.

But I am reaching the point where there is little else to talk about, because I am not playing very much. Partly because there are no new quests. Partly because my Gamer Girl has become entranced with a new game – not an MMO, and one that has an allure that I believe will not stand the test of time. But for now it is harder to get her to log in with me.

But mainly because of the lag. It is sucking the fun out.

I started a log a couple of weeks ago, not sure why. Turbine QA has been asking for lag incidents since they moved to the new data center but they want information that is more specific than I am keeping. Tracert routes and so forth. But tracking made me feel like I was doing something. Here is my log. I started Monday 3/14.

We are going to have to agree on some terms if that log is going to make any sense.

  • Attack Loss: you swing but the attack never registers. No die is rolled. Nothing.
  • Chat lag: other player’s voice arrives well after they’ve said something.
  • Hitching: character movement is in spurts; you are here, you are here, no you are somewhere else in the direction you’d been going. Very hard to drive the character when hitching.
  • Packet loss: Commands do not register. Hot bar items may appear to have been clicked and even go into cooldown but nothing actually happens.
  • Rubber banding: You think you have moved, you may even see into places further ahead as if you’d moved there. But you haven’t really moved and you will snap back to a previous position when the server and client synch up
  • Spell lag and spell loss: casting spells that either arrive well after you’ve cast them, or do not arrive at all. Especially hard on healers, who can only throw heal after heal and hope one eventually gets through

But I digress. Friday morning, 3/18, Severlin announced that they had done some work in the new server host center and were hoping for improvement. And maybe things did get better for some people but not for me.

Tuesday, 3/22, Turbine did some diagnostic and testing work on Argo and Thelanis. No idea what kind of work, no specifics were given. But things seemed to get better. So they performed the same work on all the servers.

And finally, (finally!) things really did seem to have improved. Tuesday night guild run was relatively painless.

But not actually painless. Compared to the way it was, yes, way better. But not actually corrected. Which would become obvious last Friday night.

A lag disaster. The kind that had my Gamer Girl pronouncing in disgust that she would not be running the Deathwrym raid again. And it is hard for me to counter her feelings – it really was awful. Two hours of non-at-all-fun.

Here is my log entry for last Friday night:

Hitching is crazy and just gets worse and worse. Packet loss is making at least half of my attacks fail to register. Spells are running a full second behind casting, except when they don’t go off at all.

By the end fight, we are seizing in place, sometimes for minutes, even after dying. Usually dying clears lag but not tonight; cannot run off the top layer to reset my Keeper. The healer reports that she never sees her spells go off and is just spamming them and hoping. Somehow we win anyway – through persistence and a lot of mana pots.

But after it is over we get the worst lag spike of all and everyone seizes. Five minutes so far and still going. Some of us have looted but cannot finish out, others cannot loot. Two people logged and when one of them logs out (a character named Arturock) the lag goes away, the rest of us are able to loot and finish out.

The fact that we managed to win anyway really didn’t change the fact that it took us two hours of not-at-all-fun to do so.

LAG LOG
Monday night in the Waterworks. Rubber banding.
Tuesday night in Haunted Halls. It killed me once. Rubber banding and freezing. Attack loss.
Weds afternoon in the Anniversary Party Challenge. Attack loss. Spell lag and spell loss. Freezing. Lag wiped our two-player party.
Wednesday night in the Anniversary Party Challenge, Two Toed Tobias and VON3 – spell lag and rubber banding in a group of six. Very annoying.
Thursday – did not play
Friday night – terrible lag in FoTP. We won but it was terrible. Deathwyrm no better. Many many deaths in both raids just because of lag. Had weird chat lag where no one could see or hear me, but people who left the party could still hear others in the party talking. Lag wiped us in the Deathwyrm end fight.
Saturday night – duoing in the anniversary party. Very minor rubber banding.
Sunday night – duoing in the anniversary party. Very minor rubber banding.
Monday – did not play.
Tuesday night after lag redress – Two groups attack the anniversary party event. my group of six had significant lag under the stage fighting skellies but nowhere else. There were a couple of instances of other minor lag, but nothing bad, may not have noticed at all if we weren’t looking so hard. The other group of 6 reported some lag I do not know where it occurred.
Wednesday – did not play
Thursday – did not play
Friday morning – solo Anniversary Party runs in the morning. Very minor hitching and attack loss
Friday night – raid night. FoTP starts around 2100 EDT and is lagless. Except only for a few minutes; soon we have hitching, spell lag, and attack loss that gets worse and worse. We finish, but by the end of the raid we are all relieved to have succeeded. Then we try Deathwryn. Oh my god.
Saturday – did not play
Sunday – did not play

So what have we learned? Can we at least start laying out some observations?

  • The more people in the group, it seems the more likely we are to have lag
  • The longer you play together, it seems the more likely we are to have lag
  • Sometimes, one person seems to be causing all the lag

And one absolute fact:

  • The more likely you are to get lag when you play, the less likely you are to play at all.

Come on Turbine guys and girls, I know you are trying. I know you are. We all know you are.

But please, don’t try and tell us that there are all kinds of different sorts of lag – whether it is true or not. Don’t put quotes around the word “lag”. it just feels condescending. We don’t care what you call it, or why you call it that. We don’t care what causes it. You may have to know those things and may have to address those nuances. But we don’t, and we can’t.

We are dying here.

As much as I love new content, there is really no point in doing anything other than finding and correcting the lag problem.

Nothing else will matter.

Nothing.

πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™

  10 Responses to “On Lag”

Comments (10)
  1. We’ve worked out the reason for the lag here in the UK. It’s when all the US players log on πŸ˜›

  2. I hadn’t really noticed the lag until yesterday, always a roll of the die when everything freezes in place and you’re “spamming” (yes, quotes) whatever you think you’re spamming in case something gets through and your character makes it out the other side alive … but more likely the die does not fall in your favour, so you end up mostly dead. Oh, Olladra, you work in mysterious ways.

    I live halfway around the world from the land of DDO, so I already have at least a 200ms different opinion of what lag is πŸ˜› And I know once I couldn’t understand why clicking on a quickbar only worked half the time or appeared delayed, there is some weird “tap delay” for touchpads that you can toggle on or off (apparently to avoid misclicks), this seems to remain active even if you plug a “real” mouse in (because some of mine are imaginary). “What’s with the lag in DDO lately?” Nope, just new laptop! Very amusing, of course nothing to do with geographic location, nor the Turbine team, nor Olladra, mostly my ineptitude.
    (At least this is how I tell the story

    Keep feeding those kobold[s] Turbine, we look forward to the results! πŸ™‚

  3. I think they snuck…er sneaked er…stealthily added some handwrap base code during the recent up dates …cause we all know if it breaks the game it has to be handwrap related! πŸ™‚

  4. What if the kobolds have managed to find a way to invade Earth, specifically the areas where the servers were held? Hence why they were moved. But the kobolds have tracked them down and are now causing these lag storms.

  5. Tuesday Night: 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM Argo server lag free. No rubber banding. Slight spell (i.e. healing pots) delay in full group. Guess we’ll see.

What do you think?

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