Lag: The Bane Of My Online Enjoyment

crucible 01

Destiny was my first real foray into online gaming. Sure, I had played an extensive amount of Borderlands online, but it wasn’t quite the same beast.

It wasn’t until I began playing in the crucible (the pvp arena) that the idea of lag even occurred to me. I would be going about my crucible business (mostly of getting shot repeatedly) and would suddenly die, and then, sometimes full seconds later, see whatever it was that killed me. It seemed improbable. And frustrating. Oh so endlessly frustrating.

Now let me say this: I can handle being defeated by other players on a level playing field. But if I am being killed seconds before my system renders whatever it was that killed me, well that’s just unfair. And I am loathe to use that word.

I often pay attention to the connection speeds of the players in the various matches, and it sometimes makes little sense. My actual real-life internet connection is quite good. In the game, depending on who is the fireteam leader, sometimes it shows my connection as poor. How very odd.

Then I start wondering how Bungie balances their servers at all. How to balance thousands of different connections and have them render on systems appropriately at the same time?

A complex proposition.

I’ve wondered if it is based on the lowest common denominator of whose connection is the worst. I’ve also wondered if their servers are just bad. I suppose I may never know.

The reason this topic came up in discussion for the grillionth time last night, was because some friends and I were doing the Crota raid on hard. This wouldn’t have been quite so bad, had it not been for the ridiculous lag involved in the situation. Enemies were rubber banding all over the place. Some weren’t taking damage. I mean, they weren’t taking damage at all. Some players would see enemies, and some wouldn’t. Some would see barriers and others would see none. Some players looked like they were continually walking into walls.

Suffice to say, things weren’t going as they should.

So our fireteam heads back into orbit to see if reconnecting to the raid could get us a better connection and guess what?

Wishful thinking. It was just as bad.

This is all aside from the fact that PSN carries its own set of issues lately with NAT type errors, weird connection problems, and random booting of folks from the network. As a side note, since Playstation Plus is now required for online play, it would be nice if Sony put a bit more effort into it.

I had been playing Dying Light with a friend and randomly, either one of us would be completely booted from the game. No clue as to why. In a couple of cases, I was prompted by the PSN to submit an error report (which I did), which I am sure goes absolutely nowhere fast.

I love games, and I love how they can connect us with other people out there that we may not have ordinarily been able to meet. I love what online play is capable of. But when it doesn’t work right, boy oh boy does it make things difficult. And in this increasingly online gaming environment, I think it should be a priority for all involved, from the console manufacturers to the game developers. It’s a shame that poor connections and servers can mar otherwise wonderful experiences.

How does lag effect your gameplay experience?

Categories: games

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7 replies »

  1. While playing through Borderlands, one of my friends (always the same friend) would periodically be completely unable to see enemies without logging out and back in. I’m guessing it was due to lag on his side. The worst part was when myself and the other friend would be down, hoping for a revive, and the only standing member of the team was blind!

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    • similar issues would plague my brother when we would play borderlands 2. it got pretty frustrating over time. but nothing beats how truly awful the voice chat was on the first borderlands on ps3. even gearbox acknowledged it!

      and not being able to get revives because they couldn’t see you is far less than ideal. hopefully if you get the handsome collection those issues won’t persist.

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