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Posts with tag Lag

WoW Archivist: The battle for Hillsbrad

Fighting at TM
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Almost ten years later, people still talk about the Southshore versus Tarren Mill battles, the most infamous and celebrated world PvP in WoW history. They go on about how glorious it was, how they'd like to see that kind of intensity return to world PvP. It's not often, however, that they discuss the details.

If you want to know exactly what it was like to fight in those battles, keep reading. I lived it. My old tauren hunter still bears the scars. Pull up a bench and pour yourself a glass of ale. I will tell you about the war.

Why Hillsbrad?

Several places on Azeroth in classic WoW had two faction-specific towns in close proximity. You had Astranaar and Splintertree in Ashenvale. Arathi Highlands featured Refuge Pointe and Hammerfall. Theramore and Brackenwall squared off in Dustwallow Marsh. A few others had proximity also.

So why didn't any of these pairs become as legendary as Southshore and Tarren Mill? The fact is that battles did happen here -- some fairly major ones, too. World PvP ran rampant in the early days, even on PvE realms, and even before the honor system arrived to reward you for doing it.

Many raided faction villages for the simple joy of denying your enemy a stronghold, a questgiver, or a flight point. Such players sought out undefended towns, which these others often were, at least when you first struck.

Other players wanted resistance. They wanted to march forward as part of one vast army of players into an equally imposing force. They wanted the chaos, the rush, the endless bloodshed, the death cries of their foes echoing all around them. And they knew exactly one place you could find that experience, at virtually any hour of the day or night.

It had to be somewhere. Early forum threads began to buzz about such battles taking place. As word of mouth spread, more players wanted to make it happen on their own realm. It became the thing to do.

But why there?

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Latency and connection issues on all US Realms

On logging into my US World of Warcraft client, I was greeted with the following screen. The Breaking News section informs players that, due to technical issues, they may experience latency or loss of connection on all realms.

Blizzard Customer Support has also confirmed that the issues are being investigated:

The responses to the tweet imply that the lag is the most problematic part of these technical hitches, with players reporting very high MS on their connections. However, not everyone is affected, as my latency is only 70 MS, which while higher than usual is far from problematic. Blizzard's tech team are working hard to rectify these issues.

Filed under: News items

A plea for information on Input Lag in Siege of Orgrimmar

A plea for information on Input Lag in Siege of Orgrimmar
For 25-man raiders, input lag is the hottest news right now, and Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has put out a plea for information.

A while back, in late August, a thread was started in the official forums talking about some experimentation players had done, trying to work out what was causing this occasional massive and problematic lag in 25-man raids. Since then, there have been some serious changes made to various AoE heals, resulting in massive nerfs to spells like Healing Rain. And yet, according to the forums, and to our recent interview with top guild Method, nothing has changed. The lag is still there, it's still a problem, it's still having a massive impact on players.

One forum thread has posted a fix for some weird nameplate/UI issues, which the poster also said might have an impact on FPS issues, but as Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas clarifies in his post, lag is a term that can mean many different things for many different people. So if you're experiencing this lag, characterized by an absence of low framerates or high pings, start gathering information.

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Filed under: Raiding

WoW Archivist: A rolled-back history of realms

Hundreds of players in Stormwind
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

If your low-population realm hasn't been linked up to another one yet, it soon will. This is a drastic step for WoW, but one that should solve the long-bemoaned low-population problem on many realms.

When WoW first launched, Blizzard had the exact opposite problem on their hands: realms had far, far too many players. Let's look back to 2004 to the earliest months of the game and remember just what players had to endure -- and what Blizzard had to do to fix it.

Uncharted realms

The servers that run the game's realms have always been shrouded in mystery. Technical details have never been shared. In a 2005 interview, producer Shane Dabiri deflected questions about the realms hardware: "Well, I really can't get into how we structure or build our infrastructure," he said. "Much of the information is proprietary and complex."

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Disconnects and latency issues and Patch 5.3

No one likes high latency, least of all someone playing an MMO that can demand reaction time the way World of Warcraft can, especially in raids. But even out in the world, latency can be a killer. So when people started reporting issues with connections to World of Warcraft soon after patch 5.3 launched, it got a lot of players noticing. In a six page forum thread there's been a lot of lively discussion of what's going on - whether it's on Blizzard's end, or somewhere between the computers of the affected players and the Blizzard servers. If you remember the Lagpocalypse post, you know how complicated these issues can get.

MVP forum poster Lissanna posted an interesting walkthrough of her own attempts to find the culprit today, and explained why despite some forum poster dissatisfaction that it is indeed helpful to run a traceroute and pathping and post the results to the tech support forums, since it gives Blizzard an idea of who to talk to about these issues. If they don't know who's being affected, where those people are, and more importantly where the issue is physically located there's not much they can do to help.

So if you're having the same problem, giving Blizzard as much information as possible is definitely helpful in terms of getting this sorted out. I've seen people in my raids disconnect on every single boss so far while I haven't had the issue at all myself, suggesting the problem isn't on Blizzard's end but is out there somewhere in the path the data takes between Blizzard and the players. Hopefully it can be solved soon.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Blizzard, News items, Mists of Pandaria

Rogers Communications violates Canadian net neutrality rules over WoW bandwidth throttling

The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission recently ruled that Rogers Communications, one of the largest internet service providers in Canada, has violated federal net neutrality rules. Last year, I wrote a few Lawbringers about the subject, which discussed what Rogers had to actually do to escape violation of certain internet traffic throttling complaints. Basically, Rogers was making WoW players' internet access slower because WoW looked like peer-to-peer traffic on their network.

Rogers is finally going to have to answer for the throttling issues, even after all of the requests and demands to change their packet inspection protocols. The communications company has until Feb. 3 at noon to respond to the complaints about internet throttling or face a hearing with the CRTC board.

Hopefully, the same type of rules can make their way to America, where internet service is abysmally slow and throttled like crazy. Prior to the Cataclysm launch, Blizzard released the new WoW client, which used a peer-to-peer system to upload and download information, patches, data, and all that jazz. This data accidentally triggered internet service providers' bandwidth alerts for torrent traffic and was subsequently throttled to lower speeds. After realizing that many users were experiencing lag issues with the new launcher and their ISPs, Blizzard began its outreach to ISPs in order to work together to fix the problem. A year later, people are still having problems, and Rogers in Canada has admitted to throttling WoW bandwidth.

Filed under: News items

The Lawbringer: Letters to Rogers, letters to Congress

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

We've got two stories to talk about on The Lawbringer today, both interestingly involving letters. That's right -- letters. To you from me, that sort of thing. These letters, however, are instruments of change in a world where we as consumers seem not to have much control or ability to change the big picture concepts that dot our path to consistent entertainment. The amount of energy that we have to put into just getting in a decent WoW session is staggering at times.

The first story revolves around Rogers, one of the largest Canadian internet service providers, famous for its lame bandwidth caps and my old Canadian guildmates shouting "Rogers sucks!" as much as they could on Mumble. Yes, it is another chapter in the Mathew McCurley Guide to Awful Bandwidth Throttling -- but hopefully, this new information and story chapter will get us on the path to better WoW experiences in the face of the immense throttling of WoW data as peer-to-peer traffic.

The second story is all about letters that you will want to send. Last week, I wrote The Lawbringer about Senate Bill S.978, colloquially being referred to as the anti-streaming bill. While not directly prohibiting video game streaming or even mentioning video games anywhere in the proposed legislation, video games are nonetheless obliterated in the crossfire of the entertainment industry and would-be illegal streamers making millions off of pirated entertainment, movies, music, and more. The Entertainment Consumers Association has begun a letter-writing campaign to inform and implore Congress to not pass a bill with such broad and language lacking description.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

How lag forced me to play a little differently

Most people who follow my exploits in World of Warcraft know me as a dyed-in-the-wool member of the Horde. In fact, I've played Horde my entire WoW career, from the early days of the official release up through the end of the Wrath. I killed Nefarian for a second time alongside my Horde brothers and sisters and ended Cho'gall's reign over the Twilight Hammer cult. If you've been following my main character's exodus from Horde to Alliance through the WoW Insider Show or Twitter, you've heard bits and pieces of why I transferred servers. Falling into the hands of the Alliance is the fault of two men -- Lodur and Matticus.

Most people who follow my exploits also know about the dreaded lag issues that I was having because of still unsolved issues with certain internet providers and odd packet inspection (presumably). Connecting to the Chicago data center was never a problem until the release of Cataclysm and, really, not until I started to raid heavily around late December 2010. Things got real ugly during late December. This is my story of changing what I could to keep playing the game that I love.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

The Lawbringer: Lagpocalypse 2010-2011


Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

The Lawbringer is taking a little detour today to discuss one of the more esoteric issues (like I try to do here) that many players are facing today dealing with World of Warcraft. It is interesting that one of the biggest hurdles to playing an MMO is present outside the game rather than within. Today, I want to talk about Time Warner/Brighthouse and the intense lag of 2010 and 2011. In fact, we'll visit the past and see how these companies interacted with Blizzard, and then take a stroll into the present and try to understand what's going on right now.

Confused? You might be, especially if you aren't a Time Warner or Brighthouse customer. There are some other ISPs affected by all this mess, but for now, I'm sticking to the most complained-about. Here's a quick little rundown of what's been happening over the last few weeks (and for some people, months) due to issues with Time Warner and Brighthouse internet service.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Breakfast Topic: It was lag, I swear!

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Lag is probably the single most common excuse for mistakes in all internet gaming. From the beginning of the big craze of first person shooters to now, mistakes are chalked up to lag. The expressions change from: "Oh sorry, you didn't get a heal? I lagged real bad!" to "Oh, I had a huge lag spike!" -- even expletive-laced shouts at the lag itself, as if you could personify bad latency. This happens in PUGs, guild runs, and even just friend and family groups.

The question is how often are people actually lagging versus how often is it merely an excuse, because no one else can prove you did not lag. The truth is, it is not always lag -- but sometimes it is. I have went on expletive-laced tirades when I disconnect during a boss fight or see that horrible thing when my entire action bar is lit up with queued spells but I am not moving. However, if you actually make a mistake that is your fault, I am a big proponent of taking credit for and owning it. If you blame lag or someone else every time you make an actual mistake instead of taking ownership of your shortcomings, you never learn from them. Admitting you used an ill-timed spell, moved into the fire, or just got caught up in your rotation and had a lapse of attention allows you to learn and grow from your mistakes (and hopefully never make them again).

Do you ever use lag as an excuse when it was a personal mistake? Is it a common go-to excuse you use often? Or do you believe in admitting your mistakes and trying to get better from them?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Why so empty, Crystalsong?

Some actual new information from tonight's developer Twitter chat with Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street and J. Allen Brack? I'm as surprised as you are. When asked why the resplendent (and glowy) Crystalsong Forest is oddly barren of anything to do beyond sightsee (and, of course, the rare quest), we received some interesting info about game performance:

Part of the problem is that it sits beneath Dalaran, which ended up being more of a resource hog than we had anticipated. We didn't want to draw too many more players to that zone. Initially the Crusaders' Coliseum was going to be there, which is why some of the quests send you there. We just worried too much about the performance hit.

So what does this mean to the average WoW-player? That you can enjoy the peace and quiet of Crystalsong Forest for a long time to come, because additions to the zone just aren't on Blizzard's agenda. And it's probably for our own good -- we all know what a lagfest Dalaran can be, don't we? Now close your eyes and just imagine combining that with all of the players that come and go from the Crusader's Coliseum. If your thoughts on this imaginary scenario are anything other than "do not want," well, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Filed under: News items

Fixing raiding lag

There is quite a thread going around with some ideas about how to fix raiding lag. Lag, like many cross-computer issues, is a pretty complicated thing -- there's all kinds of reasons it could be happening, from errors on your computer to errors on Blizzard's end, and all the little connections and switches in between. A certain amount of lag is unavoidable. But there are certainly some things you can do to make sure the link between your client and Blizzard's server is working at its best. This thread, which started on the EJ forums and then moved on to Livejournal, has some good tips in it, including turning off most combat logs like Recount and even Blizzard's official "Everything" log -- having to write down everything happening in game does cost some computer time as you play. Blocking addon "spam" is another way to keep things simple and clear -- while lots of useful addons help you share information between raid members, sending that info back and forth can cause problems when you're down to milliseconds of lag.

The final suggestion is to run a third-party program that's supposed to keep your latency high, but I would be leery of doing that -- a better solution if you continue to have high latency constantly, even after making the changes above, would be to go to Blizzard (and/or your Internet Service Provider, or ISP) with your issues. They have a good guide to smoothing out your connection, and many times the problem can be with your router or firewall, which is usually a quick fix.

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Filed under: Guilds, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Hardware

PTR Patch 3.3: Report Lag option added to the default UI

Are you frustrated with your friends running in place?

Finding it difficult to get a good spot for the Dalaran costume contest?

Are you tired of having to set your hearth in the dark and dank sewers of Dalaran?

Have you ever thought, "Man! I wish I could report how bad the lag is right now!"?

Well, if you're like millions of other players that have experienced lag, then maybe you'll be interested in what Blizzard has announced hitting the PTR! You can now use the "Report Lag" feature announced in the latest patch notes for Patch 3.3 as part of the latest PTR Build (Build 10676). No longer are you forced to submit endless GM Support Requests or post hundreds of lag reports on the forums. In three easy steps you can now have peace of mind, knowing your lag will be successfully reported. Looking at it, it seems pretty easy to use.
  1. Click the Knowledge Base/Help button.
  2. Then click Report Lag.
  3. Then you just select the type of lag you are experiencing. Which will most likely to be either "Movement" or "Spells and Abilities." When you're all done you get a "Your lag report has been successfully reported" message.
Now, Blizzard will know exactly when you experienced your lag so they can track down the cause and resolve it. My only fear is they will have so many reports from Dalaran we'll get a "No Lag Reporting Servers Available" for the first few days it's used.



Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King . With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items

Stability issues, rolling restarts for tomorrow


We've been getting a steady stream of tips and tweets in about the stability issues plaguing nearly every server tonight, and Blizzard has finally confirmed that something isn't working right.

Most people are experiencing extreme lag both in instances and out in regular zones. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it all, just constant server-side lag that impairs things like looting, completing quests, using items, buy items, or trading things to other players.

Pretty much every wonderful thing that could have lag to it does; including the lovely 30 second mount cast.

Hopefully the rolling restarts that will be taking place tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. PDT / 8:00 a.m. EDT will fix this. Although I'm hopeful that there would be some quick resets tonight to apply a hotfix or whatever else Blizzard needs to do in-order to make the game more playable.

We'll update this post with any additional information if we get it

Filed under: Patches, Bugs, News items

The Queue: Nobody expects the Druid Inquisition!


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Allison Robert will be your hostess today.

Adam and Alex are busy packing for BlizzCon, so I've sneaked into the Queue offices to answer some questions this evening. There's no consistent theme here, folks; we're all over the map today with BlizzCon, lore, and player textures. If you don't see your question here, I still have a few in mind from the last post to answer tomorrow.

Smapdor asks...

There are 3 historical scenarios that can be found in Yogg-Saron's "brain room"...What is the Shadow Vault event? I would guess that it is something as important lore-wise as the (other) two, but I have no idea.


It's widely believed that the Shadow Vault "memory" depicts a very recent and very unfortunate occurrence that took place (without player knowledge) after the Wrath Gate event. The NPCs in question are thought to be the souls/spirits/incorporeal whatsamajiggies of Saurfang the Younger and Bolvar Fordragon, who perished in the fight, victim to the Lich King and the Royal Apothecary Society respectively. The Wrath Gate cinematic implies that the Arthas has at least Saurfang's soul to toy with (which would explain the Orcish Turned Champion), but the identity of the Immolated Champion is less clear. Bolvar is by far the most likely possibility -- after all, the Immolated Champion is wearing the same armor Bolvar wore going to his death -- but nothing's been confirmed. Bottom line? Expect to see both Saurfang and Bolvar show up in the Icecrown Citadel raid in some capacity.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, The Queue

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