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Posts with tag Latency

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

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

Spiritual Guidance: 8 reasons why your shadow priest DPS sucks

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Every Wednesday, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen rains sheer purple destruction down on all who oppose him (such as those who dress cats in outfits).

It's pretty much a known fact that we shadow priests are looked up to the world over. (Especially by Tyler Caraway, but that's mostly just because he's very short.) The reasons behind the admiration are many, but one seems to be more compelling than the rest: Shadow priests are capable of doing stunningly awesome DPS. Big numbers are sexy. There's no denying it.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that not every shadow priest gets to realize their true potential. Tiny problems and mistakes hold them back. And though some of these problems are easily fixed, the fact that they're damn near impossible to guess at and diagnose on your own leaves a lot of shadow priests frustrated.

Without a doubt, there are an awful lot of potential pitfalls out there. If you follow me after the break, we'll talk about eight of the most common ones. More importantly, though, we'll suggest ways to overcome them and get your priest back on the path to greatness.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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

Ventrilo vs. Mumble

"What's your Vent info?" is as ubiquitous as "What's your GearScore?" Voice chat programs are a fact of WoW life, and by all means Ventrilo dominates the market. After five years of using Ventrilo, I say it's time to change to something better.

One of the most common questions I get from the show Big Crits is "what's the mod that shows who's talking in Vent?" It's actually not a mod, and in fact it's not even Ventrilo. Big Crits uses Mumble, a low latency VOIP program for gaming. It's mostly unknown in WoW, as Ventrilo clearly dominates voice chat in our world. Mumble is perhaps better known in FPS circles, where the low latency really gives it a competitive advantage.

I started this article with every intention of making a pros-and-cons comparison between the two programs, but in truth, I had a hard time coming up with pros for Ventrilo. I'll run through features, but don't be surprised if you come out of this with a new perspective on voice chat options and a strong desire to switch to Mumble.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Spiritual Guidance: Troubleshooting your DPS

Spiritual Guidance is a fickle mistress. By the light of day, it hits the outlet malls with Dawn Moore, gets Oreo McFlurries and has light-hearted discussions about last night's episode of Glee. By night, though -- Wednesday nights in particular -- it Shadowcrawls on back to Fox Van Allen for some wild flaying and searing. When you break it down, everyone likes a bad boy.

Fact: According to World of Logs, the top shadow priest DPS on a regular 10-man Lord Marrowgar kill was just over 13,000 DPS. Feel inferior? How about this, then: The top shadow priest DPS on a 25-man heroic Blood-Queen Lana'thel kill is about 27,600. I can't say for sure whether or not that's before the 20% buff went live, but when you're doing over 27k, who cares about that extra 5%?

I don't want you losing sleep comparing yourself to those fine players. For the most part, these numbers are a result of near-perfect gameplay, top-notch gear and sacrificing no fewer than eight mohawked gnome babies to the random number generating gods. Still, with all those gnome corpses piled in the corner of your room, you've gotta ask: "Why isn't my DPS as good as everyone else's?"

To those who expect one quick, simple answer, I suggest the following possible things you could be doing wrong:
  • Dude, your "6" key is totally broken.
  • You still have your fishing pole equipped, genius.
  • The eighth gnome is merely wounded, not dead.
If those suggestions are somehow less than helpful, you might want to follow me after the break to look at some of the real reasons why you might be lagging behind and a few things you can do to turn things around.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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

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,'s daily Q&A column where the 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

Naxxramas optimization

Crygil posted an important announcement last night concerning the lag and associated performance issues in Naxxramas. Blizzard has made some recent optimizations to Naxx, and they want to know what all of our experiences are like in the instance this week. As such, they're asking everyone to post feedback in terms of performance in the thread over on the official forums.

Now by performance I don't think they mean "My pocket Paladin can't tank."

What they're looking for are detailed reports such as "When I was attempting to do the Heigan dance, my entire group lagged behind a good 5 to 10 seconds. We decided to go and raid Hogger after we wiped for six hours in a row." Or "The Ice Block appeared after Frost Breath when my guild was taking down Sapphiron because of the 30 second lag."

Matt Rossi wrote a great piece yesterday on the need for designing the fights around latency. Hopefully this will become less of an issue as Blizzard works out their backend mechanics; and it appears this change is a major step forward.

Filed under: Realm News, News items, Raiding

Designing around latency

Now, I do enjoy Naxxramas, especially in 25 man (the place feels very empty in 10 man) I have to admit that I despise certain fights, depending on how my connection is holding up. Some nights it's fine, and some nights I'm trying to do the Heigan dance with 1800 MS latency. I've wept, swore dire oaths, and of course died to a wave of green crap that was nowhere near me on my screen. It can be baffling because one day we'll be doing three drake Sarth and I dodge every lava wave and avoid all the void zones, and the next day I'm in stutter hell, no obvious reason for why it varied. And on fights like Thaddius, one person lagging can kill 10 in a second.

Over at The Many Relms of Relmstein, Relmstein discusses how Naxxramas was originally created to be the hardest of the hardcore 40 man raids and how what was then not as much an issue (namely, extreme latency causing issues) for the very few at the top is now somewhat more obvious. Since Blizzard designs raids to take buffs like Replenishment into account, should they go that one step further and assume there's going to be some latency? Some players report unusual latency in the raids that seems to have nothing to do with their internect connection (an issue that was supposed to be fixed in patch 3.0.8) so should lag just be considered a fact of life? And would we lose interesting mechanics (Relmstein himself mentions the Thaddius fight as one that would be hard to do with latency in mind) like the combined three drakes and their abilities?

Obviously I don't know, but I think a little thought placed into making lag less lethal for an entire raid would be a good thing, at least as long as it's out of the players hands like it seems to be now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Instances, Raiding

On lag and communication: Two interrelated issues

On Thursday, January 8th Nethaera sent out a memo to all the fan sites asking them to announce it, and Eyonix posted on the forums for all the rest of us. Latency and connectivity issues will be fixed in patch 3.0.8. The crowds cheered, babies cried in joy, and dog and cats started to live together. The world would be right again.

Fast forward 15 days later.

The high latency while raiding places like Naxxramas and Malygos is still there. The servers are still packed with queue. The patch was a near disaster. And we're still getting bug reports in every 10 minutes, both in comments and via our tip-line.

Many people want to know why this hasn't been fixed. People are out looking for blood. The whole head on a pike sort of thing.

A better way to approach the situation is to try to come up with contingency plans and other activities to do. If Blizzard cannot get their servers to work, to the point that many consider the game playable, then people will need to focus on other aspects of the game or try to work around the problematic parts.

On the couple servers I play on many of the top guilds have decided to stop raiding for the night if there are any problems with high latency in the raid instances. On Alex's server people raid only for a couple hours after 10pm when the queues and population have dropped off. And still other guilds I know have just said forget it completely and are on hiatus until these issues are fixed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Blizzard

Latency fixes coming for Northrend, Naxx

Although I haven't experienced it so much myself recently (fingers crossed), many players have been complaining about high latency both in Northrend and in the various Northrend raids (especially the Heroic versions). I have had Grizzly Hills especially (for some reason) get so bad with the lag spikes that I just logged off for an hour, but that was back in the first few weeks of Wrath.

Apparently, the outdoor Northrend lag has been caused by Wintergrasp battles. There is a "server-side fix" (which I read as hot fix) in testing on internal realms at Blizzard, and Eyonix tells us that they hope to be able to patch up the live realms "in the near future" (which I hope is sooner than "Soon™").

As for Naxxramas, we are informed that there are optimizations in the pipe for it, and that those will be coming in 3.0.8 (which I personally predict for next Tuesday). These optimizations will, allegedly, help both latency and disconnects. Are disconnects a big problem in Naxx? I'm not sure I've seen any.

Filed under: Realm News, Bugs

Time Warner Cable customers experience World of Warcraft trouble

Many of us with cable internet connections are well aware of the problems that arise when cable companies specifically block certain applications, such as the recent problems with Comcast blocking Bit Torrent.

It looks like there may be a similar problem with Time Warner and Roadrunner Cable, as many of their customers have found to it difficult to impossible to play due to lag and latency issues for some time, reports the New York Post.

To some extent, both TWC and Blizzard have been blaming each other for a while, with Time Warner claiming they have done nothing to block any packets or traffic related to World of Warcraft, and Blizzard pointing out that all of the players on the east coast with these problems are Time Warner/Roadrunner cable customers.

It's difficult to say if Time Warner is being genuine in their confusion, since other ISPs have lied about similar issues in the past, but there are signs they are taking this seriously. They have contacted Blizzard's ISP, and players are saying that they have been contacted by Time Warner representatives looking to fix the problem.

Seeing the issue making it into print media, perhaps, will give them the extra initiative they need to get it completely sorted.

Filed under: Odds and ends, News items

Scattered Shots: New and improved abilities

Scattered Shots: noun. 1. (Scatter Shot, singular) An ability used by Marksmanship hunters, especially to annoy other players in PvP. 2. (Scattered Shots, plural) A column at WoW Insider about anything even loosely related to hunters, except for high-level raiding and completely improper, sometimes libelous personal commentary.

Hunters are getting quite a few changes in Wrath of the Lich King, but so far haven't covered them all. Today I'd like to go through the newest abilities and discuss them in greater detail.

New Baseline Hunter Abilities:

Nope, no Camouflage. We talked about this before, but it looks like the devs read our article, "Do hunters need Camouflage?" and decided the answer was no. So, instead we have a couple other new abilities to look forward to:

Kill Shot:
This is the new level 80 hunter ability, and it provides us with a bit of utility that help us to stand out and perform better in various situations:

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

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