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Posts with tag performance

Ping faster with Faster Ping

Recently members of my guild have been using a tool called Faster Ping to achieve better ping rates in game. My guild is a West Coast based guild, and attracts a lot of people from Hawaii and Australia, so they naturally have higher ping rates than those of us in the States. Faster Ping seems to be working wonders for them. It is not so much of an addon as it is a tool for Windows (though lots of people mistakingly call it an addon).

My first reaction to this was what thinking this sounded like something out of the mouth of Cliff Clavin. I mean, how can a piece of software impact something that is mainly due to physical limits? Well, after thinking about it for a bit, and reading up on what the tool does, it can.

WARNING! This paragraph will be the only one that contains technical content! Faster Ping works by removing the acknowledgement delay from TCP packets. This delay happens inside the kernel's TCP stack, and is a necessity for a lot of functions that go on inside a TCP stack. The other modification Faster Ping does is to remove delay in sending small packets (think anything less than a dozen or so bytes). These changes, at least theoretically, should not impact system stability if the Windows kernel has proper TCP/IP stack implementation. Okay, end technical content.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Odds and ends, Add-Ons

Media Player boosts WoW performance

Many players have experienced faster WoW loading times with Windows Media Player (WMP) running in the background. Some players are also reporting lower latency and higher frames per second.

This tip surfaced in the Europe forums late November and was picked up by the US forums two weeks ago. Many players are reporting shortened loading times, some by more than 50%.

I did a quick test and found that by running WMP in the background, minimized and not playing anything, the login screen popped up about 20 seconds quicker than usual. The world loading time (time between clicking Enter World button and character appearing on screen) was also faster by about 15 seconds. However I did not see any significant improvements in latency or framerate. To eliminate performance boosts due to caching or preloading, I rebooted my machine between each set of timings.

Some players have also suggested adding:

SET timingMethod "1" or SET timingMethod "2"

to the file to achieve the same effect without running WMP. For me, this shortened the time for the login screen to appear by 20 seconds as well, but only shortened world loading time by 5 seconds. Combining WMP and the tweak resulted in the same timings with just running WMP alone.

There's been no official Blizzard response to this yet, although a likely explanation is that WMP modifies how your computer handles background applications. With WMP open, all available CPU resources apparently become allocated to WoW, leading to better performance.

Does this quirk work for you? Do you see any improvements in framerate and latency?

Filed under: Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Odds and ends

A Carrot-on-a-Stick for your PC

Lev over on WoW Ladies is bummed because her computer plays WoW so slowly. Well, we here at WoW Insider are nothing if not helpful, so here's some help! While WoW is definitely a pretty forgiving PC game (unlike, say, Bioshock or the upcoming Crysis, which will make slightly older computers drop into a fetal position while sobbing), there are still a few simple things, some free, some not, that you can do to speed up your computer a bit. (Note: Most of these tips are for Windows only, although with a little Google searching, some of them can be adapted for Macs as well).
  • Cleanliness is next to ownage: Nobody likes a mess, and your computer doesn't either. If your hard drive is extremely full (as in less than a few hundred megabytes free space), big programs like WoW won't have the space they need to stretch out. So make some space by uninstalling programs you don't use any more, and then run a defrag program to reorganize and refresh your hard drive.
  • Slam that spam: Another thing that makes your computer run slow is viruses and spam programs that run in the background and are a pain to get rid of. If you haven't done so in a while, have your virus checker do a complete system check and delete any nasties that show up, and then download both AdAware and Spybot S&D, and run a full check using both of those. It may take up to an hour or so, but it'll be worth it.
  • Needs more RAM! One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to make your computer run faster is to put more RAM (Random Access Memory) in it. It'll take a little bit of research on your part (to find out what type of RAM your computer's Motherboard uses), but RAM is cheaper all the time, and installation is a snap-- literally.
  • Videocardorama: But while RAM will lower your loading times, the only way to speed up 3D performance in WoW is to get a better videocard. The good news is that they're just as easy to install, but the bad news is that a nice videocard will be fairly expensive, depending on what you're upgrading from-- if you're playing on an old integrated video card that Dell installed, you could get a nice upgrade for as cheap as $100. One thing I do is keep an eye on sites like Techbargains-- when a good deal on a newer card rolls past, nab it up.
Keep your system a lean, mean, clean machine, and upgrade it with the newest, fastest hardware when you can, and you'll be seeing Azeroth at 30 FPS in no time.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Odds and ends

Live performance in a virtual world

This piece on Terra Nova got the gears turning in my head again about something I've been thinking about for a while: a live dramatic performance in the virtual world. The article goes a little deeper than that-- basically, it suggests that we're all performers in the virtual world, and all the world (of Warcraft) is a stage for us to perform on. You may not be a roleplayer, but you still play a role in the game, whether it be the stalwart main tank or the ganking PvP moonkin.

But I'm talking about something a little more concrete: an actual dramatic production performed inside a virtual world. Unfortunately, my background in drama is tiny (I did some production stuff in high school and college), which is probably why I've never mustered up enough effort to pull it off, but others have, and I'd love to see more of it. The colorful, fantasy world of WoW seems perfect for putting on a production-- can you imagine Hamlet in the corridors of the Stormwind castle, or The Tempest down in the tropics in Stranglethorn Vale? It'd be a lot of work (not to mention a lot of typing) for all those involved, but a finished, complete production created entirely within the world of Azeroth would be incredible to watch.

There have been a few groups aiming for something like this (the Synthetic Worlds Initiative even planned an entire online world about Shakespeare, at one point, though I'm not sure what happened to it). And I can't believe this idea is original-- someone has to have performed something in WoW at some point, I'm sure; I just haven't heard of anyone really taking the time to do it professionally (and live). We're already playing our own made-up roles in the virtual world-- the idea of going one step further and recreating fictional characters in that world fascinates me.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

Ask WoW Insider: How's WoW performance on a Mac?

Today's Ask WoW Insider brings us a corollary question to our WoW performance on Vista inquiry from a couple of months ago; Rotmeyer writes:
I play Wow on a PC, and am looking towards a new computer purchase. One thing that influences my purchase is how well WoW will run on my new computer. I'm leaning towards a Mac, but how well does WoW run on a Mac? What's the minimum Mac requirements for smooth framerate and gameplay? Could I play WoW on a Mac Mini? Thanks.
Without getting derailed into Yet Another Platform War, can anyone give Rotmeyer some advice or share your experiences running the WoW client on a Mac? Be as specific about the model and specs of your machine(s) as possible.

Don't forget: Ask WoW Insider needs your questions! What do you want to ask your peers? Put your thinking caps on and send your philosophical conundrums to us at ask AT wowinsider DOT com.

Filed under: Ask WoW Insider

WoW + Vista = ????

So Microsoft had a little launch of its own yesterday (why can't they do these things at midnight like normal people?), and reader Scott Harris wrote in with a relevant question: "Has anyone tried to see how compatible WoW is with Windows Vista?" If the above banner snagged at CES is any indication, the fun is only beginning -- then again, something tells me they weren't thinking about Warcraft.

I'm not gonna lie -- I have zero plans to upgrade my XP box to Vista anytime soon, mostly because I'm primarily a Mac person (yes, flame on, people, flame on) and the thought of doing the upgrade to the only Windows box in the house sounds about as fun as major surgery to me. However, the trusty intertubes contain some accounts of compatibility, and so far the reports are mixed: Since the jury appears to still be out, we're leaving it up to you, dear readers -- has anyone had experience getting Vista and World of Warcraft to play nice? Any experiences to report?

P.S. If you want to snag a free copy, get your Need Roll in over at Download Squad.

Filed under: News items

Realm Splitting?

According to a post by Tseric on the World of Warcraft General Forum Blizzard may decide that certain largely overpopulated worlds need to be split, and Blizzard has created a mandatory world split procedure and is testing it on Hellscream.

The way the process would work is that a user would log on, be prompted to choose one of two worlds, and when split day happens will be moved. Players that don't choose a world to move to would be moved to the same world as their guild master, if they aren't in a guild they'd be moved with the rest of their arena team, and if they aren't in either a guild or an arena team Blizzard will pick. Also, Blizzard may override your choice of a destination if the problem that caused the split isn't being resolved.

They've got some good reasons for doing this, but I can see a lot of very bad things coming out of this. Guilds getting split up, friends getting split up, guild alliances getting torn apart. The reaction in guild chat when someone brought it to our attention was very negative, but I'm torn. I've seen what long queue times do to gameplay and raid attendance. What do you think? Do the good results outweigh the consequences of moving people around?

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

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