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Wintergrasp lag a big issue after patch 3.1

Zarhym has got some answers to the widespread problem of lag in Wintergrasp after patch 3.1 the other week. He says Blizzard figures the problem is simply population based -- there are many more people playing in the battleground than there were before the patch. For that reason, they're having trouble coming up with good solutions: the battleground is designed to be non-instanced, and that's why a lot of people like it, so putting a limit on the amount of people in there is not the way to go. Hardware isn't a solution either -- Blizzard's hardware is already top-of-the-line, and not only would upgrading it take a while anyway, but my guess is that most of the lag issues come not from Blizzard's side, but from the connections between players and them, which they may not have any control over anyway.

So yes, we're more or less out of luck -- as long as Wintergrasp is extremely popular (and even Zarhym remembers the naysayers before the release with a smirk), there will always be a certain amount of lag in there. There are a few good suggestions floating around the comments thread -- one is that Wintergrasp should always be conquerable, which seems like it would keep down on the flood of people, though of course there'd be other issues if that were implemented.

At this point, Wintergrasp lag may just be something we have to live with. Eventually, you have to think the population will drop back down, and then those of us still in there will enjoy lag-free battles again. But Blizzard has taken on quite a goal trying to do non-instanced PvP full of vehicles and towers without any lag at all.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Battlegrounds

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

Level tweaking on instances 1-60 in patch 2.3

Hopefully you were just as excited as I was yesterday to see that specifics about leveling improvements have been announced, as well as about 60 brand new midlevel quests (!) in Dustwallow Marsh. And as we heard, low level dungeons are getting tweaked, too, though not in any way I would have imagined. Blizzard, it sounds like, is going to be streamlining them, changing them from (for example with Shadowfang Keep) a 18-25 level dungeon, to an 18-21.

But waitaminute-- we've already got dungeons from 18-21. Wailing Caverns and Deadmines, specifically, and moving SFK up to 21 leaves a hole before Stockades and Blackfathom Deeps. What gives?

What gives, says Bornakk, is that Blizzard is streamlining the whole experience, which means all the instances are going to be given this same tweaking. BFD, Stockades, RFK, Gnomer (ooh, interesting) are all going to be streamlined to be finished before 30, where, Bornakk says, Scarlet Monastery, RFD, and Uldaman will await characters. In essence it sounds like the clumps of leveling 1-60 are getting evened out, and that big hole around the mid 30s (where STV is your only choice) is getting filled in.

Sounds great to me. I'm especially excited about Dustwallow Marsh-- I have three or four characters languishing in their mid 30s, so new quests there will be much appreciated. And Blizzard is always watching how we play-- if new content in the 30s is as popular as I suspect it will be, maybe they can consider adding in even more midlevel content for alts and newbies.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling

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