Friday, March 6, 2009

Lag Sux. QQ.E.D.

Lag is starting to annoy me, so much so that it's inspired me into song....

Old NaxXramas had some lag.


With some latency here and a frozen screen there.

Here a pause, there a freeze,

Everybody D/C!

Old NaxXxramas had some lag


Sorry, I just had to get it out of my system.

Did we all get nerfed?

One of the cool parts of being in a raid guild with a stable roster is that you can measure changes in your routine or gear (A) absolutely measured against yourself week on week, and (B) relatively measured by the other players in the raid.

So when you head on into Patchwerk, and discover that your own numbers are down 200-300 DPS over the previous week, you've got a place to look for root cause.

First step is to look at your own self. Did your gear change significantly, did you change spec or shot rotation, were you doing anything special that you didn't do last week? No? Ok, what now?

Next step is to look at other members of the same class. Ok, another Hunter who was very close to you last week is also showing the same decrease.

Great. Did they f'ing stealth nerf f'ing Hunters again this f'ing week?

Maybe, maybe not, so to continue the pseudo-scientific process, lets look at the other classes. Ahhh, seems that the entire raid dropped roughly the same amount, give or take some anomalies (dusty miner's leggings, here's looking at you).

Raid composition both weeks covers all the things we need. Timing of Heroism was consistent. All things seem to be aligned properly.

Only factor I can think of is some server-side situation being different, such as server LAG.

I'm starting to hate lag, as even 100ms changes are showing pretty big impact to numbers.

Sure, it doesn't really matter to the outcome in the T7 content that we're farming, I'm just using the encounters to compare week over week. But if boss fights become harder or if enrage timers are more aggressive, a 5-10% DPS loss across the raid due to some stupid server-side garbage or network bottleneck at Blizzard's datacenter is just brutal.

Consistent Pets

One thing that stands out when I review our WoW Meter Online report (like WWS, but different) is the consistency of pet DPS.

You might recall that our pets are what triggered my lag investigation to begin with.

The story went like this....two BM hunters, pretty similar gear, both OP and loving every minute of it, and both putting out pretty similar numbers.

Nerf bat to the crotch, we both respec to SV. We both show decreased output (expected due to nerf from OP to just P), but one hunter shows bigger decrease than the other.

The theory I had was that lag was the answer, namely that Brass was managing lag better than I was. We were both wearing the same similar gear, using similar spec, and similar shot prioritization, but his nerfed output was much better than mine. Continuing with the theory, I figured that as BM we did similar numbers because the automated pet doesn't suffer from lag issues and BM pet does 40-50% of damage. When we went SV, our pets change to 20% of our DPS which means that my poor lag management was showing a more visible impact to my total numbers.

Make sense?

Step one was to more properly account for lag in my shots (spam buttons), and the results were immediately positive.

Step two is complete this week. Comparing last weeks numbers where the two hunters did similar DPS, to this week where the hunters did similar to each other again but ~5% less than last week.

Examine the pet portion of the DPS. SAME! Across weeks, the pets show no noticeable DPS change, while the Hunters and the rest of the damn raid show a consistent decrease across the board. I'm attributing that to either a network bottleneck near the server, or a sluggishness on the server itself.



Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks. I've never thought to test my pet dps during lag. That's an angle that I'll now start factoring into my thinking.

Morane said...

Funny you should mention this. I've started to get a feel for my latency based purely on the damage I'm doing. My, elemental shaman, rotation is pretty standard so when I start having to cast 6 or 7

Morane said...

... Lightning bolts instead of 4 or 5 to kill a MOB it really stands out.

I found that :-

6/7 LBs = ~300ms latency
4/5 LBs = ~200ms latency
<4 LBs = < 200ms latency

Amava said...

That's actually fascinating to hear, in all my time playing WoW, I really never considered this impact of lag. Sure, I had the situations in major cities where the screen would be choppy, or lags where you loot a mob and the window takes a few seconds to show up, or even those really strange moments where the screen freezes for 5 seconds, and then thaws out and it looks like every player fires every shot from those previous 5 seconds all instantaneously.

But to be able to practically correlate your number of attacks to your latency number is amazing.

I wonder what Blizz can do with WoW, or whatever next gen MMO comes next, to make the impact of client/server communication smaller. Network latency is inevitable, so I wonder what they can come up with to design around it.

Abe_Froman said...

I am not an anomaly. :\