How can I reduce lag?

What is lag and can I do anything to reduce or even eliminate it?

Lag is normally associated with delayed network communication between the client and server. However, a system issue can often initially be mistaken as lag.

Lag is a term used by players to describe a period of unresponsiveness in the game. This unresponsiveness can lead to a bad game experience (up to and including avatar death). There are actually several types of lag, but unfortunately, players often use the term lag without distinguishing between the different types. This can lead to one user posting a message in the game of, "Lag!" and another responding "I have no lag at all!?"

Performance based "lag" is generally actually what is referred to as "hitching" or occurrences of reduced 'frames per second' (FPS) and/or temporary short freezing of the entire game client (e.g. it doesn't respond at all but eventually starts to after a delay).

This is different from what is more commonly known as 'lag' in that connection based lag is typically noted by a freezing of your character 'in place' but you can still look around, bring up UI (User Interface) panels, and use chat. Alternately it can appear that other players/NPC's are frozen in place but your character can still move around, or lastly your character moves forward but periodically gets placed back where they started moving from.

Section One:

I think I'm seeing a performance issue and the game isn't running well on my computer, what can I do?

First you will want to follow the instructions below to help test to see if whether the games general performance on your system is the main cause:

  1. Make sure your computer meets the game's minimum system requirements
  2. Install the latest updates for your operating system using Windows Update
  3. Install the latest drivers for your computers sound and video cards and update DirectX
  4. Update and run a full system scan with your systems antivirus and antispyware scanners
  5. Try to close down any unnecessary programs running before opening the game*

    (* While they are not 'unnecessary', you may want to also include your systems antivirus/security tools like firewalls in this test too at least once, because they can significantly impact the games performance due to scanning its connection or its files, or scanning the system as a whole while it is running.)

  6. If you are still experiencing the issue after completing the above steps try running the game on "bare minimum" settings as an additional test to see if the higher settings are causing it.

    - Options → Graphics → Put "Graphics Quality" on Very Low
    - Options → Graphics → Put "Graphics Hardware Level" on DirectX 9*
        (* If it is currently on 10 or 11 that is)
    - Options → Audio → Enable the "Mute Game Sounds" option
    - Options → Troubleshooting → Put "Engine Speed" on "Very Low"
    - Click Accept/Ok and restart the game to allow it to apply and use those settings

Upon restarting the game with the above settings the graphics quality will be very poor but this will help to determine if the games higher settings might be resulting in lowered performance (as opposed to a connection issue).

I tried those "bare minimum" settings and it doesn't happen anymore, how can I find out what was causing it?

If you go to 'bare minimum' settings and the issue encountered no longer occurs, it might be the games higher level settings are exceeding the systems ability to support them. We would then say to attempt these steps:

Start by reversing those settings to go back to higher quality but do so one by one and playtest those for a bit more then increasing the next. Here is an example:

- Start with putting "Graphics Quality" back up to the Medium setting (even if you were on "High" or better before).
- After playtesting on Medium quality (or later higher settings) if the game performance is stable then attempt un-muting the game sounds
- After the above two, if the game is still performing well then try bringing "Engine Speed" back to higher levels as well.

Client "lag" resulting from performance issues due to the games higher settings is best avoided by making sure that your graphical options are set appropriately for your system. We typically recommend using the "Detect Optimal Settings" button on the options panel to configure the graphics and other settings, in order to make sure the settings are appropriate for your machine. Beyond using optimal settings, adding additional memory is one of the best ways to prevent performance issues like this. MMOs are very intensive on memory, and Turbine's richly detailed worlds are certainly no exception.

Here below are some additional articles relating to game performance that may help:

Section Two:

I think I'm having a connection issue instead, what can I do?

In this instance it is most likely lag of a different sort and most likely relating to how the game is connecting. It is an inevitable fact of MMO life that, “lag happens.” Fortunately, there are some things that can be done to minimize certain types of lag and their effect on the player. There are typically three types of connection based lag though their affects are similar in some instances.

Network lag is perceived as unresponsiveness to your actions and/or jerky movement of other players/monsters. Unlike a system performance issue which typically completely stops all actions, when there is network lag, the user can still bring up different UI panels and turn their character in any direction and click on skill buttons (though the skill clicked will have a delay in when it actually is used). It can usually result in either something affecting how the game communicates on your network or your networking hardware and is where the player can have some direct ability to affect change in how the game is able to connect and take steps to prevent it occurring.

Internet lag is very similar to affects caused by network based lag but internet lag can usually affect a larger number of users typically at the same time due to either local connection issues, or local ISP connection issues. Internet Lag simply is similar to Network lag but more often occurs outside of your 'home' network/networking hardware and usually is occurring between the client and the servers. Unfortunately there isn't much that can be done about internet lag by the player directly. While the game is designed to minimize the effects of internet lag on the user, past a certain threshold, there isn’t much that we or the player can do.

Server lag is when the data being sent out by the server is not being received by the client (e.g. the game running on your system). It can manifest similar to network/internet lag but usually the 'scope' of how many players are affected is much wider. If server lag is occurring its usually noted by every player on a particular world server, often simultaneously or in the same situations every time. The good thing about server lag is it is also much more readily apparent to Turbine's engineering teams so when it starts happening steps are taken to address it. We have a wide variety of tools that can be used to track down the causes of this type of lag and work on them. Over the life of the game, we have resolved dozens of issues that caused server lag and more fixes are always on the way! Rest assured that we will always be looking for ways to improve your gameplay experience.

How do I troubleshoot for this kind of lag?

There are some very simple steps to take to try to mitigate or troubleshoot lag on your connection. The first and foremost is making sure your network supports how the game connects. These articles linked below can help you to troubleshoot connection based lag issues that may arise.

  • Eliminating other programs or services running alongside the game is a good first step.
    "How to use a 'clean boot' for testing"

    (What a 'clean boot' of Windows can tell you is whether or not something that runs on the system at the same time as the game is causing or contributing to the lag.)

  • Making sure that your router/modem is setup properly to support the games connection method. To do so use the article found here and the recommended troubleshooting steps it lists regarding setting up "Port Forwarding" to help eliminate lag that may be introduced by the local networking related hardware not supporting how the game connects.

  • Avoid playing on a wireless connection whenever possible. Although somewhat covered in that article linked above, wireless networks have higher security for inbound connections, this quite often affects the games connection because it needs both inbound as well as outbound when connecting.

    (In addition to wireless try to avoid playing on networks you do not have full access to, like hotel's, office networks, public wireless etc. Usually you do not have enough access to these networks to ensure that they're optimized for the games connection. If you cannot avoid using them, try to contact their administrators or provider/support team and follow up with them about the games connection, they might be able to help.)

  • Players on satellite internet should also be aware that they are going to experience significant issues with connection due to the nature of how satellite handles inbound/outbound data and the extreme distances involved. There is a very detailed post here on the DDO forums (most of which is applicable to and can easily be adapted for LOTRO) here that can help explain some of the issues you may encounter and why and also some steps to take to attempt to mitigate those as much as is possible.

  • Contact your Internet Service Provider. Your ISP also can affect the games connection, in the article linked above are detailed many of the ways that can occur and has good info on what to bring up with them about how the game connects and what might affect it on the ISP's network.

If you need any additional assistance, please follow up with our Technical Support team.

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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 24001-445
  • Date Created: 12:09:2010
  • Last Modified Since: 03:12:2012
  • Viewed: 17051