Playing an online game involves a lot more than just having an internet connection and logging into the game, but so many of the complex parts of the process are hidden to give players a smooth, immersion-encouraging experience.
When your online gaming experience is filled with disconnects, slow performance, and other issues that seem like more than just the powers of a great dragon or a chemical attack from an enemy platoon, consider a few of these internet performance factors to get back into the action as efficiently as possible.
It's About Consistency More Than Speed
Many companies boast of fast speeds to get the attention of their customers. For most customers, this is fine; fast internet is needed to load websites faster, download files faster, and open emails faster. It may be taken for granted today, but many people still feel the sting of defeat from the age of dial-up internet and the unstable beginning of broadband.
Speed isn't everything. Although there is a certain speed necessary for online gaming to run efficiently, the average internet speed in the US are more than fast enough for actual gameplay. Even the minimum speed that can be called broadband according to the FCC--25Mbps (megabits per second)--is beyond fast enough for online games.
What matters is consistency. Aside from configuration mistakes, the main reason that a given internet service plan becomes slower than the advertised speed is because of lost data. When information is corrupted or lost, it's gone in a most literal sense; that data can't be recovered in transmission and has to be sent again.
Sending data again will take up time. On websites, this manifests as a picture taking longer to load than others from the same server, or an extended pause when refreshing the page. With file downloads, a few milliseconds can add up to seconds or even minutes if enough data is lost and resent.
Online gaming's lost data symptoms are far more noticeable.
Online Gaming Is A Great Test For Bad Performance
Lag is one of the greatest enemies known to online gamers, but the term is misused often. The misuse makes sense; the word lag sounds like it can mean any slow performance, but there's a difference between slow performance caused by your system not having enough resources and slow network performance.
If your computer doesn't have enough resources, is running hot, or has a virus that takes up too many resources, your game may move around like a slideshow instead of a fluid movie. This is hardware resource lag and not the original meaning of lag.
Network lag or latency describes a delay in network data delivery. Your online gameplay is a conversation of sorts between you and the game server, and the game server to all players in the game. If that data doesn't arrive on time, your game's graphical performance will still be as smooth as ever. You just won't get the responses that you want.
A Mage casting a 3-second fireball may end up casting for 5 or more seconds as the bad data takes time to be resent. An infantry Marine may shoot at the same target for multiple seconds and see the bullets land, but after a few seconds, the gamer's network catches up, and the player has been shot and surrounded by the entire enemy team.
Consistency isn't an easy quality to find from advertisements alone. Contact a high-speed internet provider to set up an installation appointment and test your connection to get not only details on how the network operates but how your experience can be adjusted to meet online gaming standards.