Lowering your ping

Watch the road!

Living in Australia is great, aside of course from having to dodge Kangaroos on the way to work (joke … kind of … I actually nearly hit one the other week, but not in town or on the way to work). Not everything about living Down Under is great however.  Ping for one thing.  The servers in the US are a whole lot of ocean away from here.  Rubber banding is just one of the artefacts that you learn to live with.  You move ahead 100m and the server decides, nope, you didn’t actually do that, and puts you back from whence you came.  Sometimes this can happen several times in a row.  Now I’m a carebear, so it’s a generally annoying thing, but not too critical, but what if I was into PvP?  Now the game becomes pretty much unplayable.  Some games are better than others, but Aion and LOTRO happen to be two games where the effects are felt the most.  So what to do about it?

Just because we play games doesn’t mean we’re technical, some of us are, but many of us aren’t.  There are a gazillion bits of advice that offer various registry setting changes.  There are programs to block all traffic except that associated with your game.  There are hints to do with hardware.  But honestly, I think these make a difference more if you’re geographically close to the game server.  Most of the problems we face here are simply due to the routing of traffic to a far away location, and no amount of registry changing is going to improve that too much (feel free to prove me wrong, I’m not in the technically competent category :P).

In Australia (and presumably other countries also affected), there are services that, for a fee, offer you a significantly lower ping.  You load up their program, choose a server from their list of many (some US based, some EU based) and then simply start your game and off you go.  I tried one out last night out of frustration and it made a huge difference, cutting my in-game ping in half!  In LOTRO it went from over 500ms to around 250ms and I saw pretty much the same change in Aion.  Now the difference this makes in-game is huge, no rubber banding, skills go off when you want them to, etc.  The service makes use of proxy servers and various network tweaks and basically channels your data in a more direct manner to the game server.  Setting it up was dead simple, and most companies I found offered a trial account, you can see the benefits before buying, but until you pay something you get kicked off after half an hour or so.  Enough time to see whether it works or not 🙂




Filed under Aion, General, LOTRO, MMO

7 responses to “Lowering your ping

  1. I realize Australia has cities. Large ones. But I can only imagine you playing from some shack in the Outback.

  2. Your comment nearly made me spill my drink :P. According to Wikipedia my ‘town’ has well over 4 million people living in it, but to be fair, I live on the edge of it. Although there’s no such thing as kangaroos in the city (apart from the zoo), even just out of the suburbs they are a hazard, particularly at dusk. They’re dumb too, which makes them easy to collide with.

  3. Huh. I didn’t know there were companies like that. I guess no matter what the need is there will always be someone stepping up to fill it.

    Also, ctmurphy46 commentary is probably what people think about when I tell them I live in Brazil too. Even though I live in one of the biggest cities* in the world. /sigh

    * If you are curious about what city it is, google Sao Paulo, Brazil.

  4. When I think of Brazil all I think about is big cities! But South America as a general place I think of beautiful large forests, lost civilizations and adventure :). My husband said he thinks of soccer foremost 😛

    • Well, someone thinking of big cities and here is something unexpected. The rest though is pretty much standard. @_@

      And your husband is quite right to associate soccer with these bands. National sport of most of the countries in the area, I think. Or at least they have some pretty strong teams. @_@

  5. seanas

    I assume you’re living in Melbourne then? My sisters also live on the outskirts of Melbourne and they also have terrible internet. I’m so glad I left many years ago: I’m always reading about the really dreadful internet connections that Aussies have, and yet I can still recall the time (early 1990s) when Australian cities had some of the best internet connections in the world.

    I always had this naive belief that Telstra provided good connections (at a price… legacy telcos always have their price ><) but I'm assuming that's not even the case? Because 500ms is *terrible*. When EU LOTRO moved from a server farm in Amsterdam (not that far from where I live) to Boston, my ping went from 50 to 120ms, and I thought *that* was intolerable…

  6. I can’t even begin to imagine what 120ms ping is like, let alone 50ms! Age of Conan seems to be supported by these companies, so hopefully TSW will be too. That’s where I’ll be spending my next decent amount of MMO time.

    Unfortunately we only get Telstra here, not even Optus, so we have to live with what we have, no idea whether one is any better than the other though. It’s just lucky that I don’t play much (if any) PvP, I don’t know how those guys go, but it would certainly make things a lot more difficult. I think the fact that we live a few km’s from the exchange doesn’t help things either. Bring on the NBN (National Broadband Network)! Sometimes it’s actually a better experience to use the 3G network on my phone!! lol

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