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  1. #1
    Turbine, Inc. Samera's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    Exclamation "Troubleshooting Connection Issues", "Understanding Lag" and "Game Connection Speed"

    Edit by Mirthgar:
    These are the merged "Understanding Lag" "Game Connection Speed Limiting for Dialup Users" and "Troubleshooting Connection issues" Stickes.

    Problem:

    Dial-up or low bandwidth users may experience network lag issues in parts of the game with high character populations or many active monsters engaged in combat with the player’s party. Symptoms of these issues might include irregular or delayed updates to monsters, players, and objects around you as well as unresponsiveness of the game to player input.

    Solution:

    The 3/14 update included an initial fix to get dialup users playing as soon as possible. Please use the following instructions:

    1. After the update (2006/03/14) has been applied, connect to DDO and login to the game at least once (all the way to the character selection screen).

    2. Quit the game via the "Exit Game" button. This will update the user preferences file. Note: It is important to use the exit command in the game as exiting using Alt-F4 or clicking the X button on the game window will not update the preferences file

    3. In your "My Documents\Dungeons and Dragons Online" folder, edit the UserPreferences.ini

    4. In this ini file, you sould see a section [Net], and inside this section "ConnectionSpeed=0.0" (Note: 0.0 is the default value, which means connection speed is auto-detected by the server)

    5. Determine your modem connection speed via the Windows Connection Status Window available by right clicking down in the system tray or Start->Control Panel->Network Connections and then right clicking for status

    Note: Some ISP’s don’t properly report your connection speed in this window. If you see a number higher than 56kbps, you may need to try a few different values. Typical 56k modem connections vary from 42k to 52k in the best case. Your true connection speed may be lower. You will get better game performance with this change the more accurate your number is.

    6. Replace 0.0 for ConnectionSpeed with the appropriate kilobits/second (kbps) value. For example, if the connection speed in Windows is stated as 33,600 then your ConnectionSpeed=33.6

    Note: Increasing this value above the Windows stated value will allow the lagging to still occur. Do not be tempted to raise this past your connected speed rate. Modems may be capable of higher speeds, but it is the negotiated connection speed with the ISP that counts.

    7. Save your updated UserPreferences.ini

    8. Relaunch DDO

    After the application of these settings the game play should be improved for dialup users. While some lag may still occur, frequency and severity of the problems should both improve. It is still recommended for dialup users to avoid large parties or the dungeons with the highest monster populations.

    In a future release, Turbine will add a user friendly way to change this setting instead of requiring preference file editing. Turbine is also investigating other areas to improve the experience for our dialup users. Thanks for the patience and support.

  2. #2
    Beta Feedback Coordinator Tiggs's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    Default

    Hello Folks,

    The new patch also brings a new tab in your options which shuold assist our dial-up users.

    Connection Speed Option:

    The connection speed option is an in game method of specifying your connection speed in the UserPreferences.ini, UserPreferences.ini can be found in the C:\Documents and Settings\My Documents\Dungeons and Dragons Online folder.

    For dial-up users, please select the speed at which you connect. This is not the same as the speed of the modem, for instance if you have a 56k modem, this does not mean you connect at 56k bps exactly, that is simply the top speed your modem is capable of. If you set the speed to high you will most likely not see any improvements. Lastly, this setting will not take effect until exiting and restarting the game. If your dial-up connection speed changes often, you will unfortunately need go in and adjust this setting accordingly every time.

  3. #3
    DDO Community Specialist
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    Feb 2006
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    1,157

    Default Understanding 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 to OOC, "Lag!" and another responding "I have no lag at all!" The following is meant to help our community members distinguish between the different types of lag.

    Types of Lag
    There are three types of lag that are commonly seen:

    1. client lag
    2. network lag
    3. server lag

    Client lag is the most common, and makes up about 90% of all lag. Client lag is seen as a momentary freeze of everything on the client's screen, leading to an inconsistent frame rate. We often refer to this type of lag of “hitching.” In this state, the entire screen appears to be frozen; no animation will occur and the UI will be completely unusable (except for your mouse cursor). Client lag is caused by poor performance of the game client. The most common client lag is caused when the game is loading new data and/or is low on free (physical) memory. Client lag may be momentary (less than a half second) or long (several seconds or more). Momentary client lag (aka a “hitch”) is often confused for network/server lag.

    Network lag is perceived as unresponsiveness to your actions and/or jerky movement of other players/monsters. Unlike client lag which completely stops all actions, when there is network lag, the user can still bring up different UI panels and turn the avatar in any direction. For example, you may click to use a skill, but it will take several seconds for you to see any action taken by your avatar. While network lag can affect a large number of users at the same time, most often, it only affects a handful.

    Server lag appears much like network lag, and often the user cannot tell the difference between the two. All of the examples of network lag apply to server lag as well. The primary difference is that server lag tends to affect many users all at the same time. Server lag is caused by poor performance on the servers. This can happen when there are too many players on a single server machine or due to problems in the code. For example, one type of server lag we have seen and corrected during in our game was caused by an AI getting into a bad state and using too many CPU cycles on the server. While server lag can affect the greatest number of users at the same time, the good news is that when there is server lag, the AIs are lagging too!

    Preventing Lag

    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 user.


    Client Lag Tips
    1. Don't install DDO on your system partition or the partition where you keep your main swap file. This causes contention during disc access which can lag out on-the-fly loading of assets from the dat files.

    2. Defragment the partition where you keep DDO frequently. All Turbine games use a series of large DAT files that contain a virtual filesystem where the game assets are stored. The more broken up and scattered these files are the worse your overall performance gets.

    3. Even with defragging on a regular basis it's possible to encounter another type of fragmentation - internal to the DAT file. If this happens there's nothing your filesystem defrag tools can do to help. If you suspect DAT fragmentation the best option is to uninstall DDO, defrag the host partition, and then reinstall. Only a fresh re-installation of the latest release of DDO will give you a defragmented DAT file. Since every patch cycle can cause possible DAT fragmentation you should consider a fresh install every few patches. This issue is largely resolved with TDM so only users with our classic installers need to do this regularly.

    If you’re running an installation that’s a year or more old, the launch of DDO Unlimited is an excellent opportunity to do a fresh install. The M8 files are currently here (http://www.ddo.com/ddosupport/download-ddo) and will be replaced with the DDO Unlimited versions on Monday during our maintenance. Installing the latest build guarantees that you don’t have intra-DAT fragmentation issues.

    4. Make sure your drivers are up-to-date. Video drivers are critical, but sound, motherboard, and network drivers are also important. If you haven't updated your drivers in 6 months or more you should give that a shot. Adding custom performance profiles for the game can help as well with certain cards and driver combos.

    5. Turn off unnecessary resident programs and services. Some resident programs such as spyware blockers may hinder disc and network access. Only leave the things you need running during your play session. Also, running multiple resident security programs simultaneously can significantly reduce network and disc access speed. Generally you should pick a single security package to run resident.

    6. Client lag is best avoided by making sure that your graphical options are set appropriately for your system. We recommend using the "Detect Optimal Settings" button on the options panel 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 client lag. MMOs are very intensive on memory, and DDO's richly detailed world is certainly no exception.

    7. Tune your game settings. If the game runs fine in some places but is choppy in others you may have your graphics settings turned up too high. In particular try disabling post-processing effects, DX10, and anti-aliasing in areas where you experience graphics lag. What works fine for a small dungeon may grind to a halt in high-end instance due to spell effects, dungeon geometry, number of avatars and NPCs visible, etc.

    8. Optional upgrades for the truly performance-obsessed: If you have Vista you may wish to try using the ReadyBoost feature with an 8GB+ flash thumbdrive. Some users have also reported success running the entire game from flash (though this is unsupported by Turbine).

    Due to the nature of flash many of the fragmentation issues noted above do not apply. On a similar note, if ultimate game loading performance is your goal and you’re willing to spend money to get it, an SSD drive will drastically reduce both load times and fragmentation effects. Try to get a drive with at least 128MB of on-board cache to get the best possible random-access performance.

    Network Lag Tips
    There isn't much that can be done about network lag. The internet is a complex system of dozens of connected devices, and networks will have problems from time to time. While DDO is designed to minimize the effects of network lag on the user, past a certain threshold, there isn’t much that we can do.

    Server Lag Tips
    While there isn't much the end-user can do about server lag, it is something that Turbine constantly monitors for and spends a great deal of effort to fix. We have a wide variety of tools that can be used to track down the causes of lag and fix them. Over the life of the game, we have fixed dozens of bugs that caused server lag and, more fixes are on the way! Rest assured that we will always be looking for ways to improve your DDO experience.
    Last edited by Tolero; 08-27-2009 at 11:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Customer Service Representative Mirthgar's Avatar
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    Post Troubleshooting Connection Issues

    Thought I'd run through some of the basic troubleshooting steps for connection based issues.

    When troubleshooting your connection, how far into logging into the game you get can indicate where the connection issue is occurring.

    (For example if the servers are down for maintenance you may get stopped just as soon as the launcher comes up usually with a message on the launcher of "Getting Data Centers" and a retry counter or "connection to http://gls.ddo.com/GLS.DataCenterServer/Service.asmx failed" error.)

    Below are some of the most common messages/behaviors and their common causes.

    _____________________________________________

    Cannot connect right from the start:

    You open the game launcher and you receive an error regarding the connection to:
    http://gls.ddo.com/GLS.DataCenterServer/Service.asmx or "Getting Data Centers"

    Check the following:

    The launcher itself. If the servers were brought down for maintenance the launcher should have a message about the servers being down, if not check the main forums page here for any updates indicating they are down.
    If there's nothing on the launcher or forums and other players aren't reporting issues
    connecting on the forums this disconnect may be your system or network.

    Your Firewall - Make sure that it is allowing "turbinelauncher.exe" full inbound/outbound access to the internet. (You might need to manually refresh your firewall by taking this file out of its list of allowed programs or "exceptions" and adding it back in)

    Can Internet Explorer connect to the internet, and is it configured to use a Proxy server?
    This step is critical, I.E.'s system-wide connection settings are what the game uses to connect. It does not need to be the "default" browser but it does need to be installed, able to reach the internet and not disabled/misconfigured or in "Work Offline" mode (under the "File" menu).

    Also is it erroneously using a proxy server? To check first open Internet Explorer and click on "Tools" > "Internet Options" > "Connections" (tab) > "LAN Settings" (button) and check to see if "Use a Proxy Server" is selected.

    If it is using a proxy then confirm with your internet service provider (ISP) that these settings are required for you to be able to connect to the internet and that they are correctly configured.

    Regarding proxies does the "Proxy Server" list as "127.0.0.1:####" or "LocalHost:####"? If so it might be malware setting itself up as a local proxy "host". In these cases de-select the "Use a proxy server" option, click ok and immediately update and then run a full system scan with your antivirus and antispyware tools. Once you do that check to see if I.E. can now connect and then also the game.

    Does your router, network card or modem have a built-in "hardware" based firewall? You may need to configure it to allow the game files (turbinelauncher.exe, dndclient.exe and also turbineinvoker.exe on Vista).

    Do you have any "Bittorrent" or other file-sharing apps, or Skype or Voip hardware/software? Any of these can use some of the same connection settings as the game and can block it from connecting (usually because they are "listening" on the same ports the game is trying to connect on). Try disabling these or perhaps performing a "clean boot" of Windows to test.

    Do you have a virus or malware and do you update Windows updated via "Windows Update" often? Virus' and malware can cause some significant issues with connectivity. Update your A/V program often and also try running an antispyware scanner. Alot of the larger AV providers have free online scanners also that you can use. Scan often and with multiple scanners, (virus writers are crafty and often write them to disable the updaters for many of the more common A/V apps).
    _____________________________________________

    Lost connection just before or just after "Character Select":

    You login past the launcher, select your server and start to load the game client and either just before you get to character select or after you pick a character and try to login to them you get "Connection to the server has been lost" or "Client timed out the connection".

    Check the following:

    Your Firewall (again)- This time make sure that it is allowing "dndclient.exe" the necessary inbound/outbound access to the internet.

    Your Router. You might in some cases need to setup port forwarding on your router to allow the game client to connect. Find your router model (it's usually on a sticker somewhere) and search for directions on configuring port forwarding on that model, your router maker may have steps on their site or check portforward.com (not a Turbine affiliate).

    Your ISP. Check with your ISP and ask them if they have any outages or know of any issues with connections that use "Encrypted UDP Packets" on ports 9000 to 9013 and 2900 to 2913. They might also have started "traffic management" of these connection types or setup a "fair use" bandwidth limitation, ask them about these. If they set these up to combat peer-to-peer/file-sharing use of their network (and many have lately) then the game, since it uses a similar appearing connection (from a networking standpoint) is also affected. (You might need to ask to speak with a supervisor at your ISP when you ask about those though).
    _____________________________________________

    Lost connection during gameplay:

    While playing you are getting "Connection to the server has been lost" after awhile or more commonly when changing in-game areas or "zones". (Not a "crash" or "crash to desktop"/CTD but a black screen with that message)

    Check the following:

    Your router (again, seeing a trend here? ) When you move around in the game world your connection is using the various ports detailed further up in this how-to. If your router isn't handling port transitions well you can get connection drops because of it. (Imagine a good juggler being able to pass and catch bowling pins while juggling and one who can't basically). You would want to setup port forwarding on the router.

    Does more than one PC connect to the game at the same time? With two computers connecting at the same time they could be "stepping" on each others connections somewhat. Open the userpreferences.ini file, which is kept in the "My Documents" (XP) or "Documents" (Vista) > "Dungeons and Dragons Online" folder and in that file under the [Net] section find the "UserSpecifiedPort" option and set it to 9000 (eg. UserSpecifiedPort=9000) on computer "A" and on computer "B" change it to 9007 (eg. UserSpecifiedPort=9007). Be sure to save the changes you make before launching DDO to test.

    (Also in cases of two PC's connecting you might need to configure port "triggering" on your router, it's essentially the same as port forwarding but less "specific" it just opens ports in a range you specify anytime a request comes in or goes out on one of those ports)

    Do you connect using "Satellite" or residential/city "Wireless" broadband? Connection issues are unfortunately quite common for these connection types due to a.) the distances involved (satellite beams your connection to orbit and back down ) b) the "burst" nature of these connections and c) the interference that wireless signals are prone (and federally mandated) to accept/receive. Try reseting your modem (and router) and logging into another character if you can. Help for Satellite users is here.

    Have you reinstalled the game at all recently? If the game is loading corrupted data this can also sometimes cause timeouts (usually it causes crashes but in some rare instances it can just cause the game to hold up loading long enough to time out the connection). File corruption is fairly more common with MMO games due to the higher amount of read/writes to the installed files (imagine how many times a day player "X" runs by on screen wearing armor of the "Y" and all the textures, sounds etc the game has to load, plus all the patching and updates to the game as well). Uninstall the game via "Add or Remove Programs" (XP) or "Uninstall a Program" (Vista) in the control panel and after the uninstaller completes delete the "Dungeons & Dragons Online - Stormreach" folder in C:\Program Files\Turbine prior to reinstalling. If you need the install can be downloaded here.
    _____________________________________________

    All in all that should help any connection issues you're having but there's always the knowledge base and definitely followup with Technical Support also.
    Last edited by Mirthgar; 12-16-2010 at 10:22 AM. Reason: Updated Links

    NOTE: The Customer Support forums are best for Player-to-Player help, for more direct and official support, please submit a ticket to the appropriate team via the form here.

    After contacting support, log into your email webpage to add noreply@turbine.com and accountsupport@turbine.com to their "safe senders" list and your contacts list/address book. Be sure to check Spam/Junk Mail folders as well since most email providers do not let external email programs or cell phones download mail flagged this way.

  5. #5
    Brand / Commerce Manager Tolero's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    6,565

    Default

    Marketroid brings more tips on how to help with client side lag! These tips have also been added to the OP

    Quote Originally Posted by Marketroid View Post
    The new servers are already in place. As has been mentioned we also need the latest software build to get the most out of the system. Until then some of the specific cases of raid/instance-specific lag will not get better. Once DDO Unlimited goes live next week you should see a significant further improvement over the current performance.

    How significant? At times we were running Lamannia with half the number of physical servers that we normally use in a world and it handled peak loads more smoothly than anything we've ever seen for DDO. Those peaks were often equal to or higher than the peaks on the live servers, for those who are interested.

    With a full complement of these servers for each world everyone should see general performance improvements. Once we've added in the newest code players should see very good levels of performance.

    Does this mean that you'll never see lag ever again? No. The realtime nature of DDO enhances the visibility of lag issues. There will always be some situations that can cause lag, but the new hardware will allow us to support many more users doing things that used to cause unacceptable levels of lag for everyone.

    So far we've done a lot of work (and spent a lot of money) to resolve the issue of server-side lag. To get the best possible experience from DDO with the new servers you'll also need to make sure that you've got client-side lag under control. Here are some tips:

    1. Don't install DDO on your system partition or the partition where you keep your main swap file. This causes contention during disc access which can lag out on-the-fly loading of assets from the dat files.

    2. Defragment the partition where you keep DDO frequently. All Turbine games use a series of large DAT files that contain a virtual filesystem where the game assets are stored. The more broken up and scattered these files are the worse your overall performance gets.

    3. Even with defragging on a regular basis it's possible to encounter another type of fragmentation - internal to the DAT file. If this happens there's nothing your filesystem defrag tools can do to help. If you suspect DAT fragmentation the best option is to uninstall DDO, defrag the host partition, and then reinstall. Only a fresh re-installation of the latest release of DDO will give you a defragmented DAT file. Since every patch cycle can cause possible DAT fragmentation you should consider a fresh install every few patches. This issue is largely resolved with TDM so only users with our classic installers need to do this regularly.

    If you’re running an installation that’s a year or more old, the launch of DDO Unlimited is an excellent opportunity to do a fresh install. The M8 files are currently here (http://www.ddo.com/ddosupport/download-ddo) and will be replaced with the DDO Unlimited versions on Monday during our maintenance. Installing the latest build guarantees that you don’t have intra-DAT fragmentation issues.

    4. Make sure your drivers are up-to-date. Video drivers are critical, but sound, motherboard, and network drivers are also important. If you haven't updated your drivers in 6 months or more you should give that a shot. Adding custom performance profiles for the game can help as well with certain cards and driver combos.

    5. Turn off unnecessary resident programs and services. Some resident programs such as spyware blockers may hinder disc and network access. Only leave the things you need running during your play session. Also, running multiple resident security programs simultaneously can significantly reduce network and disc access speed. Generally you should pick a single security package to run resident.

    6. Tune your game settings. If the game runs fine in some places but is choppy in others you may have your graphics settings turned up too high. In particular try disabling post-processing effects, DX10, and anti-aliasing in areas where you experience graphics lag. What works fine for a small dungeon may grind to a halt in high-end instance due to spell effects, dungeon geometry, number of avatars and NPCs visible, etc.

    7. Optional upgrades for the truly performance-obsessed: If you have Vista you may wish to try using the ReadyBoost feature with an 8GB+ flash thumbdrive. Some users have also reported success running the entire game from flash (though this is unsupported by Turbine).

    Due to the nature of flash many of the fragmentation issues noted above do not apply. On a similar note, if ultimate game loading performance is your goal and you’re willing to spend money to get it, an SSD drive will drastically reduce both load times and fragmentation effects. Try to get a drive with at least 128MB of on-board cache to get the best possible random-access performance.

    So, if you’re still with me after this gelatinous wall of text, the point is that what players perceive as lag is a complex issue that has both client and server side causes. We’ve invested a ton of time and money to track down and eliminate server-side lag at the hardware, software, and network level. Hopefully the work we’ve done, plus the tips above will allow you to get the best out of your time with DDO when Unlimited ships next week.

    See you in Stormreach!

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