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APAC Server Merge and 'Myths' about Ping

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
APAC Server Merge and 'Myths' about Ping

grallmate's Avatar


grallmate
03.29.2013 , 05:27 PM | #1
Much of the following argument is based on information taken from this post on 22.04.2012:
http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=4095498

The important information is contained in the first spoiler tag (copied below) which compares packet numbers and bandwidth usage between World of Warcraft and SWTOR. When standing still in a populated area SWTOR sends 110 packets every 10 seconds while WoW sends 36 in the same time. While jumping WoW sends 5, SWTOR sends 12. While standing alone, either in a private instance or with no one else on screen the 2 are very comparable.

Quote: Originally Posted by GlowstickSwinger View Post
Spoiler
For anyone that has actually played the game you know this is about right. Get lots of people on screen or in a heavily populated area and your performance takes a nose dive, and that just with them standing still. Compare the difference between an 8 man and a 16 man Ops fight and you will see a large performance difference. Simply put, the engine is not well optimized for a large number of players on screen which we all already know.

Now I assume everyone who reads this already knows what ping means but I'll reiterate just in case. Ping is the amount of time a single packet takes to reach the destination server and return.

So what does this have to do with the APAC players being merged onto US West Coast servers? Well 1 argument I see frequently thrown around is: "You play WoW (or any arbitrary other MMO) on US servers and don't complain". Let me break it down:

SWTOR uses an excessive number of packets which isn't a huge problem in and of itself but when combined with a high ping the problems amplify. SWTOR in a populated area sends and average (from the above numbers) of 1 packet every 90 ms while WoW sends one every 270ms. Using SOLELY those numbers and assuming sequential packet exchange you can see that going from 40 ms - 200 ms ping has no effect on the WoW engine while it has a noticeable effect on the SWTOR engine. Using the above assumption, as long as the ping time is within the update window there should be negligible performance difference between high and low ping. However, if the ping time exceeds the update window the performance difference becomes a lot more noticeable. 200 ms ping on SWTOR exceeds that update window, on WoW it doesn't.

All that assumes that one packet must be received before the next can be sent, which isn't the case. SWTOR can send the packet with my next ability activation before it receives the previous packet but that can provide other issues. Abilities that have a precondition are especially vulnerable to issues with this, examples include Followthrough and Railshot. Riposte is also affect but is off the GCD so the effect is less important. I've seen the effect lag can have on those abilities when playing through a proxy which gave me 180 ms ping compared to my normal 26 ms ping.

Finally, to all those saying the increase is "only 120 ms": Yes the absolute change is quite small, however the relative change is huge. That is a 400-700% increase in ping depending on your location. To put that in perspective, someone with 30 ms ping can potentially receive 6(!) updates from the server in the time a player with 180 ms ping receives ONE. Imagine watching a movie at 8 frames a second compared to 48 frames a second, they're both watchable, they're both enjoyable but I know which one I'd prefer and I know which one almost everyone who has told the APAC to "shut up and accept it" would choose.

Finally I leave you all with a thought:
If you walk into Ye Olde Ice Cream Shoppe and they ask you: "What flavor you would like?" to which you and all your friends say "I'd like Chocolate please." Then they come back and hand you all vanilla while saying: "You can have vanilla because I think it tastes better (and its more financially viable)".

Now go back and replace:
- "Ye Olde Ice Cream Shoppe" with "Bioware"
- "Flavor" with "Population solution"
- "Chocolate" with "APAC Super Server"
- "Vanilla" with "US Server merges"
- "Tastes" with "Plays"
The Kae-Sare Legacy - The Harbinger
<Vindication> <Retribution>

Gralleh Grall'eh Khyar
Gralleh's Guide to Guardian Tanking [UPDATED for 2.0]

lorelthesecond's Avatar


lorelthesecond
03.29.2013 , 07:53 PM | #2
Great post

Marshal_Ney's Avatar


Marshal_Ney
03.29.2013 , 07:56 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by grallmate View Post
Much of the following argument is based on information taken from this post on 22.04.2012:
http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=4095498

The important information is contained in the first spoiler tag (copied below) which compares packet numbers and bandwidth usage between World of Warcraft and SWTOR. When standing still in a populated area SWTOR sends 110 packets every 10 seconds while WoW sends 36 in the same time. While jumping WoW sends 5, SWTOR sends 12. While standing alone, either in a private instance or with no one else on screen the 2 are very comparable.



For anyone that has actually played the game you know this is about right. Get lots of people on screen or in a heavily populated area and your performance takes a nose dive, and that just with them standing still. Compare the difference between an 8 man and a 16 man Ops fight and you will see a large performance difference. Simply put, the engine is not well optimized for a large number of players on screen which we all already know.

Now I assume everyone who reads this already knows what ping means but I'll reiterate just in case. Ping is the amount of time a single packet takes to reach the destination server and return.

So what does this have to do with the APAC players being merged onto US West Coast servers? Well 1 argument I see frequently thrown around is: "You play WoW (or any arbitrary other MMO) on US servers and don't complain". Let me break it down:

SWTOR uses an excessive number of packets which isn't a huge problem in and of itself but when combined with a high ping the problems amplify. SWTOR in a populated area sends and average (from the above numbers) of 1 packet every 90 ms while WoW sends one every 270ms. Using SOLELY those numbers and assuming sequential packet exchange you can see that going from 40 ms - 200 ms ping has no effect on the WoW engine while it has a noticeable effect on the SWTOR engine. Using the above assumption, as long as the ping time is within the update window there should be negligible performance difference between high and low ping. However, if the ping time exceeds the update window the performance difference becomes a lot more noticeable. 200 ms ping on SWTOR exceeds that update window, on WoW it doesn't.

All that assumes that one packet must be received before the next can be sent, which isn't the case. SWTOR can send the packet with my next ability activation before it receives the previous packet but that can provide other issues. Abilities that have a precondition are especially vulnerable to issues with this, examples include Followthrough and Railshot. Riposte is also affect but is off the GCD so the effect is less important. I've seen the effect lag can have on those abilities when playing through a proxy which gave me 180 ms ping compared to my normal 26 ms ping.

Finally, to all those saying the increase is "only 120 ms": Yes the absolute change is quite small, however the relative change is huge. That is a 400-700% increase in ping depending on your location. To put that in perspective, someone with 30 ms ping can potentially receive 6(!) updates from the server in the time a player with 180 ms ping receives ONE. Imagine watching a movie at 8 frames a second compared to 48 frames a second, they're both watchable, they're both enjoyable but I know which one I'd prefer and I know which one almost everyone who has told the APAC to "shut up and accept it" would choose.

Finally I leave you all with a thought:
If you walk into Ye Olde Ice Cream Shoppe and they ask you: "What flavor you would like?" to which you and all your friends say "I'd like Chocolate please." Then they come back and hand you all vanilla while saying: "You can have vanilla because I think it tastes better (and its more financially viable)".

Now go back and replace:
- "Ye Olde Ice Cream Shoppe" with "Bioware"
- "Flavor" with "Population solution"
- "Chocolate" with "APAC Super Server"
- "Vanilla" with "US Server merges"
- "Tastes" with "Plays"

There is already an "official" thread for the APAC issue,why you guys keep spamming?
I'm not a prophet or a stone age man,Just a mortal
with the potential of a superman,I'm living on"

grallmate's Avatar


grallmate
03.29.2013 , 08:19 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Marshal_Ney View Post
There is already an "official" thread for the APAC issue,why you guys keep spamming?
To counter: There are already hundreds of posts on virtually every single topic in this game, why then do we even need to start a new thread at all?

When spending 20 minute or more developing a well thought out and evidenced post it doesn't deserve to be lost in 450+ pages of posts nor would posting it in that thread be even remotely effective beyond the next 20 minutes.
The Kae-Sare Legacy - The Harbinger
<Vindication> <Retribution>

Gralleh Grall'eh Khyar
Gralleh's Guide to Guardian Tanking [UPDATED for 2.0]

SabaTheHobo's Avatar


SabaTheHobo
03.29.2013 , 08:26 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Marshal_Ney View Post
There is already an "official" thread for the APAC issue,why you guys keep spamming?
They got a raw deal, I can't say I blame them. I play West from East at ~100-120ms, and phantom GCDs and the like aren't much fun -- but I made that choice voluntarily for my guild, it wasn't thrust upon me.

That said, the numbers used here are questionable. Year old 10 second samples (!) purported to be indicative of current general usage only serve to muddle a relatively simple concept -- it's going to get laggier.
Sao
Lowca/Flurry WOK/FOW

Pscyon's Avatar


Pscyon
03.29.2013 , 08:28 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by grallmate View Post
If you walk into Ye Olde Ice Cream Shoppe and they ask you: "What flavor you would like?" to which you and all your friends say "I'd like Chocolate please." Then they come back and hand you all vanilla while saying: "You can have vanilla because I think it tastes better (and its more financially viable)".
I cannot process the example as there are no ice cream shops here
Sith Sorcerer

MidichIorian's Avatar


MidichIorian
03.29.2013 , 08:41 PM | #7
I've played on 30 ms, an average of 140 ms and an average of 200ms servers and the faster ones are noticeably better. The game looked/felt just fine when I played in a normal fashion on the 140 ms server but when I parsed it became pretty evident that something was up. When parsing you're generally keeping better track of the damage pop-ups too and I noticed that a lot of dots werent even showing up. The slowest server, me being in EU and the server being on the US West Coast, was just a disaster in comparison to the other servers. I frequently had to deal with teleporting and damage out of nowhere.

So based on my own experience I'd say that as long as you get to be under 150ms it's playable. You will probably run into some output issues compared to a "local" server but it won't have a significant impact on your experience. This is based on the assumption that your own connection is consistent. When itī's reaching 200ms and beyond it will start to directly affect you. But then again, if that's all you've ever played on you'll probably accept it so its going to be easier for new players than those who are forced to transfer.

grallmate's Avatar


grallmate
03.29.2013 , 08:42 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by SabaTheHobo View Post
That said, the numbers used here are questionable. Year old 10 second samples (!) purported to be indicative of current general usage only serve to muddle a relatively simple concept -- it's going to get laggier.
I agree that year old samples are not ideal but as far as I can tell they are still accurate. There have been plenty of client side optimizations in the last year (Graphics, Shadows) but as far as I can tell the issue with the network traffic is an engine issue. The thread I linked at the start said it pretty well:
No matter how much you optimize an O(n^2) algorithm it is still O(n^2).

For those of you that don't speak O(n) and algorithm optimization. N is the size of the data set you will run the algorithm on, in this case, players. As you have more players the algorithm will always take longer to complete but O(n^2) becomes a LOT worse than O(n) or O(n log n) algorithms. At n = 10 they're close enough that computer processing power covers the difference. At n = 1000 you can forget about it. O(n) notation is basically about working out the steps required in the algorithm as an algebraic function then you get rid of all the non-n values.

Regardless of that, the main points were:
- SWTOR is much worse than WoW packet wise so comparisons to WoW aren't valid when arguing about ping.
- SWTORs packet volume amplifies the problem of increased ping, especially when the ping exceeds the 'update window'
- Relative increase in ping is just as important as absolute increase.

EDIT: Oh and don't ask a customer what they wan't if you're just going to give them something completely different.
The Kae-Sare Legacy - The Harbinger
<Vindication> <Retribution>

Gralleh Grall'eh Khyar
Gralleh's Guide to Guardian Tanking [UPDATED for 2.0]

Andryah's Avatar


Andryah
03.29.2013 , 08:53 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by grallmate View Post
EDIT: Oh and don't ask a customer what they wan't if you're just going to give them something completely different.
You had a fine thread, worthy of thoughtful consderation, until you decided to slap this bumper sticker on it.

There were thousands of customers in this case, and from long reading of the long running APAC concerns thread... there was also no Unanimity amongst APAC players as a group. Some of you wanted servers left as is, some wanted servers merged within APAC (though there was little agreement as to how), and some wanted to be merged with US or EU servers (because populations were more important then latency to some of the APAC players).
sayonara SWTOR. I will miss the game, I will miss many players, I will NOT miss being lied to and deceived. I will not miss rookie level mistakes of epic proportions.

grallmate's Avatar


grallmate
03.29.2013 , 09:07 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Andryah View Post
You had a fine thread, worthy of thoughtful consderation, until you decided to slap this bumper sticker on it.

There were thousands of customers in this case, and from long reading of the long running APAC concerns thread... there was also no Unanimity amongst APAC players as a group. Some of you wanted servers left as is, some wanted servers merged within APAC (though there was little agreement as to how), and some wanted to be merged with US or EU servers (because populations were more important then latency to some of the APAC players).
That was the TL;DR of Ye Olde Ice Cream Shoppe scenario, since I was summarizing I thought I'd add that one as well. Similarly, you had a great post worthy of consideration until you decided to disregard an argument based entirely on 1 point. That's like saying gravity doesn't exist because we can fly.

As a member of the APAC I've also been quite vocal on that thread until the last few days. I don't see the point of arguing with people on a thread that is moving so fast you're lucky to be seen for a couple of hours before its pages deep. Hell in the time it took me to write my previous post in that thread it had grown by 3 pages.

I'm not claiming to speak for everyone in the APAC when I say this and if someone would like to actually survey 470+ pages of the thread to catalog individual preferences I'm happy to concede to that evidence. However, my observations of the thread over the last several months were that most people wanted to be merged to Dalborra. A few players on Master Dar'Nala wanted to go to a US based PvP server and some of Gav Daragon wished to remain where they were. I don't recall seeing any state they wished to move to a US RP server but I may have just missed those posts.

Regardless, I fail to see how this affects you in the slightest unless you play on one of the new Destination servers, and if you do, it stands to affect you in a negative way thanks to naming clashes while providing a negligible benefit by increasing the Destination servers already high populations.
The Kae-Sare Legacy - The Harbinger
<Vindication> <Retribution>

Gralleh Grall'eh Khyar
Gralleh's Guide to Guardian Tanking [UPDATED for 2.0]