Without a doubt, things are so much better than when we started on this merry journey nearly 2 years ago. Frame rates are up, network lag is down and things are just peachy, most of the time. Yet, we still have those occasional situations where the game becomes a bit of a nightmare. You’re stuck in endless loops of effects, people aren’t where you’d expect them to be, your enemy rides past you, assuming that you’re not really there, the CTDs start to appear and spell effects appear in clusters.
On the CTD side of things, this game is uber stable for me, apart from when the numbers get very high and then you end up staring at the desktop. It’s that age-old problem, that running any engine at max for to long and the seams start to split, which in this case maybe a small if then else, where the else is “Oh Shit, To Much Lag = Dump User To Desktop aka Clear The Buffers”.
I experienced such an evening last night 24/08/10, while on Karak-Norn in Eataine. It got so annoying, that I went and did what I hate most, a bit of crafting. Maybe because it’s such a rarity for me to experience issues like these, I find it that bit more frustrating. It could be that I’m just an intolerant old fool who values his free time more as he gets older, and doesn’t want it affected in anyway.
With the time afforded to me by the crafting, it allowed me to ponder a couple of things. Could the technical setup we have, both from a hardware and software standpoint, have handled Warhammer being really successful, as many of us had originally hoped for? We would have had more servers, this is true, but those end zones would have been mighty packed.
As we know from recent announcements by Mythic, design decisions are still being made in an effort to reduce the load on the server. In this case it was collision detection, which got shelved after a public outcry. Since Mythic hold their cards close to their chest re: hardware, we don’t know much about their kit. I’ve always assumed it was a blade server running each of our virtual servers (Karak Norn for instance), with each blade holding a region(s). What I’m not sure about, is how threaded is the server-side code when aligned with the hardware it’s running on. This does lead me to believe, that no new hardware will be forthcoming, though as usual I’m probably talking out of my ass.
When I started writing this, it got me thinking about why this push on performance? Is it just another step in fight against server side lag or is it because bottlenecks are starting to appear more frequently, because heaven forbid numbers starting to climb again? Maybe the new RvR packs and the appearance of the Skaven in some form as yet undisclosed could spike the servers. Remember about a month ago, we had a free 2 week trial on the Euro servers and the numbers climbed again, by what seemed quite a lot. Oh btw I’d love to know the number of renewed subscriptions based upon that PR exercise. Would the RvR packs produce a similar effect across all the servers, is that the worry?
Yes, it’s all speculation, but what else do I have to talk about. I know bugger all, naff all and sod all about the RvR packs.
Just for the record, hardware wise its a I7-920 @ 2.66, Asus P6TD Deluxe MB, 6GB Memory, ATI 5850, old school 300GB WD Raptor, sitting at the end of a 50MB/1.5MB internet connection (Cable, so it does the speeds it says on the tin), running at 1920 x 1280. I wanted to banish any thoughts that the client pc was underspecced.
EDIT: The more I think about it, the more I think it’s server processing overload. If it’s network traffic, it shouldn’t be a problem in another part of the same zone, since you should only be sent network traffic about things that effect you, so if you can’t see the ruddy great big battle, you’d not be sent any network traffic related to it, beyond the deathspam. However the only thing that would make the network seem sluggish while being in the same zone but not in sight, is if the processor(s) were struggling to cope with the battle in the zone and were therefore having to queue you request for mounting the horse, for example.