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SWTOR Performance Status Update

As promised, Bioware is releasing more details on the ability delay and server lag players are experiencing since 3.0

Hey folks,
As I mentioned in my post last week, we have been working hard on assessing and figuring out how to address the “lag” issues which have been prominent since Game Update 3.0 went live. After speaking with our engineers, we thought the following would help explain what’s happening and what we are doing to address the issues:

What The Problems Are
Here are some of the issues that players have been experiencing since the launch of Game Update 3.0:

  • Server performance: Ability delay, Latency issues
  • Client performance: A drop in framerate
  • The game having a general “laggy” feeling, which is really a mix of the above

Causes and Their Status
As you might expect, when you start to talk about performance, almost every game system has an effect. Once the performance issues with Game Update 3.0 were identified, we needed to isolate what was causing them, and narrowed it down to two main sources:

  • Server code – There is a whole lot going on behind the scenes to keep the game running. The main symptom of server related issues is something we call “hitching”. Server hitching is the main culprit behind what a lot of you will commonly refer to as lag in SWTOR. The servers are busy processing responses from all the players at once, and sometimes a particular activity on the server can take longer than usual. This is basically the equivalent of a low “framerate” on the server rather than on your client. Server hitching occurs when you issue a command on your client (such as activating an ability, moving your character, opening a vendor) and there is a delay in the server actually performing that command. The server will “hitch” in its response since it is taking a long time to deal with your action or the actions of other players. For the most part, this behavior is responsible for nearly all of the problem areas mentioned above.
    • Note: Many of you noticed that shortly after Game Update 3.0 we made a quick change to limit the amount of players in each planetary instance. This was an interim solution to this problem as lowering the number players in a specific area reduces the impact of server hitching to the player. We’ll continue to monitor and adjust this number as needed.
    • Status: We’ve implemented changes in Patch 3.0.2 to address some of these issues. We will continue to monitor and make additional adjustments, as needed.
  • The User Interface – Next up is our game’s UI. Following Game Update 3.0, we noticed a large spike in time spent rendering our UI. This caused a lot of the framerate issues many of you reported. Keep in mind that the UI will always have some performance impact versus having it turned off—it’s busy doing something, after all. The question is how much time is acceptable to spend rendering the UI, and what can we do to improve it.
    • Status: Several changes have been made for 3.0.2 to address the UI’s performance issues.

I learned a few other things while talking with the development team. First is our data tracking around performance. We are constantly monitoring the performance of the game to determine when things have gotten worse and to find ways to address it. That data, as well as your feedback, reports to Customer Service, and information from the Forums helped isolate the major focus areas. After reviewing all our performance data, we were able to pinpoint some pretty critical areas. The engineers informed me that any code change will have a profound impact regardless of the change, so they consider them very high risk. That means extensive testing! A bad change could take down the entire service, or at least cause some surprising bugs.

Second is how performance is adjusted – think of it as a sliding scale. Our engineers will constantly make optimizations where we can to help move that slider in the direction of best performance. When we implement new features, or new systems, typically they require additional game resources and impact our overall performance and the slider moves away from “best”. For example, last year we made substantial changes to the way our chat systems worked and it had a dramatic and positive impact on performance. In fact, performance for the chat system has never been better. Each time we patch the game, it typically includes slider performance adjustments of some type, even if they have a very small impact. We know Game Update 3.0 moved the slider in the wrong direction, but we fully intend to get to back to pre-3.0 performance and improve it even more.

I know performance is far from perfect and that changes aren’t coming quite as fast as we wish they were. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused many of you. Please know that we are working on them and will get performance back to a better place!
-eric

By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

37 replies on “SWTOR Performance Status Update”

Enjoying the peace and quiet before the entitlement crowd shows up to scream about how Bioware has failed to provide them with flawless performance 100% of the time.

It’s not about entitlement.

It’s about BW’s arrogance in that they know they have a captive player base due to the Star Wars license. No matter how bad it is, we will not leave, we will continue to pay our subs and buy CC.

The anger is about paying for a product that is not delivering an experience on-par with its competitors, and choosing a PR line that ignores the fact that they are not alone in the MMO Universe.

“paying for a product that is not delivering an experience on-par with its competitors” = entitlement to an experience on-par with its competitors, hypocrite.

So its ‘entitlement’ to want a game that’s most basic functions, like enough loot dropping for a 16man group or 16man boss mechanics working so its possible to continue on without having to sit 8 players out for the kill? It’s ‘entitlement’ to want our abilities to work the first time we hit the hotkey? All these bioware white knights are a joke to the mmo world. If you’re F2P, you don’t get to have an opinion, its that damn simple.

We have a conflict of terminology, guys.
What is “entitlement”?
Now, “entitled” means something you have the right to, and is a legal term. Owed – though very similar, is more mundain, and petty blanket statement, meaning pretty-mich the same thing, but without that legal authority. Whereas being entitled to something means you’re part of some criteria (for instanc,e a signatory of the Terms of Service), being owed means you personally.

Entitlement itself is a demeanour of people who – contrary to logic – feel they are owed, not entitled.
Due outrage is well and good, however we must not forget what the EULA and TOS say. Not sure how many people actually read it, but I have:

EA/BioWare is not required to do diddly-squat, they provide the service(s) as-is and cannot be held responsible for anything that goes wrong.
We agree to not hold BioWare responsible for anything that goes wrong
We cannot sue BioWare
We must defend BioWare against all lawsuits and the like.

So, while our outrage is morally justified, they are on the legal high-ground.

However, this does not mean that pretentious fellas are better than entitled ones, and just as reading “I am owed this xyz because of abc” is hilarious, it is just as hilarous to hear another person say “No, you are not, not shut up and qrs”

SWTOR defense force is out quickly today

It’s not like I pay for this game or anything, right? Surely the least I can expect is consistent performance.

Looks like Musco and the others made a New Year’s Resolution- keep the player base much more informed on the game. Good on them.

Same here. For some reason I can’t even hate on them. On some other games I am getting really angry over stupid bugs and glitches. But here I just wait. I guess i just love this game too much. Actually, I don’t just wait. I still play the game, sometimes my abilities freak out completely, I just take a deep breath and continue.

“Keep in mind that the UI will always have some performance impact versus
having it turned off—it’s busy doing something, after all.”

LMAO

I have the only solution for SWTOR: make it a round based combat system.
It’s all messed up, they haven’t fix that mess in the last 3 years, and they won’t fix it in the next 1000 years.

I don’t know how much they paying Disney to rent the Star Wars franchise but they need to funnel some of that back into the game. Subscribers and the Revan update purchases should be enough, not to mention CC purchases. This game is not that big (yet) and there are a lot of issues that were never addressed. I’d be happy to invest in a new game engine just kill this shit and start over.

I read this as “We have no idea how to maintain our game.” What counts as “issues” for Bioware, are the basic technical bases that you need to cover before you even consider launching your product for live use.

Whether or how much one enjoys the game is completely irrelevant, when a company handles a product so poorly, they should be called out. The launch of 3.0 was incompetent at best (and Bioware could pick up from Blizzard on the topic of “How to rectify for your failed launch.”)

P.S. SWTOR’s engine should be killed with fire, then nuked from orbit.

^ Agreed. I find it hard to believe that upping the Shadow Map Resolution any number above 1024 on SLI Titans is *so* demanding it drops me to 15 fps… This engine is shit.

indeed, but whats most unbelievable is that these issues have been there more or less since launch, the engine is the worst in history, also strange my 670 2gb version has no problems with shadow map size until i set it to more than 3072, but i abandoned this game long ago, started playing before 3.0 and after 3.0 seeing how they changed most of the classes especially what they did to carnage marauder(the fast feel i had before of it being a fast dps class with ice rotations and animations, is now the most annoying rotations and don’t get me started on animations especially gore WTF bioware) i have zero interest in the game

Here is why so many issues have come up since 3.0 – 3.0 was a closed BETA. To try an keep the story arc a secret (why I don’t know. Wasn’t that earth shattering. Anyone who read the book Revan kind of saw this coming ) and the main ones they invited to test it were hardcore raiders. No Pvpers that I knew of. And certainly no casuals who are usually the ones grinding dailies and such, who figure out little bugs.

Next time, maybe they will just keep it open beta and actually test their product before releasing it. Early access was commonly called paid BETA. Why? because it felt like it!

Bioware doesn’t give a fuck about you or our opinions on the matter. All they fucking care about at this point is how much money we’ll shamefully and guiltily give them to enjoy (read as beta test/play) the only Star Wars MMO on the market.

Sad but true, I myself have come to the realization that the only reason I still pay a sub and play the game is simply because it is the only current Star Wars game available to me. :/

The 3.0 Expansion launch sucked. I enjoyed maybe an evenings worth of content as a casual, and about 2 nights worth of content as a raider (Story Mode and all that, Hard Mode means jackshit to me these days anyways.)

What The Problems Are

We know what the problems are !!!!

Eric your fighting a losing battle, those engineers don’t answer to you and that’s the problem.
your just a face to try and keep the masses happy.
The old team that coded the game are gone and the new team that are half paying attention while they work on other things haven’t got a clue whats going on so they are feeding you bullshit………. when they talk to you!
Their silence feeds your silence and so the people yammer and bleat.
If you really feel for the game as some players do, just be honest no matter what the outcome at least you walk away with your integrity and some sense of decency.

I don’t think I have seen a single game dev besides the ones in EVE be honest about what causes the lag and why. Also how they plan to fix it. Just wish we could see some of that honesty from the devs for TOR.

In Eve the lag made the game absolutely unplayable at some point, I mean a skill needed a minute to execute in large scale pvp ship battle.. What choice did they have?

They could have done the same as devs in pretty much every other MMO and just say “Fuck if we know.” and never do anything about it. Instead they told the players exactly what they were trying to reduce lag. Some things worked better than others, but at least there was some honest communication there.

The message shovelled down our throats is insulting. It sounds like someone back in the mid 90’s HYPOTHESIZING about what issues an mmo MAY HAVE with respect to a sliding scale of performance vs. appearance.

The SWTOR team continues to publicly ignore the fact that they are not the only MMO around, and that other MMO’s have solved the problems many years ago that continue to plague SWTOR.

You wouldn’t know it from visiting any MMO’s forums or comment sections though, people will always be complaining about something in every game. You either enjoy it and therefore play it or you don’t enjoy it and don’t play it. Everything else is just noise.

While I sincerely appreciate many of the new armor shells for expansion (hated oriconian) I too get that ‘old authentic’ versus ‘half baked new’ impression when venturing to the different planets, fp’s, operations. The other night we played EC Nightmare and forgot how solid these operations once were. Jump forward to the impossible fight of Underlurker in TOS SM and you have a prime example to support Jon Egg’s comment.

Performance and load benchmarks are the hardest parts to actualy test in most hardware/software configurations. Tracking the odd piece of code you never saw could impact your system so much is sometimes quite the epic feat. To top it of sometimes the delay comes from the feelers you put in place to monitor the performances ><
That said, when you provide a service to several thousands of paying customers, you do the deed or you appear as rude/incompetent/lost (pick your answer)

See it’s the bugs like these that I have patience with, although I may be about ready to chew-out the Underlurker fight designer, due to how dodgy the “cross” mechanic is with all the server issues, I can appreciate that fixing things like this are not easy. When it comes to the in-numerable visual glitches in the game(cloaks clipping through vehicles/helmets clipping through hoods/etc) I have no such patience and understanding, it’s so frustrating that they don’t even bother to pretend to fix any of the graphic bugs.

these are the reasons i havent played after i lvled a few toons to 60. yevin is meh the ability lag is the worst part of it besides waiting for repawns of the small quantiy of droids in that area.
it just makes it hard to tell if you have crap internet or its the game screwing up they really need to get rid of the graphics engine they are using

You want to speak graphical bugs? Have you tried creating a female Twi’lek jedi knight? In the first cinematic you see the handle of your practice saber eat in your lekku. Then when you draw your sword, your right lekku is oddly stiff. Both of these defects will jump you in the first seconds you play if you chose to create the female twi’lek knight. Way to go.

A little communication and assurance that it’s being worked on goes a long way with me. I enjoy the game and I don’t enjoy complaining about things when I see effort. If I stop seeing effort I’ll feel differently, but glad to hear that the next patch will have improvements to help the issues. Personally, I’ve seen very few issues since upgrading to a new PC over the holidays, so my issues after release were more PC than server probably.

wow. An honest and open letter from Bioware and the response is just a bunch of whiny vitriol.

This is why you don’t have nice things, guys…

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