The Lagging Strand

I’ve been having lag issues recently, and it terrifies me. Now, I’m fairly used to having stupid internet; for the first eight months or so of Mists, my internet decided to stop working once every few weeks. Usually, it happened just as I was beginning to think the problem had been fixed for good. Often, it would not only span a raid night or two, it actually went out right before raid, so that I couldn’t properly warn my raid team at the time. On the nights when I did have internet, I would often have quite a bit of lag. This wouldn’t be too awful (as long as lag is constant, it’s pretty easy to learn to deal and heal with it), though I did often need to move preemptively out of one-shot mechanics, lest I got smashed into itty bits before my screen realised it was happening.

I’m not sure how my raid team put up with me. In restrospect, I probably should’ve just quit. It wasn’t fair to them, but the hope that it would be the last time -that my ISP had really, actually fixed something that time- and how much I loved raiding with them, just got the better of me.

The problem did eventually get fixed, when me and a neighbour reported our internet going out on the same day, and the ISP finally figured out there was something broken somewhere. It was magical, suddenly sitting at 100ms no matter what content I was running. I realised that I didn’t actually suck at Iron Qon’s whirlwinds as much as I thought I did (though they’re still pretty far from being something I excel at), and that 200ms really did make that much of a difference. I stopped dying to Durumu’s beam, and to the smoke (since the only way to survive the beam when I was lagging was to run well ahead of it into the purple; if I miscalculated, I was pretty much dead). I was able to jump onto platforms on Ji’kun, knowing that my character would actually jump when I hit spacebar instead of just running off the ledge. Life was good.

But, recently, it started again. And it wasn’t the fun kind of lag, where everything is just happening 0.3 seconds after for you. It was the sucky kind of lag where everything’s slightly laggy for a couple of minutes and then your screen suddenly freezes for four seconds and you’re frantically spamming your ‘q’ key on the tank hoping that that Penance will actually go off before he dies. On Garrosh, which is where we’re at now, it’s particularly bad. The tanks take so much damage from adds that clutch heals are pretty important, and that’s the kind that is hardest to provide when you’re lagging. Predictable damage, I can handle just fine; I just need to be more proactive. But there’s nothing more frustrating than watching someone’s health slowly drop, knowing that casting a life saving shield on them is within your power, but only if your connection allows it.

Unsurprisingly, beyond how personally frustrating it is, it’s not very good for progression. I feel like I can claim at least 30% of the responsibility for not having yet killed Garrosh. I actually volunteered to sit out this week, partially because I needed to study, but mostly because I was terrified that the lag would flare up again and screw up our Garrosh kill. As they say, though, the world is not a wish granting factory, and our mage had to work and was late on our progression day, so I had to heal for about half the raid night. It was not pretty. And it was wasted time.

Thankfully, I’m pretty sure it’s not my internet this time around, since just turning off my computer for tennish minutes managed to fix it last week (after my horrible night ended with a painful DC that, thankfully, coincided with the arrival of our lovely mage). I’m pretty sure it’s an overheating problem, so I’m going to try and keep my computer turned off for a while before raid (I have the awful habit of keeping it on sleep mode), and hopefully it will resolve itself. But even if I have to do something like replace the fans or the computer or whatever it may be, at least I have a modicum of control over fixing the problem and that makes me feel a little bit better.