Killzone: Shadow Fall‘s next patch will attempt to reduce the number of “laggy kills” that players experience in multiplayer.
“With regards to the perception of lag, however, we did discover that players find a game to be very ‘laggy’ if only one or two kills during a match have a high kill lag – even if the rest of the match runs smoothly,” Lead Game Tech Jorrit Rouwe wrote in a blog post. “This prompted us to run a little experiment. We defined a ‘laggy kill’ as a kill that takes more than 0.5 seconds to register. We then determined that, given the measured ‘ping’ across the globe, the lowest realistically attainable percentage of laggy kills during a match would be 2%. Finally, we compared this number to what we could measure.
“To our surprise, we saw that the percentage was really dependent on the region: US-East showed 13% laggy kills, US-West 6%, and other regions around 4%. Moving some of our servers in the US-East region to a different data center resulted in the percentage of laggy kills on those servers decreasing by a whopping 10%. A similar move in the US-West region unfortunately didn’t yield any further improvements.
“So why is this? The US has many different networks, and not all networks have ‘peering agreements’ (a direct connection between the two networks). This means that sometimes, packets have to take a detour to arrive at their destination. For some players in the US-East region, we would even see packets travel from the east coast to the west coast and back before finally arriving at our server. This obviously introduces a lot of undesired lag.
“All servers in the US-East region have been moved to the new data center, so players in this region should see an improvement.”
The upcoming patch will allow players to see their connection quality via a new screen that details their nearest server, packet loss, download/upload speed, and type of connection. Players will also be grouped by ping in matchmaking, so players with better connections will play each other for a better experience.
Finally, parties will now be matched by the region that most of the players come from and not based on the party leader’s region.