MANILA, Philippines — You’re already at the most crucial minutes of your ranked match, with only a few turrets remaining on the map. Everything’s all set up, teammates are ready in their spots waiting for a nice set until your phone decides to lag and sabotages your entire gameplay.
It’s a true story that is experienced by most, if not all, online gamers—newbie or pro—regardless of the game you’re playing.
If you’re someone like me who had grown during the era when internet cafes were packed with high schoolers and college students playing Defense of the Ancients (DotA), League of Legends (LoL), and Special Force (SF), to witness what they call “gamer’s rage” is something that surely isn’t new to you.
Urban Dictionary wittily described “gamer’s rage” as the feeling when a gamer gets intensely angry over a video game either because they’re interrupted, dying a lot, or mocked in-game leading them "to exceed the limits of human emotion."
Gamer's rage was a very familiar scenario back then, to the point that computer shop owners would even issue warnings such as "Wag ibalibag ang keyboard" and "Bawasan ang pagmumura" to remind gamers to keep their composure.
I, personally, am guilty of this too. Until now, when delays ruin my game, I get furious and release my frustrations through screaming, or worse, rage quitting. Sometimes, I ask: is it me, my device, or my internet connection?
Frankly, it's a combination of all those things most of the time.
Frame drops vs lags
Frame drops and lags are every gamer's nemesis. While both are performance problems caused by delays, we need to understand how they’re technically different so we can fix them.
In normal circumstances, delays should be bearable, but not in gaming where every second matters. No matter how minor you think they are, delays can cause late reactions and unpredictability in movements. They mean consequences in one’s performance such as dying very often, losing games, or worse, getting reported/penalized due to unreliability as a teammate.
Frame drops or Low frames per second (FPS) are often due to our devices’ processing capabilities and how they attempt to keep up with our graphic needs. This would manifest as screen stutters and jerky video frames, especially for ultra HD game settings.
Lags, meanwhile, are often network-caused delays. The most common type of this is high ping or high latency connection, which means that your device connection is not consistent enough and it takes a long time to transfer and process information from your devices to the servers of the game (or another player).
For example, if you’re playing Call of Duty, your video frames may be smooth but lag causes your character to be stuck walking in place, or your shots keep on missing because by the time your shot reaches their place, your opponent’s long since moved away.
Fixes you can do
But it's not game over yet. Here are a few things I have learned that minimize frame drops and lags in your games –things I’ve seen and heard from online gamers which I think are worth giving a shot:
- Close background apps: To free processing power, close apps and other games running. Also better to pause streaming videos and music.
- Optimize: Run games only with settings your device is capable of. Set your graphic settings to lower frame settings.
- Do network tests first: Online games offer network tests for a reason. Use them to know what gaming experience to expect.
- Upgrade your internet: If your internet can’t keep up with your games, it’s about time you choose one that performs better.
On internet: Is speed enough?
Internet speed is easy to blame whenever our connection is not working our way. But actually, not all is about our internet speed—your connection’s consistency and overall reliability got something to do with it too.
For example, I usually experience sudden spikes and dips in ping (the number with letters ms) during games, which is based on my network’s consistency. This often results in delays in my gameplay.
This is why when upgrading your internet connection, it’s critical to check how reliable a network is too. In the Philippines, Globe is currently our most reliable network in the second quarter of 2022, outlasting other telcos in terms of consistency and availability based on analysis conducted by Ookla® of Speedtest Intelligence® data.
Globe achieved the highest Consistency Score™ of 79.44 and Most Available All Technology score at 93.11. Its consistency score is a near two-point advantage over the next player, which got 77.69.
The network was also recently recognized by OpenSignal with the Excellent Consistent Quality award in its April 2022 Mobile Network Experience Report for the Philippines.
So while bandwidth and speed are crucial, consistency and overall reliability are just as important—most especially in gaming where content/frames load continuously, fast and in real-time, and just a few seconds of drop in internet connection can cause delays in-game and potentially ruin a match.
All this said, if you’ve already managed to optimize your device and upgrade to better internet, chances are high that your next game losses are already on you—or perhaps, blame them on your unreliable teammates?