Online games have created awesome ways for gamers to connect with each other for more than just a few matches in a shooter or a game of Texas Hold 'Em. Unfortunately, a slow computer or bad Internet can pull you away from the game world—sometimes when your team needs you the most. If you're the top healer in your group or a commander of an Internet Army, go get some fresh air outside, come back and learn about a few problems that could be causing game-wrecking lag.
The First Meaning Of Lag: Internet Speed
For fantasy game players, a fireball is cast...and keeps on casting. Your character may stand in place while trying to attack, but nothing else is happening. The computer isn't frozen and everything is running smoothly, but the game doesn't seem to respond to your commands. Shooting games may suffer the same issue as bullets come out and seem to hit their target, but the target doesn't react at all.
These problems fall under the term lag. The game is lagging behind because information is exchanging between you and the game server fast enough. If your Internet is still connected and you're able to perform Internet speed tests with satisfactory speeds, you're either observing a problem at the game's servers or your Internet.
You can rule out the game servers by visiting the game's forums or support center, asking your players outside of the game or contacting a support line. If the game servers are running fine, you likely have consistency issues with your connection. You'll need to contact your Internet Service Provider and check for any viruses that could be using up your connection.
The Second Meaning Of Lag: Computer Performance
The official meaning of lag is network issues, but the term has morphed. Not all game players are computer experts, so any kind of slow performance is called lag in the gaming world. The alternative definition involves your computer's performance instead of the Internet connection. For now, call it resource lag.
Some players suffer resource lag because their computer isn't powerful enough to run the game efficiently. The game may always be choppy, which means that the intended fluid or smooth motions seem to stop and stutter from time to time. It could happen at all times on some games, or only during specific events. For example, many players experience heavy resource lag during intensive raid battles with lots of spells and lighting effects.
The other causes are hardware failure and virus infection. Virus infection can affect computer performance since viruses are basically malicious software (malware), and any added software takes up more resources. Having extra software or programs open during your game means that the game has less resources to pull from.
Hardware failure is usually at the hard drive, often because retrieving information is becoming harder to retrieve because of wear and tear on the hard drive's disks. If you're concerned about viruses, upgrading computer parts and salvaging old computer parts before they completely fail, contact a computer repair professional (like Computer Backup Inc).