Monday, January 12, 2015

East Coast and League of Legends

If you have been on Reddit in the past couple of weeks, then you are probably no stranger to the "East Coast Lag" posts, or posts referencing packet loss. Before this, it was true that east coast did play a with higher ping than their west coast counter parts, due to location of servers, but in the past couple of weeks, the game for many east coasters, and even residents in the mid west, has been almost unplayable.Now, many people have been quick to point fingers at Riot or the Internet Service Providers(ISP), but I think both Riot and ISPs have a role in the lag.

Beginning the long train of problems was when Riot relocated their servers earlier in Season 4. The original server location was down in Southern California, near where the League Championship Series(LCS) is held. However, to ensure better server stability, they moved the servers up to Portland Oregon, despite saying they were trying to make the servers more centralized. Upon server relocation, many players had issues logging in, and even higher ping than they had when the servers were in Southern California. Patch 4.20 comes around in late November and sparks massive issues with Windows Firewall, causing games to crash. Patch 4.21 seemed to be running fine up until a week before Christmas, when the whole issue exploded. Packet loss, especially on Verizon FiOS was awful, and games became unplayable. This problem was mostly specific to the East Coast of the United States, and let to a crying out for East Coast Servers.

Now, this could be issues both on Riot's end, and possibly on the ISP end as well. Riot, admittedly, picked an awful location for their servers. In my case, my connection has to travel over three thousand miles to Oregon and the server has to send a response back over three thousand miles, which increases the ping. Another issue is the fact that when these problems started, middle and high schoolers were on break, thus enabling them to play league more often, and clogging up the servers(sorry guys).  The more traffic on a line, the more congested it will become, and causing lag issues. I am pleased to announce at home, starting around the 6th of January, the packet loss has returned to its normal state, but for some others though, the problem still remains.

Now, in the case of League, the amount of data used for league is roughly twenty Mb per game.(Assuming a game lasts thirty minutes.) This isn't a lot for the ISPs to actually throttle, but in the case that they are throttling League's connection is just weird. There are a bunch of other games for them to mess with the connection, but why for League? I think they know it's becoming one of the biggest games ever and if they can charge Riot more for a fast lane, then they would be making bank off the largest grossing video game companies, making about one billion dollars in revenue. Granted, not all of that is profit, but to think that they made one billion dollars off selling nothing but skins, Riot could become a target for greedy ISPs due to high sales.

With all that said, Riot did come out and say they were planning on making a dedicated line just for gaming. This is a massive project, so don't expect results as quickly as you might expect. The goal of this line is to make a direct connection to Riot's servers as opposed to numerous stops and jumps along the way. With this good news that Riot has promised us, I am hoping the future the League Community will stop being divided and we can all play with relatively equal ping. 

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