Multiplayer gaming has evolved a great deal over the years. Where it once required players to huddle around a single machine, sharing the screen with one another, multiplayer gaming today is mostly an online affair. The possibility to play online means that players can compete with people on the other side of the world. And given the prevalence of high-speed internet connections the world over, online gaming is generally a great experience that is continually improving.
However, things are rarely smooth and straightforward where PC gaming is concerned. While our home computers are very powerful and capable machines, their potential is a double-edged sword. The endless variety of possible hardware and software configurations means that there is an infinite array of things that can go wrong.
Understanding the various factors involved in determining the quality of your internet connection and online gaming experience will help you understand what steps you can take to improve it.
Fix Your Framerate First
When there is a problem with your internet connection or online gaming setup, the most visible sign of this is a lag. A lag manifests as stuttering and frame skipping when you are playing. This is caused by delays in communications between you and the host or server.
However, before you start altering your internet connection settings, you should first make sure you arent experiencing framerate dips. These manifest as stuttering graphics and frame skips, so they can appear exactly the same. If you arent experiencing any issues in a single-player mode, but have problems when you go online, this signifies an issue with your internet connection.
However, if you experience framerate issues when offline, try lowering your graphics settings and see if that improves the situation. Turning your graphical fidelity options too high will make your system slow down as it will struggle to keep up with the rendering requirements.
Use a VPN
For a long time, it was assumed that using a VPN would impinge on gaming performance. However, while this is true in some cases, if you choose a VPN provider that caters specifically to gamers, you shouldnt notice any decline in the quality of your connection.
Using a VPN while gaming dramatically improves your security. Believe it or not, there is a growing trend of disgruntled gamers targeting other players IP addresses to cause them trouble. This usually involves launching a denial-of-service attack, thereby preventing the target from being able to play the game.
Using a VPN also allows you to circumvent many forms of blocking. For example, when a local internet connection is designed to stop you from accessing game servers, it can further be used to connect to a gaming service from another geographical location, making certain games and services available where they wouldnt usually be.
Switch to a Wired Connection
No matter how good your router is, your Wi-Fi will never be as fast as your Ethernet connection. For the most dedicated online gamers, the difference that a wired connection makes can be huge. Not only will you benefit from improved speeds, but a wired internet connection is much less prone to dropping out than a wireless one.
While a wired internet connection is much faster, you should avoid connecting a PC or laptop to your router using a very long Ethernet cable. The longer the cable, the further the signal has to travel. Ethernet cables that are over a meter in length are usually much slower than the shorter ones.
Update Your Drivers
Your computers drivers are like digital instruction manuals. They tell your system how to use the components attached to it. If these drivers become outdated, your computer wont be able to utilize its components to their fullest extent. If you are experiencing framerate issues with a newly released game, despite having a rig that should handle it, the first thing you should do is update your graphics drivers.
Online gaming can be tremendous fun when it functions properly. Working out how to solve technical issues is part and parcel of being a PC gamer. The advantage is that by fixing problems with online gaming, you learn a good deal about your system and about networking in general.