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FPS Uh Ohs

June 28, 2010

You log into World of Warcraft and select your main with all their pretty pixels. Dalaran is bustling with activity and the sun shines over each stone on the brick path. You cast a few shiny spells to prepare yourself for the battle ahead and then make your way to Krasus’ Landing. Icecrown Citadel looms in the distance and your forces are gathering for another assault. Your loyal flying mount carries you over the wasted land, undaunted by the bones of the fallen that are inlaid throughout the fortress walls. As the time for battle nears, your forces are fed and armored. You give the order to charge. Light erupts from the battlefield as your army advance on the enemy.

And then the world freezes. It scoots forward in tiny, incremental jumps. What the hell is the Lich King up to now?

When your Framerate or Latency staggers, raiding can be a nightmare.
It can make 25 man raiding virtually impossible.

I normally run with relatively high graphics and get about 60 frames per second. I lower my settings for 25 man raids to lessen the strain on my system, but I still manage about 30 fps during combat when I’m healing. Not today. As soon as I stepped into a crowded room and spells started flying, my framerate dropped to a whopping 2. That’s right. 2 FPS. I’ve been noticing a gradual decline in framerate over time, but I usually attributed it to latency issues. This was extreme.

If I wasn’t the raid leader, I would have dropped from the raid. But I stayed and moved at a stop-motion pace for the entire evening. Another healer was also having framerate issues, so we had to pull a 6th healer off DPS to cover for our weakness. My generous raiders carried my sorry self through all the fights.

At 2 FPS, there just isn’t much that you can do. You can spam your spells and track timers, but it’s in slow motion. I couldn’t be sure that any of my spells were actually casting.

In a desperate attempt to be able to distribute loot at a normal pace and run faster than a turtle, I turned all my graphics settings to a minimum.

It gave me a new sympathy for raiders who operate on sub-par systems or deal with high latency.

I couldn’t SEE the cold flame on Marrowgar or the death and decay on Deathwhisper. I was blind as a bat during corpse runs. I had to reload my view distance after every wipe because I couldn’t find my way back to the citadel entrance.

Maneuvering out of danger was impossible and the other healers mercifully kept me alive (most of the time) as I bumped into adds and stumbled into death traps. It was difficult to turn the camera because it took so long for it to re-adjust. Switching targets? Ha…ha…ha. Yeah. Not happening. Thankfully I use healbot and could still heal while zoomed in on the floor. If my heals were even casting, that is.

By the end of the night, my graphics were as low as possible and I had disabled all but my most basic addons. I realized just how pretty my UI is and how awkward the basic interface can be. But I crept up to FPS spikes between 4-11.

The magic FPS number is 8. At 8 FPS, it’s manageable.

It isn’t pretty, but you can still heal or DPS effectively. Anything higher is exponentially better. Anything lower is difficult to handle. You’re gimping your raid members by making them drag you along. (Thanks to my raid for taking care of me!)

Framerate difficulties are aggravated immensely by 25 man raids. I had better luck in my 10 man the next day. While the framerate wasn’t fantastic, it hovered around 8 FPS and I was able to react to changes in combat. It just wasn’t pretty.

Now to figure out why my computer has suddenly imploded. I’ll let you know what solutions I come up with.

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From → Addons/UI, Raiding

3 Comments
  1. Khamrin permalink

    Were you having this problem prior to the most recent patch (last Tuesday)?

    • To a lesser extent, yes. I was noticing a severe decline in framerate whenever I played my DPS casters. It was less noticeable when I was healing and using raid frames, but Emmet couldn’t stand to watch me raid on my other characters because of the sluggish performance. The framerate has gotten much worse since the most recent patch. Although, oddly enough my latency has improved significantly.

  2. Khamrin permalink

    So is your plan to reload your system with Windows 7 and see how it goes?

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