1.21.3 Lobby latency bars

General Discussion
Hi all,

In our ongoing efforts to combat latency in SCR, we've revamped the custom games latency bar system to make it more meaningful for players.

First, it's important to distinguish between the latency bars displayed on the game search screen vs the latency bars in the game lobby. In the game search screen, the latency bars are based on geodistance (the distance from you to the advertised game host) and therefore are very approximate. We do not show actual latency here because it would involve a lot of packets being sent to hosts and back, and would be somewhat akin to DDOSing the host.

In the game lobby screen, we do show actual latency. We've revamped the system in 1.21.3. Now, the latency bars depend on which turn rate the host has selected. The meaning remains the same regardless of turn rate:

5 bars - high confidence that this player can play at selected TR on low latency
4 bars - the player should be able to play at selected TR on low latency
3 bars - the player should be able to play at selected TR on high latency
2 bars - the player should be able to play at selected TR on extra high latency
1 bar - the player is unlikely to be able to play at selected TR, or has no connectivity to you

In 1.21.3, we have also rolled out our Dynamic Turn Rate system for custom games as an option. The meaning of the bars in this case are:

5 bars - the player should be able to play at TR 16 on low latency
4 bars - the player should be able to play at TR 12 on low latency
3 bars - the player should be able to play at TR 10 on high latency
2 bars - the player should be able to play at TR 8 on extra high latency
1 bar - the player cannot play at any TR on any latency

It's also worth remembering that latency is a moving target - ping times can change (sometimes dramatically) during the course of a game (or even while in the lobby), which means these bars are a guide only. There's no guarantee that a player will maintain their current connection - it could get better or worse with time.

Finally, and importantly, the current latency bar system only measures latency between you and the other player. StarCraft uses a networking algorithm that is optimal when all players have good connectivity to all other players. Therefore, it's incumbent on all players to make it known to the host if they have particularly poor connectivity to another player. In future we'd like to investigate elevating all latency times to the host so that the host can be properly informed.
This is super helpful to know while hosting games moving forward.

Thanks for the update!
Thank you so much Blizzard for listening!

This helps tremendously!
This is so cool... i really love that you are delivering this stuff, great job please keep going.

As a suggestion can you add a command "/ping <name>", so that way we can individually test our Latency in MS with a test P2P package?. If you are worried about DDOS maybe you can limit this "ping" to just one per account in a given time.

I find this very interesting, because i can ping lets say NostrA like this:

"/Ping NostrA" and it will return something like this only for me to see:

140 Ms, Suggested Turn Rate for 1v1 Turn Rate 12.

That way people can inform themselves on how they lag with another person.
This explains why every game I join now has 50%+ of the players as red/yellow. This is not a good idea without a more effective method for promulgating the changes.

Prior to this, the bars were completely inaccurate. Everyone in game could report seeing all 5 green, yet the game would still lag horribly. Still, to have any hope of a lag-free game, the only option was to ban anyone with less than 5g; 4g was an accepted likelihood of lag even on EHL, and 3y and below was a guarantee of lag even on EHL.

However, many if not most team games on bnet are played on high or extra high latency due to the terrible lag issues that plague BW and the way the multiplayer in BW works. A large portion of the playerbase (at least in the American servers) consists of players from countries with poor international routing who WILL lag with Americans (cough Peru), and from what I understand that's just how it will always be so long as BW is using p2p. Playing on EHL has been an expected and acceptable state of affairs for most of us for years upon years.

As mentioned above, under the old system, so long as the lobby had 100% 5g bars and maybe a couple 4g bars one could be reasonably certain that the game would be lag free on EHL. Now, however, the lobby can be all red and yellow yet still result in a lag-free EHL game. This is obviously a problem because the playerbase in SC has been conditioned over years and years to ban anyone under 5 green when seeking an low/high latency game and to ban anyone under 4g when EHL is not an acceptable state of affairs. Given that likely only a tiny fraction of players reads these forums, you need to disseminate this new information in some other way. The only reason I came here to read up on it is because I was wondering why every single game lobby suddenly has 5/6 player with red and yellow bars; I figure it had to be a Blizzard change, because my connection has not changed. Blizzard should consider explaining the changes in the game lobby the same way you did for the proxy server stuff a couple months ago.

I'm all for knowing I'll have a lag free game and for more accurately detecting conflicts, but right now the new system makes it look like every single game will be super laggy based on learned reactions to the prior system, when that may not be the case under the new system.
02/08/2018 06:24 PMPosted by Grace

I'm all for knowing I'll have a lag free game and for more accurately detecting conflicts, but right now the new system makes it look like every single game will be super laggy based on learned reactions to the prior system, when that may not be the case under the new system.

This is not a big deal at all. Everyone has to download the patch and the bnet app even advertises a link to the 1.21.3 patch notes. Even if you somehow ignored all of that, it is very obvious that something has changed when you start seeing way more red/yellow bars than before.
02/09/2018 06:41 AMPosted by Airball
02/08/2018 06:24 PMPosted by Grace

I'm all for knowing I'll have a lag free game and for more accurately detecting conflicts, but right now the new system makes it look like every single game will be super laggy based on learned reactions to the prior system, when that may not be the case under the new system.

This is not a big deal at all. Everyone has to download the patch and the bnet app even advertises a link to the 1.21.3 patch notes. Even if you somehow ignored all of that, it is very obvious that something has changed when you start seeing way more red/yellow bars than before.


You are vastly overestimating the ability of the average player, let alone the ones who don't speak English, to figure out something has changed and then read the patch notes/come here and read it. Almost every single game I played last night involved me explaining to the host and other players what had happened and why all the games had yellow/red. Saw many people wondering why "everything" is "laggy" now, when nothing but the display has changed.

Anytime you rely on the masses to do something, you've already screwed up. If you want to disseminate information it has to be in your face, obvious, and impossible to miss.
so happy to see this being addressed. I think every single player can agree the only thing that Starcraft needs improved is latency.
This is overall a good thing, even if it screws me over personally.

So I play on the KR servers, since US East is basically a competitive dead zone for me. As such, my connection can USUALLY handle 16 TR low latency. It's only maybe 1/5 games that it can't.

Yet, your approximation algorithm puts me at 2y bars. Unfortunately this means I am now banned from most games. I have played over 300 games on the KR servers, and if lag was an issue, it should be relatively logical that I wouldn't have played that many games.

I hope that you can improve your latency bar algorithm. But, I completely understand why that's very hard to do.
02/10/2018 10:43 AMPosted by Mis
This is overall a good thing, even if it screws me over personally.

So I play on the KR servers, since US East is basically a competitive dead zone for me. As such, my connection can USUALLY handle 16 TR low latency. It's only maybe 1/5 games that it can't.

Yet, your approximation algorithm puts me at 2y bars. Unfortunately this means I am now banned from most games. I have played over 300 games on the KR servers, and if lag was an issue, it should be relatively logical that I wouldn't have played that many games.

I hope that you can improve your latency bar algorithm. But, I completely understand why that's very hard to do.


Same. I can play high lat TR16 on Korea but not low lat, usually. I get 2y on Korea now so I get banned. Same for EU. I've played many many games on EU, never had any lag issues at any TR or latency, really. Now I show up as yellow all the time and get banned even though the game won't lag.
arj
Bad update for me.
I have never had a lag before like now I have. at euro, west or east I played normally - now I can't play all users have yellow or red bars and me too. I'm from europe and I can't play with everyone. My internet connection is not slow I have fiber net 100/10, my router is configured correctly becouse I play before and all it's fine. I nothing change at my router etc. and now this bad update - whats wrong with this update?
02/11/2018 03:12 AMPosted by Pray
Bad update for me.
I have never had a lag before like now I have. at euro, west or east I played normally - now I can't play all users have yellow or red bars and me too. I'm from europe and I can't play with everyone. My internet connection is not slow I have fiber net 100/10, my router is configured correctly becouse I play before and all it's fine. I nothing change at my router etc. and now this bad update - whats wrong with this update?


The same issue for me. I have to explain everytime i join a game. The thing is most of the time im not lagging. Its just the inaccurate latency bars showing on me.
Amazing but I agree that the players should be informed about those changes with a yellow message when they log in the chat room.
02/13/2018 06:23 AMPosted by Stampelle
Amazing but I agree that the players should be informed about those changes with a yellow message when they log in the chat room.


That would be neat indeed, having a "bullet point" list of things changed on each patch (at least for a week?), i agree 100%, it has been requested a LONG time ago, never requested it again, but is a really great idea.
You have basically ruined my SC experience with this patch.

I am connecting from Western Australia and since the patch I get banned in 90 percent of games on all servers (Asia, Korea and North America).

I used to show 3 bars and was always fine in games, especially if set to high latency. I'm still on the same connection (12Mbps approx) but I am now showing 1 bar in lobby I have been told.

I'm connecting from Western Australia so my ping will always be around 200 -230ms, regardless of my bandwidth.

It was frustrating before but now you have put the nail in the coffin with this patch. I know a lot of Australians would like to be treated as equals when it comes to your planning but clearly you don't care about this part of the world.

I know your going to say, oh but why not just play people with similar latency bars. Well, it's just not going to happen. Not enough players and regardless of who is playing, people run when they see 1 red bar.

Sad thing is I don't even lag in games. 200ms and 12Mbps and u give me 1 red bar. I rest my case.
02/13/2018 06:23 AMPosted by Stampelle
Amazing but I agree that the players should be informed about those changes with a yellow message when they log in the chat room.

They are, the yellow message has been in my face every day for a week. Sadly no one reads the patch notes so they keep banning me, not knowing that 1 red bar now is like 3 bars before the patch.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum