A games online performance can be attributed to many factors. Below is a listing of some of the different causes of why an online game may be slow or laggy.
If you are using a modem to connect and play online games you are going to notice a much higher ping then other players who may have a better connection then you. If you have a broadband connection and are experiencing lag test your Internet connection to see what your throughput is. Additional information about how to test your connection speed can be found on document CH000539.
Testing your connections speed can be helpful to determine if your if the slow connection is because of your connection or the server connection.
Where a server is located, how many players are playing on the server, what type of connection the server has, and how fast of computer the server is are all factors that can contribute to a slow or laggy online game experience. Below are a few recommendations to try.
See if all users are experiencing high pings or high latency. Often if all users are slow it's likely the server is a slow computer or has to many players for the type of connection being used.
Try an alternate server. Severs can be located anywhere in the world and if the server you are playing on is in another country it can affect your connection speed with some games.
Try playing the game at a different time of day, if the server is a server that is being used for more than just running a game server it could be currently experiencing a heavy work load or high bandwidth usage causing the game to go slow.
Verify you have the latest updates for your game as well as the operating system you are using to play the games on. Often updating the game to the latest version, updating the hardware drivers, and/or updating the operating system can improve a games performance offline and online.
More complex environment
When entering an area with several other online players the stress on your computer increases because of the requirements needed to load each of the characters and their actions. If you find the performance of your computer decreasing each time other players are on your screen or around you try decreasing the video quality of your game. This is often done through the Settings or Display area of the game.
How do I view the ping in an online game?
Many online games will have a feature that can be enabled/disabled and allows you to see the ping or latency of your connection with the game server. Unfortunately where this information is located and how to enable/disable it is all dependent on the game. See your documentation or ask other players in the game how to display this setting.
How do I know if my ping is high?
As mentioned above, the higher the ping or latency value the worse your connection. However, whether or not it is high when compared with other users on the same server really depends on the game and the server. Some online games have color coded ping/latency/connection indicators. For example, red for bad (high ping), yellow for ok, and green for good (fast or low ping).
Can I manually change my ping?
Some games will allow you to manually specify the ping or there may be hacks that allow you to do this. However, this is only changing what is being displayed and will in no way improve your ping. But it may allow your computer to connect to a server that only allows low pings.