I work second shift so I play late at night. My friends, many of them, are West Coasters and I am on the East Coast. So in our party I have guys from Las Vegas, California, Oregon, Minnesota, and other places around the US. So the regional aspect is difficult. Who is going to tell friends they can't play together?
Ping is the single most important aspect of a multiplayer game. If you don't see the logic in that then it's not even worth having a conversation with you about it. When you filter by region, then skill level, then ping your putting ping at the bottom of the list of importance and priority. No wonder its so messed up.
If I am in Minnesota, and am in a party with someone from Texas, and one other from New York, it should match us with a lobby full of people that are mostly from one of those 3 areas. So maybe we get a minnesota lobby and I get lucky with a good game while my friends are a little laggy. Or it puts us in a New York lobby and my friend has a fair game while I am 1 second behind everyone else. That's what we should have to deal with if we decide to play in a long distance party.
Edit** The regions are just too big. This is why you see complaints from Europeans about getting in lobbies with people all around the continent, instead of just their country. In the first Black Ops, I mostly got Minnesota lobbies. Now I think I get lobbies from anywhere in north america....hard to keep a good ping that way.
I work in the field, I know how important ping is. But I also know there is more to it than that.
I don't get where you are saying it is " at the bottom of the list of importance" though, and that was my point. They find out where you want to go, where you are so they can match you regionally to the best of their ability, find your comparative skill level (which they state in the article is not a big deal in Pub Matches, just part of the process) and then using that information they search available games and attempt to find a lobby for you, taking into account ping, bandwidth, and NAT. I am just not sure where you are getting that Ping is at the bottom of the list from that information.
A great post as always Drewish. Informative and interesting information for the many people who find lag to be a problem. I, as you may know, am one of those people. I have taken all the measures you mention in order to have a steady gaming connection. I have the fastest speed available in my area. My console is wired. My ISP does not throttle bandwidth (which costs a pretty penny, but it's worth it). I also have a game priority service, which always pushes my game connection to the top of the list with other online activity on my network (which for all intents and purposes is irrelevant right now as I live on my own). I have never experienced lag, to this degree, on any game prior to this. That's any game, ever! Dead or Alive 4 was pretty close, but absolutely everyone was in the same boat. Now I know from reading your posts Drewish, you're an intelligent and fair fellow, but there are factors outwith our control, that determine the amount of lag you experience within a game.
There are many forms of lag. Graphics lag, control lag, stutter lag, ping lag and packet loss. When playing an online-based game, some level of lag (delay) is inevitable. All your actions need to be sent to a central server (host) for the other players to see what you're doing on their screens. At the same time, the server constantly has to send data on the other players' actions back to you. There is an unavoidable delay between when the data is sent, and when it is received by either party, which is nicely covered by the term Ping Lag. This form of lag is unique only to multiplayer online games, and again, has to do with small delays in data transmission. These delays are measured by your Ping, which is the time taken for a round trip of data from your machine, to the server, and back again, in milliseconds (1,000 milliseconds = 1 second).
There is no way to completely remove ping lag, because data can't be instantaneously transferred between everyone. However most online games attempt to cover up ping lag by using some sort of lag compensation so that things don't look or feel laggy on the screen. You can't change how a particular game deals with ping lag as that's coded into the engine, and that is the primary reason why so many people are having so many issues with this game.
Unrelated to ping lag, but equally as annoying is Packet Loss. Some of the packets of data travelling between you and the server are being dropped somewhere along the line. This means some of your actions won't be reflected in the game, and often you will see a rubber-band or warping effect, and things will become jerky and unpredictable. This is 'actually' a connection-related problem, and following the advice you give will go some way to reducing this.
The entire United States is region 36. That's my point. If the US was broken down into say 12 regions, it might not be that big of a deal but considering region 36 is the entire country, its not a good search filter to start with. Ping should at least be a higher priority then Skill level. You are really limiting ping results when you fracture it down to the least important aspect of matchmaking.
There are still some steps that really need to be added to the matchmaking system. There needs to be a few more checks to the games that are being selected.
Checks that should be added.
1. Has the game started
2. If the game has started, check score differential and time elapsed.
3. If score differential is greater than x amount or time elapsed is greater than x amount of time, then don't join game and search for another game.
I feel like adding these few checks to the matchmaking algorithm would help out a lot. I know that both myself and my friends really hate it when we get put into a game that has like no time left or the team we get put on is losing by a lot and there is no hope of bring it back. I mean we basically are getting handed automatic losses.