I decided to take some time and formally response to this issue. In the end hopefully my views and thoughts can shed some light on this topic.
Is this Legit or Fake?
From what I gather so far, yes this is a feature. It was introduced to the call of duty franchise with Black Ops. This feature made its return to Modern Warfare 3. There have been numerous references to a smoking gun tweet. I have yet to find it. However, searching for lag compensation on Twitter yields a lot of people providing their input about it.
The basic premise that you can level the playing field by adding delay to players with faster ping time to make everything even. That sounds extremely plausible. I am a developer. Not a game developer, but a developer. That would seem like a problem I would try to tackle if I was making a multiplayer game. Everyone is paying the same amount for my game and everyone should have a fair shake at competition. People with the best internet shouldn’t have a major advantage. Personally, I have cable and would love to have FiOS but I can’t get it in my area. This leads me to believe this is a real feature in MW3. So the COD franchise’s heart is in the right place but…
What I have noticed personally
When I am in a game and everyone has four bars (or close to it), I don’t notice any lag. Which makes sense, the game is pretty even. No need to lag anyone. I am now contentiously monitoring this. I very rarely feel sluggish play or that someone saw me way before I saw them. These games I play consistently well with a KD ratio over 2 for most game types I play. Lag or no lag I will always suck at Search and Destroy.
For the times I have a two or three bars and the other team is four baring it, I tend to focus on how others would skate around the board. I would still do okay. I do find myself easing up and being less aggressive. So I don’t really do a lot of heads up battling in this situation. I am actively trying to do this now. I am planing on writing a follow up about this topic. I can think back and remember some close combat battle I won and thought, man… that guy should have had me. He probably should have but no one complains when they are winning or getting the best of a situation. I have cable and get pretty low pings so I don’t see this situation that much.
When I see two or three bars on the other team and I am a four bar, this is where the pain is. I try not to be as aggressive and rush. I feel like I have to have super fast reflexes for one on one gun battles. Also, I have to get lucky. In close combat I will face machine pistols, shotguns, and SMGs. All of these guns kill way too fast. If an opponent is given a quarter of a second lead on you, pack it up. You are going to lose that battle the majority of the time.
Somethings to try
I have seen a lot of YouTube videos about turning off Theater mode to reduce lag. I find it hard to see how that can affect game performance. In Theater mode you download the videos from Modern Warfare’s site (at least for Xbox 360). You are telling the server not to record video for you. I am having a hard time understand how not recording video for you will magically make you lag less. I personally turned it off and notice the same amount of lag. Give it a try you may see different results.
The greatest tool you have is the leader board. A simple click of a button and you can see everyone’s ping. This can allow you to change strategy. For example, that two bar just killed me with a shotgun. I am probably not going to win that battle no need to run back and try to kill that guy.
How to play better
In poker there is a term called tilt. It can lead to financial ruin very quickly. A couple of bad beats and next thing you know, all your money is gone because you loss your control and focus. When you feel like you should have won an encounter and you don’t, you get frustrated. Getting frustrated affects your game play. Remember, first its only a game. Second, in the end it should all even out. You will have the advantage in some case and a disadvantage in others. Own this and keep your emotions in check. Yelling at the top if your lungs about crappy lag affects you and anyone that happens to be listening… like teammates for example. Happy hunting guys.
Another person’s perspective
What do you think?
I think I have ranted enough about this. Do you think lag compensation is BS or not? I would love to hear your thoughts.