Increased network latency to Europe servers — part 4

For the past couple weeks, the latency described in my previous blog posts has been somewhat tolerable. There have been times where it’s gotten pretty bad, but overall it’s been acceptable (averaging around 500ms). I’ve also seen a couple occasions where it’s dropped to under 200ms, which is ideal (pristine, even!), but it only lasts for a few minutes.

During the past 2-3 days when I’d see 800-1000ms latency, my mtrs would show absolutely no packet loss in Paris or Frankfurt. That indicates the problem (at that time) was somewhere between Frankfurt and the Blizzard server itself (which isn’t visible in any traceroute), or something on the server.

I decided to check the forums to see what others have been seeing… and sure enough, the problem continues. The official thread (for February) is listed first:

Users of Sky Broadband seem to think the issue is specific to them, but that isn’t the case — I’ve looked at Sky users’ traceroutes, and the fact that some of them have 20-40ms latency at their 2nd hop doesn’t matter: the problem is further down the path.

And then there’s this thread, which indicates the user has a problem on his own local network (note 98ms to hop #1, which is his local gateway), or his local PC. Even 98ms is too high for a wireless network. I’m using this an example of something that’s a local problem and not Blizzard’s fault:

At this point, I’ve more or less begun to “accept” 500ms latency or so. I can solo with success (barring the few times where there’s obvious packet loss, resulting in TCP retransmissions, which visually shows up as a burst of activity (e.g. game actions stall, then everything quickly catches up all at once)), but raids or instances with other players are literally impossible — especially since my character is a holy priest.

There’s been one occasion where the latency metre in WoW was reporting 960ms, yet I witnessed no packet loss in Paris or Frankfurt, and gameplay was smooth (no lag). Not sure what to make of that either.

One of the things that really pisses me off is that Blizzard’s forum support is completely worthless when it comes to this issue. They paste in their standard Q&A template responses, but never respond past that point — or if they do, the responses are generally pointless, giving no details about the problem. Blizzard needs to come clean with their userbase about the source of the problem (and I believe a big part of it is TeliaSonera), and just simply admit fault or provide credits or something along those lines. This is not a “temporary problem” — it’s gone on way too long.