The Black Ops 4 community was up in arms over the weekend after a couple of reports pointing to poor server performance. Specifically, one Reddit user showed the server send rate for multiplayer was just 20hz. That’s down from 60hz during the multiplayer beta.
Before I go into more detail about what happened this weekend, Treyarch did respond on Sunday to fans’ concern about servers. I emphasized the relevant bit about timing on server fixes.
“We’ve also noticed a lot of discussion around network performance over the past couple of days and wanted to take a moment to address this directly. We’re constantly working to optimize the game, and particularly network performance, to ensure the highest quality online experience for our players. For a game launch with as massive a population as ours hitting so many global servers at once, we configure our infrastructure to ensure game stability as the highest priority over all other factors.”
“Now that we’re past the initial launch of the game, we are focusing on fine-tuning network performance around the globe, using the real-world data that we have collected. Over the course of the next two weeks, we will roll out several updates to our network setup that will continue to improve upon the experience of our players since launch. As we have always said, launch is just the beginning, and we’re committed to making Black Ops 4 the best-supported game we’ve ever delivered. This is a journey that will involve constant adjustments, improvements, and additions. We appreciate your continued support and patience – thank you!”
“Instead of receiving information from the server every frame (given that the game runs at 60fps on console) you will be receiving information every third frame (50ms between each update at 20hz as opposed to 16.7ms at 60hz).”
Ok, so what does this look like when you are playing? Have you ever died when you thought you were around a wall? The server issue revealed this weekend would explain it.
Take poor server send rates and toss in other network stuff like packet loss and ping issues and weird stuff like dying behind walls or bullet sponge enemies are exacerbated. It also explains why Black Ops 4 multiplayer feels so inconsistent. One game I’m racking up killstreaks like crazy, the next it feels like folks are shooting me with two bullets.
If you want to learn some more about the 20hz issue, I can’t recommend Battle(non)sense’s video enough. He gives clear examples of how this issue looks in-game while also comparing Black Ops 4 with other big shooters on the market.
Treyarch says they prioritized game stability over everything else at launch. It makes sense, but Treyarch and Activision should have been more transparent about the change from beta to final release. Plus, folks aren’t going to feel much sympathy for a franchise that routinely pulls in $500 million in its first three days. Even if making game stability the number one priority is the better call. Bottom line, communication with fans is key.
At least, Treyarch was quick to respond to the 20hz issue and provide a timeline on when we can expect updates to server performance.