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Turbine community team Marketroid's post on forums.ddo.com
So far we've done a lot of work (and spent a lot of money) to resolve the issue of server-side lag. To get the best possible experience from DDO with the new servers you'll also need to make sure that you've got client-side lag under control. Here are some tips:
- Don't install DDO on your system partition or the partition where you keep your main swap file. This causes contention during disc access which can lag out on-the-fly loading of assets from the dat files.
- Defragment the partition where you keep DDO frequently. All Turbine games use a series of large DAT files that contain a virtual filesystem where the game assets are stored. The more broken up and scattered these files are the worse your overall performance gets.
- Even with defragging on a regular basis it's possible to encounter another type of fragmentation - internal to the DAT file. If this happens there's nothing your filesystem defrag tools can do to help. If you suspect DAT fragmentation the best option is to uninstall DDO, defrag the host partition, and then reinstall. Only a fresh re-installation of the latest release of DDO will give you a defragmented DAT file. Since every patch cycle can cause possible DAT fragmentation you should consider a fresh install every few patches. This issue is largely resolved with TDM so only users with our classic installers need to do this regularly.
If you’re running an installation that’s a year or more old, the launch of DDO Unlimited is an excellent opportunity to do a fresh install. The M8 files are currently here (http://www.ddo.com/ddosupport/download-ddo) and will be replaced with the DDO Unlimited versions on Monday during our maintenance. Installing the latest build guarantees that you don’t have intra-DAT fragmentation issues.
- Make sure your drivers are up-to-date. Video drivers are critical, but sound, motherboard, and network drivers are also important. If you haven't updated your drivers in 6 months or more you should give that a shot. Adding custom performance profiles for the game can help as well with certain cards and driver combos.
- Turn off unnecessary resident programs and services. Some resident programs such as spyware blockers may hinder disc and network access. Only leave the things you need running during your play session. Also, running multiple resident security programs simultaneously can significantly reduce network and disc access speed. Generally you should pick a single security package to run resident.
- Tune your game settings. If the game runs fine in some places but is choppy in others you may have your graphics settings turned up too high. In particular try disabling post-processing effects, DX10, and anti-aliasing in areas where you experience graphics lag. What works fine for a small dungeon may grind to a halt in high-end instance due to spell effects, dungeon geometry, number of avatars and NPCs visible, etc.
- Optional upgrades for the truly performance-obsessed: If you have Vista you may wish to try using the ReadyBoost feature with an 8GB+ flash thumbdrive. Some users have also reported success running the entire game from flash (though this is unsupported by Turbine).
Due to the nature of flash many of the fragmentation issues noted above do not apply. On a similar note, if ultimate game loading performance is your goal and you’re willing to spend money to get it, an SSD drive will drastically reduce both load times and fragmentation effects. Try to get a drive with at least 128MB of on-board cache to get the best possible random-access performance.
So, if you’re still with me after this gelatinous wall of text, the point is that what players perceive as lag is a complex issue that has both client and server side causes. We’ve invested a ton of time and money to track down and eliminate server-side lag at the hardware, software, and network level. Hopefully the work we’ve done, plus the tips above will allow you to get the best out of your time with DDO when Unlimited ships next week.