The purpose of this article is to clear up some common misconceptions about ping (latency) and why it’s important to gamers.
What does “ping” stand for?
It originally meant “packet inter-arrival time” but has since been re-defined as a slang term that means: any packet was dropped between your computer and the server, or there were network problems that caused an increase in latency affect responsiveness.
This is not always true, though, as latency alone does not necessarily result in a lag spike. We’ll discuss this later.
What is latency?
So, what is ping in games? Or what is latency in games?
Latency in itself is not necessarily a problem if it remains consistent. It’s the inconsistency in the latency that affects responsiveness. This means you may feel like your movement lags or that even though you’re shooting at someone and they’re shooting at you, nothing appears to happen for a while.
Latency will affect your gameplay and can be necessary depending on what kind of game you play. Suppose you play competitive games such as “League of Legends,” “Counter-Strike” or “Starcraft”; in that case, it’s essential to have low ping (latency) because any lag spike will cause you to miss CS: GO shots, get outsmarted by your opponent in LoL, or be unable to react quickly in Starcraft.
If you play more casual games such as “Minecraft” or your game of choice is purely single-player, latency is not crucial to your gameplay. However, if it’s too high, you may experience some jerky gameplay at times which will cause you unnecessary frustration during the game.
Depending on what region you live in, it can be easier or harder to achieve low ping (latency).
For example, Australians often have lower latency than North Americans, and Europeans tend to have better pings than Americans. That doesn’t mean that players in other regions cannot compete, though – they still might need a little bit of an advantage! 🙂 North America has good connections to Europe, but South America or Asia players may need to connect to other distant servers.
What is a lag spike?
Sometimes you will notice that your game becomes unresponsive, and very little appears to happen on screen. This is what we call a “lag spike.” Other times your game might feel pretty smooth but give an unfair advantage to other players who have better connections than you.
Sometimes you can’t always avoid lag spikes. If it happens during a crucial moment like team fights or tower pushes in League of Legends, then your gameplay may be affected by latency (ping) and become frustrating for you and your teammates.
It might not necessarily affect everyone, though; players with low latency (ping) will generally fair better in these situations than players who experience more latency (high ping).
So how can I reduce my latency?
This will depend on your problem, especially if you already have low ping (latency). If you are suffering from high pings, then there are certain things you can do.
First, check your ping at devicetests.com and if you are experiencing latency issues but still have low ping (latency), you might need to check your internet hardware! You can do this by getting someone who has a better connection than you and connecting to their network. This will help pinpoint whether it’s an issue on your end or elsewhere so that way if it is something you can fix yourself, you can go ahead and try.
For those with high pings (you can check your results at https://devicetests.com/ping-test), the first step should be checking for leeches. If there are too many devices using the internet at once, your connection will suffer as a result.
The next step will be to look at your router. While it’s possible that you could have issues with hardware, this is also an issue that can happen through regular use. You might need to re-setup your router or upgrade the firmware to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.
If you’ve tried all of these things and are still having problems, then maybe it’s time for a new ISP? You may also want to consider contacting them before switching over so they can test out the line beforehand – if there are any obvious errors or problems on their end, they will likely let you know!