Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 “Lag Comp” Explained [Update]

By now, you’ve probably heard of a little thing called “lag comp,” the embodiment of evil that is supposedly at the source of all your Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 woes, the sort of thing makes up the bulk of topics discussed in the comment section of articles like this.

Lag is certainly a part of Call of Duty, or any multiplayer game, for that matter. While its severity ranges from minor to desk flipping-ly awful, it’s here to stay and will always be a part of online gaming, for the time being.

There are, however, a lot of misconceptions surrounding what “lag comp” actually is, or how lag affects a game like Black Ops 2. Obviously, it’s super easy to get frustrated by it and to let it ruin your day, so perhaps getting it to know it better might alleviate some of the stress you may or may not be enduring.

Thankfully, YouTube personality Drift0r has a few eye-opening thoughts and findings to share that, while might not solve all or any of your problems, will at least give you a better picture of the sort of technical troubles video game developers like Treyarch have to deal with in order to keep a game like Black Ops 2 online.

Many of his findings are a result of experiments and tests, as well as personal exchanges with Treyarch developers. Side note: I can confirm his conversation with Treyach dev Alex Conserva as I too was present.

Check out the video below and let us if you picked up anything new or if it happened to change your perspective on lag and “lag comp” in Black Ops 2.

Update

Drift0r has published a follow up to his previous video, detailing what sort of things you can do to help deal with lag in Black Ops 2.

  • danny

    this is still backwards and bs because i should be connecting to the uk not to the us or other countrys! the ping would be alot less then and lag. thats why we suffer so much 2 the point where it seems ridiculous! this seems partially true but also bs this video

    • http://twitter.com/Vordb CorporateNothing

      You will never connect to a host that is from outside your region unless your search preferences are set to “Any.”

      • ryan

        i’m not sure if search preferences do anything because i try changing it when connections get bad and it still the same for me ,i have to settle for TDM and everyone knows how much of a snooze fest that is only place has a good enough connection.

      • Dirtknap

        Though it should be, In my experience that’s not the case.

        • http://twitter.com/poklaneNL Mitch Belgraver

          Works for me.

      • SubXero

        There must be a ton of Mexican, Peruvian, British, Croatian, Guamanian, Brazilian and Italian players in my region then… “Best” connection my ass.

      • DanDustEmOff

        Bull mate I am forever connecting to Australia, Japan, and the United States and I live in the UK I am on best

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002367454310 Jonathan Stoffregen

    i just don’t see WHY we can’t just have it like it was in COD4 and WAW :/ sure it wasn’t perfect but its better then it is now ;/

    • Katana67

      CoD4. If there wasn’t a rampant hacker problem, I’d still be playing you every day. Best CoD by far.

      • http://www.facebook.com/TheNeoReaper Chad Eugene Rash

        No no its not.

        • david

          in your opinion, what is then?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004730201116 Morgan Freeman

            Black Ops 1.

            • DanDustEmOff

              Black ops 1 had the same lag issues as black ops 2

            • DanDustEmOff

              Black ops 1 had the same lag issues as black ops 2

            • chief

              No. Black Ops 1 had HOST ONLY. Black Ops 2 gives everyone a base ping of 200 so you don’t see your enemy when they come around a corner. Also Black Ops 1 on PC ran perfectly — no lag comp at all.

              Black Ops 1 = Best CoD (followed by World at War then CoD4)

              MW3 = Worst Cod (followed by Black Ops 2)

            • DanDustEmOff

              I’m talking about console, CoD havent made a decent PC game since 2 and Promod made CoD4 ok. On the console Treyarch games all have the same awful net code. IW games run better MW3 had a bad start but it still plays better than any Treyarch game in regards to connectivity.

            • chief

              WaW on PC was fine. We got all the DLC for free.

              Talking about console exclusively, WaW had the same netcode as CoD4, MW2 had the best, BO had a very good netcode minus the host only lag comp. Anything else was connectivity issues they experienced early on. It wasn’t lag comp or the net code. MW3 gave half of people the host lag comp, so you can’t remotely argue it’s better than BO1, and BO2 gave you a base ping of 200 so everything would happen 2+yourping seconds later.

            • DanDustEmOff

              BO 1 was hit marker city I could fire a whole ar mag into someone at mid range and still not put them down only for them to turn around and kill me with two hits from an smg just like BO 2.

              MW3 had a similar fault until the third patch then it was far better than BO similar to MW2. WaW BO 1&2 all have the same issues with hitmarkers getting shot around corners and bad matchmaking.Treyarch have always been lazy when it comes to netcode and always will. I am glad you have had a better time but all i remember was being frustrated as hell.

              Before you blame my connetion i run 100mb down 10 up with a 15ms ping on a short ethernet cable with my router optimised on port 1 with a dmz. I also use a Dell UM23H monitor so i havr next to no input lag.

            • DanDustEmOff

              also ping is measured in milliseconds so a ping of 200ms is 0.2 seconds + your ping later not 2 seconds. A 2 second delay would be beyond funny. WaW sucked its only saving grace was zombies and the campaign MP was awful.

            • pedro Stokoe

              the thing is it was treyarch who devloped mw3 along with sledge hammer since infinity ward left after mw2 leaveing about 6 employes behind there seems to be a trend the last 3 cods are unplayable bullshit treyarch just suck

            • DanDustEmOff

              Treyarch only helped with theater mode in MW3. When West and Zampella left they took half the studio with them 26 left 26 remained. The rest was made up with Sledgehammer employee’s to fill the team.

            • Zah Tyson

              First of all get your facts straight Treyarch had nothing to do with modern warfare 3 was raven studios, Sledgehammer studios in the 20 percent of infinity that was left behind at Activision thad a hand in that, at the same time Treyarch was in the midst of making black ops 2 get your shit straight. if you want proof to just look at the game informers archives and look for the overviews and interviews with Bobby Kotick of Activision and he said 3 development studios that are under Activision umbrella were working on modern warfare 3 at the same time .Raven studios Who bought us games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Sledgehammer Studios did a terrible rendition of Wolfenstein Revisited and 20 percent of the workforce left from from Infinity Ward who decided to stay behind.

      • http://twitter.com/nWoDARKKNIGHT NARDDAWG TGMTEL

        same here, COD4 was great

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002367454310 Jonathan Stoffregen

        eh WAW was my fav because i adore the WW2 setting but COD4 is my second :3

      • incubusman421

        Hackers aren’t making the game lag…..

        • DanDustEmOff

          Yes they can google lag switch

        • sage1210

          yes they can. do you understand word “hacking” ? it mean you interfere with the main program with an “alien” software (cheating program). so… they can cause lag because they mess up with the program. in fact even on dedicate server hacking can cause server lag or even down if many of them jump in.

          • incubusman421

            yes but the game lags even when there aren’t hackers in the lobby… Plus the game was also matching people up that were on different continents which makes it even worse. I think they fixed that issue but it’s still far from the levels of previous titles.

      • incubusman421

        Hackers aren’t making the game lag…..

    • MrLadyfingers

      If they had just fixed OMA noobtubes, and made MW3 an add on map pack for MW2, we’d all be eternally happy.

      • OMA Vs. Xx-_-QS-_-xX

        Don’t forget the quickscopers!

        But by then we may as well solve world hunger…

      • http://twitter.com/poklaneNL Mitch Belgraver

        MW2 with nerfed ACR, no deathstreaks, no DC, no OMA, no SP, no SC, with Scorestreak rewards, Pick 10, no Machine Pistols and new maps, guns, scorestreak rewards and some new perks and equipment and you got the best CoD.

        • DanDustEmOff

          You forgot commando

      • sage1210

        that will never happen. they already patch mw2 with the bo2 p2p lag system.

    • sage1210

      why they not use mw2 p2p system ? and why they even patch mw2 with bo2 p2p system ? very simple answer. PRIDE !!! of the fool….

  • Where Art Thou Romeo

    Oh David your dedication to quell the constant “lag comp sucks” comments on other articles is amazing, and it is appreciated.

    • http://mp1st.com/ David Veselka

      Hahaha. It’s totally fine! Just making sure everyone is as informed as possible.

      Edit: Fine, as long as it’s on topic ;)

  • ryan

    thats what happens when activision is to cheap to build a new game engine for there game, that out sells there previous one every year .kill confirmed is unplayable for me and i’m sure many others too .but for some people i only have a 7MB download and 700KB upload this is all i can get where i live .i’ve done everything from hard wiring doing portforward black ops 2 ,give ps3 static IP and even putting my ps3 in DMZ on my modem and nothing ever gets better.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000745386335 Michael Oakley

      dude fuck off bitching bro u cant make one over night and they have one for next-gen

  • James K

    Drif0r is one of if not, the best COD youtuber there is.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000745386335 Michael Oakley

      not hes best at what he does

    • http://www.facebook.com/awkenney Aaron Kenney

      He discredited himself IMO by suggesting that the hit registration problems in BO2 were due to network code and lag compensation. Unfortunately this is not the case. The game engine has been known to have hit detection issues even in split-screen play on consoles, so I think it’s more of a compound issue than Drift0r would like to admit, probably because he likes the design of the game and how it plays and he really wants other people to like it.

      • incubusman421

        network code and lag comp are parts of the engine…. he also mentioned that it was due to the fact that the game operates on frames per second. watch it at the 10:00 minute mark.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ShnugglyWumpkins Sean Thompson

    People are quick to complain when lag is at the source of their death, but don’t mind it when it gives them a kill. It goes both ways, and doesn’t just affect people negatively.

    • Dirtknap

      It’s true, I find myself winning gun fights I have no business winning from time to time, it’s not satisfying though, and it’s definitely the exception when I’m not the one getting railed by lag/lag comp/net code/broken in game camera or any other “lag” compounding issue you can list here.

    • Joseph Lan

      The problem is that the lag comp makes it an extremely variable, inconsistent experience. One game, you can be raping and everything feels fine. Then, in another game, you can’t kill anyone. It’s extremely frustrating, and I’d much rather have a consistent experience where no one has any advantage or disadvantage.

  • http://twitter.com/Dean66S Dean Swain

    I went from a superfast fibre connection 40mbps d/l 10mbps u/l connection back to a ordinary adsl line which I get 3mbps d/l but I have capped my upload to 448kbps that why I never get host. Although it wasnt a overwhelming difference it certainly did make the game far more playable, alot less WTF moments. The only 2 issues I have are with the amount of modded controllers that are being used and the fact that I have my search preference set to best I still have to play gamers from europe with uber lag comp applied to them!!

    I also play COD4 and WAW both far superior with there netcode and I have yet to come across any hack games or players and on the whole have very enjoyable games mainly because its mostly americans I get the positive side of lag comp :-)

    If you really want to play a game with bad lag comp play BF3 it is a dire multiplayer game and what makes it worse is you can choose what server to connect to so you can take advantage of the lag comp!

    • 123456789!!!

      yea BF3 does have alot of server lag and disconects, i still like it but i dont worship it like half of mp1st does.

  • PuddingAuxRais1ns

    So basically, the bad lag comp that this game suffers from mostly stems from problems within the game engine. Just another good reason why treyarch/infinity ward needs to trash that damned 10 year old game engine for a more modern game engine. Id tech 5 for example. Rage runs at 60fps and still has visuals that can rival games like bf3 and crysis to an extent and im pretty sure a game engine like id tech 5 doesnt have those damned camera issues and issues with fire rate on weapons based on frame rate. And another thing, just because it takes longer to kill people in games such as bf3 and halo, doesn’t mean that lag comp in those said games are on the same level as cod. I play nothing but hardcore on bf3 and dispite the fact that you have latency along with bullet travel time and what not, only on a handful of occasions where i have died of bullshit in bf3. The addition of dedicated servers means not host advantage/disadvantage, and when i join the right server, matches are usually just smooth sailing. Halo uses p2p just like cod, but from my experience with halo games, even halo 3 has better lag comp than black ops 2. Its true that all games lag. I might have missed it but i still don’t have the answer as to why games like bf3, halo, counter strike, mw2 and older cod games, and even a handful of f2p web browser shooters have better lag comp than the recent cod games over the past 3 years.

    • Jamic

      Wait, what ? COD has FPS based weapon RPM ?

      The fuck….

      We cant even say that its the fault of outdated engine (because its not), its pure ignorance. They dont think that they need to fix it (its a leftover from IDtech 3) because they aim for 60 FPS on console and any “true” PC gamer is running 60 FPS too right ?

      Well no… Not always…

      They probably have FPS based physics (movement, gravity etc). Seriously, even Ioquake3 engine has a “fixed physics” calculation.

      Im not saying they are lazy or they are not even slightly improving the engine, since they have, but its just stupid to overlook this “issue”.

      • PuddingAuxRais1ns

        “Wait, what? COD has FPS based weapon RPM?”

        Believe it or not, yes. It does. Driftor also made a detailed video about this issue and console players like me can’t do anything about it.
        Here’s a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeMTDUqwF_

    • sage1210

      this game lag even on spit screen. so don’t buy it and the next cod is the best choice.
      dedicate server may cause game die if it shutdown but laggy p2p make game die faster because unplayable from the start.

  • Paynus

    World at war is near perfect!!!! ALOT of people still playing on even PC right now. no lag. 1/1 mouse controls, clean clear graphics smooth a silk fucking a tub of butter.

    • 123456789!!!

      lol last time i played waw everyone was flying

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002367454310 Jonathan Stoffregen

        yeah hacks everywhere :c

  • http://twitter.com/RobShepherdFTW Rob Ryzer Shepherd

    One huge solution, stop explaining these things and just get a new engine. SIMPLE!!!

  • DB

    Now is it as bad as BF3′s clientside hit detection?

    • PuddingAuxRais1ns

      In some cases it might seem as bad but despite the fact that bf3 has bullet travel time in addition to slower TTK and latency, from my personal experiences bf3 is considerably smoother connection wise in comparison to blops 2. With dedicated servers no one has a host advatage and/or host disadvantage and everyone is on a leveled playing field most of the time.

  • http://twitter.com/poklaneNL Mitch Belgraver

    Wouldn’t this be the solution for the next CoD?
    - Dedicated Servers
    - Let us host Dedicated Servers like BF3, but don’t let the admins change too much. Only let admins change the score needed to win and the time limit. Don’t fuck around with the amount of lifes you have or spawn delay! Also NO KICKING, or you’ll create booster paradise! This would compensate for a good part of the money ATVI has to spend on Dedicated Servers.
    - Minimum ping needed. Basically, if you’re internet is too shit, you can only play custom games and campaign. I think BF3 has this (when my internet is shit, I can’t play BF3).

    • http://twitter.com/WarlonX Warlon

      If you played on PC, you’d have dedicated servers :) But alas there is still lag comp on PC too

  • http://www.facebook.com/vincent.mcclain.9 Vincent Mcclain

    guys just stop complaining about lag if they wanted to have better lag comp like cod4 and waw they would have to go back to the old engine because they have been on the same damn console for the last 8 years so they really cant fix it until the next call of duty for next gen consoles

  • http://encropowered.com/ encro

    The 2nd video is limited to only a couple of broad things and applies to any online game where response time makes a difference. Latency reduction can also be improved significantly by the giving the console a static local IP and making sure that the IP of the console is placed inside the DMZ of the router settings, obtaining a static IP for your WAN address from your ISP and optimising your MTU rate so that no packets are being dropped. It’s a little tricky though if you aren’t familiar with changing network settings but following the video will give you an improvement.

    • DanDustEmOff

      A limited improvement its still awful

  • DanDustEmOff

    I find this response from treyarch totally unacceptable. Before the game was launch they defended the engine now they are blaming the engine for the games short comings. MW although it has lag issues was patched to the point where it’s playable, Treyarch jusy don’t seem to even want to try to get the game to play better the matchmaking in this game is the worst to date which only makes the lag more apparent black ops is a billion dollar game and there is no excuse for the game being so bad this far into its life cycle. Treyarch I don’t want excuses just results stop hiding behind technical issues and fix the game if a half assembled IW team can do it then I don’t see any reason why a well established studio can not even try to patch the broken piece of rubbish that they sold to us all

  • http://twitter.com/WarlonX Warlon

    Bottom line, stop playing xbox 360, put on some pants and buy a gaming rig. We have dedicated servers, easier aiming setup, better graphics, and better performance, yes already better than ps4. Oh and games are “usually” way cheaper.

    • Joseph Lan

      Surprise, surprise, the PC version of Black Ops 2 has the same lag compensation problems.

  • Cory Finken

    Anybody else notice on PS3 (after the 1.09 update) you can no longer find games under “Best” connections. Before I always could, now if I pick normal it’s laggy, I mean really bad. I have a 30mb download, 6.8 upload and a ping rate of 10 to 20. So it isn’t on my end,

  • xxBLiTZKREIGxx

    ADSL+2 > DSL. 24down/4up/>50ms ping to most anywhere. Dedicated line that you don’t share with your neighbors like cable/fiber. Consistent and practially jitterless. DSL is closer to 100-150ms ping everywhere. DSL shouldn’t be used for online shooters. 4G in a good area is better than DSL. It can get 6+down 2+up and has sub 100ms pings IN A GOOD AREA. But in an area where you only get 1-2 bars, its HORRIBLE.

    TRUTH ^

  • Frank

    That makes no sense. CoD 4-MW2 ran perfectly online. It wasn’t until BO released that lag comp stated being an issue, only to be brought to new heights in BO2. It’s ridiculous. How is it that a nearly 6 year old games has better hit detection/connection than a game released in 2012? It’s mind numbing. The overall package has gotten worse as well. Worse maps, awful spawning, new problems such as head glitching and camping, which is at an all time high too. BO2 was my second most anticipated games last year, and IMO, it’s the worst CoD I’ve ever played.

    • Joseph Lan

      Black Ops 1 was just plain regular lag, imo. Not lag compensation issues. That game had poor matchmaking, so sometimes you get more lag than you should.

      Black Ops 2 and MW3 were when they started fucking up the lag compensation code. Incidentally, this was also when the real Infinity Ward team left Activision and formed another company.

  • Whatever33TV

    “The Lag is $hit” – Whatever33TV – Blk Ops 2 Music Video

    http://youtu.be/OGUjISN3i18

  • ME

    Everytime I shoot an enemy, I get lag comp.(“Connection Interupted”) My PC runs at 5 ghz & I have 115 mbts download speed. Why am I getting penalized for having a great connection?? This game is so broken…

  • ME

    I always have the best ping, (less than 40), my router is set to DMZ, my antivirus is off, all other pc are off, everything that should be done IS DONE! I’m so sick of the lag……

  • danbottomburp

    anyone who says being host is a advantage obviously is not host ! it is a major DISadvantage . i run and download torrents just so i dont get host …

  • hammer

    What about these guys who use the lag switch , it does happen seen it on line

  • Why ?

    Take breath

  • Terra mathews

    it seems to me the slower your internet speed the better the game plays. xbox360 i have trouble staying positive. on wii u i have no problem reasons why. ONE xbox 360 is congested with players 300k online almost all the time. wii u has 3k online at the most at one time. also my xbox connection is 10 megs a sec while wii u stays about 3-4 megs a sec on wifi. Three a test i did my self proves you play better with lag then u do without. downloaded 5gigs worth of info on pc while playing easily got 2.00 kd or higher download finish could barely hold a 1.0

    • Joseph Lan

      Interesting. So you don’t get lag compensation on Wii U, but you do get it on Xbox 360?

      So maybe it’s a console (or console version) issue.

  • marcus wilson

    Right i am fed up i have bt infinity i run at 80meg 80meg i the server permanantly tries to make me host ther is know benefit to being host what so ever i am fed up of other countries on here to its like i am punnished for havin the best connection also i might challeng a issue in court that i should charge for the use of MY NETWORK most of that software publisher are crossbreads who hat white English people i have play time ob bo2 if 35 days so I know what i am saying maybe a bounty on treyich and activision is needed then I would pull out a big fat cuban kills 118,995 deaths 87,411 kd1.35 fuck u other summy countries maybe they shoul be liquidated like our governtment bunch of tossers

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