Report: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Servers Tick Rate Currently at 20hz Compared to 60hz in the Beta

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If you’ve played the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 beta and thought the hit registration was better compared to what you’ve experienced now, well, you’re not alone, and there’s a very good reason for that. It seems the Black Ops 4 servers were running at 60hz back then, but is now only at 20hz for some reason. If you need a simple reason why good tick rates are important, the higher tick rate means better connections so you won’t experience that annoying getting-shot-behind-a-corner thing.

This was unearthed by Reddit user Smcro who did a deep (and I mean deep!) dive into the Black Ops 4 servers. Before you read on, check out some of the terminology so you won’t get lost. Note that Smcro tested on the PS4, though it’s widely believed this is the same for all platforms. The info shared below is accurate as of October 19, 2018.

  • Client: your system (PS4/Xbox/PC).
  • Server: Treyarch’s system through which all clients (players) in a match connect.
  • Send rate: rate at which update packets are sent between systems. This is also known as update rate and is commonly confused with tick rate which is something entirely different.
  • Tick rate: the rate at which the game itself is simulated on a system.
  • Client send rate: rate at which a client sends updates to the server.
  • Server send rate: rate at which the server sends updates to a client.

However, my testing for the most-recent update (as of October 19th) shows that the server send rate has been cut down to 20hz. For a bit of context, 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).

Testing

I performed the testing with Wireshark where I measured the send rate in each direction between the server and my system based on the packets sent to and from the server. I connected to 7 different multiplayer servers (in four different locations) and each showed a client send rate of 60hz and server send rate of 20hz. My testing was performed on a PS4 Pro with a wired, fiber connection.

Here is an imgur album with a graph for each server where the send rates are plotted against time. The red data is the client send rate and the green data is the server send rate. The points in time where the send rates drop down are intermissions.

The servers that I connected to can be viewed on a map here. I connected to a dedicated server every match. I had quite a high ping to the New Jersey servers and a lower ping everywhere else. Something to point out is that the in-game ping graph showed a 50-60ms ping to the California and Illinois servers, but a ping from my computer to those same servers is 12-13ms. I’m not sure what causes such a mismatch there (if not the processing delay on the server).

According to Smrco, the server send rate has been lowered from 60hz to 20hz which causes more inconsistency compared to the beta client due to the fact that there is triple the amount of time between server updates. Additionally, Smcro states that the matchmaking would sometimes choose servers that are “undesirable” in terms of latency.

Over on Twitter, YouTuber Battle(non)sense, who’s famous for doing deep dive videos on a game’s netcode, confirms that Black Ops 4 servers are indeed at 20hz, and is partially to blame why hit registration feels off.

Have you noticed hit registration to be a bit spotty in the game or is it good enough? Do you think Treyarch will bring the Black Ops 4 servers back at 60hz?

In other Black Ops 4 news, we ran a story earlier today that explains why you need to play more than six hours a day, everyday, to attain the max tier in the Black Market.

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