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One of the aspects of the latest beta of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn that many criticized was the presence of a degree of lag that caused a mismatch between the graphical representation of some monsters’ area attacks and actual damage applied to players. Basically players that thought they were safe outside of the area of effect were still hit, often with lethal results.
The game’s Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida wrote an interesting post on the game’s closed beta forums addressing the issue and promising that things are going to get better.
Producer and director Yoshi-P here.
Thank you for all of your feedback on latency issues and the evasion of enemy attacks. As we continue working to address these issues in time for phase 4 and release, I’d like to inform you all of the current situation.
This post will focus on area attacks that are difficult to evade, or still connect even if you appear to have avoided it.
Damage taken when Ifrit uses Eruption.
When Ifrit used eruption in phase 3, the animation had a momentary build-up before the explosion. Because of this momentary buildup, there was a slight delay between the server’s check and the explosion. This has already been corrected for phase 4 and release.
Damage taken for what looked like a near miss.
1. Registering Player Damage
In phase 3, when judging whether a character was standing in an attack’s area of impact, your position was checked using a circle around your character to represent the space your character stands in.
Furthermore, to keep the different races balanced, the radius of this circle was the same for all characters. Because of this, even if you appeared to have barely escaped the area of effect, a portion of the circle was still within range. This created the illusion that you barely evaded attack, with varying results depending on your race.
For phase 4 and release, this circle has been reduced to a single point at the center of where your character is standing to more accurately determine your position.
2. Enemy Progress Bars and Area of Impact
Being an online game, there will always be a minimal delay when input is received from the player and sent back after being processed by the server.
In FFXIV: ARR, your position is checked by the server once every 0.3 seconds. This timing is synced and processed according to the servers to prevent lag between your input and what you see.
During phase 3, however, this syncing did not take place due to stringent server checks that took place, causing lag between what you saw on the enemy progress bar and your character’s positioning. As a result, even if you appeared to be outside the area of impact when the progress bar was filled, damage was still taken.
Adjustments are being made to reduce lag as much as possible, and syncing should improve the timing between enemy cast bars, area of effect markers, and the actual attacks.
Rest assured that we’re doing what we can to make sure players can safely evade attacks by watching enemy cast bars and markers for area attacks.
Players overseas were also affected by having to access the Japan data center in Version 1.0, as this further delayed the relay of data from the server. With the establishment of a regional data center and the above measures being taken to improve syncing with the servers, we will continue working to ensure an enjoyable gaming experience for all of our players.
(Even with a great connection, I think there’s still maybe a 0.1 second margin of error with the cast bar, so make sure to get out of the way when playing with your party. )
That’s a beta for you. Personally I wasn’t heavily affected by the issue. When I see that kind of graphical representation the “don’t stand in the bad!” trigger years of MMORPGs engraved in my brain simply makes me run as far as possible from the danger zone instead of just standing at the edge, but I can see how it could be a problem for many.
Luckily, it’s getting addressed as much as technically possible. Hopefully we’ll soon be able to see how effective the implementation will be with the start of the open beta.