Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

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Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 12 Jan 2021, 18:22

Hello,

For those trying to solve network latency issues (e.g. workarounds for mediocre Internet connections) -- many of you found reduced latency via a VPN that has superior routing compared to existing ISP backbones;

Which ones of you have gaming-friendly VPN experiences?

- ExitLag VPN
- ExpressVPN
- NordVPN
- Etc.

I'd love to hear from y'all.
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a_c_r_e_a_l
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Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by a_c_r_e_a_l » 12 Jan 2021, 18:32

I've tried NordVPN. Sweden, German, Denmark, Czech Republic were giving me around 80-90 ms to Polish or German servers. On my FTTH it's around 35-40ms.

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ball2hi
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Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by ball2hi » 12 Jan 2021, 19:50

Location: Southern California
VPN: ExpressVPN
ISP: Spectrum (Timewarner Cable/Charter)

TLDR: It worked well, and seems to be fine still especially with their new technology.

Long Answer:
I used to play Classic World of Warcraft over on the European servers, and naturally expected to play with super high ping. However every now and then my ping would skyrocket to 10x (2000 - 3000ms) and many times I'd DC from the European servers. I did some tracing and found the node(?) that was causing issues was a Spectrum owned Level 3(?) node that has had multiple discussions in the past by other Spectrum users causing latency issues in their games on forums like DSLreport. Customer support wouldn't do anything for me, saying they can't do anything for things out of their network (bullshit) even though they owned the offending exit(?) node. After a few months of getting kicked off the servers during raids I invested into ExpressVPN.

Using ExpressVPN has been a life-saver for me. While using my VPN, my ping was funnily enough 30ms less than if I wasn't on my VPN (to classic EU). Once COVID really picked up and shut the United States down we the consumers were heavily impacted by how unprepared most of the country's ISPs were (wonder where all that money they've been shafting from us had been going?). There were many people from the US playing on classic EU, and me be the only one using a VPN, I was the only one from the US that would stay connected during raids just fine. I haven't played classic EU in months though.

Also want to add, that using ExpressVPN has drastically made watching videos on numerous sites, YouTube included, much faster. My Steam game downloads are barely affected if at all. My latency in video games hasn't really been any concern, and I am almost always livestreaming while gaming too.

I haven't tried other VPNs yet, but ExpressVPN definitely works well enough to game. The only issue I've had with it lately is P2P game hosting can be finnicky with Steam and in some cases it increased the ping of users connecting to my PC.

pox02
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Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by pox02 » 12 Jan 2021, 23:48

im using mullvad vpn love it so much lower my ping by 40ms ISP partner
monitors xg258q aw2518hf 27GK750F-B pg248q xg240r lg w2363d-pf xb270hu XL2546 XL2546K NXG252R AW2521H(main) :D

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Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by NDUS » 13 Jan 2021, 03:20

Mudfish is a pay-per-bandwidth VPN service which offered, in my experience, better/faster routing than my actual internet provider (Comcast.) Everyone used it in Overwatch to get from US East to US West since the OWL players were there (making queues on US West high-elo games really fast)

It also gives you access to several hundred globally-distributed VPN nodes for almost no money. I still occasionally use them as web proxies. My last purchase was $5 of data about 3 years ago, and it still isn't expended.

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Re: Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by diakou » 13 Jan 2021, 15:51

I don't have much time right now to go into detail, but I quickly wanted to pass by and state;

For pure competitive gaming reasons, utilizing a VPN is almost always going to introduce some sort of problem to your connection as a trade-off regardless of you getting a better route or overall less raw ping.

The only three products I can personally recommend with a certain guarantee that 1 of the 2 main ones will be showing a beneficial difference or in the absolute worst-case not make it worse.

Haste without a doubt is my #1 on that list, they're the first company to utilize multi-path technology (the game is upstreaming your connection 4x, meaning if the route you're on goes bad, it seamlessly swaps to another of the 3 other paths without it being noticeable at all.) They're also the first company to utilize more advanced and proprietary technology in regards to "gaming VPNs." They're very reliable as a product.

On the rise is another program called Cloudflare Warp+ (paid version) it is essentially the same as connecting to cloudflare's own backbone and taking the internet highway route towards the game servers. Only caveat is that it's relatively new, meaning the performance is hit or miss for most people, but when it works, it's incredible. Cloudflare warp is constantly being updated, so we will see where it ends up, but it is basically an UDP accelerator as a consumer product in essence.

Lastly, I'd recommend Exitlag. I don't like their methods and I don't think it's much of a transparent product, but I absolutely cannot deny that it works and it works well.

I really do not recommend VPNs for gaming, especially for latency reasons. Almost none of the VPNs on the market are designed with competitive purposes in mind. Exitlag & Haste are your absolute go-to's regarding this, with cloudflare warp+ having a ton of potential in the market. Keep in mind that these don't actually function like traditional VPNs. Cloudflare warp is especially unique here as it's simply about masking your identity without spoofing your location or help you with anything that can aid in malicious activity.

I'll do a better write-up when I have time, I'll just say that outside of these three, the tradeoffs with absolute majority of VPNs are in my personal opinion, too big.

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Re: Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by MT_ » 16 Jan 2021, 17:21

A self-hosted (Dedicated) VPS server on a favorable location (With wireguard, superior to openvpn).

Does that count as a VPN? :P

My personal experiences with public VPN's: They are not reliable enough. Sure it can work days without issue, but hiccups, packet loss and dropouts DO occur. (Not actually using them for gaming though)

So lets say your ISP's connection IS super reliable (with just unfavorable routing), would you take the risk of adding a potential point of failure, and kick you out of a game just to gain a few dozen milliseconds? Also these servers are used by hundreds of people, potentially adding lots of jitter/packet variance.

As for improvement for actual gaming, I'm sceptical . I had a ISP with a cheap route (high latency) but didn't really feel a difference with VPN wizardry.

I also specifically had to use TCP to counter the latency (Weird, as if only UDP went over the 'bad route' somehow.

But encapsulating UDP game packets in TCP is the most horrific thing you can do unless you have a 100.0% perfect connection. (Anything over UDP is fine though assuming all set up correctly and no fragmentation occurs)

Another thing that has to be taken into account; Different (networked) games have different ways to deal with high and low latency players (lag compensation etc), and from experience: High latency ping don't affect very good gamers enough for it to make a difference for the majority of times.

(Unless we're talking about obscene number differences in the 100's of milliseconds.
Last edited by MT_ on 16 Jan 2021, 20:09, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 16 Jan 2021, 19:06

MT_ wrote:
16 Jan 2021, 17:21
As for improvement for actual gaming, I'm sceptical . I had a ISP with a cheap route (high latency) but didn't really feel a difference with VPN wizardry.
Don't forget latency jitter!

High but consistent latency = GOOD

Low but erratic latency = BAD

A well-optimized long distance route (like a long fiber backbone of one ISP) may have great low jitter despite higher lag, despite being high lag. Many gaming servers often perform better with a 30-40ms ballpark rather than a 5-10ms ballpark (when trying to play against 50-80ms lagged players) because the playing field severely distorts and sometimes handicaps the low-lag players when everyone is is high lagged. A VPN can stabilize that, by finding servers that have more equal lag as you have, then the playing field re-levels again and skills (and local-equipment latency) then reigns supreme again.

I'll prefer to play 35ms (+/- 1ms) latency, over a consistently super-erratic 10ms latency connection (+/-5ms latency).

1ms latency jitter keeps you on the same ticks, while 10ms latency jitter can give you hairpullingly frustrating random hitreg misses since 128 tick servers mean less than 10ms per tick. Battle(non)sense has a lot of great content about how playing fields distort.

VPNs don't always help all laggy ISPs -- but will greatly help some of them. YMMV.

Sometimes VPNs don't help because your latency jitter is before the VPN gateway. Other times, you have great low jitter despite high lag that a VPN isn't going to help you much (if at all). There are a lot of situations where a VPN doesn't help at all, and a lot of situations that VPN will help.

P.S. Keep the VPN reports coming! A lot of people want to hear more user experiences about gaming VPNs.
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Re: Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by MT_ » 16 Jan 2021, 20:10

Looks like my phone edit never got through, actually mentioned that lol.

But yeah basically the same when using a personal VPS, a Virtual KVM has way more jitter (Relative) than using a dedicated server where you can maximize latency/jitter (The most major defacto improvement is simply running the cpu clock at max) but there's loads to tweak on a linux box.

The Virtual KVM is cheaper but is also a virtual guest on a host that shares a multitude of people.
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Re: Gaming VPN Experiences Thread [Help Internet Lag]

Post by Boop » 17 Jan 2021, 08:07

I recently ran into a game server hosted in Microsoft Azure that required me to use a VPN for lower ping. After performing a trace route, it became clear that Microsoft (DNS names of the routers and IP space proved it was them) was sending my traffic across the country before reaching the game server hosted in the US central region. I tried connecting my VPN client to an OpenVPN server in my city, but that seemed to take a similar route to the game server and resulted in high latency. Once I found out which city the game server was hosted in, I connected my VPN client to an OpenVPN server in that city, and found the game server was only a few hops away. :)

Overall, I saw a 30ms reduction in latency, which is huge for games that have projectiles such as Quake Live. In Quake Live's case, once you go above 80ms, the lag compensation starts to fall apart and you find yourself at a huge disadvantage in fights against low ping players. The backwards reconciliation with hit-scan weapons also becomes a problem beyond this threshold.

Tip: Some VPN clients will default to TCP. Always use a UDP VPN server whenever possible for latency sensitive games. Competitive shooters + TCP = bad idea due to the overhead required when using a stateful network protocol.

VPN Provider used: IPVanish (tier-1 network backbone)

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