Thursday, September 20, 2012

Invisible Enemies

This is what Arenanet have to say on the matter.

For a variety of performance reasons we limit the number of characters that are reported to any given game client. This report limiting (or culling, as it’s also been referred to) is generally distance based and limits both the amount of bandwidth and client side processing (rendering, etc.) required to play the game. Ideally this shouldn’t be something that you notice happening as characters will simply fade in when they’re “far” away from you. In the best case this happens far enough away that even if you’re looking right at them when it happens it isn’t too visually distracting. Unfortunately, there are some situations in the game in which this setup doesn’t work as well as we’d like and it seems that those situations come up in WvW rather more often than in other parts of the game. The higher player densities that we see in large battles are an obvious example of where this system goes awry. If only the nearest N characters are reported to you but there are N+100 characters within effective battle range then many of those characters will be invisible. There’s never a great time to be dealing with invisible characters, but I think that it’s fair to say that during a large battle is one of the worst times.
In WvW one of the things that we see exacerbating the issue is this: From the moment a character is first reported to your client to the first moment that your client is able to render it a non-zero amount of time passes. During this time your client is doing things like loading textures from disk, which can be (at least in computer terms) fairly slow what with all that accessing of spinning, physical storage media. So that means that a character who is moving towards you can potentially appear first at a much closer point even than the one at which they were reported because, of course, they were still moving during that load time.
MajorKong’s screenshot doesn’t immediately look like the situation I just described so it may be that there’s some kind of bug lurking in there as well. We will certainly be looking into that possibility.
That was a lot of detail but really I’m posting to let you know that we’re aware of the issues associated with invisible enemies and we’re working on finding both the root causes and effective solutions. I understand that these experiences can be quite frustrating but please rest assured that we do care and we are working on improving the experience.
Thank you for reporting your issues here on the forums and for your patience and understanding as we work to resolve them.
Also, MajorKong, that really was a great screenshot even if it does show a bug and bugs make me sad.

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