Here’s a list of what causes lag, since many of you are fumbling in the dark. So here’s a list, in order of impact:
Active online population. When you’re looking at the server browser, this is the number to the left. Makes sense, the more people that are playing, the more load on the server. The issue is, many don’t understand why this is. While being at the top of the list, its not exactly the root cause, but it is the main catalyst. Reducing official servers to 20 players would make for immediate results. But cause some community issues as players would not be able to login to their favorite servers in primetime. How many will want to give up what they have (assuming years of play) to start over on another server?
Hardware Allocation. Most server providers rent out servers on virtual machines. A VM is a program that emulates a computer on a computer. The reason companies do this is because you can have multiple instances on one machine and they are mostly independent of one another. However though each OS on each instance sees its own emulated CPU, there is still one CPU being used for multiple instances. The best way of running a server is to not use a VM. This is an expensive way of running a server. Rental fees can be hundreds of dollars a month. This will NEVER be done for Conan Exiles, the game isn’t designed nor could ever handle the volume of players per server to warrant this for official play. This means virtual machines. Not all virtual machines are alike. In the case of Officials, G-portal doesn’t do this well. They’ve refused to fix this. And they don’t really have to, they’ve upheld their end of the agreement and thus FC and its official players are stuck in a laggy hell.
Number of Buildings. Words are chosen carefully, number of building pieces wasn’t said. But total number of buildings. This is a sort of abstraction, but one that proves to be the rule. This is why land claim abuse is punished so harshly, not only does it affect those people who cannot build, but also the entire server whenever those multiple buildings are loaded. A 5,000 piece single building has far less impact than Fifty 10 piece buildings scattered around in a small area. This is why a building piece limit would have zero to negligible impact.
Storage. This is how many chests and containers that are being used. Many private servers restrict the amount of storage that players use. Having chests of stone, wood, and other dedicated mediums and storing unused items are usually looked down upon and actioned in some cases. This has been unregulated on officials due to the amount of effort it would take to enforce. Thus it contributes greatly. One of the ways privates do tend to enforce this is reminding the players to tidy up their storage and routinely clean it out. Dunno if official players could ever be expected to have this discipline, they tend to have the attitude of ‘that’s someone elses’ problem’. Not everyone, but most. If not, then this is something they could take action on to prove that assumption wrong. It only helps themselves. But I have my doubts.
Number of followers. Thralls, mounts, pets, etc. These things sitting around the base. So a while back FC introduced follower limits. It was meant to keep things from getting out of hand. Many reported that it didn’t work on officials. I’ll argue that it did. The reason being is private servers that used it, used it in a more strict manner and saw results. I would argue that the setting used by FC was far to liberal to see immediate results. However had they did NOT put those limits in on officials, right now they would be crashing. They wouldn’t even be up. This is something FC can actually make a setting change on to improve performance further by reducing heavily the amount of thralls players can have. Reducing their purge defense. Losing some stuff to purge is the price to pay for being able to play with a little less lag.
Placeables. For many of the same reasons as storage but takes quite a bit more of them to cause an effect. These have some the least impact on a server. But they do have an impact. Because so many can be placed in a single area (for example you can place dozens of them in a spot a single foundation can go), they can eventually add up.
NPCs, Nodes, Purges. Rolling this all into one. The more ‘stuff’ people can interact with on the map, the more has to be loaded in when a player goes into an area. For the most part this has little to no impact unless the player interacts. Fighting a camp or purge makes this impact go up. As does using Cull Resources in an area with a large amount of nodes. I’ve seen measurable impacts for these events. But suffice to say, this is the game. Take these things out and you might as well uninstall. But even if you decide to play a gameless game without any of the other issues fixed, you still have major lag. So removing nodes, removing spells, removing purges will literally do nothing.
So what can be done about the lag? A few things.
The idea that FC doesn’t do anything on their end is false. Since the game has released, there has been quite a few patches that helped with server lag. Official players have been unable to see it because their servers until 3.0 have been barren. Those of us on active servers have seen major improvements over the years. We can simply run bigger and more modded servers than we could even 2 years ago. Sometimes private servers won’t even see much improvement because their server owners are pushing their servers and keeping an acceptable level of play, even if not optimum.
One of the things FC did that was a major boon was reduced the size of our servers’ databases. Many servers saw a 30-60% decrease in filesize. One benefit this has is servers load up faster on a boot up. It used to take some of the server’s I admined 5 minutes to boot. The current one with 20 mods (about 6GB of them) takes less than 2 minutes to boot. This efficiency translates to active play. If they didn’t do this, officials would be on a monthly wipe cycle. Sounds great until you realize you get 10 days of real play, and 20 of degrading more and more laggy play with the final week being unplayable. When people say they want a 30 day wipe cycle, they want a full 30 days of good play with a apocalyptical event on the last day. You wouldn’t have that here. It would suck.
So what else can FC do? They can continue to improve the efficiency of the game for multiplayer like they do in every patch. They did it in 3.0. They did. Its true. When talking about the server I play on before. It took just over 2 minutes in 2.8 to boot. Now in 3.0 its a few seconds under. ~140s to ~100s is an improvement of nearly 30%. That’s a marked improvement. It happened.
But that takes time. Another thing they could do is reduce player limits. Though this one sucks more than it sounds. It would lead to better play across the board. But with increased populations from 3.0 (of about 3-4x) this means not everyone gets to play. And I would point out that many of those increased numbers are players that have come back and are actively playing, who refreshed before. So it wouldn’t just be new players affected and being told ‘you haven’t got much you can restart’. But actually players who’ve been here for 3-5 years too. So who goes? Who decides that? Well the individual, which means everyone is looking out for themselves and want everyone else to move to another server. Not a situation that is going to fix itself nicely.
FC could also be more strict with their follower limits. Something like you can have 10 +5. Or a single player can have 10 followers and every person added to their clan gives them 5 more. So solo can have 10, duo with 15, and so forth. This would have a noticeable impact. The result is purges will be more dangerous. Something the players simply need to take and get over. You don’t exactly need dozens of thralls to deal with purges. Private server players frequently do it alone with their following thralls. But its a learning curve either way, which will cause some to be upset who aren’t as experienced with purges like that.
FC I don’t believe can do much for storage limits. They could increase the amount of slots boxes and vaults have. The would reduce the need for more boxes. Unfortunately I don’t think players will do the good noble thing and pull boxes down. I think they would simply fill the ones they have up with more stuff. Again like I mentioned before, there’s never been any community push to tidy its own messes. You only see this on private servers, and only with a reminder from the owners. Maybe they can prove me wrong. Consider this a reminder. Wonder if you all could tidy your storages? I don’t think you all can. Some of you might, but some isn’t enough to impact a difference. I could be proven wrong here. I just don’t think I will.
Again some of us police this stuff on private servers because we have an admin to player ratio for it. FC has an admin to server ratio. They aren’t going to be able to do that.
Also I’m going to bring this up yet another time. Building limits are seen by some as a holy grail of server performance. It is not. I’ve seen servers with building limits of 300 pieces per person in a clan still have issues. Why? Because they have 90 online players with another dozen or two in a queue. I’ve also seen servers with no limits run fine. Because they only have 10-20 players on during primetime.
So let me point out something here. 10 players online is not 9x less than 90 players online. Its exponential. Why? Because there is 24 hours in a day. Because there is 7 days a week. Case in point, since Sunday I have logged into Conan Exiles about 3 times as of writing this.
Not everyone logs in everyday. Not everyone logs in all the time. So when you see a stable population of around 40 players online during primetime. That is HUNDREDS of players on that server. When you login to a 40 man server, and say the average clan size is four players. There is NOT 10 bases on that map. There’s more like 30-50 bases. Or more. Likely more.
If you had a building limit of 10,000. Yet have 200 to 300 bases around the map. All that does is makes the bigger bases slightly smaller. Most bases aren’t that big. The issue isn’t so much how big bases can be but how many there are. Megabases (like those in excess of 50,000 pieces) can have a small impact. But the real issue is the hundred of smaller little bases. Each one the server keeps track of decay, has to determine when to show, when it has to account for its stability, who can access it, and so forth.
Not much can be done here by FC without doing some really nasty unfair stuff. Things like global limits that randomly pick people who are over the limit and deletes their years of work. Limits that delete things and then tells the player the server is at its limit and they are simply screwed on that server until someone else removes a base or two. Forcing players to cohabitate with others in a clan. Hoping they don’t simply get invited, robbed, and kicked out by a greedy clan leader.
It would work, it would probably reduce the lag by half or more. But it would be a miserable experience for most involved. The alternative is for players to police themselves and remove extraneous bases and buildings. FC has done some of this through Zendesk, but players have been reacting badly to this. No one wants ‘their’ stuff to go. No one wants to tidy ‘themselves’ up. They want others to do it. It would be nice if everyone did it, and not need to get FC involved. Because when they do, they are going to be unemotional, methodical, and mechanic about it. And they should. Because its impartial and unbiased. If up to the players, they always choose themselves to stay and theirs to keep. If they didn’t, well they wouldn’t be in the mess they are.
Suffice to say that isn’t a solution. FC is going to play a balance between players being mad and yet not mad enough to leave when it comes to building enforcement. But they’re not going to go full bore here and piss off many. Which unfortunately has the side effect of annoying everyone. But they’re a business that has to play that stupid game. Private server owners don’t have to, and usually don’t. But then again they get called mean and abusing. So you can’t really win with players on this front.
Here’s what FC cannot do. Many of you have said, realized in the past, or have now come to the conclusion that switching from G-Portal would solve some issues. Yes. This is true, it would. This is a fantasy. When you login to the server browser you will see a button you can select or click that says Rent a Server. This takes you to G-portal’s services. We as players can rent our own servers from G-portal.
I’ve done this before. Yes I have owned a server that has ran literally on the same machines and networks as official servers. I personally was ok with it. I was. I can say that my personal business with G-Portal was fine. Wait, didn’t I say I had 48 hours of impatience before I jumped ship? Yes, I did say that. But I wasn’t the owner in that occasion.
If you search my thread history. I have like four threads I made. My first one has me giving positive information about G-portal. About the only time you will ever see that. It was in reference to finding a server host that supports testlive. At the time not many did, and I made a remark that G-portal did. I had a great experience as a server owner with them. But my server was a 10 slot server. Unmodded as well. For that, it worked great.
It didn’t when the last time I had the privilege of using it. Then it was a larger server with a few mods. Seemed to work for about a month. First issue was updating mods. The way G-portal does it, is they download themselves mods once. Then when they do, you can update from their server. This allows you to update mods quickly and saves them bandwidth. They check like once every 15 minutes. So you are looking at up to 15 minutes before updating if a mod author missed the g-portal window which they have no clue when that is.
Also if G-portal has a glitch in their update. Its hosed for about a day or so. You need to contact support, tell them the mod in question isn’t updating, then go through their BS responses about how you don’t know how to update your mods. And then when enough people make the same complaint, they’ll get around to fixing it by having their system redownload the mod. This happens alot. Ask any mod author.
But once our server got decently popular a month in, the server started having issues. Lag even with only a single person. Wouldn’t show up on browser. Even when you direct connected it wouldn’t allow you to stay connected. All kinds of issues. This was a wipe scenario. But tests in singleplayer showed no issues. But then I got the idea to try another provider. Owner agreed and it fired right up without issue. I tried for about a week to improve things on the G-portal side until the month’s fee was up. Then it was dropped.
That’s not an uncommon experience people have with G-portal. Its the first host many have because of that button. That was the idea G-portal had (and it worked) when they offered FC to host the official servers. They get advertising in the game. Hopefully get the private server market share, and in return, they give FC a few hundred servers to give players a taste of CE.
How much does FC pay? No idea there. Could be anywhere from just keeping the button there (aka ‘free’) or some amount under what we typically pay when we get servers. I know they pay less per server just on the notion of bulk discount. But due to the performance over the years and issues FC has had. I imagine the cost of each server is quite a bit low. Low enough to keep it after 5 years. Especially considering that G-portal has a literal monopoly on private server hosting for Xbox and Playstation (surprised that some of these server hosting companies haven’t filed a complaint about that. But that’s their business, not mine, maybe some of you console folks can contact the other hosts and shoot them an email asking why they don’t host and see what’s going on there).
One thing is for certain, they have a partnership, and they are not switching. Its not going to happen. Reasons aside that decision has been made and is more or less in stone. If I were to hazard a guess, we may not see anything even get mentioned on this topic by either party until 2027. If some of you are willing to wait it out till then, forgive me if I call you crazy. Patience is one thing, and some of you have been at it for five years. But sorry, a full decade is insanity. That’s just my opinion, one of an observation, not an insult.
But after saying all that. If you want better server performance. Play on a server that isn’t hosted by G-portal. That’s going to come with other server lag mitigating measures not available to FC. If you are a console player you’re kinda screwed. But you can still play on a private server with a stricter limit and a somewhat active admin. It will still be better than what you experience on official. Even if marginally so.
The downside obviously is trying to find a good server that fits what you want. I played on about a dozen servers before settling on the one I play on now. Been there for two years. So yeah it can take some effort. It takes an open mind (as you sometimes don’t even know what you want till you play it). But between NPCs running in place, rubberbanding, disconnects, and all that mess and having to put in just a bit of effort to find a place to call home. I think its worth it.
To put it shortly. I like playing the game as it was designed. I like logging in and enjoying my time playing the game. Not looking at a laggy mess and hoping there’s a server restart sometime when I’m playing so I can have just at least 45 minutes of semi-decent play.
When 3.0 came out. I had to wait a day or two for mods to update. After that I was able to play a few hours at a time. Sometimes I would play like most of the day (I rolled a new character so I plenty to do). Can any of you say you’ve been able to play an uninterrupted 8-12 hours at a time on an official server in 3.0 without any lag, rubberbanding, disconnects, or other BS?
I have. And this is why I don’t have much negative to say about Conan Exiles. Its a freaking amazing game when you play it on a server meant for it. Officials turn it into the garbage you all see on a daily basis. You can have better, if you want it badly enough.