NVIDIA Crash: Current Information and Solutions

Thread Version 1.0.1

The following thread contains all known information on the specific form of game crash widely referred to as the “NVIDIA crash”, including how to identify these distinct crashes and what can be done about them as a player to mitigate, prevent, or otherwise reduce the occurrence of NVIDIA crashes through current confirmed methods.

General Information

Are you suffering from sudden crashes to desktop where the Secret World Legends game process closes abruptly without any dialogue window, error prompt, or warning of any sort? Do you have a NVIDIA video card? If yes to all the above, then you may be experiencing NVIDIA crashes. These crashes became known as the “NVIDIA crash” by the community as they only affect NVIDIA users and seemed to have no rhyme or reason otherwise.

NVIDIA crashes can only occur when using NVIDIA video drivers that were released AFTER Version 425.31, which means all NVIDIA drivers versions 430.39 and later are affected. 425.31 is also notable for being the last driver to fully support 3D Vision and associated stereo calls, as well as for being the driver which introduced raytracing to GTX cards. Subsequent drivers have further impacted DirectX 11 in particular.

While not all players with newer NVIDIA drivers experience these crashes when playing Secret World Legends on a NVIDIA GPU, anyone with NVIDIA is at risk until the NVIDIA crashes have been fully fixed.

If you do have NVIDIA crashes, don’t worry! There are options available to reduce the frequency of or eliminate entirely these crashes on a per-person basis!

Symptoms

NVIDIA crashes are characterized as crashes to desktop (CTD) that occur seemingly at random and at any point during gameplay. These crashes have no error or dialogue windows, prompts, or boxes of any sort. Those typically affected by NVIDIA crashes tend to be on Secret World Legends clients that are in DirectX 11 (DX11) if the NVIDIA video driver being used is >= 430.39. This does not mean DX11 is not playable, however. Additionally, not everyone who experiences NVIDIA crashes experiences them at the same frequency. Severity of symptoms vary!

When susceptible to NVIDIA crashes, a person may also experience Runtime Errors. These errors themselves will not crash the game unless multiple occur in quick succession and are not themselves the same as the NVIDIA crash. In fact, you can continue to play after a Runtime Error as long as you avoid clicking anywhere on the Runtime Error prompt by tabbing back into Secret World Legends, as these errors assert themselves on top of the game when they first appear.

Causes

The root cause of these crashes is still being investigated. When the root has been dug out and determined without a shadow of a doubt, this section will be updated accordingly. Please have patience!

Solutions

Have heart, sweetlings; all is not lost!

As frustrating as the abrupt and arcane nature of NVIDIA crashes is to experience, there are in fact ways to alleviate or altogether avoid NVIDIA crashes. Methods range from using video driver versions that are confirmed to be stable for all or many people to adjusting Secret World Legends client settings.

All verified driver-based and settings-based solutions are detailed below.

Please be aware that as of December 2021 the only guaranteed fix that will completely eradicate the possibility of NVIDIA crashes is to roll back to driver 425.31, which is covered in the Driver-Based subsection of this thread. Alternatives options are available that may or may not solve the crashes depending on what you do choose to do and the severity of symptoms you experience.

Effectiveness varies person-to-person due to the multitude of factors involved, so if one solution method doesn’t solve your NVIDIA crashes, consider trying another!

This thread will be updated whenever we have verified data on additional mitigation methods, fixes, or further details.

Driver-Based

The last NVIDIA video driver in which Secret World Legends has guaranteed stability is 425.31. Rolling back to 425.31 will remove all possibility of experiencing NVIDIA crashes.

436.15 is the next most stable version to consider rolling back to and is stable for a majority of people who have reported using it with Secret World Legends.

Stability of later drivers varies considerably for a variety of reasons and people. Any time you update your NVIDIA drivers to the latest version, there is the possibility of increased or decreased crashing for an individual. For example, some have had good success with the 441/442 line of drivers.

Those using a GeForce RTX 30 series GPU will be unable to roll back to 425.31 or 436.15 due to lack of support for that series of video cards. The earliest any of the RTX 30 series can go is to 456.38. Despite this, there are still drivers that are relatively NVIDIA crash free for those willing to take the chance. 471.41 is so far potentially promising as a semi-stable alternative based on preliminary data, and while users have largely reported infrequent or no NVIDIA crashes when using it, the current sample size is small due to the sheer scarcity video cards.

Data is still being collected from people regarding their stability with newer NVIDIA drivers.

When rolling back or updating your video drivers, please make sure to check whether the version is DCH or Standard, if it is for a Desktop or Notebook, and that it is for the correct version of Windows. Incorrect installations of drivers can cause further trouble.

Older drivers may cause incompatibility issues with some of the latest PC game releases in situations where the new game has a recent driver cutoff. In addition, using older video drivers re-introduces potential security vulnerabilities that would otherwise be patched in newer drivers. Please roll back responsibly.

In-Game Settings

Drivers aren’t the only way one can try to get away from the NVIDIA crash. Certain settings can be adjusted to alleviate symptoms of NVIDIA crashing. These settings on their own are safe to use, but lowering or switching them can reduce strain on the video card when using a susceptible driver.

If you are unwilling or unable to roll back to a more stable driver version, many players also find relief by changing one or more in-game settings that rely on DirectX features.

DirectX Version

When NVIDIA crashes occur while playing the game in DirectX 11 (DX11), it is possible to reduce or in some cases eliminate NVIDIA crashes by switching the client to DirectX 9 (DX9), and vice versa. Select DX11-only in-game video settings such as SSAO and the TXAA Anti-alias quality options are unavailable on DX9.

Switching between DirectX versions of the Secret World Legends client can be done from the Launcher or from in-game through the Settings menu.

If you wish to change DirectX from the Launcher, select OPTIONS on the bottom right corner. Under the GRAPHICS column is the CLIENT option which allows selection of DirectX 9 or DirectX 11. Select your desired DirectX version and hit the APPLY button. From there, you can simply hit START GAME and start playing Secret World Legends!

If you wish to change DirectX from within the game itself, this can be done after reaching the login screen. Select SETTINGS or its associated hotkey ([F10] by default) to bring up the Settings menu. Select VIDEO OPTIONS. The option DirectX version is at the bottom of the GENERAL tab. Choose the desired DirectX version from the drop-down menu and then hit APPLY.

In-game changes to the DirectX version do not take affect until the game is restarted.

Anti-Alias Quality

Secret World Legends has a very lovely form of Anti-Aliasing (AA) known as TXAA, and was in fact the first game to natively include TXAA in its video options in its incarnation as The Secret World. TXAA is gorgeous, especially when using TXAA 4X, but it can be more taxing on a video card.

The frequency of NVIDIA crashes can for some players be reduced by lowering the in-game Anti-alias quality option.

Anti-alias quality can only be changed in-game. Select SETTINGS or its associated hotkey ([F10] by default) to bring up the Settings menu and then select VIDEO OPTIONS. The Anti-alias quality option is in the middle of the GENERAL video options tab. Click on the drop-down menu, select the desired Anti-Alias quality, and press APPLY. This can take a moment as the setting is applied to the game and rendered.

If the crashes occur when in TXAA 4X, try going to TXAA 2X or FXAA HQ and see if there are fewer crashes. If on FXAA HQ and crashing, go to FXAA or None.

Ultimately it is up to each person to decide whether they are comfortable doing any of the above in the course of dealing with NVIDIA crashes.

Secret World Legends flows so sweet. Don’t let these crashes keep you away from tasting and seeing.

7 Likes

2 cents from a Linux user : I noticed as well SWL is extremely sensitive to drivers used.

On my GTX 970 (please offer me new gfx card), I haven’t had any gfx crash with driver 460.91.03 - not sure what’s the windows equivalent version.
Been trying the 470 driver series, it’s a no go, they do crash the game here & there. Next I’ll test the 495 driver series, but waiting for my distro to mark them as stable before proceeding.

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Try using DXVK(google it, first result should be the github link) for the DX11 version. It’s a DX9/10/11 → Vulkan library and how we play on linux, but it should work fine on windows too as it’s technically just a windows dll.

The DX9 version renders incorrectly, but the DX11 version works perfectly. Grab the latest release and extract the d3d11.dll and dxgi.dll in the x32 directory inside the archive(SWL is 32bit) into your SWL folder in the same directory as SecretWorldLegendsDX11.exe.
If you use Steam, just right click it in your game’s list and click ‘Manage->Browse local files’. Make sure you’re using the DX11 client.

You’ll notice a bit of stuttering at first, that’s just due to shaders compiling. Once they’re cached(done automatically by dxvk,) it won’t happen again.

DXVK isn’t doing magic, the game will still crash using it. Also, people who tested it with SWL on Windows didn’t get good results

So, I had to change my driver to the Nvidia recommended 470.94 (the previous one prevents me from updating kernel), played ~2 hours this morning, SWL crashed 2 times (while it never crashed on driver 460.91.03)
Funny enough, other games that I play, and which are more demanding on GPU, don’t crash no matter what the driver is. Leads me to conclude there are terrible flaws in SWL gfx code.
Also tried driver 495.46, SWL just froze on splash screen.
Maybe I should try driver 510.39.01, but I’m afraid results might be the same as 495 one.

PS : Yes, nvidia drivers 495 & 510 do already exist in the Linux world, you may get them “soon” for Windows :smiley:

511.23 was released last week. :wink:

Ah, yes they seem to be listed in advanced search under DCH option.
Is SWL stable with 510 driver series, or does it crash as with so many drivers ?

Yay, game crashed. Again. 4th time today :smiley:

Question for Funcom people (poke @AndyB ) : It is obvious that SWL will never fixed now, but I’d love to know why, since TSW got released, no one at FC never gave a damn about this ?

The purpose of this guide thread is to provide confirmed and validated ways a player can mitigate or avoid NVIDIA crashes. When there is a fix, my guide will be updated accordingly. When there is enough data on a driver to deem it potentially stable for users, then it will be updated accordingly.

At this time we do not have enough data on the 510 series of drivers. Until there is an adequate sample size, I will not recommend it. I will not recommend something without sufficient data. That’s just bad science otherwise.

This guide has a version number that is updated any time I make an edit. Please feel free to look to that if you’re uncertain whether any new drivers have been added to its lists.

Should you or anyone else wish to submit data on your driver version(s) and stability thereof, please send it in a Direct Message to me.

In the private message, please include at minimum your:

  • NVIDIA graphics driver version
  • NVIDIA GPU (Video Card)
  • Client DirectX Setting
  • Frequency of NVIDIA Crashes
  • All In-Game Video Option Settings
    • Be sure to include Anti-Alias Quality, SSAO, Motion Blur, etc