Overwatch Game Director Says Tick Rate Complaints Due to a "General Misunderstanding"

Overwatch Game Director Says Tick Rate Complaints Due to a "General Misunderstanding"

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Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan says that complaints about the game's tick rate are a result of a "general misunderstanding."

If you've done any reading online about Overwatch, chances are that you've heard at least one complaint about the game's tick rate. Tick rate is the frequency (measured in Hertz) at which the server updates the game state. A server with a tick rate of 60 will send an update packet to the client 60 times per second. The client's tick rate determines how often it will accept those packets. Clear enough?

The Overwatch complaints center around the game's 20.8 Hz client tick rate. Players have said the game feels sluggish, and that the low tick rate leads to kills happening that really shouldn't have. But Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan, the game director for Overwatch, says that's not the case.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Kaplan said, "That just shows a general misunderstanding. I think players have latched onto server tick rate as being the reason that certain things happen." He went to say that the server "does tick at 60Hz, it's the client update rate that is lower." He also added that there is a 60Hz tick rate option for clients in custom games but that so few players are using it that Blizzard has little data to learn from.

"They're demanding it, it's in the game and playable, and right now we're seeing about 0.08 per cent of all matches that take place in Overwatch are actually using the feature," Kaplan said. "It would be wildly irresponsible for us to add that to something like quick play or competitive without getting more testing on the feature."

Kaplan encouraged players to use the feature to provide that data to Blizzard. "This is something that you care about and you want to see more of: well, please use more of the feature that's in the game. Give us feedback, so we can iron out all of the kinks with it and if things are looking good, we can absolutely add it to other parts of the game."

He also encouraged players to watch this YouTube video of developers explaining how the netcode works, as it would allow them to "comment intelligently on what is and isn't a problem."

It's unlikely that these assertions will quell the complaints, although it may result in more people using the custom game option to try out the 60Hz tick rate on the client side. Let us know what you think about Kaplan's comments in the forums.

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"comment intelligently on what is and isn't a problem.

When has anybody ever done that on the internet? Just spew opinions until you or your opponent gets bored of spewing your opinions. Don't even dare research or listen to what is being said, argue till you can't argue any more or just start flaming.

So the thing they're complaining that they want, is already in the game, but they're just not using it? Yeah, sounds like the internet.

Solkard:
So the thing they're complaining that they want, is already in the game, but they're just not using it? Yeah, sounds like the internet.

I guess it depends on how obvious the setting is. If no one knows about it, or it doesn't have an explanation about what the setting does in the menu, I can easily imagine lots of players just not touching it.

Pretty cool that they have the setting in there as a safe way to test the waters though. Now they just need to make more people aware of the setting.

Solkard:
So the thing they're complaining that they want, is already in the game, but they're just not using it? Yeah, sounds like the internet.

"Custom games" means "player-owned custom servers only". That means 12 people need to be gathered into a single custom game to test the feature. Most people play solo or with one or two friends at most and using quick play.

That said, the feedback I've seen was frequent crashes to lobby, so it doesn't work.

> He also added that there is a 60Hz tick rate option for clients in custom games
> custom games
> custom

THEREIN IS THE PROBLEM. Nobody's touching custom mode because it doesn't reward experience, right?

Okay, Blizzard, humor me. If it's not the tick rate, then what exactly IS causing me to get shot through walls and corners?

Also, lol at the idea that "We can't fix the problem because we have no data because nobody uses the option that we buried in a mode nobody plays." Gonna have to try a little harder than that, boys.

Don't you guys have your own teams to test your software? I know it's cheaper to use your customers as guinea pigs, but at least offer them some chance to test it if you really want it tested. Burying it in custom game modes means few people are going to want to test it. The onus is on you guys to provide quality software, not your customers.

Problem with custom games is that you can't just join any lobby, you literally have to have 12 friends all playing together in order to do a custom game.

Maphysto:
Okay, Blizzard, humor me. If it's not the tick rate, then what exactly IS causing me to get shot through walls and corners?

Also, lol at the idea that "We can't fix the problem because we have no data because nobody uses the option that we buried in a mode nobody plays." Gonna have to try a little harder than that, boys.

The point he's making isn't that the tick rate isn't the problem, it's that people are seeing it in the wrong way. When you get hooked by Roadhog through a wall, you were never behind the wall to the server. If it was 60 server/60 client you would have seen yourself hooked before you got behind the wall. People are acting like the outcome would somehow be different if the client updated at 60, but the only thing that would change is your view of it. While I'm certain there are cases where the proper client tick rate would result in better play, I'm also certain those cases are few and far between.

Now them not being able to fix it, I don't know what their deal is with that. Putting the option into custom and saying hey you guys need to test it is absolutely garbage.

Justank:

Maphysto:
Okay, Blizzard, humor me. If it's not the tick rate, then what exactly IS causing me to get shot through walls and corners?

Also, lol at the idea that "We can't fix the problem because we have no data because nobody uses the option that we buried in a mode nobody plays." Gonna have to try a little harder than that, boys.

The point he's making isn't that the tick rate isn't the problem, it's that people are seeing it in the wrong way. When you get hooked by Roadhog through a wall, you were never behind the wall to the server. If it was 60 server/60 client you would have seen yourself hooked before you got behind the wall. People are acting like the outcome would somehow be different if the client updated at 60, but the only thing that would change is your view of it. While I'm certain there are cases where the proper client tick rate would result in better play, I'm also certain those cases are few and far between.

Now them not being able to fix it, I don't know what their deal is with that. Putting the option into custom and saying hey you guys need to test it is absolutely garbage.

there's only so much a team of testers can do given limited resources; i highly doubt they mean "test this for us in place of our QA team." what they're likely saying is, "if you guys at least try this option out more, give us bug reports, and data to work with, we can do an even better job at figuring out what's wrong." it's not always easy to pinpoint the source of a crash, especially if you can't be playing the game on every conceivable type of hardware/software or combination thereof. the devs are going to get a lot more out of customers playing with these options than the limited number of testers they have at hand who also have to be testing gameplay changes, new modes/heroes/maps, and so on.

Maphysto:
Okay, Blizzard, humor me. If it's not the tick rate, then what exactly IS causing me to get shot through walls and corners?

The bullshit hitbox on Hanzo's arrows.

See, I didn't know that this feature:

A) was a thing and
B) only in the mode that no one plays.

That's the problem. Lack of communication. Overwatch is a great game, but it does suffer from CoD 4 style latency even on the PC version. It seems to be happening more than in the open beta which always weirds me out considering 11 million people were in the beta and 7 million have bought the game since release.

Considering they want to go competitive with OW, a tickrate of 60 shouldn't be exclusive to custom games.

Blizzard is catering to a casual crowd, one that doesn't care about something like a low, locked tick rate. So I'm not surprised they are unrepentant about it. That said, that's not really the biggest of Overwatch's problems.

Considering that 60 hz tickrate should be bare minimum TO START WITH, the game director himself seems to understand nothing. Complaints about low tickrate are justified.

Solkard:
So the thing they're complaining that they want, is already in the game, but they're just not using it? Yeah, sounds like the internet.

They can only use it in private matches though. There is no choice when using blizzard matchmaking.

With the size of the collision detection boxes and the amount of prediction/postdating allowed on the client/server the tick rate is almost irrelevant.

You could set the tick rate to hundred and a lagger would still shoot you after you went out of LoS for half a second.

Solkard:
So the thing they're complaining that they want, is already in the game, but they're just not using it? Yeah, sounds like the internet.

Only in custom games, which only work with premade parties and gives no exp. So basically a super niche mode that surprisingly only a tiny niche actually use!

Kibeth41:
Problem with custom games is that you can't just join any lobby, you literally have to have 12 friends all playing together in order to do a custom game.

Why the hell is it that nobody can take a hint from Halo's old Custom Games? And not the new utterly stripped abomination that is in Halo 5. >_>

saluraropicrusa:

there's only so much a team of testers can do given limited resources; i highly doubt they mean "test this for us in place of our QA team." what they're likely saying is, "if you guys at least try this option out more, give us bug reports, and data to work with, we can do an even better job at figuring out what's wrong." it's not always easy to pinpoint the source of a crash, especially if you can't be playing the game on every conceivable type of hardware/software or combination thereof. the devs are going to get a lot more out of customers playing with these options than the limited number of testers they have at hand who also have to be testing gameplay changes, new modes/heroes/maps, and so on.

You're absolutely right about the amount of data they'd get from players testing it, but

"They're demanding it, it's in the game and playable, and right now we're seeing about 0.08 per cent of all matches that take place in Overwatch are actually using the feature," Kaplan said. "It would be wildly irresponsible for us to add that to something like quick play or competitive without getting more testing on the feature."

sounds (to me) like they're mostly expecting the players to test out this feature because it's something players want. It's likely my interpretation at fault, but others have read into it this way as well. I would be very surprised if there was no internal testing on it, but the impression is bad.

Solkard:
So the thing they're complaining that they want, is already in the game, but they're just not using it? Yeah, sounds like the internet.

Actually, the feature that people want is in-game, as other posters have stated, but its in a non competitive game mode. The kicker though, is that the feature, as is, currently doesn't work and crashes the game. So the reason they don't have a lot of data on the tick rate feature is because it doesn't work correctly, and they haven't fixed it.

Basically Blizzard released a broken feature, nobody used it because its broken and crashes the custom server, and Blizzard claims that clearly nobody uses the feature so its not important.

Surely the client update rate is how many times per second the server SENDS data to the client, not whether or not the client accepts it.

Furthermore, I'm with Mr. Kaplan all the way on this:
Most multiplayer games use a tick rate that is lower than the screen refresh.

Also, some one mentioned this earlier, but doubtless the server's have an "unlagged" feature to calculate for lag and clients use prediction - they mention that in their video. It's been this way since multiplayer games moved away from peer-to-peer lockstep in the Quake era.

If you increase the tick rate from ~20Hz to ~60Hz you are also nearly tripling the data you have to up, and further saturating your network.

So until the entire world is wired up with super-ultra-mega-fast internet and we all have 0 ping to every server everywhere this is just how things are.

If anyone is REALLY interested in this stuff check out this Quake3 network model write up: http://fabiensanglard.net/quake3/network.php

Jadwick:
Also, some one mentioned this earlier, but doubtless the server's have an "unlagged" feature to calculate for lag and clients use prediction - they mention that in their video. It's been this way since multiplayer games moved away from peer-to-peer lockstep in the Quake era.

There was client prediction before we lost the single authoritative world view, during the golden Quakeworld era when LPBs ruled the world.

LPBs were not shot long after passing a corner in QW, because their world view was close to the server world view, which provided an authoritative monotonic timeline of events. Only during the HL era causality and determinism was sacrificed so laggers could be less disadvantaged. Now it's just a giant janky mess.

 

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