Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tired of Getting DC'd & Running out of ideas...

Since about patch 5.4.2, I've been getting disconnected from the game. It usually happens during group activity (scenario, dungeon, lfr). It usually happens during fights.

Video driver? My first inclination was the issue was related to my video drivers. So I went to the NVidia site and downloaded the latest and greatest, stable drivers for my GTS 250 video card. No help.

Hardware scan... In the BIOS, my HP desktop has a 'system scan' option. This runs an integrity check on the system vitals, memory, drives, etc. Nothing. I even peeked into the Windows Event log to see if I am regularly getting any failures. Nope.

Network traffic? The disconnect "looks" like I basically hit ESC on the keyboard, backing myself all the way out to the logon prompt.. I've ran a NetMon trace a few times to capture the disconnect, but nothing really stands out. Unfortunately the drop is random, so the log files do get rather substantial by the time it happens.

Other users? Other apps? Thought this issue could be related to background tasks or other user's open applications. I share the PC with the rest of the family. Windows 8 does a great job of flattening other users when they walk away, but ??. Who knows? Maybe IE or my son's Angry Birds is doing it. So I log them all out, shut down unnecessary background tasks (like Steam client and cloud backup of PC) and close all web browser sessions. No help.

Add-ons? I went through and removed or replaced all add-ons in my game that I don't use, or are more than a few game releases old. "Last Update 5.2", gone. I am down to DBM, Bartender4, Vuhdo and a few other miscellaneous addons (postal, bagsaver, tBag). I am running the "Curse" desktop client, so it tends to keep my addons fresh and up-to-date. I don't get any LUA errors, so this could be the issue, but I am not sure I can faithfully group, without Bartender at least. No healing without Vuhdo. So far, no help.

Reaching.. Last week while doing a Windows Update, I noticed that my sound card driver was out-dated. It's the integrated card on the motherboard, but hey it's got a driver. Updated it. Still no help.

Reaching Further... Friday while running LFR, I decided to reset my "Interface" (i.e. video/sound) settings to as basic as possible. I went from High to Good video quality and detail to Basic and Low. Darn if it isn't difficult to raid now as what...I am taking damage?? Oh crap, I must be standing in fire as my character is red, not blue! Move!  Good news, I dropped only 3 times while healing during the Shaman fight, not 4.

At this point, I think I am basically to, 1) reinstall game 2) run barebones no add-ons or 3) only run non-grouped content. I am not even sure any of these would fix it. Maybe it's my ISP throttling my connection to Blizzard? Maybe it's the color orange?

7 comments:

  1. What's the frequency? I go through periods of semi-regular DCs (from once or twice a night to half a dozen a month) that just stop at some point and come back later, usually after a new patch. I think that's actually pretty common, I had a single issue last night of that type, first in a while, but others in my raid have had occasional issues while we're running. Not just DCs... things like very high (1s+) latency, etc.

    My best guess is that it's somehow related to their current method of connecting the client to the server, I think they've changed that process significantly over the years, culminating with the current streaming technology... I think it may be that tech that something glitches out.

    The only semi-consistent issue of this type I've encountered is when CRZing through a phased area... if the two characters are out of phase, it's happened multiple times where one (always only one) somehow ends up connected yet disconnected... I've run the length of a zone, with pats patting, NPCs wandering and yapping, other players running around... I can see all that... but I just can't interact with any of it. It's almost like the (hopefully) incoming ghost mode for spectating group events (PvP is the current discussion, I'm hoping to see it implemented for raids). Yet, can't log out of that character, I can bring up the menu just fine but Logout/Exit don't do anything, nor does the game ever time out if I just walk away and leave it. I have to do a hard End Task to get it to shut down.

    Regarding your ISP, it is also possible it's that but I doubt it... I just don't think the client-server connection for WoW is particularly durable, it seems that any break in that connection is terminal, it can't re-establish. I may be wrong about that, I don't imagine it's difficult to design a connection that can survive a blip, but it just feels fragile to me in its current state.

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    1. It is fairly reliable, but not consistent. Meaning, its fairly guaranteed to happen, but I can't always say 'when'. During Gates LFR, I dropped once during Galrakas, once during Iron Juggernaut, during the trash in Orgrimmar, then again during during the fight.. They game freezes for about 10 seconds, then I am dropped back to the logon screen "you have been disconnected from the game".

      Curious about my framerate. I haven't checked on that in awhile. Wonder if it's just so high that Blizzard is giving up on my connection. May explain why I get dropped during high-activity portions of the game..

      If not that, I am starting to think maybe it's a faulty video card and it can't handle the intense splash graphics of fighting. I was hoping dropping my quality would help, but maybe it's something more critical like corrupt video card RAM.

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    2. If it was your video card it shouldn't end up in a disconnect in any scenario I can think of... maybe a FREEZE of the game or something but not a DC.

      Not suggesting you do all this but if I was in your situation here's roughly what I'd do (I'm making the assumption that the issue isn't a software-on... not the game, or add-ons, causing the issue, I doubt that's where the issue lies), testing each of these in order until the issues stop (one at a time):

      * Make sure your router has the right ports open/forwarded
      * Update router firmware (if available) and reset (full off/on cycle) the router either way
      * Connect directly to the Internet, bypassing the router (potentially risky, make sure your AV is up to date and that Windows Firewall is enabled if you aren't running anything better)
      * Update your network card drivers
      * Replace or add a new network card and use that instead (cheap one is fine)
      * If you have access to one, copy your entire WoW folder over to another PC/notebook and play on that, see if you have similar issues

      While this is beyond my comfort to actually recommend, one other possible diagnostic step is to track down a network tool that'll constantly ping the WoW server (assuming you can track down the IP for yours) and will notify you if a connection is lost... if you can correlate that type of issue to the problems you're having in-game it should give you a case to take to your ISP.

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    3. ... isn't a software one ... I'd swear that looked normal when I typed it.

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    4. NIC card drivers and/or replacing the NIC would be a cheap and easy troubleshooting option.

      I forgot, but I did add a port forwarding config on my router. (https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/firewall-proxy-router-and-port-configuration).

      Sadly, I need my router as I have Comcast for my ISP, so it's coax coming into the house. They have upgraded my router/modem/switch combo rather recently (last year). I can consider moving my PC to the DMZ on the router config and see if that helps any though.

      Maybe as Blizz suggests (https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/world-of-warcraft-connection-troubleshooting) a full WTF refresh is required and a reboot of my router.

      All good idea.. Let you know how it helps.

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    5. Ok, updating the NIC drivers helped. The hardest part of the function was to FIND them. Windows had installed baseline drivers the integrated RealTek NIC. (found here).

      After the update, I queued to heal Gates and Downfall. Gates popped and I successfully completed Galkaras and Iron Juggernaut before one of my kids woke up.. Dropped so that they could find a new healer. During this time, never lost my connection!!!! Thanks "R". Sadly, the new drivers may have caused issues with the integrated sound card, as now all the sound is about 5% volume even when turned up full blast.

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    6. Hopefully that was the issue for the network issues. Since Realtek makes audio chips as well it's possible what you downloaded/installed was a combo pack that didn't just update the network card drives so there may have been some secondary changes that impacted your sound drivers... might have installed an audio console that has its own volume control, for instance. Probably solvable with a bit of digging.

      Another option is to get some sort of generic driver install program, I've been testing out SlimDrivers lately and it seems okay and not particularly concerning but your mileage may vary. It's also free, which is both nice but also increases the skeeve factor by more than a bit. I'm always naturally leery of free versions of types of software that normally cost money.

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