Thursday, July 9, 2009

How my fps issues were solved and I was born once again

I’ll start with a warning. This post is probably going to become a bit emo and annoyingly cheerful. But considering my state of mind I can’t stop myself.

This is the story:
Last week I made a sad post, sharing my frustration and fatigue after too long time with computer issues. The reception from the community blew me off completely. And somehow I got enough mana regen to wipe my tears and turn my computer over to some professionals. Even if I had done it so many times before that I seriously doubted it would help. My faith was damaged.

The episode ended as a classic cliffhanger, Larísa on the verge of giving up and quitting the game due to her constant PC problems. Now, a few days later, I thought that you deserved to get part two, the conclusion of the story.

I’ll give you the short version straight away: it helped. God help me, it really did. I guess someone will tell me now: “you just jinxed it”, but I can’t hold myself back, since I’m jumping around like a bouncing ball, flowing over with energy that needs to get an outlet. PPI is a place where you can share not only your sorrows, but also your happiness. So if you want more details, I’ll tell you what happened, the long version.

What was wrong
Just like many readers suggested it turned out that my fps problem was related to the processor fan. Even though it looked as if it worked, there was some problem with the attachment. If I had been a normal gaming computer geek and not just a middle aged noob, I guess I could have seen that and sorted it out by myself. But in my case it took the help from a professional eye to spot it. So they fixed it and charged me 40 dollars for the trouble seeking.

Of course I couldn’t be absolutely sure that the issue was all solved until I had tested it for myself. When I logged in the other night I didn’t know what to expect. I hoped that the shut-downs would be over, since the temperature apparently was back to normal. But would it affect the low fps that I’ve had for as long as I’ve been raiding?

I watched the bar on the login screen as it slowly progressed. And then I the world in Dalaran, the place that I’ve avoided as much as possible since the launch of WotLK, sick and tired of the maximum 10 fps and the staggering movements.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was this the same place? I assure you that the experience is entirely different if you see it at a rate of 50 fps. How beautiful it was! How I enjoyed seeing the buzzing street life! And how strange it felt that I apparently didn’t have to worry about the cluster of people swarming outside the bank. Sure, it dropped a bit, but not any further than to 35. I could still move around in any manner I wanted to.

Suddenly I noticed that there was a lot of red coloured shouting going on in /general. Apparently a Wintergrasp fight was about to start any minute. This suited my plans perfectly and I jumped into a raid. It was early night and a ton of people were online. Three full raids and probably also a bunch of non-grouped players were bunching up waiting for the portal. But the expected grumping from my computer never came. As we began to attack the fort, I found myself in the new, peculiar situation to be able to move around, doing the things PvP players normally do - you know – targeting, strifing, jumping, whatever. It was awesome. Soon enough I had rank to drive a siege tank, but to my dismay we won the fight before I had been able to reach the very heart of it, which normally is a nightmare when it comes to fps.

But I already knew: The world had changed for me. I had been born once again as a WoW player.

I don’t know if I can ever explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced it. But I guess it’s as if I’ve been walking around my whole life with an eye problem, giving me a blurred vision. And now I’ve finally got a pair of glasses.

Hesitatingly I tried changing my graphical settings to something above the minimum ones. As I approached Ulduar for the raid of the night I grasped. The beauty and majesty of it was absolutely stunning. So this was how it was intended to look like! How little did I know!

How I sucked
I wish I could say that the first raid with my improved fps was a total success and that I shined, out-dpsing every other mage in the raid, but that would be a lie. On the contrary I did something ridiculously stupid that I’ve never done before: probably because I was so overwhelmed at the new perspective that I got a bit distracted. After killing General Vezax I realized that all the time I had been raiding carrying my fishing hat - through the trash and during the two tries we needed to down him.

/blush. I fail.

Furthermore, I did get hurt a couple of times in shadowcrashes and I died once in a green beam at Yogg, which isn’t exactly something I’m proud of.

There is definitely still room for improvement of my performance. But for the first time for a very long time I feel certain that my learning curve hasn’t stopped yet. I’m full of hope, totally motivated to work towards new, higher goals.

I tell you: I’ve never ever before been as happy in the game. I'm Gene Kelly, in the disguise of a pink pigtailed gnome, dancing through the streets of Dalaran.



Rhii said...

Congratulations, Larisa! I remember how it felt when I finally upgraded my pc and logged in for the first time. It was like playing a totally different game. I had no idea that my blood elf's ears moved independently of her body. I didn't really know what her dance looked like, I had NEVER moved through Undercity at a normal speed before without hiccuping and freezing.

It's a good feeling!

Grimmtooth said...


True story: after all your problems and the high core temps you experienced, I went out and bought a new heat sink for my CPU to replace the ugly one I had. Got it on, and OMG I had blazing hot CPU cores!!!

Turned out the heat sink wasn't sitting flat, and getting that lined up sorted it all out. Meanwhile, I was thinking of your heat issues and how ironic it was that I had just caused one of my own!

Just thought you'd find that amusing :)

B_Dragon said...

Glad to hear that your PC problem has been solved. Welcome back to the World of Warcraft!


Gevlon said...

$40 for putting some heat conduct paste below the fan? They are true goblins! But it seems it was money well spent, as you enjoy the upgrade a lot.

Hey! Fishing equipment during bossfight is MY heartbraking failing story, find another :-)

Shy said...

My computer wasn't exactly broken, but it was sooo far behind on the specs that by the time I upgraded it deed indeed feel as a new world of warcraft.

Glad you got it worked out ^_^

Flawlless said...

maybe I'll try that too.. I've already re-pasted my gpu-cooler, maybe I'll do the cpu tonight..

Anonymous said...

Hurrah, I'm so glad!

My poor computer is old and flagging to - truthfully I think I have no idea what WoW actually looks like. But I'll take your word that it's magnificient :)

krizzlybear said...

Amazing how an increase in FPS can change the experience so drastically. I am greatly considering upgrading my ridiculously obsolete computer into something more feasible...

Anonymous said...

I totally know how it's like, i been raiding over 1 year on my old pc and it had been always bad - never ever over 10fps, Now i raiding on my new laptop and its never ever lower den 35 ^^ its like hell and heaven... totally new game. And much more enjoyable

Larísa said...

@Rhii: it certainly is a good feeling. I haven't looked closely at all details yet, so there's probably more things to discover. I've never EVER thought about the blood elf ears. It's probably about time!

@Grimmtooth: it seems epidemic!
Good to hear that my post reminded you to check your own computer! I appreciated all of your advice very much.

@B. Dragon: thank you!

@Gevlon: I don't think they charged for the actual repair thing, but rather for troubleshooting. And they're way cheaper than their competitors in town. So pretty lousy goblins. Didn't look as if they made much money at all, but ofc, they can just be careful with their expenses (thinking about your post about how it looks like at your place.)

Ouch, I forgot completely that you've got copyright on that I-suck-story :)

I'll surely soon enough get more stuff to share thouugh. Failures are incoming at a steady pace. Just wait and watch!

@Shy: thanks! I don't know how long the feeling of novelty will last - eventually I'll probably take it for granted, but not for a while yet.

@Flawlless: yeah it seems to be a good thing to check, considering that Grimmtooth found out that he had a similar problem... Especially now during the summer with rising temperatures...

@Inmysissyrobe: oh yes it is quite different. I think I had higher settings long time ago, before I started raiding. But for well over a year everything has been at a minimum. Which takes a way some of the experience.

@Krizzlybear: I hope you can do it. The difference IS amazong.

@Salandor: oh, then you know. Hell and heaven indeed. I seriously can't understand how I could cope with it as long as I did, without just turning my back to the whole thing of raiding.

Dw-redux said...

Gene kelly.... Ahhh well that sure made for an interesting image.

(hmm now i have to go home and see singing in the rain again)

What?? that was totally on topic :D

Ysharros said...

Great news :D Enjoy the yumminess of better FPS -- we just got new computers at home, so I know exactly what you're talking about!

Firespirit said...

Ohh Larisa, how I envy you. I have a state of the art, decked out gaming rig, which not 6 weeks ago I was playing on. In the heat of WG, I never dipped below 50 FPS. The game was stunning, even in old world.

Alas, my living situations have changed, and I am now playing on a laptop. Because of space restraints, I don't know when, or if, I can get my rig back up and running :(

Dalaran at sub-10 FPS is not fun. I havent tried to go into ulduar yet, but I hope it at least maintains 15 fps there.

Ron said...

I'm in a similar situation. I've always had pretty old/sub-optimal computer graphics hardware. Always on the trailing edge, barely having the game playable. That will hopefully change soon as I'm building gaming machines for the fiance and I.

I'm hoping that the increased FPS will also help the fiance take more of an interest in the game. =)

Fish said...

LOL there have been tons of times I have been ready to quit wow, only to have frame-rate save the day. When I first got the game, I THOUGHT I had a gig of ram, I only had 512mb. Increasing to 2gb sure did help with my enjoyment of the game. Recently I upgraded from onboard video (which was giving me about 20 FPS with semi low settings) to an NVIDIA card which gives me in the 50's and it's like night and day. Now if only there was some hardware upgrade that would prevent ganking. . .

Azryu said...

Oh yes, the first thing you should turn up is spell detail.

It's like a whole new game when its on high.

You go from.. blah... to


Ah yes, that was indeed a quote.
Straight from the combat log.

Fitz said...

As one of the many people who doesn't display a helm because I like to see my character, I've been prone a couple of times to the LOL-nice-fishing-hat routine in an instance. Embarrassing, but it happens.

I play mainly on a newer desktop, so I see everything in middle-range graphical capacity and have no problems. The game is beautiful, and you don't need maximum settings to see it all thankfully.

Christina said...


I'm sooo glad to hear you being chipper about the game again. Grats and fingers crossed that raiding will be a whole new game soon. :)

Larísa said...

@Dw-redux: yeah, that song got stuck in my head. Glad you understood the referal, i wasn't sure if anyone would.

@Ysharros: thanks, be assured I do!

@Firesprit: awww :( It must be horrible to go the opposite way. I've had it like this for 2.5 years. Now seeing how it can be I couldn't imagine going back.

@Ron: oh, that sounds just great! I think that the graphics and fps thing shouldn't be underestimated when it comes to how fun the game is.

@Fish: hm... can't help you on that one... Change to a PvE server? :)

@Azryu: it looks different indeed. Was raiding last night again in Ulduar. Suddenly FL was an entirely different fight. He used to appear out of a fog for me. Not quite so now... Oh I just wish it wasn't summertime. My own vacation and general slowing down in game will probably mean less 25 man raiding now for a few weeks. Just as I'm starting to see the raids as they're supposed to be seen!

@Fitz: the helms are just aweful and they hide my beautiful pigtails. I just cant make myself display them in order to prevent accidents. But probably it would be the wisest thing to do.

@Christina: it definitely is different. I can't claim I'm doing things perfectly well - Hodir is still quite a bit of a challenge to me, with the tons of movement. But still - it felt like a HUGE improvement last night.

SolidState said...

Gz Larisa on the new gaming experience, I hope you enjoy every minute of it. Not just raiding btw looks good with high graphical settings, try out fishing - the water looks great :)

"The reception from the community blew me off completely."

It's "blew me away", not "blew me off", that's exactly the opposite meaning.

That reminds me of that movie "Demolition Man" where Stalone's character has to keep correcting Sandra Bullock's character as she keeps mis-saying popular 20th-century sayings. The best one was as they are entering the sewers she says "let's go blow him", Stallone looks at her: "blow him *away*!!" :D

Larísa said...

@Soldistate: thank you for the remark! I won't correct it though at this point. Blogroll feeds don't always work as I want to. Sometimes if I correct something in an old post, the post will jump up in the blogrolls of other blogs as if it was "new". Which it isn't. This bugs me a bit. I guess it's the backside of being a chepskate, sticking to the free Blogger tool rather than going selfhosting.

Zupa said...

Yay for you!

It really is a beautiful game when you have the graphics turned up!

Your post reminded me of the feeling I got when I upgraded my video card a long time ago. I used to get about 4fps in MC, with everything at low settings. I felt just like you described when that went up to a more reasonable 35fps!

I could never go back, without everything looking bright and crisp and beautiful it just wouldn't be the same game anymore.