By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW)
Living in the heart of Santa Monica, a central gaming hub across the street from Riot Games and still on the right side of the US coastline for most MMORPG developers, I’ve seldom suffered ping issues in gaming. Running on an Alienware 17x labtop, graphic lag is non-existent in the F2P realm and, barring the occasional (read: often) drops in service from Time Warner, I’m typically top of the class when it comes to the more reaction based MMO and MOBA games I’ve gotten serious with like Perfect World International, Guild Wars, and League of Legends.
Little did I know that it might be my superior connection all along that might have been giving me the unfair advantage until I joined OnRPG and become more in-tune with the European gaming community. Plenty of gamers in the EU suffer from the fate of having to jump the Atlantic to get access to some of the higher quality PC titles on the market. Just looking at how long it took games like Vindictus to make the jump gives you an idea of why so many are fine with suffering the high ping and terrible responsiveness of some of these long range server connections.
Recently though I’ve heard buzz of new proxy server network programs promising an end to this for most gamers. The most common name that crossed my inbox was WTFast. And while with a little bit of research, it’s easy to find public proxy systems that can get a similar result as this program, it’s time consuming finding them and you often have to renew them with new proxies as they tend to be unreliable and short-term. Plus the fact that they are public means it’s not unlikely that you’re going to be sharing them on top of it. Bleh.
So I decided I would give WTFast a shot with Final Fantasy XIV. Anyone following this game knows the launch has been a nightmare in the west with servers full round the clock and character creation not even being open on many of them. Meanwhile if you’re playing at any decent hour, the Japanese servers were wide open, not IP blocked, and had enough of an English speaking population if you picked the right ones to still enjoy the community of the game.
The issue? Well the further into the game I went, the less forgiving the monsters became and the more important the reaction speed of the player was. Yet even though I was dodging out of the tell radius of my foes, I was still taking near fatal damage on a regular basis due to the client-side servers not registering my movements fast enough. Add to this the stress of playing a Conjurer and having my entire team reliant on my reaction speed to stay alive? Yea I was getting frustrated.
So I installed WTFast and tried to rush straight into game. Save yourself the immediate frustration and look at the options first. You can control which server you are pinging to. Unfortunately I found only minor improvements in my gameplay in this attempt. I would still suffer the same attack hit registration but one noticeable improvement was the steadiness of the gameplay. Rarely while running WTFast would I freeze up or have instances of no service that would block key moments when I needed to jump rocks or gaps to take shortcuts through various areas. Unfortunately getting accurate metrics in FFXIV is pretty tough overall so I decided to give the program another shot.
After doing some research it became clear that WTFast seems to focus on key titles in the industry and improve their service to them over time. As such I figured I’d give them a second chance with SMITE, a MOBA that’s been stealing my entire League time in recent months but is unfortunately based in Atlanta. Being almost fully skill-shot based, any ping can hurt a heaping helping here.
Sure enough after tweaking a couple server choices, I found the sweet spot and dropped by ping from 130 down to the 75 range. And while that might not be too noticeable to the naked eye, a competitive gamer like myself appreciates any minuscule advantage I can snag. The program itself was hardly a drain on my PCs resources and, other than the subscription fee, doesn’t come with much of a downside.
In closing would I recommend WTFast to anyone? No. But if you’re seeing around 150 ping or higher, care about your performance, and are willing to experiment a bit to find the ideal settings for your connection, it delivers on its promises. Their forum offers pretty active responses to any technical support you might need, a refreshing change of pace in this industry. And while it sounds cliché at this point, they do offer a 30-day free trial so I’d certainly give it a shot, rather than resigning myself to a horrible connection and awful response times on my favorite game.