Diagnosing Lag in RuneScape
What is lag?
Lag is a delay between your actions and the reaction of the world or your character in-game. It may also cause 'rubber-banding' where your character doesn't appear to move or attack as you input commands, but suddenly catches up a second or two later, with a lot of actions or movement appearing in a short time.
Lag indicates a problem with the connection between your systems and our servers which results in a high ping (how many milliseconds it takes for data to get from your computer to our servers and back). It's usually caused by issues with your DNS (which can be cleared on Windows and Mac) or an issue with your Internet Service Provider, but in some rare circumstances may be caused by an issue with our game servers.
Lag or frame-rate issues?
We often see players who are confused between if they're experiencing connection problems (in the form of lag) or graphics problems (usually low frame rates), but there are ways to tell these apart!
A good place to start is the audio in-game. The audio for RuneScape is streamed, if your audio is stopping and starting, this is very likely caused by lag. This is usually most noticeable if your in-game music is stuttering or audio seeming out of sync during a cut scene.
With lag, you'll also have either a consistently high connection speed or lag spikes. They will both have the symptoms above, however with lag spikes you may have no issues for a while, with sudden issues appearing at random. Lag spikes will also not show up in trace routes (unless done at the time of the spike).
To further check your connection speed, you can use these tools;
- In-game, using the Developer Console
- Out of game, using with these trace route instructions, for Mac and Windows
If you see a link between the delayed movement / stuttering and how much is moving on your screen - for example, it always gets worse during busy boss fights or at a GE full of people, it's more likely graphics related. Check out our guide to low FPS for more help!
Both high connection speed and lag spikes can be helped by switching to a server closer to you, with a lower ping shown in the lobby, where there's less distance for issues to occur.
We have also written lots of information about common connection issues (and their fixes) - which are collected here and can help you out!
Having problems with these steps?