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Lag is the delay of data transmission between two digital devices. While considered a glitch by many, lag is not exactly the same. Lag may be caused by a glitch or person. It typically has to do with the server space and a player's own computer. The amount of lag depends on several factors, such as server load, internet connection, and computer specifications.

Lag always exists, from undetectable to complete connection loss which is unreliable. Lag is not fixable by Jagex. Lag is a very common cause of death, so one should NOT partake in dangerous activities while suffering from lag, like playing Barrows, player killing, boss hunting or fighting any powerful monsters.


A typical example of lag

Computer lagEdit

Unstable Foundations Lag 1

A player with computer lag during the tutorial

Computer lag is the most common type of lag, often caused by insufficient RAM (Random Access Memory), CPU (Central Processing Unit) power or GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) power. You know you have this type of lag when the game redraws at a very slow rate, causing the animation to be bumpy. Computer lag is more common when a lot of people are standing in an area, forcing the computer to spend more time redrawing.

Windows users may determine what aspect of your hardware is causing the problem (be it CPU, RAM or GPU) by opening the task manager on Windows and switching to the Performance tab. If you are running a single-core CPU, or if your CPU usage is frequently approaching 100%, your CPU may be at fault; if your Physical Memory usage is often above 80%, you should consider upgrading your RAM (the operating system uses this memory sparingly if it is insufficient, and therefore it is rare that more than 90% will be used at a time); if neither of these hardware aspects appear to be problematic, it is likely that your graphics card is at fault.

Windows Vista is often blamed for being the cause of lag on PCs, but since Runescape makes limited disk accesses and has no interactions with the registry or UAC while running, it is unlikely that there would be any truth to such claims by anyone other than those who installed vista on an XP-specced machine. It may be worth noting that Windows XP requires lower resources and runs faster than Windows Vista on almost all hardware.

Windows 7, Microsoft's follow-up to Vista, is a faster operating system in general and has received much praise as a result. That being said, it uses essentially the same system to render its interface and thus is equivalent to Windows Vista in how it runs RuneScape. Users with older hardware and/or lower amounts of memory are still not recommended to move away from Windows XP.

If using a Macintosh (Intel only) above OSX 10.3, try to be sure that the Dashboard isn't running, Activity Monitor is running in the dock and the desktop is relatively clean. This will free up CPU. Also close out unnecessary windows and don't use Spaces or Exposé. Furthermore, some of the most pertinent issues surrounding Runescape on Mac would pertain to use of Safari, especially more recent versions with multiple browser windows open. Mac users would greatly benefit from switching to Firefox or Chrome (which will also earn the player a set of Chrome goggles), or even just playing with the Game Client.

Another common cause of lag is an outdated system of Java. RuneScape is a java-based game, so you should always have the latest version installed on your computer.

You might need more RAM or a newer computer. As Runescape gets updated more and more, running the game will use up more resources (especially if it's a graphics update). Older computers may not be able to meet the increased performance the game demands.

For this reason, try to avoid playing Runescape from public libraries. The computers tend to be old and outdated with inferior software. In addition, users on other computers can take away resources and memory from your computer.

Internet lagEdit

Internet lag is another very common type of lag. It is caused by your internet connection, your Internet Service Provider or bandwidth limitations in the connection to the Runescape server in question. Information is sent from RuneScape to your computer in packages; if these packages become "lost" or corrupted on the way, it may take the RuneScape server a while to realise this and then attempt to correct the error. This form of lag is usually neither your fault nor Jagex's fault and is typically unavoidable.

If an exception is thrown when attempting client-server communication, the "Connection lost. Please wait - attempting to reestablish..." message appears in the top-left corner. Then the client attempts to reconnect to the server, which may fail. This may happen if the connection suddenly ends, such as by unplugging the Ethernet cable.

Otherwise, no network error is detected and the client continues to attempt communication with the server until time-out. Everything on the screen will freeze, while it is still possible to manipulate already-existing data such as rotating the camera, scrolling through the chat box, or right-clicking items or objects. If connection is not achieved by a certain time limit (five to twenty seconds), the game will automatically log out. In extreme cases, if the amount of data allowed between client and server is very limited, data from the server to client is sent first. This includes movement of NPCs and other players, damage, etc. In this case, the player experiencing lag will be unable to move, talk, eat, or provide any input to the server. If the player is in combat at this time, he or she will not be able to retaliate, even if Auto-retaliate is on. The time-out is irrelevant in this instance, and the player will automatically log out in five minutes (more if in combat). It is not uncommon to watch your character slowly getting killed while unable to retaliate, eat food, run, teleport, or log out.

If your character has just died and has lost items (therefore getting a gravestone), the countdown timer to the gravestone collapsing still runs during lag (for example, if the timer is at 3 minutes, and your character cannot move due to lag, after 10 seconds when you recover you may find that the timer has now reached 2:50). The game treats it as if there is no lag and you are just standing still. This also applies when a server update is due. The countdown will continue regardless of your lag.

There is a way to test for lag. Simply type "Lag" into the chatbox. It will appear when you stop lagging (if at all). If it appears immediately, you may be trying to walk past an obstacle that cannot be walked through or around automatically. This is often mistaken for lag. Another way which is more detailed is by pressing [`] (above the tab button and the same key as [~] on most QWERTY keyboards) to open developer console . Type " displayfps " in the console and the statistics will come out on the top right corner of the screen. If your fps is below 20 or with a high ping (e.g. 500 m/s) it means you are lagging and will be in red.

Server lagEdit

Lag at the server is common. This happens when the server itself cannot handle the simultaneous requests of all its clients and processes. This is the only lag that is caused by Jagex. It cannot be easily reproduced, and attempting to create this type of lag is reportable under Bug abuse.

Notable Examples Edit

One of the most famous glitches in RuneScape's history was the Falador Massacre. After engaging in combat in the Player-Owned house of the first player to hit 99 Construction, the lag was so heavy that the house owner booted all the players out as the server rebooted, after which those players could attack anyone in RuneScape. Attacked players could not retaliate if they had not been booted from the house. This was the result of intense lag.

Game crashesEdit

When the game crashes because of lag, this is displayed:

An error occurred

Error_game_crash - A problem has occurred while running the game.

This game has encountered a problem and cannot continue running.

We strive for our games to work on as many computers as possible and to be free of bugs.

If you are able to reproduce this problem (i.e. it always occurs when you do a certain thing), then please submit a bug report via our website, and we will try to fix it as soon as possible.

If problems persist, please refer to the Technical FAQs, which can be found in the Customer Support section of our website.

What to do when laggingEdit

  • Turn anti-aliasing to none in the Graphics options screen. Anti-aliasing is one of the most memory-hungry graphics settings. Also turning off bloom and lowering the resolution helps cut lag significantly 
  • Avoid using laptops to play this game. Desktop PCs have better cooling and are built for more tasks than laptops. If you are using a laptop, try plugging it into the charger. Some laptops have energy settings that swap performance for longevity while working on battery power.
  • Download the Game Client from the Downloads and Wallpapers section (be warned; this may have a tendency to be a little bit more memory hungry)
  • Close any memory and/or CPU intensive programs you have running (including web browsers showing animations like Flash). With a Windows system find them with the Task Manager, with a Linux system, find them with the System Monitor application of your choice or use "ps" from the command line.
  • Pause or stop any downloads you have in progress.
  • When logged out, reload the page or wait.
  • Try switching to a world with a lower ping value and/or less people.
  • Choose lower detail options to reduce the memory used by the game.
  • Restart your internet connection.
  • If using a Windows operating system, set the priority of the Java application, and the web browser you are using higher via the Task Manager. Don't exaggerate, though, as this can destabilize your system, thus adding more lag to the game. Likewise, if using Mac, never set the button in the Java Preferences pane to "Run in it's own processes" as this will create unnecessary lag, and use Force Quit from the Apple menu. Only quit processes from Activity Monitor if it's a serious crash.
  • Perform virus/spyware/malware scans to get rid of viruses from your computer that can hinder your computers performance. This is best done when not playing the game since virus scanning uses a significant amount of memory. Likewise, make sure your antivirus doesn't perform too many background tasks while Runescape is running.
  • Restart your computer. Often if a Windows computer is left on for an extended period of time (e.g. over night), it could be significantly slower, this is unlikely to be the case with Mac or Linux computers.
  • If publishing a video on any video editing software (e.g. Windows Movie Maker), you should publish after playing.
  • Try to play on a world that has LootShare disabled by default.
  • Set CPU usage to "Maximum" under the Graphics options.
  • Cool down your computer - A computer that is overheated can often slow down performance of video cards and other internal components, and will ultimately shut down if the temperature gets too high.
  • If you are connected to another computer via cable or wireless (transmitter), pull out the cable or wireless transmitter, and let it cool down. Then insert it back.
  • Change Java settings so that it's running at a higher rate.
  • Delete Jagex cache.
  • Clean your system's registry, when uninstalling programs from the Windows' Control Panel, this will leave useless entries into your windows registry.
  • Uninstall unneeded programs that are actually running (an icon in the Windows System Tray is in indication of this), when programs working in the background while Runescape is running, they can cause lag because they use RAM, CPU and HDD space.
  • Update your Graphic drivers, newer Graphic drivers can sometimes increase performance due to bugs/glitches being fixed.
  • If you are using Mac OS X, try using boot camp to run Windows, as Runescape usually runs faster on Windows.

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