Performance Tweaks: Reduce Lag & Latency in Diablo 3

Please have a look at the most Updated Guide here.

The tweaks in this guide can be applied to many current games. The graphics settings, for example, work with ANY game. The general tweaks work with most Windows systems and games. However, the focus of this article is on Diablo 3.

The Diablo 3 experience has been a mixed bag. Some have had a rocking good time. Others have had a miserable time plagued with errors and poor performance. And for good reason… many gamers have complained of 3 types of Lag – Input, Video and Connection.

You may have already read our first guide. This is Part II. It has been updated with new information and features more images that will allow for easier reference and tweaking. A picture is worth a thousand words, aye?

The 3 main types of Lag can be broken down into:

1. Video Lag – Often Video-card related and possibly even CPU. The game might stutter or freeze often, causing your hero to die at the most inopportune times. This gets worse when you complete Normal mode and go on to Nightmare, Hell and Inferno as the number of foul creatures grows exponentially and more “effects” get thrown around the screen.

2. Input Lag – Some players experience a “delay” or “lag” in their input to the game. Every action seems to take a split second longer to register in-game than it should. If you have input lag, trust me – you’ll know it! It’s like having gum stuck under your shoe.

3. Connection Lag – Often also referred to as a “High ping” or Latency. Lag spikes cause your hero to become unresponsive at times and to “rubber-band” around the screen with packs of demons on his tail. At times, your hero continues to respond to movement clicks but he’s not able to hit any mobs. The Left-mouse button goes silent.

Reduce Video Lag

Here, we will attempt to tackle Video Lag. Remember that you can keep track of your FPS in Diablo 3 by hitting “Control-R”

Update your Video Drivers
Not too much needs to be said about this. Always stay current where possible.
Nvidia users: Download Official Nvidia Drivers
ATI users: Download Official ATI Drivers

If you’re adventurous and use a Nvidia based card, you can try the Nvidia Beta 301.24 drivers.
This was recommended by user Zakarumite on the DiabloFans forums. He feels they have worked best for him. So if you like to try stuff, go for it! If not, stick to the official drivers.

Nvidia Control Panel Settings
We had to split the settings into 2 images. Refer to both and set your options accordingly.
For the purpose of maximizing Performance, we sacrificed Visual Quality. As we said before and will prove again, Diablo 3 doesn’t benefit that much from High Quality settings anyway.

Nvidia driver settings 1

Nvidia driver settings 2

ATI Card Owners
I’m afraid we don’t have an ATI-powered graphics card in any of the PCs on hand so we’ll have to leave the graphics driver settings to you. However, they should be relatively similar.

Diablo 3 Video Options
Go for the absolute minimum settings if you’re having FPS problems. From here, you can gradually tweak each setting higher and monitor its effect on your overall FPS.

Diablo 3 video options

Diablo 3 Preferences
These settings have reportedly helped some users reduce Game Performance issues. We added the reduction to the “ChannelsToUse” setting as the number of sound channels in a game can often negatively impact performance.

Head over to this location:
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Documents\Diablo III

Open up D3Prefs.txt in a text editor and modify the following highlighted options to match the image.

Diablo 3 preferences file

Results & Visual Comparison of Min/Max Settings

If you look closely at the FPS monitor in the 2 images below, you will see that the difference in FPS between Min and Max settings is a staggering 183 FPS. That’s greater than a 100% increase. However, this 100% increase may not be a realistic benchmark for every PC. Nonetheless, give the tweaks a shot and find out what they can do for your game. Now, let’s move on to Graphics Quality.

The below FPS tests were performed on our test system equipped with Nvidia SLI. What we want to pay attention to are not the absolute FPS numbers, but rather, the improvement in Video Performance after the Tweaks. The tweaks allowed a 100% improvement in FPS measured over a few screenshots. We posted only the averages.

Before Tweaking
Diablo 3 Max Settings

After Tweaking
Diablo 3 Tweaked Settings

Fix Input Lag

The following settings normally help with reducing input lag. They can normally be found in the Graphics Driver settings. (These have been covered above with the Nvidia Control Panel)
But if you have an ATI-based graphics card, you may want to look into checking these to ensure they’re disabled.
Disable Vertical Sync
Disable Triple Buffering

However, if you have a persistent issue that refuses to go away, it is worth trying the opposite for one of the settings:
Enable Triple Buffering

Improve on your Latency in Diablo 3

The following are LIKELY signs that the Latency you’re experiencing originates at Server-side:
1. Your ping is consistent. (even if it seems to be 100ms higher than in other games)
2. You only experience the occasional spikes in latencies.
3. When you do experience significant connection lag, everyone else has the same problem at that time.
4. When you experience lag during play, the Auction House too feels sluggish or non-responsive and the same can be said for the Diablo 3 Official forums
5. You only have issues at Peak hours and Weekends. It’s fine the rest of the time.

These MIGHT indicate that you have Client-side lag on top of the usual Server-side problems:
1. Your pings vary by a significant amount consistently during a single play session. IE. They are not stable.
2. You have a high latency most of the time – regardless of Peak or Non-peak hours (or Weekends).
3. Your pings very widely from day to day.
4. When you experience connection lag, your friends report that everything seems fine.
5. Your pings rise during Your ISP’s peak hours, rather than Blizzard’s servers. (if you live in a different timezone)

You cannot do much about Lag that originates at Blizzard’s end. You might, however, be able to do something about Client-side lag.
Fixing connection lag is far more complicated than any of the other types of lag mentioned above though.

Let’s cover what you CAN do:

1. Ensure you are not running P2P software in the background. No torrents please! Non-P2P downloads and uploads included.
2. Power-cycle your modem/router occasionally and see if that helps.
3. Uninstall Pando Media Booster if you have that installed. (a few games install that)
4. Avoid playing D3 on Wireless! Go LAN cable.
5. Use a Proxy or VPN service if you suspect your game traffic is taking a bad route to the server. Check out our video below for more on this.

What causes Connection Lag or Latency in Diablo 3?

1. High loads on the D3 servers. Immature server code. You can’t do anything about these. They will not be permanent and should eventually fade as the game matures.
2. Your ISP providing poor routing to the D3 servers, causing your game data to take an inefficient or congested route with high latency or ping. A moving picture is worth a thousand words, so check out our video below which illustrates this!

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What are the benefits of improving my connection to the Diablo 3 servers?

1. Reduce your connection lag. The game should ideally feel more responsive and consistent. There should not be a delay between your click and its resulting action. (Do not confuse with Input lag)
2. Lower Ping numbers seen in-game. Have a latency meter that shows a healthy Green more often than a sickly Yellow/Red.
3. Eliminate or reduce Lag Spikes. Remember those times you click your mouse buttons and nothing happens? You should see these far less often.
4. As a result of all the above, you should have an increased performance in game, allowing your hero to be more effective and reach his true potential.

You would have to use a Proxy or VPN service to modify the route your Diablo 3 traffic takes. You want to be able to route your game traffic over a path that is not heavily congested and has a lower latency or ping. Our software does this for a small fee and provides a whole host of benefits that you can check out below.

For more information, check out this page here:
Benefits of a Lower Ping

For a detailed understanding of how things work, check out this link:
FAQ on How we Reduce Lag

Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions