GW2 WvW FPS Issues

I want to talk about my week-long efforts to figure out what is going on with my computer and Guild Wars 2.  To give you a very quick summary, I’m having weird FPS issues and lots of instability with my hardware and the game. I spent the entire week changing settings, monitoring performance, changing drivers, pouring over forums, and trying to figure out what is causing my issues.

I can get around 50-60 FPS in the PvE world, and the game is actually quite smooth.  In fact, I have no complaints about the PvE zones except for some random overheating and frame drops in places like Lion’s Arch or random zones.  Generally speaking, I would say PvE is flawless.

However, in WvW zones when there is any sort of battle going on my FPS will drop to 5-15 depending on the fight.  It becomes unplayable, a slide show, and I get motion sickness.

Here are my system specs:

CPU: Intel® Core™ i7 930 Processor (4x 2.80GHz/8MB L3 Cache)
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 – 1GB – EVGA Superclocked
Memory: 6gb DDR3-1800
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R

Drivers: I have tried the 306.02 beta drivers, and the current stable release drivers.  No difference.

I can set my settings as low as they will go or to ultra and I see ZERO difference in my FPS.  This is what has me confused the most.  Why am I not seeing any performance change between the two highest and lowest settings?  I’m also concerned about the fact that my GPU is being underutilized.  In massive fights it will only be 40% used, and sometimes my core clock and shader clock will throttle.   My CPU is only being 50-60% utilized.  I see no reason for me to have any game-breaking lag at all.

Any help you can provide is appreciated.  I added a video showing the issue happening after the jump. 

  • My system is very similar to yours Keen. I do not use the beta drivers for my GeForce GTX 550 Ti. Since I switched to an Intel solid state drive a few months back, I get almost no lag in games like GW2 & LOTRO.

  • The word bios gives me goosebumps. I’m terrified of busting something when using it.

    Anyone else think adjusting the Bios to turn off hyper threading will help?

  • Playing with the bios can give you tons of advantage. I play on your server Keen, hit me up in game. Tzak.9714

  • If I knew how to OC I would OC my 930 from 2.8 up to 3.5 at least. I just have no idea how.

    Still, should I be getting this performance? Despite the fact that my GPU load and CPU load are low, should I be getting 15 FPS or lower in WvW? Someone could say “yes, thats what you’re supposed to get” and normally I would be okay with that, but people with worse setups are getting better performance.

  • Hmmmwell, I got a new rig recently so I’m no indication for much, other than that your specs dont sound so horrible to me that they would cause these weird issues. however, what I can confirm is that a bios update makes a lot of difference. when we set up the new PC including an SSD, it was first slow(er); only after the bios update did it become what it is now (and I am playing everything in GW2 fullres, incl. WvW). so maybe you do wanna look into that.

  • I had the same issues using an i7 2600 and GTX580. I isolated the issue to my slow 2TB hard drive. I added an OCZ Vertex 4 SSD drive as a second drive to my system and moved GW2 to this drive. Since then no issues at all with framerate in WvW. It may not fix your problem but it did fix my problem. I can only guess during WvW the game needs to load a ton of art assets for all the graphical effects.

  • Keen, we have very similar computers and I experience the same issues you do. Most of my friends have suggested that my CPU is the bottle neck in the equation. Since lowering the graphics does nothing to help speed it up, that’s the most likely sign of my processor not being up to snuff with the amount of computations happening. I’m 100x more a software guy than a hardware guy, so I’m taking their word for it. I’ll have an upgraded CPU in a week with the same video card (460) If I notice any improvement I’ll let you know

  • @Mangus: Please do come back and let me know. I really want to get this solved.

    @Syl: I updated my bios a year ago. I don’t think there are any other updates out there, and they say not to update your bios unless you absolutely need to in order to solve a problem. GW2 being the only game giving me issues, and only in WvW, doesn’t seem imperative enough to update my bios.

    @Mekhios: My HD is 1 TB — 64M Cache, 7200 RPM, 6.0Gb/s. Seems odd that this would cause FPS issues. My load times are a little high.

  • try going to your bios and overclocking and see if that helps. i mentioned in game, but if you crank the video settings, and no change to fps is experienced, then it is most likely a cpu issue not feeding your gpu fast/efficient enough.

    when i overclock my i5 2500k, i see a good 20-30 fps difference.

  • My guess is the hard drive.

    I’ve noticed my solid state drive (SSD) helps a lot in crowded areas of online games (towns, etc) where there is lots of loading. Plus Windows, applications, and games startup/load faster when installed on an SSD.

    I use a 128GB SSD for Windows, apps, and games I am currently playing, and a 2TB standard drive for storage. Would recommend doing something similar.

  • @Veldron: You say “go to your bios and overclock” but I have no idea how. Is it as simple as going in and pressing a button?

  • I would avoid over locking if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can damage your hardware. The hyper threading turn off in bios would be easy though, just look for it and turn it off. Don’t touch any other setting and you’ll be fine. If that doesn’t do it for you I would suggest a solid state drive as the next step. If your CPU usage was ay 90% – 100% then a CPU upgrade would probably be needed but the way it’s behaving now points to a bug in the client which is why my first guess is saying turn off hyper threading

  • At what resolution are you playing ?

    You are 2 gen behind in graphic cards, 460 GTX came around when everyone had 22″ at 1680×1050.

    If you got a 1920×1080 display now, at least get a card good for that.
    You could get a really cheap 560ti for a nice bump. If you want to spend a bit
    without going high end, aim for a new gen 670 or 660ti.

    That will do it.

  • I had exactly the same issue – fantastic, smooth gameplay in PVE but a lot of the time in WVW I would get a “slideshow” effect, the lag was so bad. I don’t know specifically what I did to fix it, but all I did was two things – disable my antivirus program and shut down any nonessential programs – I beleive it was the antivirus. Since I did that (I don’t keep it shut down all the time of course) I am seeing smooth play even in mega WVW keep battles. I basically went through the process list in task manager and tried to shut down anything that was nonessential to the game.

    Personally I would recommend not to do any hardware upgrades until you try everything you can think of – I think people are a little upgrade happy sometimes, in these situations – if you’ve got reasonable hardware, no reason you shouldn’t be able to play the game.

  • I see no obvious degradation other then the FPS meter dropping. To me it looks the same when it said 14 fps as it did at 30 fps. It looks to me like the issue is with the meter itself. I mean have you not watched the meter and noticed the difference in gameplay? Now Ilum in SWTOR was umplayable.

  • a post on the forums said to go into flash and toggle OFF hardware acceleration, it seems to help your problem. who knows tho, the game is new, alot problems come with new games

  • @Zederok: Yeah, the video hides it. You have to “feel” the difference. It’s definitely a difference when playing at 15fps vs. 60. Feels similar to Ilum to me.

    @Vundal: I’m going to try that next.

    @Anakh: I can’t find any processes that shouldn’t be running or that I don’t want running, and I tried disabling anti-virus with no difference.

  • Its is definitely your CPU. In beta I had almost the same set up as you but I have a GTX 470, upgraded to a i5 3570k and now get around 40fps in WvW compared to 15fps before.

  • I dunno I went into some big pvp fights in WvW to look at my fps after watching your video and I want to say that meter is not correct. I’m on a i5 2500, 8gigs ram, SSD, and a gtx 660 ti 3gb and I sit at like around 100 fps in normal world with everything maxed on 1920×1080. When I go into WvW in big fights the lowest I see is 20fps on the in game number but my gameplay is never changed. So for one I think the number is wrong. Two I would say your video card is holding you back. Even though all the numbers are saying otherwise. Spec wise that is the only thing that looks like it could be the culprit.

  • Something else you could try is running at a lower res, say 1400×900. Then watch your CPU percentage/performance.

    Also keep an eye on your CPU temps. I ran into an issue with SMITE where my CPU got warm (it’s crazy overclocked) and it starts to shutter to cool it down. My CPU utilization wasn’t pegged so I never thought about the temps. This probably isn’t it as your not overclocked and that would mean a cooling issue, but it’s one more thing to cross off the list.

  • I see the same issue also.
    Along with other guild mates of mine, we think its a server side issue. Way to many people are having the same issue for it to be a issue on our end.
    I have a topped out MSI laptop that runs TSW on ultra high graphic setting with no issue.
    It has issues with high demand graphics in GW2.

    If it was not server side then turning down graphic setting should solve the problem.

    Not to mention the fact that the “suggested” graphic driver is still in beta.

    I am not worried, I am sure it will be cleaned up with in a month or 2.

  • Suggest you download the free version of Driver Fusion: Before running it uninstall all Nvidia drivers using control panel or ccleaner. Then run driver fusion to remove all traces of old drivers. Finally load the recommended driver: Still the 306.02 beta, I think. Doing this fixed the problems for me and am now getting flawless performance in WvW at 55-60fps with maxed out settings on NVidia GTX680.

  • Disabling hyperthreading did not solve the issue. In fact, the FPS stayed the same but my CPU is now being used 90% instead of only around 70%. I have tried disabling antivirus; No change.

  • Looking up your motherboard, you have a couple options to overclock.

    Cloud OC…never used this before i’d probably skip for now.

    Hotkey OC…looks pretty good and it’ll let you set up different profiles…ie…one profile has the settings you want to use when running GW2. I’m not sure how good the walkthrough is for actually setting your voltages and multipliers, some of them do it automatically for you. Worth trying. It uses EasyTune6 which should be pretty easy to try.

    Alot of motherboard vendors come with their own overclocking tools within the bios itself. I have an asus board and can do it through their bios, but there is also a software launched tool that allows me to do it also.

  • This reminded me of a problem I encountered with WoW a long time ago. Basically after a patch, my framerate would drop to zero in the cities. It had absolutely nothing to do with the CPU or GPU but instead with my wireless router buffer cache because the game was downloading a high volume of small packets of data.

    To solve the problem in the short term I connected my computer back up via a LAN cable to my router. Long term, I stopped using the wireless capabilities of my ISP’s router and bought an Apple Express to handle wireless traffic. No more problems after that.

    I highly doubt you’re encountering the same thing but it’s always good to rule out all possibilities. So if you’re using a wireless connection, try using a LAN cable and see if it makes any difference.

  • Keen,

    I have your exact mobo, exact gpu and exact cpu.

    I have no fps issues at all (40+) but I do have the game installed on my OCZ Vertex 3 SSD. In WvW there are so many different graphics surrounding all of the different players that load times (disk response time) on a disk will severely hamper your FPS. You shouldn’t get low FPS as much as you should see “hitching” as your video card is most likely waiting on the assets to be loaded from your hard drive.

    Vanguard had this issue back in the day as the textures were massive and the view distance was huge.

    This usually leads to inconsistent frame rates as opposed to low averages.

  • @outbytuesday: Hmm. It’s pretty much a FPS issue i think. I don’t really notice the hitching as much as I do consistent low FPS during big fights in WvW. When not in a big fight, FPS is high.

    I’ll look into the cost of a SSD.

  • Well I can tell you it’s definitely not the GPU. I have a i7 930 and had a GTX 470. Same issues. I bought a 660ti and I got a decent framerate boost at higher settings in PvE. WvW is still dipping into the teens.

    CPU makes a difference. I was getting a few more FPS while overclocked but I ended up with stability issues so I went back to stock.

  • I have a good amount of technical know-how and have been building, testing, and repairing computers for a long time (I went through an A+ certification course a few years back, as well). I’d like to put to bed a few of the well intentioned but misguided suggestions being thrown out here. This will be a little lengthy but it may help you and others in the future.

    It’s not the hard drive. That would give you hitching, as you mention, and, while it’s possible you _could_ see a FPS drop from load speed, it’s extremely unlikely here. Most people don’t have SSDs and the game was almost certainly not designed to need one to function; therefore, we can safely assume it was programmed and tested functional on 7200RPM drives like yours. Furthermore, if your hard drive was struggling that much you would absolutely see it in PvE too. FPS related to HDD is due to loading. Aside from spell effects and character models, there isn’t a major difference between PvE and PvP in terms of your hard drive’s role. That said, an SSD is nice and one of the most noticeable upgrades you can get for a computer — just make sure you install GW2 on it.

    Your issue, without a doubt, falls into three areas: processor, GPU, or RAM. RAM can be thrown out; you have enough and it has gaming-level clock speed (for reference, average is 1333, yours is 1800). If it was your GPU, changing the settings would alter the width of your bottleneck, which you describe as not happening (FPS would go up substantially on lower settings). From that, we can isolate it to the CPU. Yours is fairly common; however, it’s getting older and the clock isn’t the best. CPU utilization is a programming issue and the percentage you’re seeing is normal; most games aren’t designed to take advantage of all four cores at the same level, so what’s it’s _not_ taking advantage of results in your low utilization numbers (generally, games will use one core more than the three others and two of them hardly at all). Barring outside interference from other programs running on your machine, it is almost certainly a combination of clock speed and optimization for your CPU. Optimization isn’t something you can work around but clock speed is.

    My suggestion is to grab one of the utilities mentioned in the above comments to help you overclock. A word of warning, however, don’t bump more than you need to. It can be tempting to push things as far as possible but it can result in an unstable computer. Your CPU should be able to do at least 3.5GHz easy and likely with a very small voltage bump, if any.

    About BIOS updates, and trust me on this, DON’T unless you absolutely have to (your computer becomes unstable with new hardware, for example, or a new feature is added — and only then if you really want it). If something goes wrong, like getting an incompatible firmware by mistake, interrupting from other software, or any number of other things, you can seriously mess up your computer. I have an ASRock and used a firmware update from my manufacturer, following all the guidelines, and it happened to have not been tested thoroughly. Long story short, they had to send me a whole new bios chip to be inserted into the board. You can change settings all you want; all BIOSes I have ever seen have a quick “restore to default” button. But don’t flash firmware. It can help in some cases but you almost certainly don’t need to and it’s higher risk than almost anything else you could do short of playing with voltages on your board.

    Hope this helps. Please give us an update when and if something changes.

    PS: For comparison, I have a GTX580, 16GB DDR3 RAM (no more than 8 is utilized, but hey, why not), an i5-2500k @ 3.3 GHz (no OC), and two 7200 RPM HDDS. In PvE, I get 55-70 FPS. In very clustered WvW, I get about 30FPS.

  • Awesome comment Chris, thanks for the details.

    If you were me, which program/method would you use to overclock? I think I’m in agreement that it is my CPU.

  • First of all crowd sourced tech suppor For the Win. 🙂

    I’m going to have to agree with chris for the most part but will add some corollaries.

    What OS are you running, 6gig is all well and good if you have a 64bit OS if your still running XP however you will only be using 3GB even with the patch that allows you to address 4GB that “extra” GB is limits to side task like adding to onboard memory.

    Another Issue you may be running into is server lag. Anet has had some issues with their server’s supporting large groups of players fighting each other in the past and so the issue may be the ehmery bay server (I’m on it and will investigate for you tonight… been needing to get into WvW anyways). Have you asked if those around you are experiencing lag?

    As to the overclocking idea, Intel has been underclocking their CPU’s for while so overclocking often times is a simple matter of brining your CPU up to the edge of its designed operating limits but still well under redlining the thing. If you have the stock cooler on your chip I generally recommend very gradual over clocking. Step it up a few MHz rather than going straight for 3.5GHz and monitor the temp. If you want an aftermarket cooler I recommend the cooler master EVO $35 on new egg.

    Good luck!

  • Hi,

    I am 99,9% that it is your CPU, WWW is really processor consuming. And currently they are still “developing” the engine and they put everything on the CPU rather than on the GPU.
    But imagine how many calculation has to be done in a WWW, where actually the players define the battle and not the scripted events.
    This was the same issue in Warhammer Online, and when I bought a new CPU, everything was smooth…
    Maybe clear up the dust from your machine and put new silicone on the CPU and between the fan – that helps also sometimes.

  • I’m almost positive the CPU isn’t overheating at all, but I do agree it’s probably my bottleneck for WvW.

    If any of you have any suggestions for a simple way to OC, I could use a guide that holds my hand through the process.

  • Hi Keen,

    If I were you, I would try for Hotkey OC because it makes for an easy on and off switch. No sense being OC’d when you don’t need to be. It may also have preset OC profiles where all you have to do is choose which speed you want and it will automatically load the appropriate settings (that’s what my ASrock board has). If not, it is likely that the main thing you will have to worry about will be increasing your core multiplier and *possibly* bumping up your vcore voltage just a touch. I’ve never worked with your board specifically, though, so here are a couple of threads I found:

    The first one links to a guy who has your motherboard/CPU combo and his BIOS settings; Hotkey OC should allow you to tweak many of the things he lists without ever going into your BIOS. Bear in mind that his OC may be higher than what you need, so don’t worry about copying him if you don’t need to.

    Before you apply anything, make sure to write down your stock settings in case you want/need to reset them. I’d suggest going into the BIOS and viewing the screen that lists your CPU details (speeds, voltages, etc) to get this information. While you’re there, make sure to turn off power saving features like Speed Step. When you’re done, pick up Prime95 and RealTemp. CPU-Z is also handy to grab detailed information on your hardware if extra research is required.

    My recommendation would be to begin by upping that multiplier to ~3.4GHz (if your bclk is 100MHz, the multiplier would be 34) without touching voltages. You will probably not see any issue right off the bat. Run Prime95 overnight. It will tell you if the system is unstable with that clock. If it is, very slightly increase your vcore voltage. Run RealTemp before and after you apply the overclock and enable logging so you can see how your temperatures vary from non-OC, to idle OC, to heavy load (that’s what Prime95 does, stresses your hardware). I usually idle about 22 degrees but Prime95 jumps me to 65-75. While gaming, you’ll never hit that kind of load temp unless there is a problem with your cooling setup. If you are able to run Prime95 for 12-24 hours with stability, it’s safe to assume your OC is reliable.

    Here is also an in-depth guide to overclocking should you want to delve into the technical aspects or definitions of terms:

    Good luck!

  • Your hardware spec is absolutely fine. The game just isn’t optimized fully still. Don’t listen to people who say the game is working fine for them, most of them are just lieing or have bad eyes and cant see frame rate drops.

    I’m running:

    i5 760 @ 4.0GHz
    8GB Corsair XMS 1600
    Crucial M4 128GB SSD
    MSI 7950 @ 1000/1575

    PVE runs 60fps most of the time, but drops in random places or in crowded areas. WvW is fine also until you hit zerg areas and then drops down a lot depending on how many people there are.

    My friend has:

    i5 3570K @ 4.8GHz
    16GB Samsung Green 1600
    250GB OCZ SSD
    MSI GTX670

    He experiences the same issues as me, random drops in fps, changing graphical settings makes no difference to fps and WvW he also gets massive drops in fps down to 20fps.

    Just wait for more game updates, it will slowly improve over time.

  • Two Nvidia video driver settings that you might want to check which could be causing some of the problem, if you haven’t already messed with them:

    Multi-display / mixed GPU acceleration – set to single display (unless you are using multiple displays of course) – default setting for this seems to be multi-display and it resets to that on driver updates

    Ambient Occlusion – this seems to be buggy in the current drivers, I noticed a large improvement on turning this off and I couldn’t see any visual difference with it on, I doubt GW2 even supports it (DX11 feature?) right now.

    Also, the GW2 client definitely isn’t optimized at all, I get massive CPU usage, all 8 threads at 85%+ (quad-core i7 2600K) when just standing around in town sometimes with nothing happening; yet have very smooth, low CPU use, during game play in big boss events and WvW. What is up with that, or are there some settings I’m missing?

  • Having even set foot in WvW since release but in the BWEs it felt fine. I’ll have a crack at it and see if it’s any different or the same for me and post my results here.

  • Keen,

    My own setup is somewhat similar, on the day of GW2 release I did have issues with low FPS just as you do – my issue is with low FPS is resolved (consistent 80 to 100 FPS) – do NOT overclock anything until you try the following steps outlined below;

    1) You need to uninstall every aspect relating to the nVidia drivers, you do this via the standard Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall (everything related to nVidia), you may be asked to reboot each time you uninstall.

    2) Go to your C drive, and on the top of the bar is a “Search” option, type in nVidia and it will locate any file relating to it – highlight and delete these.

    3) Download a program called CCleaner, this is a program that will scan your system / registry and locate any redundant registries, in this case, anything related to nVidia – then click to “Fix” (it will remove these redundant registries).
    Then restart.

    4) Download the latest version of nVidia drivers, and install.
    Then restart.

    5) Launch GW2 and check your FPS via the Option menu.

    Total time taken, 15 minutes – this posses no risk to your system, and in the worst case, it helps to eliminate any issue with the nVidia driver.

  • Additionally to the above, ensure that the GW2.exe process is set to ‘Normal’ or higher priority via the Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del), and right click GW2.exe to check/do this – the game must first be running.

    You may need to click the “Show processes from all users” on the bottom of the task manager window.

  • I had a smillar problem in GW2. I tried so many thinks except upgrading bios because they say its dangerous. But than after trying nearly everything, lastly In my case, upgrading my bios solved the problem ( GIGATECH Ga p35 ds3l + hd 5550 + e8400 ) not fps turns to 30 – 35