Essentially, lag is a delay in the transmission of data from one point to another (be it from your computer to the Maplestory server or within the computer itself) produced by excessive computing or some external factor. <!- link removed  ->, lag makes the game irresponsive, and most of the time difficult and uncomfortable to play. This guide shows some tips with which you can try to avoid lag, which is especially important past a certain point of the game.
While most of these tips are verified (a.k.a. I know what I'm writing about), there is always the possibility of them being incorrect. Please bear that in mind.
Computer lag is lag that happens regardless of the state of your connection to the game. The effect of this type of lag is jagged gameplay (frozen screen & refreshing at very long intervals), and general inability to play properly. In severe cases it may cause death, as it prevents the player from reaching safe places or healing, and instead showing a frozen screen with sound coming out also at intervals, all at a time.
The main cause of this is lack of processing power. If your computer is old, or it has a processor with low capacity or not enough RAM memory, it is likely that you'll experience this in crowded areas. These are the tips for computer lag:
-Reduce graphics quality
In the menu, go to System options and set Picture quality to a minimum. This will lessen the amount of processing needed for rendering backgrounds, and may lessen up the load on the processor a little bit.
-Turn off media & other options
You may as well turn off music, sound, eliminate HP & MP alerts, and uncheck the options that makes some skills shake up your screen. This is unverified, as it all depends on how Maplestory itself has been programmed, but if it has been done properly, it may help reduce lag as well. However, this will only be by a marginal amount and in specific situations (like the screen-shaking option).
-Close other programs
As this lag is merely workload on your computer processor, it is advisable to close every other program, specially ones that consume a lot of RAM memory. Also, check for processes running in the background using the task manager. This is probably what will ease up Maplestory the most, as it directly affects the resources (computing power, RAM) lent to the game by the operating system.
-Cool your computer
Your machine must be kept fresh all the time if you experience severe lag. If you have left it all night downloading something, or if you've been working with memory-heavy programs for a while and then want to play, turn it off and let it cool down for at least 5 minutes. It's very important to keep your computer in a place where it can breathe, since heat slows down processing by a lot.
This coud be a lifesaver if your computer is not very powerful. In crowded areas, or especially Zakum, it is wise to cast your skills before starting the battle. Once you do so, you will notice that casting them again and again causes slightly less lag than the first time. Because of the way computers work, the graphics loaded for the skill are buffered, and put on a high-speed memory area known as the cache. Doing this will prevent initial lag spikes, and thus dying due to everyone spamming their skills at the same time and lagging by loading too much data at a time.
As there are more objects on screen that the computer has to keep track of, there wil be more lag. As a result, it is best to avoid crowded areas that might overload your machine, such as Henesys Hunting Ground 1, or trying to herd monsters in order to mob them.
As opposed to computer lag, connection lag has not much to do with your computer. Instead, it depends on the connection you have, and the actual state of the server. There are also many factors that can affect it, such as your location worldwide, the weather, and the type of connection you have. Following are tips for reducing connection lag:
-Avoid disconnection-prone connections
Namely, Wi-Fi. Generally, cable technology is considered much more efficient than wireless connections, for the sole reason that the signal can be lost for a moment, resulting in lag and subsequently death. This applies specially if you are connected indoors, and don't have a constant optimal feed of signals from the router.
This applies in a similar way as in computer lag. In this case your computer and the server both have to keep track of many objects at once, and thus increasing the amount of data transferred. As a result, it's best to reduce the amount of objects, be it players or monsters, by avoiding them (or killing them). You may as well put away your pet, and avoid using summoned creatures if they are not needed.
This may be specific to certain connections, but relogging has a chance of getting rid of lag altogether. After being AFK for a while, or surfing the web while Maplestory is open, you may experience connection lag. In this case, relogging will renew your connection with the server (especially closing the program altogether), and it may provide you with more bandwidth than before.
-Close connection-heavy programs
While playing, it is very likely that you will lag if you have programs like eMule or bittorrent open. Since these programs hoard the entire bandwidth of your connection, they leave little to no room for Maplestory to interact properly with the server. Thus, it is wise to keep these type of applications closed while playing. Chatting programs, self-refreshing webpages and downloads are included too, as they also constantly send and receive data.
-Check your timezone
This is an irremediable problem, but good to check to see if there is something else that may be lagging your connection. Essentially, this refers to the distance from where you play, to the actual location of the Maplestory servers worldwide. Since data doesn't travel instantly, the farther you are, the more hops data has to do through the web to reach Nexon and viceversa. For this, I do not have a solution since I lack the knowledge on networking to optimize such a connection. Still, it is worth noting that it could be possible to do so by using proxy servers, but I'll leave that to anyone more knowledgeable on the subject that wishes to contribute.
-Lookout for spyware
Spyware collects information about you and sends it somewhere in the internet. Thus it also consumes bandwidth, and may cause you to lag. Therefore, it is wise to run adware / spyware checks periodically, so that you make sure your computer is clean and uses all of its available bandwidth.
Upgrade your connection
If you have the means to do so, of course. If your connection is too slow, or you are too far away from the servers, then increasing your connection speed via your ISP may be an option. From a personal point of view, I consider it a waste of money given that it's only to play a game, but nonetheless a viable option for reducing lag. So if you see that it may be helpful to you in some other aspects like surfing, dowloading, etc... feel free to do so.
As mentioned before, some of these tips are based purely on assumption, but not necessarily baseless. I hope these tips help you fight your way against lag, as this is a problem most (if not all) Maplers go through every now and then. If you see something important that I have forgotten, PM me with it and I'll add it to the guide right away.
This guide was written by Methius / Omegastar of MapleTip / Sleepywood forums, © 2007
Modification of this guide is forbidden without explicit permission from the author.
Should this guid be posted somewhere, the autor must be credited along with it.
Edited by Omegastar, 07 August 2007 - 12:21 PM.