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Stop Ping Faking#25473

More and more servers are using A2S caching (Ping Faking). In the server browser, they display 30 Ping world wide but when you join, it’s vastly different.

The servers do this to attract players around the world, cheating themselves onto the browser list quicker than other servers. It’s annoying for players.

3 months ago
1
Changed the status to
Researching
3 months ago
8

huge +1 on this one, fake ping is really misleading especially the new players who are not aware of this and do not have the perf convar active to verify the real ping in game, if they get fooled by the fake ping and join some servers from the other side of the world, it would result in a poor experience and they might refund and blame the game for being laggy

3 months ago

or fix the server browser.

3 months ago

This is a difficult issue to properly fix because it’s completely transparent to the game. Anything we try to do to show a proper ping on the server browser can be rigged.

My thinking now is we stop showing raw pings on the server browser. We can map ping ranges into low/medium/high and show that on the server browser instead. We would pick the ranges based on the expected experience while playing (TBD). The server browser will sort by low/medium/high instead.

This wouldn’t stop ping faking of course. The point of this would be making it less beneficial to servers because shaving a few ms off would still leave them in the ‘low’ bucket and not improve their position in the server browser.

The other thing we could possibly do is show a high ping warning in-game to expose this user hostile behavior to their players.

3 months ago
8
U

The last option seems like a much better alternative as to what it is right now in my opinion. Allowing users to see if the ping is different than what it is in the browser. Notifying them of latency issues if there’s something wrong with their connection like many other games do, meaning that a lot of newer players would be more familiar with this type of warning as they already were exposed to it somewhere else

3 months ago
2

First off, I’m just glad this issue is being addressed at all. I welcome any changes related to it.

I think the ping ranges you mention is a good idea. Only concern would be that they still get ordered by ping under the hood. Currently whoever has the lowest ping gets put at the top of the list by default. As long as the new system somewhat randomizes the servers inside the same ping bucket, then this makes sense.

In other words, all “low” ping servers are above “medium,” but the servers inside “low” are randomized rather than ordered by ping.

Regardless, cheers Lama. Thank you for researching this. I’ve been a huge and very vocal opponent of query caching and we started to have to move our own servers just to stay competitive. Hopefully that won’t be necessary moving forward with this. Much love.

3 months ago

A mandatory regional indicator, which server owners must set in the config and is read upon server startup, could be additional data for users to chose the server they want to play on. In a first step, no changes to the browser would be needed as this could be appended to the gametags line.

I also like the ingame notification of a high ping although discussion about which ping can be considered high would ensue.

Categorising ping into low/mid/high wouldn’t tackle the problem from my point of view, as servers with A2S caching would still show up as “low” although upon connection it would be “high”.

Thanks a lot for researching into this. I understand the technical nature of this problem is complicated.

3 months ago
2

this lightzy guy trying to bait so hard lmfao

3 months ago

@Lew I mentioned it above. Still TBC but:

  1. Reducing incentive for server owners to reduce their ping in the server browser
  2. Notifying players when their in-game ping is much worse than shown on the server browser

To clarify, the only issue here is ping faking. It’s not specifically anycast or A2S caching alone. It’s the combination of both with global points of presence where it results in significant ping changes on the server browser.

3 months ago
1
N

Global points of presence are not an issue, though. The way FP recieves the server list, and calculates the ping based on the Steam Browser is the issue.

I completely agree the ping needs to be fixed somehow, but I just want to make it clear that global PoPs are normal and are needed for DDoS protection with some hosts.

@Lama Love

Edit: Also, I don’t think the “coutry flags”, or “low, medium, high” ping should be implemented. It should be an all or nothing fix, not a bandaid like the fix made at the beginning of the year with the “Show Empty” being turned off.

3 months ago
L

@Lama Love Yeah having “low, medium, high” is just pointless and isnt fixing any issues.

“Reducing incentive for server owners to reduce their ping in the server browser”

  • I think having a flag next to the server name would sort this out,.

“Notifying players when their in-game ping is much worse than shown on the server browser”

  • This would work well.
3 months ago

@Lama Love Thanks for clarifying it is about the ping faking and not legitimate use of A2S caching. I look forward to changes that can fix the issue while improving the server browser.

If it ends up with a region system (US West, US Central, etc) or rough geolocation system that estimates ping, it opens the door to serving a cached list of all 10k+ A2S queries at once (with a fallback to pinging servers) instead of being stuck pinging 30 servers / second when there are thousands of servers out there.

There are of course a number of server owners who used fake ping as a crutch but I think that is the minority. Imo most people fear a worse browser experience: instead of only pinging half the servers after waiting through the 90 sec timeout you will now not even be able to see servers outside of your region.

3 months ago

Hi there @Lama Love . Are there going to be changes in the upcoming update?

2 months ago
S

@Lama Love The addition of “Fake Ping” is costing a server 3x the price and for no other reason but to direct population, this is very apperent this last wipe, I have not sunk more money into new servers assuming pop was just getting lower due to a new game out and just this time of year however, looking at the official servers and others it is quite clear that Ping rates play a huge role in this new playerbase. IMO there is no difference in faking ping as faking pop, if any official server was faking pop we would be removed or at least should be. Spending more money for cpu upgrades, ram, etc should still be what sets servers apart, not paying 3x’s the cost just to have a fake 30 ping from the US to the EU.
I’m not sure how to “fix” it but for official servers it shouldnt be a thing anyway. Just my 2 cents

2 months ago

As RustSpain administrator I support the idea of organizing servers by region. Different categories could be made according to the Region: USA, Europe, Asia, Russia, … And by default the player’s closest tab will open.

The ping is removed from the server list and the servers are displayed randomly by default. Since then the player decides to order by players or not.

But without a doubt I think that the server browser system should take a deep turn that implies a complete redesign, more information about the server, such as being able to add a link to our discord, apart from the web. To be able to set the next Wipe date or something similar in a field.

About 8 months ago I did this sketch for a redesign idea that I shared with Alistair.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/629624604469755905/810648376475516958/Canvas_Server_info.jpg

2 months ago
3