What Is Ping in Gaming – Should You Go For Higher Ping or Lower?
Last Updated: December 5, 2022
Nowadays, gaming usually takes place online. And, in a lot of cases, it involves competition. This means that in order to get good results, you must make good decisions and play better than the opponent.
But it’s hard to do that if you see the action long after it happened. Or if the server reacts to your actions long after you executed them.
Video game ping or latency is the amount of time that passes between the occurrence of an event and the moment your PC shows it to you. But it works both ways, meaning that your input is also sent with certain latency back to the server.
So if your ping is 100ms, you will get to see it 100ms later than ideal. That sounds pretty good, given that a second has 1,000 milliseconds. But it’s still a delay.
In some cases, even 100ms can be a problem. And you will understand why by the end of this guide.
The Basics of Video Game Ping
Images courtesy of Valve Corporation
If you play a game like Dota 2 on a server that’s not from your region, you might have a huge ping of 300ms. That’s because video game ping is affected by the physical distance between a server and your PC.
Online gaming takes place on servers to which the players’ computers connect. The closer you are to a server, the bigger the advantage you will have against those who are thousands of miles away from it.
What Does Ping Mean in Gaming Forms That Involve Competition?
Ping can ruin your ability to react to what is happening fast enough. If you play an FPS and your ping is higher than 50ms, you will suffer a lot against a player whose ping is just 15ms.
ust imagine a 100m sprint race in which one of the participants gets a 35ms advantage. Wouldn’t that ruin the race for everyone else?
In games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, high ping translates into slower reaction times. And that means harder duels. If you want to win 1v1s, you need to play with low ping. Otherwise, the enemy will always shoot first.
Some types of games, such as MOBAs, allow your ping to be a bit higher without putting you at a big disadvantage.
That’s because in those types of games, strategy and other factors generally play a much bigger role than reaction times. If your reaction to what is happening is 30ms slower, it won’t affect you that much.
But even in these types of games, high ping could ruin your game. Just imagine a hero or champion that has a blink ability and needs to react in a split second to an enemy action to dodge an attack or capitalize on a favorable situation. In such scenarios, those 30ms might make the difference between success and failure.
This is the reason why gamers generally care a lot about their ping. They care about it just as much as they do about their fps.
Most competitive games allow you to display your ping and fps in your HUD. Such information gives players a better sense of control. It also makes the game feel more fair.
What Creates High Ping in Video Games
Once you’ve learned what is ping in gaming, the immediate question you need to ask is this: what creates high ping in games?
Apart from being too far away from the server on which the action takes place, another thing that contributes to high ping is intense network activity.
So make sure that you have a decent internet connection and that you’re not using your bandwidth to watch three YouTube videos at once or make downloads while playing the game.
Allow your PC to allocate its resources to the game you are playing and your experience will be much smoother.
Another thing to keep in mind is that using an ethernet cable will generally work much better than Wi-Fi. The second option can be slower, which is not good for most games.
Data packets transmitted between the server and your computer require good download and upload speeds.
Each game is different and has different requirements, so you will need to check what is needed in every scenario.
Hardware can also play a role sometimes in this. If your PC is older than 8-10 years, some of its components might be bottlenecks that increase your ping.
If you have a friend who can come to your house with a laptop or a PC to test your ping on a different machine, you might discover that part of the problem is your hardware.
How to Check Your Ping
When you play a video game online and try to connect to the server, you will usually be told what your ping is. And if you aren’t told, you are usually given the option to see your ping displayed in the HUD.
Whatever game you are playing, search for such options or for console commands that allow you to see your ping.
If you’re competing without knowing this vital information, you might be at a huge disadvantage and not even be aware of it. At least if you know, you can take steps to improve the situation.
What High Ping Feels Like
A high ping of 150ms+ feels like watching a YouTube video that’s out of sync. The most obvious indicator that you have a high ping is the delayed sound.
If you shoot with a gun or attack a target with a sword, the sound associated with that action should be heard immediately. If you hear it with a significant delay, you know that your ping is high.
Ultimately, it’s up to you if you want to play with high ping or not. But it’s not recommended. In some games, such as Team Fortress 2, some private servers won’t even let you join if you have a high ping. Because you’ll ruin the experience of other players.
Higher Ping or Lower Ping?
The answer to the question “is higher ping good or bad?” is quite obvious. You should aim to have a low ping if you want to succeed in competitive video games.