EQ2 and godawful drive caching in cities

So, we picked up EQ2 and in general I think it’s a mighty fine improvement over the original - mainly because they borrowed heavily from FFXI, COH, etc. and basically incorporated a ton of good ideas about playablility.

One place I don’t understand is in the system requirements, given that with the requirements of EQ1 I don’t expect their player base to consist of machines that can run Doom3 on full-tilt - but EQ2 is really brutal on my system.

Here’s what I’ve got:

p4p800 asus motherboard, 512 meg of pc3200, 2.8 ghz P4, ATI 9800pro 128 and a 7200rpm 8mb cache drive. Drive has been defragged with O&O Defrag - doesn’t get any better than this.

So, I can run the “high performance” setting, one notch below “balanced” and do very nice indeed out in Antonica. Really, I can get away with balanced if I want to. City zones, however, are complete murder on my box. It’s not a video issue, it’s the CONSTANT thrashing of my hard drive as textures get swapped around in town. I can take about 10 steps before I get a 10-20 second pause, repeat. Given that a ton of the newb questing takes place running from one end of the city to the other, this is a royal bitch. I can turn the graphics down to butt-ugly and it makes no difference.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I’ve priced a gig of ram, but from what I’m hearing from the guys at work who already have a gig in their “quite similar to mine” machines, it doesn’t contribute much in their opinion. One guy has a sata raid-0 on a pair of raptors and he says he doesn’t have any such issue. Hrm.

If I can’t make it much better, I’m going to shelve it until I get bored of WoW, which does run quite dreamy on the high settings.

I think more ram overall ram will make a difference. I run a Barton 2500 1.5 gigs of ram, and 9800 Pro. Using the Balanced Settings with character shadows off at 1280x1024…

Hard drive cacheing is almost non-existant, even in cities where only occadionally will get an quick stutter.

Although there may be other reasons for your stutter (game settings too high, resolution too high, too many programs resident in memory), I suspect more Ram would do a lot. 512 ram is pretty low to begin with, especially if you are a gamer running Windows XP.

Yeah, it’s just that I’m hearing from people with a gig already that it didn’t seem to help them - so before I toss $200 at a pair of machines, I want to explore other options.

1.5 gig of ram, however, might push it into the doable realm. Of course, I only have two slots so it’s going to be 1 or 2 gig options for me. I’ve got all the background tasks whittled down to where I’m running a bare system and have 470 megs free for the game - but after I zone a few times or run around in town it gets really bad. If I quit out, defrag my ram, then go back in, it’ll be fine again for a little while and then it turns to crap.

I guess ram is going to be the potential cure, eh?

If you can, take the RAM out of one and put it in the other (if they are the same type). Run EQ2 for a few hours and see how much this helps, if at all.

One more thing you might want to check, although you may have al ready done this, would be to set up a static swap file on one of your partitions. Right click on My Computer --> Click Properties --> Click on Advanced Tab --> Click on Performance --> (settings button) --> Advance Tab --> Virutal Memory (Change Button). Go through each Drive and Turn off the paging file for each drive (or partition), except for the one you want to put the swap file on. (preferably not C: and not the drive you have EQ on). When you have the drive selection set the Initial and Maxium sixe to about 1500 MB —> click Okay --> yada yada.

*****Would reccommend defagging before and after this process.

This may be longshot but check you AGP apeture size in your BIOS and make sure it is not set too high ( 96 megs and no higher than 128 Megs). If this is set too high then your system might be trying to use your system Ram when the video card is being stressed.

OR you could just buy more ram. :P

Hope that helps.

It runs like crap for me too.

I tried lots of stuff, nothing worked. The performance made it impossible for me to get into the game. It was just consistently bad. The only other game I have ever had ‘inexplicable’ horrible performance even remotely like it was Horizons, but this was even worse than that. Even when no one was around, the engine felt sluggish. But in combat or in crowded cities, forget it, unplayable as far as I am concerned.


MMOs are some of the most RAM-demanding games on the market. That’s both system RAM, and video card RAM.

In offline games or even smaller-scale online games (BF1942 and the like) the designers can easily manage the number of unique textures in a scene, the maximum amount of effects going off in one place, etc.

In MMOs, you could be viewing dozens of characters all with unique, detailed skins, different weapons, different special effects going on, etc. It’s especially bad in cities, because that’s where lots of people congregate, but it can happen anywhere.

Couple this with the fact that many MMOs are designed to scale UPWARD from launch - to run at middle settings on even pretty good machines so that in two years when the average machine is a lot more powerful, people can just turn up the details without the developers having to re-make all the artwork in higher resolution. EQ2 does this moreso than most.

Long story short: you really want a gig of RAM for most MMOs, and a 256MB graphics card. Asheron’s Call 2 was the first game to really make a point of this, and now it’s pretty true of most MMORPGs. WoW is probably the friendlist of the latest crop, City of Heroes fares pretty well with only 512MB too, but even those experience some significant hard drive thrashing.

Oh, and defragging your dive always helps. Make sure it’s running in DMA/UDMA mode too, not just PIO mode. Sometimes a drive for one reason or another can get set to PIO mode, and will eat up a ton of CPU cycles every time it’s accessed. (try a google search if you have no idea what I’m talking about or how to fix it)

I have a gig of RAM and a 256mb X800 Pro. I also use diskeeper and keep my drives fairly healthy. They are not Raptors (or SATA), but they are fairly quick Hitachi Deskstars.

For me, its an EQ2 problem.


I was experiencing problems similar to yours last week. I upgraded my 512 to 1 gig of ram and all my problems went away.

I can now run the game on high quality setting at 1280 x 960 without any problems. Here are my specs:

Athlon XP 2200+
NVidia Nforce2 MB
1 gig ram
raedon 9800 pro

One other note, I usually reboot every 3-4 hours becuase it seems like there is a nasty memory leak somewhere in eq2.

There is definately a memory leak of some kind… the game runs slower and slower as I play. I suspect that it has something to do with zoning frequently but am not sure.

The concept of an EQ game having a memory leak isn’t exactly unthinkable. They seem to inject one habitually every time they upgrade EQ1’s graphics engine.

(As a side note, shouldn’t this type stuff be discernable automatically? Your program knows what it has allocated, windows knows what your program has allocated, compare the two, if the numbers don’t match, you have a leak.)

The great thing about that 1.5 Gig threshold: you can probably get away with turning virtual memory off.

This is mana from heaven. XP is not very bright about using available memory, and removing its ability to force you to wait while it stores and retrieves things ever-so-neatly onto the massively slow (by comparison with RAM) hard drive is the best way to “improve” it :)

You do this in the same place as noted above. Just set it to 0. I can do this and have quite a few apps running, including one instance of SWG, firefox with myriad windows open, and Exel or Word doing stuff. I also turn on “use compression” on the directories containing MMORPG installations… as long as your system is up to it, this can reduce the amount of actual data that the HD has to pass across the interface as you motor along.