User:Magill/Reference-Graphics notes

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LOTRO Graphics

General information

  • This document is an attempt to provide a current overview and definitions of LOTRO Graphics
  • This document is dated -- post Update 7 release - May 2012.

Over the years Turbine has upgraded the Graphics capabilities of LOTRO with virtually no announcements. The various on-line guides I have found were all written in the 2007/2008 time period and reflect the graphics capabilities Turbine provided at that time - basically DirectX9.

Since the 2007 release of LOTRO, graphics cards, displays and overall computing systems have radically improved their capabilities and performance! Similarly, the Gaming/Graphics industry generally has leapfrogged forward as well.

A new guide was written in 2015. Graphics Settings Breakdown by Unthariel:

Today (May 2012, Update 7) Turbine now supports DX10 and DX11 and is working on OpenGL support.
They (Warner Brothers/Turbine) are also experimenting with Gaikai's "cloud gaming" -- aka LOTRO in your browser. WB already has a number of other titles available that way.

* Wikipedia on GAIKAI

At the same time, Turbine only offers one client version for download which contains all of the information necessary for extremely high-resolution and high-performance graphics display, all controlled by parameters which can be set as in-game Options. Or more accurately, there are two downloads offered; the "hi-res" download contains the additional two (at this time) data file totaling roughly an additional 5 gigabytes of data. (See below for more information.)

Turbine provides no quantitative information with which to set graphics parameters, only qualitative.

The primary problem for the end user is the fact that terms like "Low/Medium/High" are purely relative.

What was considered "Ultra High" in 2007 is actually only "High" in 2012.

Miscellaneous comments from the forums

I have no idea if these comments are accurate or not. They piqued my curiosity when I read them and "someday" will investigate them further. - WHM.

render range:

  • One thing to remember, there is a maximum high resolution render range. Nobody can get beyond that range. There is nothing Turbine can do because it is fundamental part of the game software architecture. I believe the maximum render range is 160 meters. Anything over the maximum will be low resolution and or distance imposters.
  • It has to do with game architecture. Everything far away is displayed via distance imposters. In order to display the full detail, the land block has to loaded on the server. Once loaded on the server, the server data for that block is shipped and loaded into the memory of the client. The client has to load the permanent local data for the land block into client memory. Now that the client has all the data the landscape can be fully rendered. The number of blocks (distance around your character) that are loaded into the client at any one time is fixed. I doubt Turbine is ever going to change the number of meters that are fully known by your client.
Turbine is certainly not going to change the concept of partial landscape known to the client. Turbine had a terrible time with folks creating private shards with their first game. Plus problems with people tearing the landscape and instance map files apart for creative uses that Turbine did not like. For example, using Asheron's Call landscape and textures for their own game.
Turbine made a number of architectural changes from back in the early 90s to prevent people from using Turbine game assets for something other than playing the game while connected to a Turbine server after authentication. That is one of the reasons that instance maps in Lotro are not stored in a client file. They are built up dynamically as you walk around. There is very limited space for your instance map.
I would love to know how Turbine splits the map data between stored permanently in the client, stored in cache files to be overwritten and permanent storage on the server - cached only in the client memory core.
Last edited by Yula_the_Mighty; Aug 18 2011 at 03:34 PM.
 *In order to display the full detail, the land block has to loaded on the server.
True, but only for adjacent landblocks (which are close enough to see the MOBs). Landblocks further out are all rendered statically from client data... they have no dynamic, server-side data at all.
One thing this game does differently than most is to use the landblock grid to determine level of detail... the 160x160m landblock you're in has high LOD, and the ones adjacent have fairly high-res textures too. Outside of that, the LOD is dropped to help with rendering performance and it substitutes "distant imposters" for trees so it can offer the illusion of lots of trees on the horizon without incurring the performance problems. Small rocks and boulders fade into view at some fixed distance from you (although I haven't measured it), and most structures also come into view when they get within one landblock of where you are. A few are set up as "far view" objects, where it will render them at greater distances - these are mostly landmarks of some type.
A lot of the problems people report with rendering are actually an artifact of landblock granularity on the textures and structure visibility. You get those ugly "low-to-high resolution texture" lines on the landscape because of this, and that can be quite a bit worse when moving in one direction than in moving another (because the boundary distance can be nearly 160m different depending on where you are and which way you're moving). The same thing can be seen in structure fade-ins... moving toward the structure from one direction, it seems to appear a long ways away - while moving toward it from another direction it fades in much closer (but still at least 160m away).
Why did they do it this way? I have to assume because it's much more efficient to store things that way, and treating everything within a landblock similarly in terms of texture detail and visibility makes rendering faster.
I do think it would be nice if they could give people an option to move the boundary out by one landblock - but only those with pretty hot video cards (and perhaps large disk I/O caches, fast hard drives, or SSDs) could probably handle it.

The above thread: from forum thread

My comments:

  • The interesting part of the Draw-distance (Render Range) discussion which is never discussed IS "distance" and "time."
How "far" can you see, "how much" can you see, and with "how much detail" can you see -- "how quickly," in real life?
"Technically," how far you can see (unaided), is directly related to how tall you are -- Hobbits and Dwarves vs Men and Elves, mounted vs unmounted, technically all have different viewing "perspectives. One reason Elves have such "keen eyesight" is because they are so tall!
However, in the gaming world, if you use the default "over the shoulder camera setting, the "all-seeing" camera eye gives us an "Eagle's eye" view of the world. You can see "higher" and consequently "further" than you can otherwise. "An interesting perspective," one might say!
Additionally, what is particularly different in the game worlds is the speed with which you can cover a given distance.
Very few people are capable of covering the length of a football field (soccer to us Americans) is 90-120 metres (meters) or 100-130 yards as quickly as our characters cover similar distances in LOTRO. In Track and Field, the 100 yard dash is 100 yards or 91.44 metres. The official world record for the 100 yard dash is 9.2 seconds (1962). But how many "normal" people can move that quickly constantly, consistently, even aided. Compare this 130 metre distance
A furlong (US and English) is one-eight of a mile, with a thoroughbread race course being (nominally) 5 furlongs or 1 Kilometre.
The Kentucky Derby run at Churchill Downs, Lousiville Kentucky is one and one-quater miles (2 km). The 137th running of the Derby in 2011 was won in a time of 2 minutes, 2.04 seconds.
I don't know if there are any "marked courses" in LOTRO where you actually know the distance. The Radar map gives you some indication of some distances. But they are hard to relate to actual in-game movement (at least for me), as they stop indicating as soon as you get close.
What is the distance from Bree to the Forsaken Inn -- to Ost Garuth?
So, "obviously," where I'm going here is talking about the "render pop" issue. This is an interesting psychological effect. I wonder, if we were Superman or the Flash and able to cover these distances "instantly" -- would not the images at the new location simply "pop" into existence. Do they "blink" and have gone from one scene to another? One wonders how the current crop of military-grade simulations deal with this issue?
We have come to expect to see certain details in-game because "we can see" vast distances. One wonders how far those distances really are and what they would compare to in Real life. What does the view from say, Harndirion to Lhanuch equate to? Does the view from Thrór's Coomb equate to the view from ? Mount Washington in New Hampshire in the US? Are we expecting more from the game view than from a similar real-life view?
Is it possible that the "fix" to "render-pop" is to actually "slow down" the visibility range and render speed? It is an interesting technology question. The "Land Block" design may prevent any such tuning.

Theoretical max FPS:

  • Practically all LCD monitors (which the majority of users today are using, desktop and laptop alike) are locked out at 60 fps MAX. It doesn't matter what your monitoring software (or your Best Buy salesman) is telling you, your refresh rate is only as high as the monitor can deliver. What your software is telling you is that if your monitor could support it, that is what you would get, or from the other end, if motion becomes very animated onscreen and could cause a reduction in fps, you have a buffer of extra fps to soften the blow if you can deliver fps higher than 60. But actually experiencing 100 fps on an LCD monitor...get real.
  • I think you are a little behind on the technology facts about monitors and screens Not all of them are LCD. Let take my laptop it a led which means Light Emitting Diode.
Now Newer monitors are not all 60 fps Max. With the newer 3D technology it required to have a monitor that are 120hz not the standard 60hz. So you can have 120 fps.
  • 3D capable LCDs run at 120.

Suggested Tuning tweeks:

  • A few exceptions:
  1. DX 10 shadows I actually prefer high to very high
  2. atmospheric effects (like rain) I can notice basically no difference b/w low/med/high, so I have it at low.
  3. AA: I have it at 2x because although I can see a difference at 8X it just is not enough for me lower framerates by another 10fps.
  • One thing you could perhaps try, is going to Troubleshoot section in the in-game options and turning Engine Speed down a notch or two. See if this makes any difference. Sometimes it makes a huge difference, just in regards to all the stuttering and hitching.


Gaikai is a technology that allows you to play The Lord of the Rings Online™ instantly in your browser, allowing you to start your legend in Middle-earth before you even download the client! When you play on Gaikai, you’ll experience LOTRO at its best regardless of the computer you play on.

High Resolution files

  • High Res client adds options for "Ultra high" on many of the settings.

Note: There were issues with Update 2 and the LOTRO Dat Defrag tool. It corrupted the high-res texture files. (Circa March 2011.)

Ref: High-Resolution-Client-Repair-Tool
  • client_highres.dat - 4.29 GB
  • client_highres_aux_1.dat - 290.5 MB. (1.82 GB 24 January 2014)

UserPreferences.ini parameters not yet identified:

  • FarLandscapeNormalMaps=False True/False
  • GraphicsCore=D3D9 D3D9/D3D10/D3D11/OpenGL
  • D3DVersionPromptedForAtStartup=0
  • AllowGammaChanges=True
  • MaxHardwareClass=0
  • ShadowMapQuality=0
  • DisplayAdapter=0
  • HavePromptedForD3D10AtStartup=False
  • LandscapeShoreEffects=Disabled
  • AlphaToCoverage=False
  • Items in italics are from the UserPreferences.ini file - the names and parameter syntax differ from the in-game display. The graphics parameters are primarily found under the [Display] and [Render] headings, usually in the beginning of the file.
  • Turbine's performance recommendations are in Bold.
  • Item descriptions are from the in-game Tool-tips as of 15 May 2012 - Update 7.
  • The descriptions below are in the sequence found on either the Graphics or Adv Graphics tabs of the Options panel in-game.

Impact of Mounts, cloaks, etc. on Graphics (Lag!)

27- Why does it matter if you are on a mount?
Because it’s a matter of rendering. Every time you add a mount, every time you add a cloak, every time you add additional animation, effects, trees, walls, you are demanding that your computer do more work. It really doesn’t have as much to do with the server side of things, although mounted combat does a bit. It’s just a question of, you’re asking for more and there is, as with all things, there is a limit. Imagine putting food in your mouth. There comes a point where you’re going to have a problem. You can only get so much there and still be able to chew and still accomplish the task of eating. It’s the same thing with this. Cloaks have animations and they’re usually unique. Mounts have animations and they’re not necessarily in sync, they’re running at different speeds, they’re running with different animations, and all of this is stuff the client has to deal with. You will see the more that show up, the worse it gets, the fewer that show up, the less lag there is. A very large amount of this has to do with client side performance. He’s asked for 20 some-odd runs for people to not wear cloaks, not use mounts, and those who follow that rule run through really fast, and those who don’t run into lots of lag.

28- What is your opinion on an option that disables cloaks
If you are asking for one that disables other people’s cloaks, he will pass the suggestion along. They did add one to disable cosmetic pets, because that is entirely client-side, so being able to disable that in a large group with cosmetic pets is pretty important, especially for players with older systems. Which seems to be a surprisingly large number of LotRO players.

OPTIONS: Graphics

  • Items in italics are from the UserPreferences.ini file - the names and parameter syntax differ from the in-game display. The graphics parameters are primarily found under the [Display] and [Render] headings, usually in the beginning of the file.
  • Turbine's performance recommendations are in Bold.
  • Item descriptions are from the in-game Tool-tips as of 15 May 2012 - Update 7.
  • The descriptions below are in the sequence found on either the Graphics or Adv Graphics tabs of the Options panel in-game.
Top portion of the Graphics Options Panel - May 2012


Detect Optimal Settings  
Detects the best settings for your current hardware. This will automatically adjust most of graphics options to provide an optimal balance between performance and visual Quality.
The is the “easy” button - for folks who don’t know nor care what anti-aliasing is. If this is you, or if you just want to get started, click here and you are done. It’s easy to ridicule this feature but many MMO’s don’t have this option in place.
This button adjusts the following settings in the UserPreferences.ini on a machine with a DX9 Video card.
  • AnimationDetail=High -- default Medium change to High
  • AtmosphericsDetail=High -- default Medium change to High
  • BlurFilterQuality=High -- default Medium change to High
  • EnvironmentStencilShadows=True -- default False change to True
  • FarLandscapeNormalMaps=True -- default False change to True
  • FrillDistance=High -- default Medium change to High
  • InteractiveWater=Medium -- default Low change to Medium
  • LandscapeDrawDistance=VeryHigh -- default High change to VeryHigh
  • LandscapeLightingQuality=High -- default Medium change to High
  • MemoryUsage=0.50 -- default 0.03 change to 0.05
  • ShadowMapQuality=1 -- default 0 change to 1
  • StencilShadows=High -- default Medium change to High
  • SurfaceReflections=High -- default Low change to High
  • TextureDetail=VeryHigh -- default High change to VeryHigh
  • TextureFiltering=Sharp -- default Trilinear change to Sharp
Overall Graphics Quality:  
Adjust the overall graphics quality.
This button adjusts multiple graphics settings according to the graphics quality level selected.
This is a quick and easy way to experiment with different graphics quality levels by making a group of related quality adjustments at one time.
  • These changes are made with no consideration of their performance impacts.
The more powerful your machine is the higher you can go before you see an impact on performance.
Even though your computer can run LOTRO with a particular setting you might still see poor performance.
  • To selectively raise or lower the graphics quality level of a particular function, to make the trade-off between graphics quality and performance, use the options in the Adv Graphics section.

Tuning/In-game play Tip

  • The Detect Optimal Settings button and the Overall Graphics Quality selection can be re-visited at any time without concern for your character.
  • The Overall Graphics Quality selection is as close as one can get to a "preset" for use with Raiding or PvMP, where typically, you need to lower graphics settings in order to improve performance in the PvMP environment because of the extreme amount of activity taking place on the screen.


Graphics Hardware Level:  
Select the DirectX API level you would like to target. Your video card and operating system must be capable of supporting DirectX10 or DirectX11 for this option to be available. DirectX9 is used if this option is disabled.
Note that: DirectX: DirectX® 9.0c is the minimum graphics capability required to play LOTRO.



Full Screen  
Default My setting Potential values
True False True/False
When checked, the game runs in full screen mode, otherwise it runs in a window on your desktop. You can also press alt + enter to toggle full screen mode at any time.

AllowFakeFullScreen=False (UserPreferences.ini parameter only) - Default: True; My setting: True

The game doesn't actually run in full-screen mode (in terms of how the program is handled and resources are allocated to it). "Fake full screen" means it's still running in windowed mode, but the window size is set to the monitor size and the window borders are removed. Setting the option to false will allow the program to actually run in full-screen mode.

ForceFakeFullScreen=False (UserPreferences.ini parameter only) - Default: False; My setting: False

No explanation known for this parameter - check DDO.


Full Screen Resolution:  
Allows you to select from a list of supported screen resolutions. Higher resolutions typically look better at the expense of performance.
We recommend using at least 1024x768.


Windowed Resolution:  


Aspect Ratio:  


Enables antialiasing and configures the antialiasing quality level.
A large number of antialiasing samples will increase visual quality but may greatly decrease performance.

Antialiasing (often referred to as AA) is a way of smoothing edges. Computer monitors display pixels, but real objects have curves and lines. In order to display these on a computer monitor, the edge is often jagged. Antialiasing helps reduce the problem by slightly blurring edges to the point where jagged lines don't show easily or at all.

Antialiasing is a very compute intense process, requiring a lot of computing power in your CPU. In LOTRO this is done by the Game Engine, and not by your graphics card. It basically is rendering each frame multiple times, then blurring the images together to smooth out the edges, then displaying that frame on your screen.

Antialiasing is basically an effect to simulate a higher resolution display than what you actually have. Before turning on any antialiasing, you should first try to run at your screen's native resolution (the highest resolution possible). Antialiasing only simulates a higher resolution by blurring edges. Actually having higher resolution graphics makes a more significant difference.

Combine hight native screen resolution with multiple antialiasing, and graphics will look more crisp and photographic (if your GPU can handle it).

The ability to see AA effects tends to be a very personal, and very dependent upon your overall system, monitor and GPU and their various settings.

See: Tom's Hardware's detailed explanation May 2011

Tom's Hardware - part 2 November 2011

Wine options:

  • Multisampling enabled
  • DirectDrawRenderer opengl
  • VideoMemorySize 512


Bottom portion of the Graphics Options Panel - May 2012


Ambient Light:  
Default My setting Potential values
0.00 1.00 0.00 - 1.00
(1.00 is extreme right position)
Adjusts the brightness of the ambient (global) light in the world.


Default My setting Potential values
1.00 1.00 0.50 - 1.01
(1.00 is Approximate mid position)
Adjusts the brightness of the colours displayed on the screen.


Default My setting Potential values
1.00 1.00 0.30 - 1.65
(1.00 is Approximate mid position)
Adjusts the Contrast of the colours displayed on the screen.


Gamma Level:  
Default My setting Potential values
1.00 1.32 0.50 - 4.40
(1.00 is extreme right position)
Adjusts the intensity curve of colours displayed on the screen.

OPTIONS: Adv graphics

Top of the Adv Graphics Options Panel 1/4 - May 2012



Object Draw Distance:  
Adjusts how far away characters and scenery objects are rendered. Set this to 'Low' to improve performance.


Model Detail:  
This setting controls the distance at which complex 3D geometry will be rendered.
Set this to 'Low' to increase performance at the expense of visual quality.
TTH NOTE: If your machine is stuttering, this is a resource hog right here. Take it down a notch and see if it helps.


Animation smoothness:  
This setting controls how smoothly distant characters are animated. This doesn't affect your own character.
Using a lower setting, will increase performance.


Material Detail:  
Adjusts the quality of certain surface shaders, such as tree leaves.
Set this to 'Low' to significantly increase performance.



Landscape Draw Distance:  
Adjusts how far away landscape geography will be rendered.
Lower distances can increase performance and will significantly decrease load times.


Frill distance:  
Adjusts how far away landscape 'frills' are rendered (foliage and ground clutter)
Use a lower setting for better performance.


Distance Imposters:  
Default My setting Potential values
True False True/False
Enables trees and other objects to be rendered over distant landscape.
Disable this to increase performance


Atmospheric Detail:  
Sets the quality of atmospheric effects such as rain and snow.
Use a lower setting to increase performance.


DX11 Interactive Water:  
Waves, ripples, splashes while moving through water
Adjusts the size of the area of interactive water. This options requires DirectX11.
Use a lower setting to improve rendering performance.


Upper middle of the Adv Graphics Options Panel 2/4 - May 2012


Texture Detail:  
Adjusts the overall resolution of textures. Higher quality textures require more video memory but will greatly increase image quality. In order to use the highest setting, you must have 'High Resolution Textures' installed and up to date.
TTH Note: What are Textures? They are basically surface details adding extra points of contrast and complex structures. It’s what makes things seem more “real.” It is also a huge pull on your graphics card.


Texture filtering:  
Changes the method used to filter textures in the game.
TTH Note: This adjusts the method used to filter the Texture colors and is a less resource intensive alternative to anti-aliasing.
Use 'Trilinear' for best performance. 'Anisotropic' will yield the highest visual quality but may greatly decrease performance.


Anisotropic Filter Quality:  
Default My setting Potential values
1.00 1.00 1 - 16
When texture filtering is set to anisotropic, this adjusts the quality level of the anisotropic filter.
Higher values yield better image quality at the expense of performance.



High Quality Lighting:  
Default My setting Potential values
True True True/False
Allows for high quality lighting and shadow features, such as normal mapping, glow mapping and specular highlights.
Disable this option to significantly improve performance.
This allows for lighting features such as normal mapping, glow mapping, and specular highlights. What does this mean? Normal Mapping adds details to shading without adding more polygons (decreasing the need for more system resources). Glow mapping is providing a glow effect off of anything from a candle to a persons facial features such as their eyes. A Specular Highlight is that bright shiny spot you see reflected off an object when it’s hit with light. If you don’t know what I’m talking about get a water bottle. This is definitely getting into tweaking here as I can’t see most folks would get too excited over it. Turning this off will help performance a little.


Specular Lighting:  
Default My setting Potential values
True False True/False
Increases visual quality by adding specular highlights to shiny surfaces.'High Quality Lighting' mode must be enabled for this to work.
Disable this setting to increase performance.


Surface Reflections:  
Adjusts the visual quality of water reflections and mirrors. 'Post processing effects' must also be enabled.
When set to "Low' only the sky will be visible in outdoor reflections.
'High' will reflect most nearby scenery, and higher settings will allow more distant objects to be visible in reflections.
Disable this feature to greatly improve performance.


Landscape Lighting Quality:  
When set to 'High', enables speclar lights on certain types of terrain.
When set to 'Very High' bump maps are enabled for certain terrain surfaces as well.
Set this option to 'Low' to improve rendering performance.


DX10 Distant Landscape Lighting:  
Default My setting Potential values
False False True/False
Improves lighting detail for distant landscape. DirectX 10 graphics must be enabled.


Lower middle of the Adv Graphics Options Panel 3/4 - May 2012


Landscape Shadows:  
Enables soft shadows to be cast from buildings and other architecture on to the landscape.
Disable this option to slightly increase performance.
Does a bush, or rock not having a shadow creep you out? Turn this up to make sure have one. This is one of the easier settings to shut off for a heavy performance boost.


Blob Shadows:  
Default My setting Potential values
True True True/False
Blob shadows will be rendered for characters when more detailed shadows are not available.
You can disable this to increase performance.


Stencil Shadows:  
Enables shadows for characters and certain indoor props and architecture. This setting also controls the distance these shadows will be visible from.
Use a lower setting to improve performance or disable this to greatly increase performance.
This affects the draw distance of shadows for characters and certain indoor props and architecture. The lower this setting, the closer you’ll have to be to see it.


Environment Stencil Shadows  
Default My setting Potential values
True False True/False
Enables shadows cast from certain indoor props and architecture.
Uncheck this box to improve performance.

DX10 Dynamic Shadows

Use dynamic shadow maps in outdoor environments. DirectX10 graphics must be enabled.


DX11 Ambient Occlusion  
Default My setting Potential values
True False True/False
Enable ambient occlusion post processing. This options requires DirectX11.
Disabling this option will improve performance.

Post Processing


Post processing Effects:  
Default My setting Potential values
True False True/False
Enables graphics post-processing such as motion blur and bloom.
Turn this off to greatly improve performance.


Glow Mapping  
Default My setting Potential values
True False True/False
Enables emissive surfaces to 'bloom' over foreground objects. 'Post Processing Effects' must also be enabled for this to work.
Disable this to increase performance.


Overbright Bloom Filter  
Default My setting Potential values
True False True/False
When enabled, very brightly lit surfaces will always 'bloom' over foreground objects. 'Post Processing Effects' must also be enabled for this to work.
Disable this to increase performance.


Blur Filter Quality:  
Sets the quality of the pixel blur filter that's used for various effects such as light bloom.

Bloom Intensity BloomIntensity=1.00
slider 0.00 - 2.00

completely is bloom, which imposes a -40 fps hit when enabled.
Controls the intensity of the dream-like glow effect that brightens the screen and blurs pixels together.
'Post Processing Effects' must be enabled for bloom effects to be visible.


Bottom of the Adv Graphics Options Panel 4/4 - May 2012


Player Mesh Combining:  
Default My setting Potential values
True False True/False
When enabled distant players will render faster, allowing more characters on screen at once. However, this feature requires extra system memory and video memory.
Uncheck this option to free up more system resources.


3D Object Portraits:  
Default My setting Potential values
True True True/False
Displays player and target portraits over vital bars.
Set to false to improve performance.


Texture Cache Size:  
Default My setting Potential values
1.00 1.00 0.00 - 1.0
Adjusts the amount of system memory the game will use for graphics resources. Using a higher setting may reduce load times and improve performance on systems with plenty of memory.
Lower this setting to free up memory for other resources and potentially improve performance.
This is memory the machine sets aside specifically for Textures allowing it to quicken load times. If you have a lot of memory (4 GB+) this is extremely helpful.
Lag spikes happen in all areas. They seems to be caused by textures being loaded from the HDD. Larger cache size improves texture miss rate and reduce lag spikes after the first one. SSD will help with spike duration since the game will read textures faster. Also there is a program (posted on lorebook) that copies textures to a flash drive. So if you have fast flash drive (not a $5 promo usb stick) you can improve lag spikes this way too.


Player Crowd Quality:  
Default My setting Potential values
1.00 1.00 0.00 - 2.0
This option controls the graphics quality of characters and scenery when a large number of players are nearby.
Use a lower setting to improve rendering performance in crowded areas.


Refresh Rate:  
When running in full screen mode, this setting adjusts the monitor refresh rate.
We recommend you set this to 'auto', which will use a safe refresh rate for your display configuration.


Sync to Refresh Rate:  
Default My setting Potential values
False False True/False
Enabling this option may eliminate horizontal 'tearing' artifacts in at the expense of some performance.
This only works when running in full screen mode.


Triple Buffering:  
Default My setting Potential values
False False True/False
Enabling this option may slightly increase your maximum possible frame rate in full screen mode, but uses more video memory resources.
We recommend leaving this setting disabled.
TTH note: This attempts to control flicker, shearing, and tearing as discussed above. It may increase your FPS (frames per second) but does use up memory.

OPTIONS: Trouble Shooting

Troubleshooting panel - May 2012

Maximum Frame Rate slider 15-120 (max)

Attempts to limit the frame rate to the specified amount. Set all the way to the right to disable the limit, and display as many frames per second as possible.

Engine Speed very low/low/medium/high/veryhigh

Slows the game engine down. At the highest setting, the game engine runs as fast as it can.
Lower settings can be used to help troubleshoot random system crashes and freezes.

Connection Speed

Allows the client to give a hint to the server about how much bandwidth it has. This can help modem users a lot. Use the actual connection speed (not the maximum possible speed.) It is better to use a speed that is too low than to use a speed that is too high.

Browser Proxy Settings

Browser HTTP Proxy Host

Browser HTTP Proxy Port

Browser HTTPS Proxy Host

Browser HTTPS Proxy Port

  • There are two sets of parameters under two different headings in the UserPreferences.ini file:

Load Mozilla FIrefox Proxy Settings - button

Load Internet Explorer Proxy Settings - button

Apply Proxy Settings - button

Useful Definitions

  • forum Definitions are good, not much other info.

settings 24 January 2014

Settings Used (In sequence from the two Options panels)

  • Directx - not applicable; Mac Client uses OpenGL.


  • Overall Graphics Quality - Custom
  • Full Screen - not checked
  • Windowed Resolution - Custom - nominally 1024x768 - "Display Windowed Resolution" = 162006259 - most of the 27 inch display.
  • Aspect Ratio - Auto
  • Antialiasing - Disabled
  • Ambient Light = .64
  • Brightness = 1.0
  • Contrast = 1.0
  • Gamma Level = 1.0

Adv Graphics

  • Object Draw Distance -- Ultra High
  • Model Detail - High
  • Material Detail - High
  • Landscape Draw Distance - High
  • Frill Distance - Medium
  • Distant Imposters - checked
  • Atmospherics Detail - Medium
  • Texture Detail - Medium
  • Texture Filtering - Trilinear
  • Anisotropic Filter Quality - off
  • Hight Quality Lighting - checked
  • Specular Lighting - checked
  • Surface Reflections - Low
  • Landscape lighting quality - Low
  • Landscape Shadows - Medium
  • Blob Shadows checked
  • Stencil Shadows - Medium
  • Environment Stencil Shadows - not checked
Post Processing
  • Post Procssing Effects - checked
  • Glow Mapping - checked
  • Overbright Bloom Filter - not checked
  • Blur Filter Quality - Medium
  • Bloom Intensity = 1.0
  • Player Mesh Combining - not checked
  • 3D Object Portraits - checked
  • Texture Cache size = 1.0
  • Player Crowd Quality = 1.0
  • Refresh Rate - Auto
  • Sync to Refresh Rate - not checked
  • Tripple Buffering - not checked

Graphics Template

  • All versions of OSX are 64-bit.
  • Directx - not applicable; Mac Client uses OpenGL.


  • Overall Graphics Quality -
  • Full Screen -
  • Windowed Resolution -
  • Aspect Ratio -
  • Antialiasing -
  • Ambient Light =
  • Brightness =
  • Contrast =
  • Gamma Level =

Adv Graphics

  • Object Draw Distance -
  • Model Detail -
  • Material Detail -
  • Landscape Draw Distance -
  • Frill Distance -
  • Distant Imposters -
  • Atmospherics Detail -
  • Texture Detail -
  • Texture Filtering -
  • Anisotropic Filter Quality -
  • Hight Quality Lighting -
  • Specular Lighting -
  • Surface Reflections -
  • Landscape lighting quality -
  • Landscape Shadows -
  • Blob Shadows -
  • Stencil Shadows -
  • Environment Stencil Shadows -
Post Processing
  • Post Procssing Effects -
  • Glow Mapping -
  • Overbright Bloom Filter -
  • Blur Filter Quality -
  • Bloom Intensity =
  • Player Mesh Combining -
  • 3D Object Portraits -
  • Texture Cache size =
  • Player Crowd Quality =
  • Refresh Rate -
  • Sync to Refresh Rate -
  • Tripple Buffering -

Graphics and "Lag"

Originally Posted by Sapience
There's a lot of very good information in this thread, so let me try to break some of it down.
Originally Posted by Beaniemooch
I lag in large groups when there are a lot of fire effects from mobs, or LM fire/RK fire/minstrel effects. Add multiples of those in the moors or in a raid and pretty much everybody I know lags.
How nice that you have a custom gaming computer. Not everybody does.
What you just did was perfectly describe client side bottle necking caused by exceeding the CPU/GPU ability to render all the additional things that are going on. By keeping your graphics settings at the same levels you use when solo, you are asking the hardware to do dramatically more work. The on screen characters and/or other content (densely decorated areas and heavily detailed interiors for example) make it worse. You'd be surprised how well you can often mitigate this by having a set of "raid" settings you change to when you do these things. You can disable most effect, turn off floating damage, portrait animations, etc. It does help a lot. In roughly 15 years of playing MMOs I've never lead a raid in any MMO that didn't start with a "Turn off XYZ settings and set your graphics to XYZ settings." Even on consoles now that I think about it.
Originally Posted by anthonyx
So it is highly unlikely that all 15 had computer problems to created the same lag. Granted there are many variables that can cause lag such as client side and internet lag. I think if you try to play beyond what your GPU can comfortably handle then you can cause lag. But there is some coding issues as well. I think it is an unrealistic thing to say that LOTRO is not the cause of some of the lag (they have on many occasions over the nearly 7 years noted the lag and their attempt at fixing it). Back in the day when we went into the Watcher raid we had to be sure that post processing was turned off (this was more or less because of visuals and what we needed to see), we had to make sure the cloaks were turned off and a few other tips so that it would be less laggy. I remember times when running the Turtle (on a very good PC at the time and good internet) that I would get caught in skill lags and nearly miss the fight. The lag isn't as bad as it used to be. But it is still shows up. Narrowing it down to the cause is always tricky but to say that it is totally Turbines fault or the user is wrong.
This is more or less what I was saying above. Turning off some features does usually help. Hold that thought on the 15 computers at once thing though... I'll get right back to it!
Originally Posted by FittyBolger
I have built my own PC's for years (fast ones) and I have a fast internet connection via cable = I get lag. I don't get it often but it does happen.

Moors raid... instance raid... The lag isn't always there and it isn't always crippling but it can be a real pain in the behind at times. If "my end" of the game requirements were the only factor in lag then I should never experience it = therefore I can only conclude that there is a Turbine side "problem" of some sort.

And the reason why (and to answer the 15 computers poitn above) is that the game is always trying to sync everyone so you all see the same things at the same time. So actually one PC out of sync CAN cause the other 14 to 'lag' or wait or throw off the sync. Why.....
Originally Posted by Gilgamees
I want to point out a problem that many inexperienced (in term of network knowledge) people may be unaware of.
Speaking of network latency (i'm not going to speak about graphical issues or low-end computers), often there is a reference to the download bandwidth at disposal to the user, as a possible source of latency. Number of hops, network routers and server loads all can be the origin of a heavy lag at the user end. But, what people should also consider is the "upload" bandwidth, that, in most cases, it's much less than download bandwidth.

Why you should care about "upload" bandwidth?

The answer is simple: asyncronous services, such as the web surfing or streaming a movie, are mostly "download" services, while the upload part is very minimal. Syncronous services, on the other hand, are services that require both download and upload bandwidth to stay syncronized. Guess what? MMORPG are generally all syncronous services.

What happens if you saturate your upload bandwidth, even if you still have a good 20Mbps download speed? Asyncronous services will continue to work, so you can still navigate the web, BUT, syncronous services will starts suffering heavy lag, even if your download bandwidth is very big.
Now, how can I saturate my upload bandwidth? Another simple answer: contrary to the old times, when we were almost alone within our connection, now we have wi-fi machines everywhere.
Now most of people have telephones and tablets always connected to the internet. And almost everyone now uses cloud services.
Try to have an iphone with cloud activated (by default it is) with backup activated thru cloud, and then try to play lotro: you'll get a bad surprise, as soon as the iphone goes stand-by and start it's cloud service. Lotro will simply stop working, ping service to any server will never get an answer but you can still surf the web!
This is only one case, as example, but actually, there are many ways to saturate the upload bandwidth: torrents, clouds, webuploaders...
If you cannot assign specific bandwidth usage (on cell phones, you cannot, atm) you'll get trouble.
So, when you start playing a MMO, you should be sure no cell phones or tablets that's on your lan have cloud services activated (at least the backup service for the apple stuff should always be off).
Generally you know if people at home starts torrents and such, and you can stop them doing it while you play. But many people are unaware that all the cell phones and tablets, even in stand-by, can be a potential source of network problems, for any syncronized service you need.
I'm not a native english speaking, so I apologize in advance for any mistake.
...and that's how 1 PC can screw up 14 others due to a sync issue. You get 15 people on 15 PCs with 15 different connections, the guy with the worst connect is probably going to dictate the experience of the other 14 when it comes to sync related trouble. LOTRO actually has a huge degree of latency resistance. The game isn't a twitch game so believe it or not a ping of 70 vs 150 or even 200ms (and infact even nearly double that) isn't going to impact your game too much. But, when the sync get thrown off, that tolerance drops pretty quick while everything plays catch up.
Originally Posted by Redit
so I've been playing for 3 years now and I've always experienced horrible lag up till the point I basically quit the game a few months ago because of it. then I get a new game that forces me to get a computer I've been dreaming to get. I got it played that game and was happy then I came back to lotro and was floored and amazed at what a difference it made.
I was able to run full speed on a war steed through edoras without getting caught on something, no lag, completely smooth with very high graphics settings.
I ran through fangorn forest on a warsteed without much difficulty either.
my computer specs are a little insane but it did the job
AMD 8 core processor 3.5 ghz each
16 gb ram
1600 mhz memory speed
geforce GT 630
4 gb video memory
Odds are the "lag" you experienced was actually client side render issues if this resolved your problems. A good number of people, I know because they tell me, have much the same PC they started playing LOTRO on 6-7 years ago and they started playing with their graphics on high or better and never changed them. In those 6-7 years we've added features that now require a lot beefier machine to run at high or better than it did 6-7 years ago. My suggestion is always to set the game at the lowest possible graphics with few or now effects turned on and then slowly increase the quality until you start hitting issues, then back it off a little. Obviously you'll have to do that again when you play in groups or in more graphics intensive areas. Eventually you'll figure out what your machine can handle and what settings are good for the broadest array of conditions.[/QUOTE]

Terms defined

Post Processing

Technically, here's what it is:
First, you render your game the normal way, except for one thing. Instead of rendering to the screen (after which you can't do anything with it), you render it and save it as a texture.
Then you load up that texture, run a hell of a lot of shaders on that, and render the result to the screen.

Post-processing. Processing done *after* rendering.

The advantage is that you can then work on the final image, whereas in the first pass, you work on each object in isolation. You don't know which background the object is rendered against, what kind of colors are used in the entire scene, the average lighting levels and so on.
All that can be computed as a postprocessing pass. Then you can make bloom lighting (simply find bright areas and smear them out a bit), depth of field or a million other effects. Post-processing is basically just image manipulation, similar to what you can do in photoshop. (edit: Damn, Chaz beat me to that one)
It's also slow, because it requires a second render pass. And obviously, it's 100% GPU-dependant. (more specifically, 100% pixel shader-dependant. Vertex shaders are useless for the second pass, since all you really render is a screen-sized rectangle (4 vertices), with a texture on it)

running a vertex shader on 4 vertices is unlikely to stress any GPU. It's when all the pixel shaders have to be run a second time that the performance hit occurs.

Update 21 changes

Update 21 - Mordor Expansion June 2017 Bullroarer - added the following Graphics controls according to the release notes:


  • Settings that are saved in the userpreferences.ini file, such as graphics preferences, are now saved to disk when the character options panel is closed. This should reduce the risk of settings being unexpectedly lost.
  • There are four new options in the advanced graphics options page:
  • Frill Density: Specifies the percentage of frills that are loaded. Use a lower setting for better performance.
  • Dynamic Particle Rendering: This is an experimental setting that allows you to select which particle effects to render on dynamic objects such as your player and NPCs. Note that some effects will still play even when disabled and you may lose important feedback.
  • Static Environmental Objects: Enables particle effects on motionless environmental objects such as braziers and lanterns. Disabling this setting will improve rendering performance in areas with many environmental particle effects.
  • Precipitation Effects: Enables weather effects such as rain and snow.
  • Updated the Overall Graphics Quality defaults for the Frill Density and Frill Distance settings:
  • Very Low = 0.0
  • Low = 0.25 ( Frill Distance has been changed from none to low )
  • Medium = 0.5 ( Frill Distance has been changed from low to medium )
  • High = 0.75
  • Very High = 1.0
  • Ultra High = 1.0

OpenGL vs DirectX
in regards to performance, OpenGL is a very capable API that can rival the performance and features of DirectX when used properly. Unfortunately for OpenGL, nearly all games are designed first using DirectX and then ported over to OpenGL later. This almost always results in a performance loss of up to 50%.
Games that are developed using OpenGL from the beginning will see similar performance in both OS X and Windows.

nVidia 3D Vision

  • ... in the nVidia Control Panel, the default key to toggle 3d is CTRL-T, but when in the game nothing happens when I press it. I'm not sure if I have to configure anything else. I could not see anything specific in regards to 3D in the Graphics or Advanced Graphics sections in the game.
Look in your LOTRO Options Keyboard Mappings. CTL-T is mapped to Item Sell Lock by default. You may need to change or blank that in LOTRO, or make the change in the nVidia control panel.
Another thread:

I am a 3D fan, although I have not tried nVidia 3D Vision nor 3D in LOTRO. Doing a bit of digging I found these things which might help:

From an old LOTRO Forums post:

Firstly, update the nVidia driver
LoTRO is now on the list as "good".
Ensure that the IR transmitter is USB'd, and reboot.
Right click on your desktop to get the NVIDIA control panel, and change it to your 3D monitor.
(Under "set up stereoscopic 3D")
3D Vision Discover is the setting for analglyph - red/cyan. It is the default; change it.
Launch the game and you should be wowing,omgding or wtfing.
Change your settings to DX9 or DX10 - DX11 is annoying because if you ALT-TAB to a browser, you lose the option to return to 3D.

From a different message board:

  • Be sure to turn off DX11 Ambient Occlusion, Post processing effects, and any nametags you don't like seeing and it rocks. 3D is really good.
Some tips from Tom's Hardware:,3019-7.html