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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | The Gauntlet: HPBs and LPBs

The Gauntlet
Are you an HPB? Are you an LPB? Do you hate one? Do you hate both? Read on, and then vote your opinion in our InstaPoll!
  — by Lee'Mon and Spyke

Welcome to the "The Gauntlet"! They say that there are two sides to every argument, and the debates within the Quake community are no exception. That's why we created "The Gauntlet".

Our top two PlanetQuake staff writers, Spyke and Lee'Mon, often find themselves on opposite sides of an argument. We could have them each post their own editorial, but PQ readers have let us know what they really want: bloody combat!

So, we squared the two off in a custom arena, and let them use whatever facts, opinions, arguments, and insults necessary to make their point. Then we let you, the readers, decide the outcome! So watch and read as these two enter the battle royal, and vote on which side you agree with!

In this week's episode, Lee'Mon finds himself removed from his comfy T1 connection and back in modem-land during a week-long vacation. spyke, on the other hand, remains on his DSL connection. Consequently, we thought it would be the perfect time to bring up one of the ultimate Gauntlet confrontations: LPBs vs. HPBs.

So, our rambunctious ranters entered their usual private custom arena and had at it. However, since Lee'Mon had spent the previous summer on a terrible modem connection, spyke anticipated some foul-mouth frustrations during the match. As a result, he coded a server-side profanity filter. During the debate, any swear words Lee'Mon uses will be converted to the word "spork."

Let the debate begin! spyke supports LPBs and laughs at the perils of HPBs, while Lee'Mon condemns LPBs and stands for the HPBs cause... at least for the next week.

-----Server Log Begin-----
Client 0 challenged with 954 ping
Lee'Mon connected
Client 1 challenged with 42 ping
spyke connected
spyke entered the game

Spyke: Excellent! Your ping is over 2000% of what mine is. I guess I'll be waiting around a lot while you stare at a phone jack. Where'd I put my book?

Lee'Mon entered the game

Lee'Mon: Spork! This is going to be fun... ;^\

Spyke: Hehe.. My friend, you have no idea how fun it's going to be. Consider yourself pw33n3d.

Lee'Mon: I was sporked when I unplugged my machine and left home. Let's get this unnecessary slaughterfest over with, shall we?

Lee'Mon was turned inside out by spyke's rocket

Spyke: Mwahaha. You just jumped right into me! You should just save yourself some time and head for the nearest lava. 'Tis better to frag yourself than to be ch00ned in this manner. Man, I love DSL.

Lee'Mon: Well, spork that... [throws away railgun] Shall we define our HPB and LPB labels, for those who don't understand how sporked I really am?

Spyke: Well, LPB could theoretically be anyone with less than 100 ping, but HPBs like you could call anyone with under half a second of latency a LPB. Tee hee. HPB is anyone over 400 ping, to me.

Lee'Mon: Actually, let's give the "Ping For Dummies" explanation first. Ping is approximately how long it takes for information to make a round trip between the server and your computer. In this case, it takes about 40 milliseconds (or 4/100 of a second) for spyke to make a round trip, and 950msec (almost a second) for me to do the same.

In real-world terms, this means that spyke sees the action on the server about 20msec after it happens, and his controls take 20msec to respond before the server gets them. I, on the other hand, take almost half a second to receive the action on the server, and another half a second before... this sporking... fire... button... works...

Lee'Mon got an overdose of lead from spyke's shotgun

Lee'Mon: SPORK! It's pretty easy to see who gets a significant advantage from their connection. Anyhow, most players fall under two groups based on their connection: LPBs (Low Ping Bastards) and HPBs (High... well, you get the idea.) You gave our readers some numbers already, spyke, but since I'm only a (very) occasional HPB player, I'll open up the field a bit.

Let's use the definition our own GameSpy program uses by default: An LPB is anyone with a 200 or less ping, and an HPB is anyone with a ping regularly over 400. Within those ranges, LPBs are typically still firing directly at their targets, while HPBs are trying to "lead" their targets to make up for their latency.

Lee'Mon should stop typing.

Spyke: Mwahah. I love those custom death messages I coded in. Yeah, you heard that "humiliation" sound, fool. Anyways, let's get on to the real argument, which is LPB's vs. HPB's. With this absolutely swank DSL connection, I believe I am for the LPB's. Thus, my argument begins.

Ping is not the only component of a good Quake game. Before I got my DSL connection, I played on a 33.6 modem. It was painful, but I got pretty damn good. With enough practice, anyone can compensate for latency. I remember, during the days of Q3Test, hopping on an id server, where everyone's ping was jacked up to 500 more than it would normally be, and a bot was on the server. I won by 10 frags over the bot. And I'm no Thresh. Thus, HPB's have no reason to whine. They're just complaining about not being good enough, not their connection.

Lee'Mon: Ah, yes, but you just stated the problem yourself: EVERYONE was an HPB. [The bot I'll ignore, as that's another Gauntlet entirely.] Back in the Quake days, everyone had a sporky connection. 14.4? You were lucky to sporking connect! But times changed. Quake moved on, evolved, and got more popular. As Quake entered the college dorm, the workplace, and the guy that just got that new DSL modem, the trouble started.

Suppose I rewrite the rules of Quake a bit. I'm going to split players up into two groups. One group can play normally. The other group's characters will be hopping around on one foot while they try to shoot their weapon with their toes. Gives the first group quite the unfair advantage, doesn't it? Add in the fact that those second players can NEVER join the first group, and you understand some of the sporkin' angst that HPBs go through.

Spyke: Oh I understand the angst, but my point is that being an HPB should not be a crutch to fall back on. I could get into monetary issues, what with the cheap price of cable and DSL, but I do realize that those services are just not available some places. Playing on a local server when I still had a 33.6 modem, playing against guys with cable whose ping was a fifth of mine, I eventually got good enough to beat them. Thus HPBness (is that a word) is not a crutch, it's merely the player's ability.

Also, going back to what you said, how can you ignore the bot? As I said, everyone's ping was jacked up about 400 more than it normally would be. I hardly played against others, as they were phone-jacking out. It was essentially myself vs. the bot, with 3/4 of a second of lag. Being able to beat a bot under those conditions (nevermind blindly-firing humans) is a testament to the fact that ping has nothing to do with being able to win.

Lee'Mon: No, it's a testament to the Q3A bots... that's why I didn't want to go into it. I suppose I'm meant to be in awe of your l33t skills--well, I'm not. So continue gleefully dodging my spork-poorly-aimed rockets while I try to drill my point in your head a bit better than my first rail shot.

If two equally-matched players face off, the LPB will likely win, particularly if the difference is high. If the ping difference is large, a moderate player can perform quite well or even defeat an excellent player with a high ping. It is a crutch, however minor it might seem to you. It does impede the player's ability to play well, and however much they are able to compensate for it, they will not play as well as if they had a lower ping. Am I out of line here?

Lee'Mon swan dives gracefully into the lava.

Spyke: I suppose I am being arrogant simply saying that people with high ping should learn to play better, but remember, I'm going from what I know here. See, I've sipped from the cup of low ping, and I don't intend on ever going back. I agree it's a pain in the spork trying to compensate for high ping, but it's going to be that way for a while, because of the inherent latency in many networks. That is, until PowerPlay! It'll make modem gaming feel like a LAN!

Lee'Mon: Wow. You take your PR lines in big spoonfuls, eh? You're never going to get T1 latency (or lack thereof) out of a modem connection. There are too many inheirent latencies in the connection itself (dialup to modem, modem to computer, etc.) The real proof is in the pudding... and I have the perfect example for that.

Take a look at this picture. It was from the first id vs. PQ match. You'll notice that I'm the second-highest scoring player on the board (after a 0-ping id player). My ping was 200... not very good for my connection, but I learned to cope; not railing much for example.

Now, look at this second picture, from the second match. I did much poorer this time around; placing last among the PQ staffers. And no wonder... my ping was around 500 the entire match. Granted, one round of CTF isn't enough to adapt to a vastly different ping, but even if I had played with that ping all my Quaking days, I probably would not have done NEAR as well as that first match.

Spyke: Okay, your scoreboards present a fairly convincing argument, to the layman's eye. Hold on.

Spyke railed Lee'Mon to oblivion.

Lee'Mon: SPORK!

Spyke: But we have to take this in context. Unless you provide us with a demo from your perspective, we can't tell if you're lying or not. However, that isn't the point here.

HPBs will always whine about being HPBs. LPBs will always enjoy being LPBs. There's not a sporkuva lot you can do about being an HPB other than getting a faster connection. You can learn to compensate for it though. It just takes time and patience, some things many people don't have. LPBs have an advantage, there's no denying it. But my momma always said, when life gives you spork, make sporkade.

Lee'Mon: Sorry, my momma didn't speak with that filthy of a mouth. Since you're one of those that are most confident in the face of pure logic, I'll degrade into barely-contained rage.

It sporkin' sucks to be an HPB. I know, I'm there right now. I was there all of last summer. I've sacrificed my next summer working as a PR rep for my campus, just so I'll stay on my beloved sporking T1. If your definition of "fun" is playing your best, being a HPB is aggravating, because you can't reach your potential nearly as much as some sporkholes can with their spiffy digital connections. If your definition of "fun" is to win, it's even a bigger pain in the spork.

Some HPBs are jerks about it, and will blame any spork thing under the sun on their connection. But others probably don't care about why they're not on top of the heap, and more importantly, if they've checked the scoreboard, they probably understand. So the biggest problem is that HPBs should just grin, bear it, and try to enjoy the sporking game.

But for every HPB whining about their spork-spork connection, there's three LPBs going off on their "I am the sporking MAN!!!" routine, without a tip-o-the-hat to the fact that their connection was a crucial part of their performance. Had they been stuck on a modem, they might not have done nearly as well. More importantly, if some of their competition had the same connection as they did, they would have a much harder time gaining that victory. They might have even gotten their egotistical sporks dragged in the spork a bit.

Spyke: Well, taking into account the frustration of some HPBs and the outright arrogance of many LPBs, there is a simple solution. Filters on servers. Have LPB servers, and HPB servers. Yeah, it's a pain in the spork, but it would work somewhat, by evening out a mountainous playing field. Sure, there's still hills and valleys in there, but it makes it a lot fairer.

I know how much it sucks to be an HPB. I was there for 7 months, playing every day, before I got my DSL connection. Yeah, it sucked royally to have a sporky ping, but that's the way it is. I found a few local servers where I had a 200 ping, and those with cable had 25. It's not really that bad if you can find local servers. If you can't, you've got more problems than just your modem. In about 4 months of playing (from being a newbie), I was pw33ning the server. On my 33.6 modem. Over guys with cable. Sorry if my viewpoint is arrogant, that's just the way it is. :)

Lee'Mon: I believe your therapist would say you have just had "a breakthrough." If you can shut your cakehole, understand that ping does make a difference in gameplay, and take that into account when determining winners and losers, go out on any server you ping well to and have a good time. If you demand that your modem pool never be dirtied by those heathen LPBs, or that you never heard the honest complaints of the analog downtrodden, then go find an HPB-only or LPB-only server. They do exist; it's an option id wrote into Q3A.

You might be arrogant, but I'm not a permanent HPB, either. Some HPBs may be out for blood, but all I, personally, am asking for is an acceptance of the facts: that ping does affect performance, and while it can be counteracted, with even superb results at times, it can never truly be overcome.

Spyke: Well then it's accepted. I guess it's time to wrap things up then. I envision a day when everyone's on a T1 and no one has a ping over 100. That day, my friends, will be the day the world finally sees peace. And lamers with an 80 ping will call someone with a 20 ping an "LPB FAGOT".

Lee'Mon: And since we're talking less than a tenth of a second of reaction time, we'll all know they're full of spork.

Spyke blasts Lee'Mon into chunky salsa.
Lee'Mon was in the wrong place.
Spyke gave Lee'Mon the shaft.
Lee'Mon shouldn't have even picked up a gun in the first place.

Lee'Mon: Okay, spork this. When I get back from vacation, you are so sporking dead. As soon as I sit you down for a rematch, ON EVEN GROUND, I'm going to take that spork and wrap it so far around your spork that you won't be able to tell your spork from a spork in the spork!

Spyke: Geez, if there's one thing that can be said about me, it's that I show no mercy. :)

Lee'Mon: I'll shove a spork into your sporks! I'll make you eat spork and die! I'll...

Lee'Mon timed out
Lee'Mon disconnected

Spyke is routinely called an "LPB LAMER FAGOT" after shouting out his customary "pw33n3d" to a server of whiny HPBs.

Lee'Mon received the Guiness World Record for Highest Ping by using his dial-up vacation machine on Friday to successfully play against himself, who was using his home machine on Sunday.

What's Your Opinion?

HPB or LPB: which is better?

LPBs Rule! HPBs should learn their place, on the bottom of the food chain.
HPBs Rock! LPBs are just bratty little kids on their daddy's T1 line.

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