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!
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
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
Client 1 challenged with 42 ping
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.