What Is Network Buffering in Valorant?
Network Buffering in Valorant is a setting that only affects players with unstable internet connections. Almost everyone suffers from packet loss once in a while and the issue might be a lot more prevalent for some players. If you are suffering from packet loss, it can be an unpleasant experience as you will be lagging on other players’ screens. Riot Games addresses this problem by using Network Buffering in Valorant.
If Network Buffering is turned off , it will lead to a laggier experience for you if you have packet loss. If you turn it on, your gameplay experience will be a lot smoother, even with packet loss, but other players will have a peeker’s advantage over you to make things fair since you are lagging.
How Does Network Buffering Work in Valorant
In online games like VALORANT, you send your inputs up to the Server to have them executed since the Server’s view of the game is the correct one. Every time the Server updates the game simulation (which happens 128 times a second), inputs from your game Client need to be played for your Agent. If your inputs get delayed while traveling over the internet, the Server will not wait for them to arrive and has to simulate a move for you.
This Server-predicted move often disagrees with the one that is still on its way. These disagreements cause Move Corrections which show up on the client as small teleports to the correct location. Too many of these corrections make the game feel “jumpy,” and at a high enough percentage, it can become unplayable.
The way to avoid these Server predicted moves is to have the Server buffer up some moves and play them out at a slight delay. This is a very common strategy when trying to stream any data over the internet and it helps to ensure the Server can smoothly play moves for your Agent for each frame. However, this buffering adds a delay before the server processes your moves, and too much buffering can make it feel like you are playing at a much higher ping than what your Network Round Trip Time (Network RTT) would show.
Riot Games maintains a buffer that makes the gameplay experience fair for all players even if one or more players are facing packet loss in-game. You should keep the setting enabled at all times as it leads to a much smoother experience whether you suffer from packet loss or not.