Playing a couple of matches of the incredibly exciting Rocket League, but suddenly you’re dealing with slowdowns and latency issues? It’s a pretty common problem known as Rocket League Latency Variation, and it can be caused by numerous factors. Let’s take a look at what the latency variation actually is, why it’s happening, and what you can do to fix it.
What exactly is Rocket League Latency Variation?
If you’ve ever played a multiplayer game before, you’re probably familiar with the term ‘lag’, and the latency variation issue is actually quite similar. Some people also call this issue the “kick-off lag”, referring to the kick-off period in the rocket car-powered soccer game.
Lag occurs when the game isn’t performing as it should be, and things seem to take an abnormal amount of time to register.
For example, when the ball stutters and seemingly teleports from one place to another, you’re probably dealing with some considerable lag. When your internet connection is not optimal or the game’s servers are overloaded, this tends to occur quite frequently.
Latency variation is actually quite similar, but not entirely the same. Latency is basically the time between a press of a button (let’s just say you press the button to jump) and the moment the game server actually registers it as an action.
Usually, when you press the jump button (A on Xbox or X on PlayStation), your Rocket League car will jump almost instantly.
The time it takes for your computer or gaming console’s input to reach the Rocket League server, is called the ping, measured in milliseconds.
It’s important to keep your ping (latency) as low as possible in order to ensure a smooth online gaming experience.
When you’re dealing with the latency issue variation issue, however, it can take up to a couple of seconds before that jump is actually performed in the match. This doesn’t only occur to jumps, of course, but to every single action in the game.
If you’re dealing with a rather severe case of latency variation, it pretty much becomes impossible to win the match in Rocket League and the session is just borderline unplayable.
Sometimes, this latency variation only occurs in a single match, but a lot of people are also dealing with this issue on a regular basis. Let’s see what the options are to get rid of this annoying problem in an otherwise excellent game.
How To Fix Rocket League Latency Variation By Changing Input Buffer Settings
Whether you’re playing Rocket League on PC, macOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, or Xbox Series S/X, this is a fix that is applicable to all platforms and it’s actually one that the Rocket League developers have recommended themselves on the official support website.
The solution to improve your latency variation problem is by changing some game settings. Here’s what you have to do:
- Boot the game and go to the settings screen.
- In the first tab, ‘gameplay’, scroll down.
- Choose ‘high’ for the Client Send Rate, Server Send Rate, and Bandwidth Limit options.
- Go to the Input Buffer setting, and change it to either STS or CSTS. The latter is a more aggressive version of the fix for more severe latency issues.
By adapting the bandwidth from and to the Rocket League server, your computer (or console) will prioritize online multiplayer traffic.
Additionally, the STS (Sim Time Scaling) and CSTS (Continuous Sim Time Scaling) in Rocket League are tools to help mitigate the input latency.
With STS, Rocket League’s servers will actually tell your system how fast the server is responding, and the game will then make adjustments accordingly. While there actually might still be actual lag, it will be far less noticeable resulting in a smoother gaming experience.
Continuous STS is taking it one step further and uses a more complicated continuous feedback loop that adjusts your game speed. It is considered to be a more thorough version of STS.
If you’re a PC player, you can even track your specific input buffering through network graphs. You can find these in the Settings as well, under the Interface tab.
Screen recording software doesn’t mix well with Rocket League’s latency issues
If you’re playing on PC and are still dealing with issues after trying the above steps, there is something else that is definitely worth trying.
If we take a look at people with similar latency issues in Rocket League who are playing on a PC (or a macOS system), a common denominator was usually the presence of some kind of streaming software.
If you’re running some kind of screen recording software such as OBS, Bandicam, or Fraps, try disabling them to see if that fixes the issue.
Some people have even reported these latency issues when Xbox Game Bar was turned on, which is a default feature on newer Windows systems.
It’s no secret that streaming (or recording) is quite intensive, especially for slower computers. It takes up quite some CPU horsepower, which could cause a possible bottleneck with the game.
The graphics card of your system could also be the cause of low framerates – and while they’re not the same as input lag, it also results in a less smooth experience.
So if you’re running streaming software and you’re dealing with the infamous kick-off/latency variation lag in Rocket League, try turning it off and see if that mitigates the issue.
Check your general ping (internet latency) and improve your connection
It might also be a good idea to check how good your internet connection is, in general.
For multiplayer games, a ping of around 20ms or lower is considered to be good.
You can perform any speed test you’d like to see how good your current internet connection is, measured both in speeds and latency. Here’s an example of an internet connection with very decent speeds and ping:
As you can see, a ping of 10ms should indicate that the internet connection is more than sufficient to play a smooth game of Rocket League.
If your result is rather disappointing, however, consider improving your Wi-Fi setup (a stronger router, different wireless channels, or just sitting closer to the router) or switching to a cabled (ethernet) internet connection.
Lastly, it’s also possible that the Rocket League or console servers are causing latency variation
Sometimes, Rocket League latency variation is also caused by Rocket League’s (or rather, Epic Games’) server infrastructure, or connection issues with Nintendo Switch Online, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Plus.
- Check PlayStation Network Server Status
- Check Xbox Live Server Status
- Check Nintendo Switch Online Server Status
- Check Steam Server Status
- Check Epic Games (Rocket League) Server Status
While you won’t be able to fix this yourself and you’ll just have to wait it out, you can easily check if their servers are currently having some hiccups. Whenever you feel like the game is a bit laggy, it wouldn’t hurt to check these status pages.
Often, the servers (or the game itself) are being updated or are under maintenance, which can cause some temporary connection issues.
Dealing with latency variation issues in Rocket League is certainly very annoying, but it can be fixed rather easily. For most people, changing the input buffering settings to STS or CSTS will mitigate the issue. Streaming software on PC also seems to be the cause of latency issues, especially on slower PCs.
Are you still dealing with these input latency issues? Feel free to let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help out.