We've put together the following list to help explain the differences between some similar terminology used on the ESO forums and in video games generally. Players experiencing one or more of these terms can use the list to more accurately report issues to our support team for resolution. Some terminology can be confusing, especially when different terms describe seemingly similar issues.
If there's a term you have a question about, please let us know.
Frame rate issues affect the number of frames per second (FPS) that a particular system can display on screen. Frame rate issues can look like lag with a choppy, stuttering display, but they are not the result of connectivity problems. Issues such as dips in FPS are related to system hardware performance, which can be measured in-game using the command /fps.
Lag is on-screen stuttering that sometimes looks like a dip in frame rate (FPS) although it is not related to that issue. For players who experience this, gameplay appears to slow down periodically or become choppy. Lag is associated with a wide variety of connectivity-related issues such as high latency, rubber-banding, and sudden disconnections from the server.
Latency is the time communication takes to travel between players and the game server. The symptoms of latency issues include long delays in interactions with the server such as opening doors, interacting with NPCs, sending and receiving messages, and using special abilities. What players experience can vary depending on their connection type and how far away they are (geographically) from the servers.
Micro stuttering is a freeze or pause in the game that lasts for a very short amount of time (less than a second). It normally happens when players are loading in to new areas or a particular NPC attempts to spawn. Excessive amounts of micro stuttering is usually related to system performance. There are a number of potential causes: graphics drivers may be out of date, in-game graphics settings may be not be optimal for the system, add-ons may contain unknown issues, and other programs running in the background may slow hard drive performance.
A rollback is what players experience when they disconnect from the game, log back in, and discover that the last 30 seconds, 1 minute, etc. of game time from their previous session didn’t save or appears not to have occurred. The causes for this can vary, but it is normally associated with connectivity because the transfer of data doesn’t occur correctly even though the game continues to run for a period of time. Sometimes with the release of a patch, small amounts of recent server data are not recorded before the server goes offline for the update. To avoid this situation, it’s important to pay attention to the maintenance announcements and log out ahead of time to avoid losing game progression.
Rubber banding is a very noticeable symptom of latency issues. Rubber banding occurs when connectivity problems cause the game to slow down or stop and then quickly catch up once the data comes though. This results in a character rapidly moving to another area or being pulled back to a previous point, which is similar to a roll-back, but rubber banding occurs in real-time rather than after a logout. The event itself is called rubber banding because characters look like they’ve just been flung by a rubber band when they suddenly catch up to where the server says they’re supposed to be.