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Random ESO Crashes since Murkmire released (PC/NA) - Resolved (video driver issue)

So... any thoughts, or is anyone else experiencing this sort of issue?

I'm seeing more and more ESO game crashes over time, and especially since Murkmire came out. These can be either a crash with a "can you tell me what you were doing" popup diagnostic box, or the game can sometimes just close unexpectedly and leave me on the desktop instead. FYI, I typically run my game fullscreen, with a Chrome or Edge browser open in the background, and occasionally switch between them. This is normally not an issue with 16GB and SSD hard disks (with Windows 10). I'd suspect my Norton antivirus, except that I do have exclusions for the live and the Program Files (x86) game folders.

I'm typically seeing a crash every 3-4 hours or so, but it is not predictable - they are almost random. I do writs on 9 toons, and other activities on five of them, with a variety of classes, factions, and almost all races, and the crashes are not specific to any. That said, I've seen crashes mostly in the following situations:
  1. Dungeon or trial boss and trash fights. Ok, lots of in-game effects going on, maybe something gets overloaded somewhere.
  2. When leaving an instance of a dungeon or house. The game typically just disappears on me after displaying the zone load screen for a while, with no error message dialogue.
  3. When mousing over or scrolling through inventory items or in a trader or crafting UI screen. This issue occurs more often when a trading utility like MM or Arkadius' Trade Tools is enabled, so I have disabled that addon for most of my toons. I can't tell whether it is actually the addon or just that the game client cannot handle something in the process of looking up additional data about the items and then displaying it. I suspect the latter.
  4. When running or riding around at speed, with rapids enabled. This type of crash usually happens in cities, but can occur even in fairly quiet city zone areas, e.g. Shornhelm or outside Vivec (during an event when most players were elsewhere). It can happen with very few other players around, i.e. probably not related to player abilities or their effects.
  5. After being idle/AFK for 10 minutes or so (bio break etc., with a character still logged in). This might be some sort of background Windows 10 memory management issue, especially if the game is using a lot of RAM? (I haven't checked for memory leaks).

Note: I have not had any crashes from Battlegrounds (which one might think are effects-intensive), and I can't comment on Cyrodiil issues, since I don't PvP there much.

Update: I have since discovered that one of my two 8GB memory modules is / was faulty - resulting in occasional (once a month or so) bluescreen crashes. I removed the faulty memory module but am still experiencing the same sorts of occasional ESO game crashes (a couple of times a day or so).

Update Jan 23: the Nvidia GeForce driver update on January 15 appears to have resolved the issue.
Edited by Pyr0xyrecuprotite on January 24, 2019 3:02AM
  • katamuro11b16_ESO
    I get random crashes to login screen. Could be anywhere from 5 minutes after logging to an hour. It just kicks me out every so often.
  • Shadowshire
    @Pyr0xyrecuprotite @katamuro11b16_ESO @ZOS_BillE @ZOS_JessicaFolsom

    There are four aspects of the problems that you have reported, which I discuss below.

    (1) Connectivity Loss: In my experience, which is more-or-less the same as yours, what happens is that the game client "loses" its asynchronous "connection" to the Bethesda megaserver. That is, when the game client sends a packet (which contains your input, if any) to the megaserver, either the packet is not received within a specific span of time, or it never arrives at all.

    It is also possible that the megaserver received and processed the input, but the game client has not received any acknowledgement of its receipt, or an update of the Heads Up Display (HUD). Either event signifies a loss of connectivity.

    Each connection to the megaserver has a specific amount of "time-to-live" (TTL). The connection is terminated if the megaserver does not receive a packet from the game client (for which the connection was established) before the TTL expires. Such a termination ordinarily occurs only when the "network latency" is too high for continuing to play the game to be feasible. (See also #4 below.)

    Such connection losses should not happen. For the first 3 years during which I played TESO, they rarely happened. When they did happen for a while, I investigated and discovered that an Internet router was either overloaded or malfunctioning. Thus, it ignored ("dropped") packets instead of routing them. I reported this to my ISP and to ZOS Technical support, respectively, and the connection losses stopped occurring.

    (2) Player Not Submitting Input: Note that the game client renews the TTL by sending a packet which has no input while the player is Away From Keyboard (AFK). That is, while there is no activity in progress which requires processing by the megaserver, such as searching the items for sale in a Guild Store. When the megaserver receives a packet, it always responds with an update of the Heads Up Display (HUD) regardless of whether the packet it received contained any input. So the connection remains "live".

    However, usually there is also an AFK TTL. When the AFK TTL expires, the game client stops sending its "no input" packet. Consequently, the megaserver terminates the connection because of the absence of player activity.

    The situation is the same as when we voluntarily Quit the game. However, when I did not input ESC > Quit, the game client simply returns me to the primary game/account log-in dialog screen because of the lack of activity, instead of the Windows desktop after I use ESC > Quit.

    (3) Game Client HUD UI Updates: The game client usually waits for an acknowledgement from the megaserver that it has received and processed a packet (our input) so that it can update the HUD. For example, often there is a long pause after I have posted an item for sale in a Guild Store before the game client updates the Guild Store UI to show that the item has been listed. The wait usually does not result in the game client displaying the primary game/account log-in dialog screen.

    Nonetheless, the long pause can and will result in display of the game/account log-in dialog screen when, apparently, the network latency is "too high" for "too long" to make continuing to play TESO feasible. That is, when the megaserver has not responded to the most recent packet sent by the game client before the connection TTL expires.

    Be that it may, of course, it is possible that the game client has a bug with regard to processing our input, monitoring the respective TTLs, etc. But, as far as I know, ZOS has not acknowledged any recent report of connectivity problems by disclosing that the ZOS developers are examining the game client for errors.

    (4) Game Client Non-UI HUD Updates: What is most puzzling, though, is when the game client returns me to the primary game/account log-in dialog screen while the network latency is displayed in white digits. That is, network latency is less than about 150 ms. and the FPS is at least 20, as they ordinarily are.

    Such a "freeze" ordinarily happens while I am not submitting input via the Bags (Inventory) UI, the Bank UI, the Guild Bank UI, the Guild Store UI, or any other UI such as a Crafting Station or the Collections UI. It happens in overland locations (including inside buildings and/or ruins), in delves, and in dungeons.

    Apparently, the game client continuously updates the HUD to show changes in the location of the character which I am playing. Presumably it sends updates of the character's location to the megaserver, of course, but not as often. This becomes evident when the game client suddenly stops accepting any input ("freezes"), then displays an update to the HUD which it apparently received from the megaserver -- one that shows my character in a recent previous location instead of the location that the HUD showed before the freeze.

    Another kind of "freeze" occurs when my character attempts to enter an area for which the game client has not received all of the output for the HUD. This usually occurs with regard to displaying terrain, but also with regard to assembling the floors, walls, etc. of a building, of a delve, or of a dungeon. My character, whether mounted or afoot, continues to "run in place" at the edge of the area until the game client receives the output for the HUD, and movement continues.

    Usually I can continue playing TESO after such a freeze and "switch" to the prior location of the character in the HUD. On many occasions, however, the game client displays a primary game/account log-in dialog screen instead, if it has not crashed entirely.

    There are a few other actions for which the game client updates the HUD without waiting for a response from the megaserver, too. Regardless the outcome is the same, namely, the game client displays the primary game/account log-in dialog screen -- when it does not otherwise crash entirely instead.


    According to ZOS, the recent Launcher download "stalls" during attempts to update the game installation and game client are attributable to changes in the Internet, and in the policies and practices of the ISPs who own and operate Internet hardware. Although that is plausible, in my experience, the Launcher update problem has yet to be resolved, regardless. I'm not holding my breath while they try to get a Round Tuit.

    Otherwise, I have not read any specific response to reports of connectivity issues such as ours -- other than replies which imply that it is the player's responsibility to investigate whether their computer software, system, and/or LAN router are configured correctly and operating reliably. Windows 7 SP1 diagnostics typically report that no problem can be found, but the "DNS Resolver" is not responding. ZOS/Bethesda Support has either entirely ignored my requests for help, or responds with boilerplate instructions which I could recite in my sleep by now. ....

    Since I cannot find any "performance" or connectivity problems with my computer or LAN router, etc., nor with my ISP nor with a failing Internet router(s), the frequent connection losses appear to be Bethesda network and/or megaserver operational issues.

    Suffice it say, IMHO, as this situation continues to deteriorate, playing TESO will become infeasible, whether not impossible. There is just so much time that any player is willing to wait and willing to spend recovering, or attempting to recover, from the situations that I have described above. If they are not resolved to our satisfaction, then there will be no reason to continue playing TESO.

    Enough said, I hope.

    Edited by Shadowshire on December 14, 2018 1:43AM
    --- Shadowshire .......... ESO Plus on PC NA

    nil carborundum illegitimi
  • Pyr0xyrecuprotite
    just to clarify, I am not getting that many game crashes to the login screen - and yes, those usually happen if there is a server or network problem. What I am seeing too often is a complete crash of the game to desktop, with or without an error dialogue.
    I'm wondering if there is some sort of memory leak or other interaction with Windows/hardware going on. Just as in the old days of Windows, I suspect I may be best off just restarting my game completely every 3 hours or so.

    My game is still completely playable most of the time - it's just starting to reach the annoyance threshold, especially if/when crashes occur during dungeon runs.
  • katamuro11b16_ESO
    I play other online games and I don't get connectivity issues with them. The thing is I have been playing ESO on and off since launch. The same issues persist for more than a year now. Huge lag spikes and disconnects have been there for quite a while.

    I have played many, many other MMORPGs, all major ones for sure from the last decade easily. This is the only game where I have this problem. No other mmorpg disconnects or lags like this one. Even private servers.
    Edited by katamuro11b16_ESO on December 14, 2018 9:12AM
  • Pyr0xyrecuprotite
    Turns out I have a defective memory module, which only rarely causes a complete crash. I suspect this could also have been part of the problem affecting my ESO gaming.

    Update: No, even with known good RAM, I'm still getting the same types of ESO game crashes...
    Edited by Pyr0xyrecuprotite on December 20, 2018 10:02PM
  • nordic_two
    Have you ever checked to see if there is an error log of the crash? Windows Event manager might have it, or even a log file in ESO someplace.

    One thing I would suggest trying, if you havent already, is play without any addons at all (even up to date ones) and see if that type of crashing still happens.

    Another thing to try is rename your usersettings.txt file for ESO. The game will make a new one, and you'll have to redo some of your non-addon related settings. That will make sure that file is 'correct' in case something went wrong in the update process.

    If you suspect a PC related issue there are some some testing applications out there that might help sort that out. (prime95 for cpu, memtest for ram etc)

  • Pyr0xyrecuprotite
    hm... I'm starting to suspect a memory leak in my Video card or something similar. (NVidia GeForce GTX 970, with 4GB memory, driver version 417.35 - I updated recently but still have the same issues.)

    The challenge with ESO is that there are so many load screens that I usually have some other browser games or youtube videos playing in the background, and switch out of fullscreen ESO to look at the other browser session from time to time. Eventually, it appears that the graphics card is unable to handle the mode switches between different video modes. Playing without a browser session helps a bit, but ESO still eventually craps out, unless I reboot every few hours. Hm...
  • Pyr0xyrecuprotite
    Update: the Nvidia GeForce driver update on January 15 appears to have fixed the problems.
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