Latency or Lag is the bane of all Internet gamers. It is not unique to Legends of Kesmai - just ask any player of Doom or any other online game. In layman's terms, lag occurs when the rate of transfer of data between your PC and the server computer on which the game host program runs is slower than the rate required for you to keep up with all that is happening on the host computer. The result is that what you see on your screen is not a picture of the present as it exists on the game host, but of the past. This can be a real problem in a game like Legends when you are being savagely attacked on the host computer and sitting blissfully unaware of the fact at your home computer.
Latency is not the only reason that a game may appear to run slowly. Before screaming "laaaagggggg!", first look at your own system setup. Legends, like all games, has certain minimum system requirements, however, game performance can be drastically improved by exceeding the requirement. I could not believe the performance improvement when I upgraded from 100Mhtz with 16MB RAM to 200Mhtz with 64MB RAM. Video RAM is also a factor. Many older PCs have minimal Video RAM (256KB or 516KB). Upgrading to 1, 2 or 4MB can dramatically improve the performance of a graphics intensive game like Legends. Hard disk read/write speed and usage will affect performance. Install your game on your fastest hard drive, try to keep it no more than 75% full and defragment it regularly. Your operating software needs to be up to date. Make sure you have the latest sound and video drivers for your audio and video cards. If you use DirectX, get the latest version (currently version 5) as previous versions had some bugs.
Real lag can have many causes; congested phone lines or poor quality lines in your area; poor modem performance or incorrect modem settings; poor performance of your Internet Service Provider (ISP), usually due to their having insufficient resources for the number of users they have; blockages and congestion at one or more the Internet links or hubs between you and the game host computer and finally, problems with the host computer itself.
If you want to try improving your game connection, I strongly recommend a visit to the Fundamentals of Computer Connections Homepage. I found some excellent tips here. You can use the DOS command "tracert stimpy.kesmai.com" to trace the route between you and the Kesmai game host and measure the ping times along the way. Better, however is UOTrace a Windows program that can trace and evaluate your connection over a period of time.
Legends of Kesmai, unlike some other online games, can only be played on one of two servers. AOL members, who play the AOL version of the game, have a dedicated server. Everybody else plays on the KesCorp. server in Virginia. (This is not quite true as there are actually two servers for Legends but both are at the same physical location). No matter who you use as your ISP, you will be routed into the Kesmai server though the MCI hub - with one exception! CompuServe has its own gateway into the Legends game computer. Therefore, assuming you have a choice between Compuserve and another ISP, you have a choice of routing into the game. This is completely independent of your game provider. I am not suggesting that one route is any better than the other, however, if one route is giving you lag (and you have the choice) it may be worth your while trying the other.
Finally, the real test of lag is in game play. Therefore we have out own in-game lag test (the BLT - Balm Lag Test) with recommended actions ....
Starting with an empty sack, find a balm seller that has no balms on their hex already. Drop 320 coins, grab the balms as they appear and drag them to your sack. If you are able to take the balms as quickly as they appear, then you are not suffering from lag. If balms start to accumulate on the floor more quickly than you can drag them to your sack, then you are suffering from lag. The degree of lag is the number of balms (out of twenty) that accumulate on the hex. The recommended actions are as follows: