Hi all, be prepared for a wall of text!
Now, before you all start posting below complaining about this being a repost, etc. I know, but I'm so fed up that there is no response from IW or Sledgehammer about this that I'd like to make my own post, also so I can share my own experiences clearly (most of the other posts have descended into arguing).
There are two problems I've been experiencing, and those are general lag and lag compensation.
I have a good deal of experience with Call of Duty games. I've played CoD 4, MW2, Black Ops and MW3 a great deal, so I can tell when somehting isn't quite right. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been in quite a few matches (especially when playing Ground War) in MW3 where lag has ruined the game for me. Rubber banding was one such problem. Another was seeing enemies teleporting and then said player would insta-kill me. I realise that lag is an inevitable problem in such games, however, a two-bar connection in MW3 is about as good as a one-bar in MW2. I played quite a bit of MW2 in the run up to MW3's release, and could tell that, even with MW2 having around 50,000 players online and MW3 having around 400,000 at the time, there was no difference in the quality of connections. It was even difficult to find standard Kill Confirmed and Domination matches with low latency. My internet has been playing up a bit recently though, so that is partly to blame, but the problem with my internet connection has been speed, not latency. I'm now doing my best to play in parties with people nearby who have similarly fast internet and I also leave the matchmaking lobby if the the game starts searching for matches with < 75 ms ping, rather than < 50 ms.
It just confuses me as to why lag is so much worse in MW3. I do realise that there is additional Elite traffic, but why not postpone that data transfer until after the match is over - it's not actually sending your stats in real time now is it? That's how Battlefield does it and it works well.
Ok, this is the big one. I remember when lag compensation was introduced in Black Ops. I also remember the many patches I have had to download since launch. I remember when Black Ops' lag was terrible and how patches progressively fixed it. I remember my comparisons between MW2 and Black Ops connection quality and how much better MW2's connections were. I also realise that it took about 10 downloadable patches (as opposed to hotfixes) for the connection to be consistently good and for hit detection to be spot on. I do not want to see the same thing happen with MW3. It's sad to see really that, since the latest update, lag compensation and hit detection have become major issues. I do not want to wait 6 months to be able to enjoy playing online on an even playing field. I'm not saying lag compensation is a bad thing - when I was host in MW2, I felt bad about annihilating the opposing team. Suddenly the one second between firing my SPAS-12 and the hit registering was gone. I could run around and kill people before they even had a chance of returning fire. I'd get K/D ratios of 20 or 30. And I'd have a lot of fun getting multi-kills with my AC-130. Lag compensation is something that, when done right, will make the game fair and make everyone happy. However, done wrong, it has the potential to infuriate many. The latter is what is happening now (it started about a week or so ago, since the latest update was released).
A simple Google search reveals the scale of this frustration. As soon as I realised I wasn't the only one with such issues (and that it wasn't simply because I was suddenly bad at the game), I decided I'd best write my thoughts down and make sure that IW, Sledgehammer and the CoD community see what is happening.
The golden rule of FPS (and any other shooter for that matter) games is to punish you when you make mistakes and reward you when you do the right thing. Take it as this: if you die because you did something stupid, so be it, but if you died when it wasn't your fault, that's when a game becomes frustrating and unfair. Lag compensation in MW3 is so strong that it gives a huge advantage to those on poor connections and punishes the host beyond belief.
Here's an example: earlier today, after playing in a party with 4 friends and winning all our Dom and Kill Confirmed matches bar one, I decided to hop into FFA. Normally I win FFAs, and often finish 2nd or 3rd. I played a few two weeks ago and won most of them. Today, that didn't happen. I decided to do this to level up my SPAS-12. I was host (I was sitting in the 'waiting for x more players' screen for a while whilst players joined one by one), so I thought it would be a fine match to use my shotgun. It wasn't - I finished last. The few kills I did get were when my enemies either had their backs to me or they had missed me with their entire magazine and were reloading. One time, I'd walk up some steps and I'd see the enemy and instantly fire a shot and then follow up with a second. Then I'd die from a single shot. The killcam then shows me coming over the top of the stairs and doing absolutely nothing whilst the guy empties five rounds into me. Another time, I'd go round a corner and a second later I'd get shot and die, not by somone after the corner, but from someone before. Killcam shows me nowhere near turning the corner.
I also recall the 'being shot around corners' in many other matches, emptying half a mag on target at someone walking directly towards me and be insta-killed by them, only to be shown in the killcam standing like an idiot not firing a single shot, and sniper bullets that seem to be blanks (I'd fire on target and the hit wouldn't register). Most of those who killed me would be on three-bar or two-bar connections, whilst I'd be on a four-bar or host.
Lag compensation is so ridiculously strong that it makes playing as host or on a four bar simply frustrating and no fun at all. I am going as far to say that MW3 has been ruined by this issue. I'd say I'm not a bad player. I'm definitely an inconsistent player - I have off days where I lose more matches than I win and have saddeningly poor aim, but on a good day with a good connection I can rack up 40-50 kills in Domination, win most matches and have long killstreaks. Not Sandy Ravage, but definitely better than average.
Please IW and Sledgehammer, make sure you fully test patches in the wild (i.e. on standard intenet connections, not corporate LAN) to make sure that things work as they should. Rubbish internet connections will have wild jitter (fluctuations in latency), so sometimes they have even more of an advantage, as it takes time for ping to be calculated and for lag to be compensated. For example, if an enemy has 120 ms ping to the host and then has 60 ms the next packet, and if you have 10 ms ping, 110 ms lag compensation will be applied to you if you and them have a firefight, but that applies to old data (compensation can only be applied to packets after the test packet), so they will win. Their next packet could have 400 ms ping and the one after just 50 ms - it's not fair.
Also, before I forget, fix the spawn system! I hate it when enemies spawn right behind me in the open, or when I have just respawned for an enemy to run in half a second after I spawn and kill me from behind. I myself have spawn killed enemies that have spawned in front of me (direct line of sight), which shouldn't happen.