Originally Posted by DaveW
Umm no, in a MMORPG your CPU is not doing the math during combat. Its would be too open to hacking. All your PC does is tell the server "okay, I am attacking this person now". And server goes through all the process of determining when each sword swipe or arrow twang is done, what damage is rolled, how much damage is reduced to armor resistance etc. Your PC basically just sits back and reports the numbers as it gets them from the server. Seeing you char actually swing his sword or shoot an arrow is just mindless graphical effect added on top.
Also, I don't know what EQ2 is like, but with WoW most of the world is static, its all just part of the map. Only a few things like NPCs and player chars actually move, and there is no collision detection on them. E.g. you can't drop a box infront of an NPC and watch him kick it or walk around it. Infact in WoW you can stand infront of an NPC or player and he will just walk straight through you.
There is a network bottleneck when you are in a city with hundreds of players and NPCs around you. The server has to update you with their location several times a second. This is probably why most NPCs in cities don't move. Still, network lag should not affect your framerate. They should be in different threads and independant processes. E.g. in a high load situation you should expect to see characters move in a jerky manner, but you can still rotate your FoV and look around the world with a good framerate.
Quoted for truth.
EQ2 on the other hand is very gpu and cpu limited due to the nature of its coding. What dave touches on is a big problem for most mmo develoeprs. Especially those using new 3d engines. The framerate issue also has alot to do with the way mmo's pre-draw everything behind buildings even if you can't see them. Silly things like database issues, that cause cache lag which eats your memory/swap/hd due to dbase flagging of characters in your vicinities inventory. In EQ2 of course many of the npc's in the cities move around. Designing mmos is so complex most don't understand what they are getting into until they hit closed beta and double digit thousands kill their network and servers, and expose fundemental database flaws. This is one of the main reasons wow had such a long beta period. Wow from closed beta to release, is basically 2 completly different games.