What’s the Difference Between an Official Server and a Community Server?
Many online games have both official and community servers. The game developer runs official servers, while third parties like clans run community servers. While many gamers simply use official servers with default specs, others prefer to play on community servers with varied specs.
Advantages of official servers
Many gamers stick to official servers – either because it’s convenient or because they genuinely prefer them. Here are some advantages to playing on a game’s official servers:
- There are no admins, so games aren’t influenced by their actions
- You usually play with completely different people/teams every game
- The servers are often international (more diverse matchmaking)
- Servers typically have the same rules and specs, so gameplay is predictable
Advantages of community servers
Gamers often develop a preference for a particular kind of gameplay, which is why many experienced or frequent players switch to community servers. Here are the advantages of forgoing a game’s official servers in favor of community servers:
- Admins can block hackers, raiders, and cheaters
- You often play with the same people/teams over and over
- The servers are often local (no language barriers)
- Servers can introduce different rules and specs for varied gameplay
Official and community server tick rates
Tick rate is how many times per second a game server syncs with its players. When a server syncs, it refreshes critical information like the stats, location, and movement of each player. The higher the tick rate, the more often the game updates. It’s easier to do well in games that update more often since there’s a shorter delay between when you click and when the game responds.
Most official and community servers have a tick rate of either 64 or 128 Hz. A 64-tick server refreshes the game 64 times a second, or approximately once every 15 milliseconds. A 128-tick server is twice as fast. It syncs with clients 128 times a second – once every 8 milliseconds.
A game’s official servers all use the same tick rate, but the game’s community servers can use different rates. For example, the official matchmaking servers for Counterstrike: Global Offensive are all 64 tick, but the third-party FACEIT and ESEA CSGO servers are 128 tick.
Some games, like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, don’t have dedicated servers. Instead players host games on their local servers. These local servers typically have very low tick rates. For example, COD multiplayer lobbies use 22 tick servers and custom games use 12 tick servers.
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