"The Connection to the Server has been Lost" or "Searching for logon server ... Attempt 1 of 20" or similar connection issues such as severe packet loss, going linkdead, chat server connection loss.
"Connection to the server has been lost!" or "Searching for logon server ... Attempt 1 of 20"
- Losing connection while transitioning game areas.
- Inability to log into or losing connection while utilizing or loading one or more characters.
- Cannot connect to specific or any world servers.
- Receiving the error Client timed out the connection while entering character select or the game world.
Connection issues that can occur when the game is trying to load, either to character select, or to the game world itself, such as when you select a character on the selection screen and press "Enter", or when you are transitioning that character to/from another area of the game (such as a Fast Travel, or entering an instance or dungeon) are most often due to issues with the game client program "Lotroclient.exe or "Dndclient.exe" not being allowed to connect to the internet outbound, accept incoming connections inbound from the server (or both) or access the ports it utilizes when it connects.
Section One: Determining what can prevent or affect the game's connection.
When you choose which world server you want to enter on the game launcher and press the "Enter" button, this begins the process of the game client file (lotroclient or dndclient) opening and attempting to establish two-way (inbound/outbound) communication and connection with the server you have selected.
At this stage, what can prevent this are somewhat varied and are listed here:
- The system's internet security application and/or firewall is not allowing the game program file to connect or accept an inbound (from the internet) connection.
- The ports that the game utilizes for its communication are closed or not available or not allowing two-way connections.
- The network hardware (the router and/or the modem) are not allowing access to the ports used, or they are not correctly routing inbound data coming in on these ports to reach the computer.
- The provider's network may not be correctly allowing an inbound and outbound connection method like the game uses.
How can I lose connection while loading or playing the game but not lose connection to the internet?
Both DDO and LOTRO connect using encrypted UDP (User Datagram Protocol) packets over ports 9000 to 9010 (for the general data communication) and 2900 to 2910 (for the chat and voice chat connections) and they use "loose" routing methods, usually referred to as "asymmetrical packet routing". What this means is that while the game client sends data outbound (upstream) on port 'x', the response packets coming back from the server inbound (downstream) are using port 'y'.
Whenever there is an issue with these ports being accessible, the two-way data method being supported, or the inbound/outbound data being misrouted then connection issues at these stages can and do occur.
Section Two: Troubleshooting the software based causes.
When you are encountering connection issues with the game client like these, the first thing you want to do is to double-check to make sure that each program file of the game is being allowed through the (Windows) firewall per the instructions in the Knowledge Base article linked below. Keep in mind that even if you do not use Windows Firewall, whatever firewall/internet or web security tool you do use may also have to be manually 'told' to allow the game files inbound/outbound connection to the internet.
So while the steps to do so are detailed in those articles and are outlined for Windows Firewall, they are essentially the same if you use a third-party firewall/security tool, except that the options and menus may be different. Refer to your suite/application's provider or manufacturer's website for details on setting up 'game exclusions' or 'program exceptions'.
Be mindful of the fact that some Internet Service Providers (ISP's) offer 'customized' versions of popular internet security software, including firewalls. If you installed one of those, the options may be different; you might need to contact your ISP regarding its use/configuration and "exceptions".
Some antivirus/web security and similar "security suites" that are known to periodically cause issues with the game launcher's/client's connection (even after exceptions/exclusions are enabled for the game files) are listed below:
- CA (Computer Associates) Internet Security
- Telus Security
- Shaw Secure
- Kaspersky Internet Security
- Outpost Firewall
- PC Tools Firewall
- Panda Antivirus
- Vipre Antivirus
Usually these and similar applications have additional stricter security settings/profiles that affect the game's connection. Options to look for are filtering/monitoring of secured http (https) connections; "behavior" or "heuristic" method filtering/protections; any kind of 'paranoid' or testing/sandboxing functions, email/port filtering (these often conflict with the game's use of ports 9000 to 9010 and 2900 to 2910).
Typically, these suites just have somewhat more 'in-depth' settings/options to be changed when they are reconfigured to allow the game's connection without restrictions while still being able to protect the PC.
Your networking hardware (i.e your modem and/or router) may also have a 'built-in' firewall setup; this too may need to be configured for allowing the game file's inbound/outbound connections to and from the internet; refer to the manufacturer's website for details on doing so.
In addition to the security software, some other causes of connection issues for the game client are:
- Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) applications like Skype and similar, chat tools like Ventrillo, TeamSpeak etc.
- Download 'accelerator' tools like "Internet Download Accelerator" or similar data 'compression' tools.
- Peer-To-Peer (P2P) or "Torrent" downloading tools/utilities.
For the most part, these items listed above typically either are 'listening' on the ports the game is trying to use, or outright blocking any other application from using the ports the game is trying to use (most often because they are 'locking' out other programs so they can utilize them exclusively). In terms of download accelerator applications, these work by essentially trying to improve download speeds by 'compressing' data packets; potentially if they do this to the upstream (to the server) or downstream (from the server) data packets the game is trying to send out they can prevent its communication because neither the client or server will 'recognize' these compressed packets and will drop them.
Using a 'clean boot' as a testing step:
One method of testing any kind of connection issue with the games that might be related to software preventing the game's connection is to try running the game while under a 'clean boot' of Windows. To clarify what that is, basically you (temporarily) turn off all non-essential programs and (non-Microsoft) "services" that start up when you boot up your computer. If the game can connect with these off, it tells us that there is something that normally runs at the same time as the game and now is not letting it do so.
So once the firewall/internet security tools are updated and other applications that might prevent the game are checked, if the game still cannot connect, try performing a temporary "clean boot" of Windows per the steps outlined here. Perform the steps as detailed, restart the PC when prompted. Upon rebooting, relaunch the game to test.
If, while running under the clean boot, the game can connect, review what items were disabled by this change, as most likely one or more of the programs or services configured to start with Windows is affecting the game's connection when it is running.
Note: After testing the game, Windows can and should later be returned to a normal start up and rebooted by undoing the changes made in those steps.
Section Three: Troubleshooting the networking and/or networking hardware based causes.
Below is somewhat of a diagram of how the game's communication works and the various hardware and networks it may pass through.
Note: Players who connect with just a modem and no router should be aware that most broadband-based modems function as both a modem and a router. This means that some of the steps outlined below for routers can and should be adapted for your modem as well. Additionally, DSL users that use both devices (e.g. a separate modem as well as a router) that are experiencing connection issues might want to check with their internet service provider about possibly putting the modem into 'bridged mode' as a temporary testing step.
As you can see from the simplified diagram, the game's communication method needs to have the ability to transit across many facets of your internet connection and the internet in general. Troubleshooting this can be somewhat involved, but we have broken down some of the more basic items and steps below:
- The router/modem need to support how the game connects. One way they can do this is through the use of "Port Forwarding" which basically is a way of configuring these devices so that when any inbound data comes in on a specified (by the user) range of ports, it 'forwards' those packets to the specified computer (done so via the "IP Address" that the router has assigned to that computer generally).
- There are many guides for "Port Forwarding" on specific devices available online, including many for DDO & LOTRO at www.portforward.com (not a Standing Stone Games affiliate) that can walk you through configuring port forwarding on your specific model device (usually the model number is somewhere on a sticker somewhere on the device itself). The router/modem manufacturer may have detailed steps on this as well at their website (if your ISP provided the hardware ,they may be the ones to contact in some instances).
- In addition to software based firewalls, many networking hardware devices like routers, modems and even some networking interface cards (essentially the card that provides the networking port on your computer) can utilize a built-in firewall to help protect the system. Like their software based versions, these firewalls also may need exclusions setup for the game files as well as the ports the game is trying to utilize.
- Another troubleshooting test to try when you are connecting with a separate router & modem is to try bypassing your router completely by disconnecting your computer's network cable from the router and reconnecting the computer's network cable directly to the modem instead. This can help to determine if the packet loss/connection drop might be occurring because of the router by essentially taking it out of the connection chain temporarily. (When you do this, you will need to both 'power cycle' the modem by unplugging it and plugging it back in, as well as rebooting the computer. Upon rebooting, you want to check your general internet connectivity before trying the game to test.)
- Users of "VOIP" hardware (basically a hardware internet "phone" device) or similar internet 'phone' networking hardware might experience connection issues when the VOIP hardware is between your computer and the router/modem. Generally, when these are 'daisy-chained' so that your connection setup is [Computer] ? [VOIP Phone Hardware] ? [Router] ? [Modem] you just need to rearrange the hardware so that the computer and the VOIP device share a connection to the router instead of passing through each other (i.e. they both connect to separate network 'ports' on the router).
- Wireless networking users should try to use a wired network connection as a testing step whenever possible. Wireless networking hardware because of its method of connecting/transmitting data and the added security (most often for inbound) required for an 'always on, always available to anyone' network can quite often not handle the game's connection well. Testing over wired when possible can help to determine if the wireless is a significant cause or contributor to issues with the game's connection.
Note: Players on public or residential wireless networks that cannot access the networking hardware for testing purposes may need to contact the device provider or support to determine if anything can be done to better enable the game to connect on their network hardware.
Along with all the above, there is the internet service provider's network and networking hardware. Troubleshooting these as a potential cause or contributor to issues can be somewhat more difficult, since they usually require contacting your provider's support and asking questions about how the game connects, and whether or not they are having any issues with supporting it or allowing it on their network.
If they or any of their provider's (usually providers for ISP's are called "GSP's" or Global Service Providers) networks or network hardware are encountering issues with routing connections to/from the game servers to your system, these issues can manifest.
Note: You may want to also use internet "traffic report" websites to determine if there may be potential issues occurring.
Asking your ISP the 'tough' questions:
First and foremost, there are sometimes ways that the ISP's network can cause connection issues with the game client and quite often the 'front-line' support might not even be aware it is occurring.
You might need to inquire with your provider about what are generally referred to as 'fair use' policies (these include things like bandwidth 'management', de-tiering, packet shaping, upload speed/port blocking).
Often because of how it communicates with the servers, some ISP's networks that have these types of policies and procedures in effect can see the game's connection and take steps to either a) limit its connection speed or b) block its connection entirely. If you have tested for and eliminated most if not all of the earlier items in this article, these policies may be something to check for with your provider.
Important Note: Players connecting via hotels, public wireless, or at school/work may encounter connectivity issues due to network policies and security settings in-place on the network. You will need to consult with your locations I.T. department/support to determine if there are any issues with utilizing the game on these networks.
If you require further assistance, please follow up with Technical Support.