Slither.io guide to snake murder when the lag's got you down
Lag is the catch of the day every day so far in Slither.io but you don't need to get it get you down. Don't give up in frustration when the servers are so laggy you stop and start moving every half-second--use the lag to your advantage instead!
It may seem impossible to use the game's gimpy servers to your advantage, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Those measures being changing the way to play based on how laggy the game is.
If you can learn how to play well when the servers are so laggy it hurts, you can easily get your highest scores yet. I reached my personal best, over 58,000 in size, this weekend and the lag is downright awful. Nonetheless my average (non-early death) finishing sizes are much higher (20,000+) than normally (12000+).
Gimme some o' them snake guts.
Telling which type of lag you're getting
There are two types of lag Slither.io is currently riddled: graphical and server.
Graphical lag is caused by your hardware (phone, tablet, or PC) not being powerful enough to run the game well. You can tell it's this by whether or not the game slows down when you're near a bunch of snakes, large snakes, or when snakes boost.
Server lag occurs when the servers are too full and/or your ping is high. The more players there are, the harder the servers have to work. The game's current servers are under massive load.
You can tell this is the issue when the game stops and starts repeatedly, even when in an empty area. Other snakes will sometimes move jerkily and seem to often run straight into other snakes for no reason, and it takes a half second or so for your movements to happen.
This guide is going to focus on playing with server lag, which can be pretty awesome if you know what to do. There is no adjusting how you play for graphical lag because you are the only one experiencing it--while server lag affects everyone else on the map.
Becoming one with the lag
I do my best when the servers are at their worst. Not because I'm amazing (I am) but because most people don't know how to handle themselves when playing a game with high ping. You always need to think two steps ahead, and it's not all that hard.
There's a little extra time to think between actions when the servers are lagging. You're lagging, you hate it. But everyone else is going through the same thing and hating it, too. So what should you do?
Keep an eye out for what's around you
This is even more important when playing during heavy lag. Since the game is chugging, take the time to look around for:
- Small to medium-size snakes going directly straight - Inexperienced players don't zig-zag and coil up enough as it is, and during lag they have an even tougher time. It's easier to boost up and side-swipe someone during these times and you will often see some snakes just slither right into others because of lag.
- Look for boosting snakes - Boosting is dangerous when lag is high and snakes are hungry. It's hard to turn at the right time when the servers are laggy and it's not uncommon to see players boost right into another snake's butt just because there's a quarter to half second delay. If someone's boosting in a busy area, follow them and you may just get lucky.
- Particles and their vicinity to other snakes - You always want to look out for particles, but getting them is a different matter when Slither.io is laggy. You want to get them ASAP, but boost with caution. Do not boost towards clusters of particles already cluttered with other snakes.
I'd boost to get these normally, but not during periods of intense lag.
- Small snakes once you're at 5000+ size - Just swerve away from them. It's very easy to pick off a large snake when it's laggy and small snakes are all about that. But if you're a small snake and see a big guy minding his own business, go for it. You'll have an easier time getting them than you normally would.
- Look for coiling opportunities - Coiling is a real killer when the servers are fine and it's even better when they're laggy. Snakes you coil around will often run into your body faster than normally because movement timing is different during periods of high lag. Just be careful the lag doesn't make you ram your face into them instead of the other way around.
This snake tried to boost away but was too laggy to maneuver away safely despite having plenty of time too.
It's all in the timing
Part of what makes playing with lag fun is how much trouble other snakes have controlling themselves and staying alive, but the real fun lies in using it to your advantage.
You need to keep in mind that all of your actions are going to have a delay. Some delays are longer than others, but the fact remains that most of your movements are not going to happen right when you want them to. You have to turn or boost about a half second before you actually want to do it, in order to turn or boost at the right time.
Think of it as more a strategy than action game when the lag really is through the roof. You have enough time to think a bit before you have to react, which means if you get the timing down you can play even better than when the game is lag-free.
Kills are several times easier when the servers are laggy if you pre-emptively move. Other players can't predict your moves as easily during these times and because of the input delay, it's harder for them to react to you if you're being aggressive.
4 of these 5 snakes died a few seconds later. Spoilers: I killed all but the tan one. He just lagged into another snake.
Once you have the timing down and can control yourself well with the input lag you can be exceedingly aggressive when under 3000 size, provided you protect yourself by turning in circles every once in a while to give yourself somewhere safe to put your head if you get ganged up on. Many players have no idea how to maneuver themselves to safety when another snake is boosting around their face
It is very true you can be super aggressive during lag, but there are some ways in particular you need to play it safe in order to survive.
- Don't boost towards clusters of snakes unless you have to - I mentioned this above but it's important enough to mention again. Do not boost willy-nilly. It usually fine to boost toward massive amounts of freshly-exploded snake particles, but once you see another snake in there make sure to maneuver early (to make up for the lag) and stop boosting if you're unsure you'll be safe.
Boosting here got me killed, and it'd probably kill you too.
- Don't boost if you don't feel safe - Just to reiterate, boosting is super dangerous when it's laggy and it's probably the way most snakes die. There are times when you have to boost straight away to be safe (when a bunch of smaller snakes are hanging around your face) and you absolutely want to boost towards particles for a free meal, but keep the danger factor in mind before going through with it.
- Once you're at 4000+ size, don't just go straight - This advice applies both normally and when the lag is so bad you want to quit, but it's especially applicable during lag. Be sure to turn circles once in a while to give yourself somewhere safe, as mentioned before. And during times of extreme lag, just swerve around in the same area until it lets up. Safety first!
- Don't take risks in trying to snag particles close to other, larger snakes - This is something you normally want to do but it becomes much riskier if you're having input delay. Every particle counts, but once you're pretty big a few particles isn't worth the risk of dying. Be more picky with your particle pick ups.
- Wrap around masses of particles you want so you can eat them safely - You want to do this normally, but especially during periods of high lag.
This way you can eat in peace.
This advice isn't rock-solid, but it's definitely something to keep in mind considering my average scores during times of high lag compared to periods with reasonable ping.
There are more opportunities to kill and snag particles during these times because other players are in the same boat as you--which means you need to outplay them to succeed. Outplaying them is pretty much as simple as moving with the input lag in mind.