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XBox360 Left 4 Dead 2 Lag Issues & the Solution

Left 4 Dead 2I swear … this will be my last Left 4 Dead 2 post until the next one. In any case, yesterday afternoon me and some of my zombie killing buds got together to play the game on the XBox 360. After some time, the game became unplayable because of lag. Zombies would stutter across the screen and by the time I fired a round, the zombie was gone and/or replaced by one of my buds. Sometimes I’d walk a few feet, then warp back to my starting location, or appear in an entirely different room all together.

Last night, we discovered the lag had only grown worse, making me suspect that the issue was due to server load as opposed to a poorly coded game. We decided to give it another go, and while setting up the game, I noticed that I could switch the game from a “official dedicated” server to a local host. What that means is that instead of connecting to a dedicated Valve server, my own XBox would be acting as the server. In theory, this sucks since I have the speed advantage and if I leave the match, the game either stutters as a new server is located, or the game just dies (like Team Fortress 2). Usually dedicated is the way to go, but I’m guessing those servers are swamped as people play the game. Thankfully, Valve had the foresight to add the option so with the flick of a switch, the game went local and the lag vanished. Granted, we only played co-op so an additional four other players may induce slowdown, but at least you can play.

Lesson of the story — switch to local to avoid the lag. When the load on the dedicated servers normalizes, switch to the dedicated mode. But above all … kill all zombies!

UPDATE: This appears only to work for co-op. For versus, you still have to use the dedicated mode, which as Greg points out below, is still busted.

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31 Responses to "XBox360 Left 4 Dead 2 Lag Issues & the Solution"

  1. Greg says:

    Hey thanks for this! I didn’t see the option to switch last night and after 2 hours of attempting to play I decided to give up for the Night and turn back to MW2. An issue like this Valve should of talked about the ability to switch over. Thanks again.

  2. Brian says:

    Hi Greg … Glad it helped. It’s simply maddening to drop sixty bucks on a game and not be able to play it. Hopefully, they’ll have this sorted out in the next few days.

  3. Greg says:

    Hey Brian,
    Yeah the lag was so annoying. I worked hard to get the wife out of the house went down into my bunker to find out the game was broken with lag. So Now I have to avoid her again tonight to at least get some game time in haha. The little that i did play made me feel like a giddy little boy again so i look forward to playing this tonight.
    PS. don’t attempt the Gnome Achievement if your playing by yourself it will drive you batty.

  4. matt says:

    this worked extremely well for me and my friends tyvm we all appreciate it, its a big peev when u pay $60 for a game and cant even play it…..

  5. greg says:

    Just a heads up guys when playing versus it looks like there is no option it all dedicated. And versus and any other 8 player gametypes are just full of lag it blows!!!!! oh well modern warfare 2 until valve cleans this crap up.

    1. Brian says:

      Hey Greg … thanks for the update. That really sucks. Someone needs to get flogged with a wet noodle for letting this happen.

  6. greg says:

    I would rather valve come clean on it and let people know this issue is being worked out before word of mouth starts to hurt this game.

  7. Nigga King says:


  8. joel says:

    You can use local server on versus. That’s how I’ve been playing it. I usually run around 20Mbit down/4Mbit up (my cable company gives all excess bandwidth to those of us with top-tier connection, so it varies greatly), so I can handle 8 players all with green bar connections and it works great. Valve needs to solve the problem though. L4D 1 never had great servers, but this is simply unplayable.

  9. matt says:

    the game it self is awesome but the lag is terrible they need to fix there servers

  10. Greg says:

    Hey Joel

    I’m not a guy with a big friends list and no one on my list is playing this game with MW2 out. So my issue is that I jump into games through their match making system which does not have that option. I guess as a way to avoid advantage its all dedicated. Its just a shame that after 4 days valve has yet to admit to the issue and i feel like my money could have been better spent.

  11. Alessio Manzi says:

    hi guys…sorry for my english!
    but for us in italy its wery hard to play.
    in localserver to…
    at last in left4dead 1 was better connection

    i hope, valve change somothing for us

  12. TremorDeth says:

    I just ran into this problem and thought someone was leaching my wireless router… not the case. I checked the speed of Halo 3 and had no problems playing what so ever… I’m trying to play a campain with someone other than myself and its unplayable… irritating as hell.

  13. CJ says:

    Didn’t see the local option, will try that tonight, nice one!

  14. Monica says:

    We haven’t had any issues when we do a team vs match, but still all kinds of laggy in a regular vs lobby. Hopefully they fix this soon :)

  15. Matt says:

    Are the official dedicated servers down? Last night and this morning I could not find a game in quick match, but when I set up a local hosted lobby, people could finally show up (albeit lagged from my crummy connection).

    1. Brian says:

      I’m not sure … my friends and I haven’t even tried the dedicated servers since the release. If the servers are down, that’s a good thing because it means that they are probably working in the issue (fingers crossed).

  16. jonathan says:

    it seems to be fixed no lag noone on red bars jus orange and green

  17. Jake says:

    No, I’m still finding the game unplayable (online). Official servers are still busted and I can hardly play it with my friends either. I really hope Valve actually fixes this for everyone; L4D2 is an amazing game, but connection issues are making online campaigns unplayable for me, and it’s really starting to get on my nerves.

  18. Nygel says:

    Ditto, every time I boot this game up I’m so frustrated by it. I genuinely want to play this but after a good few hours of trying and getting constantly red pings and intermittent teleporting round the map with the lag, I give up and utterly frustrated, feeling like I should return the game for a full refund. I paid a premium to have this on day one but since then it’s been unplayable.

    I’m reading everywhere on the net that Valve have supposedly sorted this, unfortunately it’s just not the case. =/

  19. Steve says:

    Hello, Left 4 Dead 2 is still a complete lagfest!!! Valve! take whatever the existing number of servers you have and double it.

  20. THEDEMONSIX says:

    Valve claims to now have lag free servers for left 4 dead 2. This is plain bullshit the lag is horrendous I live in England and have 10meg+ Internet speed and yet I am still unable to find a half decent match online, it either lags to the point were I can play or disconnects me from xbox live. The many years of loyalty I have had for valve are no more they were too hasty in releasing and did not address these problems, for a company like valve who are renoun for their online support this is NOT ON SORT IT VALVE.

    1. Brian says:

      Agreed … they really screwed the pooch with this launch and the fact that the pooch is still howling does not bode well. As bad as it is now, can you imagine how bad it will be on Christmas? Better buy the Left 4 Dead board game instead.

  21. Nygel says:

    Well I did return the game. And rebought it again the other day since it’s now semi-discounted!

    I assumed they’d have it all sorted by now but it seems not I’m still getting awful lag, a versus game is literally unplayable. =(

    I’m also UK.

    1. That’s funny … the lag over here is much better although I imagine it’s going to be miserable tomorrow. It seems like the best time to play this game is at least a year down the road when no one is playing.

  22. STEVE says:

    ill try to follow that tip. ive wanted this game for so long and i cant even play it.

    1. I imagine it’s pretty bad now with a lot of people playing for the first time this weekend. Valve has tended to be behind the curve on this one. Give it a week or so and hopefully, they’ll have the hardware to support the load.

  23. Conor says:

    Hey, I ddin’t try this yet, but will the local server reducing lag thing work on scavenge? or is it ONLY just on versus and co-op. REPLY ASAP

  24. Dallas says:

    this is a load…i only use quick match for party play online with me having no xbox live friends so the local server will not work for me…sometimes it will go orange bar for about a round or two then itll all go to hell again…any report on valves attempts to fix it would make me sleep easier

  25. Connor says:

    I can’t believe this lag issue happened a year ago and is still a major shit storm! I even tried the local server and I get full bars whereas everyone else has 1 bar and cannot play. Its not that I have bad connection, on any other game my connection is fine but L4D2 is terrible. Any additional advice on how to fix this or am I screwed?

  26. Cal says:

    Still pretty bad…

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