My problem is not the fact that certain people, countries lag because as you say there are many factors that has to be accounted for. My problem is the arrogant attitude some people from the US show towards the rest in most gaming comunities regarding lag. The typical example of being accused for lagging with the assumption non US = bad connection. When that often isn't the case.
That being said, I doubt all this diversity really affects how many non-regional players you actually see. The "low" player count shouldn't affect this as much as it seems either. Its just ND's poir netcode and bad matchmaking algorithms. They switched to a legacy/level based matchmaking design a while back (doesn't actually work). And made ping a 2nd or 3rd option when it comes to player/host selection. Scorpion### (can't remember exact spelling) tested U3 in one house with 2 ISPs and 2 PS3s. He and a friend noticed a 400ms delay between him taking a shot and the actual shot happening on the 2nd Ps3.
The lag is built in. Other games with far less players perform better than U3.
I've played with crappy Internet before..it never has benefited me like it seems to do for people now..which is why I have a hard time buying the excuse of someone else's bad Internet causing ME to lose connection
What you're referring to as "distance lag" is usually called network latency. It is a physical limitation that is never going to go away unless we somehow manage to exceed the speed of light (not very likely heh). There are other forms of latency like the delay it takes for your TV to process the video signal and there's even an input delay from your controller. It's pretty crazy that we can play competitive games at all considering all the delays the game developers need to work with. Back in the days when games didn't use lag compensation the low ping players had such a huge advantage that they were almost impossible to beat. Lag compensation was introduced to make games more fair but I think we can all agree that global matchmaking is generally a very bad idea in competitive games.
The physical distance between players isn't the only thing that determines the latency though. Bandwidth, efficient routing, network congestion etc can be just as important and it's because of that the players from countries with poor internet infrastructure often lag much. I would just like to point out that the US lags behind a lot of industrialized countries when it comes to internet infrastructure and connection speeds, so it's pretty ignorant to berate other people for their internet connection when it's quite possible that they have a better internet connection than your own.
My main issue with the game isn't latency because I can live with getting shot around corners. Packet loss however is a complete game breaker because it effectively makes you shoot blanks and it's the reason why some people just don't seem to die. I don't know if it's actually packet loss or if the lag compensation is poorly implemented, but there's definitely something that leads to certain players having a huge advantage in matches. People here often complain about Mexicans, but I've had more trouble with French players so latency is definitely not the main issue here.
First of all, excellent post. Kudos!
And haha, but I'm having lots of problems with french players too. In Europe, many players from France and Spain are really bad on my screen and have an uber-advantage. These countries are very close to me, so you wouldn't expect this...
Why is it that players who cause lag (i.e. with "bad Internet" seem to be the killers in the game, take multiple clips of bullets, and can turn around and quickscope you with a para while you reload?
Is that supposed to be blamed on their Internet?
How is this type of "lag" justified as crappy Internet?