Lag can really ruin the fun of Minecraft, or any game for that matter. If it’s bad enough, it can make a game unplayable. Sure, optimization could be the issue, and it’s easier to simply blame the game, but it’s better to start by looking inward. Lag comes in two forms: frame rate and latency. The kind you’re experiencing is either a symptom of your system or the server you’re playing on. Either way, it’s a frustrating problem to deal with. Here’s what you can do to reduce lag in Minecraft.
Reducing frame rate lag
Frame rate lag is typically experienced during single-player, a sign that your system is having trouble keeping up with the game. Whatever platform you’re playing on—PC, console, smart devices—all have limited resources. Frame rate lag on consoles isn’t as common, but it still happens. Build a city large enough and watch frames plummet into the teens or even single digits. By tweaking in-game graphic settings, frame rate can be improved and ultimately reduce lag.
Start by opening the in-game menu and choose Settings. Let’s touch on Graphics first. If they’re set to “Fancy,” switch it over to Fast. Follow that up by turning off Smooth Lighting or at least Minimum.
Altering Use VSync is up for debate. Turning it on limits frames per second to your monitor’s refresh rate, which reduces screen tearing. That’s nice and all, but on older hardware you could experience input lag. It’s best to leave it off for now.
Mipmap Levels smooths out distant textures and jagged edges. It can be left at four or switch to two, but only if you’re using Minecraft’s original textures. A high-resolution texture pack smoothed out even further by the game’s mipmap levels can put a strain on your GPU. In that case, disabling it is the better option.
When transitioning from one biome to another, you’ll notice a stark contrast between the two. Fly up high enough and you can see where one biome ends and another begins. With Biome Blend, Minecraft attempts to blend block colors of joining biomes for a smoother shift. This too can be murder on your PC. Turn it off or keep it at 5×5.
Another resource hog is Render Distance. This is done by loading “chunks,” and more chunks means an increase in resources. Default is 12 chunks, but 8 chunks should be plenty. Clouds can be set to Fast. You can leave Particles, Entity Shadows, and Entity Distance as their default values.
Reducing latency lag
You can catch symptoms of latency lag, or lag spikes, when performing actions during a multiplayer session. Blocks you mine might break, reappear, then break again. You could be running through a cave, only to get whipped back to where you were a few moments ago; otherwise known as “slingshot lag.” This issue rears its ugly head when the server (host) took too long to respond to the client (your game). And fixing it isn’t as straightforward as it is in single-player.
The most obvious (and expensive) choice is upgrading your network. A stronger connection allows more data to be sent and received. Unfortunately, that isn’t always an option. Instead, consider using an Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi. It provides a healthier connection, but the trade-off is being tied to a wire.
We can’t forget about the host though. By joining a friend’s game, you’ve set up a client to server relationship. The strength of their network greatly determines the flow of your session. If their network is terrible, you’ll notice a much higher ping and far an increase in latency lag. To fix this, the individual with the better internet connection should be host. Unless you plan on upgrading your network, this is the extent of what you can do to reduce latency lag.