With PC gaming on the rise, many gamers are jumping onto the latest flagship titles to play with their friends even if they are in the beta or alpha stages. One game, in particular, is Riot’s Valorant which launched in private beta that has extended invitations via ‘drops’ to Twitch viewers.
As a gamer and fan of Riot’s League of Legends, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to play the new competitive first-person shooter. The problem is Valorant’s only in beta so Riot is only running one data center in Chicago. I am in the Tampa Bay area of Florida thus giving me high average ping (75-150) and often packet loss of 40-70%.
Here is where my gaming performance dilemma started and where Exitlag entered my gaming experience. In the following Exitlag review, I will touch upon the basics of the service, pricing details, user experience, and performance. The views and opinions about the game optimization service are of my own without any bias or influence from the company so read with confidence.
What Is Exitlag?
Exitlag is designed to provide stability and increased performance for gamers on weaker internet connections or fast internet connections that are just really far from the game servers. The main component of the service is its smart data routing and packet optimization.
Being in close proximity to the game servers has always been a determining metric for positive user experience and gameplay performance (low ping, no packet loss) which is why most major game titles have multiple regions across the globe to choose from.
The service offers downloadable software that when synced to your account will utilize a proprietary algorithm to optimally determine and apply routes for necessary game data. This concept can not only improve individual latency but also remedy any pack loss that you may be experiencing while gaming.
Is Exitlag A VPN?
It accomplishes this feat by acting as a virtual private network (VPN) between you and the game server, thus routing your game data over the fastest and most efficient route to the game servers. Unlike most VPNs however, it doesn’t manage all aspects of your internet connection and only routes the data from specific supported game titles. This means popular software often used while gaming such as VOIP (Discord, Curse, etc.), web browsing, or music streaming services like Spotify are not being touched by Exitlag’s data routing.
A Few Extra Tweaks for Better Game Performance
Beyond the internet performance optimization potential, Exitlag has some useful built-in features to its desktop software for optimizing games to achieve an FPS boost which as you know is more attributed to a local metric than a network condition.
While these tweaks are minor and most can be carried out manually on your desktop through your operating system settings. While I would never recommend this software for using these tweaks alone, I can’t complain about this extra bonus feature which will likely be valuable to many.
Which Games & Operating Systems are Supported?
As of right now, it appears Exitlag is only available for Windows and there is a select list of games that it can optimize and apply routes to. While you can see the full list on the service’s website, here are some of the games that the software supports:
- DOTA 2
- World of Warcraft
- Guild Wars 2
- Apex Legends
- Lost ARK
- Maplestory 2
- Final Fantasy XIV
- Black Desert Online
Pricing: How Much Does it Cost to Use?
As you’d expect Exitlag isn’t free. Technically it can be for your first three days as it offers a trial period only requiring your email address and no credit card up-front. After that period, you’ll need to purchase a premium plan which starts at a reasonable $6.50 per month for their monthly plan.
If you plan on using the service longterm, the price goes down to $6.17 per month for quarterly prepaid and $5.83 per month for the semi-annual rate. Exitlag accepts all major credit cards, Paypal, and prepaid codes so affordability and convenience are noted.
Exitlag and Valorant: A Potentially Winning Combo
As stated at the beginning of this review, I came across Exitlag during my Valorant connection struggles. While I’ve used NordVPN in the past for other non-gaming related activities, I’ve never needed any sort of gaming VPN.
My home internet is solid running Frontier FIOS (previously Verizon FIOS) on their 500/500 Mbps plan. When on my desktop with a wired connection I’m receiving about 450mbps with an average ping of just 2ms according to Speedtest.
When playing release games like Overwatch, Call of Duty or League of Legends, my connection is fast and reliable. This was the first time I’ve ever had problems with a high average ping or experience any consistent packet loss when playing games from my home.
I found Exitlag mentioned with some success on the Valorant sub-Reddit and thought I’d give it a go. Within a couple of minutes, I had entered my email address for the free trial, downloaded and installed the software and connected to the Exitlag network.
A Big Drop in Average Ping & More Consistent Packet Delivery
Having played Valorant with an average ping of 75-150 while the rest of my friends, teammates, and enemies had 10-50 ping was frustrating. Loading into Valorant with Exitlag running, I was able to get this average ping to drop by 25-40 ms consistently.
Packet loss dropped altogether and delivery became consistent without any hiccups to bother my gameplay experience. Given the software allows you to turn the smart routing feature on and off, I was able to see Exitlag’s performance changes in realtime as I flicked the routing switch on and off.
Now I’m still usually at the higher end of the average ping per player in my Valorant game so it isn’t solving my issue entirely. However, on paper, it does seem to fix my high ping and frequent packet loss issues which is a relief.
Could This In-Game Data Be Skewed By The VPN?
Now here’s where the tricky part comes in when it comes to performance. Given that it functions like a VPN where my data is being sent to a closer Exitlag server and then to the Valorant data center, is it a placebo effect and simply better masking the original issues?
Are my in-game numbers being manipulated to show as lower ping and power packet loss because it’s showing the data between the Valorant and Exitlag servers in close proximity to each other? Could these figures be missing the extra latency or packets lost between the middleman and my connection?
Possibly, I’ve had many moments where it felt much crisper, but also had a few moments where I still felt lag despite it showing a lower ping and lack of packet loss. I’ve reached out to Exitlag and see if they can give me a better answer to this potential thought.
For now, it DOES feel smoother and more consistent than running Valorant without Exitlag so I subscribed for a month to give it more time. As I play more and more games in the Valorant beta on Exitlag’s servers, I’ll get a better feel for the performance and reliability of their network. With affordable, no-commitment pricing and a free 3-day trial, I’d recommend you sign up and give the service a try for yourself if you think it might solve your connection issues.