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DX9 vs [BETA] DX11 - Experiences & Review


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Introduction

I'm a huge fan of the game so I decided to go on an adventure to inspect what the fuss is going on around Tyria.

Here are my PC specs:

i5-9400 CPU @ 2.90GHz
Nvidia RTX 2060, 6GB GDDR6
16GB ram @ 2666MHz
OS: Windows 10

Although I don't have the best computer in the world, this game still runs well (especially being 9 years old already)!

 

Disclaimer

This is my first time using the forums so I apologize ahead of time if I'm posting in the wrong place. Anyway, I've only been playing the DX11 beta for a few days so I'm sure that this post will only cover a few select things about its new features. I also just want to add that I'm no tech-jargon god, so please bear my misuse of terminology throughout the review. Warning: tis' gon' be a long read, buckle up!

 

Review

1. Environment

First and foremost, I decided to sightsee in the older vanilla maps to observe any graphical changes since the newer maps seem to have better graphical fidelity anyway. I will be using both Lion's Arch, Divinity's Reach, and Queensdale (yes, I'm part of the female human master race). For the most part, I didn't observe any huge changes to the graphics, although I find that the majority of the environment looks slightly crispier and colorful when using DX11. By no means is the comparison between DX9 and DX11 "night and day", which is to be expected.

 

By the lobster structure in Lion's Arch:

(DX9https://i.imgur.com/xalw7M7.jpg - As you can see, this wall looks perfectly normal. The engineers, construction workers, and carpenters did their job!

(DX11https://i.imgur.com/hWKu3CC.jpg - Can't say the same for this one. It seems that Lion's Arch is celebrating Halloween early this year.

I reckon that this anomaly produced by the DX11 could also be found in many other areas of Tyria, but I've yet to spot more. Maybe this wall is the only one out there, who knows? If you have any observations similar to this, feel free to share them!

 

Cool aquarium located at the top-floor hallway of Divinity's Reach:

(DX9https://i.imgur.com/7g8Ifur.jpg

(DX11https://i.imgur.com/TL83w6W.jpg

As previously mentioned, there is almost no graphical change to see here. I do have to say that the DX11 version just looks slightly better, but that's up for debate.

 

Lake Delavan in Queensdale:

(DX9https://i.imgur.com/313gajq.jpg

(DX11https://i.imgur.com/gJ9KlSG.jpg

Again, there are barely any graphical differences to point out. On that note, the water quality looks about the same as well.

 

While DX11 is mainly an engine upgrade, it came with a few texture anomalies (such as the one in Lion's Arch) while also making the game look slightly crispier.

 

2. Rendering

This section could probably fall under the Environment section but decided to just make it its own. Plus, it lengthens my review and makes it look a little more official. From what I noticed, the draw distance, rendering time of objects, and shadows are almost identical in the two engines.

 

The Caudecus's Manor revisited in the mission Confessor's End (of Episode 4 of Living World Season 3):

(DX9https://i.imgur.com/vJ6njCw.jpg - Here's a box!

(DX9https://i.imgur.com/6uGBho4.jpg - This screenshot shows the max draw distance from that box with the utilization of the Shield 5 skill.

 

(DX11https://i.imgur.com/jzZ4kUn.jpg - Here's the same box.

(DX11https://i.imgur.com/HkMDMDR.jpg - Similarly, it shows the max draw distance from that box.

In terms of draw distance, nothing has changed between the two engines. I also noticed that the two engines renders the box virtually in the same amount of time when walking up to 'em.

 

Queen Jennah's throne room in Divinity's Reach:

(DX9https://i.imgur.com/nUiuBIB.jpg - In this image, we can see that the shadow being rendered is jagged. These jagged edges are definitely pointier than my great sword (New weapon type confirmed?).

(DX11https://i.imgur.com/W4TdEBA.jpg - Similar to the DX9 version, the jagged edges of the shadow still exists.

There's not much of an observation going on for this particular comparison.

 

For the most part, there is almost no difference in terms of the rendering, rendering distance, and rendering time of objects and shadows between the two engines. Maybe I should have just omitted this section, but I just thought it was interesting enough to share.

 

3. Performance

In this section, I'm briefly going to go over the FPS and the general performance my potato was churning out. For testing purposes, I limited my frame rate to 60 and I am using a hardware monitoring application called "Open Hardware Monitor" (which can be downloaded here: https://openhardwaremonitor.org/).

 

By the bank and Mystic Forge in Lion's Arch:

(DX9https://i.imgur.com/ZJGZHIu.jpg - With DX9, I'm getting roughly around half of the desired 60 FPS.

(DX11https://i.imgur.com/V2nDQoM.jpg - There is a slight 5~9 frame improvement with the DX11 version of the game.

(Open Hardware Monitorhttps://i.imgur.com/pFltVhQ.png - This image corresponds to the two images posted above for a side-by-side performance comparison.

I though about testing my FPS and performance in WvW, especially in huge zergs, but considering how fast those move, it would be pretty difficult to replicate the same conditions (staying in the same spot, number of players can fluctuate vastly compared to cities where most AFK, etc.)  of which I can screenshot my performance monitoring software for both engines. Plus, I would probably be eating dirt in my screenshots considering I only really use my Mesmer shield 5.

 

Although moving from DX9 to DX11 will probably not fix frame drops in areas with a huge pool of players in the near future, it does lessen the stress on computers and provide slight performance improvement. As we see on the hardware monitor, there is about a whopping 20% drop on the GPU load and about a 10% drop on the CPU load. For the most part, I think my computer will be happy with the investment that is DX11.

 

4. Quality of Life

With DX11, I find that the game start-up and instance loading is considerably faster. There is also a less chance of the game crashing at launch which is a reoccurring problem with DX9. Another feature that DX11 brings to the table is the ability to tab out of the game (full-screened) without minimizing the entire game to the taskbar monster.

 

Tabbing out full-screened:

(DX9https://i.imgur.com/CGwW19F.png - The taskbar monster appears!

(DX11https://i.imgur.com/BtLp9T7.png - I can tab out and open multiple programs without losing Guild Wars 2 to the taskbar monster.

I just thought that this was an interesting feature to bring up especially since I only game on one monitor.

 

Aside from delivering slight improvements to the game, DX11 also provides a few quality of life changes.

 

Conclusion

In the end, for a beta version of the DX11, I think that there is a lot of potential that this engine could bring. I'm sure there are a lot more going on with the implementation of DX11 into the game, but this is just what I have experienced throughout the several days I have been using it. I could see Arenanet taking the direction of improving the graphics considering that DX11 already aids in the performance of the game on modern computers. Although fellow gamers can have different experiences based on their PC specs, I think that DX11 is a good implementation overall. Sure, there are obviously still some quirks with the current implementation of the DX11, but Guild Wars 2's future looks very promising with the implementation of DX11 and the upcoming End of Dragons expansion. Thanks for your time!

 

TL;DR: DX11 beta = good, but we still have a long road up ahead.

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I don't have that red colouring all over the same wall in LA that you show with DX11. Not sure what's happening there, but I'd assume it might be a driver issue.

 

Mouse movement definitely does feel smoother, especially when turning around in a new zone/after a load screen. Makes me hopeful that as support for DX11 rendering is implemented we'll see a lot less of that dip when moving around/among zones and loading.

Edited by synk.6907
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17 minutes ago, MarkoGold.7126 said:

dx11 crashed my game when mordremorth dying cutscene came up.

That's rough, sorry to hear that. Hopefully you can get through the whole mission alright if you decide to have a go at it again! I remember a few months back when the game crashed occasionally halfway through the final cutscene of the Dragon's Stand meta, and losing out on the rewards due to the inability to rejoin the map. Lots of pain for sure.

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FPS and overall smoothness seems better.

Game froze and crashed twice while doing Death-branded Shatterer. (Decided to stop using it for meta events, so don't know if it happens more often in other areas).


Colors can also be strange sometimes. The fountain in the Gilded Hollow turns red/pink for example.

System: Core i7-8750H processor,  16GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti with Max-Q
 

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3 hours ago, LSD.4673 said:

Game doesn't hitch when turning the camera any more, and standing still FPS is the same, but overall performance seems worse for me. E.g., lots of movements feel sluggish, like turning.

it feels much better. it feels correct. DX9 feels turning with an auto delay.. problem is that you are used to it.

thats the same when people complained that Hobbits feels unnatural in 48 fps instead of laggy 24fps.

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Dx11 has obvious mouse input lag that needs to be fixed. It's even worse on crowded meta events.

Easy to find out: draw a line on minimap/world map and you will see there is a gap between cursor and the line.

Turning off vsync/higher framerate reduces problem but still nowhere near and good as dx9 cursor performance.

For the rookies: I'm not talking about the fps drop when you turn your camera. This is something else

More info here: 

 

 

 

Edited by fatihso.7258
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1 hour ago, bluberblasen.9684 said:

+1

it runs smoother, like dx912 pxy

 

 

 

For me it certainly seems better than DX9, but I think it ran smoother with dx912pxy ...or maybe it's just my imagination because I have 75 hz monitor and currently the DX11 beta doesn't support more than 60hz? I remember them saying something like that.

Ryzen 5 3600X with RX 5700XT and 16 GB RAM.

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48 minutes ago, fatihso.7258 said:

Dx11 has obvious mouse input lag that needs to be fixed. It's even worse on crowded meta events.

Easy to find out: draw a line on minimap/world map and you will see there is a gap between cursor and the line.

Turning off vsync/higher framerate reduces problem but still nowhere near and good as dx9 cursor performance.

For the rookies: I'm not talking about the fps drop when you turn your camera. This is something else

More info here: 

 

 

 

thats probably a local hardware problem.

the drag of the inventory is exactly the same in DX11 and DX9. just checked both. its the same.

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Tested on 2070 super, 3070, 3080 Ti,

60, 120 and 360Hz matrices,

latest software (drivers, updates, etc),

GW2 launched from ramdisk.

 

Resolution doesn't matter (tried 720p to 8k).

All tests with vsync turned on (forced in nvidia control panel).

 

Find a place where you got fps maxed out (equal to matrix refresh rate).

Set mouse on at least 6,4k dpi (for such high dpi I prefer metal mousepads, but don't forget to calibrate mouse).

Make rapid moves.

 

With DX9 response time is fine, with DX11 there seem to be a major delay.

 

As I pvp, at this moment DX11 is completely unplayable and useless.

With DX9 I get 90+ fps in crowded cities, sometimes it drops to 50 (probably shaders update

when something new appears), but the feel and reaction time is just fine.

No need for broken DX11.

 

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For me it's already an upgrade. I will not go back. Still some glitches...like Exordium and my backpiece randomly glitching out that never happened before. Further optimization now that we have DX11 will only continue to improve performance/experience.

 

Note: Can we have the option to use Post Processing but remove the Bloom now?

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I could live with missing/broken textures and things like this.

Hell, I played Quake with mod that turned opponents into red rectangles (hitboxes). Not a problem.

But response time is everything. I don't know how to say it precisely, but I have to trust the interface in all layers. To see that my actions have instant meaning. It's a part of immersion too. You don't have the fun when driving a bicycle with all the screws loosen, even if it's beautifully painted.

 

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6 hours ago, fatihso.7258 said:

Dx11 has obvious mouse input lag that needs to be fixed. It's even worse on crowded meta events.

Easy to find out: draw a line on minimap/world map and you will see there is a gap between cursor and the line.

Turning off vsync/higher framerate reduces problem but still nowhere near and good as dx9 cursor performance.

For the rookies: I'm not talking about the fps drop when you turn your camera. This is something else

More info here: 

 

 

 

Have you tried turning off VSync in your Nvidia contol panel? This completely fixed the input lag for me.

Edited by Maikimaik.1974
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Maikimaik.1974"Have you tried turning off VSync in your Nvidia contol panel? This completely fixed the input lag for me."

 

I tried. It changed a little the delay. Even if this would work, it's not a solution.

I have gsync in all monitors/laptops and tvs and I see no reason to turn it off (especially with the horsepower I have).

Turning off vsync is always a bad idea, it should be for testing only, introduces tearing and was popularized by people with really bad specs rigs. That's why gsync/freesync were introduced, they make vsync less painful (also consider that with 120+ Hz, turning off vsync is not that useful).

In DX9 everything is ok.

 

Edited by Shaigat.8935
additional thought in brackets
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3 hours ago, Shaigat.8935 said:

Maikimaik.1974"Have you tried turning off VSync in your Nvidia contol panel? This completely fixed the input lag for me."

 

I tried. It changed a little the delay. Even if this would work, it's not a solution.

I have gsync in all monitors/laptops and tvs and I see no reason to turn it off (especially with the horsepower I have).

Turning off vsync is always a bad idea, it should be for testing only, introduces tearing and was popularized by people with really bad specs rigs. That's why gsync/freesync were introduced, they make vsync less painful (also consider that with 120+ Hz, turning off vsync is not that useful).

In DX9 everything is ok.

 

There seems to be misconception that you should use vsync with gsync. 

I do not know what Hz you run, I bet more than fps you can get in game. So using vsync is only shooting your self in to the foot. 

 

Never used vsync after upgrading to gsync monitor. 

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