Possible Solutions[]

Originally posted here by JFarque00:

"Many nVidia graphics card users are having problems with not being able to see spell (particle) effects.

What I did not know until I resolved the problem myself is that not only does the game not look as good as it should, but your FPS is also markedly lowered by this problem. If you're having this problem, try this fix that has worked for others of us:

   * Get Driver Sweeper and the latest nVidia drivers for your version of Windows from the links below first
   * Install Driver Sweeper
   * Go to Add/Remove Programs and Uninstall your current graphics drivers (should be named "NVIDIA Drivers" or similar)
   * Do not reboot if prompted
   * Run Driver Sweeper to remove video drivers selecting ONLY "NVIDIA - Display"
   * Reboot
   * Enter Safe Mode by pressing F8 at Windows boot time
   * Run Driver Sweeper again in Safe Mode selecting ONLY "NVIDIA - Display"
   * Reboot
   * Do not allow Windows to install any drivers at boot time
   * Check in Add/Remove Programs to see if there is an "NVIDIA Drivers" listing, if so repeat the above steps until it is gone.
   * Install latest ForceWare drivers (currently 175.16, linked below)
   * Reboot

Some users have had to do this multiple times and perhaps in slightly different orders to get things straightened out, but it is very worthwhile.

Also, the game uses "particles" for many other effects in the game, if you're having this issue then you are missing a lot of eye candy and your game is performing a lot worse than it should.

EDIT (5/20/08): A lot of people seem to be having various performance problems with AoC and that is unfortunate. However, this fix is targetted at a specific issue with players not being able to see spell/particle effects on nVidia hardware and does not claim to resolve other performance issues.

AoC is a beautiful game. With higher graphics settings enabled it is demanding on system hardware (GPU, CPU and memory) regardless of how good your machine is. For instance I have 4GB of RAM in my 64-bit Vista machine and it's common for AoC to have allocated 1.25GB of memory and pegged one of my CPU cores at 100%. If you don't have a top-end system it's not a crime; use the performance options, that's what they're there for.

Some people seem to have been able to squeeze a few fps out of the game by cleaning the drivers as described above even though they are seeing spell/particle effects. If you're comfortable with trying this technique in order to experiment with your configuration then by all means do so, you really can't hurt anything.

At present the latest Microsoft Certified (WHQL) drivers from nVidia are 175.16 across all operating systems and these are the drivers I link to below. Some minor confusion has arisen due to people using leaked drivers with version numbers higher than 175.16. Leaked drivers have a spotty performance record in my book and I've shied away from linking them here for that reason. We're trying to solve problems not create them.

Lastly, I have seen a couple of laptop players have a difficult time finding drivers for their hardware if it's more than a couple of years old. Laptops are a special breed; if the nVidia links below do not have a driver for your hardware/OS combination, try your manufacturer's site first. If that fails try LaptopVideo2Go, google and asking here. freak1337 just made a good laptop post in this thread here (

EDIT (5/23/08): Unfortunately a couple of people have selected their nVidia chipset drivers in addition to their nVidia graphics drivers when using Driver Sweeper. This has rendered their computers unable to boot.

"Chipset" drivers are pieces of software that your operating system (Windows) relies upon to control hardware devices such as your hard disk, networking controller, memory, etc. A device driver "drives" the device for the operating system so that the operating system doesn't have to know every detail of every piece of hardware that could possibly be attached. Logically then, a graphics driver "drives" the graphics card hardware for Windows, and in turn, the game.

The AoC problem has nothing to do with the nVidia chipset drivers and they should not be modified or removed. In order to try and avoid others making this mistake I have added a couple of links to images of the correct and incorrect options selected in Driver Sweeper. I hope that this helps to avoid others creating this problem and I'm sorry for any grief this confusion has caused.

Good luck!


Driver Sweeper at Guru3D CORRECT Driver Sweeper options selected: INCORRECT Driver Sweeper options selected:

Driver Cleaner Pro at Guru3D A couple of people have had more success with this program than with Driver Sweeper.

nVidia's Latest WHQL Drivers Windows XP/XP Pro, Windows XP Media Center Edition 32-bit: Windows Vista 32-bit: Windows Vista 64-bit:

Laptop users with older hardware may need to find their drivers here

  • thanks to damafan for the original list format" - JFarque00