Fix The First Descendant Stuttering and FPS Drops

The game I have been waiting to try since the beginning of 2022, is finally here. Not the full game, obviously, but the beta. I am obviously talking about The First Descendant. Once I saw the trailer of the game a couple of months, I had already predicted that I am going to enjoy this game. Why? Because I have thousands of hours in games like Outriders, Destiny 2, and Warframe.

The beta became available on October 20, 2022, and it is going to run till the 26th. After playing the game for almost 3 hours nonstop, I can say that The First Descendant is the next-gen Outriders game. There is so much stuff that these two games have in common.

The First Descendant is a coop third-person ARPG shooter in which you play as a Descendant, and your objective is to fight against the invaders for the survival of humans and to protect the ‘Ingris continent’.

The game supports up to 4-player co-op and has various unique characters, exciting gunplay, and looting. You can experience an awesome open-world storyline by growing stronger through various missions and stories to finally discover the Descendants’ secret.

The First Descendant Gameplay screenshot by Frondtech #1

Speaking about the performance of the game on PC, it is something that needs a lot of work. The game does not perform well at all. Unless you have something like the RTX 3070 Ti or a 3080, you will face constant Stutters and FPS Drops. I mean, The First Descendant is a UE5 title, and it is quite graphics-intensive. But it still requires a lot of optimizations.

If you ask me, this is actually a good thing. The game is going to release next year and players are already discovering so much about the game. I love companies that provide free-to-play betas for their games. It becomes easier for them to get feedback and work on the issues before the final release.

Anyway, there are fixes that you can try to fix the issues for the time being.

[Note: The First Descendant is in beta, at the moment. Everything written here is subject to change when the full game releases.]

Fix The First Descendant Stuttering and FPS Drops

Here is what I did to fix the Stuttering and FPS Drops in The First Descendant on my RTX 3060 Ti:

Tweak the Video Settings

  • The first thing that I did was I set the Graphics Quality to Medium.
  • Then set the ‘Upscaling’ to ‘DLSS’.
  • And I set my DLSS to ‘Quality’. I gained a boost of almost 20-30 fps with this single change.

If you don’t see DLSS as an option inside your settings menu, then use FSR or XeSS. DLSS and FSR have almost the same function in this game.

Cap the FPS of The First Descendant

After getting that boost after turning on DLSS, my FPS was reaching 70+, but it was also going down below 60 during explosions or when my friends were spamming their abilities.

That is when I decided to cap the framerate of the game to 60. Now, there is no way to cap your FPS through the game. So, you will have to take external aid. What I did was:

  1. I opened Nvidia Control Panel
  2. Clicked on Manage 3D settings.
  3. Clicked on the Program settings tab.
  4. Furthermore, I clicked on ‘Add’, In order to select The First Descendant.
  5. I selected The First Descendant from the list of programs.
  6. I looked for the Max Frame Rate setting.
  7. Then I set it to 60. You need to put the FPS number that you think your PC can handle consistently.

Run The First Descendant on Performance Mode

When I was in the Nvidia Control Panel, there is one more thing that I did. I clicked on ‘Adjust image settings with preview’ from the left sidebar. Then I selected ‘Use my preference emphasizing’, from the 3 options.

Then what I did was I pulled the slider all the way to ‘Performance’. I was set to ‘Quality’ by default.

Move the game to SSD

This step gave the next big boost to the performance of the game, and stuttering was almost gone at this point. Now, I have a WD Blue NVMe SSD, that I use to store big games like COD and GTA.

When I saw that the size of The First Descendant was around 30 GB, I didn’t bother installing it on my SSD. Instead, I installed it on my 7200 RPM HDD. And I have to say it was a huge mistake.

The game was freezing and stuttering like anything in the highly detailed areas. Especially the area that have a lot of ruins, like the one shown below:

Screenshot showing The First Descendant stuttering on PC

That is when I thought of uninstalling the game and re-downloading it on my SSD. And let me tell you, it was a ‘W’ move. I was shocked to see the difference that a SSD can make. In my opinion, if games keep on looking like this on Unreal Engine, I am pretty sure HDDs are going to be obsolete. And SSDs will become the new normal, not only for installing your OS but also for storing all your games and apps.

So, if you have the game on your HDD, and you are experiencing very bad stuttering and freezing. Consider moving it to the SSD.

I also disable all my Overlays. Overlays from applications like Discord, Nvidia GeForce Experience, Steam, etc., are known to cause issues in games. So disable all of them.

You need to free up RAM

You will be shocked to see how much RAM this game hogs at times. If you check out the screenshot below, you will see that the game is consuming 15.6 GB memory:

Screenshot showing Heavy Ram usage of The First Descendant on PC

If you are someone who is using 16 GB of RAM, you are going to have a hard time if you don’t close heavy applications and free up RAM. Close demanding applications running like Razer Central, Logitech Ghub, your Anti-virus, etc., running in the background. There is a chance that the freezing and stuttering are being caused due to some applications eating up a lot of resources.

Just open your Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, click on ‘Memory’, and see which applications are eating a lot of RAM. Close them one by one if they are not important.

Tweak the Config file

This is the last thing I did, that completely eradicated the stuttering and fps drops that I was experiencing. I searched for the config file of the game, found it, and did some changes there.

Since the game doesn’t provide you with any video settings at the moment. The config files are your only hope.

To access the config file, you will need to go to this location: Drive C/Users/[Your Username]/AppData/Local/M1/Saved/Config/Windows.

Inside the folder, you will find many .ini files, you can use any text editor to open them. Also, if you cannot find the AppData folder, you need to unhide it. Just open any folder, click on ‘View’ from the top-left, tick ‘Hidden items’.

Now, you need to look for the file called ‘GameUserSettings’. Open it and paste the following lines under [ScalabilityGroups]:


Save the game and try playing it now.

Just to make it clear, I played for 3 hours, and there is still a lot of stuff that I am yet to discover. Also, this is the first beta, so there is no way the devs are going to optimize the game fully in just 6 days. I try to update this article as much as I can. In the meantime, what you can do it, you can go to this link and report all the issues you are facing to the devs. This will actually help the game.

That’s all folks!

Last Updated on October 20, 2022

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