So I have Nord as my VPN provider, in terms of gaming on COD warzone, I know I can select my city I want to connect to, (ie NYC) but I never get NYC servers, I always get servers 700+ miles away and get crappy ping. It's the same as when I don't use a VPN, my question is, does my first destination from my PC land at the VPN providers server or at my ISP's server? My goal is to connect to the closest server possible and reduce my ping and lag. Thanks in advance for the info.
All data will go thru networking equipment at your ISP. All the VPN does is encrypt the traffic between your computer/network and the VPN providers server. Basically the ISP cant read any of the packets.
Unfortunately you really cant control ping or lag. The way the internet is, its basically a whole shit loads of networks connected together. Small ISP's will connect in via bigger ISP's, while larger ISP's like Comcast will connect to back bone providers like Akagi or Level 3 communications. These backbone providers provide links across the country OR in many cases across the ocean to Europe, ASIA, etc. The problem is you cant control the path your data takes, thats dictated by who ever's network you're on. One issue you could encounter is the peering point between two providers such as Comcast and Level 3 communications could become congested. IF that happens you're basically FUCKED.
Its hard to say how many networks your data has to traverse before it gets to the gaming servers. Many data centers where servers are stored might connect in to multiple providers. In some cases major ISP's could directly connect to these services. Such as Netflix having a direct link in to Comcast's network. But its hard to say where these servers are located and what providers they use.