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Reader Comments (55)

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 1:06PM Wildcard273 said

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@Ocho HAH I had to chuckle because it was exactly the same way with my wife when I was doing voice chat on EVE. I take comfort in knowing I wasn't the only one.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 9:23AM Malagarr said

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My wife is as avid a gamer as I am. She is also partially deaf. As a result, voice chat in an MMO is almost unused in my household. I will use it on rare occassions, but it ends there.

The majority of our guildmates in the past have never had a problem with this. Since most of us can harken back to the days of Velious, using text chat to coordinate raids is not the least bit of a challenge. However, it never ceases to amaze me when some raid leaders do actually have a problem allowing someone who is partially deaf to join the raid because they are either too lazy or just too clumsy to be able to type and play at the same time.

As for DCUO, I am loving the hell out of the game itself, but if they don't do something about the chat interface and soon, they will lose a LOT of their PC subscription base. Even if they do fix the voice chat, most of us are used to being able to use text chat quickly and easily. And the excuse that they had to decide whether to devote their resources to making the PS3 version run or fix the chat system is one of the lamest excuses I've heard yet. The chat system should have been one of the first things the dev team fixed. This is an MMO, not a single player game. With no voice chat and an absurdly flawed text chat you might as well be playing single player most of the time.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 9:27AM Darkdust said

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So what's broken about DCUO's text chat? I didn't see a link in the story to explain, sorry if I missed it. :/

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 9:34AM UnSub said

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@Darkdust It's an incredibly basic chat function. It doesn't remember what channel you last used, has a chat filter that doesn't get around the Scunthorpe problem at all so blocks a lot of words (I wonder if it still filters Chinatown, despite that being the name of two different places in DCUO) and is generally less user friendly than a freeware IRC program.

The VOIP chat can drop out from time to time too, afaik.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:23AM Jef Reahard said

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@UnSub

Guild chat also has issues, as in sometimes it just stops working. The whole UI is a disaster imo, but the chat is definitely the worst part of it.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:46AM Valdamar said

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@UnSub
When I was in beta it filtered "Amusement Arcade" to read "Amu#%$*#t Arcade" - I get the feeling that SOE just bolted a chat system and profanity filter onto DCUO that one of their developers cobbled together in an afternoon without actually checking if it would do the job without being blatantly rubbish.

@Darkdust
To add to what UnSub said the chat system was also basically unusable while you were moving around (no autorun & chat like in other MMOs) - you had to stand still and preferably open up the larger chat window from the menu (and thus leave yourself vulnerable in-game) to be able to chat easily. Only when you opened up the chat window in the menu did you get a decent size chatbox, otherwise using the tiny chatbox you'd just need half a dozen people in one area holding conversations at the same time and chat would be scrolling by too fast for anyone to follow. Partly that's because they used a huge font - again catering to the console audience playing DCUO while slouched on a sofa 7-8 feet away from the TV set.

DCUO pretty much had the worst text chat system I've experienced in 11 years of playing 30+ MMOs, at least half of those being commercial MMOs like DCUO - heck, there's independent MMOs out there with only a few people on the Dev team that have a better chat system than DCUO (Rubies of Eventide for example).

It's unforgivable for a commercial MMO to launch with such a terrible chat system - doubly unforgivable when you realise it's an in-house SOE MMO and they've launched about half a dozen MMOs prior to DCUO with much better chat systems - this is the MMO industry's most experienced in-house developer-publisher almost saying that text chat doesn't matter in MMORPGs nowadays. It's bizarre - and half-arsed.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 9:28AM Minofan said

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I can understand the merits of voice chat, but I simply don't like it and consequently don't use it; I can't bear to wear headphones/sets, my own voice is naturally quiet & it doesn't take much abusiveness to sour my mood.

The only times I'd consider voice chat would be with family members or extremely tight-knit guild members.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 9:36AM DeadlyAccurate said

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I only use voice when necessary, usually during fleet ops (EVE). It's nearly impossible to coordinate a fleet without the fleet commander giving the commands verbally. As such, we "require" people to at least be able to listen to voice. (I put require in quotes because really, we don't. I'm not going to kick you from the corp if you simply can't for some reason. But you'll find it damn near impossible to go along with the fleet if you don't).

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 9:45AM real65rcncom said

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"The cynic in me says that it's because the PS3 version takes priority, but whatever the reason, DCUO's social tools (at least on the PC) are in dire need of someone who cares."


This is pretty much what I feel happened. It's the same damn thing in FFXIV.. the chat is broken and so convoluted that you have to do so many things that in every MMO without the "console" issue to worry about does simply. You really take it for granted when a F2P crapper has simple chat that you can communicate with as opposed to AAA titles.

Devs, we get it. You want the money from the console market as well as the PC market. But stop putting out these games where it causes so many more BASIC problems that games feel like ghostlands because people can't even talk to or see what each other are saying.

Legion chat is AGAIN broken in DCUO and legions without Ventrilo basically are in single player mode right now.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 10:02AM Beau Hindman said

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I'm not big on voice chat. I mean, I am normally playing with long time friends (when not playing a brand new game) so we typically are communicating all day long on Twitter/FB. Still, voice chat can be VERY handy, especially when you get "serious" about gaming or play a game that requires a lot of detailed coordination.

Beau

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 10:08AM Irem said

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I dislike voice chat for the most part because I have difficulty speaking aloud and conversations with me over Vent or whatever usually end up with my end sounding like someone just embarrassed the bastard love child of Porky Pig and Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "With th-th-th-the the thing! And the stuff and the happenings. Um. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN." Unfortunately for any potential career opportunities I may have had in radio broadcasting, no one does, in fact, usually know what I mean. Including me.

I have a good friend who finds typing cumbersome, and I'll get on if he asks me to, but I run out of things to say pretty quickly when I have to think about how to phrase stuff out loud and silences are a lot more noticeable over Vent than they are over text chat. I've had a lot of fun with it from time to time, usually when my SO is in the same channel (she and I can always find things to say to each other, she's better at holding up one end of a conversation than I am, and we can always do our idiot/straight man routine if things lag). Voice chat for the sake of it, though, feels more like a social obligation to me than anything else.

That and I can't listen to music while I'm trying to talk to someone on Vent. Unless I'm super-focused, voices sound a lot to me like Charlie Brown's teacher, and if I'm listening to music I can forget about comprehending what's being said at all. And what's an MMO for if not to run around in cool places listening to awesome music? D:

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 10:42AM Stormwaltz said

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I don't care for voice chat. I think the last time I used it was 2004, when I was playing CoH with a bunch of coworkers. I think voice is a superior tool for established groups - and critical for raiders - but I've always been a bit sociophobic.

The voices of nearby strangers in APB barging uninvited into my house really bothered me. Who invited you in? You think I want to hear you telling your roommate how drunk you are?

Chat gives me a comfortable sense of distance.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:07AM KDolo said

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youre scratching your head? Im not. This is what happens when you make a Console/PC Hybrid in any genre. Something is ALWAYS dumbed down in the worst possible way

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:07AM kaelidancer said

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I'm a social person by nature, and one of the reasons I play MMOs is to socialize. That said, I am 100% positive that I am much more eloquent in text than when stumbling over my own words in voice, so I prefer to stick to text chat. I'm not anti-voice, per se, but I'll definitely avoid it unless absolutely necessary.

I suppose that makes me a chat luddite, but I came to MMOs by way of MUDs from the land of the BBS and the plains of IRC, the faraway lands where text is king. Doesn't mean I think text is better - but I'm definitely better in text.

Here's something I've noticed: gamers' growing dependency upon voice chat has caused their text-typing skills to suffer greatly. Everyone speaks in abbreviations, misspellings, and acronyms now. And it's not that they're simply trying to save time. They don't understand what I mean when I ask what "that acronym" stands for. They're using acronyms without knowing what an acronym is. The complete sentence is extinct in most modern MMOs, and even the complete word is on its way out, replaced by abbreviated txt-spk. Didn't Orwell warn about the obliteration of language in 1984?

Yeah. Luddite. Definitely luddite. :)

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 12:37PM StClair said

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@kaelidancer:

Great post. I'm an old-school RPer with a similar online background, and definitely a Luddite. In fact, I STILL don't own a microphone...
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:19AM Valdamar said

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I like to chat, but I'd rather do it in text than voice. I don't like wearing headphones and I'd rather not be confronted by paradoxes such as the ogre warrior in the group being a giggling pre-pubescent, the honourable paladin being a foul-mouthed hater, or the little elf girl's voice being so gruff it sounds like he gargles with molten lava - it just destroys immersion. Plus I cannot stand the banality of those kinds of gamers that say "dude", "innit", "cool" or "awesome" as every second or third word.

I find text more versatile and convenient too - sure, you can't chat so well in combat, but I'd rather everyone focused on playing at those times anyway - but with text you can hold multiple conversations, you can easily review what people have said, leave messages for people who are AFK, there's less urgency to communication so you have more time to consider your response (and more opportunities to self-censor anything stupid/offensive you might be tempted to say or that might slip out in voicechat), text works far better for public/global channels (where multiple people trying to speak would just become a garbled cacophony on voicechat), and unlike voicechat different accents aren't a barrier to understanding what people are saying in text (although bad spelling can be just as much of a barrier).

Also a primarily text-driven chat system lends itself better to other features such as item-linking in games like WoW or build-linking (thinking of Guild Wars here - especially when sharing hero builds).

Text may be a little more ambiguous at times, but with the more informal voicechat there'd be more sarcasm flying around (as much from me as from others) and anger and other negativity would be a lot more evident, so in many ways I think players behave a lot better in chat than they do in voice - partly that's because text is easier for moderators/GMs to police for profanity or hate speech, though.

But I think really it just comes down to being able to chat on your own terms - if someone can speak directly into your personal space it just feels a bit more intrusive than text scrolling up a screen - and in a lot of cases I'm quite grateful to keep certain types of MMO gamers at arm's length rather than in my face (or in my eardrums, as the case may be).

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:26AM Valdamar said

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@Valdamar
I forgot to say I use voicechat in FPSs - in fact I used it in Planetside with no problems whatsoever and it was needed for the compex tactics we used there (such as coordinating 7 platoons with up to 30 players in each when we had multiple outfits working together towards a common goal) - but until MMORPGs have the same kind of reaction-driven gameplay as FPSs I don't really think voicechat is needed unless it's for endgame raiding or PvP - and even then, most endgame raiding is by rote in MMORPGs these days so as long as everyone knows how the fight is going to progress they don't really need to communicate.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:35AM Zerogrifter said

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The chat system is pretty messed up as of right now but so many people use team speak, skype, and ventrillo that in game voice chat isn' t that big of a deal. The typing chat feature needs to be fixed but that's a minor issue in my eyes.

The major issue I think they need to fix is the grouping mechanics from level 1-30. Players helping one another through the main storyline really don't get much of a benefit along with a piss poor difficulty curver when multiple people are fighting a low level boss.

minor gripes - its a good game.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:36AM (Unverified) said

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"... are in dire need of someone who cares..

These words can be applied to almost every SOE game.
I like all of SOE's games that I have tried but not enough to subscribe.
They all feel unfinished and neglected... even the newer ones.
They release a game and then they are on to the next new project.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:51AM Valdamar said

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@(Unverified)
Actually they used to launch fairly polished products - certainly in EQ2's case it was one of the last MMOs launched that I felt really launched in a feature-complete and polished state - it certainly had less problems at launch than WoW did two weeks later - but then with SOE's experience at making MMOs everyone at the time pretty much expected that.

But yeah SOE today is a pale shadow of what they used to be when EverQuest was the most popular MMO in the West. 6 years of WoW dominance should have spurred them on to greater things, to take back the title - instead they've just got slack.
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