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Reader Comments (55)

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:53AM Valdamar said

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@(Unverified)
I should have added that SOE's mismanagement usually comes a while after launch (EQ, EQ2, SWG, Planetside, etc.) - in DCUO's case I guess they thought they'd start early.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:39AM Jeromai said

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I am so much of a chat Luddite that I rarely even use the text chat UI, let alone voice chat. :)

I do read the text chat. Often compulsively, to the point that I have to customize my UI and put the big global trashtalk channels (LFG, Trade, etc.) onto another tab to be looked at now and then, rather than get riveted reading scrolling text on the lower left corner of my screen like ogling a bad traffic accident and getting mauled by whatever sneaks up on me.

If I can't easily tweak the shape and position of my chat windows, select and deselect channels, I get grumpy fast.

And I do listen in on vent whenever necessary, and there's always that fun moment when you realize the voice chatters rarely pay any attention to their text chat window, and they're already so used to you being silent and presumably stupid, that whatever crucial battle observation you just made goes 'unheard.' At which point, you shrug and do what you can to save the team (or yourself if team is un-saveable) until some slightly more observant guy reads the text chat or makes the observation himself in a panicked yell to everybody else.

As for actually using the text chat interface regularly, I have generally concluded that my character is fated to stay mute in all MMOs that use WASD mouselook. Lifting my right hand from the mouse to hit enter and putting that hand on the keyboard to type induces a cost-benefit analysis between whatever I was going to say and the loss of character & camera turning / strafing movement ability. Combat performance and battlefield awareness usually wins over whatever lengthy wisecrack I wanted to make.

Conversely, I was a chatty, verbose bastard in A Tale in the Desert because it was click-to-move and involved lots of down time. Ditto MUDs, in which the mouse is not necessary and all control is keyboard operated.

Oh well, there's always MMO forums and blogs to get my chat fix. :)

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:44AM Caliber said

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Voice chat is indispensable for raiding and PvP. However, for socializing purposes, I couldn't care less about it and prefer text. With text, one doesn't have to immediately respond, especially if one is busy with something else or momentarily AFK.

Mute is a key feature and must be applied liberally.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 2:29PM Malagarr said

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@Caliber

Helpful? Yes. Indispensable? Not so much. I've been leading raids since the days of Velious (EQ) and we always did just fine without voice chat. Even as late as IC (WoW) we always did just fine using text chat for all raid instructions and messages. If we used Vent at all it was purely for goofing off. I understand that, for many people, Vent makes raiding easier. But it's far from indispensable. =)
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:57AM Valdamar said

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It's inexcusable that SOE would get chat so badly wrong in DCUO with all their past experience at developing and re-developing MMOs (EverQuest had a better chat system in 1999 at launch than DCUO does in 2011!) - but sadly it's not exactly rare for new MMOs to have a terrible chat interface - Pirates of the Burning Sea and Auto Assault launched with pretty terrible chat systems too - and that was despite the beta testers telling the Devs again and again for 6+ months to improve it before launch.

I honestly don't know why chat systems are so unimportant to MMO developers - if your players can't communicate with each other easily then they're not going to socialise and build a community, which is one of the core reasons they might have for sticking around in your game after the content runs out and continuing to pay you money (and money is something we know SOE does care about).

If Devs want to look at how to get text chat right then they need to look at City of Heroes - sure, EQ, WoW, GW, DAoC, etc. all have fairly adequate chat systems, but CoH is king where text-chat features, user-friendliness and slickness are concerned.

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

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When teamwork and communication is vital, voice chat is obviously good.

Just hanging out in voice chat is a mixed bag depending on the crowd. In WoW, I duck out of voice as soon as the hyperactive immature kiddies show up. In EVE, things are quite a bit more low key and being in channel with 20 people each doing their own thing is not only tolerable but usually turns out to be highly entertaining.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 1:09PM Wildcard273 said

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Totally agree Aetrix. When I played WoW, I never did voice chat, just text. For the most part, it was fairly mature and not spammy. Maybe I just got lucky, but I never really encountered the immature players or spammers.

I did some voice chat in EVE and I concur, there were usually anywhere between 8-15 of us in our corp and it was always fun. People were mature and greatly entertaining.

I'm not sure what I'll do in SWTOR when it comes out, but I'm thinking text chat for day-to-day stuff, but voice for more intricate or details plans that need to be sorted out before we start doing the mission/quest.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 1:55PM SkyStreak said

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I never thought of myself as chat luddite, but I guess I am....

I'm hesitant about voice chat because I'm a role-player. I often play characters that don't match my voice, and I would hate for my real voice to run immersion for the rest of the people playing.

Also, my primary gaming hours are when the rest of the house (wife and 2 kids) are sleeping, so voice chat isn't exactly conducive to being quiet.

Hell.... There's been a few times the wife has commented about how loud I type.....

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 2:44PM NeoWolfen said

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For myself I have little use or desire to use voice chat. I play MMO's to play my avatar and when voice chat comes into things where im speaking and sounding like ME the player then it just ruins the immersion for me.

I am happy to listen to others on it for purposes of not disrupting the cooridnation of raid directions but even then I do not speak on it, I type.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 4:47PM Sam not Spam said

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No voice chat for me. Type away! Why?

1. No accents. The people I play with are from all over the place, both inside the USA and out of country. The written word presents less challenge when it comes to understanding each other when compared to speaking.

2. Its more inclusive. In my player group we have people with speaking and hearing issues. A move to voice chat means they'll get left out of the conversation, and we don't find that to be acceptable.

3. Less disruption. Would you rather read "Kid's crying/dog's barking/neighbors are being stupid loud, be right back" or actually hear it? Heck, last time I did voice chat some of us had colds, so that didn't go well @_@

4. Logs. Sometimes, some things need to be preserved. RP chat logs, SG business, special events, and (especially) abuse. You can't do chatlogs with voice.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 5:21PM Heraclea said

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I am not a large fan of voice chat.

I find it immersion breaking. When you're supposed to be a superhero or barbarian warrior, it introduces dissonance to be talking over a headset in your telephone voice. Even in games with people I get to know and team regularly with, it becomes more about interacting on the party line and less about playing your character.

It's a harbinger of bad content. Voice chat is resorted to as a reaction against encounters that have multiple things that need to be attended to simultaneously. Players find them difficult to follow, so the chat is used to set up one player as a leader or watcher of the situations to call out alarms and make everyone do the right thing at the proper time. The more of this kind of coordination you need, the less fun and more frustrating the encounter is likely to be.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 5:27PM kjempff said

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I played Everquest for 5 years completing the most difficult raids and we the guild never had any desire to use voice chat. I also played WoW for awhile and with the fast paced gameplay I can see voice chat beeing a almost necessary tool.

However, there are some things voice chat will do to the game experience.

First the obvious, it will make you less in touch with your character and the game because you constantly have to relate to the real world and the deep manly voice of the nighelf leader - So it does take some of the RP out, even if you arent a roleplayer in the strickt sense.

Another point is, explaining tactics in voice chat is bad because there are always some who miss a sentence or some important information due to technical issues, your phone ringing etc. In a WoW guild I was in, the rule was that any tactics should only be explained with text, while voice chat was a great tool to deal with stuff when the fight was on.
There are scientific facts that states the mind will miss information more when listening than when reading - Offcourse everything can be trained.

Good or bad, it depends on the game and situation, but it definately does mess with the RP feel of a MMO - Then again todays MMOs are not really RPG games anymore.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 8:16PM O77er said

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I just think that developers should always present a decent chat interface for PC gamers.

As for voice-chat, honestly, TS and Vent have those markets. Anyone can use ventrilo, and it's a great tool.

Why pour money into something that's already there.
I see the PC market shifting more towards being "console-like" - or maybe that's just due to awful ports to PC - but either way. With the internet as a resource and fellow gamers - I can't see how anyone has trouble using voice-chat.

And i certainly would never want my MMO to be like my XBOX live. Ughhh. More yelling 12 year olds? NO THANKS

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:42PM Malagarr said

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@O77er

Believe it or not, there are many, many reasons why people have trouble using voice chat. For starters, the obvious one: some folks are deaf or at least partially deaf (like my wife). Then there's those of us who don't want to wake the kids up by talking too loudly. Others don't want to disturb their family members/roommates. The list goes on, as several folks in this thread have already given numerous reasons for why they have trouble using voice chat.

I don't want to keep badgering the point, but I do want to dispel the illusion that anyone can use voice chat. There are plenty of people who have very legit reasons for not using voice chat. Likewise, many of those people are quite experienced gamers who have been raiding in MMOs for many, many years. And most old school guilds worked out systems for running raids that relied on macros instead of voice chat to get the job done.
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Posted: Jan 27th 2011 6:56PM Evi said

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I dislike voice chat. I don't know why. I talk a lot IRL. I really don't like being tied down by my headphones. I also feel like voice chat can sometimes make for lazy players. People stop paying attention to what's going on because someone is always calling it out over Vent or TS. Then one day the server is down and no one can play well. It sucks.

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