Finding a voice

Before I started playing Lord of the Rings Online, I’d never spoken on in-game chat or Teamspeak or Ventrilo. I raided a little in World of Warcraft and I’d logged on to a Teamspeak server before, but I’d never plucked up the courage to actually talk to other gamers using my actual voice, not just typing back and forth, which I do a lot ;p

Then, with Lord of the Rings Online, my guild had a Teamspeak server set up by one of the members, and the game has in-game chat as part of it too. We joined a few mixed guild raids through Helegrod, using in-game chat, and we used Teamspeak for our own instance or raid runs. When it came to the crunch I had to make the decision to actually speak for the first time. And I did it. And it wasn’t too scary, though it was a bit of a worry. I had to learn all the added things, like how to set up push-to-talk on the various systems, and not to use the same push-to-talk key for both systems. And I think my guildmates will now happily tell everyone I’ve not stopped talking yet!

It is a pretty big hurdle, the revelation of your real voice. You can’t hide much there. We quickly discovered who were the female gamers (we have quite a lot of them actually), but it’s that kind of revelation that I think puts many people off. Some women are naturally cautious about revealing they’re really female, and I can understand why when people do get harassed in-game over such things. But hey, I’m in a mature and sensible guild and we’ve not had trouble with that kind of thing.

Anyway, my use of Teamspeak has grown as I’ve gamed. I’ll now happily talk to anyone about pretty much anything. And I’ll also keep in-game chat on as default, especially when in the Monster Play area. There’s a definite advantage in the PvP areas, because of coordination and also those with better computers can warn in advance of an enemy attack. It also helps us find out as soon as possible when a stealther has spotted the enemy and exactly where they are. Coordination is really the key though, and even if you can’t talk back, being able to listen in is really valuable if voice chat is being used.

It’s taken my friendships forward in Lord of the Rings Online, to the stage where we’ll chat on Teamspeak even if we’re not all in-game, and everyone from the guild can come join us. It’s always particularly useful to me when there’s something big to get my head around, like the recent announcements about cut classes. I popped into Teamspeak and we talked about it for ages, it was good to have a bit of a rant before I came back to the blog and had to start writing about it. And to hear some other opinions before I formed my own.

So I expect we’ll use it a lot in Warhammer. I think we’ve said as much in our guild charter (as much as that’s a work in progress). Some to help our gameplay and some to just chatter and pass along news about new games, films, TV shows or whatever the hot topic of the day is. We’ll use it to coordinate any groups we run, or any actions we take. Of course, with no in-game voice it’ll be interesting to see what servers get used on Teamspeak and Ventrilo and how that gets organised. That’ll be something for each server and realm to sort out as each guild is bound to have their own, maybe we’ll start seeing alliance servers and even open realm servers (though I don’t know how expensive that gets).

It’s not as easy for everyone, I know. My sister (non-Spinks) finds it hard to use voice chat programmes as much as I do. Because her partner tends to sit in the same room and isn’t a gamer! He naturally expects her to be able to talk to him – and she likes to game with the TV on. Other people don’t have mikes, or have other influences that mean they can’t be chatting all the time. So I do understand that not everyone can have the happy relationship I do with Teamspeak and my friends.  

But, I’d definitely recommend people try it. It does make coordination in-game easier, we can all speak and listen faster than we can type and it offers that advantage, even if you can only listen in. I found that the first half hour of talking was scary, but after that I kind of got over my own self-consciousness. So, if you’ve never used it for similar reasons.. go for it.

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12 Responses

  1. I especially like this post because I’ve known many people who are afraid to use any sort of voice chat. I used to shy away from using such a system because it allows people to create a solid judgment of a person, whether it be accurate or not, but once I gave it a chance, I realized the strategic advantage it created. For all those afraid to use voip, I strongly advise you to conquer your fears and start using your god-given voice, you’ll be surprised at how much the game will open up. By the way, great job on the blog, I enjoy reading it and can’t wait for WAR.

  2. I think the worst comment I got on my voice was that I sounded posh, when I’m totally not. It made me self-conscious for at least 10 mins before i forgot it again.

  3. I first got into Ventrillo while playing DAOC. It was a bit scary at first, but it wasn’t long before I started keeping my acoustic guitar stand beside my microphone to perform random songs in game!

    By the time I had quit DAOC, I actually had 6 songs recorded about various guild members! :p

  4. I agree entirely. I was initially very cautious about using and especially speaking on Vent / Teamspeak. I have also seen (and understand) the female players (including certain guild masters) be reticent about using voice chat, even after many months of knowing the guild well through text chatting. I also am pleased to say I have never seen anyone (to date) treated badly on voice chat, so my fears were completely unfounded.

    It was interesting though how after getting comfortable with using comms for raiding (an invaluable tool imho) it all changed when I had my arm twisted into leading a few raids! Suddenly my discomfort came back, and found it quite disconcerting just have silence when you suggest a course of action – did everybody think I was a muppet and shouldn’t be but in charge of pram let alone a raid?!? – no, it was all in my head, but the point I hope to make is that others can benefit tremendously from your input, however small 🙂

    It may take a while, but I agree with Arb that getting into voice chat is great fun and broadens both your game experience and friendships.

  5. I am still a bit self conscious in chat. When I first used it, I remember my guild at the time spending a couple of minutes saying “What? Who said that?” which was really just because they hadn’t realised I was female.

    But I don’t talk a lot in raids usually. I know arbitrary hangs out in TS with her guildies a lot even if they aren’t online, I wouldn’t generally do that.

  6. Tell your sister she’s a slacker! Watching TV while playing? tut-tut!

    Seriously, I am a bit ambivalent about voice chat. I’ll use it when necessary and it’s quite fun at the beginning but I don’t use to too much.

    Of course, the thing I always found difficult was that I could never tell anyone apart – any attempt to distinguish people was lost in a generic southern English male flurry of indeterminate voices!

    Now, if it was a raid where everyone had accents from different countries or parts of the country, that might make it easier!

  7. […] new expansion. These are some great links to check out while you wait and don’t forget to find your own voice in times of WAR. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Joost Beta […]

  8. In City of Heroes I’ve used both Ventrillo and Teamspeak.

    The TS server was set up by a good friend and does rather tend to be a circle of friends thing. The Vent server was set up by our coalition and has been used for everything from mission co-ordination to chatter to guild management.

    More information can be passed by hearing how someone speaks than by watching why they type, so I love it. And no, it’s never bothered anyone on there if a) there were girls or b) there were guys who played girl characters (or vice versa).

    Personally I love the utility and will be sure to use it for WAR.

    Two final notes. In case I do ever chat to any of you (who knows, it’s a small blogosphere).
    One : Im the only irish person without an accent. Sorry.

    Two : Be yourself. If whatever community you chat to cannot accept you for you, they’re likely not worth your time.

  9. Watch out though, I know a guy who plays a women in game and even got a special voice mic that makes him sound like a women. It works ridiculously well, no way you could tell if you didn’t know. Yea, he is kind of a creepy guy.

  10. oo! That is a bit creepy, Serenikill!

  11. […] has a voice, it’s female, and teen-age boys rejoice and send massive tells of “cyber […]

  12. I first used Roger Wilco (i think that was the name), then moved to Ventrilo when I started playing a lot of cs. Never tried teamspeak, but got my ventrilo server from http://www.nationvoice.com

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