Amusing conversations while trying to kill Greenskins

So it’s no secret I’m a bit of a Teamspeak fan. Though, with the influx of new people for Warhammer Online, I do find myself asking a bit more often ‘who’s that?’ but I’m even starting to get used to all the new voices and accents.

We talk about all sorts of things, jobs, pets, travel. We also discuss the game quite a bit, and it does percolate back to the blog sometimes, especially when there’s been an interesting discussion about what things we’d like to add to contributions or how best to tackle a certain scenario or who is the biggest challenge to heal in the guild. Often it’s all harmless amusing stuff, but I learn a lot from my guildmates and their experience, on Teamspeak and on guildchat.

Sometimes though, Teamspeak will go a little surreal and it doesn’t quite move over to guildchat – someone will make an amusing or thoughtful comment and because we have such wits in the guild it’ll go to a completely different place.

For example, so far my favourite Teamspeak conversation has been:

Could you live solely on chocolate, and if so, what brand of chocolate would keep you alive longest?

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Initial thoughts and stuff

So, we’ve had the game for a few days now, all our headstart people have been in since Monday, and we await the influx on Thursday. Here’s a few points on how it’s been:

GOA’s done a good job

There was a slight delay to the Collectors Edition Headstart, a couple of hours. Standard Edition headstart went well with people getting in smoothly. Queues haven’t been horrible (we’ve had none, but we’re Order and Core-RP), just haven’t seen too many complaints. And everyone who got an email back from a GM was very happy with it. Just Thursday to go and signs are positive! Also, there is nothing about it in the gaming news – which means it’s going well. (Obviously there are stories that the game is launching, but strictly they’re focusing on Thursday).

EA problems with keys an exercise in why to order elsewhere

I really feel for people who went with EAStore, because hey, it’s EA and they promised all sorts of goodies and for a while they were the only Standard Edition seller (soon joined by Direct 2 Drive) who said they were offering the headstart. Sending out the wrong keys was a cock-up, I hope everyone is in now and it wasn’t too painful. Having problems with manufacturing so that not all CEs have been sent out on time isn’t great either. On another note, looks like Play.com has some CE copies left. (This may be out-of-date when you get to read it).

Standard Edition Headstart

Because of Games Day, I started playing a few hours before the Standard Edition people came online. I was out of the starting area and at the first Dwarf PQ. Had to ask in-guild for some help finishing it and someone headed back to help (yay, guild). By the time we got to Stage 3 it became apparent the Standard Edition had come online as suddenly a whole gang of people entered the PQ, meaning we stormed it. Was a great sight and feeling. So enjoy that today America!

Guild

We have a separate post coming with names, screenshots, guild details – just making sure of Hawley’s first. But quickly, would just like to pause for a moment to say the guild is great. We’ve done a few things together and lots of things in smaller groups. Chat levels high, as is excitement. The guild is full of people we haven’t yet met, and Teamspeak is full of unfamiliar voices, but it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun learning about and meeting them all.

The Game

The game remains insanely fun, with a few collywobbles as I realised this character isn’t getting deleted so I better take it a bit more seriously. Scenarios have been plentiful (more so at night), open groups have invited me along, rather than waiting for me to invite myself, have done a bit of exploring in the mornings – but I intend to do more. I’m not sure why, but it feels better than either beta. I have a suspicion it’s the number of players and general level of excitement. Good stuff!

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.