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Posts with tag VoiceChat

Breakfast Topic: What voice chat do you use, if any?

Breakfast Topic What voice chat do you use, if any
Not everyone knows or remembers this, but there is actually an in-game voice chat. I don't think anyone uses it because it has rather severe functionality problems. I tried to use it for an It came from the Blog event, but it was painful.

Otherwise, the most common voice chat programs in use are Ventrilo, Mumble, and Skype. Ventrilo and Mumble are very much like text chat programs that use voice instead. Skype is more of an internet telephone service.

I know players who use voice chat as guild chat, which can cause a problem with non-voice-chat-using guildies. Many don't have microphones, have to be quiet, are shy, or otherwise can't or don't want to speak instead of type. A schism can occur between those who do use voice and those who don't. And nobody likes schisms.

When not being used for chatter, players use voice chat to coordinate group activities -- such as dungeons or pre-made PvP. In these cases, not being able to at least hear everyone speaking can make a player a liability to the rest of the group.

Do you use voice chat when you play? If so, which one and what do you use it for? If not, why not?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

2.2 coming to the live realms tomorrow morning

By now, it's almost a certainty-- not only did the PTR shut down last week, but Neth has almost confirmed on the forums that patch 2.2 is coming tomorrow morning. That means, I guess, that Amanda was right on our podcast a few weeks ago-- she was the only one who predicted it would show up this week, so kudos to her. Of course, it also messes up my plans for the week, unfortunately. I was planning to snipe Brutes and capture flags at least through Thursday, but now I may have to punctuate that with some voice chatting.

And besides voice chatting, what else are we seeing in this new patch we've waited so long for? The full patch notes are here for now (though they may be replaced with the 2.2.2 notes in the next day or so). Anti-AFK measures are showing up, as well as the Haste rebalancing. And most of the class stuff seems like bugfixes more or less. If you're a Druid, it'll be good to know that you can attack from further away while in Cat form, Shaman ankhs will now stack to ten (nice!) and Hunters with Raptor pets can now go out and learn Dash, but otherwise, it's all bugfixes-- some more harsh than others (the Six Demon Bag no longer benefits from spell damage, so bummer for that one).

But the thing that will really pull me away from Halo 3 this week is probably the simplest. Finally, my Orc male shoulders are returned to full size. Finally, after more than two months, I can walk around Orgrimmar with my head held up proudly, trapped between two huge masses of metal. See you tomorrow, 2.2!

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP

Polling players on new content

There's an interesting discussion going on over on the forums about whether or not Blizzard should conduct player polls. Antiquity from Lightning's Blade can't see why they don't-- it's an easy way for them to get quick feedback about different aspects of gameplay. But Nethaera disagrees. She says (and I can see her point as well) that polls are commonly inaccurate, which is definitely true, and while she doesn't exactly come out and say it, she seems to be implying that Blizzard would rather hear player feedback in terms of discussion rather than in numbers. Just hearing that 70% of players will use voice chat doesn't tell the whole story-- more important to know would be the reasons players would use voice chat, and in what situations they would use it.

So it's not really likely that Blizzard will implement in-game polling anytime soon-- for now, they're content to get their player feedback from the forums (and, I suspect, from sites just like this one).

However. We here at WoW Insider have no such compunctions, and we love to hear your feedback in terms of numbers just as much as in the comments. And I especially like Antiquity's poll suggestion, so here it is. Yes, this isn't really a solution to what he wants-- he wants to hear in-game voices, not forum voices or WoW Insider reader voices. But it is an interesting question, and I would like to see what you all think.

What would you like to see Blizzard develop as future content?
More solo content1656 (36.3%)
More 5 man content1008 (22.1%)
More 10 man content1516 (33.2%)
More 25 man content381 (8.4%)


(I did leave off the "All of the above" choice-- if that was on there, I don't see why everyone wouldn't choose it. This way, you're forced to choose your preference.)

Filed under: Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances

Blizzard posts a Voice Chat FAQ

European CM Salthem has posted a Frequently Asked Questions about the new voice chat feature coming in the next patch (which has got to be just around the corner, right?).

There's not much new here, but there is a lot of Blizzard confirming what players have already discovered about the voice chat system. People will be one-click mute-able, and voice chat will be able to be disabled by Parental Controls. Blizzard also makes a few interesting points about bandwidth-- while they say voice chat won't have a big effect on those with high bandwidth connections, they say people who currently experience high latency will likely have bigger problems.

And perhaps most disappointingly, they almost sound apologetic about the quality of the sound. They recommend multi-thread processors (as if that's something someone can really upgrade to without getting a whole new computer), and they acknowledge that third party applications will likely have much better quality.

Not that their voice chat system is bad-- as I've said before (and as we found out in the voice chat survey), lots of players will definitely use it. But third party applications aren't going away anytime soon either.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

70% of WoW Insider readers will be on Voice Chat


Well there you go. I'd like to say that I called it (although I did say that voice chat would find a place in a lot of PUGgers' hearts), but I was surprised to see that 70% of you readers expect to use Blizzard's new voice chat feature coming in 2.2. Personally, I'd rather stick to Teamspeak (and I'm guessing my guild will do just that). And I know, from the comments yesterday, that there are lots of people out there who just don't want to get involved in voice chat, whether there's an ingame system or not.

But clearly Blizzard was right to put the time in-- there is a good majority of players ready to plug a mic in and start speaking to each other. Very interesting.

Update: You're right, commenters. Title updated from "players" to "WoW Insider readers," since that's who we actually polled. I only got a B in Stats class in college.

Filed under: Patches, Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Are you going to use voice chat?

Kachra from Ursin asks a question that I'd like to know the answer to: are you going to use the voice chat feature? And just like the guys who built the Six Million Dollar Man, we have the technology. We can find out. So here's a poll. And hopefully, we can get a good, somewhat scientific reading on the community-- are you going to use the voice chat feature or not?

Keep in mind that TS and Vent aren't going anywhere, and as I said in my Voice Chat hands on, it's very likely that a lot of guilds (especially bigger guilds), will keep using those. But my guess is also that a lot of people will use both-- TS in raids, and the builtin voice chat in PuGs or more private groups. So if you're planning to use voice chat at all (even if it's in conjunction with a third party voice program), mark yes below.

And if you don't think you'll ever touch it, either because you're sticking to third party, or you don't want to voice chat, mark no. Who knows-- maybe Blizzard's overestimating demand for the feature in the first place.

Will you use the Voice Chat feature?
Yes3050 (69.7%)
No1328 (30.3%)

Filed under: Patches, Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Patch 2.2 may take "weeks" longer

MMO Champion's about right-- patch 2.2 is likely not coming for a matter of weeks. Since background downloading started a little while ago, we all figured this Tuesday or next was looking pretty good for a patch update, but Hortus on the forums alludes to new PTR patches "several times in the upcoming weeks," which is a good indication that we've got a while to go on the PTR.

It doesn't necessarily mean that we're looking at a November patch-- it could be that the PTR updates are for 2.3, or that 2.2 will drop with hotfixes coming later, or that Hortus just doesn't have the information from the devs right. But take a deep breath-- even if it takes a few more weeks for a new patch, odds are we'd all rather have it "right" than "right now."

And Boubouille says that if it takes this long for 2.2, he doesn't see how they'll release the expansion by next January, which is just plain laughable. Sorry Bou, we love you and all, but WotLK isn't dropping anytime before July 2008, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if we didn't see it until early 2009. It's not that we won't have content until then-- Zul'Aman is coming, and a new arena season will show up before then (maybe even two), as well as guild banks, a new CoT instance, and of course the Sunwell. But if you're still thinking we'll see Arthas as soon as January, time to stop holding your breath.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Insider's PTR voice chat hands on

Voice chat is now available on the 2.2 PTR, so I downloaded the test realms, rolled up a gnome Warlock, and put on my Logitech headset to try it out. What I found was a pretty intuitive voice chat system that does most everything Blizzard promised to do, and will likely replace Teamspeak or Ventrilo for a lot of smaller guilds.

Unfortunately, it's complicated enough that it probably won't be extremely widespread-- players who haven't found the need to join up on voice chat yet probably still won't feel a need to do so. But for guilds who don't want to pay for a separate server and friends who group together often, the ingame voice chat should work just fine.

The rest of my impressions, including a complete walkthrough on how the chat system works, are after the jump.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Features, Guides

Voice chat FAQ


We all have questions about the new voice chat features that's coming in patch 2.2. Helpfully, Blizzard has posted a FAQ, answering many of these very questions. Some of them are fairly obvious ("What is the new voice chat feature in World of Warcraft?"), but several answer things I was genuinely curious about:
  • Q: Can I speak in more than one channel at a time?
    A: While you can join multiple chat channels, you can only have voice chat enabled in one channel at a time. You can switch voice chat between channels by using the new chat interface found in the social window, or by clicking on the voice chat options button located near the mini-map.
  • Q: As a parent or guardian, how can I control my children's access to the voice chat feature?
    A: Parents and guardians have the ability to manage voice chat via the parental control system found on the official World of Warcraft website. You can turn voice chat off entirely or allow your children to listen but not speak in voice chat. The voice chat feature defaults to "off." If parental controls are enabled on an account, you will need to turn on voice chat via the parental control system (found in the account-management section of WorldofWarcraft.com) before it can be used in the game.
  • Q: Does voice chat work in guild chat or when using the "/say" command to talk to characters in your immediate vicinity?
    A: At this time, the integrated voice chat feature does not work in guild chat, "/say," global defense, trade, or any public chat channel. However, we may look into offering voice chat functionality for the guild chat channel in the future.
  • Q: Do raid leaders have moderator rights?
    A: Yes, raid leaders have moderator rights and can mute players in the raid voice chat channel for all other players in that channel.
  • Q: Can I mask my voice?
    A: Voice masking is not currently available. This is a feature we are looking into and may consider for the future.
The entire FAQ is posted after the cut. Are you excited about voice chat?

Read more →

Filed under: Patches

Blue Notes: Windfury and voice chat

Shaman's Windfury Totem is being hotfix-nerfed:

Windfury Totem will no longer trigger for any "yellow" attacks unless they are on next swing attacks, such as Heroic Strike and Cleave

That is fairly significant, I think. And those of us who are anxious to test out voice chat (coming in patch 2.2) will be able to do so after a new PTR build being pushed tomorrow morning:

We will be activating Voice chat on the PTR with the new build tomorrow morning August 10th.

Voice chat is currently available only for parties, raids and custom channels; there is no cross-server battleground voice chat at this time.


Hortus goes on to note that it won't work for PPC Macs for the time being, but a forthcoming build will fix that soon. It's probably a good thing that VC isn't going to be active for General chat and the like; I could see that getting annoying fast. It would be nice if it worked for guild chat though.

[via World of Raids]

Filed under: Shaman, Odds and ends, News items

PTR Notes: New 2.2 features, including anti-AFK

The test realms for patch 2.2 grind on, and it looks like a new build is being pushed, since the patch notes on the European forums got updated. Here are the changes I found in the new notes; some we knew were around, like voice chat, and some we had been promised, like anti-AFK measures for battlegrounds.
  • Voice Chat - The new Voice Chat feature is now available in game. Players will need to go into the options menu under Sound & Voice to activate it. Volume sliders are available for the microphone, speakers, and game-audio fade (which automatically lowers the game audio when a voice communication is received), as is a "push-to-talk" setting. Right-clicking on a player's name now includes the option to mute or unmute that player. Muting another player blocks all voice chat from him or her; the ignore feature now blocks both voice chat and text chat from that player.
  • Chat Channels- New Chat Channel controls and functionality are now available under the chat tab in the Social Window of the interface. The interface will now show the channels players are in or are available, depending on the area of the world they are in, along with new private channel controls.
  • A new feature for reporting players as being AFK in battlegrounds by right clicking has been added. When enough reports are registered, a 30 second debuff will begin to count down. Once the timer is up a new debuff will appear that will prevent the player from gaining any honor while it is on. This debuff can be negated as soon as the player engages in combat.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, News items

PTR Update: Hortus confirms and denies



Hortus has posted a sticky about the current PTR issues which addresses a lot of problems in and questions about 2.2. Most notably, he has confirmed that Zul'Aman and Guild Banks will not be in patch 2.2. He also has confirmed that Voice Chat will still be in 2.2, but it is not yet available for testing on the test server.

In addition, Hortus addressed some of the problems people are having with premade character copies. Hortus says that if you get an error when trying to copy a premade, the queue is full and to try again later. He does not address why the error message doesn't just say that...

Also, it seems that even though some premade characters are missing abilities or have abilities they are not supposed to have, they do not intend to fix them at this time.

Side note not mentioned by Horus: Copying characters that are not premade to the test realms is also on a several day wait.

Hortus denies that the Orc Shoulders are now bigger than before the bug:

Orc shoulders are now the correct size, they are not any larger than they were before, it's your imagination.


He also addresses Athlon errors, authentication issues and how not to get your post deleted.

It seems that with all of these issues and Voice Chat not even being tested yet, Patch 2.2 is a long way off. What are you most looking forward to or dreading in 2.2? Have you successfully copied a premade? If so, any problems and how long did it take?

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard

Voice chat coming soon to the PTRs

We missed it on Friday afternoon, but apparently voice chat is coming in 2.2. Previously, we'd heard that Zul'Aman and guild banks weren't showing up until 2.3, but there wasn't official word on when voice chat was arriving. PTR players have reported seeing a voicechat interface, but of course it hasn't been hooked up to any code yet.

But Hortus now says we'll be seeing voice chat ingame sooner than we thought-- it will be coming soon to a PTR near you, and pending testing, should go live with 2.2. Wow. Blizzard must have done a lot of work on that behind the scenes, assuming that it is what they promise: a fully featured builtin voice chat client. Think it's coincidence that there have been a few sound bugs on the test realms lately?

Which means that at some point we'll have to ask this question: What will happen to Teamspeak and Ventrilo? There's a nice bit of industry there-- players pay for servers all over the place, and while each server is pretty cheap, altogether they add up to a nice chunk of change, I'm sure. My guess is that TS and Vent aren't going anywhere (because players are so used to them, and not just in WoW), but until we see what kind of interface Blizzard has created, we won't know if they're worth leaving or not. Seeing as it's the PTRs, we should get a chance to play with it soon.

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, News items, Features

Zul'Aman sneak preview at E3


We're here at E3 and, although not blown away by any major announcements from Blizzard, did get a chance to check out a preview of the new 10-man Zul'Aman outdoor instance in Ghostlands. It's going to be a more casual dungeon than Karazhan, ideally doable in a few hours' time investment, with six bosses and no attunement required. There will be quests included as part of the story line, with at least one rescue mission per avatar boss that will have a time-dependent element similar to the Baron Run mechanic in Stratholme, with better rewards offered for quicker completion. The six bosses include bear, dragonhawk and lynx avatars, a "god of evil," a witch doctor, and the final troll boss Zul'jin. Like Hakkar in Zul'Gurub, Zul'jin has a spiritual connection with the other boss avatars and is able to draw upon their ghostly spirits in order to change his shape and assume some of their powers and abilities. All the bosses and the trash mobs (which will be primarily forest trolls) will be social and able to call for help from additional mobs -- surely good for a few wipes whilst learning the encounters.

Blizzard offered a few other small bits of news: voice chat and guild banks will be coming in minor patches before the big Zul'Aman patch is released. Voice chat will include a feature that automagically lowers the game volume when players are talking, and onscreen interface indicators to help keep track of who is talking at any given time. Guild banks will be endowed with some sort of permission system enabling guild masters to give access to specific items to some guild members and not others.

Unfortunately, Starcraft 2 was not yet playable, but we'll be looking forward to that and far more megaton news to be forthcoming at Blizzcon -- it's clear this press conference was merely a teaser.

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, Instances, Features, Raiding, Bosses, BlizzCon

Hearing voices in the World of Warcraft

Clive Thompson (who I've enjoyed reading for a while now) posted a piece on Wired the other day about how voice changed the way he saw fellow players in World of Warcraft. It's a really interesting read, not least of all because of the two academic studies mentioned: one study found that women were "treated differently" when using voice chat, and another found that gamers made more solid and trusting relationships with friends they knew by voice rather than those that knew by text.

I don't know if Thompson has heard yet that voice is going to be builtin to WoW very soon now, but it's true: voice is about to play a much bigger part in our game. And it's also true that voice changes things a lot-- in my regular guild, I will often jump on our Teamspeak server just to chat with my fellow guildies and friends, even if I'm not in a group. In It came from the Blog (the official WoW Insider guild in which I occasionally can be seen saying crazy things), we haven't set up a Vent server (although it's coming, guys), and so I had the strange experience the other day of running an instance with only text chat to keep me company. Don't get me wrong, I like all the guys in IcftB, but I don't know if the reason I don't know them better is just because I haven't been with the guild as long, or if I just haven't actually heard their voices.

In the end, Thompson marks it down to a generational thing-- some people are willing to share their voices and hear others, he says, and some just aren't. I'm not sure if that's true necessarily (I am pretty conservative on, say, my Myspace page, and pretty free with my Ventrilo joining), but either way, the use of voice chat in videogames has only just started to make itself known.

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