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Posts with tag ventrilo

Drama Mamas: Voice communication etiquette for MMO players

Photo: Moe_

Headsets and voice communications have become ubiquitous to group play in MMOs today. Guilds freely share their server addresses with pickup players. PvP groups rely on tight communication to sweep to resounding battleground victories. Even players in random groups often meet up on voice comms to simplify strategy and tactical coordination. Headsets have become quite affordable, and USB connections make it easy to simply plug in and play.

Despite all this, speaking up in a channel full of strangers can be one of the more intimidating and awkward experiences in your group play experience. And then there's the other side of the coin: bearing up under the onslaught of That Guy in Vent who's cursing up a blue streak at every turn of the encounter, leaving his mic open so the rest of us can fully experience his barking dog, his blaring television and his half-chewed mouthful of pizza.

The Voice Comms Etiquette talk probably wasn't part of your mama's standard coming-of-age advice repertoire, so consider this the heart-to-heart advisory every player should receive upon reaching grouping age. Go forth with awareness and the facts!

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Filed under: Drama Mamas

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

What's your voice comm system of choice?

This post has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

It was before my time, but I still hear nostalgic stories about how TeamSpeak was once the voice communication service of choice for MMO gamers. Barring a few potential holdouts -- who I must assume are raiding from nondescript shacks in the mountains of Montana -- there's been a very clear sea change that has placed Ventrilo quite comfortably at the top of the heap. If you raid, chances are you have Vent.

Like its predecessors, though, Vent has competitors of its own vying to overthrow the current king of speech. Perhaps the one getting the most attention right now is Mumble, which boasts low latency, clear sound, and the pseudo-celebrity endorsements of more than a few WoW Insider staffers.

Personally, my guild started using Mumble a few months ago and hasn't looked back. Now, this is partly because one of my officers pimps it out like she's getting paid, but mostly because so many of the guildies just plain think it's better. We've run into some problems -- mainly with installation or getting the not-always-intuitive client to work properly -- but for better or worse, it looks like we've been transformed into a Mumble guild. We've even started requesting that puggies download it before raids, promising them that they'll never again want to return to Ventrilo.

So, have you tried Mumble yet, either of your own volition or due to peer (to peer) pressure? Did you feel like there were benefits, or did you find yourself missing Vent? Do you think it will ever become as ubiquitous as Vent or will it eventually fade into obscurity? Most importantly, what will you Vent loyalists do the next time you enter a raid and the leader sends you their Mumble info?

What's your voice comm system of choice?
Mumble2162 (18.5%)
TeamSpeak1188 (10.2%)
Ventrilo7861 (67.3%)
In-game voice system476 (4.1%)

Filed under: Guest Posts

Officers' Quarters: Speechless


Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

A few weeks ago, I ventured the opinion that raiding addons aren't optional. They are an essential tool for raiding well, and even if you think you're pro enough to go without them, it's a matter of courtesy to your fellow raiders to use them. This week, we have a similar scenario, but instead of an addon, the raider in question refuses to use a microphone and claims that it is a medical issue -- despite some evidence to the contrary.

Dear Officers' Quarters,

I was tasked with creating a healer roster for scheduled 10-man raids. As expected, some members did not make the cut.

I told the backup healers that three things must improve before they could be pulled in for non-farm content.
  1. Gear (with gems/enchants)
  2. Raid awareness
  3. Encounter knowledge
One of the backup/benched healers had an issue last raid. She fixed #1 after much prodding ("but this is only blue gear -- it doesn't need gems/enchants"). She still has issues with #2 (compounded by the lack of microphone). She still hasn't fixed #3 on new kills. The x-factor is her lack of microphone.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Win a year of Mumble service for your guild from WoW Insider and MMO-Mumble

Since servers are still down, here's another contest!

A VoIP server is essential to the fast-paced environment of the raiding game, and WoW Insider and MMO-Mumble want to prove it to you! To enter for a chance to win a 50-person Mumble server for an entire year, all you have to do for is comment on this post before Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 at 11:59 a.m. ET. We'll randomly pick one winner.

In order to enter, you must be 18 years of age or older and be a legal resident of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec). You may enter only once. Make sure your profile email is correct, because that's how we'll get hold of you if you win!

Official rules are here.

UPDATE: Contest closed. The winner will be contacted shortly. Thanks!

Filed under: Contests

The Queue: Short attention span edition

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column in which the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Mondays. Even working from home cannot make Mondays a more exciting day. I think we should just eradicate all Mondays and replace them with a new, more awesome day. Who's with me?

Erinorofdarkspear asked:

Am I going to be able to play through Operation Gnomeregan after
Cataclysm comes out, or am I going to need to reactivate my account before Cataclysm hits and do it?

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Filed under: The Queue, Cataclysm

Officers' Quarters: Pitchforks and torches


Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available from No Starch Press.

Wipes are a fact of life. Everyone wipes. How you deal with these situations can be crucial to your guild's success. Some guilds cultivate an environment based on blame, where everyone's first thought after a wipe is, "Who messed up?" Sometimes, it's easy to figure out who is at fault: Someone with a spore goes the wrong way, or someone gets mind-controlled by the Blood Queen after failing to bite his assignment. When it's not easy to figure out, some guilds use a different strategy for assigning blame. Here is one such case:

I have a real dilemma.

I'm an officer, one of six, in a semi-serious raiding guild. We have 30 core raiders who raid with us, and one of them until recently was one of our druid healers, and the issue surrounding him is my dilemma. A little background information on the guild, since it is relevant, is that we have a strict rule involving loot due to some people in the past who have abused our requirement for Vent in that they wouldn't use it, or they'd log in but leave their headsets off. This caused a lot of problems with wipes and caused the officers, GM and co-GM to agree that a rule would be made that was you must be in Vent and actively listening at all times during a raid in order to be eligible for loot. This is what caused the initial problem.

The player of this druid healer I mentioned before applied to our guild and told us on the application that he is deaf.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Ventrilo vs. Mumble

"What's your Vent info?" is as ubiquitous as "What's your GearScore?" Voice chat programs are a fact of WoW life, and by all means Ventrilo dominates the market. After five years of using Ventrilo, I say it's time to change to something better.

One of the most common questions I get from the show Big Crits is "what's the mod that shows who's talking in Vent?" It's actually not a mod, and in fact it's not even Ventrilo. Big Crits uses Mumble, a low latency VOIP program for gaming. It's mostly unknown in WoW, as Ventrilo clearly dominates voice chat in our world. Mumble is perhaps better known in FPS circles, where the low latency really gives it a competitive advantage.

I started this article with every intention of making a pros-and-cons comparison between the two programs, but in truth, I had a hard time coming up with pros for Ventrilo. I'll run through features, but don't be surprised if you come out of this with a new perspective on voice chat options and a strong desire to switch to Mumble.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Daily Quest: How-to around the blogosphere

Here at WoW.com, we're on a Daily Quest (which we try to do every day, honest) to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere. Is there a story out there we ought to link or a blog we should be following? Just leave us a comment and you may see it here tomorrow! Take a look at the links below, and be sure to check out our WoW Resources Guide for more WoW-related sites.

I love the picture of Velen shown above for a couple of different reasons. It's a gorgeous piece of artwork, but the bigger reason is the expression on Velen's face -- he looks mildly baffled, like he's shrugging his shoulders and saying "Uhhhh, I don't know!" To me, the thought of an alien over 10,000 years making that noncommittal grunt of vague confusion is just endlessly entertaining. It's OK, Velen. Today we've got a few how-to posts from around the blogosphere. Maybe these will clear up a few things:

Filed under: The Daily Quest

The cynic's guide to World of Warcraft

We tend to be very careful while composing articles here at WoW Insider. We're always mindful that not everyone plays the game in the same way, or has the same experience on different servers or factions, but every so often a certain madness seizes us and we feel the urge to ... tell the truth. In that vein, I am pleased (sort of) to present The Cynic's Guide to World of Warcraft.

This article owes a heavy debt to Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. If you want to see a real master at work, read that.

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Filed under: Humor

Breakfast Topic: Push to talk

Ventrilo. WoW's second communication backbone has been and can be the source of comedy, drama and everything in between. From loot freakouts and epic guild removals to Onyxia wipes and pranks-a-plenty, Ventrilo is ubiquitous with the massively multiplayer genre and experience. We all have our legendary stories, but what does Ventrilo mean to the games we play? In fact, what role does communication play in our virtual worlds?

The first communication backbone of World of Warcraft is the chat itself. The fully realized interaction we have with the people inhabiting the world with us boils down to what appears inside that chat box. Communication with chat is limited, however, by typing speed, range of communication, lack of vocal inflection, tone, and volume. Key components of human communication are missing from the very basic communication apparatus we use to interact in WoW.

Communication has a long and varied history in the MMO genre. Before Ventrilo and Teamspeak, my friends and I had a complex system of phone conference calls to make communication in Ultima Online easier. Before Paypal and other cash services, people would send checks, money orders and cash to other countries to purchase items in MUDs, the proto-MMO. These forms of communication paved the way for the pieces of software we take for granted today.

Humans are social creatures. Ventrilo was an inevitability. But there has to be more, something that will become as ubiquitous as voice. So here's the question -- where is communication in games headed? What is the next or new Ventrilo?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Hands-on with Puggable


We first heard about Vivox's Puggable service back at the Austin Game Developers Conference -- Vivox is a company that runs voice chat for online games, and Puggable is their attempt to target the WoW audience with a quick and easy way to put a group into voice chat. The site is still in a closed beta, but it's slowly opening up, and so as soon as we got a chance to jump in and test the service out, we took it.

So what's the verdict? While Puggable's basic mechanics seem to work (by following their instructions, you can get a group into voice chat), the system itself is not quite ready for prime-time. Not only does it have an installation process that most cautious WoW account holders will scoff at (you have to install an Internet Explorer or Firefox addon, and restart your browser to use the service), but the real draw of the system, being able to browse and see player information at a moment's notice, aren't all there quite yet. Read on for our experiences.

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Filed under: How-tos, Raiding, Guides

Gearing up for PvP - Your sound system


So you've got your computer, your input device, and maybe some specialized keyboard. The only thing you'll need now is some sound system. In the conclusion of this series, we'll take a look at what you use for game sounds. For general gaming purposes, your computer's default sound system, if any, should really do fine. On the other hand, if you're serious about your PvP, you might want to invest in a good headset. If you normally play at home and have the luxury of playing indiscreetly, a great sound system is an awesome thing to have.

Personally, I don't play external background music (e.g., through iTunes) whenever I PvP. It's cool for PvP videos, but it's generally a bad idea. For one thing, music, even the one found in-game, tends to obscure important PvP sounds. In particular, the stealth sound is one of the most important sound effects in World of Warcraft PvP. That sound will often, but not always, precede visual confirmation of a stealthed unit nearby. If only for this reason, I turn up game sounds and lower in-game music to an ambient level.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Forum post of the day: Why did you /gquit

There are many different reasons for why we join guilds: to raid; to meet girls (well, not usually to meet girls). We also have numerous reasons why we quit guilds. I was kind of amazed by Oreooze of Dalaran's list of reasons for why he /gquit.

1. He wasn't congratulated on his achievements.
2. He doesn't trust people online.
3. He didn't get invited to raids.
4. He didn't want to get Ventrilo he prefers not to use voice chat.

It sounds to me that the OP was not terribly interested in being a part of a team. I have to admit, I would have a hard time inviting people to raids that absolutely refused to get into Vent. I'm sorry, my friend, but real time communication is very important to success in raids. It is positively infuriating when someone wipes a raid because they missed an important instruction. I'm sure that some guilds can get by raiding without voice chat, but it's very frustrating not to have 24 people who can listen in and work with the team.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Observations from running a Naxx-25 PuG


I'm very "up" on PuGs. I started my career as a PuG tank and met a lot of great players that way, many of whom I still raid with today. I've always been a stout supporter of throwing caution to the wind and joining LFG for an afternoon to see where it'll take you; it's been my experience that random players on your realm can and often will surprise you.

Once you master the art of the 5-person PuG, the ultimate risk is a raid PuG. One-shot the instance, or spend the night wiping? You won't know until you try.

I used to run Hyjal PuG's in late Burning Crusade and got to be the person in charge of arranging healers on Anetheron, explaining where to die on Azgalor, and uttering a hollow laugh at suggestions on whether or not Archimonde was in the cards (answer: hell no). I wasn't around for my guild's Naxx run one of these past weeks, and a few guildies were interested in gearing up their alts, so we thought -- PuG a 25-man Naxx? Why not?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Features, Humor, Raiding, Bosses, Classes

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