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Posts with tag voice-chat

Should Blizzard revamp in-game voice chat to go with the group finder?

Defective of Ysera-US emailed me recently with an interesting question -- did I think Blizzard should revamp the in-game voice chat to accompany their new Group Finder, coming in Warlords of Draenor? Yes, believe it or not there is an in-game voice chat, added in patch 2.2 to the resounding derision of the playerbase. Back in 2011 WoW Insider surveyed players, and found that only 4% of players use it.

And having been in that 4% myself, they should stop. In a world where so many options exist, the WoW in-game voice chat really is one of the worst, for WoW at least. And Blizzard know, quite apart from jokingly derisive tweets from devs, that it's bad. They even said, again in 2011, that the next time they revisited it they wanted it to be a big change, similar to how LFG revolutionized dungeons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Rifts and scenarios

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

Return of the RIFT character header images! Run away!

MikeLinton said:

I have to seriously question the "super positive response" that you are seeing to scenarios. I only see my small slice of the WoW community, of course, but what I'm seeing tells me the opposite. The only people I knew that ran regular scenarios were for either daily valor or guild gold, and they didn't like doing it. Heroic scenarios are a little better because Blizzard made the rewards awesome and forced people to go in with a full group. If Heroic 5-mans were the same way, then they would be far more enjoyable to heroic scenarios.

I know this isn't a question, but I feel a need to respond to it. What I tend to see personally is that people who play only healers or only tanks dislike scenarios for the most part. People who primarily play DPS (like myself) enjoy them quite a bit. As a DPS player, queues for dungeons and raids are (were?) so absurdly long that I stopped bothering. Scenarios didn't have that problem, plus they give me much more freedom in how I played. Scenarios had me digging tools out of my belt that were never relevant in the tank/healer/DPS tinity, but made a big difference in scenario performance. Not being locked into the trinity is refreshing.

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Filed under: The Queue

WoW Archivist: Patch 2.2, the patch without content

Empty WoW logo
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

New content comes in patches. That's how it has always worked in WoW. Some patches with a multiple decimals, like patch 1.8.2, are just for bug fixes, emergency boss tuning, and the like. They don't really count (although to be fair, some have given us small amounts of new stuff, such as Onyxia's return in patch 3.2.2). A patch with two numbers, like patch 5.2 hitting very soon, is supposed to have shiny new pixels for all of us to enjoy.

Patch 2.2, released in September 2007, didn't have any. It was the only time in WoW's history that a major patch did not introduce any new content to the game world. No raids. No dungeons. No battlegrounds or arenas. No daily quests. Not even new items.

Instead, patch 2.2 gave us something we didn't particularly want. Something players immediately hated and decried as useless. Something we have never embraced, though most of us haven't thought about it in a long, long time. Most players probably don't even know it exists.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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)

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

More options for party communication

Our buddy Rufus from the WoW LJ brings word of a sneaky change in the recent patch: raid warnings (those warnings that pop up in the middle of your screen, created by typing "/rw" while leading a raid) no longer work in parties. Apparently you have to be in a raid to actually toss off a warning. Of course, that could have happened before this patch, but at any rate, it's in the game now. No more /rw in party chat.

Not only is it a bummer because some people used to use it constantly to keep party members in line, but this also means that there's one less means of communication between all of these random parties forming out there on the realms. Sure, in a perfect world, everyone would know the fights and chat would be enough to make sure everyone was on the same page (or depending of your vision of a perfect world, everyone actually uses the in-game voice chat -- a quick survey of our staff here presumes that it works in cross-realm PuGs, but given that I've never actually seen it used on the live realms by anyone, who knows?), but we're hardly running instances in a perfect world. Sometimes chat is not the best way to get a complicated boss fight organized and ready.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Walkthroughs, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Instances

WoW Ratings lets you rate anything in Azeroth


I had an idea like this one -- a site that would allow you to rate anything at all (from a new movie to the casserole your aunt makes), and then let other people share their own opinions about whatever you rated. My idea never got off the ground (standard operating procedure for the idea mill I call my mind), but reader Antoine apparently had the same idea, and built it specifically for the WoW universe. WoW Ratings is kind of a silly site with some interesting outcomes: basically it's a database of everything in the game, from bosses to zones to game features or what have you, and you can come along and rate whatever you want on a scale of 1 to 5. The ratings don't actually mean anything (though Antoine has them listed as qualities from Uncommon up to Legendary), so it's really just a broad temperature-taking of the World (of Warcraft) at large.

The most interesting screen is probably the "Best and Worst" screen (which you can reach by clicking on the toolbar at the top of the homepage -- note to Antoine: permalinks are your friend, scale back on the javascript), where, as of this writing, Hakkar the Soulflayer is sitting on top of the heap, and the Voice Chat patch and Darnassus are sitting in the bottom 10. No Fandral Staghelm yet, strangely, but I'm sure things will get shaken up after all you readers head over there (and if the site's a little shaky under the flood of our link, give it time to get back on its feet). Sure, it's a little silly, and it's not so much a "resource" as it is just a free-for-all of player opinions, but it is interesting to see kind of a meta-overview of what players do and don't like. Useless features for the loss, old school raid bosses for the win.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, NPCs

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

AGDC09: Easy voice chat for PUGs with Puggable


If all you play is World of Warcraft, then you might not have heard of Vivox -- but they're the people providing integrated voice chat solutions for EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Star Wars Galaxies, Second Life, Fallen Earth, All Points Bulletin.. I'd go on, but you probably get the point. This week at AGDC, Vivox is spreading its wings with the announcement of two new web-based voice chat applications: Vivox Web Voice for Facebook and Puggable for World of Warcraft players. Though the two use the same technology, Puggable is definitely targeted at the WoW-playing audience. I had a chance to sit down and chat with Vivox about Puggable at AGDC, and, though I haven't had a chance to get hands-on time with it, I've got to say the idea has a lot of appeal.

So what do you need to do to start chatting? Just fire up your web browser, point it to Puggable.com and create a chat room for your group. To invite others, all you need to do is share a link. The site will display character stats for your player from the armory (as seen in the above screenshot) for easy viewing by your entire group. And if you wish to select the instance you're running and the boss you're going to fight, Puggable will automagically pull up links for strategies, videos, and loot. No one needs to download or configure software (unless you're playing WoW with people who don't have web browsers... but that would just be silly) and there are no passwords to remember, share, or change. I'm hesitant to say it's fool-proof, but it certainly looks like group communication and organization simplified.

Puggable is presently in closed beta (though if you're interested in testing it, you can sign up on their site) with plans for a more open beta in the next few weeks.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events

Drama Mamas: Venting

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

The big event is over and it's time to go back to drama prevention. This week, we attempt to circumvent the need for a Raid Leader's intervention. We also tackle the topic of ventiquette -- which is the etiquette of speaking in Ventrilo and not the manners involved in venting about things. Although I'm sure we'll eventually get to venting etiquette as well. Now that I'm done inventing ways to use the syllable "vent", it's time for the drama.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Raiding, Drama Mamas

WoW Rookie: Filter out the #$%!


New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

Hey, isn't that the same screenshot we used for WoW Rookie just two weeks ago? Indeed it is, faithful readers – because frankly, "Who wants my man meat?" is the perfect illustration for today's topic.

The World of Warcraft is your refuge at the end of a long, hard day – and the last thing you want to see rolling across your screen is the kind of lowbrow posturing that's given Barrens chat its notorious reputation. Or perhaps you'd like to let the kids try their hands at WoW, but you don't want them soaking up the rough language that seems to turn up more and more frequently in busy city Trade and General channels.

It's time to take charge of your game chat.

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Filed under: Tips, How-tos, WoW Social Conventions, Features, WoW Rookie

The Queue: Shoo fly, don't bother me


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

To kick things off today, I actually wanted to add something to one of Adam's responses yesterday. Spiraea was looking for a title that would fit their Priest. Adam suggested The Immortal, but me? I'm all about the Hallowed. You can't get it until October, which makes getting your hands on it tough... but it'll be worth the wait! It's my favorite title on my Priest. When I get a new raid title I switch to that for awhile, but always go back to Hallowed.

realt asked...

I have a question regarding in-game voice chat (or Ventrilo). Our guild has never used voice-chat when raiding. So far we have done pretty well with clearing all 10man content, including Sartharion+1D, without it. Now we are progressing into 25man. At which point do we really need starting using voice chat you think or isn't required at all? I haven't been in many other raiding guilds besides this one so I am curious how others are handling their communication.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

Six ways playing WoW can save you money

Banknotes from around the world (Wikipedia)Summer's here, gas prices are up, and the economy is suffering both in-game and in real life. Ultimately, it's a "dogs and cats sleeping together" kind of situation for your cash flow. Jagoex over at Warlock Therapy has your wallet covered with "10 Ways Gamers Can Save Money." He's talking about all gamers, and has quite a lot to say for the console gamers, but his tips pretty much apply to everyone.

Of course, there are a few things you can do specifically as a WoW player to save your bank account some stress over this bleeding hot summer.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Economy

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