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Posts with tag voice

WoW Archivist: Patch 2.2, the patch without content

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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

Drama Mamas: More unwanted sexual attention

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

Female gamers in the wrong guilds can have a really rough time of it.
Dear Drama Mamas

I am hoping that you can help me break a pattern that has been occurring for quite a few years across many MMOs. I have tried everything I can think of but every time I join a guild, the same thing keeps happening again and again (with some slight variations). In the last three years, I haven't lasted longer than three months in any guild nor in any MMO!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Breakfast Topic: That voice you can't get out of your head

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

The Lion King
is one of those movies that everybody ought to see before they die. One of the strongest films from the Disney renaissance, it features some of the best voice acting in animation history. Who could forget James Earl Jones' deep voice imparting within Simba the need to reclaim his place as king? Or Jeremy Irons' cold, cunning, and manipulative growl with every word Scar spoke?

Voice acting can make or break films, and games are no different. As WoW has grown older, voice acting has become far more commonplace. All bosses now come with accompanying quotes. In Cataclysm, a great number of quests feature voice acting. We're surrounded on all sides by a world that is now living, breathing, and speaking.

Players have certainly caught on and appear to love the voice acting. In Wrath, several bosses went viral thanks to their memorable quotes. From Thorim's deep voice recalling meeting players "In the mountains ..." to the juvenile XT-002 lamenting the death of his toys, voices made these bosses come to life at a previously unseen level.

Which voices in the World of Warcraft are the most memorable for you, and how have they enhanced your experience?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: I am the lucid dream

Recently, I was talking to Matticus and Kinaesthesia on one of our podcasts about Ruby Sanctum. Toward the end of the discussion, Kina mentioned how much he loved Halion's voice actor, Matthew Mercer (granted, we didn't know that was his name at the time.) We agreed his voice acting was excellent, and Kina suggested Blizzard ought to keep bringing him back for more parts. To date, Mercer also has done the voice of General Vezax in Ulduar and Overthane Balargarde in Icecrown.

Anyway, some days later while we priests were tossing the PoM around, the subject came up again, and Kina quoted the line Halion says when you enter phase 2: "You will find only suffering in the realm of twilight. Enter if you dare." He gushed at the inflection on the word "suffering," while I stated my preference for the way he taunts you with, "Enter if you dare."

Our talk led to other memorable lines from Wrath. I immediately brought up Sara from Ulduar and quoted her haunting, "I am the lucid dream." Plus, who could forget a first visit to Ulduar? I remember my sleepy raid's wandering into the Antechamber around 1 a.m. the first night that patch 3.1 went live. After accidentally completing Crazy Cat Lady and distributing loot, we stood around deciding where to go next. Vent had gone quiet while we all tabbed out to read up on Hodir until a deafening scream cut through the silence of the Observation Ring. Everyone on Vent promptly freaked out: "What the hell was that!?!"

I loved it.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King

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

Cataclysm Beta: Goblin /flirt and /silly sounds


NSFW Warning: Some work environments may not like these jokes.

The Cataclysm floodgates have been opened, and the torrent of information coming is awesome! Here come the goblin sound files for goblin male and female /flirt and /silly jokes and flirts. A lot of it is what you would expect from goblins -- money, wheeling and dealing, bondage jokes and... wait, what? Some of this stuff is pretty racey, and I doubt it will stay in game like the infamous "kill two dwarves" troll emote. Nonetheless, here are your goblin sound emotes.

More clips are after the break.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Goblin

Cataclysm Beta: Worgen /silly and /flirt sounds

Cataclysm beta is active, as you might have guessed, and we just keep getting more great info thanks to diligent dataminers. Case in point: someone dug up the voice clips for male and female worgen doing /flirt and /silly emotes. If you were hoping for jokes about bacon, hairballs, butt-sniffing, and multiple nipples, you basically won the emote lottery on this one.

If some of the flirts seem a little risqué, you're probably not alone; sadly, all of the best (read: most suggestive) draenei and blood elf flirts never made it past beta, either.

More clips after the break.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Worgen

WoW Moviewatch: Jesse Cox Voice Actor Video Demo


Tipster Kerri clued me in to the Jesse Cox Voice Actor Video Demo on YouTube. This is definitely not the sort of movie we'd regularly feature on Moviewatch, of course, but it points out an interesting facet of machinima that we don't usually talk about. Namely, this video shows off the skills of the voice actors.

Many times, a video can be visually impressive, but less-than-stellar voice acting can detract from the overall experience. Jesse Cox has worked with Myndflame in several videos, as well as starring in Divided Soul. By watching this demo reel, you can very clearly see how much character and technique he brings to his roles. I think it can't be understated how important it is to a machinima to have actors who can speak their lines fluidly, believably, and without awkward moments.

Like I said, the video demo itself is pretty straight-forward. I hope it brings the results to Jesse that he wants. But, I wanted to feature it to help highlight the often unsung hero of machinima: the voice actor.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Moviewatch

Interview with a Gnome Death Knight

We still have no idea who did the voice of the Headless Horseman, but if you're playing a male Gnome Death Knight lately, we know whose voice you've been listening to: Dino Andrade, recently interviewed by Geeks of Doom, a voice actor who's probably most heard as "Pop" of the Kellogg's Rice Crispies mascots. You can hear his reels and demos on his website, and sure enough, that's our Gnome.

Andrade says the Blizzard recording was "the most secretive thing I have ever done" -- they didn't show him anything visually about what the character was or did, and apparently he wasn't even allowed to take the script out of the recording room. Andrade also says that Blizzard is keen to let voice actors do their thing -- rather than giving direction, they let the actor come up with lots of their own reads, and then chose the one they wanted to use. It's almost hard to believe that Blizzard's voice acting is so good, given how hands-off they are (you'd think they'd aim to connect it with the art or animation in some way), but Blizzard fans know how well it works -- the voice characterisation in Blizzard games has always been terrific.

Very interesting -- while Blizzard's voices are one of the things that have really made their games successful, it's strange that they've never let us into the process more. Their sites are full of concept art and model designs, but it would be cool to hear an uncut recording session or find out exactly how voice recordings are integrated with the game. Maybe we'll see more on that in the future.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

The voice of the Headless Horseman

It is over, your search is done! Let fate choose now, the righteous one.

"Over here, you idiot!" ring a bell? We've had a bunch of readers ask us lately just who does the voice for the Headless Horseman -- corny poetry aside, players are really loving the laugh and timbre of the guy who doesn't even have a throat to speak with. The most common guess we've heard is Gerard Butler, star of 300, but that doesn't really compute, as Blizzard usually uses lesser known voice actors and even most of their sound crew and artists (Chris Metzen does quite a few voices, actually, including most of the Orcs in game).

We've got two guesses for the Headless Horseman: the first is voice actor Michael McConnohie -- he's done a few other voices for Blizzard before (including Kel'thuzad). While his voice is definitely recognizable (he sounds like the Human male to me), the other strong male voice we know has worked for Blizzard is Mark Graue, who runs a voice studio in LA, and has worked on WoW since the beginning (he did the Undead emotes). Here's Graue's demos -- he sounded to me like the Horseman for sure when I first listened, but a few times in, I'm not so sure any more.

You can listen to the voice demos for both those guys and judge for yourself. Again, those are just guesses, based on who's worked with Blizzard in the past -- we don't really know for sure who it is. But we do have a query in to Blizzard on just whose manical laugh that is you hear when you throw a Jack-o-Lantern on your friend's head, so if they get back to us with a name, we'll post it here.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Bosses, NPCs

How to play WoW with a joystick

Reader Aaron Stacey wrote to tell us about a simple new script he's developed that allows him to play WoW more fluidly, despite having little fine dexterity control in his right hand. Since a spinal cord injury, he is only able to grasp and release his hand. Prior to developing this script, Aaron used to play only with his left hand using "an abundance of key binds and keyboard/mouse switching." He was restricted to caster classes because of the difficulty in moving and attacking at the same time.

Inspired by our Wii remote post and our treadmill post, Aaron came up with an ingenious idea that he hopes will help others with similar disabilities. The key is GlovePie, a piece of Windows freeware (donations welcome) originally written for virtual reality gloves, which allows you to play any game using any type of controller you like. GlovePie's website lists controllers like joysticks, gamepads, mice, keyboards, and Wiimotes, among a host of other hardware.

Find out how to do it yourself after the break.

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Filed under: Tricks, How-tos, Fan stuff

The voices of Azeroth

Last week we looked at who made the soundtrack of Azeroth (and I heard-- and saw-- those very people at the Video Games Live BlizzCon concert), and this week, olanthe on WoW Ladies wants to know who's behind the other, very memorable part of WoW's audio: the voices.

Unfortunately, just like the music, Blizzard doesn't actually credit the talent part by part, so while it's easy to find a list of who's voiced something in game (the IMDB entry is probably the most comprehensive, as it contains all the names from the booklets to both shipping WoW and Burning Crusade), finding out who's done what is a little harder. Tony Jay did the intros for all the races, and Cam Clarke has been pegged as the male Blood Elf (among others, including Nexus-Prince Shaffar and Medivh). Voice actress Erin Fitzgerald has done quite a few voices in Burning Crusade, including Dorothy and the Wicked Witch, as well as Sarannis and the Essence of Desire in the Black Temple. Kath Soucie, another well known voice actress, has also done voices in BC, as has Michael Dorn (yes, Worf).

But most surprising on the list is probably the sheer number of Blizzard employees-- some, like Samwise Didier, Chris Metzen and Mike Morhaime, are well known, but others, like Tracy Bush, Derek Duke, and Glen Stafford, are usually working on the music of Azeroth. And even others-- Michele Arko, and I'm sure a few other names that I just don't recognize, work in completely different departments of Blizzard, from QA to Administration. So it seems like they invite a lot of their local employees to come in and record voices for their games, and not until recently, with the Burning Crusade, have they turned more often to more high profile actors.

Unfortunately, that doesn't exactly answer the question of who the female Night Elf is. But especially for the shipping game, odds are that it's someone who works at Blizzard, not a professional voice actor.

Update: You guys are the best. A reader of ours is friends with the Night Elf voice, so here she is: Debi Mae West. And yes, her goods really are of the highest quality. Apparently, she was also Meryl in Metal Gear Solid.

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

Voicing concerns over VOIP

Some people on the forums are voicing concerns over the upcoming VOIP feature being added in Patch 2.2. For example, player Farnsworth is afraid that all he is going to hear is kids playing music. CM Drysc's response is

/right click
/ignore
Enjoy the silence.


There are basic features that will be built in to the Integrated Voice feature such as being able to ignore individual players' voices. But the most important thing to remember is that the feature is optional. Just as the quality of online play varies with the people with whom you are playing, so does the quality of online voice vary with the people to whom you choose to listen. We all hope for pleasant voices from informed minds, but what we usually get ranges from the comedic to the downright scary, as illustrated here.

Another forum thread (unfortunately, now deleted) suggested that no one was going to use integrated voice and that it was a waste of development resources. A different player asked "What do you think Blizzard is made up of? One guy named Bill Izzard who has to do everything?" Drysc responded with

Bill's a nice guy, but you're right, we also have Bly Zizzard. So, yeah, two people who do everything. But really I don't think it's important to justify our development pipelines, or explain that a programmer is different from an artist, or UI designer, or web designer. If you don't want to use the voice chat feature you'll be able to disable it.

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Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, Humor

Dude, can you get on Teamspeak?

I can't remember the first time I was invited on Teamspeak (some people use Ventrilo as well-- I've got both free programs installed on my PC, just in case) for an instance-- for some reason, I'm thinking it wasn't until I got invited to a raid at level 60, but considering the way that things are now, I'm really surprised it wasn't earlier. Maybe it's just because almost every instance I run is with guildies, but TS is basically a requirement for grouping-- a requirement that most of us are happy to comply with, but a requirement nonetheless.

Yakov isn't so compliant-- he says Vent is a crutch, and the fact that every group he enters asks him to "jump on Vent" is rubbing him the wrong way. He says a simple 5 man run doesn't call for using Vent, and that he'd rather listen to his music then his guildies chatting it up on Teamspeak.

I disagree-- not only is it more fun to chat with people on Vent (I tend to know the guildies I've talked to on TS better than the others), but it's just plain helpful, whether the instance is hard or not. If you're disappointed that your guild isn't asking you to come on more instance runs with them, and you haven't downloaded Vent or TS yet, that's probably why.

Of course, like all things, Vent can go horribly wrong. You can be annoyed by your guildies' voices (I'll just say that some people's accents are a little offputting and leave it at that), or like Yakov, you can rather listen to music then random guild gossip. But especially if you're a player just getting to the endgame where there's a lot to learn, jumping on Vent is one of the best things you can do to make sure you know what's going on when. It's not a difficulty thing, although coordinating a pull on TS is much easier than typing strat in the chat channel. It's more of a communication thing-- the more and the faster comm there is, the better you'll all be.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Guilds, Odds and ends, Instances

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