Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Do you use voice chat in raids?

Back in the days when I was in a more serious raiding guild doing Molten Core and BWL, we were using Teamspeak for voice chat. One guy had a role which somewhat reminded me of that of a drill sergeant, that is he was there to bark orders to the troops. As many of these orders were about starting or stopping damage, and I don't like headphones, so was running the voice chat on my laptop loudspeakers, my wife started to become well acquainted with that particular voice, and called him the "stop dps guy". :) Well, I took a long break from WoW last year and got into Burning Crusade raiding much later and with another guild, who don't use voice chat. And now I don't know if voice chat went out with the Burning Crusade, because smaller raids and improved boss mods / raid warning macros made voice obsolete. Or whether most raid guilds still use some form of voice chat.

So I'd like to hear your experience with and opinion on voice chat in TBC raiding. Do most people still use it? Is it still useful? And if yes, what voice chat system do you use, the new WoW integrated voice chat or an external program like Teamspeak or Ventrilo?

I'd also like to hear your experience with accents on voice chat. I'm playing on European "English" servers, where everyone from the UK to Italy, and from Norway to Israel is playing, basically everyone who isn't on a German or French or Spanish language server. Even reading the typed English of some people there is a challenge, and the spoken accents of everyone except the Scandinavians are hard to understand. (Why does a Swede usually speak clearer English than someone from lets say Yorkshire?) I can only guess that this is less of a problem with US servers, but I'd love to hear your impressions on that issue.
Swedish people dont suffer from the concept of "dubbing". All movies and TV shows from abroad is broadcasted in its native language.

This together with the knowledge that swedish is totally useless anywhere except in sweden and parts of norway/denmark makes us prioritize studying english at a relatively early age.

... maybe not the core topic but hey.

On the core topic yeah everyone basically use some voice chat still. It really depends on a number of factors but any raid that isnt ultra-ez farming the voice chat seems to come into play just because most wow players dont keep their eyes on the chat when raiding.
Apart from EQOA (where voice chat is next to impossible) I haven't been in a guild in any MMO in a long time that doesn't require TS or Vent for raids.

I think you may be experiencing an odd situation where just as many guildies are frustrated by english voice chat as welcome it.
Voice Chat ist still in use. Most guilds (including mine) still seem to prefer external programs like TS or Vent. The quality of the ingame Voice Chat seems significantly lower, so its used mainly by guilds without access to a TS or Vent.
As other posters have said, most serious raiding guilds rely on voice comms.

I don't know of a single guild that uses in-game voice comms: they all seem to rely on Ventrilo.

And yes, I am of the opinion that the best English is spoken in the countriles of northern europe (Scandinavia and the Netherlands), because they learn it as a foreign language early on. And I am from Southern Europe myself ;)
Yes, we use TS. And on almost all of the recruiment posts from raid-guilds on my server there is a 'players need to have TS/Vent installed' requirement.

Not all of them require you to talk, although some of the high-end guilds do have that requirement.

No one uses the Blizz voic chat. The quality wasn't very good when it came out and TS was already too widespread. Even the LFG-Tool gets more attention.
we use ventrilo in 25 mans quite extensively. we used to use it in Karazhan, but everyone in our guild could do Kara in their sleep, so we no longer bother.

it's nicer to hear someone detail the encounter/plans rather than scroll up for 2 screens to read the here's-how-we-do-the-encounter macro spam.
I'm part of a social guild which cleared Kara, and usually in our raid nights we use the integrated voice chat, and it works well enough for what we need.

Also it's very funny cuz in our runs we have two leaders, one is me (I am Italian) and the other is Dutch, but everyone understands well, and the different accent just makes the whole a chance to have more fun!
"Why does a Swede usually speak clearer English than someone from lets say Yorkshire?"

Thousands of years of accent evolution on the part of the latter, where the former has learned from "Received Pronunciation" sources or designed-to-be-intelligible TV shows.

Parts of the UK really are only speaking the same language because their dialect doesn't have a border or an army.
I can't understand what Scottish people are saying ever. Even on BBC I notice they add English subtitles when Scots speak, even though they're speaking English.
The raidgroup I'm in now uses Ventrillo. My guild has a small Ventrillo server too for the occasional pvp or instance run.

Many encounters don't really need voice communication but especially later on these become a real bonus again, for instance Vashj and Kael'Thas are very hard without as there's so many things going on and no one can oversee everything that's happening. Two or three people that update the raid on important events helps a lot. For instance bossmods will warn you when a Tainted Elemental spawns in the Vashj encounter, but it won't tell you where. If someone from that group speaks up on Ventrillo others know that that group might need some help on handling adds while they deal with the elemental.
Yes, my guild uses Vent for instance and raid runs.
We find it's helpful because we tend to have people who are quite casual, and either need to be coached (first-timers) or reminded what to do on bosses.
It typically works pretty well for us.
I must be in strange guilds, neither my pre-TBC guild nor my current one uses voice chat. We used to clear BWL and first couple bosses in AQ40 before TBC, this one is your usual 3/4 TK 5/6 SSC guild.

So neither guild is a top end raiding guild, but we do our share of raiding, and I find it's not that difficult without voice chat.
I raid with two different guilds, one on weeknights and the other on weekend mornings. One uses voice, the other doesn't. Frankly, I've always preferred doing all my communicating through text chat. I need time to think about what I want to say, so in spoken conversations I mostly end up not speaking at all, whereas typed chat is just my speed.

Guild A has always used Ventrilo, before and after BC was released or voice chat integrated. For our 25 man runs, it's to be kept mostly quiet, and only used for communication by raid leaders. On more informal 10 man runs, it is a lot more relaxed. I generally don't speak at all, unless I'm asked to provide feedback on something. Or if it's one of those informal 10 mans and I'm drinking :).

Guild B doesn't use any voice chat. Some people complain about it, but we've just always done it that way. We do all announcements through raid warnings. No one ever says so, but I believe this is because it's a very international guild (US server, but people in the guild are from the US, Germany, India, Korea, Japan, Australia, etc.) and although everyone communicates well in writing, accents are probably an impediment to using voice chat.

The in-game voice chat is a joke. It's never worked right for me (I can barely be heard, even though I'm perfectly audible on Vent or Skype). The only time I ever use it is in 5 man pugs where people insist on using it; I've noticed these people tend to be kids. At these times, I listen to those who wish to speak, but still do all my communicating through text chat.
Teamspeak is an invaluable tool that saved us from many wipes. But for casual raiding, it's also a very fun way to chat. During normal trash pulls, we usually don't talk about the current raid at all, but instead chat about the kinds of things that you'd talk about in guild chat when you are bored. You wouldn't know how much more fun raiding becomes because of this, and how much faster you are: talking into your headset doesn't prevent you from pushing spell buttons on your keyboard at the same time.

This kind of casual, everybody is allowed to talk, non-military kind of voice chat seems to break down beyond 10-man instances. Which is for me the most important reason I don't participate in 25-mans.

The topic you mention about "international" raid groups is very interesting. I play on a German server. Our guild has players from everywhere from Switzerland to Saxony, but everybody is a native speaker. This is obviously a huge advantage, not only for game progression, but also for social interaction. Have you thought about looking for a specifically Dutch guild?
I play the NA server and the accents differ so much in english, I'm startind to pick out the players from Texas from the ones from Florida, or the Newfoundlanders from Albetrians. Everyone says they don't have an accent and it's the other person who has the funny accent. Which is funny in itself.
As a 56k user i used to despise voice chat because it rendered raids (that would otherwise run relatively lag free) impossible. If a raid didn't kick me for not being on vent I would end up leaving after the first battle that went screwy required instructions to be yelled over vent. Basically it was a vicious cycle:

pull goes bad
instructions are yelled on vent
lag demobilizes me
pull gets worse
more vent...

However, now that I finally have dsl, this is no longer an issue. I am perfectly happy to talk on voice chat because it makes so many things easier and is generally more fun. That said, when directing small groups i will generally stick to /point and /charge emotes to lead =)
We still use Ventrilo for raiding - it is invaluable for when people make mistakes and turns certain wipes into well saved battles. We even use Vent in some of the more challenging heroic instances (and in fact, I have gotten so used to relying on Vent that I don't function well without it - sad but true).

WoW in game chat has a few problems - it's poor quality, when you experience lag voice lags as well, if you crash you can alert the raid over Vent, but not with in game, and there is always someone who just cannot get in game to work.

As for accents.. I play on an American server but live in Australia. I quite often get comments on my accent or the 'funny' way I pronounce things, but as a rule people can understand me (except for when I talk incredibly fast!).

As an aside - I find it amusing how many people can't tell the difference between an Australian accent and an English or Canadian one. :)
Yunkndatwunk: "Even on BBC I notice they add English subtitles when Scots speak, even though they're speaking English."

No they don't! I admit scottish people can sometimes be a bit hard to understand but the BBC have never and would never subtitle them lol.
All of the guilds that I've been in have used Ventrilo.

And while most of us on my server are from the US, there are quite a few French-Canadians, too. Usually, there'd be a running joke amongst the 2-4 women in the guild about having the guy having a "sexy French" accent and them wanting to repeat what he just said.

I could've sworn that I saw a show on BBC America where they had subtitles for someone speaking heavily accented English...
@ Anarki And Sumdumguy

The reason why you both are disagreeing may be because, Anarki I would assume is from the UK where the need for subtitles is not as necessary.

However another country other than the UK may require subtitles on the "Exported " program, even though it may have the inscription of BBC.

I think you are assuming that subtitles that are inscripted, then become universal.

So u are both correct I would imagine.
I guess accents are just a matter of taste and depend heavily from where you come from.

I'm swedish but I have a lot of english/scottish/irish friends and I really hate he singing intonation of swedes speaking english, I don't find it particularly easy to understand but I guess it could be considered "clearer" to non-native english speaker. To be brutally honest I'd rather listen someone speaking really difficult english accent than a swede yodeling their way through raid instructions, but that might be just me :-)

Anyway, we use TS to everything, even though it's not really required for Kara or 5-mans. We're a casual guild and people generally like the banter on TS during instances. We sometimes even log on to TS while we're questing, just to have a chat with others.
Voice chat's are alway's great for planned raid's on multiplayer game's...Cant imagine playing with out them =)
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