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May 09, 2006



When I play Lineage II I use Skype to talk to my friends, who I normally party with, although it is an mmorpg we don't really roll play that much if ever. Normally it's friendly banter and the such. This is probably because we see eachother everyday in school.
However I also use Teamspeak for Counter-Strike clan (multiplayer FPS) but I've never met any of them. The dialogue in the "lobby" is normally very similar to that of my chat with my friends in Lineage. What I think is very intriguing is that on MSN I am normally very different to use Nick Yee's concept (I think) I become 'hyperpersonnal'. Much to my detriment I must confess.
I think that the only when role playing chat , with voices, really comes into it's own is either with Dungeons and Dragons or with a text based rpg. Here people have to get into their character to sustain the world. I think that with the departure of text based rpgs has really signalled the end of mainstream role playing on line.

PS Phew this time I didn't triple post by mistake


I participate in a FFXI linkshell (equivalent to a guild) that uses Ventrilo. I think there are some major differences between how much, and for what purposes, different guils use the programs. On the FFXI linkshell, only a small portion of the players use Vent, and those that do normally talk about a variety of game topics as well as real life topics. It has even been the source of some discord and "clique" forming within the linkshell as a whole since only a minority use it and the remainder of the players are not able to engage.


EVE-ONLINE. Teamspeak/Ventrillo is a necesary part of life for any corporation that is engaged in the political realities of controlling territory. Even with its superb chat system, voice communications are not only recommended, they are life or death when living in the lawless regions.


My main guild (and its predecessor) both use such voice clients outside of instances, although this tends to fluctuate, currently we don't do it often. For a long period it was a way of keeping a disparate group together, as although we belonged to the same guild we often had different focuses, ranging from PVP, AH watching, farming to instances. Voice chat was a way of keeping us together.
For a while we even had music piped through the voice client by the server admin, making it sort of like a radio station.


I find real voice communications in RPGs positively loathesome. It breaks the fourth wall and spoils the illusion. I would never take part in any in-game activity that required it.

What might work for me would be generated, in-character voices. Not canned phrases, but the ability to speak into a microphone and have your words rendered with an appropriate tonality to match your in-game gender/race.

I would always, though, prefer to communicate in written text, and the implied literacy required by MMORPGs is one of the key reasons I was attracted to them in the first place.


The guild I'm in in WoW used to only used during big raids. As we became more adept at beating encounters, we could focus less and the banter increased on Ventrilo. Over time, everyone got to know each other better and better and the amount of Ventrilo use for non-raid things has increased. I think once you become comfortable using it with a certain group of people, and comfortable just talking about non-business (raiding being the business) the more you see the other guildmates as real friends and more you are willing to, and in fact want to talk to them in a non-business setting.

At a certain point it became where people would prefer Ventrilo over talking in guild parties because it's just that much extra effort to type.

I guess what I'm saying is that it seems to me that the reason people might not, as in your case, use Ventrilo much might simply because you're not comfortable with each other on that level. Voice makes it more personal, and it takes a "mental step" forward to get comfortable and get used to it. Not only that, but it requires this mental step on the part of a large portion of your guild. Large groups of people have large amounts of intertia.


One perspective I can offer is from a player whose significant other often plays other games, but in the same room at the same time. For years now I've played MMORPG's with the sound turned off, and we chat, she at her computer with her game, and me at mine. We just don't enjoy the same kind of games LOL. My guild in SWG typically uses Ventrilo to chat socially as we play, even when not playing together, and it's a very pleasant social experience. I will sometimes don my headset to take part, but more often than not I will only log into Vent when taking part in a group activity with them. By logging in to Ventrilo just to chat, I am shutting out my wife as we play "alone together".


Voice over IP applications are certainly no longer a rarity in MMO-land.

Any competitive MMO with some fast paced action will see their use, but what's mroe important is that these pplications are indeed used more and more to support social interaction rather then being a powerplaying tool or efficiency enhancer.

CCP, developer of Eve Online actually has announced a project where a new voice over IP application will be integrated into the Eve-Online game client pack. The announcement came at the E3 convention that is being held at this time in the United States.

Their reasoning insofar as I have cought glimpses of it, seems to be that the use of third party software for this purpose is already extremely widespread in Eve Online, and that it might very well add another medium for social interaction to the game. Lack of interaction media is something I must admit I've seen plenty of complainst about in relation to Eve Online, even when it is in my opinion one fo the most socially-oriented MMO's on the market.


After reading 'Richard's view' I thought of another thing to add to the discussion about VoIP and MMO's.

Richard clearly states his fear that Virtual Worlds will lose their potential of offering immersive experiences to their players when VoIP applications combined real life voices with fictional characters.

I must disagree with his general and rather sweeping statementss on the issue seeing how there's been waht looks like a starting trend towards virtual worlds that emulate real life challenges and relations more closely while retaining a fictional setting.

I fully understand that roleplaying with an elf while hearing a whisky-drowned lumberjack on your teamspeak is not oing to add much to your experience. But there already are a number of worlds where roleplay has shifted from pure character-based play to a more activity- or challenge-based roleplay so to say. When the complexitiy of the world increases and the importance of individuals declines a combination with somewhat less outrageous fiction leads to a situation where real voices and fictional worlds no longer have to clash at all.

And that goes for mroe then just voices of course, but also for third party applications, the use of email and other media etc.

Sorry for the small sidestep, but it does concern the virtual experience in cobination with addition of audio as social instrument.


Ya, I'm in mid-data analysis on my VoIP/WoW experiment, so conclusions will be coming out in about another month or so. It's obvious from the data so far that voice is generally positive across a number of social dimensions, but equally obvious that not everyone wants to reveal that much "information" about themselves by swapping from text to voice.

On the Internet, no one knows you are a dog/girl/teenager/retiree/lawyer, etc., etc.


It's clear that MMOG players use 3rd party voice applications when they REALLY care about tight coordination with their fellow players. And of course, tight coordination matters most when you're in a raid or in PVP.

Now the reason that voice enables tighter coordination than standard text chat is NOT ONLY because talking is faster than typing. It's also because standard text chat is quasi-synchronous (see Garcia & Jacobs): the transmission of messages is synchronous but their production is not. As a result, you can't ever know if your group mates are taking a turn-at-chat at any given moment. So it is sometimes difficult to coordinate those private turns-at-chat with your own or with actions such as traveling together or initiating an attack. Tight coordination in voice-mediated interactions (real world or virtual) comes primarily from the fact that you can monitor other people's utterances-in-progress, project their possible completion point, and begin your next action precisely where they end (see Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson 1974). So the key to improving coordination among players in MMOGs is using a sychronous mode of talk (whether voice or text).

Now the only MMO that I know of which implements a near-synchronous form of text chat is There. In There, spatial chat messages are posted on a word-by-word basis instead of a message-by-message basis. As a result, other players' messages-in-progress are more visible and projectable and therefore players can achieve tighter coordination among their turns-at-chat, avatar movements, and other actions. MMOGs like EQ and WoW would especially benefit from this kind of near-synchronous chat system since tight coordination among players is often critical for success (i.e., in combat).

So game devs can make text chat BETTER for player-to-player coordination by using a word-by-word chat system like the one in There (or even a character-by-character system). Fully synchronous voice is no doubt EVEN BETTER for coordination, but players don't always want to use it nor always have a headset. There offers the best solution because it provides both word-by-word text chat AND integrated voice. (Unfortunately I've never seen a raid in There although there is "PVP" paintball.)


like you


I am a gentleman


Technology wise we must be close to “vicinity chat” within virtual environments, where a player could run up to a stranger in game and say “hello” and have an audio conversation.
That seems like such a step in the right direction, just think of the possibilities.
You shout “HELP” into your microphone and strangers around you would hear it and respond.

So I’m torn between Richard Bartle’s views on voice and roleplay and this potentially great benefit.

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