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Jun 14, 2007



Personally I think it's a good move on their part.

There's not much more annoying doing one move repeatedly and hearing the same shout over and over. Either it has to be very short and generic, or you have to record a large (read: > 10) variations to avoid it being repetitive when you're talking about an MMO, where people are going to use the same move thousands of times. The first is pointless (you might as well just have a wooshing noise), the second is prohibitively expensive.


I'm all in favor, personally, although I see your point. Those shouts drove me freaking INSANE and led to my own captain being almost intolerable. If it was a once-every-fifteen-minutes special ability that would be one thing, but it happened constantly. Yay!


"Anyway,I dont care about Turbines side of the story.The players side is what matters."
-from the post on the LotRO forums.

I haven't been in a fellowship yet with a Captain so I don't know how to react to this change. I've heard the shouts from minstrels before and I had always assumed it meant somebody had perished. A few people who responded said they felt they had lost a connection to their characters as a result of this change.

That players care about such changes at all is yet another sign that the study of meaning has to remain an important part of the analytic responsibilities of researchers studying synthetic worlds.

I agree, and (perhaps you're saying this implicitly) there is not quite as much of that type of reading out there in the academic literature as there should be. I understand the desire to formalize studies of VWs by focusing on game mechanics, abstract "interests" etc., but much of the player appeal of VWs doesn't show up in that type of analysis.


It took me 3 days to get used to all the screaming in the world - every battle had the same scream. It will probably take 2 to get used to the new sound.

I find it sad that with sound being such an important link to a character that so little effort is devoted to it compared to the graphical fidelity. Baldurs Gate set an excellent precedent by letting you record the voices of the characters.

Which MMO is going to be the one to do this and share around the voices in raid groups. LOTR already has included hands-free voice for fellowships (hunting parties) and user-created music so they are a step ahead in the audio realm.


Audio is such an important and overlooked part of MMOs -- well, I'm sure it isn't overlooked by the audio dev teams, but it really is by most of critics. Tim was talking about the texture of game experiences as opposed to the formal structure, and the texture of most MMOs is really about sound as much as the video. For instance, the techno sound track and industrial accents in CoH/CoV add a great deal to that game, WoW's audio sound track is really brilliant in some sections, and I think a lack of any compelling noise is one thing that have made most of EA's historic MMOG offerings (Earth & Beyond/TSO) so lousy.

We ought to do a post here to solicit reader comments on sound in MMOGs...



I'll be honest, in the guild I was in, as soon as you logged to the game, you also logged on to the guilds Ventrillo server. Thus, I never really listened to Warcrafts music. Though indeed the few times I did it was very good.



The audio for LOTRO isn't exactly the most professional out there. Yes, we lost our shouts, but we also gained (finally) the sounds of our horses.

I don't miss the shout in the emotional sense, it wasn't so much that it was a shout, but that the shout itself just sounded daffy. I called it the Howard Dean Scream. But I do miss having a solid audio queue that the skill has fired. With the delayed way LOTRO's combat queuing works, it's something you really need and the new sound is inaudible. I think that more than anything else is what you're hearing a backlash from.


Yes, I think it's partly that sound was an important part of knowing that a skill had fired. I'll admit that at first, I thought the shouting was kind of goofy too, but this is part of my point, I guess: what you become accustomed to *is* culture. When that gets changed for no apparent reason (or because there's a prior history of criticism that isn't part of your own experience of the community of players), it underscores the mysterious and capricious character of developer intervention into the world.

Audio in MMOGs strikes me as a crucial issue. It's one reason I'm not always wild about being in voice chat: sometimes I really want the audio cuing and soundtrack of a world, and sometimes I want my own library of soundtracks selections playing.

LOTRO has very nice background music, I think. The soundtrack in Agamaur, for example, is about the only thing I actually like about Agamaur.


I find myself hanging out in the hobbit areas just for the upbeat Celtic music there.

45 screams an hour was a little bit tiring on the senses though - if we took a vote today I'd be in favor of the change.


While I have occasionally thought the shouts to be kind of annoying in repetition, I'd rather have them put *more* than less. I'd rather have the game choose from a library of different shouts, or even let me choose the shout associated with a certain ability.

Or at the very least, a switch to turn it on or off, like helmets and cloaks. Wouldn't that have been easier?


No great loss. In fact it's a pretty noisy game. All sorts of battle noise, animal roars and squawks. A right row!


I wonder if vocal customization or situational variability could be implemented--there's certainly a lot of it happening with visual appearance, it seems.

A library of tweaking parameters for sound files, combined with a transparent/streamlined system for activating them?


I rather enjoyed shouting my enemies to death. It's a shame that the more annoying minstrel noises - the short riffs that are played when a spell is cast, and which are virtually (if not) indentical, haven't been changed to different sounds each time. Plus, these audio cues are important - it would be useful to be able to distinguish between these other effects, whereas the ones where it was clear what was happening - the two 'yells' were a fear and a high damage shout - have now become rather daft looking 'wind' special effects.


Fat Sez:

You put your big Screams in,
you pull your Big Screams out,
you put your Big Screams in but it's _always that same shout_...
You do a hokey sound design,
They'll turn your volume down.
And _that's_ what it's all about!


As an audio designer, I am willing to stick my neck out and say that this was a failure of sound design. Perhaps the audio people didn't get the tech support or the time they needed or something, who knows, but, there's no WAY you should have just ONE shout for something like that. There are ways do get a large amount of variation at a reasonable resource cost, and besides, this is a PC title. No real excuse, IMO.



Make it an option to
1. hear your own :Y or N
2. hear others: Y or N

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