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Old 05-11-2005, 09:10 PM   #1
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Matt recently hinted at his intent to work towards integrating the Teamspeak application into at least one of IRE's muds, for the purpose of such things as private voice chat between guild members, ease of communication in PvP instances (such as raids, the use of which is well publicized and by now popular and oft times a necessity in many of the guilds of large MMORPGs), and other intercharacter coordination activities.

While the viability of this technology has been well proven in the circuits of such worlds as Everquest, DaOC, Shadowbane, World of Warcraft, and any number of XBOX Live games, I am personally skeptical of the idea that this is a productive road for our niche community to take. Now, assuming the goal is to broaden the target audience, it is plausible and probably true that integrating RT voice comm. will be a unique feature that will initially attract a fair deal of new players. However, my instincts tell me that it will remain just that - an initial attraction.

Rather than serving as a unifying apparatus for players seeking greater coordination, I believe it will instead become a polarizing factor between the Haves and the Have Nots within the community. If the technology begins to gain use among leadership circles, instances will crop up where players without access to Teamspeak or similar applications are denied participation in what are some of the best roleplaying opportunities in MUDs, the group meetings where politics play out on the grand scale. Further, players participating in PvP activities but without access to Teamspeak will likely be left by the wayside, as their fellows using the application rapidly communicate outside of the realm itself. In both of these instances, the player is left ostracized for no true fault of their own.

Aside from monetary considerations (headsets would be a must), players would have little ability to make use of this aspect of the realm should they be playing from an environment where they aren't able to speak even would they wish to. Many of our players log a good number of hours from their work or from their school, and while their playtime might not diminish directly because of an inability to use the voice chat, again it might serve as an impetus for frustration whereby the player, unable to participate in the voice chat due to OOC considerations, is left unable to participate in some IC activities.

Introducing the dynamic of voice chat into any virtual world is a
paradigm shifting event. Where it has always been an issue among designers as to how to create systems where communication outside of the realm (through such things as AIM, IRC, or even third party voice chat systems) does not create an undesired advantage, integrating such a system directly into the realm could be seen as raising the white flag where immersion is concerned. For many, the condition of anonymity, to whatever extent it may be practiced, is a large part of their immersion experience in virtual worlds. Whereas the player may be a white male from Texas with a thick accent, the character may be a dark skinned Drow huntress. If forced to use voice chat, their entire effective anonymity is destroyed.

In certain instances, in particular those where the "role" in roleplaying amounts to little more than the stats and skills of the avatar being controlled, real time voice communication can be a great boon to players looking for a competitive edge. But does it have a place in any realm that tries to stress, or even attempts to foster, truly immersive roleplay? I have serious doubts, though it seems an inevitability that will be tested given time.
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Old 06-19-2005, 12:48 AM   #2
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(Not that this affects me directly, as of yet, but I *completely* agree with the aforementioned concerns, and want to add this one: )

What about your non-native English speakers? Where they may be able to communicate quite effectively in text, their accents or conversational quality may put them on the 'outside,' as well.

Just 2 royals worth,
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Old 06-19-2005, 09:32 AM   #3
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Well, from a RPI perspective, it's completely useless as such OOC communication is usually not allowed.

From a non-RPI perspective, I don't see many advantages to the game or pbase, just to individual players themselves. Now, in pay-for-perks MUDs, it'd just be one more perk.

Overall, I don't think it's necessary or even desirable. But then again, I come from a RPI perspective, so my opinion is likely to be geared more toward consideration of that genre.

Take care,

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Old 06-20-2005, 03:01 AM   #4
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We depend heavily on the suspension of disbelief. I don't see voice chat as supporting that suspension in the slightest.
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Old 06-20-2005, 12:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by (Fern @ June 20 2005,04:01)
We depend heavily on the suspension of disbelief.  I don't see voice chat as supporting that suspension in the slightest.
If you can suspend your disbelief enough to believe that you're in a world when you're reading text on a screen and typing on a keyboard, I'm sure you can suspend your disbelief enough when real voices are involved. Just like a keyboard, it's another method of transferring information that has its upsides and downsides.

In any case, we already had dropped this idea as it's not of enough interest to enough players.
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