Like Clive Thompson, I am feeling a bit nervous about the new built-in voice chat coming to World of Warcraft. Sure, I have used programs like Ventrilo in the past. Voice chat is amazingly useful in a raid situation. Most people don’t type at 80+ wpm, and tactics can be better explained and discussed in a complex situation if you can just speak. But let’s face it … when you’re pairing up with someone to complete a quest, or even in a five-man dungeon, it’s just not necessary. Everyone should know their class’s responsibilities without needing in-depth explanations or instructions. And frankly, I don’t need to hear that the person I’m playing with sounds stoned, or tired, or young enough to be my son. It doesn’t add much to the experience of killing a few orcs. It can even detract from it. And face it, some people can be down right nasty. Who doesn’t remember the infamous Onyxia raid leader immortalized in this clip? Yes, that sort of behavior will probably be reportable with in-game voice chat, but that probably won’t prevent it from happening in the first place.
Of course, technically, I can’t be FORCED to use the voice chat … typing is still going to be available. But I can’t help but think that you’ll be sort of bullied into it anyway.
I want to be able to listen to my music or listen to other things going on around me when playing WoW … I’m crossing my fingers, but I’m awaiting the patch with trepidation.
(Thanks to Linn for pointing Thompson’s article out to me in the first place.)