Nov 13, 2011

Posted by in Blue Milk & Cereal | 15 Comments

Blue Milk & Cereal: Should TOR Have Built-In Voice Chat?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

One of the keys to being successful in a team-oriented game, be it an MMO, FPS or street hockey, is having good communication between teammates. There is no real need to explain the benefits of this, but instead what we need to focus on are the actual tools that each player has at his or her disposal to communicate with the group.

In case of TOR, we expect to have all the traditional group-oriented tools, such as target markers, group-wide messages, ready-checks and many other bells and whistles that are already used every day by millions of gamers. A significant portion of MMO gamers also resort to using a voice-over-IP application like Mumble, TeamSpeak or Ventrilo to better coordinate and organize the group activity. In fact, many guilds require its members to have one of these programs installed. (Editor’s Note: Don’t forget you can hop on Ask A Jedi’s own Mumble server any time! Details here: Come Mumble With Us.)

To get around this, some games have their own built-on voice chat. For example, World of Warcraft implemented an in-game VOIP function, allowing players to communicate with the group members without the need of running additional third-party software.

Perhaps its just me, but I would love to be able to make TOR even more social with voice chat (of course with a easy function to mute, for those cases when a player is unaware he’s blasting Justin Bieber at full volume to everyone in a group). So far, BioWare has indicated that “third party programs work great for this.” Read into that what you will.

What do you think – should TOR have a voice chat? Let us know by answering the poll below and leaving a comment!

Should TOR have built-in voice chat?

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  1. Got to say they should concentrate on the core aspects of the game. WoW has built in VOIP, but when I tried to use, it was complete crap. Was easier and better to just give someone the guilds mumble server.

  2. Definitely not. Waste of resources and time. Let players who want voice chat use external programs. There are alot of more important things for the devs to work on and internal VOIP applications are never as good as 3rd party ones, anyways!

  3. Ajay (R2D2) says:

    I would like to see it. LOTRO has voice chat, and it makes PUGs quite manageable. Typing out instructions during fast-paced segments on instances is a hindrance. The only problem with in-game voice chat would be sound levels. As long as options are present to dial down game sounds and increase voice chat volume, I don’t see any problem with it being in-game.

    Despite my view on this, I don’t tend to use my headset that much due to who I’m living with not appreciating the chatter. So, I generally just keep voice chat enabled and listen.

  4. WoW’s implementation of in-game voice chat was by far the worst feature they ever made, and it was the bulk of an entire content patch.

    I think those that use voice chat software for their gaming are fine with vent and mumble. At least I am.

  5. I am a little torn on the concept. I would like a Good in-game voice system, but there are probably 20+ things I would like to have before it.

    For guild chat it is nice to use a third party chat tool, because you can communicate without actually logging in. For pugs and ease of use I prefer in-game…

    I wonder if they could create an in-game system that has an external version of the same system so that It could be used without logging in to the game.

  6. My guild uses mumble and it’s awesome.

    Anyway… I thought the entire point of VoIP is to blast Justin Bieber to your guildmates!

  7. I usually play from shared rooms, so I never really use voice chat, because I don’t want to disturb the other people in the room. Having integrated voice chat would increase the pressure to use it.

    Also having voice chat in the game would reduce the impact of having a fully voiced game, one of the core features of SWTOR, by giving other players the ability to add their own chatter to the ingame dialogue.

  8. I don’t see the point of wasting time and resources on a in-game chat feature. A lot of games that support something like this have absolutely terrible sound quality when compared to programs like Ventrilo or Team Speak. I also believe that most gamers prefer these programs and just disable in-game chat anyway. I certainly do.

  9. Kingduck13 says:

    I would like in game voice chat if purley because it could be formatted so that voice chat would not interupt cut scenes in the game. As the store and voice over are such a huge part of the game having people speak over the top of it will be a big peeve for me. If they do in game voice chat it should either pause the cut scene or better yet have the ability to mute other players trying to talk to you while the cut scene is going on.

  10. ScytheNoire says:

    They should only do voice-chat if they can team up with someone who has already done it right like Mumble, Ventrilo, or Skype. Otherwise, it’s a huge waste of resources.

  11. As an oceanic guild, we would suffer greatly having to go to Bioware’s servers and back – that extra second to second and a half before someone GETS OUT OF THE FIRE is really important.

    We thought about moving our mumble server out of Sydney to get cheaper hosting, but it just wasn’t workable at the higher end of a game.

  12. The 3rd part developers of Ventrillo, Mumble or TeamSpeak have not only a number of years headstart in improving quality and limiting memory/cpu footprint of the clients, but also offer significantly better options for configuration and customization than would ever be viable to include in a game client.

    Let the guys who have it worked out keep working it out, and let the game developers make the game. Random pugs should not need voice chat, and most everyone else prefers using either guild-based or friends-based servers.

  13. I voted no as most games have terrible in game voice chat and it’s inclusion makes it all too likely to be used. The LOTRO voice chat whilst useful, is quite painful to use and I can’t hear people properly half the time. If they could implement in game voice chat on par with Vent/Mumble then my vote would probably be a yes. Thing is though, they need a work around with allowing it to work not only when grouped. If it was good and linked with a guild, say at a certain guild level you unlocked a voice chat server fornthe guild, then yes I think it would, and should be a high priority.

  14. OneCharacter says:

    GhostBoy pretty much nailed it. A built-in voice chat doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that is necessary when you have the third party VOIP programs that exist today. I never used the in-game voice chat in WoW and as far as I know, nobody ever does. So all the resources that went into it were basically wasted, unfortunetly.

    Guild masters and raid leaders seem to prefer other means for communication and I think BioWare knows it.

  15. Frohteloss says:

    The only reason i’d like voice chat in swtor eventually (its def not a super huge priority) is that it would be nice to have a voice chat that would auto mute when I’m in a voiced over cut scene.

    Yes I know this can be easily accomplished by having a key bound to mute all in a 3rd party prog, but it would be nice if it was automagical.

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