Friday, April 11, 2008

Voicechat vs music and sound

Over at Cuppy's latest blog, Tachevert makes an excellent point:

"I take music pretty seriously, and I’ve historically ALWAYS left music and sound on in games. Lately, though, I do find myself backing off on MMO music — especially if I’m raiding or otherwise trying to use voice chat. Without sound effects, though, I always feel as though I’m missing too many cues to the action."

Brent pointed out weeks ago that SOE will soon be integrating voicechat software into all of their games, and I expect other companies might be doing this as well.

Are voicechat and music inherently at odds? How about voicechat and sound effects?


  1. Music and voicechat are a bit at odds with each other I think. Sound effects - depends. Some cues would be good to keep from enemies, while any sound effects your power/skill/weapon makes might be useful to skip in some cases.

    It would probably be good to have different settings to switch easily between and perhaps more detailed in terms of sound effects.

  2. Since I just discovered your blog, Aaron, I get to have fun necroing stuff! :)

    I was, and still am, always a bit disappointed that to use VOIP I have to make such drastic volume changes to the actual game. Back in WoW it was Ventrilo. Turbine has integrated Gamespy's VOIP tech into both LOTRO (most people don't even realize it's there because they came from WoW or other games where Vent is "it") and DDO (nearly everyone uses it constantly). Problem is, I enjoy the music. It helps make the zone a "place." Part of the mystical concept of "immersion" I suppose. I mean, after raiding AQ20 so often, I actually decided to turn the Vent volume down and the music up. AQ20 had decent background music! Who knew?

    What I do think developers need to address, and this will be key in the newer brand with integrated VOIP, is providing more options for us. Blizzard made one single decision in their implementation of VOIP for WoW that is so incredibly important for everyone else to pay attention to: when someone speaks over VOIP, the game audio volume drops significantly so the person can be heard over the din of battle. Everyone else (looking at Turbine and especially everyone using Vivox!) needs to copy that idea NOW!

    That aside, I also think it would be a great idea to allow us to save audio (and perhaps other avenues, but audio is the topic here) profiles so we can easily and immediately switch back and forth without taking time dragging individual sliders. If I'm soloing, I can save a 'solo' profile where the music and sounds are cranked. If I'm in a VOIP group/raid, I can click that profile I've created to lower those sounds.


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