[MUD-Dev] Is difficult communication the barrier to community in MMORPGs? (fwd)

Damion Schubert damion at ninjaneering.com
Fri Jun 14 18:29:13 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


>From Brian Hook
> At 07:54 PM 6/13/2002 -0700, Koster, Raph wrote:
>> Add voice.

> Okay, I just gotta chime in here.
 
>   Voice sucks for group communication.  

Amen.  It's day may come but it certainly isn't the be-all and
end-all that's going to make it all go away.

>   In most cases I've witnessed, when you have 3+ people attempting
>   to engage in real-time chat with variable latencies and input
>   devices, you suffer from:
 
>     - constant interruptions
>     - clipping/distortion
>     - lagged responses
>     - "Breaking the fiction" (13 year old boy sounding like
>     barbarian warrior...um, no)
>     - no scroll back buffer
>     - no logging for harassment claims (wannabe pedophile solicits
>     the 13 year old barbarian warrior, but there's now no evidence
>     of this)

 -  Bandwidth costs
 -  Inability to cut and paste conversations to web sites.
 -  Lack of a profanity filter.
 -  Lack of an easy way to tie a voice to an avatar.
 -  Security costs from potentially exposing an IP.
 -  No easy way to search anything you DO manage to log.
 -  Having to listen to someone's kids/flatulence/Judas Priest albums
		in the background.
 -  Volume/background noise mismatches between players.
 -  Mixing problems (try to hold a teleconference where all four people
		have background music or kids sometime).
 -  Inability to play while your girlfriend is asleep in the same room.
 -  Crowd communication
 
> Naturally shy individuals that wouldn't necessarily talk much find
> their voice better with text.

This is a very sharp observation that I hadn't thought about before,
and I've thought about this issue a lot.  Remember, a lot of people
play online games BECAUSE they are sick of being the quiet guy in
real life who can't get a word in edgewise.

Voice is, in my opinion, good for one kind of gamer right now: the
tactical gamer.  Voice does okay in small groups of 4-6, where the
need to talk is relatively rare and everyone you are talking with is
likely to be a handpicked friend.  As such, it's been quite
successful in EQ parties as well as in squad- based games like Roger
Wilco.  But it's a long way from being the primary communication
channel in an online world.

Now, I'm not saying that voice should never be done.  But has a long
way to go, and it's nowhere near the holy grail that some seem to
think it is.

--d

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