[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Role playing and Voice Chat

Damion Schubert dschubert at gmail.com
Fri Oct 7 08:37:44 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

On 10/6/05, Michael Hartman <mlist at thresholdrpg.com> wrote:

> Personally, I believe voice chat is an anti-RP piece of
> technology. The overwhelming majority of players are not going to
> be able to alter their voice to sound anything like their
> character should. Even with a few voice altering filters, it still
> will not even get close to the variety in character types a
> typical RP game would have.

> Another problem with voice chat is that it necessitates a lot more
> immediacy and constancy in conversation that a text conversation
> does not require. Long pauses in a voice chat are
> uncomfortable. Waiting for someone's next block of text to appear
> is not uncomfortable. There is no weird silence (in fact, you
> might have music going in the background). One of the many
> benefits of this is that in text communciation, you have more time
> to compose your thoughts in a more eloquent or appropriate
> manner. Those extra few seconds (or even minutes, depending on the
> nature of your RP community) result in dramatically superior
> RP. In voice, people have to keep yammering along to maintain the
> flow of the conversation. This increases the likelihood of modern
> slang, babbling, filled pauses (uh... and... like... ya
> know... etc.).

I was right there with you for years and years, but now that I've
actually had more experience with voice chat in an MMO, I can safely
say that it doesn't matter. Communicating via voice chat is
inherently better in many situations, especially small squad
situations and especially in games with reasonably complex rulesets
that require players to cooperate and adjust their tactics on the
fly (which should, in my opinion, be most of them).

Does it break role-playing immersion? Possibly. But people seem to
be able to handle Katrina the Pixie sounding like a 40 year old
truck driver with a voice two octaves below Barry White in a table
top setting, don't they? What really breaks immersion is dying a
stupid death because you couldn't type 'heal me!' fast enough or,
worse, that message was spammed out of the chat box.

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