VoIP in Warcraft

I’m sure that you’ve all read the accounts of the in-game voice chat that Blizzard is planning. Some people like it, some people hate it (if they ever roll it out to general channels, we’re ALL going to hate it), but it does raise some interesting points. Lag may be an issue, and as a female gamer I’m not looking forward to using it in PUGs.

The interesting issue, for me, is that of the effect on virtual personas. Online, ingame, you can be anyone you want. You can be someone in complete opposition to who you are in real life, which is probably a good thing for people who are put in pigeonholes based on physical appearance, sex, etc. Once you introduce rl elements to your virtual world, however, you lose a lot of the freedom you have to be who and what you want to be.

We’ve all seen it in the “post what you look like in rl” posts on the forums. No matter how well you know the people in question, no matter how long you’ve played with them, it always changes your perception of them. The buff, bearded main tank is actually a 14-year-old emo boi. In our guild, one of the female members posted a very pretty, very blonde pic…and before you know it, she was dating one of the officers who made sure she was in the Kara “A Team”. lol… There’s also one person who I refuse to see as anything except my mental picture of him as a burly dwarf with a big, black beard, because it so perfectly fits his very deep voice over TeamSpeak. Once you see a picture, they’re forever pigeonholed based upon their physical appearance.

And what does this do for roleplaying servers? Online personas there can be quite involved, very complex, and in direct opposition to their rl owners.

I use TS in raids because it’s the most efficient way to play, and that’s what raiding is all about. Efficiency, everyone working well together, success with a minimum of problems. But for the rest? I like being something else, someone else when I play. I would feel quite silly doing a faux-Jamaican accent for my troll, for example. She would lose her unique personality.

What do you think? Do you inhabit your character’s personas when you play, or are you always you? What do you think about always using voice in game?

6 Comments so far

  1. Dreadmoon (unregistered) on May 18th, 2007 @ 8:46 am

    I play mostly with friends, and our interactions go beyond Wow. So from that point of view I don’t care one way or the other.

    I have a very deep voice and at the same time I have a female gnome warrior that has two distinctive pink ponytails… and I found it amusing when people relates one to the other :-)

  2. becket (unregistered) on May 18th, 2007 @ 10:19 am

    Indeed. Why do folks think that an online avatar has the slightest resemblence to the player? I’m more surprised when the a dwarf turns out to be played by someone with a beard, or when a tree hugging hippy decides to play an elf.

    as for roleplaing, I’m of the opinion that escaping into another persona is either very very healthy or very very unhealthy, and the difference is only made plain after a good deal of introspection.

  3. Xoruka (unregistered) on May 18th, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

    I get shit for playing a female orc on a Roleplaying server when we want to use VoIP.

  4. Chris Keegan (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 3:11 am

    People argue in /general chat now anyway i can imagine it becoming quite childish at times.
    A Voip trade channel could be quite interesting with players flogging there wares and so on.
    I would be interested to hear about roleplayers, do they use sound effects and put on funny voices when they do Voip roleplaying?

  5. Sabocat (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:58 am

    I can’t see it happening.

    OK for about $15/month you can get VOIP. The ISP’s might have a bit of a problem with that as it’s about half the price of their own phone services. Heck if Vonage is getting a beating from the ISPs what would happen to Blizzard.
    Does Blizzzard really want to be a phone company? I doubt it. Why threaten their nice tidy revenue steam by painting a giant target on thier heads.

  6. Phil (unregistered) on May 26th, 2007 @ 2:48 am

    “I have a very deep voice and at the same time I have a female gnome warrior that has two distinctive pink ponytails… and I found it amusing when people relates one to the other :-)”

    Nice to see I’m not the only big guy who plays the gnome. I played strong guard on the offensive line on my high school football team back in the day, and now I play a level 64 female gnome warrior – also with the pink ponytails. Talk about not matching your avatar..

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