Every voice chat server has it’s rules – sometimes unspoken, but sometimes explicitly laid out. This is, I think, a good thing – usually it’s nice to know whether or not you’re going to hear large amounts of profanity through your speakers at any given time, particularly if you have nublets/small-fry/rugrats/sprogs (hi Leafy! I used your word!) in your home.
But sometimes even those rules are unable to give you an adequate picture of what you’ll hear, and whether or not you’ll be comfortable with it.
I’ve participated in the following kinds of ventrilo/teamspeak experiences:
- Raid Leader is the only one with speaking rights
- Raid information only during raids, some chatter during downtime
- Chatter only in voicechat, raid information given in /raid or /rw.
- PG rated, some chatter and some raid info
- Anything goes (x2)
They’ve all got their pluses and minuses. Obviously with the first one you don’t get any kind of feedback (or a healer yelling out ON ME!), and sometimes in the last ones you have to dig through the chatter to get the information for the fight. Either way, I vastly prefer the last two varieties, once you get your raid trained up to shut up and listen when the raid leader is talking.
(*jabs Tarquin* – or just have your raid leader be the most talkative person on vent!)
Anyway – that Anything Goes category can be a double edged sword, and much like guild chat, vent chat can be VASTLY different depending on the people involved.
Anything Goes Vent #1 for me was ok for awhile, until some new people joined up, and the chat went in uncomfortable directions. Not that someone didn’t occasionally drop an F-bomb before, but the general attitude of the chat went from funny/friendly to some serious cut downs and vulgarity – and occasionally vulgarity that included misogynistic overtones. This bothered me. It doesn’t bother other people (who still participate actively in that channel with no problems).
“Anything Goes” Vent #2 is more “profane” (and occasionally… strongly laced with innuendo?) – particularly near the end of a raid night if things are going well and/or people have had a few beers. But I’ve never felt uncomfortable or out of place there (though I’m sure someone new might get put off by some of the silliness sometimes), even when something happens that sends the 4 letter words flying.
The difference is the atmosphere – in the first, I was never really sure whether comments were made in jest or were truly meant to be mean/angry/offensive. In the second, people are not taking those kinds of jabs at each other, and the profanity is directed at bosses/the game – not at other members of the channel.
Voice chat is, in effect, guild chat taken to the next level. You can’t hide behind the green text of anonymity… but you can hide behind your computer screen. It’s more personal, and therefore it comes with a higher “level” of communication (voice inflection, laughter, etc). Finding a place that you feel fits with your personality can be tough – and it can be a good way to tell if you’re going to fit in with that particular guild or raid.
My big red flags generally are players that attack or belittle other players and people that are willfully ignorant. Also any channel that erupts with “LOLWUT!? R U *really* A GIRL!? R U HOT?” when I join. (but that’s another post entirely). Obviously I have other pet peeves about Vent, but these are the two that will make me tempted to leave a channel and likely not to join it again.
What are your red flags? Do you have things in vent (or guild chat) that make or break a group for you?
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