May 30 2011

Using Voice Chat Appropriately

I will tell you a secret: I have a very low tolerance for voice chat abuses.

Anyone who ever PuGs heavily can tell you that how a raid uses voice chat can vary enormously between groups. Some groups use it exclusively for mid-fight calls, and the next group may do all their social chatting this way, while another falls somewhere in between. The worst part, however, is when you get that one player in the raid who has a radically different approach to vent than the other nine members and is oblivious to it.

With that in mind, I thought it might be a good idea to lay out some general guidelines for using voice chat when raiding with new players, whether in a PuG or as a sub or with a new start-up raid.

Pay attention to what everyone else is doing. Before you say anything on voice chat, listen to how the other people are using it first. If they are being social there, then it’s okay to join in. If they are only using vent to talk about the fight itself, then don’t start yacking it up about what you did last weekend. It should seem obvious but experience has taught me that it isn’t.

Don’t chat about irrelevant stuff while in combat. It can be very distracting for some players, and it prevents critical raid calls or strategy adjustments. It also encourages more people to do the same by responding to you. While some raids do continue to be social even during boss fights, this is usually with an established raid that has a fight on farm, and is rarely appropriate in a PuG environment.

Don’t do mid-fight call outs unless assigned. One person calling out an event on vent can be helpful. Three people calling it out on vent can make what would have been valuable information into an incomprehensible mess. Let the raid leader pick a single person to make calls so half the raid isn’t shouting over each other. Furthermore…

Not everything needs a call out. Every raider can groan about that one guy who shouted on vent every time he needed heals, or every time he died (despite performing a non-pertinent role), or whenever he was targeted by an ability everyone could already see in their raid warnings. If this doesn’t sound familiar, you may be that guy. Don’t be that guy, because that guy is on mute.

Don’t fight on voice chat. Yes, sometimes groups can be frustrating and you just want to yell at people, but don’t do it through your mic. On top of making everyone uncomfortable, there are usually other people in channel who aren’t at fault and don’t deserve to be yelled at. Pick your battles. If you really need to say something, say it privately or at least in /chat. No one wants their speakers blown out by Mister Angry.

Censor yourself. Don’t talk make inflammatory or controversial comments, even if you aren’t being serious. You don’t know if someone will take a remark personally, and they don’t know you enough to tell if you’re joking or not. Additionally, don’t vocalise every single thought that comes to your mind; some things are not relevant or interesting. You don’t need to add a witty quip after everything that is said. It becomes tiresome.

Don’t dominate voice chat. Even if a raid has a very active vent channel and everyone is participating, remember the channel is not your personal soapbox. Don’t hog the mic and don’t talk over other people. You’re not really being social if 99% of the chatting being done is by you and everyone else is stuck listening.

Don’t use vent if you’re only communicating with one person. If you want to have an extended conversation with one particular person, whisper them. No one else wants to be a captive audience to a personal discussion.

Respect your raidmates. If someone asks you to quiet down or stop talking about a particular topic, do it.

Voice chat can be an amazing tool or a painful aggravation depending on how it’s used. Use your common sense to make sure that you are conducive to the former and not contributing to the latter.

Sep 13 2010

Raid Preparation Checklist

An hour ‘til. Check:

  • Put the kids to bed, send your girlfriend home, tell Aunt Lucille that you’ll call her back tomorrow, let the dog out, take your smoke break.
  • Have you spec’d back to a raiding spec and spoken with the trainer?
  • Got all your glyphs?
  • Fill any empty gem sockets and make sure your new stuff enchanted.
  • Dump stuff you don’t need in the bank to make room for PhatLootz™.
  • Have you read the weekly post and the strategy guide?
  • Make sure all your add-ons updated, set-up and working.
  • Bring your dinner of cheesepuffs & Dr. Pepper to your desk. If necessary, bring enough additional puffs to cover snacks and dessert. Make sure you have enough napkins to wipe down the keyboard when you spill so you don’t need to get up in the middle of a boss fight.

Invites are begining. Check:

  • Be on the appropriate character and join your raiding channels.
  • Do you have enough flasks or elixirs appropriate to your class/spec?
  • Make sure you have enough potions of all the types you’ll need.
  • Refill your personal stock of buffing food in case no one has prepared any feasts.
  • Check your bags for that resist gear or off-set spec.
  • How is your supply of bandages? If low, have you prepared a bribe for a healer?
  • Confirm that you have an adequate supply of drinking water, in case of no mage.
  • Are you carrying enough reagents, be they purchased or fashioned from souls?
  • Are you on Ventrilo and in the right channel?
  • Get on the bird to the dungeon entrance.

Five minutes ‘til pull. Check:

  • Are you in the instance, next to your buddies, in front of the night’s first target?
  • Eat your buffing food, take your elixirs, apply your self buffs.
  • Quick gear re-check to make sure you aren’t still wielding Last Month’s Mutton.
  • Have you buffed people, dropped a table or soulwell, or offered to help summon the remaining stragglers?
  • Get in position, prepare for the pull, be awesome.