Oh noes! Vent drama!


Yeah, that’s a lie — but it makes for a good title even if it’s not really true to the principles of journalism. Then again this isn’t journalism, it’s the inside of my head (parts of) splattered onto the internet (parts of).

Unfortunately for you if you were expecting juicy CoW meltdown (juicy CoW? juicy meltdown?), you’ll be disappointed. I have nothing but pride in the herd, individually and as a collective. It’s software I have a bone to pick with, and how that software ends up regulating or even restricting my interactions with other people.

Voice chat has a way of insinuating itself. It starts out optional, and yet within weeks it’s a case of “you don’t have it? You really should get it. It’s almost a requirement.” And those are the nice folks, who say it kindly and mean it sincerely (and, as it happens, are right) — the rest just say “Get Vent or GTFO, I’m too freaking cool/busy/leet to type, yo.” I’m glad to say CoW is blessedly cool/busy/leet free. Yo.

Now, while I freely admit having discovered, thanks to CoW, that if you’re in congenial company it really does add to one’s gaming experience, I still don’t like this voice/no voice divide that, it seems, inevitably appears. Even in the best of companies. It’s nobody’s fault – if anything, it’s the tech’s fault because you either have it (can use it) or you don’t.

Why is it that some technologies that are supposed to bring people together only end up doing the opposite when those for whom it works end up having little time or tolerance for those for whom it doesn’t? I find it interesting that it happens even when those involved don’t want it to and, indeed, are determined NOT to have it happen. Like I said, it’s insidious.

So yeah. Voice chat is optional in the bare definition. However, those who have it quite often stop talking to those who don’t. I know it’s not intentional, because when Vent worked well for me I could see it happening to me: a tendency to voice- rather than keyboard-chat because, after all, we are born with vocal cords and not keyboards in our hands. But it’s still the net result.

Vent isn’t working so well for me right now, and again I’m starting to feel marginalised and out of the loop, even if there is no loop to be out of. It’s like sitting at the front of the bus and wondering what the hell the cool kids are up to at the back, when in fact the cool kids are really up to nothing special at all. (Getting to the back of the bus was WAY less of a thrill than I thought it would be. Scarred my teenage years.)

I’m irritating guildies with my frustrations about it, because I’m airing those frustrations in an effort to get help from any possible gurus out there; well, ok, and to vent my irritation at being unable to get that damned piece of software working so that I have a reasonable chance of hearing everyone at a reasonable volume. In doing so I seem to have reached the “gah, she’s on about it again” level; I eventually realised that and have shut up about it, but I am going to post about it here because I am all sorts of frustrated about it on all sorts of different levels, and this is a more appropriate forum for it, being my own.

In all fairness, I should have moved my venting to here days ago, because part of it is prompted by my weird relationship with sound and that really doesn’t need to be of interest to my already rather patient guildies. (I’m sensitive to sounds – repetitive and/or extra loud make me irritable; turns out extra quiet does too, and spending 5 hours asking people to repeat themselves grates, I am sure, on more than just me.)

I do like voice chat. Maybe it’s Ventrilo I dislike. Either way, I’m pissed about how it works and how it affects my interface with people. I’m… Venting. Ah ha. Ha. Ha.

8 thoughts on “Oh noes! Vent drama!

  1. I assume you’ve fiddled and twiddled with all the compressor settings and what nots, so I’m not going to make any suggestions here about those.

    I know when I’m on Vent and in WoW, I have to crank WoW’s volume setting down to about 20%, then turn up my speakers so I can a) hear the odd sound effect that’s important (usually mobs in stealth nearby) and b) can hear the people talking on Vent at a normal conversational level. Of course, I then forget to lower the speaker volumes back down to normal and when I play some music I’m normally thrown backwards across the room by the blast!

    As for WAR, I’ve got my official code, set up my account with Mythic Stateside… and then realised I can’t log in with the sodding Euro client. *mutter* *grumble* So I’m trying to download a Torrent of the beta client in the hopes it will patch itself to the full client and let me in. Otherwise I’ve wasted my 30 free days of WAR and added a whole new dimension of frustration to the game. I’m also going to pop out to GAME this lunch and get an official Euro copy so I can go gank assist Lupercal on his server in the mean time.


  2. Oooh you’re official! Excellent. Sadly, I can’t get it to let me finish the product key part of it. I’m hoping it’s just because their processing servers are slammed.

    Have to take Blackie to vet. Back soon!

  3. Hope the last of the feline ex-pats is OK. I’d say give her a hug for me, but you’d loose an eye!

    Got the Euro version of the game at lunchtime, so I’ll see if the patching-beta-client-and-using-official-release-code combo works. If not, I’m going to have to get you to clone your DVD install disc and send it to me in the post. Oh look! More potential WAR delays!

  4. Blackie is better than a month ago! She gained 1lb, which may not sound like much, but going from 6.x to 7.x is a big deal at her age. It’s still a downhill road, but hopefully a smoother, pain-free one. She will be hugged as requested. It’s ITLAP day, so I’m wearing an eyepatch anyway.

    No reason why it shouldn’t work – the beta version I mean. It’s what I’m still running, and I don’t intend to install the weeks-old official CD release just to have to spend another 6 hours patching, even if the US servers ARE all down right now.

    Actually, this would be a good time for me to try some more Vent tweaks. I did try the various things you mentioned, including the “Vent equalizer” ideas posted by a smart-CoW some time ago. Now I’m going to try turning everyone UP globally and then turning the really loud folks DOWN — turning down seems to work much more reliably than turning up.

    After that, I need to find some way to stop Vent from killing my internet connection. It’s either Vent or Firefox. Or it might be something completely different. I only know enough to know how little I *don’t* know. πŸ˜›

  5. <— JoBildo.

    Don’t worry you’re not missing out on anything more than idle chatter really. I know I still try to talk in G-chat along with Vent.

    But really, it’s a matter of group tactics. Voice just works so much better than typing. There’s no way around that.

    Still, don’t feel pressured to be on Vent. When we do guild events, we’ll have Vent rolling, sure… but we’ll also have a chat coordinator who makes sure non-voice folks aren’t left in the dark. πŸ™‚

  6. I agree 100% JB. I just get really, really, REALLY!!!! cranky when technology doesn’t work as it says on the tin. Stuff should work, and that’s the end of it. That I take it out on the poor meat-people around me and not the machines is my failing. πŸ™

    If I were a mad scientist, I think I’d have exploded from frustration before the end of my first project.

    I’m trying to walk the Vent yay!/nay! line both for myself and for fellow CoWs coming out of the woodwork at me with their voice chat anxieties (there are a few, interestingly). I actually love Vent when it works, and when I remember my own tolerance limits for noise, and I want to enable others to have positive experiences with it too, not just me.

    Edit — Crap, I’m breaking the Rule of Blog Coolness, aren’t I, by replying to comments.

    Being silent and cool versus being talkative and totally uncool is a battle that has always, in my case, had a foregone conclusion.

  7. Ah, now “JoBildo” makes sense… I always was curious about the name change.

    Anyway I’m sorta-glad you’re frustrated. πŸ™‚ It’s good to have an Officer with 1st hand experience that there is a downside to using Vent for some people.

    I’ve got it running on a second system now so I can start it up and shut it down without logging in or out of the game, or even alt-tabbing. And I’ll fire it up when doing RvR because I can’t argue with the fact that it makes things easier for people outlining a plan.

    Though for me, I can type “ADD” or “TARGET GORP!” faster than I can fiddle with a push-to-talk button, say the word, and hope that I didn’t clip myself. But I realize that’s just me, and the problem with Vent is that even if I do that, no one will see. I think not only is Voice Chat faster for most people to say things, but it doesn’t require us to take our eyes off the action on-screen.

    I have anxiety about talking on Vent. I have anxiety about talking on the phone. I have anxiety about standing up in front of a room-full of people and talking (which is what Vent feels like to me, coupled with my constantly wondering if anyone actually heard me). All these freakish phobias are why I ended up a computer geek in the first place. If I’d been charming and outspoken, I would’ve been class president, not the kid hacking at a tty in the broom closet.

  8. That’s pretty much the reason I left my LOTRO guild. It was an awesome guild one of the best I was ever in with great people, but if I wasn’t on Vent then I’d miss out on dungeon runs, etc, that were organized by the people who were on vent constantly. I’d use it for dungeons and anytime we needed to coordinate but since it was an RP guild I find vent just pulls me out of the immersion. And I just made it worse because I was an officer I felt it was important to stay off vent instead of contributing to a problem.

    But in WAR maybe cause I don’t know the lore, maybe cause the extent of my RP is yelling “Blood for the Blood God!” in scenarios being in vent doesn’t bother me as much. But also CoW is so big I find I am not really missing out on anything. Sometimes I have to type several times in chat “is there a wb?” before someone sees it πŸ™‚ Though when I’m not actually doing something in a group I do like being off vent

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