Welcome along to Guild Chat, my own wee place in the ‘webs in which we can discuss all things guilds and club together to give advice to a reader in need. I’m rushed off my feet with not one but three questions to answer this month, so I do believe it’s some else’s turn to stick the kettle on! This edition of Guild Chat is focused on VOIP use in guilds, with all three questions tying back to problems with voice. Some of the scenarios presented are downright hilarious, so you’ll not want to miss this one!
The questions were submitted by Massively Overpowered readers Max, Rick, and SpirriX, and they focus on several different VOIP-related issues. First up, we have a discussion on how best to set up your VOIP channels, followed by whether or not it is worth leaving a guild that is heavily dependent on voice chat if you don’t join in yourself. My advice turns a wee bit ranty when we get to the issue of noisy push-to-talk haters who overshare when it comes to their eating and pottying habits – oy! Read each question in full below and don’t forget to pop your own advice in the comments for the good of the group.
The guild I recently joined does not have a TeamSpeak server or equivalent. I have therefore volunteered to research and set up a RaidCall group, but I have no clue what it should look like. For instance, I know there should be different rooms: some for AFK, officers, and the different teams/occupations (such as PvP, levelling, dungeoning, and RBGs). I’m not looking for help in the program, but rather just with the layout and setup with what I should include.
I think you have this pretty much covered, Max! You’ve made a great start by thinking about separating rooms by function and content type. The optimum setup will largely depend on your guild, and there’s not one specific calibration I would recommend across every guild. Having said that, I definitely think that an AFK channel and some management rooms are necessary for virtually every guild, plus a general room in which members can discuss absolutely anything to encourage bonding outside of group content.
In terms of more specific advice, think about the size of your guild and the capability of the voice system you’re using when considering what other rooms you might need. In your case, Max, you’re going for RaidCall as your VOIP solution, and I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that since your guild is new to voice chat, it is probably either a modestly sized guild or perhaps new. If I’m right in my assumptions, you might find the layout diagram I pictured useful as a baseline since it is structured without being too much. I’ve included tips on how each room should be set up too. Use the inbuilt features of RaidCall to control what happens in each room and to help shoehorn players into the right spots more easily.
Think about the content your guild focuses on and go from there: A PvE-only guild may not require specific rooms for PvP, for example, or if levelling is your main guild objective right now, you might want to create level-banded rooms in which members of a similar level can buddy up. Ensure that your specific-purpose rooms are well-labelled, and don’t forget to set up your announcements with room rules that will remind people not to lurk around in there during downtime. RaidCall is very flexible in terms of room size and number of rooms, so feel free to rejig as often as necessary until you’re totally happy with your configuration. Happy VOIPing!
I am part of a guild that has a very active Mumble channel. I do not have or want voice participation as I am in a studio apartment with my wife who doesn’t play but likes to chat while I do, so I end up seeing half a conversation typically. “X”s will start to appear (must be someone asking for raid volunteers on Mumble) or the punchline of a joke with no context. Should I just live with this (it’s a great guild) or move on to a Mumbleless one?
This is a hard one, Rick, and I totally understand where you’re coming from. I think this can roll one of two ways: You can either continue to stay off Mumble to keep up with your real-world communication with your wife and tackle the problem within the guild, or you could perhaps consider inviting your wife to hang out in your Mumble server so she becomes a part of that same conversation and social clique. The answer really depends on her!
What your good lady likes to do while you play and how much you think she might click with your guildmates are good points to consider here. If she’s usually doing something audio-based like watching TV or doesn’t seem to have much in common with your online friends, she won’t want to join in on your online chat. She may not be a fan of online chatting in general and could find the suggestion of chatting on Mumble when you both share a physical space a little too odd for comfort, which is understandable. It also depends on how much time you get to spend together outside of the time you play: If that’s the only chance you get to talk in a day, it’s perhaps best to keep it off Mumble to allow personal topics to be discussed without prying ears listening.
If she is willing, Mumble could be a good way to introduce her to the friends you’ve made online and could perhaps even get her into the games you play. Before my fiancé Steven played World of Warcraft with my guild, he got to know my guildmates through listening to and eventually joining in on our Ventrilo conversations. I didn’t use a headset for sound since I didn’t like blocking out the other people I lived with, so he could hear our conversation on voice chat. My guildies could also usually hear Steven in the background through my mic and soon the banter flowed between them. This was actually a large factor in his decision to play the game with us.
I definitely wouldn’t leave an otherwise great guild simply because of its reliance on Mumble. If you both don’t like the idea of chatting online instead of in-person, you could bring up how VOIP is employed in your guild with the guild management. It can be very difficult to change the status quo in an established guild, especially when it comes to habitual usage of systems like VOIP programs, but a good guild leader will listen to feedback and will make changes if it won’t rock the boat much. Explain how isolated and out of the loop you can be and suggest solutions such as saving standard announcement sentences in a notepad that can be pasted into chat when group requests are made in Mumble.
If you don’t get results from management, a possible solution is to directly tackle each instance of exclusion. Question the posters in guild chat with lines like “Hey, why are we placing an X in chat? Are you guys discussing something on Mumble that I should know about?” or “With a punchline like that, I have to hear the joke! Care to share it here?” and they’ll soon start to see how much you miss when you’re off Mumble. I hope you keep on having fun regardless!
I often experience people chewing chips/food/candy while on voice chat without muting themselves. Some even have wireless headsets and take a piss with the mic still on. A few have very noisy keyboards as well, but I’m not going to make them switch; I’ll just have to live with button mashing and typing. How can I convince my guildies to bind a mute button — and actually use it — without sounding like a whiny wimp? My self-diagnosed condition of misophonia might be the reason I hate this so much more than other members in my guild, though. Anyone else experiencing this issue?
Ooh, boy… I absolutely cannot stand mouth noises of any description, least of all over a bloody microphone! This whole scenario is exactly why push-to-talk is a thing, and I’d urge you to put your foot down. You won’t be the only one suffering in silence just because other people aren’t thinking about the sound they’re generating. Think of it this way: Would you speak up if someone’s microphone was generating a non-human obnoxious noise such as static? I sure would, so don’t stay quiet when people assault your eardrums with the noises their bodies make. It’s rude to act in that way in the first place, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to bring it up and it certainly isn’t whinging.
OK, so now that I’ve ranted about how nasty mouth noises are, I suppose I should help you come up with a way to broach the subject, huh? I think a chat with the guild leader is in the cards here: Explain that hearing a guy take a leak (eww!) was really the straw that broke the camel’s back and that some sort of control or moderation needs to happen to keep you happy on your guild’s voice chat. Not many guild leaders can justify that kind of behaviour, really. I would always move anyone who was particularly noisy or who didn’t have a push-to-talk bind to the AFK channel and would then help them get that set up. Your guild’s management will need to actively patrol this until people fall in line; if nobody is making them comply, they won’t.
If the leaders decide that it really isn’t an issue and don’t bring in a push-to talk rule, you can try policing the issue yourself. Like most issues of manners, social pressure is usually what creates conformity. Most people simply don’t realise how much a microphone intensifies those noises when you’re placing the sound directly over your ears, so be sure to point it out. Don’t make it too heavy: instead, bring it up casually just as you would if his or her microphone was too loud or too quiet.
Simply say something along the lines of, “Hey, can you do me a favour and mute while you chew?” or, “Listen, your keyboard is really audible… can you turn down your mic and see if that fixes it?” and all but the most persistent will oblige. I’m presuming that you’re quite friendly with your guildies here, but really obnoxious offenders usually desist if it becomes a bit of an in-joke between your fellow guildies. In the case of the wireless headset and peeing situation, for example, my guild would not have let him live that down for quite a while! Good luck with is one, SpirriX… I sympathise.
Over to you!
What do you think, readers? What does your VOIP channel layout look like, and does it work well for you? Would you leave a guild if it over-depended on voice chat and you weren’t a part of that? Are you a push-to-talk fan, or would you be the kind of person who tinkles for the whole guild to hear? Have a go at tackling these issues yourself in the comments below. Tina knows best (or at least she thinks she does!), so pitch me your guild-related questions by email or drop them in the comments. Your input is what makes Guild Chat great!
Thanks to Max, Rick, and SpirriX for this month’s questions.