Tuesday, 1 July 2014

What's your problem with Teamspeak?

Recently one of the hosts on @gwreporter bemoaned the fact that you can't get a Gold Boss Blitz without being on Teamspeak.  Maybe not in so many words but that was the broad complaint.

Firstly, that's just not true. I was in a Bronze Pavilion that somehow got it together and almost managed a Silver!  I think the biggest problem with the new improved Blitz is that players don't understand the mechanics or the strategy.

That's where Teamspeak (TS) helps.  If everyone completed one run on TS, got a grasp on the strat and realised just how easy it is when you know how, every Pavillion would be Gold.

I've recently been running World Bosses with a cross-server EU guild and they are, quite frankly, incredible.  Two weekends ago my bro and I were waiting for Modniir and I just said "Hey, let's join these guys and do 3 headed wurm".  We joined their TS just before "the jump" and it was initially pretty confusing.  Neither of had ever done it before and frankly, we had to catch up pretty fast to understand the process of taxiing to a dedicated map.  That's the first thing everyone should learn from being on TS with "hardcore" players!  It's a good thing to know.

Next, we didn't understand the mechanics of the split to take out each head but once we had that figured out the rest was pie.  We randomly selected Cobalt head (prolly second hardest?) and as we ran though the pre event our commander explained general rules for the run like no /map chat, focus rez and WP if hard-downed. Standard stuff or so it seems to me now.

Then we got to the location of the fight and the commander took us through, step-by-step, what we needed to do each phase of the fight.  They do this every time. Sure, it was a lot to take in but it was worth it.  We had a short break for final prep, then the wurm popped and off we went.

And we won.  It was a bit touch and go, one head didn't have enough people and some hasty reallocation was required and our commander got killed, but that didn't detract from the fun.

The main take away was: Teamspeak made it possible.  Without it you would need to do multiple runs to understand the strategy for even one head.  Even if you read a guide online you'd still need a few runs in practice to put what you had learned into context.  With Teamspeak and a decent leader I could go back and do that head again any time.

We've also been running Tequatl with them but yesterday we couldn't actually get into either of the worlds they had claimed.  We ended up in a sort of overflow with assorted randoms but the majority seemed to know the strategy.  There were commanders but no TS coordination.  Initially it looked like we'd struggle but we won with 2-3 minutes to spare.
Hastily taken screenshot
Then, last night, my own guild did Guild Missions, as we do every Sunday night.  We use TS because it makes coordinating easier and we're pretty stringent that people at least listen.  But talking can help.  Half-way though the Guild Puzzle in Plains of Ashford someone was inexplicably downed and needed to be rezzed just as a puzzle was completed.  Sadly our only Mesmer went to the rescue and they got trapped behind a door together.  Looking back through chat I saw that the downee had asked for help. Once.  Checking on TS I saw what I expected: their mike was muted.  I don't have much sympathy for that person, in fact I am angry that the Mesmer missed the rewards for the puzzle because of them.

All this brings me to this: what's your problem with Teamspeak?

The vast majority of TS channels simply require that you listen. My guild describes itself as casual and social but we want to win when we do something because we want the loot.  We don't really care how we win, no-one gets bawled at when there isn't enough Might being stacked. Sure, winning isn't everything and learning together IS fun but this content isn't new.  Apart from Rush, there's little actual fun in Guild Missions.

So why can't you at least listen to a TS channel if you want Gold Boss Blitz? What are you afraid of?  People are VERY rarely required to speak and in the cross-server Guild TS I mentioned everyone is devoiced by default. Generally the biggest problem on TS isn't people that are reluctant to talk it's people that don't know when to be quiet and listen.  That's a life skill, though.  You can learn some useful social skills here!

Do you know what else? When you do speak, people get to know you and you get to know them.  There's no need to be shy.  You're all playing a stupid video game for fun.  Besides, your avatar and the fact you're called "X Sephiroth Killer X" says much more about you than your voice.  Besides, this is an MMO, the fun comes from playing with other people.

The aforementioned Mr S. Killer.

Sometimes it can be important to speak up, though, as my downed colleague can attest.  People that don't talk much usually see a lot.  I'm not much of a talker, I have to be quiet when my son's asleep, but I often point out when something is amiss, we're getting strung out or, occasionaly, when we're plain doing it wrong.

What if you join a TS and it turns out all the commanders are elitist douchebags?  Well, you can just leave.  It need not be a big deal.  There are plenty of other people around to play with.

So, seriously, tune in, chill out and benefit.

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