Blizzard argues that team comms gives the game an edge and makes it more realistic. However, some people argue that voice chat creates problems and allows bullying. Is there any truth in this, or are people worrying about nothing? Here, we will look at some of the pros and cons of Heroes of the Storm voice chat and help you make up your own mind.
Pros of Voice Chat
The main advantage of using voice channels to coordinate with team mates is that you don’t have to waste time typing. You can enjoy a more realistic experience that can really give you an adrenaline rush. Like many computer games, frustration with team mates can cause arguments, so speaking directly can reduce tension and prevent WWIII breaking out.
Voice chat has two settings, party and team. If you are in a party, you are automatically added to the party voice channel, where only other party members hear you. Players can decide whether to opt-in to the team voice channel at the start of the game. You don’t have to join any voice chat, and taking part is totally up to you.
It’s easy to set up the system and configure your microphone. You can use dropdowns to choose your device, and even if you don’t have a microphone, you can still hear your team. With the transmission mode dropdown, you can decide whether to have an open microphone or a hotkey push-to-talk. With an open mic, you can change the sensitivity and play it back to make sure you won’t deafen your teammates. That soon leads to mute purgatory.
Hotkeys let you quickly toggle between party and team voice channels, and turn your microphone on and off. You can use the voice widget to join or leave a channel, and you can mute and unmute your allies individually. This is useful if someone is very annoying
There is an abuse voice reporting system, and repeat offenders will be given a voice silence penalty. They can still listen to the team voice and use the party voice channel, but won’t be able to harass other team members.
Cons of Voice Chat
Some people argue that talking means that people are forced to reveal their real identity,
leaving them open to bullying and discrimination. For example, some studies show that female gamers receive more negative comments than male voices. Although players can mute the conversation, voice chat gives players and teams an edge, so not using the option is a disadvantage.
There have been complaints, during testing, that reporting harassment is difficult, and a number
of players argue that moderation should be stronger, with bans used more freely for repeat offenders. Moderation can be difficult because we are all offended by different things. Some people don’t like swearing, and people might make hurtful comments, especially in the heat of battle.
Another problem is that some gamers prefer to game in silence and don’t like being distracted by chatter. They simply prefer to get on with the game. Some people play games in internet cafes, and shouting from excited gamers will annoy other people.
Finally, for some people with older computers or slower internet connections, voice chat might
cause lag and slow performance. Another problem is that good equipment can be expensive if you are on a budget.
So, is it good or bad?
Overall, voice chat for Heroes of the Storm is a double-edged sword. It can give a better game experience and help you make friends, but some players prefer anonymity, and the system could lead to bullying. At the moment, we will see how it goes, and think that a good moderation system will be key.