I’m calling this great, which perhaps is a little egotistical but bear with me because I believe what this post will uncover is greatly important.
Firstly, I live with a scientist (who I’ll call fox from now on) and our best friend is also a scientist (who I’ll call master from now on). Although not one myself, needless to say the idea of an experiment to answer a question was one of our immediate reactions.
So, recently the debate over VOIP third party softwares has flared up. We’re all on a gold league European server, so the software of choice for our server is Teamspeak 3. Adverts for it are constant in world versus world and there are even teamspeaks for game elements such as champion farming on our server.
We could see the potential benefits teamspeak offered, after all we coordinate whilst sitting in the same room to play at our best so it’s next best to that we thought. So, we decided to experiment.
The experimental method
Get me being all science-y with a method!
The plan was that all three of us would join world versus world on our home borderland, which we pre-checked had people talking in its TS channel. This was at peak time, so much waiting happened before we could make a start.
An interesting little result that we didn’t expect was that fox got into the borderland immediately, even after joining the queue 5 minutes after Master and I. It took me another 10 minutes to enter and Master another 10 minutes on that. So, the world versus world queue is certainly random and there’s nothing you can do to make it favour you. Result number 1!
Once we were in we set up ready for the experiment. I would be following the fight on teamspeak alone, no in-game chats of any type and using the map only when seriously lost. I was chosen for this because of the three of us I know world versus world the best, so if they said a location in teamspeak I would usually know where they meant.
Fox would be totally isolated apart from the map – no teamspeak or map chat, listening to music on an MP3 player to drown out the teamspeak. We checked this before so that fox couldn’t overhear what was said.
Master was lucky enough to get both map chat and teamspeak, so he was fully tooled up.
We each left the party and represented different guilds to ensure that we couldn’t see each other on the map, and away we went on our separate ways.
We would join the fight for 30 minutes and each log where we were and what we were doing, as well as our overall experience rating.
The surprising results
First of all, in those 30 minutes there were around ten adverts on map chat for people to come and join the teamspeak channel. They had no impact at all. We began with 32 in the teamspeak channel at the start, and ended with that many. The adverts, no matter how frequent have no effect.
Second, teamspeak was of no use. This is the surprising result, and this isn’t formed of prejudices, its our scientific finding.
To explain that further, as the one on pure teamspeak I was usually the most confused. I was being yelled at by people with bad connections, coming out in such bad quality that it was of no use to Master who ended up relying on map chats far more given the freedom to choose which tool to watch. Moreover, I was the one to die most.
When on teamspeak you follow the commander. They are all you can hear – in their crackly dictatorship of the channel. I had nothing but that to go on, so I would follow him into oblivion whenever he made a bad choice. Fox and Master had the freedom to use their own initiative, and therefore died less. They could follow the zerg at a distance and choose to join it when the fight looked winnable or withdraw if the fight looked hopeless. I was left charging whatever the situation – and it got me killed often. This was also the case when we were all in a fight together. I had to follow the commander, where most of the enemy agro was, and therefore died often. Fox and Master could orbit the outside of the fight and stay alive more as a consequence.
Maybe I contributed more before I died? Our findings were that I died so often being in the main teamspeak pack, where the enemy agro is usually fully focused, that I made little meaningful impact before I was almost immediately dead. This isn’t my build or my class, only the tankiest guardians and eles survived that kind of sustained agro, but if you’re left with only them alive to fight you haven’t got much damage output left.
Not only was I the most dead, and lowest contributor to the fight of all of us, I was also the most confused. I should add a disclaimer that our server is a particularly international one, and in this case I was listening to a Greek and then a Portuguese commander. Combined with bad quality sound coming through once it was processed through their mics, over thousands of miles and back again to go through my speakers, I couldn’t understand much of what was said.
Once in a fight the manic shouting began on teamspeak, and this was of little value to me. Tactical advice goes out of the window on teamspeak in a big fight in favour of the commander repeatedly swearing very loudly. This was of no use to me, and was just plain tiring.
In fact, there was little other than the commander yelling at me or swearing at me at all, certainly no community feel – just an armchair Napoleon dictating to me.
Overall, I had the worst experience in our 30 minutes. I died more, did less when alive, and was the most confused. I think my pet Murrellow in the picture above sums up how I felt about my experience. I think we all agreed in the end that Fox had the most fun of the lot, staying alive more, contributing more, understanding more of what was going on whilst also enjoying the music of the Scissor Sisters – clearly good fighting music!
Teamspeak is something of a cult, and like any cult there is an unshakable belief in something that is essentially normal at the centre of it. That is what I believe teamspeak is after this experiment. Teamspeak has the potential to be incredibly useful as a tool, but it is often not used in the best way possible. Yet many players continue to believe that victory lies with getting everybody on teamspeak.
Ideally, nobody should have to use teamspeak and our server is pretty much at that stage. Each player followed the commander whether they were on teamspeak or not, but those not on teamspeak were knowledgeable enough to know where they were going, what they were doing and what they needed to do. Players playing well in-game certainly don’t need teamspeak, they just need a dorito to guide them and group them together.
Worst of all, teamspeak ruins the experience. I enjoy world versus world usually, but never use teamspeak. Using teamspeak ruined the fun and left me exhausted after only 30 minutes.
At the end of the day Guild Wars is a game, do whatever you enjoy. I do not condemn those who use teamspeak, especially if they don’t find it as draining as I did. If you enjoy teamspeak, use it. However, given the results of our experiments it makes no sense for teamspeakers to advertise for people to join in with teamspeak in map chat incessantly – it has no affect at all and ruins the player community.
Anybody wondering if they should try teamspeak because they constantly see the adverts, don’t feel that you have to, you can make a meaningful contribution without it. Read our results, try it out for yourself and see whether you like it. If you don’t like it, don’t use it and ignore the adverts. Guild Wars is about enjoying yourself, its a game, so don’t ever feel that you have to compromise your own fun. Equally, neither side in this debate should try and change the other’s fun. We must respect each other as individual players who all want to play our own way within the world of Tyria – nobody has the right to change that for ourselves as individuals.
As ever with such things, a key disclaimer is that our experiment was server specific. You may well have a good teamspeak community, and I don’t mean to discredit that.
And finally, here’s a cute picture of some Quaggan because this post has been far too serious and heavy. Lets all share in the Quaggan love.
Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com