Star Wars Galaxies's NGE has fascinated us striving players since the ultimate SOE let-down back in 2005, and my goal of blogging on MMORPG.com is to introduce the great wonders Star Wars Galaxies has presented so far. So this week, I'm going to show off SWG's brand new in-game Voice Chat (woohoo!!) that went live just the other day.
Since I wasn't in a guild when I logged into Test Center last month to try Voice Chat out, it wasn't really one of the first features I tinkered with in my TC visit. Game Update 5 released many things including an In-game Browser and a [really] neat addition to Munitions Traders & Beast Masters, so I never really got around to it until I actually joined a group with another fellow.
To take first note, there was an entire tab added to the interface where I could select my channel (None/GroupChat/GuildChat), view which person was talking, and more.
Another button on the toolbar will open up a small window to show you who is in the current channel. This is also a really helpful tool if you want to find out which guild members of yours are online. It's basically like bringing up a minimized Ventrilo or Teamspeak. (shown below)
Everything seemed in line and fit together perfectly, and the biggest flaw (which of course there was going to be one) was corrected by the time the feature hit live. I noticed easy-use with Voice chat too, which made it seem over-dominate with voice servers I've used in Ventrilo and TeamSpeak.
No copying server addresses, no tabbing out, no extra latency, easy access...it seemed almost a dream. So I did what us testers do; interrogate the content. After constant tinkering and exploit attempts, I concluded that all of the major bugs had already been fixed (at least for my own system), and unless you didn't have some kind of sound output (like Vent or TS, you don't need a mic to join) it was completely functional. The new In-Game voice chat was a complete success!
Let's not forget though -- if a game has a great idea implimented, it's gotta be good right? The sound quality must suck since it's SOE right? Well, aside from all the cool things I've mentioned and the uber snipeage the team went against bugs, the new feature has its own reserved spot in the Options menu. Here you can do a number of things, such as set input/output volumes, record/monitor your voice, and many more. It works very similar to Ventrilo, but for the record, I would say a LOT easier.
From my past experience with other games containing the voice chat feature, Star Wars Galaxies is the only one that has grown to be this evolved...even more than that of Tabula Rasa's group chat line. The quality is great, and the implimentation has increased the intrest of many Pre-CU vets and new players alike. Speaking of, as an SWG player, I am proud to announce that several servers are becoming "Population: Heavy" on the server selection list, and continue to keep growing! SOE has had some very positive changes and I for one cannot wait to hear what Chapter 11 and GU6 is to bring!
Anyway, I will conlude that Voice Chat not only enables us avid Vent/TS-users to communicate in a whole new easier way, but also brings out those who aren't yet into voice chat! Those who have not even heard of Ventrilo or TeamSpeak can have fun as well, helping to grow better and funner groups, and to finally become one with their own guild.
Thank you for reading everyone!