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In Development - Guild Banks and Voice Chat


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#1 Trouble

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:15 PM

I originally noted this before in the Benefactor's bar because it was a rumor with very little substance, but it seems now that we have some independent confirmation. It appears that both guild banks and integrated voice chat are being worked on for, presumably, the patch after 2.1 (or maybe a patch after that, it's not clear).

First noted in a thread with Tseric arguing about shamans:
http://forums.worldo...17&pageNo=7#132

Because the UI work load is longer than anyone wants to think about. We're dealing with mass-appeal items first, like in-game VOIP, Guild banks, Additional base UI, etc.


Today there is an article in a magazine called "Games for Windows" that has details on what's coming, and "fun tid-bits" from the developers.

Thread is at: http://forums.worldo...picId=102920289

Page rips from magazine:
Posted Image
Posted Image

Note: I highly recommend someone mirror these asap.

Thanks for sharing, Madisor. I still need to pick up a copy of the magazine for myself. The article has fun tid-bits from the developers as well.


Don't suppose anyone can get us a scan of what the developers said?


Edit: This article was mentioned yesterday on stratics:

In the newest print issue of gaming magazine Games for Windows lead producer Shane Dabiri is quoted "And it's no secret we're working on the next expansion." Now, I'm not totally surprised by this as WoW is an MMO and essentially needs new expansions to keep itself going. The exclusive story in GFW reveals some new little tidbits coming into our game after 2.1.

Guild Banks
Some of the key features of guild banks will be the ability to allow some of your members to use the money put in the bank for repairs (from NPC's and bots, which will have a new option) and reportedly will have hundreds of slots for items and such. The potential is ripe for abuse but Blizzard will have it set up so that transactions are documented on their website and abusers can be reported and Customer Service would then get involved.

In-game VoIP
Good-bye Ventrilo and Teamspeak! Blizzard is gearing up to add VoIP straight into the game for players that will help the problem of players not knowing or recognizing someone's voice and missing a critical heal or other critical game play needs. A players name will be highlighted when they are talking and you are able to click on their name then to select them and give them their buff/heal/etc.



#2 Kytrarewn

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:18 PM

...I'm an idiot, I read the top-text, but didn't realize it was the same magazine about which Trouble was talking, nor did I read it carefully enough to see that the only disclaimer was "after 2.1", after the developer quote had specifically referenced a second expansion.

#3 Praetorian

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:19 PM

Local mirror of the scans:

Attached Files

  • Attached File  wow2.jpg   109.82KB   283 downloads
  • Attached File  wow1.jpg   113.35KB   209 downloads


#4 OzzymandiasKJ

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:22 PM

The guild bank is a long overdue feature. The VOIP has potential but I can't imagine them matching the quality and codecs of Ventrilo. My favorite aspect of Ventrilo is that the majority of people on it actually sound the way they do in real life as oppose to having a static-clad low-res robo voice (coughteamspeakcough). Most games I've played with VOIP usually tend to provide the latter quality.

#5 Trouble

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:27 PM

Well I suppose this would be voice chat for the less hardcore. The article focuses in on things like PuGs and small groups. Obviously a raiding guild is the upper tier of players in the game and they can spring for the more advanced things, such as guild websites and "professional" quality voice chat.

#6 Kytrarewn

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:29 PM

The guild bank is a long overdue feature. The VOIP has potential but I can't imagine them matching the quality and codecs of Ventrilo. My favorite aspect of Ventrilo is that the majority of people on it actually sound the way they do in real life as oppose to having a static-clad low-res robo voice (coughteamspeakcough). Most games I've played with VOIP usually tend to provide the latter quality.


Here's the issue with VOIP and Ventrilo. Blizzard is moving toward raid encounters that are more and more complex and require more "at the very moment" decision making. They also have a hardon against 3rd party software and tools.

So, despite the fact that they enjoy being able to make raid encounters and other encounters that require, or benefit greatly from, Ventrilo, I'm sure there's someone behind the scenes either saying:
1. Are we rewarding the use of 3rd party software and actively penalizing those that don't use it?
or
2. Does our game really require people to pay an extra 20 dollars a month toward a third-party company? We need to get in on that, or, as a show of good faith, give it to them for free.

#7 Trouble

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:32 PM

I guess this was what the Stratics HoC chat was going to talk about, at least in part. They had planned to talk for an hour so I'm sure a portion of that time was going to be spent answering the questions and a part about explaining these upcoming changes.

#8 OzzymandiasKJ

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:33 PM

Here's the issue with VOIP and Ventrilo. Blizzard is moving toward raid encounters that are more and more complex and require more "at the very moment" decision making. They also have a hardon against 3rd party software and tools.

So, despite the fact that they enjoy being able to make raid encounters and other encounters that require, or benefit greatly from, Ventrilo, I'm sure there's someone behind the scenes either saying:
1. Are we rewarding the use of 3rd party software and actively penalizing those that don't use it?
or
2. Does our game really require people to pay an extra 20 dollars a month toward a third-party company? We need to get in on that, or, as a show of good faith, give it to them for free.


I'm not saying that this is an unecessary feature. Vocal communication is extremely vital in the deep end of WoW. My point is that I personally prefer the voice quality that you can achieve in Ventrilo and I feel that the implemented VOIP will sound significantly worse for obvious reasons.

#9 Mooz

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:41 PM

Do other guilds even have significant banking needs post-TBC? We haven't had active income since the days of BWL (selling eternium) or AQ20 (made a killing selling the skill books in the first few weeks). With the consumable "nerf", there's even less of a need for a central storage place. The "bank" funds at this point are down to some leftover flasks and pots, some old frozen runes and scraps from Naxx, and some idols and things from AQ. There's a few thousand gold socked away for a rainy day, but yeah, it's a pale shadow of its former self.

Maybe after we've been in BT for awhile, we'll be able to sell the epic gems or the crafted stuff from hearts of darkness, but as it stands, we certainly don't have the funds to support repairs for the raid. I guess I could use it to buy a huge stock of reagents for the buffing classes and let them withdraw them instead of re-imbursing them for their cost.

Perhaps this is for the social guilds to pool their resources or something? I'm honestly not sure how we'd use it based on just these briefest of details.

#10 Praetorian

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:46 PM

I still very much have a "guild bank" alt with crafting mats, gold, flasks, and such, and I have to log him on and manage his mailbox/inventory before basically every raid.

No, we've moved a bit past the days of juggling dozens of cores, Onyxia scales, Dreamscales, elementium, BoEs for sale, and so forth, but not that far.

Selling BoE craftables that use raid mats, and in turn using the funds for raid repairs, is a very attractive proposition.

Aside from convenience, guild bank alts are also a major focus of account-sharing and, in turn, account-compromising, activity. It's in Blizzard's interests to move away from having a mule character functioning as guild banker.

#11 Wodin

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:46 PM

In-game VOIP has been an utter disaster in EVE, and I see no reason why it's going to be better here. There simply aren't the levels of granularity that people want - there's no way to create private binds to specific subchannels, the "rooms" that you're separated into feel clunky and are annoying to join and leave as the UI support is bad.

#12 Galatea

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:48 PM

I'm not saying that this is an unecessary feature. Vocal communication is extremely vital in the deep end of WoW. My point is that I personally prefer the voice quality that you can achieve in Ventrilo and I feel that the implemented VOIP will sound significantly worse for obvious reasons.


That does not seem obvious to me. Ventrilo uses GSM 6.10 (a very well understood codec with publically available reference implementations) and Speex (an opensource and available under a BSD style license), both of which Blizzard can use. There is a relatively high chance Blizzard can compile and use the exact same source code for the codec your Vent server is using.

What I am more curious about is what the ToS implications will be. If someone swears can you report it to a GM? Will they keep a rolling voice chat log like they do with chat logs?

#13 zirky

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:48 PM

We tend to store all raid drops on alts. Its a pain. Right now we have one person with an alt chock full of arcanoweave in the hope that it may be useful. In the past there were zg coins and bijous, obsidian crap (which I can't wait to unload). With the prospect of Heart of Darknesses (what is the proper plural there?) I can't see it being a bad thing. I know the guild enchanters with stores of nexus and void crystals welcome this change.

#14 OzzymandiasKJ

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:52 PM

That does not seem obvious to me. Ventrilo uses GSM 6.10 (a very well understood codec with publically available reference implementations) and Speex (an opensource and available under a BSD style license), both of which Blizzard can use. There is a relatively high chance Blizzard can compile and use the exact same source code for the codec your Vent server is using.

What I am more curious about is what the ToS implications will be. If someone swears can you report it to a GM? Will they keep a rolling voice chat log like they do with chat logs?


Running either of those codecs at high bitrates would likely tax servers more than Blizzard is comfortable with.

#15 Lorrin

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:56 PM

I'm not saying that this is an unecessary feature. Vocal communication is extremely vital in the deep end of WoW. My point is that I personally prefer the voice quality that you can achieve in Ventrilo and I feel that the implemented VOIP will sound significantly worse for obvious reasons.



The only rationale that makes sense to me is PuG cooperation, especially if they make it usable in your PuG Arathi Basin group. Everything else is already done perfectly well through Ventrilo, or better done.

If it indeed is only usable in a group or raid then it loses out in a fundamental way: Most ventrilo users communicate as much out of a raid as in one. I like to farm and shoot the shit with my guildies. I like to be logged out of WoW and chat with them. I can't see any in-game VOIP replacing that.

Even if they institute a more broad-reaching chat channel in the future, who will run it? Part of the beauty of vent is admin control. I would foresee a "General" chat channel for WoW being barren, as people gravitate toward the same guild and PvP Ventrilo groups that exist now.

It sounds like a lot of effort for not much gain, unless I'm missing something major. There has been a murmur for guild banks for years, but I can't recall the playerbase requesting this addition.

#16 Jokie

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:58 PM

Mirroring the images as well:

Guild banks image
Voice chat image

Posted Image

#17 Snowcrasher

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 06:01 PM

I wonder if they will add a way to tag an item in the bank for 'pickup' to specific guild members? This would allow assignment of items to players who otherwise wouldn't have permission to withdraw it, yet would also eliminate the need to be there when the banker was or wait on a mail delivery.

I'm curious what % of in-game mails exists simple due to muling (and in particular guild banks).

What I am more curious about is what the ToS implications will be. If someone swears can you report it to a GM? Will they keep a rolling voice chat log like they do with chat logs?


That would require some fairly sophisticated speech recognition software. I suppose unlogged in game communication opens many potential social abuses, so it will be interesting to see how Blizzard mitigates that.

#18 Praetorian

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 06:03 PM

Here's the issue with VOIP and Ventrilo. Blizzard is moving toward raid encounters that are more and more complex and require more "at the very moment" decision making. They also have a hardon against 3rd party software and tools.

So, despite the fact that they enjoy being able to make raid encounters and other encounters that require, or benefit greatly from, Ventrilo, I'm sure there's someone behind the scenes either saying:
1. Are we rewarding the use of 3rd party software and actively penalizing those that don't use it?
or
2. Does our game really require people to pay an extra 20 dollars a month toward a third-party company? We need to get in on that, or, as a show of good faith, give it to them for free.


This post pretty much nails the VoIP issue, I think. It's not supposed to be a Ventrilo replacement. It's a substitute for those who don't have a Vent or TS server. Of course Blizzard isn't going to offer VoIP that's superior to the dedicated solutions that have been refined for years now. That would be silly.

But for a PUG, there is no ready Vent solution. It's not realistic to ask or expect everyone to download Vent, or connect to one player's guild server if he happens to have one. It's up to the community to decide what to do with this tool, but for those who are amenable to voice chat for better coordination in a PUG setting, at least the option is there now.

Also I'd personally welcome it for situations where our Vent server crashes or I'm getting horrible lag to Vent and need to communicate with my raid.

#19 Emila

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 06:04 PM

In-game VOIP has been an utter disaster in EVE, and I see no reason why it's going to be better here. There simply aren't the levels of granularity that people want - there's no way to create private binds to specific subchannels, the "rooms" that you're separated into feel clunky and are annoying to join and leave as the UI support is bad.


The VOIP features of EVE follow the same quality and style of the rest of the EVE interface, which is bascially horrible to the N'th degree. If Blizzard continues it's tradition of making a decent UI to the VOIP layer, plus adds in all the normal UI hooks it normally does, we should expect that the modding community will release a version that is up to par with what people expect from a VOIP interface.

#20 Zoid

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 06:09 PM

In-game VOIP has been an utter disaster in EVE, and I see no reason why it's going to be better here. There simply aren't the levels of granularity that people want - there's no way to create private binds to specific subchannels, the "rooms" that you're separated into feel clunky and are annoying to join and leave as the UI support is bad.

This is all prejudicial. Until we see the built-in VOIP on the PTR and test it ourselves we have no idea of its quality or UI implementation. Maybe they already have all these features and have an extremely high quality codec.

At the very least, it will have a party and raid talk keys. Honestly, that's all I need. Some features they mention already have stuff beyond Ventrillo--if you ask for Blessing of Freedom on voice chat when we're in the arena, I'll be able to select you since the fact you are talking will show up on your unit frame.

I think its going be a great feature, but let's wait and see for ourselves.




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