In space, no one can hear me sulk

6th November 2010 – 3.35 pm

Another day, another chance to explore w-space. I copy the available bookmarks in our shared can and warp to the static wormhole in my Buzzard covert operations boat. Jumping in to the connecting class 5 w-space system lets me revisit a system I was in only a month ago and it remains unoccupied, so I warp to the next bookmarked wormhole. The static connection sends me to another C5 I've visited before, this time only two weeks ago, where I saw a fleet destroying a tower. The tower's gone now, of course, and the system is empty and inactive.

I jump through the system's static wormhole to another class 5 system, again unoccupied and inactive, my only option to continue being through a connection to yet another C5. The position of a couple of towers is bookmarked and I visit them, finding the second bookmark to be of an off-line tower. But I find two on-line towers anyway, as well as a lack of ships and activity. There are no more connections already scanned and my notes from my last visit indicate I would be looking for a class 6 system, which makes exploration prospects rather bleak. I head back home for now to take a break, hoping maybe a fleet will form later.

A fleet indeed starts to take shape. Now that most of our ships are back in w-space the alliance is looking to exploit our new home system's indigenous Sleepers for profit, and with a new carrier available the aim is to experience a capital escalation in one of the sites. I pilot a Scorpion battleship and check its systems, noting that the ship is unrigged at the moment. I am not the only capsuleer in a Scorpion either, as a second one is joining us for more ECM support against an expected stronger Sleeper resistance. Our twin Guardian logistic ships are joined by a Machariel and Megathron battleship, and the Thanatos carrier, where each pilot takes time to check the fittings and configurations of the ships after their transportation.

More pilots arrive and a third Scorpion joins the fleet, as does a Golem marauder and Raven battleship, with a capsuleer also preparing a Myrmidon battlecruiser to act as tonight's salvager. It looks like the fleet is finally ready, missing a few rigs here and there, and perhaps having slightly sub-optimal fittings as everyone clamours to get the most appropriate modules out of the corporate hangar, but we're ready to warp out. Except I don't, having been put in the wing commander position so that we have a legitimate fleet to enable leadership boosting, our normal squad leader lacking the skill training to handle a fleet larger than normal. I naturally don't get the squad commander's group warp command and sit like a pudding at the tower waiting to be told when the fleet is in the anomaly.

The command to join the fleet comes late, much later than expected. It seems that most people are using voice communications, a mandatory requirement for the allied corporation but not for our own, which causes problems. At least, it causes problems for me, as I am not a fan of voice comms. I don't hear any commands, don't get directions, and, in short, don't know what's going on. If I'm lucky I get second-hand information after it has been decided, and I'm not in the mood for this. I warp back to the tower, rather petulantly.

Sulking at the tower, I see that the capital escalation perhaps didn't work out too well, watching the pods of three of the battleship pilots return, and then a fourth. Capsuleers smarter than me are probably discussing what went wrong and how to fix it, but I hear none of it. And I'm not sure if leaving the fleet saved the corporation a battleship, or if the lack of my ECM caused the destruction of four. Either way, it has not been a positive introduction to regular class 5 w-space system Sleeper combat.

  1. 4 Responses to “In space, no one can hear me sulk”

  2. I won't try to dictate how you feel about voice comms, but I will say that voice chat is a fact of life in most corps and alliances in EVE. In fact, it's a rare corp (in my experience) where having a microphone and the appropriate voice chat program *isn't* mandatory. For myself, I think voice chat is a much more effective way of coordinating a group of pilots than trying to pass orders via text, especially in a combat situation.

    Moreover, I find it easier to get information from guys in voice chat than trying to do so in alliance or corp chat, for the simple reason that it's much easier to hold down an extra button and talk than to type out an answer.

    Anyway, just my thoughts on that. Good hunting next time!

    By Mark Raynor on Nov 6, 2010

  3. On the other hand I tend to view voice as the crutch of the weak and lazy. "I cannot/will not type because I can talk easier."

    Were people to know how to respond and what to do, simple commands are all it takes. Sadly, even on voice, many are incapable of either expressing their information concisely or comprehending what is being said. Even in combat situations, people tend to click first and listen second. If we teach our members to do the right thing first, then whether they are on voice or text, it will little matter as their response will be correct and hopefully their ship will be intact.

    The second issue I have with voice comms is their excessive tendency to get off track, off topic and confusing. While it is possible for this to happen within the confines of text chat as well, it is especially rampant on voice comms due in large part to the "ease" that makes it so popular. It becomes a den of gossip, recipe sharing, insult consultations and rude things to do with beer cans.

    But then again, am old and cynical.

    By Kename Fin on Nov 7, 2010

  4. I agree with Fin's sentiment, even if I don't quite share her frankness. When pilots know what they are doing they need little guidance, and only changes in the situation or initial instructions need to be communicated, which is not only easily done in text but is also persistent. Giving a route, destination, or target rarely needs to be repeated when typed, as it remains in focus. Moreover, the UI lends itself to giving some instructions non-verbally, as targeting commands can appear on the overview, and systems can be linked for easy reference. Capsuleers should know, or be trained to know, how to use such information.

    Never the less, many people are more comfortable with voice than text. I understand that nearly all corporations mandate voice comms in EVE Online, mostly for the reasons mentioned. I know this because when I was looking for a corporation to join a few years back I couldn't find one advertised that did not stipulate the use of at least EVE Voice. I gritted my teeth and applied to one, thinking that was the only way I could get involved. Even then, I listened but did not speak.

    I parted company with that corporation as they moved to null-sec, when I didn't think I was ready. My departure was not owing to voice comms then, but I was more than happy to join Wormhole Engineers (DGSE at the time) and not have to endure voice chat to be a part of a friendly group of like-minded pilots.

    But our initial carebear status shifted as we moved to w-space, and the notion grew with some that the only PvP pilots who survive are those who use voice. I suffered through some ops with voice comms, again listening without speaking, but they were the exception and not the default. Most of the PvP ops I have been actively involved in have relied on text comms, and not just against shooting miners. And we've mostly come out on top during those engagements, because we know what we're doing and only short, quick orders are needed to be typed.

    Not much happens in EVE Online quickly, which I find gives enough time to punch out quick commands, or acknowledgements. And typing doesn't have to be perfect, just close enough. No one (sensible) is going to ignore an order to 'jmup' because they don't understand it, for example. I don't think either way is inherently better or worse, as they both have their benefits and weaknesses, I just happen to be more comfortable typing, and very uncomfortable speaking.

    Now that we are sharing our system and most ops with a sister corporation which mandates voice comms the position has shifted again, and the use of voice is being treated more like a requirement than ever before. I feel the circumstances are forcing me to make a decision, either to accept voice comms as a natural part of life in w-space or to refuse its use entirely. And I never signed up for voice comms.

    By pjharvey on Nov 7, 2010

  5. Saw this quote on Scrapheap:

    "What? Your playstyle is so inept that 15-30s is not enough to respond to incoming hostiles and you need me to scream it to you as well."

    By Kename Fin on Nov 8, 2010

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