I read something the other day about how no one knows who you are in large guilds, that it’s not a welcoming environment or a place where you can develop and nurture friendships in game. My experience so far in Despair has not been this way.
A little story of when I first joined (pre-blogging!): We were running some kind of group content, most likely a 16-man operation, with everyone in Mumble. My guild leader Filmadeus or some other officer decided to play a game and made everyone in the group introduce themselves to me, and I had to guess, by the short bio they provided and the sound of their voice, what their profession was. I will never forget this, because I had mistaken a helicopter pilot for a “banker,” which I think at the time was absolutely hilarious to them. The guild quickly embraced me, and not even a month after joining I met one of my new guildies at the Seattle Community Cantina.
I’ve been in the guild now for more than a year, and I’ve written quite a few pieces on what it is like being in the guild, including: My Guild As A Communist Society and How I Joined Despair. However, I would also like to say how important voice communications are. I believe this is how we are successful, for a couple reasons, including efficiency and effectiveness in group content, getting to know each other, and building comradery. (I would also check out: How To Find a Guild: It’s Like Dating).
Obviously, not everyone likes to be in voice communications, but if you are doing group content with the guild, we will always request that you connect to Mumble. Members don’t always have to speak, but it is necessary if you are going to be in an operations group, to at least be able to listen to the ops lead. I can live without hearing my guildies while we do a flashpoint, but most likely we are already chatting with each other in Mumble. Voice communications simply make gameplay more enjoyable; you don’t notice that you’ve had to run Hammer Station twice in a row when someone is cracking jokes in your ears. Additionally, it is so helpful to be speaking rather than typing to someone in the middle of a warzone or arena. No one has time to type out a sentence while they’re getting attacked.
Also, if you can hear someone talk, it’s easier to get to know them, know what they like to do in-game, and more easily be able to form groups for things. Thus, it’s easier to gather and motivate everyone to work towards a common planetary conquest objective. Personally, I keep the Mumble overlay on my game so I can memorize a voice and personality with a name I can see visually.
There are few exceptions to people that I’m extremely familiar with that don’t speak in Mumble (hello Zissou and Jurckad), but otherwise, if you aren’t in the channel, it’s really difficult to get to know who you are. This is fine, but I wouldn’t complain about your guildies not knowing who you are if you never familiarize yourself with the majority using Mumble. No one has complained about this as far as I know, but we have had a huge influx of new members since the advent of planetary conquests.
I highly recommend for guilds to use voice communications. Even if you are not actively running an operation, warzone, flashpoint, etc., it helps so much to get to know your guildies and to plan, strategize, and talk about things in and outside the game. I think you will find that the guild is strengthened, people are less flaky, and you will enjoy playing with your guildies more.