Smedley Acknowledges Voice Chat Issues

Written by Feldon on . Posted in SOE Wants Feedback

Although MMO players who desire voice chat have always had the option of third party voice chat services such as TeamSpeak and Ventrilo, their offerings have always stood behind daunting licensing terms and high monthly fees. In mid-2008, SOE sought to give players an in-house option: free in-game voice chat provided by Vivox.

The Vivox service has had its ups and downs, but we can only assume that it is widely used. Sometimes, a certain amount of fiddling with firewall or sound card settings has been required, or a cycle of leaving and re-joining channels to force a connection, Vivox has worked reasonably well for players and guilds who can forgive its less-than-99.99% reliability.

However since the end of May, a growing number of players have faced a consistent connection problem with the service which have not been resolved with repeated disconnect-reconnect cycles and reboots. A thread posted to the EQ2 forums “Cannot join voice channels” has already reached five pages in length. To help steer players who are experiencing this same problem to the easily overlooked Support area, our own Dethdlr created a linking thread “Voice Chat Issues?

It is to this thread that SOE President John Smedley made an appearance:

I asked that this be looked at and rectified ASAP. Sorry for the problems.

Smed

The EQ2 Community forums have spiraled out of control over the last two years. And in recent months, we’ve seen heavy moderation of unpopular viewpoints with no significant engagement of the player community. It’s been all stick and no carrot. Perhaps these direct communications from Mr. Smedley are recognition of how much confidence has been lost in the EQ2 community team.

Tags: ,

Trackback from your site.

Comments (21)

  • Kwill

    |

    Yes, it’s pretty dire when the CEO of the company has to come in and assure people problems are being looked at! Especially ones that are a core game mechanic.

    This should never have escalated to the level it did.

    Glad it’s being looked at. It has been a real annoyance for our guild of late — we like to use VC.

    Reply

  • Kralus

    |

    It’s pathetic that Smed acknowledges these issues instead of Holly. I think Smed should order his entire staff to take a course on interpersonal communication.

    Reply

  • bhagpuss

    |

    Presumably EQ2′s in-game voice chat needs to work for SOEmote, which is supposed to be arriving fairly soon. SOEmote has been getting coverage well beyond the gaming press and I’d imagine that’s why senior management are paying attention to related issues right now.

    On a totally unrelated note, wonder what will happen to the PSS1 deal if the Eurozone implodes before it gets here? Or, for that matter, after?

    Reply

  • Noctew

    |

    Hmm…I guess we’d have to pay our subscriptions in francs, drachmae and deutschmarks. PSS1 is not just Euro countries anyhow…there is this little, unimportant currency called “British pound” for example.

    On an unrelated note: Pro7 has started their advertising campaign in Germany and the newbie numbers on Valor have..well, not skyrocketed but there is definitive improvement.

    Reply

  • Betony

    |

    @ Kwill & Kralus NO, it is neither dire nor pathetic that Smed is finally taking some responsibility for the EQ franchise. He should have been taking action on many items during the past four years. His is the final signature on contracts. Simply playing with PVP buddies or putting out a Tweet every now and again is not watching out for the company.

    Smed need a refresher course in corporate and interpersonal communication.

    Reply

  • miragian

    |

    The think the point was that it should have been resolved way before Smed has to step in. Yes he should take responsibility but there is way other levels that should have resolved most of this before it gets to him.

    If the CEO has to say something it’s already gone wrong.

    Reply

  • Eschia

    |

    The problem is with Vivox themselves. I have the same problem in Second Life, which also uses Vivox. Most of the time it will work flawlessly, but once in a while it refuses to connect, or everyone sounds like they’ve just been robotisized by eggman. lol

    Reply

  • Caldwell

    |

    I think that everyone is afraid to make any comments, cuz they will get shitcanned if they do. SOE is not exactly friendly to employees who are honest and upright with it’s customers. Smedley doesn’t have anything to fear so he can say or do whatever he wants.

    Reply

  • Sigtyr

    |

    I agree Smedley should not have to step in and do things like this, that is for managers on lower levels. Either the lower level managers are incompetent or SOE is one of those companies where very few actually are allowed to make any decisions.

    Reply

  • Eschia

    |

    I think the best SOE can do in this case is make their local client voice exe to the Vivox servers run smoother, since Vivox is pretty much in full control of everything else. Anything is possible though. Seriously though I think SOE needs to change to a different voice provider. Teamspeak is open source. They could make their own tweaks and presto a reliable voice service they can modify.

    Reply

  • noluk

    |

    @ Eschia. You are assuming that SOE can manage to make Teamspeak work. They don’t have the best track record at the moment.

    Reply

  • Anaogi

    |

    Oh yeah, Smed’s on a short leash and someone’s yanking it hard. My guess is the parent company finally took notice of SOE’s deterioration and has someone watching over his shoulder.

    How else to explain the clear ‘panic mode’ he’s operating under? What we’ve seen over the last week or so is more direct communication than the previous several years combined–and you can’t tell me that’s not a sign of something else going on behind the scenes…

    Reply

  • Murfalad

    |

    It seems to me that the problem is connecting to the vivox service rather then the voice channels themselves, guessing at the problem though.

    But however it goes I would rate Vivox very highly when it works, its clearer and more stable from my experience then Ventrillo, just not right now from within EQ2 :(

    Reply

  • Kwill

    |

    If they are still trying to negotiate with the German company, it may be there’s some pressure to deliver a product the Europeans want to buy. That could be the source of the pressure on Smed, for one thing.

    I am sure it’s a multi million dollar deal on the line there.

    Reply

  • Katz

    |

    I’m guessing that since it is a third party program, EQ2 people can do nothing except refer the problem up to higher levels.

    I get the impression that there is a lot of disorganization and micromanagement in the upper levels of SOE that affects everyone below. I could be wrong but I see a lot of symptoms of that.

    Reply

  • Vonek

    |

    The funny thing is as bad as I want to complain…The game is the best its ever been for me IMO…Lots of stuff to do and raiding is fun! :) have a nice week!

    Reply

  • Anaogi

    |

    For all its faults, I’m largely with Vonek–I’ve been having loads of fun with this last update under the belt, and that’s even with my younger alts!

    (Of course tonight my brain will be eaten by the Civ5 expansion, but that in no way reflects on EQ2…)

    Reply

  • Dethdlr

    |

    Wow. I got a response out of Smed himself. :) Not only that, but I was on last night and voice chat seemed to be working “normally” again. Woot! :)

    Reply

  • Nrgy

    |

    I was also on last night and found in-game VoIP spoty at best. I’ve been able to “force” my into custom channels, usually meaning re-re-re-adding them or removing them and re-adding them. I also recently have had to start the practice of /voice inviting other who also have had issues and moving.

    I’ve lost the and channels many times this week and when I’m 2+boxing I’m having a devil of a time switching VoIP users on the same machine.

    ALL features which worked great in the recent past.

    Reply

  • Kryvak

    |

    It’s definitely very nice to see Smed hopping in and actually doing something and communicating, but it is a little ridiculous that he had to be the one to decide to do it. Maybe if Holly, the one who’s supposed to be running the game, could bring herself to log into the forums more than once a month (last online 5/11 lol), we could get some more work done.

    Reply

  • Kryvak

    |

    Wow. I complain about Windstalker not posting/logging in, now she just made 3 posts in 2 hours lol.

    Reply

Leave a comment

- Name (required)
- Website (optional)
Please post your comments without flaming or insulting other players or personally attacking SOE employees. Comments from bogus e-mail addresses may be deleted. If you wish to have an Avatar picture, feel free to create an account on Gravatar.com. Once you sign up for a Gravatar account, then any Wordpress-powered blog you comment on will automagically show your avatar.

Powered by Warp Theme Framework