What's in a voice?
Vent can be an endless source of amusement sometimes. You hear a voice, listen to what they're saying, see their character, and you can think to yourself "OMG! That's a dude!" That female character you've seen all along, and you never, not really, wondered about the player behind it, and then you hear them in Vent for the first time. It's really jarring.
About as amusing, sad really, is when a new guildie joins vent for the first time, and she's really a she, she's a girl in real life, and you get the whole "ZOMG!" and the chat just dissolves into mindless blathering as the boys will be boys. I'm sure the real life girl is wondering "What did I get myself into?" Or she's expecting it.
Kind of a safe assumption to make, a catch-all kind of rule: Every character you see, whether they're tall and macho, or lithe and sexy, or goofy and bald, or green with tusks, the player behind them is a 23 year old guy. Just assume that and go from there. If they surprise you with remarkable eloquence when they explain the strategy for the next fight, great! If you're expecting that all along from the gold beggerz in Orgrimmar, or the duelists in Goldshire, your expectations have been met. Bottom line is how well the class is being played, not the player behind it or their choice of avatars.
But the voice behind the character can sure be distracting sometimes. And that's why some refuse to use Vent. The old "Mic is broken" excuse.
/p I can hear, just can't speak. I'll type when I need to. Go ahead though I hear you fine.
What if your voice wasn't your voice though? What if you could adopt a "voice avatar" much like you can adopt a "character avatar?"
Over on Virgin Worlds there's an interview with someone from Vivox. In it they mention they're doing voice communications for online games and virtual worlds. And they mention "voice fonts." Would this transform voices on the fly?
If you could transform your own voice, squeaky where you want to portray yourself as leadership material, or manly where you're playing a woman, would you? I'm wondering if that's something "voice fonts" would allow.
We all want to retain a bit of our privacy. And if we could transform our voices into something fantastical that matched our avatars in-game, I'm sure a lot of folks would.
I know the "next thing" in MMORPG's will be built-in voice communications to replace Vent or TeamSpeak. And I'd like it a whole lot more if we could customize our voice like we already customize our avatars.
And then the girls who play girls could still use a "Lurch" voice and we'd remain confused. And the boys who play girls and use a "Morticia" voice ... well, it's probably still best to assume: Every single player is a 23 year old guy.