Once you get a chance to actually speak with someone you’re running around WoW with the whole game seems to change. As you know by now I’m not a huge Raid or Guild guy, (although I hope to be some day when I grow up), but I do have some friends in RL that I run around with. At one point someone suggested we get Ventrilo (aka Vent) so we could easily chat while questing or banging around in the BG’s. Chatting in real time is also essential for Arena. Essential.
Up to this point we’d been chatting by phone (embarrassing, I know) but since it was typically later in the evening the minutes were “free” as in a “Night and Weekends” type of cell plan. But it was annoying and not really practical. It’s not easy to keep a phone on your shoulder for an hour or two, or three. Our speaker phones really stunk as well. So we’re looking at Vent. It was cheap. A buddy had a friend who had an account and that guy made us a channel for us to try it out. So we ran for an hour or so using Vent and it was okay. Not great. The voice quality really was pretty bad, the interface was overly complicated for our needs and overall it just seemed to be a bigger pain in the butt than necessary. But it was better than using our phones.
Then, out of the blue, someone asked, “Umm…would Skype work?” This was one of those moments that you feel really dumb when someone else suggests something so fantastically obvious that you should have seen before. Skype! Of course! If you’re not familiar with Skype then stop what you are doing and go get it now (at Skype.com). This is a free service (totally free – no credit card, no nothing) that lets you call and talk with people via your computer. The call quality is crystal clear, the interface is drop dead simple and it works perfectly with World of Warcraft.
You can hold conference calls up to 25 people (all free) pretty darn easily. For the record I’ve only been on with 4 other guys, or 5 of us in total, at once however it was crystal clear…just like the 5 of us were all sitting at the same table. Depending on your computer or laptop you don’t even need a headset as the stock microphone and speakers work totally fine (at they do least on my laptop). If you’ve got an extra $15 or so laying around go grab a basic headset (like this one on Amazon) and you’re all set.
Now many high end guilds may require that you have Vent and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not expensive and everyone has to be on the same page somehow, right? But if you’re banging around questing, or running BG’s or the Arena with a few buddies use Skype. It’s wicked simple and it works great. Thanks!