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Proximity Chat: a terrible idea that is really worth considering

SchmukySchmuky Member
edited November 2023 in General Discussion
So, I talked for a bit on discord about this, but I wanna put the whole thing in full here.

Now, all of us have seen proximity chat in some games, usually gone bad. Unfiltered chat is just that, unfiltered.
So, we can have toxic, racist, sexist etc players being able to broadcast how much of an idiot they are and frankly most people would just turn it off as soon as something like this happen.

So, why even put this post up? Because the game design allows for some amazing interactivity. Now, examples:
-imagine if for the election in a Science node, the participants have to publicly present their policies or even hold debates. For a random player, that isn't engaged in the daily politics, it would make the election an actual election, not just " this name looks cool"
-Bartering: as many items will be made by/gathered by players, being able to directly talk to the person you are buying from would be a whole other social encounter, much more that text.
-inter-guild talks: it might be redundant as there are so many ways to record, but i would imagine if 2 or more guild want to discuss some secret stuff, they would never write anything down. Sure, discord can be used for this, i would see it as a in-game alternative to it.
-Massive group singing: if you ever saw Queen's Live Aid concert, you know what i mean.
-Finding friends: there is no group finder (thankfully), so this would be another way to actually meet players. Imagine 2 players fishing and they start talking because...well, they are fishing, what else are you gonna do? They don't know each other, but from a 20 min chat, maybe they add each other and go raiding or something.
-The friendly "Hello". Just going around the world, walking down a road. Someone comes from the opposite direction, you exchange a polite "Hello" and you each go your different ways, never to see each other again.

Now, I am painfully aware how much flower power there is in this post, so coming back to reality for a bit, what type of restriction would there be to ensure that it cant be abused?
-Toggle on/off: easy, simple, effective. You don't wanna talk to people? Just disable it. They can't hear you, you can't hear them.
-Have proximity be a small, really small area around someone. Maybe 2m around them. Maybe its depended on where you are and how many people are around you. In the wild with only a few players its 10m, in a busy city its 1m. That's how we talk in real life.
-Being able to mute players from your proximity for good. Saw someone blasting music randomly in the city? In the perma-mute they go!

This is just what I could come up with now, I am sure actual devs would find even better ways.

The reason I think it is important is the way Ashes is designed to be. Player community. Giving a voice to it seems a fantastic addition, even though there are and always will be the loud, obnoxious ones that are still part of the community.

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    NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Big pass
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    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
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    VhaeyneVhaeyne Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Here is the most recent discussion on the topic:
    https://forums.ashesofcreation.com/discussion/45217/proximity-voice-chat-poll/p1

    I also say pass. Read the linked thread if you would like to know more.
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    If I had more time, I would write a shorter post.
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    SchmukySchmuky Member
    right...maaybe i should have searched the forums a bit before the post.....did the devs say anything?
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    VhaeyneVhaeyne Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Schmuky wrote: »
    right...maaybe i should have searched the forums a bit before the post.....did the devs say anything?

    Toast, merged that thread with a like thread from the same time period. She said "Keep Talking". So they are listening.
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    If I had more time, I would write a shorter post.
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    Random UserRandom User Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I love proximity chat in games. One of the best moments I had in game like Planetside 2 is doing things like using preflight announcement over proximity chat when piloting Galaxy, which many other players liked, or doing silly stuff like playing ice cream truck melody when driving Sunderer. It can also be used for other things, which you pointed out, like saying "Hello" to random stranger, or listening to player performed concerts in large cities in games. It absolutely does enhance gameplay for everyone, even for people who cannot speak but can still listen.

    And yes, there are many ways to address abuse of proximity voice chat, from giving people option to disable it or block individual users (the game can provide a list of people whom you can hear through proximity chat in special menu where you can select individual players and block them) or report them, and in case of reporting the game can record few seconds of audio by reported person. Playstation already does this so there is nothing illegal with recording voice chat for the purpose of reporting it: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-10-15-playstation-5-lets-you-upload-voice-chats-to-sony-and-report-your-awful-party-mates
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    AsgerrAsgerr Member
    I'd much rather have push to talk chat in parties, than actual proximity chat.

    At best, maybe send a voice chat request as a whisper while not in a party.
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    SchmukySchmuky Member
    The main thing it that usually in MMOs other players can start to feel like NPCs over time. Moving around silently and you end up interacting only for a reason. There should be no reason to talk to each other. I think people would do it a lot more often
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    George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited May 2021
    I wouldnt mind hearing real voices in an mmorpg video game, bringing to life the characters (players I encounter) even if they are foul mouthed.
    Weird flex: I would hurt them ingame just as I would inrl and incur the consequences (stress while being corrupted and possibility of losing gear if hunted down/stress of being caught for the incident and paying the price by the law if caught).

    But here is the thing. When through all those microphones that other players use, I can hear all sorts of sounds that dont belong in the world of Verra, I would get annoyed by the proximity voice chat*.
    What's the point of having a system that I would toggle on and off, every 10s?

    Besides, in a non instanced open world (that AoC wants to be), players will definatly wont feel like npcs. In games like ff14 and eso, there is a difference. You cant hit players out in the open and there is no need to assist them or group with them due to absence of danger. So yes, they do feel like npcs, doing their own thing in a parallel adventure to yours.
    That wont be the case here.

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    Random UserRandom User Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited May 2021
    Schmuky wrote: »
    The main thing it that usually in MMOs other players can start to feel like NPCs over time. Moving around silently and you end up interacting only for a reason. There should be no reason to talk to each other. I think people would do it a lot more often

    Yes, in FFXIV in large cities all you hear is pre-recorded random sounds simulating a crowd of people, instead of actual people talking to each other. It would be more interesting if you could instead hear players talking instead of that simulated sounds. Or people singing. It would make game feel more alive and sociable. And for people who prefer not to hear other people - like I said before, there will always be an option to disable proximity voice chat. It's sad that some people don't even want to have voice chat as an option, even though this would not harm their playing experience in any way.
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    SchmukySchmuky Member
    Microphone quality is for sure an issue, but i would react to it the same as a toxic player. Mute. But I agree, its a solution to something that is barely a problem, hell, even less than that. Compared to everything else, this is more of a flex. BUT. That flex could become a small essential part of some people experiences. I talked about this above. For another example, think how often text massages are misunderstood. The tone, the meaning behind the words themselves. And how much more often can you tell if someone lying if you hear them speak compared to text. Alliances could be formed or crumbled due to a keen player's ears. And that is the flex
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    MerekMerek Member
    Not required, everyone is going to stick to their Discord/Teamspeak anyway.
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    SchmukySchmuky Member
    guilds will. This is for inter-guild talking
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    bloodprophetbloodprophet Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I would turn it as soon as I could and never for any reason turn it back on.
    I don't want to hear people babbling or some random other noise be it music or someone's TV.
    Most people never listen. They are just waiting on you to quit making noise so they can.
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    I wouldn't mind banning the use of out of game chat programs in favor of a limited one in games. Proximity is not something I would enjoy out in a party or raids though. I wouldn't mind Proximity in towns or recreational zones though.
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    MerekMerek Member
    Yuyukoyay wrote: »
    I wouldn't mind banning the use of out of game chat programs in favor of a limited one in games. Proximity is not something I would enjoy out in a party or raids though. I wouldn't mind Proximity in towns or recreational zones though.

    This isn't a Roleplay server controlled by a small group of admins, that wouldn't work.
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    Merek wrote: »
    Yuyukoyay wrote: »
    I wouldn't mind banning the use of out of game chat programs in favor of a limited one in games. Proximity is not something I would enjoy out in a party or raids though. I wouldn't mind Proximity in towns or recreational zones though.

    This isn't a Roleplay server controlled by a small group of admins, that wouldn't work.

    It'd work if that's your only option. It would eliminate sending discord links in the game which is annoying as hell and make the game feel more natural. At minor inconvenience. It also mainly bridges the gap between organized friend groups and pugs quite a bit. Since pugs are unlikely to go out of their way to use anything but in game systems for chat.
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    RoussynatorRoussynator Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    imagine proximity chat in a 250vs250 siege
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    ShoelidShoelid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Yuyukoyay wrote: »
    Merek wrote: »
    Yuyukoyay wrote: »
    I wouldn't mind banning the use of out of game chat programs in favor of a limited one in games. Proximity is not something I would enjoy out in a party or raids though. I wouldn't mind Proximity in towns or recreational zones though.

    This isn't a Roleplay server controlled by a small group of admins, that wouldn't work.

    It'd work if that's your only option. It would eliminate sending discord links in the game which is annoying as hell and make the game feel more natural. At minor inconvenience. It also mainly bridges the gap between organized friend groups and pugs quite a bit. Since pugs are unlikely to go out of their way to use anything but in game systems for chat.

    mm no. You can't just ban the use of the most ubiquitous communication app in a social game. Like it or not, Discord has changed the way that social video games work. Games need to be designed with instant online communication in mind, rather than trying to fight against it. Trying to ban it will result in either workarounds that are frustrating for everybody or people simply not playing the game.

    Maybe you don't like discord very much, but the vast majority of online communities exist through discord. Alienating these online communities for some unique RP flair would be multiple levels of stupid.
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    DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited May 2021
    Most of the info about sever status is communicated via Discord.
    There are already 5 voice channels for NDA communication on the official Ashes Discord.
    Each server has it's own dedicated text chat channel on the official Ashes Discord.
    There is no way that Intrepid is going to ban Discord chat. They are heavily supporting and encouraging it.
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    Dygz wrote: »
    Most of the info about sever status is communicated via Discord.
    There are already 5 voice channels for NDA communication on the official Ashes Discord.
    Each server has it's own dedicated text chat channel on the official Ashes Discord.
    There is no way that Intrepid is going to ban Discord chat. They are heavily supporting and encouraging it.

    Are you allowed to talk about the NDA channels now that the verbal NDA is lifted?
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    McShaveMcShave Member
    edited May 2021
    I am very much in favour of proximity chat. If you don't like it, turn it off. But it shouldn't mean that others who want it shouldn't be able to have it. The only real problem I see is the server lag issues with 250 v 250 battles going on, but they have some smart developers so it should be possible.

    Imagine all the friendships you can make and laughs that can be had while talking with strangers over voice. Text chat just isn't the same.
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    KhronusKhronus Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Hard no. This is a terrible idea and it should stay out of the game. There is no such thing as "don't like it/ turn it off". If it's in the game, you play with it or you are handicapped.

    Invite players into your discord if you want to chat with them (it's not hard). Add Khronus#4299. See...I just did it. I believe (and hope) that the AoC community will naturally be less toxic than your typical game but at the end of the day it is a pvp game. I will be murdering people for their loot. Toxicity will run rampant in this game because nobody wants to die or lose anything. The cherry on top is XP debt. I think I will pass on being called racial slurs 100 times in the middle of a fight.
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    mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Yea, voice is easier to use than text so if possible, should be implemented. I don't know the performance costs so i can't speak to that but as far as people "trolling," it shouldn't be hard to have a variety of mute options so players don't have to worry about this.
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    McShaveMcShave Member
    Khronus wrote: »
    I will be murdering people for their loot. Toxicity will run rampant in this game because nobody wants to die or lose anything.

    But I that's what I want. I want to laugh at their misery that I can hear over the proximity chat. I want to hear them swear and cuss and break things in their house. That is where I get my pleasure. Why do you want to take that away from me?
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    mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Khronus wrote: »
    There is no such thing as "don't like it/ turn it off". If it's in the game, you play with it or you are handicapped.

    This can be true if there is an advantage but i'm not sure what the advantage is in this case. What the advantage of having voice chat unmuted? You going to miss some life changing jokes?
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    SongcallerSongcaller Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I'm not a fan of proximity chat. I don't want two push to talk buttons and I don't want to echo in Raids.
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    DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    McMackMuck wrote: »
    Are you allowed to talk about the NDA channels now that the verbal NDA is lifted?
    As long as I don't show a picture or video of them...yes.

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    KhronusKhronus Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Khronus wrote: »
    There is no such thing as "don't like it/ turn it off". If it's in the game, you play with it or you are handicapped.

    This can be true if there is an advantage but i'm not sure what the advantage is in this case. What the advantage of having voice chat unmuted? You going to miss some life changing jokes?

    I'm sorry you don't understand the advantage of being able to immediately speak to someone vs typing to them and judging their next move based on their characters movements/actions. I can't help you much here.

    @McShave Yeah I get it. Chaos and anarchy in chat is great in a game like rust where 99% of the community are toxic scumbags who will end up in prison for murdering their parents over a pizza topping argument. It just wouldn't feel right in AoC. Feel free to invite your enemies into your discord after murdering them. Also, we're all immersed into a high fantasy game....couldn't you just imagine they broke their headset after you killed them to the same dopamine release?
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    TheHiddenDaggerInnTheHiddenDaggerInn Member, Leader of Men, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Please no VC, havn't been in a game yet where VC hasn't ruined the game. If you let people be morons, they WILL be morons.
    TwitchTV Streamer: The Hidden Dagger Inn Saturday's PM Cst And
    Wednesday's at PM Cst
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    SchmukySchmuky Member
    I take most of my proximity chat experience from Sea of Thieves, the one game i played lately with very good proximity voice. Now, that being a PvP focus game, the ability to quickly talk to others lets you defuse situations and judge if someone wants to screw you over (so you can do it first). Now, in a game like AoC, there still is the PvP aspect, but it would benefit a lot in PvE. I've already given examples but here are some more. You get to a new Node and dont know where the shops are. Quick jump into proximity, go to a player and ask and you are on your way. You dont need to spam the text chat , which everyone ignores in major cities, so you dont wander aimlessly for 10 min before you find it. There are benefits. And comparing games like Rust, DayZ and even SoT isn't really fair as those games are PvP, with either small or no PvE. And arguments against it, from what i saw are "don't want to hear toxic players" -> well they can just msg you. "Played with it before and it sucked"->my guess is that the game had little/no incentive for players not fighting. "People will be morons" -> the same way you can and will report players for toxic messages, you can report for toxic voice. What is the difference? That you hear instead of read? And considering that the game will most likely have a mute/perma-mute punishment for toxic chat, it can also use it for voice. About Raids, i would expect that to take place over Discord first off all. But if you play solo and just join a Raid and the people aren't using discord i don't expect them to use voice either?

    I feel that most of the people here say no because of bad experiences, rather that they don't see the advantages. And considering the way that have come up in chat to filter and curate the proximity, i think it would be enough. To ensure that not to many people talk at the same time, make it a small area around the player. And muting toxic players should as simple as 2 buttons.

    Now the interesting point is "i don't want it bc i wont use and i would be at a disadvantage". Don't really know about this tbh...The advantages i see mostly are for random player interactions. As Khronus said, they will kill players and steal loot. Well, knowing that you are going to do that, why not turn it off before? How will the fact that other people use it affect you? If you are a bandit that attacks on sight for example, what use would you have of it? From what you said, my guess is that you would run a party of like-minded players and already talk on discord. The fact that other people are talking would only affect you if they decide to use voice to group together and fight together against you. Which they should be able to do. If you are a party of 4 and attack 4 players that aren't in a group, your voice will give you a massive advantage over them.

    And i am going to address something that hasen't come up yet. Its something that not all players will use so there is no point in spending dev time on it. I have seen this argument in other games about stuff that is a bit controversial. The counter argument is that no one player will experience everything. Just look at professions. Should they focus only on popular professions, and leave those with less players be as "this isn't played by the same amount of players"? Or maybe there are areas where very few players chose to play in, do those deserve less dev time than the rest?

    The main thing is, there are benefits and with careful implementation all the problems can be mitigated (not outright eliminated). But does that mean that it isn't a good feature for those that want it? Hell, even myself, here defending this, i will only use it in specific situations. Most of the voice i would do over discord. But to have it when it actually matters will make a world of difference
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