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Vent (or whichever voice communication software you use) is a great raid tool. I’ve been a guild master, a guild officer, a raid leader, a guild member, and just some PuG in someone else’s mostly guild run. If Vent is available for a raid, I use it every time, no matter what my role. However, it becomes far less useful when it’s over-utilized.
When I am not raid leading, or assigned to a specific “call out when X happens” job, my attitude about Vent during a progression raid is “speak only when spoken to”. There’s enough going on without general chit chat. I know I personally find it really difficult to concentrate, or even know what I’m supposed to do, when there are several different voices trying to be heard (and frequently all saying something different) in Vent. I think that sometimes, an overused Vent channel in a raid is worse than none at all – chances are, if 5 people are talking, they’re not all saying the same thing. It gets easy to miss something important in all the noise-clutter.
I like Vent to be clear of all non-essential conversation when I’m raid leading. I used to run with someone that called the Twin Valkyr’s fight in ToC the fight where “I just tank until Krikket yells at me to do something else”. I am loud, and often abrupt, and it probably does sound like I’m yelling at people, but what I’m really trying to do is avoid as many unnecessary words as I can. Once the fight has begun, every second counts. If someone is waiting for an auditory cue to do something, I want to get that cue out there in as few seconds as possible.
Can you raid without voice communication? Of course you can. You can raid without a BossMod addon too, but most people use one. Things go more smoothly when the tools available to you are utilized well.
However, when used poorly? Any useful tool can become a detriment. I think one of the worst things that Vent can be used for is for expressing frustration during boss attempts. Progression raiding is often frustrating, no doubt. It’s even more frustrating if you’re someone who totally gets the fight, and wipes keep happening because someone (or a lot of someones) just don’t seem to get it. But saying things like “OMG people, what’s wrong with you? THIS IS STUPID EASY!” doesn’t make anyone feel any better. Generally speaking, it doesn’t inspire people to work harder. It’s demoralizing.
I’ve been the person who “gets” it, and raiding with people who have a steeper learning curve than I do, and I’ve been the noob that takes seemingly FOREVER to figure out where I’m supposed to be standing. My opinion on the usefulness of non-specific instructions during boss encounters is the same from either side – don’t do it. If you feel like you must say “Krikket – move now!”, great. Clearly I wasn’t doing something right, and I appreciate the help. Saying “Everyone HAS to move when X happens” once X has already happened? Isn’t helping. People who are not doing what they are supposed to do are probably not doing it to test the healers, or because their personal DPS is more important than the good of the raid. Maybe they don’t yet know what the graphic they need to avoid looks like. Maybe they lagged out for a second. Maybe they don’t even know that they were one of the people who DIDN’T move where or when they were supposed to.
If I get frustrated enough that I need to rant? I talk, but I don’t push the button. The other 23 people in the raid don’t need to hear me complaining. There are plenty of outlets for frustration – if you’re lucky like me and play with your SO in the same room? Talk to him or her. If not, send a whisper to a close friend, or create your own “snark” channel with people you know get irritated by the same things that you do.
I’m still getting used to being in a guild where Vent is often used just to chit-chat during non-raid times. I watch a lot of TV while doing mindless WoW-stuff, so I don’t often log on just to talk with people. I don’t mind communicating via type, and it feels less chaotic sometimes. But I totally understand why people like to use it just to talk. But I think being TOO comfortable talking in Vent can be just as problematic on raid nights as being afraid to ever speak up. Sometimes, you have to know when you just shouldn’t push the button.