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EverQuest II Adding Vaguely Terrifying Voice/Facial Tech

And by 'vaguely,' I definitely mean 'completely'.

OK, so I actually sort of love the idea behind EverQuest II‘s latest bit of technical wizardry, but well, when I say “wizardry,” I mean less Gandalf and more the really clumsy kid from Harry Potter – millennia before he became improbably talented. Basically, though, EverQuest II will – via mic and webcam – soon be able to read your vocal and facial cues and translate them 1:1 into Norrath. Conceptually, that’s great! So long, demons of anonymity. Meet one of mankind’s most primal, utterly essential roots of communication. But, uh, can we maybe try this again in ten years or so? And without the frog person?

So then, that was nice and unsettling. I heard Satan tried to play that ogre voice clip backward one time, and his resulting realization that it was too much even for him caused Jack Thompson to be born. At any rate, grafting this sort of nuance-necessitating tech onto a nearly eight-year-old MMO probably isn’t the best idea.

And while it is – to be perfectly honest – incredibly fun to chuckle at, I’d really like to see something like this succeed one day. Call me old-fashioned, but I think people are truly wretched at communicating without vocal intonations, facial expressions, and body language. Most forms of online chat basically barrel clumsily right through those things, leading to all sorts of unnecessary rage and jerkiness. I love text. I love writing. So, as someone who’s been called an idiot on the Internet more than my fair share of times, I’ll you from firsthand experience: words are really, really hard.

But yeah, I’m reeeeally not feeling the frog people. Let’s never speak of that again.

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Nathan Grayson


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