Adventures in Teamspeak

As a woman in my 40’s, I’m an older gamer. Not as old my ojisan-gamer husband who’s in his 50’s, but I’m definitely not part of the generation that has grown up constantly connected to everything and everyone. I discovered video games in 1993 when I was pregnant with my son. Platform games and JRPG’s were my go-to genres at Blockbuster (remember them?), so gaming was very much a solo activity. I started playing games like Phantasy Star Online and Diablo II around 2000 and then dove into the world of EverQuest in 2001. I played almost exclusively with people I actually knew in real life. On the rare occasions that I played with strangers, I was shy and nervous. Even today, I still get sweaty palms and an increased heart rate when I group up with strangers. When I played World of Warcraft, I played almost completely solo. I would group up with my real life friends and my husband, but that was pretty much it. A friend invited me to a raid once and we had to go on voice chat. That was weird and terrifying. I knew most of the people there, but still… that was really really weird to me. Nowadays, I’m fairly used to using voice chat programs to communicate with group members. Voice chat makes coordinating a lot of different people a LOT easier. I wouldn’t say it’s required, but damn, does it make things a hell of a lot easier…

Still, for me, voice chat is more of a tool for group content than a social space, although that is slowly changing. In contrast, most of today’s (often younger) online gamers chat ALL THE FREAKING TIME. They won’t even be playing a game together and they’ll be hanging out in Teamspeak chat rooms, chatting about whatever. This is weird to me. So you can imagine my overwhelming confusion when I was invited into a TS chatroom with almost 20 people in it!

Most of us were playing FFXIV, but a few were playing other games. I remember one guy mentioning XCOM. I knew MAYBE a quarter of the people in the room. People said hi and all that. But after that I felt like I was floating around in ABSOLUTE CHAOS. These kids were all talking to each other, having individual conversations while contributing to OTHERS’ conversations, as well. I spent most of my time just listening. Contributing just seemed WAY too complicated. On top of all the confusion, the room was full of (mostly) people my son’s age. One guy mentioned that he was 18 and my niece (who was also chatting) is in her late 20’s, so I’m averaging. (My son is 22.) Everything was about sex or jokes about sex. If it wasn’t sex, it was some crazy drama thing about interpersonal relationships. “Omg, is there something going on between X and Y?” Or people getting all mad and just figuratively storming out of the room by abruptly disconnecting from the channel. And everything about sex made people howl with laughter… I remember being like that. πŸ™‚ But damn, I haven’t been exposed to it in a long while. I spent most of my time just chuckling to myself and wondering if I sounded that silly when I was that age. The answer to that, of course, it ABSO-fucking-LUTELY. I contributed a little. “If you spank it, you tank it,” elicited some amusing remarks.

Hanging out in that chat room was fun, if overwhelming. I’ll absolutely go there again, though. It was an absolutely fascinating glimpse into some of the newer and younger modes of socializing today. Honestly, I felt lucky to be invited to the party. πŸ™‚

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5 thoughts on “Adventures in Teamspeak

  1. I am 33 and gamer. We have had our own big World of Warcraft guild and I knew everyone personally from my town. Over time half of them did quite to play, I believe it was around after Wrath of the Lich King, so, with Cataclysm we had to invite strangers. To be honest, I disliked that experience… my friends, including those who have quit to play, they were in the same age, but now we had the ship full of younger people around the age 16 or 18, while we were in our late twenties…. even that difference was like two worlds would collide (laugh). It didn’t take a long time until we had age restriction in our guild because we couldn’t bear with it. We had a couple of people in much lower age who were allowed to stay in the guild, mainly because they had a more mature manner, so it was not exactly about the age, but about the manner. I always thought let people be young and immature, but we don’t have to have them in our guild, especially not drama, because it was annoying. If someone was much younger, we invited them for a test week, to see how they act. We had females in our guild, and we tried to “protect” them, offering a healthy environment where they can teamplay and not answering questions about sex, in other words, we didn’t want to have sexism in our teamspeak. So, I assume we managed all this on a pretty conservative way πŸ˜€

  2. It sounds like you have a pretty great setup. With the exception of that one time I mentioned in the post and doing a single LFR for that fiery mount for the 10th anniversary event, I’ve never raided in WoW. I used the dungeon finder JUST ENOUGH times to get the Perky Pug pet. So I have no idea what the WoW community is ACTUALLY like. I hear stories, but I’ve never experienced it first hand. Haha! πŸ˜€

    My current guild/FC was originally created when a bunch of my real life friends and I started playing FFXIV. Now only 3 of the original members still play and every week, I mull over the idea of actually recruiting people I don’t know so that we actually have people, but then I remember the kinds of issues you bring up here. πŸ™‚ So, nope. It’s just people I and my trusted members actually KNOW irl. Since raid size in FFXIV is only 8 (for the hard stuff, anyway), the fact that there are only about a half a dozen of us that regularly play is enough. The FFXIV community and the way the game is designed actually makes it pretty easy to raid with people outside of your own guild. The 24 man raids are pretty face-rolly once you know the mechanics, so you can just Duty Finder that. So having a guild in FFXIV is more for buffs or doing low level or easy content. Weird, right?

    Drama is something that I just don’t have the time or desire for. I know some people enjoy it. Especially those people who love to say how MUCH they hate drama. You know the ones… They constantly say they hate it, but are the ones that are always starting or perpetuating it! LOL

    Online social interactions are still very difficult for me. Without things like body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions, I feel like my ability to navigate relationships is greatly hindered. Voice chat actually helps a bit with that, but it really depends on the chat room and the people in it. πŸ˜€

  3. Online social interactions are not easy for sure! I’m more than guilty of misinterpreting situations and taking offense where I’m sure, much later and after the fact, that none was intended. I admit that I sometimes have an overly active imagination and that does get me in trouble somedays. But as you say, without body language, tone of voice and facial expressions… words could easily take on any meaning.

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