Voice Comms Etiquette Community Agreement Concept


I made a title.

I'm not sure how common utilizing the in-game voice-comms is on other platforms, I know on PS4 people prefer the PSN voice parties in my circles, maybe PC is different usage rate wise. A point. I had a point.

An issue in Elite: Dangerous is the difficulty in quickly communicating with a targeted player your intentions, leading to almost all PvP interactions ending with at least one party unsatisfied. Creating some basic rules to how one is supposed regarding in-game voice communication could allow for more options in how these interactions end.

A Proposal for Proper Communication Etiquette:
  1. Always answer your voice comms, even if you don't have a mic. Expecting someone to type while they keep you from escaping isn't realistic, and given the choice of making demands or opening fire to prevent your escape, almost all interdictors would open fire (conceptually system security should attack when they pull you over for those scans they never do, if you ran as you're disobeying an order made under color of law [ok, I don't know if that's the right words, but I like the result]) rather than let you escape.
  2. Try to have a mic readily available so if you get called, or need to call somebody, you can. Headset's are reasonably cheap, and can be multipurpose beyond just Elite. Many games are improved (and many, many more ruined), by being able to communicate via voice. So many things get ruined because of the internet.
  3. Try not to begin by being a uncouth individual (can't say ), unless you're roleplaying one, in which case go nuts. I think we can agree we're all trying to play for fun, and don't necessarily want to (always) ruin someone else's day. I believe the general consensus is murderous gank squads aren't fun, but player driven piracy is actually kinda cool from both sides as an experience. But even gank squads should open comms and make demands, just make impossible ones, and have fun with it. If you're set up right as a team you can play with your meals for a bit longer. Keyword: play. Win or lose, we should be all trying to have a good time at this.
  4. Language issues will happen. Just like in the real world. It may be "fun" to introduce a "Commander's Phrase Book" of basic concepts that commanders are expected to learn. I forget if Elite is the future of the 80's or the future of us, but I think Russian, Chinese, and English are the more or less official languages of flight and space now so might as well pick and choose phrases that are easy to learn and short with clear definitions. Even if it's just a book of curse words and phrases in every language. If anything, that's evenv better than a real phrasebook.
The thing about this suggestion is the community can make it happen by agreeing that utilizing the in game voice comms would add to gameplay options, but a critical number of players must agree to the basics. Really the best part is we can make this happen if we can get enough commanders in agreement to the idea that failing to respond to communication is acceptable cause for player aggression, but "honorable" criminals will attempt to communicate before any shots are fired.

Proposed interaction loop:
  1. Interdiction occurs and supercruise drops.
  2. A party initiates a voice call. Etiquette dictates that during this time a "reasonable distance" be maintained, and although hardpoints may be deployed, no shots have been fired.
  3. Assuming the call is answered, something happens hopefully beyond just pewpew. If the call is not answered it is a justification to begin firing, under the community rules we're making up right now. No matter the situation (obviously there'll be exceptions) failure to answer a call and any violence that results is not allowed to be called a gank, or seal club, or anything but what it is: real player driven interaction that had the potential to be more than just a fight.
  4. There really isn't any more, either the parties involved peaceably go their seperate ways, someone ran, or someone died (or unexpected thing happens).
Maybe I'm out of touch, but I don't think you're going to get much traction with this proposal, at least for Open play. Too many disparate styles and opinions to ever unify enough enough people to make it viable.

Interdiction is a fundamentally hostile act and as far as I am concerned any wise CMDR is ready to attempt to destroy or flee from their interdictor by the time the instance loads. I cannot see a good reason why my CMDR would put his safety on the line by surrendering the initiative, when he can seize it and possibly get the jump on his opponent.

Actual interaction loop:

1. Interdiction begins and target submits to avoid the possibility of excessive cooldown should the interdictor be more dangerous or have more friends than anticipated.
2. Decision of whether to stay and fight or escape has already been made based on assessment of the CMDR and their loadout, as well as likely hostile wing composition. If fight, go to #3. If evade, go to #4.
3. Ignore any communications attempts as your hardpoints deploy, fighter (if present) lauches, and ship whirls to face interdicting commander. Apply weapons liberally to said CMDR while attempting to evade incoming attacks. Repeat this as long as victory seems possible, otherwise go to #4.
4. Ignore any communication attemps as you jettison a heatsink, whirl to face interdicting CMDR, spiral toward them, evade incoming fire, boost past, and low or high wake as necessary. If this fails, make a second attempt. If escape seems impossible, deploy hardpoints and make a desperate stand as you prepare for a pod ride home.
5. If still being hounded, pick up your combat vessel, find some friends to assist, or withdraw from the area.
I definitely don't feel obliged to owe an answer to somebody who is interdicting me. Definitely don't feel the need to keep my mic ready to chat back and forth with pirates or murderers. If I want to be out - I will be out of there quietly. If I want to take a fight - I will.
I don't even answer my phone when it rings... Lol

I'm not going to answer randos voice chat. :p

I would mind if a local voice chat was available (instance only), which you could mute entirely if you wanted, and/or mute individual CMDRs.
Then CMDRs can chat away in that channel, rather than try and directly contact individual CMDRs.

Kinda how local chat works in Arma 3 if you've played it.
Agreed with Morbad here - anything that relies on the interdicted party being willing to "wait and see" or take their mind off fleeing isn't going to have a good success rate.

A couple of times I was interdicted by pirates who sent a brief but clear text comms message immediately on arrival in the instance - presumably set up on their clipboard in advance so they could send it in a few key presses. This was enough to make clear that further communication might be a reasonable approach, so we were able to come to an arrangement. If they'd offered voice comms instead, I'd probably have missed the notification while focusing on getting away.

The key thing to remember is that there are 3 million plus accounts, maybe 200k active-ish players (at least once a week, say), and this forum thread has so far been read by ... about 30 of them. So if you want to communicate, you need a way to initiate comms that doesn't need the other person to be aware of any particular conventions.
I am not really sure what is to be expected to change if people do voice-chat? Either people flee, fight or submit. Talk makes only sense if a party is submitting. And if your target submits, you'll have as well time enough to wait for text I guess. Else you are busy fighting or chasing and comms won't do much except of trashtalk and flavor maybe, if you are in the mood for such.

So if people want to talk they will, and if they don't they won't. I don't get the point really.
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