Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Alltalk vs Teamspeak

The Alltalk debate is one that I have been mulling over for the past few weeks. It all comes about as a result of the Javaserver, the place where I play the majority of my Team Fortress 2 games. In the old days there was the PCGamer server, which would always be slow to update, and often crash for days at a time, disappearing after every update. I loved it. It was the first time I had found a server to play on where I started to recognise the people, in that specific online-gaming way, who played it with me. It was great. It had teamspeak. Then time progressed things along, and the Javaserver was born. Most of the people moved from PCG to Javasever, and I was content. But something was very different, and it was unnerving. It was Alltalk.

The idea behind Alltalk is written in the name. If you use a microphone, and talk, then all on the server will hear you. With Teamspeak, only your team will hear you. This massively affects the words you say. With Teamspeak, glorious tactics emerge. With Alltalk, banter with the enemy enlivens the game. I still can’t decide which is better.

There is a downside to Alltalk, it can get quite loud. Some people insist on screaming at every kill and at every death. I don’t like loud; it’s just the way I am. There is also a downside to Teamspeak, it can be very isolated. You are divided from half of the players, which is not so good at creating such a friendly atmosphere.

Is there a compromise? I don’t see how. Having both Teamspeak and Alltalk would lead to much hilarious confusion, as people shout their tactics to the enemy. Is it even possible, to have both enabled at once? Can I assign two buttons in TF2? Should I have researched this before I started writing?

These are the things that I think about on public transport. One fact emerges form all this however: TF2 rules, and I hope all TF2-ers never leave.

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