DevBlog announces new chat system for March, end of EVE Voice

Paramemetic 2018-02-20

With the March update, the EVE client chat interface will be getting a complete overhaul, according to a recent Dev Blog.  As part of this update, CCP will no longer be including voice chat in game.  The change comes as part of an ongoing effort to update the client and prepare it for future iterations as the game reaches the midway point of its second decade.

Voice chat, in particular, was an unused feature which stood in the way of CCP’s plans to release an updated 64-bit client which would be better optimized for modern computers.  “At present, EVE Voice is used by just 0.4% of our active pilots,” writes CCP Falcon in the blog.  Today, most players use Mumble, TeamSpeak, or Discord for voice chat functionality.  With so few pilots using it, it makes little sense to continue including the in-game voice chat in the new chat.

“It’s currently one of several more things holding us back from developing a 64-bit EVE client.”  Last year, the Captain’s Quarters were removed for similar reasons.  Asked on the official forum discussion post if there was a list of other blockers to developing a 64-bit client, CCP Explorer told us there are “no other known blockers.”  This may indicate that a 64-bit client could be ready in the foreseeable future.

The new chat system will be based on XMPP protocol, which could also pave the way for third party or non-client integration to the chat. The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), originally called Jabber, is an open source messaging platform designed for integrated use across multiple applications.  As such, there may be an opportunity to communicate with other players in client from mobile devices, or from other devices without being logged completely into the game.

While CCP hasn’t announced either way if there are plans to allow this level of integration, any move towards a modern system is a welcome one.  The current chat system, in place since launch, is a custom solution.  If updating the chat and getting rid of voice are the only things holding us back from a client optimized for modern computers, then this is certainly a welcome change.

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  • Arrendis

    The current chat system isn’t a 100% custom solution. It’s an IRC chat client.

    February 20, 2018 at 4:55 pm
  • Alaric Faelen

    While I understand the need to update their code, voice comms are something CCP should have expanded rather than cut.
    Voice comms are the single most important thing in a fleet….you know in this game about fleets of spaceships…yet CCP just figures someone else will do that for them. Like so many other things- your Eve experience may well be based more on out-of-Eve resources than anything CCP did.

    It’s a very common complaint among new players- that they just want to casually fleet up and enjoy the game. They aren’t looking to leave their corp or interested in spending hours out of the game downloading and configuring voice programs (because everyone has their favorite,so might as well download them all).
    CCP even seems to want to offer content based on casual pick up groups. But immediately it becomes herding cats into what voice comms you want to use. At one point I had Vent, TS, and Mumble all set up at once, often with more than one running at once. (Not including non-voice programs in Jabber, Discord, and so on)
    CCP needs to create a voice comm system and it needs to be simple and requiring nothing more than logging into the game client to use. Either that or partner with companies like TS and Mumble to provide secure, dedicated comms from within the game client.
    Every time you have to close or alt-tab out of their game client just to actually play the game, should be considered a fail. If I am out of game checking Jita prices. Fail. If I am juggling voice programs just to make a fleet functional. Fail. If an out of game map lets me plan a better route than the game map. Fail.

    February 20, 2018 at 5:13 pm
    • SkepticNerdGuy Alaric Faelen

      I respectfully disagree, most player organization occurs out of the game, to that end, this change only affects 0.4% of players. I do agree that it is mostly because of a failed implementation of the voice features in the game. But with the voice services, and free ones to boot (ie discord), it is not a ‘difficult’ setup. Alt-tabbing isnt hard, and usually doesn’t have to be done when everything is already set up. I don’t think many people get invited to random voice comms in the middle of fleet engagements, at least not often. As for setting up multiple clients, like Vent, TS, mumble and so on, there you are talking about larger corporations and alliance level stuff. They usually offer decent ‘how to’ and typically have people to help the newbro out.

      February 20, 2018 at 5:37 pm
      • a simple merc SkepticNerdGuy

        yeah I have to agree , never used eve voice even once since DOB 2009 . If there was some advantage to using eve voice then you may have a point of keeping it around , at the moment its just a nuisance for ccp

        February 20, 2018 at 5:55 pm
        • Alaric Faelen a simple merc

          I agree no one uses it….but that is because it was out of date years ago and never iterated upon. Given a better system, more players would use that instead of 3rd party sites. The point being you shouldn’t have to run a half dozen programs just to make Eve playable.
          It’s not a problem for long term players. Over time we’ve simply jumped the hoops, and if you are in a large organization probably have whole wiki pages to walk you thru the process. My bookmarks tab is full of sites I’ve accumulated over the years I’ve played Eve.
          But that’s not doing anything for the new or more casual player. Especially if CCP wants to promote pick up group style play. Improving on the current fleet and broadcast system helps to a degree, but ultimately voice comms are too critical to real time gaming. CCP not only doesn’t offer any (useful) voice comms in-game, but also don’t offer any in-game support for 3rd party voice programs that are useful.
          I think CCP should either have solid in-game voice comms, or if that is too difficult, partner with 3rd party programs and make an in-game path to those comms.

          February 20, 2018 at 6:31 pm
    • While there’s merit to the idea that it’s better to allow tools to integrate with the client, with a glut of viable chat VoIP services available, it’s not really reasonable to expect or desire CCP to develop an industry-competitive VoIP product for client inclusion. No matter what is provided in client, larger organizations need third party solutions anyhow. It’s not unreasonable to expect gamers to use a third party voice chat solution, and this allows voice chat companies to do what they are good at, and CCP to do what it does. Integrating everything into the client just introduces additional moving parts of the kind that, apparently, prevent the production of a 64-bit client in 2018.

      February 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm
      • Alaric Faelen Paramemetic

        And I totally get that. Had CCP kept up on their voice comm system it might not have gotten to this point. They chose to invest in other things and the value of those things can be debated. But no, I can’t see them salvaging the voice system they currently have.
        But I do think they should either have one, or make it push-a-button simple to use someone else’s. I always favor a game being the only thing you need to…play that game.

        February 20, 2018 at 8:50 pm
        • Arrendis Alaric Faelen

          ‘Had CCP kept up on their voice comm system’… and thisis another reason built-in clients don’t work. The developer needs to keep it updated. By going with 3rd-party tools, the devs let the people who know what they’re doing focus on voice improvements.

          February 20, 2018 at 11:04 pm
    • Arrendis Alaric Faelen

      Every MMO toys with built-in voice. LotRO’s built-in voice even managed to not suck. In the end, though, every MMO gives up on it. Why? Because it means your voice client is inextricably linked to your game client. So you can’t talk to people unless you’re in-game. That means any group can’t really use it.

      ‘My client died’ goes from ‘hang on, guys’ to ‘nobody knows what the hell happened to Bob.’

      February 20, 2018 at 10:51 pm
  • SkepticNerdGuy

    I welcome any changes that will allow for a 64-bit client. It looks like progress is being made to that end.

    February 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm
  • kennethfeld_eve

    CCP Explorer confirmed on twittwr they know of nothing else holding them back from 64bit code.

    February 20, 2018 at 10:03 pm
  • Michele Manfredi

    chat with online friends in eve from my phone …a dream…(i know i know we have alliance jabber). a good 64bit multi core client? a dream.

    finally ccp kick out voice for a fast client upgrade.

    February 21, 2018 at 2:15 pm
  • Can I be a negative Nancy and ask what the benefits of a 64-bit client would be?

    It’s just the way that I see it, it seems like the server-side code is holding the game back more than client performance…

    February 21, 2018 at 7:05 pm
    • Kyeudo Ganthrithor

      Better memory usage, primarily. 32-bit programs have a limit of about 4 GB of memory, even if more memory is available.

      February 22, 2018 at 12:18 am