Voice support was just tested in this past PTR. Though Blizzard has said that the feature is finished, they have opted not to switch it “On” quite yet. Why? Maybe they’re saving it for a much larger patch, or maybe it really isn’t done yet. Whatever the reason once in-game voice support is live it’s going to alter a lot of what we know about our experience in the Nexus.
Though I can clearly remember the days before in-game voice, nowadays it’s in nearly all online games. Historically, Blizzard has been a bit behind in this regard. I remember when their first voice support came out for World of Warcraft. I’d end up making attempts at using it throughout the years, but eventually, it wouldn’t be worth it. The sound quality was bad, it was not inherently obvious to use, and it just ended up creating a bad rap for itself. Though it wouldn’t be removed until years later, Blizzard did eventually 100% disable it’s function within WoW. They knew how bad it was and didn’t want the system in place to be used until it had been overhauled.
Fast forward to early 2016, and the now ultra-famous Overwatch launched. With it, came fairly good voice chat in-game. This enabled superior coordination during anything from a Quick Match, to a Ranked Season game.
So if Overwatch has voice support why not Heroes? Assumingly, it had something to do with the integration of the service for HotS. Realistically, it feels like Blizzard is holding back for something. What that something is, or will be, I have no idea. About the only “big” thing around the corner is the rumor of a new Battleground that should be dropping “soon.” Or, maybe it’s whenever they decide to re-enable their smart MMR system. That would peg all of this at the start of the next competitive season in about one month’s time.
Whenever it happens, I think it will be a good thing. The only annoying part is that I may end up juggling two push-to-talk keys just to keep my friends and matches separate. But otherwise, I am hopeful for it to come out as an improvement.
Perhaps the most obvious mode that will take full advantage of this will be Hero League. No longer will 5 random stranger’s be forced to work with text and pings alone. Coordination in Hero League could increase drastically with even Team League benefiting from their 2-man and 3-man teams.
Perhaps, I’m most excited about the social aspect. Some of my best online friends came from Guilds in WoW. In fact, all of my friends I play nightly with were first met through World of Warcraft. If playing through Quick Matches with voice support can come close to raiding dungeons in Azeroth then we have a huge opportunity for some new friendships.
Whether you knew it or not Heroes is in need of voice support. With it, could come a wave of change that we didn’t even know we wanted. As is, the Nexus has been my home now since Heroes-Alpha. I ended up leaving WoW for this game, so getting a new tool at our disposal to help bring this community together could never be a bad thing. I can only hope that this means there is more to come.