Ah, the chat feature. It’s something that can become the bane of any gamer’s existence while also serving as a crucial tool for conquering your next mission (depending on the game, of course). While the concept of chat in its most basic form is an admittedly wonderful thing and can even lead to friendships with like-minded people, it’s a feature that can be quickly bastardised by teenagers looking to hurl insults at everyone they can.
Enter the party invite. For those unfamiliar with the party system, you can head to the Xbox LIVE site for more information, though it works a little something like this: You can setup a group of up to eight people with whom you can communicate directly instead of throwing yourself into the world of open chat. In other words, it restricts your brain from dealing with the potential nonsense of someone talking smack about you (or in most cases, your mum). Again, this is especially helpful when playing a game such as Destiny, the Halo-RPG hybrid that pretty much isn’t the least bit entertaining when playing solo. That storyline? Awful.
In our review of Destiny, we mentioned that the game comes alive when playing with friends on your Xbox LIVE list “due to knowing it will be a co-operative effort.” But then we asked, “But how many times before it becomes stale?” The answer could potentially be that, in this case, party chat isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Or, rather, it’s the idea of only playing with your party that can make a game like this stale. Sure, playing with people you don’t know can be intimidating, awkward, whatever, but it can also open a game up to new experiences. A random person may know something you don’t or be more capable of taking on certain tasks that you and your friends keep failing at. Whatever the case, alleviating boredom could potentially saved by treading back into the world of game chat. On the other hand, it could just lead to more frustration for you and anyone who decides to head into game chat with you, so tread lightly.
A more personal form of chatting with other players isn’t only something that’s been addressed for console (and PC) gamers. In fact, you can find instances of where a more personalised version is preferred in pretty much any type of gaming. Take Betfair’s poker site, for example, where players are encouraged to talk amongst themselves (via text, not voice) as the cards are dealt. The platform has a more refined chat system that allows you to see the messages that you want, leaving you free from potential foolishness being talked about by others. If you want to simply communicate with the dealer, you can. Want to only chat with the players? That’s an option, too. You can also completely turn off the feature, which can often be warranted in this particular game to allow for better focus and, like with on Xbox LIVE, avoiding any unnecessary insults from immature players.
But what do you, the reader, think about this issue? Is group chat killing the idea of a more open game chat or are we better off not indulging the goofballs out there trying to get a rise out of us all? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!